Sunday, 29 December 2013

Review ~ Let it Snow by Erica Ridley

Let it SnoweARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 15th December 2013

Publisher: Intrepid Reads

Adventurer Lance Desmond needs to produce a fortune before his arch-rival collects the bounty on his head. He risks an ancient curse to retrieve treasure hidden within icebound Castle Cavanaugh, only to become trapped inside. Not with the gold he so desperately needs, but with medieval Princess Marigold who's been cooling her heels since... well, medieval times.

The lonely princess refuses to acknowledge the blossoming attraction between them. Not just because she deserves a better future than a penniless rogue. But because at midnight, he'll vanish like all her other would-be heroes. And the evergreen in the parlor will have one more figurine hanging from its boughs...

My Opinion

I gave this book to 20% but I just couldn't get into it so I stopped reading. I'm sorry to say this after enjoying Erica's other work but this book was just odd to me and I couldn't engage with it. For me the medieval language and circumstances mixed with modern technology and references just didn't work for me; in fact it confused me and I didn't know when the book was meant to be set. Also, it made the speech stiff and unnatural and by 20% I was just not involved enough in the story to feel I wanted to continue. 

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Review ~ Relentless (Shattered Hearts #1) by Cassia Leo

Relentless (Shattered Hearts, #1)ebook received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 19th December 2013

Publisher: Random House UK, Transworld Publishers

Claire Nixon is a twenty-year-old college dropout with a secret she’ll never tell. Then she meets sexy Adam Parker. Claire knows the flirting is harmless, but guys like Adam mean trouble. Then a seemingly innocent comment spurs a bet between them: if Adam can get Claire to reveal the secret that made her leave her college and her life behind, she has to re-enroll. 

Claire’s sure she can win. She's perfected the art of forgetting her past. But she isn't prepared for Adam's relentless pursuit, and she's definitely not prepared when her first love, rock-star Chris Knight – and her heartbreaking secret ­– comes banging down her door.

My Opinion

When I saw all three books up on NetGalley I couldn't resist requesting them all. I was so sure I was going to like book one that there was no question in my mind about wanting to read the next two. And you know what? I was right. Relentless was a brilliant read that I couldn't put down. In fact, rather than write this review last night, I moved straight onto  reading book 2, which kept me up until 3am (I decided I needed at least a few hours of sleep by that point).

Anyway, back to Relentless...

Relentless was a sweet yet tortured book about Claire struggling with her decisions made in her past. I thought the author captured her emotions extremely well and created a character that you not only sympathised with but connected with as well and grow to love. I liked that Claire wasn't whiny about her past. She suffered because of it but her stubbornness to keep it to herself so that people didn't think bad of her made her realistic and an appealing character to read about. The fact that we don't know what she has done adds to the engaging story as her emotions build it up as I couldn't begin to think up what she could have done to feel so bad. 

I loved the author's use of flashbacks with Claire to drop hints about her past. I have read a lot of books that this happens in so I've seen it done brilliantly and poorly. It's safe to say that Cassia Leo did a great job. They were dispersed throughout the novel and cleverly linked to the events taking place. For once I feel they added to the story rather than break up the flow. 

As well as this I loved Adam. He wasn't as fearful of his past like Claire but he too has his own issues. However, unlike Claire he comes across as sweet and gentle (when not angry) and so caring towards Claire that you just can't help but like him. His corny joke telling was a nice addition too. I will admit a few of them took me a few minute to understand as they probably work better spoken than read but they were nice ice/tension breakers.

Their relationship was realistic and I believed in it. It's one of those relationships you can't help but get drawn into and engage with the characters wholeheartedly. I was invested in the relationship and you just can't help but hope for the best. Everything develops realistically and the build up was great.

When everything was revealed, I did find myself slightly surprised. Normally it's obvious what a character has done but Cassia Leo did a great job of concealing Claire's secret-there were so many options I didn't bother to guess so I liked that I had that surprise.

If there is one thing I didn't like about this book it was the chapter titles which is probably me being picky. Each chapter started with Relentless followed by another word e.g Relentless emotions, relentless secrets, relentless desire. I just found it a little cheesy and would have rather not have had titles. That's my only issue though and it does nothing to detract from the book.

Overall, Relentless is a quick, engaging read that I couldn't stop reading. It doesn't leave you on a cliffhanger but it does suggest how the next book is going to go (I guessed right, I'm reading it now). I would definitely recommend this book.



Monday, 23 December 2013

Review ~ Last Stand of Dead Men (Skulduggery Pleasant #8) by Derek Landy

Last Stand of Dead Men (Skulduggery Pleasant, #8)Hardback purchased by myself

Release Date: 29th August 2013

Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books


War has finally come.

But it's not a war between good and evil, or light and dark - it's a war between Sanctuaries. For too long now, the Irish Sanctuary has teetered on the brink of world-ending disaster, and the other Sanctuaries around the world have had enough. Allies turn to enemies, friends turn to foes, and Skulduggery and Valkyrie must team up with the rest of the Dead Men if they're going to have any chance at all of maintaining the balance of power and getting to the root of a vast conspiracy that has been years in the making.

But while this war is only beginning, another war rages within Valkyrie herself. Her own dark side, the insanely powerful being known as Darquesse, is on the verge of rising to the surface. And if Valkyrie slips, even for a moment, then Darquesse will burn the world and everyone in it.

My Opinion

I waited ages for this books to be released and it took me a few extra months to finally get to it as I have been so busy. However, the wait was definitely worth it!

I'm not going to say much about this book as it is the eighth in the series so I don't want to give anything away for those of you who haven't read any of the previous books. What I will say though is that you can expect more of the same from this brilliant author. His writing is witty, it made me smile, made me sad, I couldn't believe some of the story and hated the characters for what they did. I didn't agree with everything the author wrote but it was definitely interesting in an annoying kind of way. It pulled a lot of emotions from me and combined with plenty of action I was not able to put down or stop reading this book.

If you haven't read this series, seriously, go check it out. You won't be disappointed. Derek Landry had a unique, original style that I have fallen in love with.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Review ~ Anything to Have You by Paige Harbison

Anything to Have You
eARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 28th January 2014

Publisher: Harlequin Teen


Nothing should come between best friends, not even boys. ESPECIALLY not boys.

Natalie and Brooke have had each other's backs forever. Natalie is the quiet one, college bound and happy to stay home and watch old movies. Brooke is the movie—the life of every party, the girl everyone wants to be.

Then it happens—one crazy night that Natalie can't remember and Brooke's boyfriend, Aiden, can't forget. Suddenly there's a question mark in Natalie and Brooke's friendship that tests everything they thought they knew about each other and has both girls discovering what true friendship really means.

My Opinion

Personally, I am slightly disappointed by this book. It started off well but then just became predictable with every twist glaringly obvious way before it was revealed. Basically I continued reading it because I was waiting to see Brooke's reaction. I didn't hate the book, there was something that kept me reading (which I will explain later) but it just fell a little flat and I feel indifferent to the story so I'm finding it hard to write this review as I just didn't connect or engage with it very well.

Anything to Have You started off well. I liked the friendship between Brooke and Natalie it was believable and I could sympathise with Natalie's attitude of not wanting to party but being dragged out by friends. The characters worked well together and I think Brooke's wild side complimented Natalie's more reserved, introverted nature. They bounced off each other and I liked the banter between them.

However, everything slowly started to go down hill after the first party. The author tried to set it up so there would be questions as to who had done what but it was just blatantly obvious, and after that the clues as to Natalie's condition were unmissable - well to everyone but her that is. I just found it irritating that she didn't consider the one factor that was so obvious. As well as this, the dual points of view were annoying. The book is written in first person and in parts so you get big chunks from Natalie or Brooke's point of view. This surprised me when I first saw it as I wasn't expecting a switch at chapter 8 and I thought it might be an interesting spin. However, most of the time it started off repeating previous events just from Brooke's pov. To me it felt like it was just padding and that there wasn't enough story to begin with so to fill it out the author retold sections which wasn't necessary. I feel that if you are going to do dual povs then the story needs to be moved along by it not moved backwards. Personally I feel that the author should have used third person if she was going to tell certain situations from both Natalie and Brooke to limit the repetitive nature.

Overall, I don't really have much to say about this book. It was predictable and slowly went downhill but ended alright. It wasn't bad but I think it's just an average read as there was nothing that made me go wow. I just feel very indifferent.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Book Spotlight ~ Once Lost, Forever Found by Nina Slack

Once Lost, Forever Found (Volume #1)Once Lost, Forever Found


Publisher: Self-published

Genre: Memoir, Young Adult/New Adult, Drama

Written in the form of a memoir, Effie tells the story of how she and her brother, Vladimir, had become lost in the world; their wayward teenage years.
Her internal struggles and emotions threaten to eat her alive. Memories of her childhood remind her of the innocence she once possessed. She has been hurt so many times in her life...the world can be so cruel. She knows there is more to life than this. She knows true love exists.

She looks up to her older brother Vladimir, who handles emotions so well on the outside. On the inside, he is screaming, and no one knows it, except for himself. How can someone be so strong for so long? There is a breaking point; there is pain, longing, loss, resentment, regret, anger, sadness, self-loathing, heartbreak, silent screams that will never be heard.......there is hope.

Where can hope be found in this world? How do you find yourself amongst the turmoil? Find yourself in this unforgettable, touching, emotional, relatable story of two young hearts who discover what it means to be Once Lost, Forever Found.

Buy Link: Amazon

About the Author
Nina Jean Slack has moved around to many different states in her lifetime, but currently resides in the rolling plains of eastern Texas. She attended courses in the field of Criminology at a local community college.

Her mother, Cassandra, was the first one to bring the idea of writing into Nina's head. With the random words of her mother, “You should write a children's book, just for fun.” and with pen in hand, Nina wrote her very first book, Little Effie's Book Of Poetry. After having her first book published, she wrote another novel, Once Lost, Forever Found and had it published September of 2013.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Review ~ The First Christmas Without You by Michelle Betham

eARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 19th December 2013

Publisher: HarperImpulse

A story of love and hope at Christmas, The First Christmas Without You is an emotional and poignant novella. A truly magical Lapland fairytale…

Jessie Collins has always wanted to visit Lapland. But this Christmas, more than any other, it’s the place she feels she really needs to be as she tries to come to terms with a future she really needs to start living.

My Opinion

The First Christmas Without You was a very short read that I flew through. It surprised me with where the author took the story as I was not sure what to expect when requesting it. The description gives virtually nothing away so all I had to go off was the title. It turned it my thoughts were way off base though.

Set in Lapland, it created the perfect winter feel with a hint of magic that comes with Christmas and snow. I will admit I didn't feel there was much description with the setting and I would have liked more to really involve you in the world but you could still see the world through a general knowledge. However, because of the small amounts of detail, the writing flowed quickly and the character's story evolves rapidly which kept me engaged.

There was an instant attraction but the mixed emotions and hardly any contact didn't make it seem like a whirlwind romance. I would have liked more of the romance but the book ended in a nice sweet spot that leaves you smiling which was surprising. Everything I had heard up to reading 
The First Christmas Without You was that I would need tissues it was so sad but honestly, I didn't feel sad at all reading it. I sympathised with Jess and felt sorry for her loss but I never felt sad for her. I went in with the idea that it was going to be about a break up but I was soon corrected in the first few pages that Jess lost her husband. I guess this was the sad aspect people were talking about but personally because it's only stated and you never hear about Jase when he's living I didn't feel much towards it as there was no connection built.

Overall though, it was a quick, sweet read about getting over the loss of someone. It was enjoyable and something I sped through in front of the fire.


Thursday, 19 December 2013

Review ~ The Kiss Before Christmas by Sophie Pembroke

The Kiss Before Christmas
eARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 19th December 2013

Publisher: HarperImpulse

An English Girl in New York

As the snow starts to fall on Manhattan, PA Dory Mackenzie is a long way from home, far from the comforts and cheer of her cozy family Christmases back in Liverpool.

So when her boss Tyler Alexander offers to pay her pricey ticket home for New Year, Dory just can’t say no… even if she has to pretend to be his girlfriend for the holidays!

Tyler may be hiding the real reason he needs a girlfriend-of-convenience but that’s the least of Dory’s worries when she’s up against the disapproval of his high society mother, and the suspicions of his gorgeous older brother Lucas, the black sheep of the family.

There’s no fooling Lucas, and it’s not just the truth he wants to get closer to… So before the bells have even rung out for Christmas day, Dory finds herself caught up in the Alexander family’s dramas – and sharing more than just a few kisses under the mistletoe!

My Opinion

When I read the description for this book my mind went instantly to the movie "The Proposal." It sounded exactly like the narrative for that only with the genders reversed. Now, I love that movie so it didn't put me off requesting it, all I hoped it wasn't a total rip off and I was so glad that it was not what I expected at all. It couldn't have been further from the movie and I think I like this storyline more!

The Kiss Before Christmas was a quick, easy, festive read that left me with that warm, fuzzy feeling by the end of it. It engaged me brilliantly and I couldn't put it down. The writing flowed seamlessly and I liked how, unlike a lot of novellas I read, The Kiss Before Christmas wasn't jumpy. It flowed from one scene to the next and they all linked well to create a flawless story. There wasn't much detail in the characters backstory, but for once I didn't care. You get a few fact but other than that you are focused solely on the present relationships and I thought the author did this beautifully. It's not usual that I don't mind missing a backstory but this book really didn't need more than it had.

I found myself surprisingly drawn to Lucas. He had a relaxed manner and being the black sheep of the family differed from Tyler and the rest. I was engaged and drawn in with the romance as it built and I loved how it developed. It was a slow build which allowed me to invest in the characters relationship fully. The web of lies surrounding it all added another depth of emotion as you could feel for the characters.

I wasn't sure how the author was going to tie everything up-I knew the ending but couldn't guess how she would get there. Because of this I found myself surprised when the last little twist revealed itself, which was a nice development.

The only slight complaint I have about this book is the cover. Don't get me wrong, it's pretty but I'm just so tired of seeing the same couple on Christmas novellas. This is the fifth book I have read this year with them on so I would have liked something a little more original.

Overall though book title was a great festive romance. My heart melted for the characters and I felt for their situation. Their story was engaging and I couldn't stop reading!


Review ~ The Bane (The Eden Trilogy) by Keary Taylor

The Bane (The Eden Trilogy, #1)ebook received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: March 4th 2013

Before the Evolution there was TorBane: technology that infused human DNA with cybernetic matter. It had the ability to grow new organs and limbs, to heal the world. Until it evolved out of control and spread like the common cold. The machine took over, the soul vanished, and the Bane were born. The Bane won't stop until every last person has been infected. With less than two percent of the human population left, mankind is on the brink of extinction.

Eve knows the stories of the Evolution, the time before she wandered into the colony of Eden, unable to recall anything but her name. But she doesn't need memories to know this world is her reality. This is a world that is quickly losing its humanity, one Bane at a time.

Fighting to keep one of the last remaining human colonies alive, Eve finds herself torn between her dedication to the colony, and the discovery of love. There is Avian and West – one a soldier, one a keeper of secrets. And in the end, Eve will make a choice that will change the future of mankind.

The Bane is The Terminator meets The Walking Dead with a heart-twisting romance.

Previously published as Eden, due to reader demand it has been revamped and rereleased as The Bane: book one in The Eden Trilogy.

My Opinion

I've had this book on my Kindle for awhile but something had put me off reading it. I'm not sure what it was but other books just came before it. Maybe it was because I didn't know there was romance in it and assumed there would be mostly action and that wasn't what I was in the mood for. However, I have finally forced myself to stop putting other books ahead as I had agreed to read and review this book when I requested it from NetGalley.

When I read the description, it sounded interesting and the cover made it look like a book I would really enjoy. It gave the impression of an action-packed book and that's what the start was. The beginning of the book really hooked an engaged me. It made me want to find out more, know what was going on and I was interested by the concept of the Bane. I also liked Eve's determination to take over everything so she could protect everyone. Having a female play the soldier was an interesting concept when everyone else was male but it worked and I liked how strong she was.

However, saying that, around the 50% mark everything just went downhill for me and it slowly got worse and worse until I was literally forcing myself to skim the ending because I wasn't going to stop at 70% when I'd spent so much time reading the beginning. 

For me, the main reason everything just got boring was because it couldn't decide what it wanted to be. Around the half way point a love triangle is introduced which detracted from the action. The action slowly lessened as the focus shifted onto the romance and annoying whiny thoughts from Eve over who to choose. Personally I feel there were two separate storylines that weren't blended that well or fully developed and therefore I just couldn't engage with it and found my attention waning. I wasn't invested in the romance because of the lack of detail and I wasn't engaged because of a lack of action. The book just resorted to slow-paced talking about what to do.

I don't really have much to say beside that as the ending was very anti-climactic. For me it also brought up questions on the logistics of the book and plot structure as some of the parts just didn't add up in my mind. That might be because this is a trilogy but personally it did make me question certain aspects as they lacked realistic qualities.

Overall, The Bane starts off well but it failed to hold my interest as it moved on and I found myself having to force myself to finish it. It may appeal to others interested in sci-fi and post-apocalyptic stuff but for me, I just couldn't connect.


Sunday, 15 December 2013

Review ~ Say it With Sequins: The Rumba by Georgia Hall

Say it With Sequins: The Rumba
eARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 19th December 2013

Publisher: HarperImpulse

For fans of reality dance shows, this series is strictly irresistible!

Slip on some dance shoes and step up to love!

Who Dares Dances is a reality TV show with a difference. Not only do contestants have to learn to dance, they also face a series of bizarre challenges.

Julia Cooper signs up in a bid to revive her flagging acting career. But when she meets dare-devil TV presenter Harri Morgan the attraction is instant – and hot!

Forced to perform a sexy rumba together, the sequins really start to fly. Will they score the perfect ten, or is their romance destined to be a dance disaster?

Find out in Say it with Sequins, the first in a series of three novellas.

My Opinion

I must admit, I'm not the biggest fan of Strictly Come Dancing - in fact I find it a great incentive to either read or write as when my mum switches on that's what it makes me want to do. However, after meeting the author and hearing about the book that didn't bother me. The description sounded intriguing and promised romance so obviously, I was hooked from that point.

Say it With Sequins was a quick, easy, fun read that brings a smile to your face. The pacing is good, with everything moving swiftly along so it keeps you engaged as there is always something new being brought to the table. I really liked the romance in Say it With Sequins. It had a slow build and the clause in Harri's contract led the way for an interesting predicament with Julia. Julia was insecure to begin with but I liked the side Harri brought out in her - she got more confident and then when Daniel came along she grew even more which I will admit I was relieved about as it meant it wasn't the typical 'hot guy falls for insecure girl and she constantly moans she's not good enough.' Instead she was fun and flirty.

As well as this I liked the relationship between Julia and Jan and in fact all of the professional dancers and their partners. Their attitudes and strict demeanor were funny to read as they worked the contestants. 

The only thing I had a small issue with was the level of detail during the dances. I expected more from the book which is based on Strictly but it seemed to brush over every dance with little detail-even the rumba which I really wanted to read about. It seemed every dance had a little practice detail and the a simple comment that the dance was over and I felt a little disappointed that they were never described. I feel that if they had been the author could have developed the characters and the relationships a lot more as I did find myself a little confused at times as to who everyone was as there wasn't much detail on the other dancers.

Overall though, Say it With Sequins was a fun, quick, simple read that took me no time at all to read. It keeps a smile on your face and has a sweet romance in it. It also has a beautiful cover!


Thursday, 12 December 2013

Review ~ Pawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion #1) by Aimee Carter

Pawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion, #1)eARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 26th November 2013

Publisher: Harlequin TEEN



For Kitty Doe, it seems like an easy choice. She can either spend her life as a III in misery, looked down upon by the higher ranks and forced to leave the people she loves, or she can become a VII and join the most powerful family in the country. 

If she says yes, Kitty will be Masked—surgically transformed into Lila Hart, the Prime Minister's niece, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a member of the Hart family, she will be famous. She will be adored. And for the first time, she will matter. 

There's only one catch. She must also stop the rebellion that Lila secretly fostered, the same one that got her killed…and one Kitty believes in. Faced with threats, conspiracies and a life that's not her own, she must decide which path to choose—and learn how to become more than a pawn in a twisted game she's only beginning to understand.

My Opinion

Having never read anything by this author I wasn't sure what to expect when I saw Pawn. The Goddess Test never really interested me but this book caught my eye. Not only is the cover striking and stood out as something I may like but I really liked the title. It sums up the book in one word and although I didn't know that going in it sounded like the book would have a good concept behind it.

Basically, Pawn lived up to my expectations in what it was and the kind of things that would happen. It has the general dystopian aspects: tyrant/dictator, oppression of society, a strong character determined to do something about it and a hint of romance. It was the standard dystopian book but I found myself enjoying it. It was also a surprisingly quick read that moved at a fast-pace.

The start of the book really intrigued me, especially with Kitty's talk about not caring about death. From the start she seemed like a strong willed, determined character and I did find myself liking her. It set the scene and the tone of the book well and what life is like if you're not a VI or VII, where something as small as stealing an orange can get you killer. I also liked the way the plot unfolded and the idea of Masking people. It was like clones in someway but not in others. It was simple to understand without the need for genetic jargon and because of that I was glad that it didn't need to constantly be referred to or explained.

For me the only downside was up until the end there wasn't much explosive action. There were a lot of word games, threats and manipulating but not action which was slightly disappointing as when everything did kick off it was great. I didn't see some of the things coming and the ending was exciting and has me wanting to read book two, I just wished it was like that all the way through. Saying that though, because this book was short, I didn't find that the pace was affected by this.

Overall Pawn was an interesting read with a concept I really liked as it was solid and strong throughout. The characters were interesting and there was even a hint of romance added among the dystopian world Aimee Carter creates. I may have been persuaded to give The Goddess Test a chance after reading the author's writing now.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Review ~ Revenge of a Chalet Girl by Lorraine Wilson

Revenge of a Chalet GirleARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 19th December 2013

Publisher: HarperImpulse

All she wants for Christmas is…revenge.

When chalet girl Amy Wright finds her ex’s name on Chalet Repos’ guest list she sees her chance to get back at him – Josh Carter, the guy who broke her heart. Getting revenge without losing her job will be tricky but luckily the other chalet girls are on hand to offer their support. Pretty soon she’s in too deep and realises she doesn’t want to hurt him anymore. She wants him back.

There’s just one teeny complication…

My Opinion

I'd been eagerly checking NetGalley every day or so to see if this title had been put up when the author contacted me with a copy of the book. I squealed-literally-when that email came through! I was so excited to read this third book in the Chalet Girl series by Lorraine Wilson as they are some of the best winter novellas I have read in a long time.

Out of the series I think this one is, by far, my favourite. It was fun, playful and I loved the revenge aspect. It was funny yet made you symapthise with Amy at what she had been through. You could understand her reasons for messing with Josh and it made her likable. It just made me smile-especially the chilli scene.

Also, I liked how this novella differed from the others in the series. Rather than have the characters not know each other, it was interesting that they had a history and had been a couple. As well as this the book focused more on the present events and moving forward rather than on the past. Unlike the other books in the series Josh and Amy's pasts weren't explained in as much depth and it was about trying to get over the details we were informed about.

Another thing I liked was that the romance was an under the surface thing until the end and the build up was great. The emotions in both the revenge and relationship felt real and my heart broke for Amy. However, she developed a lot surprisingly. I loved how she transformed towards the end in to a confident character who was determined to do what she needed. As well as this the support from her friends was also believable and made you love them even more, especially Tash.

Overall, Revenge of a Chalet Girl, lived up to and surpassed my expectations. I love how the author keeps Holly and Scott in each book and centers the story in their chalet as it links them all well. It made me smile, it made my heart break and it was fun and playful. It's definitely my favourite of the series. I highly recommend these perfect fireside reads for cold winter days.

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Monday, 9 December 2013

Review ~ The Snow Queen by Alana Albertson

The Snow QueeneARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 2nd December 2013

Publisher: Bolero Books LLC

Five years ago, Cambridge Ballet's Sugar Plum Fairy vanished after performing The Nutcracker. Despite extensive city and statewide searches, no traces of her, besides her ballet slippers, were ever found. Every year since, another member of the cast has gone missing after closing night: a Spanish Hot Chocolate, an Arabian Dancer, The Dew Drop Fairy, a Flower. Nieves Alba, who as a thirteen-year-old played Clara in the first ill-fated performance, is now cast as the Snow Queen. On closing night, every police officer in Boston surrounds the theater, determined to catch the perpetrator whom they’ve dubbed “The Nutcracker.” Can Nieves break the curse or will she be the next victim of America's favorite ballet?

My Opinion

It was the beautiful cover that first attracted me to requesting this novella. It also had an interesting Christmassy theme with a darker twist which is something that sounded like something I would love... and in away that's what I got.

The Snow Queen is a very short novella that didn't even last me an hour so I can't say a lot without revealing too much. The story was an okay Christmas/festive read however, because of the length you never get much detail or create relationships with any of the characters. It also meant that a lot of the ballet terms are never explained. The author obviously knows her stuff when it comes to ballet and that shows clearly, but coming from someone who has next to no knowledge it left me a bit confused as to what she was referring to - my knowledge fizzles out at pirouette.

As well as this because of the length everything felt a bit rushed, especially the ending which confused me. It felt like it posed a lot more questions than it answered and there were quite a few loose ends that needed tying up. 

The Snow Queen was quick, easy and the writing flowed well but I think it would be better if it was longer. For me there was so much that could have been developed and because it was an interesting concept I would have loved to read more. The relationships were so brief and went from one thing to another in an instant so I never felt anything for the characters. I couldn't grow to love or hate any of them and I couldn't fall for any of the romances.

Overall, it was a quick and easy story to get lost in but I feel there could be so much more potential and narrative to get from it to flesh it out and make it a great read. It feels a little underdeveloped right now for me but I liked the concept.



Saturday, 7 December 2013

Review ~ Season of Second Chances by Brighton Walsh

Season of Second ChanceseARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 5th December 2013

Publisher: Carina Press


When a storm strands Claire Hanlin in Chicago on Christmas Eve, the last person she expects to come to her rescue is Logan Dawes, the man she almost married two years ago. The chemistry between them is dangerously potent, but with nowhere else to go, Claire accepts Logan's offer to stay with him for the night.

Back in the home they shared, surrounded by reminders of Logan and his young daughter, Claire begins to realize how much she misses the family she almost had. After a few cups of Christmas cheer, she falls right back into her ex's arms-even though she knows it means setting herself up for heartbreak all over again.

The magic of the season has thrown him together with the woman he's never stopped loving, and Logan's not about to pass up this gift. He's not the workaholic he was two years ago-his family comes first. Now all he has to do is prove it to Claire, before the snow stops and she flies out of his life for good.

My Opinion

This romance novella was exactly what I was expecting and wanted. It was sweet, lovable, made me smile but also had its heart wrenching moments. It was short and sweet - the perfect read for the train journey I was on as I finished it in just under two hours.

The romance was a bit of a whirlwind, with Claire and Logan falling straight back into their old ways, however it's what I expected. I wouldn't class it as a totally instant romance as their back story and previous history made it seem like there was something deeper which I liked. However, the only thing I wished, was that there was more of a build up rather than just jumping into sex. I like the build up in romances more and I didn't feel there was one in this book. 

As well as this, I was surprised at how well I connected with the characters. In novella, they are normally too short for me to feel anything towards particular people so I was impressed by how well Brighton Walsh made me feel emotions towards them. This was most prominent towards the end where I was like "No that can't happen!" and although the HEA is predictable and heart warming, I still felt invested in the characters and their story as their lives played out.

Another aspect I liked was Logan's daughter and their relationship. It was sweet and made me smile. It was also different from the usual romance novellas. For me, it made Logan likable, despite his faults and the daughter was funny with her attitude.

Overall, this book does exactly what you expect it too. It's a great winter read that I enjoyed and made me smile.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

ARC Review ~ Midwinter Magic by Erica Ridley

Midwinter MagiceARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 1st December 2013

Publisher: Intrepid Reads

After an eye-opening congressional hearing, former corporate shark Jack Morgan redirects his ill-gotten gains toward charity work. However, his attempts to bring holiday cheer to a Bolivian village meet with one disaster after another: canceled flights, crumbling luggage, implacable customs officials. His plans disintegrate further when he runs into a sexy tourist with . . . wings?

As Jack's guardian angel, Sarah Phimm has her work cut out for her. When his latest volunteer mission risks his life, she's forced to reveal herself to him—but only in part. She can't risk him knowing the truth. He's everything her immortal heart desires, but can never have. She soon discovers that keeping him safe amidst death bridges and tumbling telephone poles is far easier than guarding her heart.

My Opinion

I have been hunting around for Christmas novellas a lot at the moment, especially ones with romance as although they are slightly cheesy, they are normally feel good reads.So, when I saw a Christmas novella by Erica Ridley on NetGalley, of course I downloaded it. I loved her novel Charmed when she contacted me about a review so I was intrigued about this little novella.

Midwinter Magic for me was a slow starter. It took a long time for me to get into it and personally I felt it only started to pick up around the fifty per cent mark. I found the beginning to be very slow and repetitive with the same things being said over and over. It was like I was stuck in a cycle of "Jack wants to help," "Sarah wants to tell him and help other people but she can't break the rules." There was a lot of this repeated because the book was written like it was narrating their thoughts. Personally I would have liked more interaction with the character and more speech as I found myself skipping sections due to the repetitive nature.

However, saying that, at just over fifty per cent the book really changed and started to pick up.Erica returned to the playful style that I had become accustomed to in Charmed and I found myself hooked and finishing the novella in hardly any time at all. There were parts that made you smile, there was action and a trip to Nether-netherland which is always good in my books. There was a slight Christmas aspect but being set in Bolivia it wasn't the white Christmas I love in these types of books.

Overall it's a quick, easy read with a Christmas theme. It's what you would expect from a book like this and was enjoyable. 

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Review ~ Stranded with a Hero (Lone Pine Lake #2.5)

Stranded with a HeroeARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 11th November 2013

Publisher: Entangled Bliss

Getting snowed in never felt so good as boundaries are crossed, opposites attract, and friends discovering more promise a Christmas no one will ever forget.

Loving Mindy by Karen Erickson

Mindy can’t believe she's stuck with her ex–best friend—and the man whose heart she broke years ago—for the holidays, though the tension between them is more than enough to keep them warm. Josh Powers never forgot Mindy, but he can’t risk his heart a second time. 

White-Hot Holiday by Coleen Kwan 
Naomi’s sworn off men like Aaron—rich, cocky, and dismissive of holiday traditions. Aaron decided to spend Christmas in sunny Australia to avoid snowy New York, not to fall for the woman his best friend warned him away from. But when a volcano grounds him, Aaron and Naomi's relationship becomes eruptive. 

An Officer and a Rebel by Cindi Madsen
The last person police officer Nate Walsh expected to discover in a snowstorm is his brother's ex and former town rebel, Kelsey Cooper. She’s his complete opposite and totally off-limits, but as they wait out the storm together, all he can think is how he wishes she'd stay forever. 

Saving the Sheriff by Roxanne Snopek
Frankie Sylva was determined to free the reindeer cruelly held for a holiday roadshow, even if it meant risking her own life. Deputy Sheriff Red LeClair set out to save a stranger in a snowstorm, never expecting he’d be the one to be rescued.

My Opinion

The four novellas in this anthology were exactly what I expected and needed: short, sweet, slightly cheesy and sappy romances that kept you reading with a smile on your face. Also, you add Christmas to the mix and some festivities and my heart just melts. This anthology was the perfect fireside read for dark winter nights.

They were short, feel good reads that flowed easily and were great to chill out to in the evenings. I read a novella a night and each time I fell straight into the story and world the author created. The relationships were playful and the authors crammed a lot of backstory and build up into the small amount of pages which was a nice change from the usual. 

Although the romances were instant, fast and slightly cheesy, they were happy and you couldn't help but smile from them. It's what I expect from a Christmas romance book really so it didn't disappoint on that side of things. My favourites where the first novella 'Loving Mindy' by Karen Erickson and the third 'An Officer and a Rebel' by Cindi Madsen. These were the sweetest novellas in the anthology for me. I wasn't as keen on 'White-Hot Holiday' but that was only because it was set in Australia so didn't have the winter wonderland theme. It just felt odd to me but everything else in the story was good.

Overall it was a sweet, fun, feel good anthology that is perfect for the Christmas season. An enjoyable read.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Review ~ Impostor (Variants #1) by Susanne Winnacker

Impostor (Variants, #1)
eARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: Jan 2nd 2014

Publisher: Hodder Children's Books

Tessa is a Variant with extraordinary abilities. She could be a hero, but all she wants to do is fall in love ...

Tessa is a Variant, able to absorb the DNA of anyone she touches and mimic their appearance. Shunned by her family, she's spent the last two years with the Forces with Extraordinary Abilities, a secret branch of the FBI. There she trains with other Variants, such as long-term crush Alec, who each have their own extraordinary ability.

When a serial killer rocks a small town in Oregon, Tessa is given a mission: she must impersonate Madison, a local teen, to find the killer before he strikes again. Tessa hates everything about being an impostor - the stress, the danger, the deceit - but loves playing the role of a normal girl. As Madison, she finds friends, romance, and the kind of loving family she'd do anything to keep.

Amid action, suspense, and a ticking clock, this super-human comes to a very human conclusion: even a girl who can look like anyone struggles the most with being herself.

My Opinion

I can't help but feel really let down by this book. The blurb sounded really interesting. Superpowers, romance, murder, mystery? I couldn't ask for more from a description. However, I just feel that it was a really average read now I have finished it. For me there wasn't much originality in the book and it seemed like Sophie McKenzie's Medusa Project with a slight serial killer twist.

For me, the main issue was that it was all just very predictable. I felt that the author kept trying to lead you in certain directions to believe who the killer was but in the end it was so blatantly obvious that it was a false set up, it only left one possible conclusion which I figured out at forty per cent. For that reason there wasn't much suspense in this book for me. The fact that there was a relatively small cast who weren't developed that well with background also made it easier to figure out. I feel that if the author had gone into more depth about each suspect then it would have been less predictable.

As well as this, I found the book to be kind of sick and twisted. A gilr pretending to be a dead girl and lying to her parent??? And then at the end they have to lose their daughter all over again??? I know it says it in the blurb but reading it is different when you get dragged into the story. I just felt it was twisted and wrong. Like why did she have to turn into Maddison, she could have investigated just as well as some one else.

The other thing was the irritating unrequited love that was added to the story. It was painful to read. It doesn't make Alec likable and it switched from romance to murder, romance to murder. It rendered the book jumpy and I just didn't like it. Tessa seemed naive and had a lack of common sense which drove me insane.

The one thing I couldn't figure out was everyone's motives. I knew that Alec and Kate were keeping from Tessa but the author gave no clue as to what that was. However, when everything comes together at the end I did feel it was a bit anti-climax and a let down. I finished on a 'was that it?' which is never good for a book.

Overall the premise was interesting but for me Impostor lacked development and structure. It was too jumpy and predictable. It was a quick and short book but I feel it needs more development in the mystery and character aspects to turn it into a good mystery/suspense. For me, Impostor is average.

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