Saturday, 26 April 2014

Review ~ Will The Real Abi Saunders Please Stand Up? by Sara Hantz

Will The Real Abi Saunders Please Stand Up?
eARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: May 6th

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Description:
Abi Saunders might be a kickboxing champion, but when it comes to being the center of attention, she’d rather take a roundhouse kick to the solar plexus any day. So when her trainer convinces her to audition to be the stunt double for hot teen starlet Tilly Watson, Abi is shocked—and a little freaked out—when she gets the job.

Being a stunt double is overwhelming, but once the wig and makeup are on, Abi feels like a different person. Tilly Watson, to be exact. And when Tilly’s gorgeous boyfriend, Jon, mistakes Abi for the real star, Abi's completely smitten. In fact, she’s so in love with her new life, it isn’t long before she doesn’t have time for her old one.

But when the cameras are turned off, will she discover running with the Hollywood A-list isn’t quite the glamorous existence she thought it was?

My Opinion

It was the stunt and kickboxing aspect that intrigued me into requesting this book. I'm going through a phase of liking fighter books and with the contemporary theme and movie lifestyle setting I was interested to see how the author merged the two worlds.

Will The Real Abi Saunders Please Stand Up? was a little different to what I expected. I knew there was going to be teenage drama and diva-ish celebrities so I wasn't expecting everything to be focused of kickboxing. However, I felt this part and the stunts were underplayed which was disappointing. There was hardly anything on the stunts and the kickboxing element fizzled out after a few chapters. I really would have liked more of this element in the book as it what intrigued me so much.

Saying that, the book develops into a story about friendship and how Abi's relationships with people around her change as she works in the movie. The characters, I thought, were OK and the emotions and strains put on relationships were believable. I'm glad the author didn't go over the top with Liz's reactions and I definitely liked Matt's subtle actions that let Abi know she was doing something wrong and changing. I also found the stutter Abi was given to be an unusual aspect that I haven't come across in books before and I liked how the author used it to highlight Abi's emotions in certain situations. I thought it was clever how the stutter reappeared around friends when she was nervous and it gave me a way of connecting with her without the author having to describe her every emotion.

I did find though, that for someone who could fight and was supposedly one of the best for her age Abi was a pretty weak character. I know that the author stated her background and stutter had knocked her confidence but she took a lot of crap from people and never used her ability. She allowed the movie stars to walk all over and it did become frustrating when everyone said how amazing she was--wouldn't people be a little scared of her?

Overall though, Will The Real Abi Saunders Please Stand Up? was a light, fluffy read that was easy to relax with. The friendships were crafted well, the emotions were believable and it did have some originality. It was an enjoyable read that was quick, short and easy to engage with.

3.5

Friday, 25 April 2014

Book Spotlight ~ Human by Milan Bakrania

HumanHuman

Release Date: 28th February 2014

Publisher: Matador

Description:
Zenith has been ‘dead’ ever since his Uncle Ryan mysteriously disappeared when he was a child.

Present day – Zenith is now 42 years old. The world is at the mercy of a relentless virus.

His friend, Joy Irani is missing. No one has seen him. It’s all too familiar, but Zenith will stop at nothing to find him. A series of anonymous text messages leads him to a deserted village. Moments later, he finds himself on a boat heading into the open ocean…

From a bustling metropolis to a place where the stars descend from the sky, it’s going to be a week like no other!

Buy: Amazon

About the Author
Milan Bakrania has been interested in literature and creative writing since childhood, but never identified it as a career until 2008/09, prior to being made redundant. During an excursion in India in 2012-13, he became attached to the stories of the struggling middle-class and, despite a booming economy, the daily hurdles they had to overcome to make ends meet at the expense of aspirations and simple dreams. This became part of the inspiration for Human. Milan's first novel, The Emissary, was published in 2010.

Links

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Review ~ Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Don't Look Backebook received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: April 10th 2014

Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton

Description:
My breath caught and I dropped the letter, scuttling back on the bed. Heart racing, I closed my eyes, but I could still
see the words… 

Samantha Franco has the perfect life. Until, that is, she and her best friend Cassie disappear and only
Samantha resurfaces… with no knowledge of what happened. 

And Cassie stays missing. Gradually, Samantha begins to piece together her 
memories of that night. If she can do that, she may yet be able to save 
her friend. And, little by little, something begins to emerge…

Then she gets the note.

Don't look back. You won't like what you find.

My Opinion

I couldn't wait to read this book when I heard about it and I couldn't wait to start it when it became available on NetGalley. I've loved this author's romances so I was curios and excited to see how she made the transition to suspense/mysteries and I wasn't disappointed at all.

Don't look back, although a lot less scary than I predicted, was a thrilling read that I couldn't put down. In fact I was glad it didn't scare me so much and I think the author struck the right balance with the intensity of the emotions brought from the writing. I felt for Sam and her condition and having read books that include trauma induced amnesia before, for once I didn't feel frustrated by the lack of memories. I think the small flashbacks helped with this as they were dispersed regularly throughout the book keeping me on the edge of my seat at what had happened. They didn't reveal much but moved the story on well and I was glad that Sam didn't become whiny or blame everything on he condition. Sam was strong willed and a great protagonist. We are given two sides to her character: before the incident and after, and I will admit when her bitchy side was introduced I thought she would be hard to connect with. However, the author portrays her change well but most importantly it was believable. Her amnesia allowed her to become vulnerable and through that I was able to connect well as she undertook the journey to find out what happened.

As well as this, I'm glad Jennifer kept a small amount of romance in the book--it added something extra to look forward too and a light among the darker nature of the book. I loved Carson and liked the slow build and problems that developed; it kept things interesting. I also liked the brother/sister relationship between Sam and Scott. The bond between them was great and I liked how caring and protective he was over Sam.

The only criticism I have is that I did guess who had done it and what was going on before the ending. However it was only six chapter before the reveal so it didn't ruin anything. I found the majority of the book to be gripping and exciting. I couldn't stop reading and I felt that not only was the pacing good but the reveal of information that was given in drips was set at a good pace. There was enough to keep you interested and clear on what was going on but not enough that everything was glaringly obvious. The mystery remained almost until the end and it built to an interesting climax.

Overall, the author made the transaction to this genre better than I had expected. This book exceeded all of my preconceived thoughts and it was a great read. The mystery was gripping, the characters were believable, loveable and hateable and the emotions were portrayed well. The overall plot was brilliantly constructed and I hope the author writes more in this genre as well as the romances which I adore.

4.5

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Review ~ Reckoning (Silver Blackthorn #1) by Kerry Wilkinson

Reckoning (Silver Blackthorn, #1)eARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 22nd May 2014

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

Description:
In the village of Martindale, hundreds of miles north of the new English capital of Windsor, sixteen-year-old Silver Blackthorn takes the Reckoning. This coming-of-age test not only decides her place in society - Elite, Member, Inter or Trog - but also determines that Silver is to become an Offering for King Victor.

But these are uncertain times and no one really knows what happens to the teenagers who disappear into Windsor Castle. Is being an Offering the privilege everyone assumes it to be, or do the walls of the castle have something to hide?

Trapped in a maze of ancient corridors, Silver finds herself in a warped world of suspicion where it is difficult to know who to trust and who to fear. The one thing Silver does know is that she must find a way out . . .

My Opinion

I really don't know what to make of this book. Overall I liked it but there were quite a few reasons I didn't love it. For me it could have been so much more so although it was an enjoyable read, there is this sort of empty feeling I got after finishing it.

I found Reckoning quite hard to get into and this because it felt like all the other major dystopia books had been merged into one. The Reckoning part felt like Divergent. The leaving felt like the Hunger Games and from there on there were other aspects that were just too similar for my liking--there wasn't much originality. I also felt that at the start the author 'told' rather than 'showed' a lot. Sentences like "I explained XYZ" or "She told me XYZ" came up often and I found myself wanting to scream "Write the conversation so I get to know the characters!" It left me feeling detached from the characters and I don't think they were developed as well as they could have been. 

After the beginning, when Silver and the other Offerings arrive at the King's home the book did pick up. Things started to become more intriguing as the fear and tension was introduced and I didn't see the violence coming at first. However, the actions of the king and what the Offerings were made to do soon became predictable and repetitive. I felt there was no variation inside the castle and that there was just something missing. This is probably not going to make sense but I can't think how else to put it. In Reckoning a lot happens, however it never felt like enough. The events repeated themselves so it didn't feel like much was going on and the main story line, for me, was lost among the violence. Things only started to come together at the end and when I got to the last few chapters I couldn't stop reading. 

I wished the whole book had been like the ending or that it had been extended more as it did feel rushed. I also didn't like how the plan came out of nowhere with brief explanations following, it just seemed too random. There needed to be more of a build up, a clear leader in charge, more tension and more explanation. Everything just seemed to go too smoothly for a plan that had been in the works but never hinted at.

Overall, I think this book has potential and I did enjoy it. However, I think it needs quite a bit of work and adding too. I felt it was underdeveloped in most aspects--including the relationships which I didn't fully grasp--and that more detail and variation to the plot was needed. Saying that, I will probably read the next book as it did get better and I'm hoping the author keeps the momentum from the final few chapters all the way through book 2.


Friday, 18 April 2014

Review ~ Anonymous by Dani-Lyn Alexander

AnonymouseARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 17th April 2014

Publisher: HarperImpulse

Description:
What happens when an online date is not what it seems?

After Ali's heart is broken, she decides to try Anonymous, a new dating website where you can retain complete anonymity while you search for your soul mate. When she discovers Joe, she thinks she may have at least found a new friend and decides to put her past behind her and move on.

Several death threats and an attempt on her life force her back into contact with her soon-to-be ex, Mark, who is the lead detective on the case. The tension builds between them while Ali struggles to get over Mark and Mark races to find the maniac who's trying to kill her.

When Ali meets up with her online flame, she finds he's anything but the friend she imagined…

My Opinion

I was interested in this novella because of the online aspect and I needed an easy and quick read so started this as soon as I downloaded it from NetGalley. I can honestly say I wasn't expecting things to go where they did though. Although I figured the main online aspect out, the threats were definitely not what I was expecting and I would have liked the author to delve deeper into this side of things and establish more suspense and suspicion. 

The story moved at a quick pace and although I would have liked more detail--I think it would have made a great full length book--you were given enough to relate to the characters and understand everything. 

I don't want to say much more because this is a short story but it was different to what I was expecting and although it's not romantic like the other books from this publisher, I enjoyed the suspense and different angle on a relationship.


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Review ~ The Start of Us (No Regrets 0.5) by Lauren Blakely

The Start of Us (No Regrets, #0.5)ebook downloaded on Amazon for free.

Description:
A new adult story of First Times. Last Times. Connections. And No Regrets...

I only wanted a tattoo. A mark on my body to remind me of who I used to be. Something to hold onto when I started my penance for all the things I’d done wrong, the bad choices I’d made by the time I turned nineteen. Instead, I found a night of possibility, of truth, of hope for the future. And the most intense physical connection I’ve ever had. 

The only one I’ve ever had, and one I will never forget.

Trey...

When she walked into my tattoo shop, I knew she was like me. Harley had secrets. She had a messed-up past, and things she wanted to run from, or forget ever happened. I couldn’t let her go. So we agreed on one night – to spend it together wandering around the city, getting to know each other, the clock ticking because we knew tomorrow would bring an end to the possibility of an us.

Unless tonight was only the start.

How can one night be the start of something when tomorrow it has to end?

My Opinion

This was a good quick read. I was kind of confused by ending as I just don't see how what the author was implying can be possible but maybe it'll be explained in the next one. I did feel that things needed to be explained more for me to want to continue reading and have a bit more depth but it has the promise of an interesting relationship. I just needed more. 



Thursday, 17 April 2014

ARC Review ~ The Worst Girlfriend in the World by Sarra Manning

The Worst Girlfriend in the WorldPaperback received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: May 1st 2014

Publisher: Atom

Description:
My best friend was now my deadliest enemy, the one person I'd hate beyond all measure for the rest of my life . . .

Franny Barker's best friend, Alice, is the worst girlfriend in the world according to the many boys of Merrycliffe-on-Sea. She toys with them, then dumps them. But she'll never dump fashion-obsessed Franny. Nothing and no one can come between them. 

Not even tousle-haired rock god, Louis Allen, who Franny's been crushing on hard. Until Alice, bored with immature boys and jealous of Franny's new college friends, sets her sights on Louis. Suddenly, best friends are bitter rivals.

Is winning Louis's heart worth more than their friendship? There's only one way for Franny to find out.

My Opinion

The Worst Girlfriend in the World sounded like a quick, easy read that would be entertaining for a few hours. I had never read anything by this author before so I wasn't sure what I was getting myself in for, but I finished this book with a smile on my face--something which was surprising as I did have moments where I wasn't sure whether I was going to enjoy the story as it continued to progress.

This book started off well. It built intrigue into all the things wrongs with Franny's life and I wanted to know what was wrong with her mum. I had an idea but I couldn't be sure what had set her off. I also liked the passion Franny had for her dreams and how she was following them. It was nice to read about a character in college who knew what they wanted. Normally books don't focus on this aspect, but rather boys, and I liked that you got to know Franny on a deeper level than just her latest crush.

As well as this, the overall pacing of the book was good. I didn't think I would get into it as much as I did, but it had me up until the early hours of the morning at one point. The best sections where definitely the more action-packed parts where Franny takes matters into her own hands as there was more to grip you and make you want to read on. They also contrasted with the other sections that hadn't held my attention so much, making them even better when they appeared.

There were only two problems I had with this book. The first was the characters' speech. I know people speak like it and that the media portray it a lot, but it really winds me up when reading a book. I can handle a little but when there are as many as are in The Worst Girlfriend in the World, I did end up sighing a lot. Words like "totes" for "totally" or adding extra likes such as "Like you know..."for me, just don't come across as well as the do in real life in books. I feel they make the book cheesy and in most cases I've seen, it's what authors think we speak like and end up going over the top with it rather than use it in moderation.

The second problem I had is that this book says it is aimed at young-adults however for me there seemed to be a genre conflict going on. Parts of the book seemed a lot more juvenile than others which made me think it was for a younger audience but then the author would drop in words like the f-bomb and other curse words. Those of you who know me, and read my review, will know that swearing doesn't bother me--it's natural for the age of the characters. However, I didn't expect to read it in this book when the characters did seem less mature and the writing style was a bit more juvenile. For me, the two didn't meld well in this book and I didn't feel they added anything to the writing. All it did was make me confused as to who the intended audience was; on one hand you had characters the same age as me but acting younger so didn't really suit my age group, and on the other they're swearing so wouldn't fit the younger audience.

Overall, The Worst Girlfriend in the World was a good read and I did enjoy it. I had a few problems with the language, speech and characterisation plus not every section of the book engaged me. However, for the most part I was intrigued and interested to see how the story developed.


Monday, 14 April 2014

Review ~ The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

The Geography of You and MeeARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: April 14th 2014

Publisher: Headline

Description:
Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they're rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.

Lucy and Owen's relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and -- finally -- a reunion in the city where they first met.

A carefully charted map of a long-distance relationship, Jennifer E. Smith's new novel shows that the center of the world isn't necessarily a place. It can be a person, too.

My Opinion

After receiving a copy of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight a few months ago for review, and really enjoying it, I was excited to try more work by this author so I was excited when I happened to come across it on NetGalley and even more excited when my request got accepted. However, no matter how much I wanted to like this book, I just couldn't and I did struggle to finish it.

Right from the start I had problems. I just couldn't connect with the characters or their situation and I found the story was too jumpy. I never really felt the author developed scenes which in turn led to a lack of emotions, plot and relationships. There just wasn't enough detail for me and it led to me not caring either way about what happened to the characters--even the parts that could have been emotional were either ended abruptly to jump scenes or were just bland with hardly any depth.

I hate saying this as I really like the author's style in the first book I read by her and I had none of these problems. However, by 15% I was already thinking about giving up on The Geography of You and Me. The only thing that kept me reading was the hope of it getting better because I've read the author's previous work. Sadly though, by the time it became obvious it wasn't going to pick up, I had to finish it out of necessity because I had spent so much time on it already--in fact I wish I had given up because the book became even more jumpy and disjointed towards the end. I just felt there was no consistent flow to follow and that the overall plot was lost on mini tangents that to me had no relevance.

I'm not sure what else I can say about this book really as the only word that comes to mind is bland as it drew no emotions from me whatsoever--not even anger or frustration. I just found myself not caring for the characters or the story and I never got into the book; I'm not sure why, it just didn't happen. This won't stop me reading the author's other work, I just hope they are more like The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight.

Friday, 11 April 2014

ARC Review ~ Salted by Aaron Galvin

SaltedeARC received from the author in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 24th April 2014

Description:
Life isn’t better under the sea.

Lenny Dolan is all too familiar with this reality. A Selkie slave in the realm beneath the waves, he has no choice when charged with leading a crew ashore to capture an elusive runaway. If unsuccessful, the loved ones kept behind will pay for his failure with their lives.

But when their target leads Lenny and his crew to deeper, darker secrets, the Selkies are faced with a moral dilemma. Secure their own freedom at the expense of others, or return empty-handed to face the grisly consequences?

How Lenny and his crew answer the question will teach them the harshest truth of all. Only through the loss of innocence does one become Salted.

My Opinion

Going into this book I didn't really know what to expect. I have read a few books that are set up around the theme of underwater beings (whether they are mermaids or Selkies) but stopped after finding that they were all too similar. However, Salted caught my interest and seemed like it was going to be different, which it was.

The whole paranormal aspect of the Selkies and being Salted was new to me and so made this book interesting. The way the Selkies went from land to water, transformed into animals and had a permanent suit was all original and intriguing, which I think is a hard thing to do in a market as saturated as the mermaid/underwater beings one. This was one of the only books I've read that did something different with the paranormal aspect. However, I would have liked more background on the Salt, the history of the beings, specifics on each being (Orc, Selkie etc) and more description on how everything worked. Even after finishing Salted I'm still slightly unsure of how the suits worked and because this book is different I feel the author needed to make everything a bit clearer just to help with imagining everything.

Salted is written in the third person but each chapter is from the perspective of a different character and follows their journey. I have only read one other book that used this style and I felt that the book was brought down by it. Because of this, when I saw more than 3 character appearing I did become slightly wary as I didn't know whether the style works. In total I think there were four characters who had chapters to their names and I've said it before that I normally draw the line at two. However, although it took me a while to get into and learn who everyone was, the author managed to pull it off. I think it worked well in this book because the characters were not close together: two in totally separate locations and the other two were part of the same group but in different areas. Because of this, the story was not held up by constantly repeating events from different POVs but rather had mini story lines throughout the main plot which I think worked and moved things long in this case.

I liked the overall story line of Salted but I felt the ending needed a bit more development. The characters changed so suddenly--especially Lenny--and to me it felt a little drastic and needed more subtle development so it wasn't a 180 in beliefs and actions. I definitely didn't see the ending coming though and there was some good action which surprised me.

The only major thing that stood out to me, which really did get on my nerves a few times, was the speech by some of the characters (especially the humans--or 'Drybacks' in Salted). At times the speech felt very unnatural and more like an adult than the age at which the characters were and I found myself going "they would not say something like that." There were also a few moments where adults (like teachers) said something and although the comment made me smile, it wasn't believable as in this day and age the teacher would probably be sued (and I'm only saying that because it happened with a similar phrase at my own high school and the teacher ended up fired). It's small things like this that detracted from the overall flow for me.

Overall though, Salted was an intriguing read that kept me hooked. It is a different spin on the underwater world and creatures which I found it brought quite a bit of originality to the genre. Salted shows the potential of this author and I'd recommend the book, I just think a few changes could make it shine to its full potential and really stand out.


Thursday, 10 April 2014

Review ~ Harm's Hunger (Bad in Boots #1) by Patrice Michelle

Harm's Hunger (Bad in Boots, #1)

ebook downloaded for free on Amazon

Description:
In order to meet her Great Aunt Sally's will's stipulation to 'handle the sale personally,' Jena Hudson visits Texas to finalize the sale of her aunt's ranch to her neighbor, Harmon Steele. What Jena didn't expect was to fall for the rugged, sexy cowboy.

Harm might find Jena to be the most sensual creature he's ever met, but he won't let her sultry body be more than a satisfying distraction. He learned a long time ago, happy-ever-afters are best left for childhood fantasies.

So, what's a girl to do when she finds out the man of her fantasies doesn't believe in a happy ending? Given the right set of circumstances, she'll create one for him.

My Opinion

This was a quick, short read. It had a lot more detail (for a novella) in the present activities than I was expecting and was quite steamy in certain sections. Being a novella there was detail missing and I would have like more of a back story but I'm glad that it could be read as a standalone rather than trying to persuade you to buy the rest of the series. I felt that there needed to be more to it than just sex but it was still an easy read that was a good break. 


Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Review ~ Star Struck (The Star Kissed #1) by Jamie Campbell

Star Struck (The Star Kissed, #1)

ebook downloaded for free on Amazon


Description:
Melrose Morgan was your typical teenager, flipping burgers and surviving high school the best she could. Yet all that changed after a chance encounter took her face to face with the world’s biggest superstar.

Living every girl’s fantasy, Melrose falls for one fifth of the most successful boy bands on the planet, Cole Newton. He invites her on a date and she can’t help but fall in love with her idol.

But in a world that is full of shining stars, can one small town girl really capture the heart of a supernova? Find out in the first installment of the Star Kissed series.


My Opinion

This is definitely one of the better novellas I have read so far from when I went down the Amazon free list. It was focused solely on the present activities and although I would have like more back story, it was a sweet romance to get caught up in for thirty minutes. It drew me in and I didn't want to stop reading, the characters were engaging which is hard to do in a novella and the story did make me smile-even if it's a bit unrealistic, but who cares? 

The story moved at a quick pace, like most novellas, but I liked how the author focused on situations for longer. She picked specific moments and focused on those rather than flit all over the place and try to cram everything in. The story line was solid and constructed well.

I would like to read more of this and wished it was a full length novel as although I really did enjoy this story I can't bring myself to pay for every book in the series if they're so short. I'm crossing my fingers I'll find a box set when I look!



Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Review ~ Love's Second Chance (Second Chances #1) by L.P. Dover

Love's Second Chance (Second Chances, #1)Paperback purchased by myself from Createspace

Description:
Korinne Anders had it all. She had the perfect job, the perfect house, and the perfect husband. When tragedy strikes, her world takes a devastating turn. Six months after losing her husband to a car accident, Korinne vows it to herself never to love again. If she doesn’t allow another man in her heart, then there’s no reason for her to feel the pain of loss. This plan seems to work, but is put to the test when Korinne’s best friend can’t stand to see her suffering any longer.

Korinne’s long-time friend, Jenna Perry, has an idea and it involves helping her friend find the spark of life in her soul no matter what it takes. Korinne didn’t know that Jenna’s plan meant bringing back a past love, a second chance with the man that Korinne had to leave in college, but always kept a place for in her heart.

When Galen Matthews learns of Korinne’s loss and that she’s finally moved back home, he wants nothing more than to be there for her. The love he felt for Korinne years ago has never left him, and now he’s given a second chance to not only mend her heart of her loss, but to also continue the love they shared in the past. Will his love and determination make her strong enough to give fate a second chance, or will her fear of losing another love make her run away? 

What will Korinne do when she’s faced with a love so powerful that no matter what she does there’s nowhere to run from it?

My Opinion

Weirdly this is the first book in this series but the last I read. They are standalones so it doesn't matter as much but there was a definite cross-over in slight parts of the characters' stories. I have read every book released in this series and I noticed a big improvement throughout the series in the author's writing. I'm not saying the first two books were no good as I still loved them but the 3rd book Meant for Me and the 4th Fighting for Love are still my favourite so far. There is a lot more of an emotional connection in these books and they are longer which is always good.

It was nice to hear about Korinne's story even though I only learnt about her in book two. Once again the romance was standard but it was solid in development and everything felt believable and realistic. I love the emotion the author puts into her books and I find them really easy to connect with. I have lost track of time while reading every one of her books and I don't want them to end by the time I get to he end.

I'm going to keep this review short as I feel I'll just be repeating myself from previous reviews of this series but they are definitely great books if you're looking for emotional romances!


Monday, 7 April 2014

Review ~ Black Box by Cassia Leo

Black Boxebook received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: March 10th 2014

Description:

Three fateful encounters... Two heart-breaking tragedies... One last chance to get it right.

Over the course of five years, Mikki and Crush have crossed paths twice. Their first encounter changed Mikki's life forever, but the second left them both buried beneath the emotional wreckage of a violent attack. Mikki is left with more questions and grief than she can handle, while Crush is forced to forget the girl who saved his life.

Now Mikki Gladstone has decided she's tired of the mind-numbing meds. She books a flight to Los Angeles to end her life far away from her loving, though often distant, family.

Crush has always channelled his blackest thoughts into his music. He decides to fly to Los Angeles to record a demo of the only song he's never performed in public; a song he wrote for a girl he doesn't even know: Black Box. He has no expectations of fame and he's never felt like his life had any purpose. until he meets Mikki in Terminal B.

When their paths cross yet again, neither has any idea who the other person is - until they begin to piece together their history and realize that fate has more in store for them than just another love story.

My Opinion

I really don't know what to make of this book. I think on a strange level I liked it but parts were definitely uncomfortable to read due to the subject nature. At the start I wasn't sure if I was going to make it to the end as it didn't begin like books I enjoy, however once you get over the hurdle of the first few chapters it does get better.

This book starts of dealing with issues of self-harm, suicide and rape. At this point I definitely thought this book wasn't going to be for me and that it was going to spiral downwards into this dark, depressing story as the characters undertook their journey. However, having read all of this author's previous work and liking it, I decided to give it a chance and stick with it to see how everything unfolded. The only word I can think of to describe this book is tender. The issues were dealt with sensitively and how everything progressed had a subtle and tender quality that made everything (especially in the second half)  seem very gentle as the relationships and emotions progressed.

I didn't think I would grow to like Mikki or Crush. First of all, their names didn't connect with me and I thought Crush just sounded stupid even though there is a meaning behind it. Secondly, I'm not a fan of characters who are so depressed. The fact that both of them at some point are suicidal put my defenses up and shut me off from them. However, slowly, due to the subtle, tender writing the author was able to make me grow to like them. As Crush brought Mikki out of her darkness and they helped each other want to live I found myself liking them more and more. I think this book was written cleverly and downplayed rather than have lots and lots of drama. I'm not saying there isn't any, it's just the way the author wrote the scenes was almost calming and effortless. 

I will admit that there are a few things that I did feel were slightly exaggerated and unbelievable the first of which is that everyone in the book seems to either want to, has tried to or succeeded in committing suicide. I don't think so many people needed to go that way as I did find myself thinking "really another one" at times. As well as this the ending just didn't seem to fit for me and I wasn't a fan of it. I wanted an ending with Mikki and Crush but this just seemed to cut off in the past at a very random point. The plane scene I thought was pushing it a bit too, it was all too much in one book.

Overall though, I think I liked this book on a strange level. I think it's hard to like a book with such topics as they can be hard hitting and I'm not sure if it's the right word to use but I can't come up with another. The subjects are dealt with sensitively and although there were definitely flaws, the author's writing made up for it and she managed to turn my opinion around. It's not an easy read because of the content but it's a good one.


Sunday, 6 April 2014

Review ~ On Thin Ice (On Thin Ice #1) by Victoria Villeneuve

On Thin Ice (On Thin Ice #1)Downloaded from Amazon for free

Release Date: June 20th 2013

Description:
Kylie thought her life ended months earlier when the night from hell turned her world upside down. Instead of finishing medical school, Kylie became an alcoholic. Her parents forced her into a rehab center, and when a strange new man shows up to group therapy, Kylie feels something for the first time in months. 

It turns out the handsome stranger is none other than Daniel Ross, captain of the Seattle Sea Lions hockey team. He and Kylie are drawn to each other, each with a dark part of their past they’d rather forget. But will the fear of exposing themselves make them run from each other as well?

My Opinion
This was an OK read but like so many of the free novellas I've downloaded, it is used as a hook to try and persuade you to buy the rest of the series. The story line was a lot different to what I expected and based on the cover alone I would not have guessed any of it was to do with rehab with hardly any romance.

Like most novellas though this moves at a quick pace and is a short read that's good for breaking up time. I would have like more background, romance and for it to be longer as the premise is interesting. However it was too short for me to consider purchasing the rest. If they were in a box set maybe, but I don't feel I get enough for my money when they are sold separately.

Still, it's OK for a freebie if you're looking for a quick read.



Saturday, 5 April 2014

Review ~ Trusting You (Second Chances #2) by L.P. Dover

Trusting YouPaperback purchased by myself

Release Date: October 8th 2013

Description:
I trust you …

These are the three words that Melissa Ashford wishes she could say to someone; to the one person she can fully give herself to and not worry about being betrayed. Being twenty-eight years old and divorced from a cheating ex-husband, Melissa enjoys her freedom … until one night when she finds herself indulging in a one night stand that changes everything.

There’s something about the alluring Brett Walker that has Melissa feeling things she’s never had with any other man. These feelings not only scare her, but push her past her limits as well. Just when she begins to open her soul to this new love, their bond is put to the test by jealousies from the past trying to break them apart. 

It’s not only Melissa’s trust that’s put on the line, but Brett’s as well. Will their love be strong enough to get them through the lies? Will Melissa finally be able to say those three words she’s been dying to say? I trust you …

My Opinion

This author is quickly becoming one of my favourites and I'm so glad I took a chance on Meant for Me on Netgalley. Since then, I bought Fighting for Love as an ebooks and because I loved that one so much I decided to buy the whole series in paperback. I will say that Meant for Me is still my favourite, followed by Fighting for Love but this book did not disappoint.

Although I knew the general storyline from Meant for Me, it didn't stop me from enjoying it. It was nice to read Melissa's story and understand Brett and her romance better. It was also great to read it as it developed.

Trusting You had everything I have come to expect from this author. The romance was brilliant as steamy as usual but what I really like with this author is that she manages to pull emotions from me with every book. I don't know how she does it--well that's not true, it's because her writing is brilliant--but it's rare that every book in a series can connect so well with me when they are standalone. The books are crafted so well and the depth in the characters is great. They are realistic, believable and you can connect with them easily. I love how the relationship developed; it was fast-pace but had everything you want in it and the surrounding story built tension and had me unable to put it down.

I find it hard to say things about a book when they connect with me so emotionally so I'll leave it at that. You really should read these if you like romances. I do prefer the MMA theme in the later books but this was a nice change and still has everything the author does well in it. I would highly recommend!



Friday, 4 April 2014

Review ~ The Practice Date - A Novelette by Victorine E. Lieske

ebook downloaded on Amazon free day.

Description:
Jane’s been in love with her best friend Lance since they were kids. Best friend, that is, until he ditched her for the more popular crowd. What’s a computer nerd doing spending time with jocks anyway? 

When he asks her for help getting a date to the prom with the most popular girl in school she almost tells him to take a flying leap. But she’d be spending time with him, teaching him to dance and he’d be holding her...that sounded like heaven.

So she says yes.

But how much practice can her heart take?

The Practice Date is a novelette, 11,000 words, 50 pages in paperback.

My Opinion
This was just what you'd expect from a novella; it was short, sweet and enjoyable. The narrative was fun and lighthearted and although you don't connect with the characters because o the length, it does keep you wanting to read more.

The plot is a standard girl-likes-friend-but-he's-clueless and although it's predictable, it's still a nice read that's okay for relaxing. There were some parts moved a little too quickly and could have done with slightly more development as even with a novella, it could have been slightly longer, but it was a sweet read nonetheless to break up the time.


3.5

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Book Spotlight ~ Welcome to Deep Cove (Vellian Mysteries Book 1) by Grant T. Reed

Welcome to Deep Cove (Vellian Mysteries Book 1)Welcome to Deep Cove

Release Date: March 16th 2014

Publisher: Self-published

Genre: Mystery, Fantasy, Humor

Word Count: 87,701

Description:
At thirty-one, Garrett Willigins has finally earned his private investigator's badge. Unfortunately, the bills haven't stopped coming and building a solid reputation won't happen overnight. Forced to take employment wherever they can, Garrett and his miniature dragon partner Merle, must dirty their hands any way possible to make a buck.
Shoveling manure, chasing cats, and dock duty seem to be the order of the day. Working off back rent for a notorious gangster isn't the safest of jobs on a good day, but when the other workers start turning up dead, Garrett finds himself elbow deep in a mystery that could spell a quick end to his short P.I career.



About the Author
Grant Reed has a background in business management, computer programming, and computer networking. He would much rather be out fishing though, so he spends his time writing and teaching computer courses at CTS. He lives in Lively Ontario, Canada with his wife Robin, and their two children Aidan and Megan.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Review ~ He's Come Undone by Theresa Weir

He's Come Undone
ebook received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: March 1st 2014

Publisher: Belfry Press

Description:
Penniless and behind on rent, college student and once famous child actress Ellie Barlow takes on the role of a lifetime when she's hired by a group of young women to break the heart of the campus player who cruelly dumped them. 

Transformed from slob slacker to jaw-dropping beauty, Ellie is dressed, styled, bleached and waxed, her chunky glasses exchanged for violet contacts. Along with physical prepping, she's coached on Julian's obsessions, which include long-distance running, Doctor Who, and J.D. Salinger. 

In no time, Julian is in pursuit of his custom-made next victim, but when Ellie goes off script and begins to fall for her target the newest broken heart in this risky game could be her own.

My Opinion

This book reminds me so much of the movie John Tucker Must Die but maybe just with a slightly darker undertone. It has torn my opinion as although I enjoyed it and felt that it was a quick, easy read there were a few things I had minor issues with.

I liked the overall concept--although it was pretty close to the movie--as I haven't read it in a book before. You could see how things were going to play out so it gave this book a light, relaxing quality as you didn't have to think too hard when reading it. I also liked that Julian had a past that helped cause the way he was. It gave him a realistic quality and made you feel for him rather than just think he was the ass who went from girl to girl.

The storyline kept me hooked as I wanted to know the full details of the characters' stories and I found it hard to stop reading. There were a few twists I didn't see coming and although there was this slightly darker, more emotional tone to the book I felt that overall the book was a fun read.

There were only a few things I had trouble with and the first what that the characters fell for each other way too quickly. I'm a fan on insta-love but this was even too quick for me. I feel feeling are okay after meeting but to actually want to say 'I love you' was a little too soon considering how long Julian and Ellie had know each other. I did also feel that sections were a little rushed and could have used a bit more development but other than that it was a good read.

Overall, He's Come Undone was an enjoyable, quick read that was good to break up my time. The storyline was interesting and did keep me hooked.


Tuesday, 1 April 2014

ARC Review ~ Played (Hooked #2) by Liz Fichera

Played (Hooked, #2)eARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: May 27th 2014

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Description:
This Game Is Getting All Too Real

He said:
 I like to keep under the radar and mostly hang out with my friends from the rez. But when I saved Riley Berenger from falling off a mountain, that rich suburban princess decided to try to save me. 

She said: If I can help Sam Tracy win the heart of the girl he can't get over, I'll pay him back for helping me. I promised him I would, no matter what it takes.

My Opinion

I was honestly surprised by this book. I went into it thinking that it sounded like an OK read and something that may interest me and break up my time. However, I didn't think I would enjoy it as much as I did. It was a standard young-adult romance but that's not a bad thing. It was a lighthearted, quick read that you didn't have to think too much about.

One thing that I really liked was that there were more strands than just the romance in the book which kept things interesting. Of course, most of these were minor and the romance was the key focus but the small sub-plots like the issues with the parents, Sam's life, school problems and what happens when Sam and Riley are around each other keep you on you toes and keep you turning pages as you are never sure what they are going to have to face next. There were twists and parts that shocked me as I didn't see them coming which I was surprised by.

As well as this I liked how it started and developed. There was a steady pace of development throughout the whole book actually and it was a nice change from the instant "I love you" after only just meeting. The relationship was a slow burner and although the ending is predictable, that's what you want in these types of books isn't it?

The characters were good together and their emotions felt real. Sam and Riley were also good together. I liked that there was an underlying tension and resistance on Sam's part but I thought that the development was realistic too. There was a good mix of friendship and more than that in their feelings and the alternating POV helped solidify this more.

Overall, Played shocked me. I didn't think I would enjoy this book as much as I did but it came as a pleasant surprise when I couldn't stop reading.






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