Monday, 8 February 2016

Review ~ Gus (Bright Side #2) by Kim Holden

Gus (Bright Side, #2)
Paperback purchased by myself.

Release Date: May 9th 2015

Publisher: Self-published

The journey that began in top-rated, best-selling Bright Side, continues ... 

This is the story of Gus. 
Losing himself. 
Finding himself. 
And healing along the way. 

“ … but the honest-to-God truth is I don’t even know how to function anymore. Bright Side wasn’t only my best friend; she was like my other half ... the other half of my brain, the other half of my conscience, the other half of my sense of humor, the other half of my creativity, the other half of my heart. How do you go back to doing what you did before, when half of you is gone forever?”

My Opinion

I picked up Gus straight after reading Bright Side. Unlike Bright Side I didn't know what to expect from Gus except that it would be his story after the events that take place in Bright Side. 

I think I enjoyed this book more because I didn't go in expecting too much. I was very much along for the ride and just enjoyed what unfolded. I wasn't always thinking ahead, wondering if events were going to make me cry. And compared to Bright Side, Gus was a lot more light-hearted. It has it's touching and moving moments as Gus struggles to cope, but it did put a smile on my face more than once.

I thought the relationship between Scout and Gus was cute. I liked how they helped each other and I did root for them. It was interesting to see their distaste for each other turn into affection, and I thought the pacing was just right.

Overall, I enjoyed this more than Bright Side, and in a sense it did give me closure. It picks up right where Bright Side left off so you need to read them in order, but Gus kind of heals you.


Sunday, 7 February 2016

Review ~ Bright Side (Bright Side, #1) by Kim Holden

Bright Side (Bright Side, #1)
ebook purchased by myself

Release Date: July 4th 2014

Publisher: Self-published

Everyone has one. 
Some are bigger than others. 
And when secrets are revealed, 
Some will heal you ... 
And some will end you. 

Kate Sedgwick’s life has been anything but typical. She’s endured hardship and tragedy, but throughout it all she remains happy and optimistic (there’s a reason her best friend Gus calls her Bright Side). Kate is strong-willed, funny, smart, and musically gifted. She’s also never believed in love. So when Kate leaves San Diego to attend college in the small town of Grant, Minnesota, the last thing she expects is to fall in love with Keller Banks. 

They both feel it. 
But they each have a reason to fight it. 
They each have a secret. 

And when secrets are revealed, 
Some will heal you … 
And some will end you.

My Opinion

I'm going to be honest, if I wasn't attending a signing this author is going to in the next few months, I would not have picked up this book. I would have glanced over it for the cover alone--yes I'm guilty of judging a book by its cover. Even when I saw the author was attending the signing, I wasn't too keen on reading it. Then everyone in the signing group started raving about it so I thought I'd give it a go. 

Bright Side was a touching read about living in the moment and making the most of life. It had a good message in it, and a likeable cast who drew you in. Kate really was the glue that held everything together. It was easy to feel not only the love she gave out, but also the love she received in return. As Gus' nickname for her suggests, she really did look on the bright side of things and it was a nice change from characters who tend to look down on things.

However, unfortunately, I did get to the end feeling let down. This isn't the book's fault, more mine I think. As you know, it takes a lot for me to cry at a book and Bright Side was sold to me as a heartbreaking read that would have me sobbing. For me, I think it was bigged up. It was definitely moving, and I can see why other people cried. Personally, though I found it predictable and I went in expecting more than I probably should have.

That's not to say it wasn't a good read. It is. 

It's touching, moving, makes you think, and pulls you into the author's world.

Overall, Bright Side is a good read. I went in expecting too much, but that doesn't mean it won't pull on your heartstrings if you give it a go.


Saturday, 6 February 2016

Review ~ ZEKE (Breaking the Declan Brothers, #3) by Kelly Gendron

ZEKE (Breaking the Declan Brothers, #3)
eARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: January 22nd 2016

Publisher: Self-published

“Some guys call, some date, and some guys, they might even get married. But, sweetheart, I ain’t any of those guys...” ~ Zeke Declan

Every girl in Galveston County knows about Zeke Declan’s rules and has agreed to them or is considering them. 
Rule #1 Don’t call him. He’ll call you. 
Rule #2 He doesn’t date. 
Rule #3 No sleepovers. 
Rule #4 Absolutely, no virgins.

When a couple friends talk me into going back to their hometown in the Bayou for the summer and challenge me to break “the best damn lay in Galveston County” along with every single one of his ridiculous rules, I’m confident that I can get the job done. I’m no stranger to men. I have five older brothers. I’m a teacher and I’m used to being around rebellious teenagers. However, Zeke Declan is definitely not someone that I could have prepared for. He’s not a testosterone-fueled, immature boy. He’s a confident, arousing, playful, and mind-melting man. But, behind that sexy charming smile, I know he’s hiding a secret. And, in order to break him, I’m going to need to find out what it is...

My Opinion

I've enjoyed this series because each book is a quick easy read with a little bit of romance. The concept across all three books on breaking the Declan brothers was intriguing to watch unfold and I was looking forward to Zeke's book and seeing how Lurlene broke his rules.

Whilst this was once again an easy read, I did find myself wishing there was more new story. It was short as it was and then the author did repeat book 1 and 2 info in it a lot. I felt a little let down as I wanted more Zeke. 

The relationship also developed very fast in this. That's not necessarily a bad thing. These books are short and to the point. It made them good to relax with for an hour.

Overall it was enjoyable. I don't think it's my favourite of the series, but it kept me entertained.


Friday, 5 February 2016

Review ~ An Ounce of Hope (A Pound of Flesh, #2) by Sophie Jackson

An Ounce of Hope (A Pound of Flesh, #2)eARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: January 5th 2015

Publisher: Gallery Books

Max O’Hare can’t seem to let go of his past: his drug habit, the end of his relationship with Lizzie Jordan, the woman he knows he’ll never get over, and the loss of their unborn son.

After successfully completing rehab and learning to explore his deepest fears and dreams through painting, Max meets Grace Brooks. With her innate optimism, and her love of art and photography, Grace appears to be the perfect girl. Yet no one knows where she came from, or why she keeps her past so closely guarded. Over time, Max and Grace gradually allow each other in—but will he ever be able to fully let go of his past? Or will his heart remain closed forever?

My Opinion

Well that is disappointing...

Not the book, that was great and I'll get to that in a minute. I just thought I had a lot more left to read. Unfortunately my ARC has the book printed twice in it so at 50% it ended. I thought I had half a book left!!

Anyway, that wouldn't have annoyed me so much if I hadn't been enjoying the book. Just like A Pound of Flesh, An Ounce of Hope absorbed me in the author's world and I engaged with her character brilliantly.

I felt for Max every step of the way and fell in love with him too. An Ounce of Hope is a great read about two broken people finding themselves. 

This book would have been a five for me if not for two things. The first is I kept expecting more to happen. I kept thinking Grace's ex would come back and I was kind of disappointed he didn't to makes things difficult. Secondly, a few parts did fell a little under developed. A few times I wanted more detail on the past and felt there could have been more story potential. Sometimes things felt a little simple.

Other than that I really enjoyed it. It didn't beat book one but it was an engaging read that tugged on my heat strings. If only there was an extra 50% in my ARC...


Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Blog Tour Review ~ Dark Room by L.P. Dover and Heidi McLaughlin

Title: Dark Room: A Society X Novel
Authors: Heidi McLaughlin & L.P. Dover
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: January 26, 2016 Cover Design: Sarah Hansen from Okay Creations Photographer: Eric David Battershell
The rules of Society X are simple . . . break them and you're out.
Rule #1 - No names
It doesn't matter if you want to know, it's forbidden.
Rule #2 - No exchanging numbers
It doesn't matter if you want to call, it's forbidden.
Rule #3 - Everything is to remain strictly anonymous.
It doesn't matter if you want to tell, it's forbidden.
The Dark Room is the only place you can live out your fantasies and no one will ever know it’s you.
For Parker, what started out as a business transaction has turned into an addiction.
For Mia, it's been a chance to discover who she truly is.
What happens in the dark will have you begging for more . . .


When I saw this collaboration I couldn't be more excited. While Heidi McLaughlin is a new author to me--because I haven't found the time to sit and read her work yet--I've only heard good things. She's been on my tbr list for a while and her collaboration with L P Dove, who is one of my favourites, gave me the much needed excuse to read something by her.

Dark Room was an intense read. It's a little different from what I usually read in that it's probably categorised as erotica. That's not to say it wasn't enjoyable. I found the mix of actual romance, back story in the friends to lovers trope, and actual sex was balanced well. I felt like I got to know the characters and be a part of their lives so I could feel for them rather than just read about their many trysts.

The emotional intensity and chemistry between Mia and Parker was great. I believed in it the entire way through. The whole thing to do with the Dark Room was predictable, but I liked knowing what the characters didn't. It added a second dimension to their relationship as I watched them realise their feelings for one another.

The only slight negative I have is the sub-plot regarding Zac. His motives felt a bit weak if I'm honest. I didn't really understand why there was such animosity between him and Parker. I thought Zac added interest with Mia, but a few twists needed slightly more development for me.

Overall though, I really enjoyed Dark Room. It was a hot, quick read with great chemistry.


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