Release by Patrick Ness #BookReview #LGBT #YA

releaseTitle: Release
Author: Patrick Ness
Series: n/a
Format: Hardback, 287 pages
Publication Details: 
May 4th 2017 by Walker Books
Genre(s): YA; Contemporary; LGBT
Disclosure? Nope, my copy came with a ticket to the book launch – I was under no obligation to post a review. 

Goodreads 

bookdepo

Inspired by Mrs Dalloway and Judy Blume’s Forever, Release is one day in the life of Adam Thorn, 17. It’s a big day. Things go wrong. It’s intense, and all the while, weirdness approaches…

Adam Thorn is having what will turn out to be the most unsettling, difficult day of his life, with relationships fracturing, a harrowing incident at work, and a showdown between this gay teen and his preacher father that changes everything. It’s a day of confrontation, running, sex, love, heartbreak, and maybe, just maybe, hope. He won’t come out of it unchanged. And all the while, lurking at the edges of the story, something extraordinary and unsettling is on a collision course.


Review

You should all know by now that I love Patrick Ness, so I was of course very excited about his new release, Release, especially considering my friend Dora and I got tickets to the premiere of the book tour.

I posted about the whole shebang here. It was such a great night with insightful and inspiring discussions that my already high expectation bar was pushed through the roof…and I can’t help feeling a little deflated by the whole thing now that I’ve finished the book. SAD PANDA.

Adam Thorn is a gay 17 year old with a bad-boy magnet best friend called Angela, a strict preacher father, and a couple of ex-boyfriends who have treated him pretty terribly. What could go wrong, I hear you say!?

I loved everything Patrick Ness said when discussing this book – the need for diversity in books to reflect the world we live in, the need for YA books with gay protagonists to not shy away from sex scenes, all of it, but it just felt a bit forced here and I think the story suffered because of that.

Release is actually quite a subtle book, and whereas I don’t think that’s a bad thing, I just wasn’t expecting that from all the passionate discussion points in the book launch. I’m not sure this is quite the book Patrick Ness thought he had written. It does spotlight some important issues, but I felt like it needed more drama to really pack a punch. In trying to make it tender, I think a lot of its potential was quashed.

Running alongside Adam’s story is a strange, morbid fairy-tale allegory about a faun and a queen who is actually the ghost of a recently deceased fellow student of Adam’s, and this just did not work for me at all. It came across as a bit pretentious to be honest and I ended up skipping nearly all of these sequences after about a third of the way through. VERY SAD PANDA.

It’s actually quite painful to slag off one of your favourite authors, but I’d be a pretty rubbish book blogger if I couldn’t be honest with myself about how I feel about a book. It has some lovely moments, and is of course written beautifully. And I love everything Patrick was wanting to say with Release, but I think maybe he tried a bit too hard and didn’t quite manage to pull it off.

unicorn rating 3

 

Ice Kissed (The Kanin Chronicles #2) by Amanda Hocking

icekissed
Title: Ice Kissed
Author: Amanda Hocking
Series: The Kanin Chronicles #2
Edition: Digital ARC, 288 pages
Publication Details: May 5th 2015 by St. Martin’s Press
Genre(s): YA; Fantasy
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads // Purchase

Bryn Aven has always longed to be a part of the Kanin world. Though she has no social status because she’s a half-breed, she refuses to give up on her dream of serving the kingdom she loves. It’s a dream that brings her to a whole new realm . . . the glittering palace of the Skojare.

The Skojare people need protection from the same brutal rival who’s been threatening the Kanin, and, being half Skojare herself, it’s a chance for Bryn to learn more about her heritage. Her boss Ridley Dresden is overseeing her mission and wants to help. He’s always been her most trusted friend—but as their undeniable attraction heats up, he becomes a distraction she can’t afford.

Brynn is about to discover that the Skojare world is full of secrets, and as she’s drawn in deeper and deeper, she doesn’t know who to trust. As she gets closer to Ridley, she realizes she may not even be able to trust her own heart.

Review

Oh, this series! I seem to have developed a love/hate relationship with it. For context, you may wish to check my review of the first book, Frostfire here, because I feel a slightly muddled rant coming on.

Bryn Aven, is still on the path to accomplishing her dream of being on the hogdragen, in order to guard Kanin royalty and serve her kingdom. Ice Kissed picks up right where Frostfire left off. The status of her and her boss’ frowned-upon relationship is still in will-they-won’t-they mode, and peple are still being kidnapped.

This time however, it’s less of a kidnapping and more of a running away, as Princess Linnea has fled her palace to the magical lake Isolera where time moves differently and swimming feels like a dream. Linnea ran because she felt a growing sense of unease and tension, and she didn’t feel safe. And now it’s up to Bryn and her fellow trackers to find out what’s going on.

Sigh. There is a lot I didn’t like about this book, and they’re many of the same gripes from the first book. First of all, the story didn’t move fast enough – in fact – sometimes it felt like the story didn’t move at all.

Not enough happened. Actually, that’s not true, lots of insignificant things happened, but too few significant things did. And even when something important did happen, it didn’t seem to get resolved or have an ending. Arggggh.

But!!!! At no point did I want to stop reading. I wanted to know if Bryn and Ridley would give it a go. I wanted to know what the hell was going on with Princess Linnea and the all the weird shit going on in their palace, and more to the point, I wanted to know when Konstantin Black was going to turn up! I mean, seriously!??

I have the feeling that either this is going to be a slow-burning series with one hell of a culmination, or Hocking is just trying to squeeze out too many books for the scope of the plot.

Another thing that bothered me was the sex. Yes – SPOILER – there was sex, and that’s fine by me, usually. But here it seemed out of place. It was a bit more graphic than in other YA books, and… IDK…I found it odd. The tone was off.

I sort of wish I didn’t read the last page or so, because before that I definitely wouldn’t have felt the need to read the next book, but if Hocking does one thing successfully, it’s a goddamn cliffhanger. Argh!

I’m going to have to find out what happens next. I just hope it’s got a faster, better plot!

unicorn rating 3

[2.5 rounded-up!]

Ice Kissed is available for pre-order from Waterstones now.

The Frenchman by Lesley Young

frenchman
Title: The Frenchman
Author: Lesley Young
Series: Crime Royalty Romance #1
Edition: Digital Reader’s Copy, 276 Pages
Publication Details: January 2015 by L.A.Y. Books
Genre(s): Romance
Disclosure? Yep! I received a copy from the author/publisher in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads // Amazon

Fleur Smithers rarely veers off the straight and (excruciatingly) narrow. So moving to the seaport town of Toulon to live with her newfound biological mother—an inspector with the French National Police—for one year is a pretty major detour.

Son of France’s crime royalty family and international rugby star, Louis Messette, is devoted to his sport, famille and nothing else. But the carefree American he meets one night changes everything. She sparks a desire in him like no other. Possession takes root. She will do as he commands?

Bit by bit Fleur slips into the Frenchman’s realm of wanton pleasure agreeing to his one condition: that she keep their affair secret. She serves up her heart without reservation in the hub of the glittering Côte d’Azur, and the along the soulful Seine in Paris, unaware of the danger she is in. For her new lover’s family business will pit her against her mother, the police woman sworn to bring down the Messettes. And by then, far more than Fleur’s heart will be on the line.

Review


To be perfectly honest, I didn’t think much of the synopsis or cover of this book, but I was in the mood for a quick, light read so I thought I’d give it a go, and I’m really glad I did!

The Frenchman is a page-turning romance (bordering on erotica), set in Toulon, France where innocent and naive Fleur Smithers is spending a year getting to know her police-officer birth-mum.

The relationship between the two is interesting. They are very different, but despite the past they get along and understand each other. Marie, Fleur’s mum, along with her friend Jess encourage her to enjoy everything France has to offer, including the men, and one night in a tiny restaurant, she does just that.

She meets Louis, an aloof, brute of a man who also happens to be a famous Rugby player. From here, Fleur not only finds herself in an intense, whirlwind of passion, but she’s also gotten herself into something deeper. Is Louis really who he says he is? Is her mother right to warn her against him and his family?

The Frenchman really surprised me. I was kind of expecting it to be sex, sex, sex, but I really enjoyed the story too, especially the crime element. It had a lot more strings to its bow than a lot of romance books I’ve read.

Louis is everything you could want in a leading man, too. Essentially, he’s a bad-boy with a heart, or so we hope as we read on. And he’s clearly pretty damn hot! I enjoyed the dynamic between the two characters, and how Fleur stood up to him on occasion. And although they get together pretty quickly, this definitely wasn’t an instalove thing – there was more going on than that, which is always what keeps me interested in a story – it was a rollercoaster of a romance.

Overall, I was really impressed by The Frenchman. It’s not the kind of thing I read often but I’d definitely like to continue with the series. Watch out E.L James!

unicorn rating 4