Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Review: Spell Bound by Kelley Armstrong

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Title: Spell Bound

Author: Kelley Armstrong

Series: Women of the Otherworld #12

Publisher: Orbit

Publication date: 26 Jun 2012

Format: Paperback | 352 pages

Genre: Urban Fantasy 

Goodreads



Savannah Levine is in danger. That's not usually a problem. But, caught in the grip of a disturbing and violent murder case, Savannah swore to give up her unique gifts if it would save an innocent young girl. Little did she know that someone - or something - was listening… Now she has no idea how to restore her powers, just when she needs them the most.


In this compelling, fast-paced new thriller. Savannah has to face a host of deadly enemies bent on destroying not only her but the very fabric of the supernatural world. As dark forces gather, Savannah isn't just fighting for her life, but for everything and everyone she loves.



My thoughts:


Spell Bound picks up where Waking the Witch left off, Savannah realises she's lost her powers. As well as dealing with a witch hunter and a supernatural group hell bent on ruling the world and putting humans in their place, Savannah has to race to find out how to get her powers back before she puts everyone she loves in danger. Oh and Adam… FINALLY!


I loved this one. Savannah has finally come into her own as a character. All of her faults were made evident, some by herself and some through others saying so - she admitted to them and she tried her best to change them. She was made all the better for it and it was brilliant.


While this book did sometimes feel like a 'filler' book for the series, I loved the hints that the author gave of things to come. The last couple of books in the series have had a completely different feel to them in that you can tell things are coming to a close and there's going to be some kind of big fight or a war to round everything off. This book pretty much just made me very, very excited to read the last book in the series and I think that may have been the intended goal.


Overall there isn't really much to say about this one. It was a typical Armstrong novel with plenty of action and suspense but it had a new twist with more character development than a complex plot. That being said, the plot is most definitely going to carry on to the last book so I can't wait to see how it's resolved.


My rating: 9/10


Kelley Armstrong:

 

Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook

 

  Women of the Otherworld:

 

  1. Bitten
  2. Stolen
  3. Dime Store Magic
  4. Industrial Magic
  5. Haunted
  6. Broken
  7. No Humans Involved
  8. Personal Demon
  9. Living with the Dead
  10. Frostbitten
  11. Waking the Witch
  12. Spell Bound
  13. Thirteen


Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Review: Red Glove by Holly Black

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Title: Red Glove

Author: Holly Black

Series: Curse Workers #2

Publisher: Gollancz

Publication date: 16 Jun 2011

Format: Paperback | 272 pages

Genre: YA | Paranormal 

Goodreads



Curses and Cons

Magic and the Mob


In Cassel Sharpe's world, they go together. Cassel always thought he was an ordinary guy, but now he knows the truth - he's the most powerful curse worker around. He can transform anything - or anyone - into something else. That was how Lila, the girl he loved, became a white cat. Now she's back, but she's been cursed to love him. If Lila's love is as false as Cassel's made-up memories, then he can't believe anything she says or does.


When Cassel's oldest brother is murdered, the Feds recruit him to help find the killer. But the mob wants Cassel too - they know how valuable he could be to them. He will have to stay one step ahead of both sides just to survive. Where can he turn when he can't trust anyone - least of all, himself?



My thoughts:


After finding out he's one of the most powerful curse worker's around, Cassel Sharpe can't trust anyone to keep his secret and protect him from being exploited. A lot of people want him to work for them and will use any means to get it to happen - bribery, blackmail and even murder are all on the table where Cassel's involved. The only person he can really trust is himself.


I will say right off the bat that I didn't enjoy this read as much as the first one in the series. I didn't find it as thrilling simply because the element of surprise wasn't there to the same extent. I already knew what Cassel could do and what the rest of the characters curses are. It just wasn't the same.


Those elements were there on a smaller scale though. I liked the mystery involved in this one and how Cassel (or Holly Black I should say) kept the answer secret until the very end, even though he knew who the murderer was quite some time before it was revealed.


What takes the biscuit for me, in both this read and the previous one in the series, was how Cassel dealt with his problems in such a genius way. He waits until he has all the facts possible and then puts them together to plan a huge con. The cons are the best part of the book. When everything comes together and everyone plays their part - pure genius. It gives Cassel such depth and mystery that I can't help but want to get to know him more.


Overall I really liked this read and I can't wait to see more of Cassel and his brilliant ideas. I definitely recommend it.


My rating: 8/10


Holly Black:

Goodreads | Website | Livejournal | Twitter

 

Curse Workers:

  1. White Cat
  2. Red Glove
  3. Black Heart 


Monday, 19 October 2015

Review: The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss by Max Wirestone

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Title: The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss

Author: Max Wirestone

Series: N/A

Publisher: Redhook

Publication date: 10/20/2015

Format: Kindle | Netgalley | 320 pages

Genre: Humour | Mystery | Contemporary 

Goodreads



For fans of The Guild, New Girl, Scott Pilgrim, Big Bang Theory, Veronica Mars, or anyone who has ever geeked out about something.


The odds of Dahlia successfully navigating adulthood are 3,720 to 1. But never tell her the odds.

Meet Dahlia Moss, the reigning queen of unfortunate decision-making in the St. Louis area. Unemployed broke, and on her last bowl of ramen, she's not living her best life. But that's all about to change.

Before Dahlia can make her life any messier on her own she's offered a job. A job that she's woefully under-qualified for. A job that will lead her to a murder, an MMORPG, and possibly a fella (or two?).

Turns out unfortunate decisions abound, and she's just the girl to deal with them.

 

 

My thoughts:


Well this was different.


I found myself drawn to this read purely based off the summary alone. The protagonist sounded quirky and after reading a book that made me sob for longer than I would have liked, I needed something to make me gigle. Well giggle I did…abundantly.


I liked this read, if only for the ridiculousness that is peppered throughout. Dahlia Moss is unemployed, broke and somehow has managed to become a fake detective. Her first case? Solve the mystery of the missing 'Bejewelled Spear of Infinite Piercing'. If she happens to come across the murderer of the owner of said spear then that's another problem solved in the many that complicate Dahlia's life.

 

Dahlia was funny. Her inner monologue always had me smiling and her interactions with other characters were the most awkward encounters that were filled with strange personalities and eccentricities. 

 

I loved how the plot led to the most bizarre mystery solving I've come across so far. It was hilarious how Dahlia figured things out almost by accident and how the other characters just stood by and accepted the fact that she's not actually a detective. It was as if everyone understood that she needed to do her thing and consequently ignored her most of the time. Hardly anyone gave up any information and Dahlia seemed to trip over most of the clues. It was hilarious. 

 

I have to say though, the number of characters involved in this book got me really confused. Add that to the fact that most of the characters have two names - one for real life and the other for an online username, it was a little too much. 

 

That also led me to not liking a number of characters. Some, I just felt there was no need for and some I just didn't get. Dahlia only had the one friend, her flatmate, in the beginning and then all of a sudden there's around a dozen more characters constantly around her. I didn't think there was a need for it.

 

I would have also have liked a little more depth when it came to Dahlia's personal life. I wanted more of Nathan and for that relationship to develop further past the funny, flirty couple of encounters. 

 

All in all I enjoyed this one. I would recommend it for a light hearted read to get you smiling after a bad day.

 

My rating: 7/10

 

Max Wirestone:

Goodreads | Twitter

 

Monday, 12 October 2015

Review: Gambling on the Bodyguard by Sarah Ballance

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Title: Gambling on the Bodyguard

Author: Sarah Ballance

Series: What Happens in Vegas #8

Publisher: Entangled: Lovestruck

Publication date: October 12th 2015

Format: Kindle | Netgalley 

Genre: Adult | Contemporary Romance 

Goodreads



He’ll guard her body all night long…

Ski instructor Ellie Montgomery hits Vegas during a romance convention to meet the man of her dreams…only, the man of her dreams isn’t the cover model she’s there to see. He’s the hot-as-sin bodyguard who catches her sneaking in the back door of a meet-and-greet, and he seems more than ready to do what it takes to prove he’s twice the man her pretty boy crush could ever be. 

Jax Mathis couldn’t resist snagging a date with Ellie, but he didn’t count on the attraction being more than physical. They connect on a level he didn’t think possible—and he can’t run fast enough. She makes him want things he thought he’d never have, and maybe, just maybe, they’re within reach. But to have it, he’ll have to face the one mountain he swore he’d never climb...and with no guarantee she’ll be waiting on the other side.

 

 

My thoughts:


I don't really know what to say about this one other than that it was an okay read. It had enough to keep me interested but it wasn't something I would go back to again.


Ballance has a good writing style in my opinion. I enjoyed her writing and it really made the whole romance between the characters something special. It wasn't as simple as two characters making eye contact and then non stop gushing over how hot they both are. The romance meant something and it was believable.


Unfortunately that was where it ended for me. I just didn't understand the ending - it was so disappointing. The story takes place over a couple of days so the characters have no more than a full day and a half together - why did it end like that then? I won't say what happens, but trust me when I say if it ever happens to you…run the other way.


I get that it's a book. It's just a story. But why can't it just end in a way that makes sense with the addition of great writing that the author is capable of? It was like taking the whole book and flushing it down the toilet…not unlike Ellie's ticket in the beginning of the read.


If you enjoy cheesy romances just for a quick read with likeable, well done characters then I do recommend this one. Ballance has a lovely style of writing that makes this book better than most clichéd, fast romances.


My rating: 4/10


Sarah Ballance:

Goodreads | Website


What Happens in Vegas:


  1. Tempting Her Best Friend by Gina L. Maxwell
  2. The Makeover Mistake by Kathy Lyons
  3. A Change of Plans by Robyn Thomas
  4. Masquerading with the CEO by Dawn Chartier
  5. Just One Reason by Brooklyn Skye
  6. Tamed By The Outlaw by Michelle Sharp
  7. Tempted by Mr. Write by Sara Hantz
  8. Gambling on the Bodyguard by Sarah Ballance


Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Cover reveal: Spark by Holly Schindler

Spark HS

 

 

Holly Schindler's Spark:


When the right hearts comes to the Avery Theatre - at the right time - the magic will return. The Avery will come back from the dead.


Or so Quin's great-grandmother predicted many years ago on Verona, Missouri's most tragic night, when Nick and Emma, two star-crossed teenage lovers, died on the stage. It was that night that the Avery's marquee lights when out forever.


It sounds like urban legend, but one that high school senior Quin is now starting to believe, especially when her best friend, Cass, and their classmate Dylan step onto the stage and sparks fly. It seems that magic can still unfold at the old Avery Theatre and a happier ending can still be had - one that will align the stars and revive not only the decrepit theatre, but also the decaying town. However, it hinges on one thing - that Quin gets the story right this time around.


Holly Schindler brings the magic of the theatre to life in this tale of family ties, fate, love, and one girl's quest to rewrite history.



In my hometown, the restoration of a former movie theatre on the town square provided the genesis for my new YA novel, SPARK. Who among us hasn't dreamed of seeing their name in blazing neon across a gigantic marquee? Let me invite you to dim the lights and draw back the velvet curtains - let your imagination run wild as you enter my fictional Avery Theatre, where literally anything goes

---Holly Schindler

 

 

Holly Schindler

 

Holly Schindler is the author of three previous YA novels: PLAYING HURT as well as the critically acclaimed FERAL (starred PW review) and A BLUE SO DARK (starred Booklist review, ForeWord Book of the Year silver medal, IPPY gold medal). 

 

A writer of books for all ages, Schindler's MG, THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY, has made the master list for children's book awards in Illinois, South Carolina, and Alabama. She is also a hybrid author, having independently released comedic women's fiction (FIFTH AVENUE FIDOS) and the forthcoming PLAY IT AGAIN, her adult follow-up to her YA PLAYING HURT

 

She can be reached through her author site and hosts special sneak peeks and giveaways for subscribers of her newsletter.

 

 

Spark Premiere Graphic

 Spark "Premieres" May 17, 2016, but you can buy your "tickets" now. Links to pre-order:

 

 

Add to Goodreads

 

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Review: The Engagement Game by Jenny Holiday

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Title: The Engagement Game
Author: Jenny Holiday
Series: 49th Floor #3
Publication date: Oct 5th 2015
Format: Kindle | Netgalley
Genre: Adult | Contemporary Romance




The black sheep of the old-money Rosemanns, advertising executive Marcus has made his own way in the world—and done extremely well for himself—but his family is still pressuring him to join their investment firm and settle down with a quiet, unobjectionable girl.

Which is why the sexy Rose Verma is the perfect date for his family’s charity ball. A bleeding-heart lefty from the wrong side of the tracks, Rose has never met a stray dog she didn’t love or a polka-dotted mini-dress she couldn’t rock. Marcus has enough dirt on Rose to “convince” her to play along. And if he lets it slip that they’re engaged, all the better. 

But all’s fair in love and blackmail, and Rose is ready to play a few cards of her own…




My thoughts:



This was another one of those books that I finish, find it an okay read, and then promptly forget everything about it shortly after I move on to the next one.


It sounds harsh, but there wasn't anything memorable about this book. It's been done so many times, even down to the details, that it just becomes 'one of those'. They're not necessarily bad reads - some are of course, but this one wasn't - they're just so common that they all seem to blur into one. 


I liked the characters well enough. Rose was quirky and sure of herself, Marcus was strong willed with family issues and the supporting characters were interesting - especially the parents. 


All that aside, I don't really know what else to say. I did have a problem (as usual seems like) with the ending. I've been saying this for a lot of reads lately, but there wasn't enough fight in the end. The whole book is focused on a blossoming relationship and then at the inevitable big obstacle towards the end, a seemingly huge pit that has opened up between them becomes irrelevant and easily crossed. We all know what's going to happen at the end, but I want the way it happens to be something worth reading and not just a couple of pages of 'oh maybe I was wrong'.


My rating: 5/10


Jenny Holiday:



49th Floor:

  1. Saving the CEO
  2. Sleeping with Her Enemy
  3. The Engagement Game

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Review: Pale Moon Walking by Paula Altenburg

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Title: Pale Moon Walking

Author: Paula Altenburg

Series: N/A

Publisher: Entangled: Select Otherworld

Publication date: September 28th 2015

Format: Kindle | Netgalley | 282 pages

Genre: Adult | Paranormal Romance

Goodreads



Where the outlaws are out of this world...

US Marshall Sam Kyote has been sent to the dry old town of Coyote Bluff to recuperate from a top-secret government experiment that's left this law man a little...well, different. But Sam's about to find out that the town of Coyote Bluff has a whole lot of secrets. Most of which lead to Libby Mayden-the sexy, long-legged, and tight-lipped sheriff who saved his ass from an alien ambush.

The last thing Libby needs is a US Marshall poking around her town, especially one who's hotter than the Nevada desert sun. She can't let Sam find out most of her town are wanted outlaws. Between the aliens, the gunfighters, and a searing sexual attraction to Sam, she's in a whole heap of trouble. And Libby'll stride both sides of the law-and Sam-until she's forced to choose between self-preservation...and her heart.

 

 

My thoughts:


I wasn't a big fan of this read. I mean, I finished it, which was something in itself, but it was more of a chore than anything.


The characters of Pale Moon Walking didn't do anything for me. I wasn't enamoured by the romance and there were no moments in the read that made me wonder about any backstories of the characters. I just couldn't bring myself to care and that's why I can't say I enjoyed this book very much.


I found it difficult to get behind the whole alien aspect of this book as well. I have read books featuring aliens before so it wasn't the idea itself I didn't like, but it seemed really out of place in this one. I don't know if it was because I didn't think it was explained or introduced very well, or if they didn't play enough of a part in the story compared to the romance, but either way, it seemed like they weren't important in the grand scheme of things.


My rating: 3/10

 

Paula Altenburg:

Goodreads | Website | Twitter

 

Monday, 28 September 2015

Review: Tempted by Mr. Write by Sara Hantz

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Title: Tempted by Mr. Write

Author: Sara Hantz

Series: What Happens in Vegas #7

Publisher: Entangled: Lovestruck 

Publication date: September 28th 2015

Format: Kindle | Netgalley 

Genre: Adult | Contemporary | Romance

Goodreads



She thought she knew everything about romance. She was wrong.

After losing out on a plum assignment, a romance book conference is the last place journalist Sheridan Farlow wants to be. Love is a myth-like flattering changing room mirrors-and she has the past relationships to prove it. Her editor wants a story? Fine. She'll write an entire exposé...only it doesn't go quite according plan.

Bernard "Mac" Mackenzie is something of an anomaly in the romance-writing world-a man who writes romance and believes in it. And until he met Sheridan, Mac's never felt anything close to the love he writes about. He needs more of her. In his arms, and in his bed.

Their attraction is explosive; even as Sheridan's cynical side battles her growing feelings for Mac. But can she handle writing a biting exposé with an exposed heart on the line?

 


My thoughts:


I feel like this book was more of a novella to a series and I'm missing out on three more books. It was so quick!


I couldn't stand this read from the very beginning. I was hoping for a lot more than a clichéd, Vegas romance with a touch of love at first sight thrown in. Most of the time, I'm all for a cheesy romance with a hunky guy and beautiful-but-doesn't-know-it girl who are thrown together and fall in love, but you know they're going to end up together. That's the thing - you know it's going to happen so that's not why you read the book. It's about how it happens - all the drama, maybe humour and tragedy in between. It's the journey, the character development and the emotions involved. It doesn't matter how clichéd it is, you can still make an incredible story that just happens to have a cliché thrown in.


To be honest, I normally talk about the characters in reviews, just because I really feel they make or break a book. But I can't even tell if I liked this set of characters or not. They were drowned out by the plot which was extremely frustrating. How could I like characters who throw themselves into situations like that? There was no depth to them because all the focus was on this romance that was in no way believable or relatable. 


Harsh, I know. Part of me thinks reading so many books has made me really sensitive to reads like this. Plenty of people would enjoy this book for the author's ability to get straight to the point - it's a quick afternoon, feel good read. It just wasn't for me.


My rating: 1/10


Sara Hantz:

Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

What Happens in Vegas:


  1. Tempting Her Best Friend by Gina L. Maxwell
  2. The Makeover Mistake by Kathy Lyons
  3. A Change of Plans by Robyn Thomas
  4. Masquerading with the CEO by Dawn Chartier
  5. Just One Reason by Brooklyn Skye
  6. Tamed By The Outlaw by Michelle Sharp
  7. Tempted by Mr. Write by Sara Hantz
  8. Gambling on the Bodyguard by Sarah Ballance

 

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Review: Lost in Geeklandia by E.J. Russell

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Title: Lost in Geeklandia

Author: E.J Russel

Series: N/A

Publisher: Entangled: Select Contemporary

Publication date: September 28th 2015

Format: Netgalley | Kindle 

Genre: Adult | Contemporary | Romance

Goodreads



She has 30 days to turn her enemy into her boyfriend...



Introverted computer engineer Charlie Forrester has coded an algorithm for love, a nearly flawless matchmaking program. But then she's challenged to prove its accuracy - on herself. With her dream job on the line, Charlie has thirty days to forge a romantic relationship with her "perfect" match...her ex-friend and now-nemesis, Daniel Shawn. Since her dating experience is expressed in binary, she'll need more than flirting lessons and a wardrobe overhaul to pull it off.

After falling victim to the same online matchmaking con he was investigating, reporter Daniel Shawn's professional reputation went up in flames. Now he suspects someone has rebooted the scam, and he's determined to expose the fraud and rebuild his career. Unfortunately, his efforts to get back in the game get sidetracked by Charlie and her adorable geekitude, even though she seems to know a little too much about digital dating for Daniel's comfort.

And when fake romance crosses into real chemistry, Charlie's formula for love might just be the perfect formula for disaster...

 

 

My thoughts:


I was a little disappointed with this read. I liked it well enough, but I wanted a lot more considering the potential the plot has. 


I liked how driven Charlie was in terms of knowing what she wants and how to get it. She had her career all figured out and all she needed was a little push to get the rest of the way. She had no need for any outside help and when she eventually came across a huge obstacle in her way, she had no problem getting stuck in to get it out of her way so she could move on. I liked that - it wasn't necessarily a good character trait at times, but it gave her this strength that came apparent throughout the read. She knew when to apologise and when to backtrack and do the right thing which might not result in an outcome that's in her favour. She made a decision and stuck with it - there was no point in the read where Charlie was indecisive and it fit with the computer data aspect of the read. 


However, where Charlie came across as the strong, independent woman, Daniel came across as totally the opposite. At first, by Charlie, he was portrayed as this ruthless reporter that follows the facts - I saw none of that. I understand that Charlie was exaggerating her opinion of him based off of her past, but I wanted some of that drive in Daniel too. He was too much of a good guy.


That brings me to what I really didn't like about this book. I wanted so much more of a fight than there actually was. Daniel didn't fight for Charlie, Charlie didn't fight for Daniel and none of the supporting characters had anything to do with the eventual romance. There was no 'push' from them. 


For such a determined character, Charlie sure backed down awfully quickly and settled with the idea that Daniel would never speak to her again - where did all of that fire go? And Daniel was the same. He wasn't especially feisty to begin with, but he changed his mind in a single moment and it bugged me.


All in all I thought this read was okay. It had the outcome I expected and I enjoyed the humour involved, but in the end, it all happened too easily for me to believe in it.


My rating: 5/10


E.J. Russell:

Goodreads | Website | Twitter



Monday, 21 September 2015

Review: People's Republic by Robert Muchamore

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Title: People's Republic

Author: Robert Muchamore

Series: Aramov #1

Publisher: Hodder

Publication date: 05 Apr 2012

Format: Paperback | 432 pages

Genre: YA 

Goodreads



CHERUB's newest recruit is on his first job: befriending a spoilt rich kid whose grandma runs a billion - dollar criminal empire. But twelve-year-old Ryan's got no idea that this routine mission will turn into one of the biggest in CHERUB history…



My thoughts:


I'm a huge fan of the CHERUB series and I've started reading the spin off series, Henderson's boys, too. I started reading these books when I was in high school and I've been following them ever since, albeit slowly. While I finished CHERUB a while back, I've yet to catch up on the other two series, including this one.


This book definitely wasn't disappointing. It had all of the traits I've grown to love from Muchamore, especially his sense of humour. While you can expect lots of action and suspense from his reads, the humour is what separates them from other books featuring a plot based on espionage. 


I will mention, as is the case with a lot of series, that CHERUB holds a special place in my heart. I followed those characters for a long time, so to be reading about the same place and some of the same supporting characters, I missed James terribly. I couldn't help but compare Ryan to James and how he first behaved on the same campus with the same teachers. 

 

This book seemed to be a lot more plot driven than the CHERUB books. The other series focused a lot on James and his character development and for a 12 year old, Ryan seemed a lot more mature than James did in the beginning. It wasn't necessarily a bad thing, it just gave the book a different feel to the other series and made it stand out quite a bit. It wasn't more of the same stuff.

 

I'm definitely interested to see what happens with this whole Aramov clan - it was interesting to find out that one mission will carry on across a few books.

 

My rating: 8/10

 

Robert Muchamore:

Goodreads | Website | Facebook | YouTube | Twitter

 

Aramov:

  1. People's Republic
  2. Guardian Angel
  3. Black Friday
  4. Lone Wolf

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Review: White Cat by Holly Black

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Title: White Car

Author: Holly Black

Series: Curse Workers #1

Publisher: Gollancz

Publication date: 01 Apr 2011

Format: Paperback | 336 pages

Genre: YA | Paranormal

Goodreads



No-one at home is ever going to forget that Cassel is a killer. No-one at home is ever going to forget that he isn't a magic worker. And now he is being haunted by a white cat…


Cassel's family are magic workers. Ever since magic was prohibited in 1929 magic workers have been driven underground and into crime. His grand-dad is a black-fingered death-dealer, his mother is in prison and his brothers detest him as the only one of their family who can't do magic. But there is a secret at the centre of Cassel's family and he's about to inherit it. It's terrifying and that's the truth.



My thoughts:


Cassel is the sole member of a family of magic workers without any magic. People with the ability to give good luck, dreams and change emotions as they see fit with just a slight of hand. Of course, not all workers use their magic to do good, in fact, most are criminals, some with the power to kill with a single touch or transform a person into an inanimate object. Cassel finds himself struggling to fit in with his family when he has always been an outsider and treated as such. 

 

I had no idea what to expect from this book. I'd heard good things, so I bought it. Aside from that, I knew nothing - no reviews were read, I didn't ask anybody about it, I just bought it. Turns out I really loved it.

 

More than anything, I loved Cassel's point of view. I thought he was a brilliant character, full of depth, witty, charming one minute and devious the next - he was a really well rounded character that I kept learning about throughout the read. He had enough personality to keep me interested to the end of the book. 

 

I've never picked up on this in any other books, but I noticed the dialogue in this novel was incredible. I mean it in the simplest sense. I found myself really enjoying whenever Cassel was having a normal, day to day conversation with someone from his family or school. Nothing involving magic or assassination plots, just everyday stuff. It's a testament to how much I like Cassel's character but I loved how Holly could make dialogue seem so natural, enough so that I could imagine myself speaking in that way to my own family. Until I started talking about death workers and losing my memory of course…

 

This was the first book by Holly Black that I've read but it's certainly not going to be the last. I've already started on the sequel to this book - Red Glove. If anything the plot and world building made me ever the more eager to get on with the next one, just to get a bit more of the suspense and the awesome way Cassel can pretend to be someone he's not to cultivate a con. This book was exciting. I got nervous when Cassel and his friends tried to pull off something a little complicated. I worried that plans would fall through. I was surprised when Cassel showed a hint of genius when he suddenly announced he had a failsafe ready anyway. It made my heart race in the way only a good writer can - by immersing me in the story completely.

 

All in all I really enjoyed this one and fully recommend it to anybody who reads YA. And even those who don't!

 

My rating: 10/10

 

 

Holly Black:

Goodreads | Website | Livejournal | Twitter

 

Curse Workers:

  1. White Cat
  2. Red Glove
  3. Black Heart 

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Review: The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan

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Title: The Eye of the World

Author: Robert Jordan

Series: The Wheel of Time #1

Publisher: Orbit

Publication date: 2006

Format: Paperback | 800 pages

Genre: Epic Fantasy | Adult

Goodreads



There is a world of light and shadow, where good and evil wage eternal war. It is the world of the wheel of time. The greatest fantasy epic ever written.


The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again.


But one truth yet remains, and what mortal men forget, the Aes Sedai do not…


What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.



My thoughts:


Goodness this took me so long to finish. Well worth the time it took though.


I love epic fantasy. I love it, but I can only read it in small doses. It seems to take everything out of me every time I finish a book like this. I don't know if it's because of how long it takes, the complexity of the writing or just the fact that so much can happen in one book that it feels like I've read five in one sitting. I have to just put everything down afterwards and do nothing. 


I think what got me most about this read was the writing. I mean, just read the summary of the book - the writing is just something else. Sometimes Jordan gets all philosophical and it just blew my mind how his words got sucked into my soul to be reflected for hours until I just shake it off and get back to the story. His writing is just…I can't even.


The characters are also extremely loveable. I did have a hard time with Mat for a while but that was understandable. Rand and Perrin have to be the most loveable characters I've ever come across in epic fantasy. They were honourable and the were sweet. I don't think they have a bad bone in their body. 


But Lan and Nynaeve just took my heart. It's strange because their relationship is only mentioned a couple of times - just a couple of hints here and there. Nothing actually happens between them but there is a couple of lines towards the end that just made me start bawling. It was one of the most heartfelt conversations I've ever read between characters. I'm pretty sure there are quotes of this conversation all over the place because it's just too amazing but I won't say anymore for those of you that want to actually read the book.


The one thing I would have liked for this book would be a longer battle at the end. I understand that it's not over and there's so many more books in the series for epic battles but for such a long journey, I wanted it to come to this amazing battle that lasted for more than a couple of pages.


All in all I loved this book. I can't wait to get my hands on the rest of the series and get to know the characters more. Especially Lan and Nynaeve - those two are killing me inside…my heart is turning to mush.


My rating: 9/10


Robert Jordan:

Goodreads 


The Wheel of Time:

  1. The Eye of the World
  2. The Great Hunt
  3. The Dragon Reborn
  4. The Shadow Rising
  5. The Fires of Heaven
  6. Lord of Chaos
  7. A Crown of Swords
  8. The Path of Daggers
  9. Winter's Heart
  10. Crossroads of Twilight
  11. Knife of Dreams
  12. The Gathering Storm
  13. Towers of Midnight
  14. A Memory of Light

Friday, 28 August 2015

Review: Finding Perfect by Kendra C. Highley

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Title: Finding Perfect 

Author: Kendra C. Highley

Series: N/A

Publisher: Entangled Crush

Publication date: September 14th 2015

Format: Kindle | Netgalley 

Genre: YA | Contemporary 

Goodreads



How far will you go for perfection? 

For “Perfect Paige” Westfield, today is “D” Day. As in, she just got one on her calculus test. With her dreams of Stanford, her reputation, and her parents’ expectations at stake, Paige needs to find a way to save face before everything she’s worked for goes up in flames.

Ben Franklin (yes, he’s related) is from the wrong side of town, with the wrong clothes and the wrong kind of life. He also knows an opportunity when he sees one, and he’ll be happy to tutor Paige—if she makes him into the kind of guy her best friend, the hottest girl in school, will date.

It’s the perfect arrangement. And Paige is determined not even the inconvenient—and utterly imperfect—attraction simmering between her and Ben will ruin it…



My thoughts:


Paige is an amazing student with dreams of following in her Daddy's footsteps and becoming a neurologist and taking over the practice - easy right? Understandably Paige is stressed out to no end and a 'D' in calculus is the last thing she needed. Enter Ben, also a brilliant student, in need a bit of money. Wanting a new experience before he's off to college, Ben offers to tutor Paige in exchange for an introduction to Paige's best friend Zoey.


I loved how feisty Paige was. She wouldn't let anyone stand in the way of what she wanted and she worked so hard to get there. She had a goal in mind and she just wanted to charge ahead and achieve it without any distractions.


I did think Paige kind of lost that aspect throughout the read - it was understandable considering the direction the read was taking but I really wanted to see more of it because she was just awesome. I wanted her to stay true to herself and go for what she wanted in the end instead of just letting someone else handle it. She strayed too much from the character she started out as I think.


Ben was sweet. He was the opposite to Paige in the sense that he didn't know what he wanted. The book basically followed Paige and Ben both realising what they want throughout the read - Ben by finding romance and Paige by realising she is following everybody else and their plan instead of her own.


I thought the plot of the book was relatable in a lot of ways, and it made for an all round feel good read that I enjoyed. I liked the way things went down and the ending was satisfying. I really wanted more Ben and Paige time though.


My rating: 7/10


Kendra C. Highley:

Goodreads | Website | Twitter

 

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Review: Ten Things Sloane Hates About Tru by Tera Lynn Childs

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Title: Ten Things Sloane Hates About Tru

Author: Tera Lynn Childs

Series: Creative Hearts #1

Publisher: Entangled Crush

Publication date: September 14th 2015

Format: Kindle | Netgalley | 245 pages

Genre: YA | Contemporary 

Goodreads



When life gives you a blank canvas, make art.

Sloane Whitaker hates everything about moving to Texas. She hates leaving behind her friends and half her family in New York, starting over senior year at Austin’s NextGen Academy, and having to say she lives in Texas. Most of all, she hates that it’s all her fault. If she wants to earn her way back to the Big Apple, she has to prove she can still be the perfect daughter.

Which means no vandalism art, no trouble at school, and absolutely no Tru Dorsey, her serial screw-up neighbor, who loves nothing more than pushing her buttons.

But from the moment he vaults onto the roof outside her bedroom, there is something about him that makes her want to break every rule. Suddenly it’ s not the ten things she hates about Tru that are at the top of her list. It’s the ten reasons she doesn’t want to be without him.
 

 

 

My thoughts:

 

After making a huge mistake which led to her being arrested, Sloane packs up her stuff and moves to Texas - with only half of her family. Thinking that the family split is her fault, Sloane is willing to do whatever it takes to move back home to New York and getting involved with bad boy Tru is not on that list. 

 

I liked this read. Sloane was a relatable character. She wasn't too over the top with her crazy antics like a lot of characters - she made a mistake a lot of teens could end up making and got caught. Sloane actually tries in this book. She is trying to make it up to her mother who has to get a new job, rent a new house, and be away from her husband and son for an entire year. Sloane basically has respect for her parents, despite their mistakes, which isn't something that's emphasised in YA nowadays. 

 

I felt the same about Tru. He wasn't the 'bad boy' I thought he would be going into this read. I thought he would be up to all sorts and constantly get Sloane into trouble but it was obvious from the start that he was seriously misunderstood. He didn't really do anything wrong throughout the whole book and what he did wrong was understandable considering his situation. Tru, like Sloane, was also a really relatable character. He was stuck somewhere he really didn't want to be, with people he really didn't want to be around, and through all of that, he stayed true to himself and was generally a really sweet guy. I thought he was a really strong character.

 

What I would have loved to have seen from this read though, is a slightly more complicated plot. It was pretty obvious what was going to happen with Tru and Sloane so the main plot wasn't about romance but this very  juvenile high school drama that slowly led to people being expelled from a great art school. It wasn't that I didn't enjoy it, but for a read with such mature, understanding characters, I wanted something that reflected that and it didn't do them justice. 

 

That aside, I enjoyed this book just from the characters alone. I would love to read more from this series.

 

My rating: 7/10

 

Tera Lynn Childs:

Goodreads | Website | Twitter 

 

Creative Hearts:

  1. Ten Things Sloane Hates About Tru
  2. N/A

Review: Waking the Witch by Kelley Armstrong

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Title: Waking the Witch

Author: Kelley Armstrong

Series: Women of the Otherworld #11

Publisher: Orbit

Publication date: 07 Jul 2011

Format: Paperback | 336 pages

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Goodreads



When three young women are found dead - apparent victims of ritual murder - the small, fading town of Columbus is shaken to its core. But things are about to turn even more strange and sinister…


Pivate investigator Savannah Levine can handle 'strange and sinister'. As the daughter of a black witch, she has a lot of power running through her veins, and she's not afraid to use it. But her arrival in town has not gone unnoticed. Savannah may think she's tracking down a murderer, but could she be the killer's next target?



My thoughts:


Waking the Witch features Savannah Levine, the ward of Paige and Lucas. In previous books we've slowly been able to read about Savannah growing up, but now she's let loose as an adult, going solo and taking on her first murder case without Paige or best friend Adam breathing down her neck.

 

I love Savannah's character. I always have done. She's feisty, angry at the world and she doesn't care what anybody thinks of her - apart from Paige maybe. I love the strong heroine who puts up a front but knows she has so many flaws. Savannah is that girl - she offends people with no problem afterwords, but for her to disappoint those she loves? The guilty feelings come rushing out when she's alone with her thoughts. I love it.

 

What I enjoyed most about this read was the fact that it was the first book told through Savannah's eyes - in her point of view. I enjoyed reading how she got in trouble occasionally when she was younger and she did help out Paige a couple of times, but this book took it to a new level. She's 21 now where before she was too young to do much investigative work. I enjoyed her in the adult world where she voiced her opinions without anybody to tell her any different. She got her chance to shine and I loved reading all about it.

 

The plot was pretty much what makes a Kelley Armstrong novel. It was very heavy on the crime solving side of things which did have a couple of new twists involved and of course, full of supernatural elements. Also, par for the course, it was packed full of suspense and nail biting action. 

 

All in all I liked this addition to the series. I hope there's a lot more of Savannah to come.

 

My rating: 9/10

 

Kelley Armstrong:

 

Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook

 

  

Women of the Otherworld:

 

  1. Bitten
  2. Stolen
  3. Dime Store Magic
  4. Industrial Magic
  5. Haunted
  6. Broken
  7. No Humans Involved
  8. Personal Demon
  9. Living with the Dead
  10. Frostbitten
  11. Waking the Witch
  12. Spell Bound
  13. Thirteen

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Review: Frostbitten by Kelley Armstrong

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Title: Frostbitten

Author: Kelley Arsmtrong

Series: Women of the Otherworld #10

Publisher: Orbit

Publication date: 06 May 2010

Format: Paperback | 416 pages

Genre: Urban Fantasy 

Goodreads



After years of struggle. Elena Michaels has finally accepted her life as a werewolf, and learned how to control her wild side.


At least, that's what she believes when she sets off to investigate a series of gruesome murders outside Anchorage. The truth, however, is more complicated. Trapped in a frozen, unforgiving terrain, Elena is forced to confront a deadly secret, and her own, untamed nature…



My thoughts:


A routine mission for the Pack soon throws Elena Michaels in the deep end as she travels to Anchorage, Alaska to apprehend the mutt responsible for multiple killings. Alaska soon turns out to be more than it seems when strange lights appear in the forest and talk of strange beast sightings has the resident werewolves talking. 


After reading 10 books in this series I have to say, Elena is by far my favourite character. I love her relationship with Clay, the rest of her Pack and the other 'women of the otherworld'.  I love her flaws and insecurities and how she hides them from most but is completely honest with her mate. She is what most readers love in a heroine - especially in urban fantasy. She's strong, knows how to kick butts and she's loyal. She is what made me fall in love with this series.


Because I was a little iffy on the last two books in the series, I was seriously excited when I saw the next book featured Elena. It really didn't disappoint me and it brought back to light all the reasons I love this series.


The plot made evident Kelley Armstrong's strengths in writing. The suspense and action had me reading this book only in two sittings - I only put it down to eat and then got right back to it! I loved how this book features something new in the supernatural community and how the world of werewolves and all things that go bump in the night is steadily getting bigger and bigger. 


All in all this was essentially a reminder of why I started reading this series. I loved it. There was a brilliant plot, amazing characters and action that has you biting your nails in anticipation. 


My rating: 10/10


 

Kelley Armstrong:

 

Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook

 

 

 

Women of the Otherworld:

 

  1. Bitten
  2. Stolen
  3. Dime Store Magic
  4. Industrial Magic
  5. Haunted
  6. Broken
  7. No Humans Involved
  8. Personal Demon
  9. Living with the Dead
  10. Frostbitten
  11. Waking the Witch
  12. Spell Bound
  13. Thirteen


Thursday, 13 August 2015

Review: Angelfall by Susan Ee

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Title: Angelfall

Author: Susan Ee

Series: Penryn & the End of Days #1

Publisher: Hodder

Publication date: 23 May 2013

Format: Paperback | 336 pages

Genre: YA | Fantasy

Goodreads



It ha been six weeks since the angels returned to earth and destroyed the world as we know it.


When they fly away with a helpless little girl, her sister Penryn will do anything to get her back…



My thoughts:


How has it taken me so long to get to this book? I'm fangirling so hard right now...


I loved this read. I loved, loved, loved this read. Guys…I really loved this book.


Raffe was just yum and Penryn was such an amazing heroine. They both kicked backside to next Tuesday and it was awesome. This duo is seriously one of the best things ever.


I don't even know what to say…I just can't even.


This book had everything I like in a read. It had tension between characters, I mean, they're meant to be enemies but Penryn is desperate to get her sister back. There's suspense coming out of your ears, there's loads of action that has you reading pages over and over again out of excitement and there's a little humour thrown in for good measure.


I don't have a bad thing to say about this one and I know that I'll never get sick of rereading it. I can't wait to get the next two. Please check this one out if you haven't. It's something special.


My rating: 10/10


Susan Ee:

Goodreads | Website | Twitter


Penryn & the End of Days:

  1. Angelfall
  2. World After
  3. End of Days

 

Monday, 10 August 2015

Review: Blackmail Boyfriend by Chris Cannon

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Title: Blackmail Boyfriend

Author: Chris Cannon

Series: N/A

Publisher: Entangled Publishing | Crush

Publication date: August 10th 2015

Format: Kindle | 267 pages

Genre: YA | Contemporary 

Goodreads



Sometimes, blackmail is the only weapon a girl has...

Haley Patterson has had a crush on golden boy Bryce Colton for ages. But when she hears a rumor that he hooked up with her she gives him a choice: be her boyfriend for a month to show other guys that she's dateable-despite her overprotective and very intimidating brothers-or deal with the angry, cage-fighting boyfriend of the girl he actually did hook up with.

Bryce didn't know the other Haley even had a boyfriend. He was just trying to get his ex off his back. And now, not only is he being blackmailed, he's being blackmailed by an honor student. His new "girlfriend" has two three-legged dogs, her father mows grass at the country club, and she's...well, difficult. And different.

Can something so fake turn into something real?

 

 

My thoughts:


This review is going to be pretty short since this read really didn't really wow me in any way. It was alright but I'm finding it hard to have something to say about it which, in its own way, is exactly the problem.


I was on and off with the main character, Haley. Sometimes I thought she was a great, quirky character with a loving personality - she loves animals and does her best to help people out, but a lot of the time Haley came off really demanding. I think she was 'supposed' to come across as a strong female character that isn't afraid to ask for what she wants and work for it, but it was too strong and if someone behaved that way in real life you can guarantee they would push everyone around them away.


I felt the same way about Bryce but instead of being demanding, he was the opposite. Bryce couldn't seem to make any decisions and everything worked out in his way anyway. It was frustrating. To me, he was a poor character.


The ending also drove me crazy. I literally thought that 50 pages or so were missing. It was just way too easy - there was no fight involved and it made the characters look really weak.


Aside from all that though, there was a cute romance going. I like how Bryce changed throughout the story and I liked the secondary characters that helped him through it.


My rating: 5/10


Chris Cannon:

Goodreads | Website | Twitter



Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Review: Like Candy by Debra Doxer

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Title: Like Candy

Author: Debra Doxer

Series: Candy #1

Publication date: July 28th 2015

Format: Kindle | Netgalley 

Genre: YA | Romance | Contemporary 

Goodreads

 

 

Revenge is sweet, just like candy.

Candy Seaborne knows she’s badass. She takes after her father, an assassin and possibly a spy, although he won’t admit to either. She idolizes him. Her dream is to follow in his footsteps. But first, she has to finish high school.

Biding her time, waiting for real life to begin, Candy craves drama and isn’t above manufacturing some. If you’re a classmate who wronged her or a boyfriend who cheated, watch your back. She’s no pushover, and revenge may be her favorite pastime. 

Jonah Bryson is the senior class heartthrob who breaks all the stereotypes. He’s a jock, but he isn’t the typical player. He’s moody and antisocial. No girl has gotten anywhere with him since his last girlfriend broke his heart.

Candy sees Jonah as a challenge and the perfect distraction. But she may be in over her head because unlike everyone else, Jonah isn’t buying her tough act. He sees the lost, lonely girl inside. He sees too much. When he looks at her that way, she wants to let her guard down and be vulnerable. But that’s the last thing she should do because her father’s world is spilling over into hers, and life is about to get real much sooner than Candy expected.



My thoughts:


I'm a big fan of cutesy reads like this - girl falls for boy next door kind of reads  that don't take themselves too seriously and are more reads to get you out of a funk rather than something that will be reviewed on world building and incredibly complicated plot lines.

 

This book was one of those that was divided into half with one half being annoying and making me want to give up and the other half having the potential of a great read.

 

The beginning was terrible for me. I didn't like Candy - she came across as a spoilt brat and, considering her circumstances, it really didn't fit well into the story. Instead of being a relatable character, she came off too unapproachable with her fake 'I'm a boss' attitude. Also, on top of a horrific attitude problem, there didn't seem to be any redeeming personality traits or at least at first, so the read wasn't off to a great start.

 

When Theo, secondary character and main love interest, was introduced, Candy changed. On the one hand that wasn't exactly best seeing as the introduction of a mysterious boy causes this whole new Candy to emerge…sigh. But on the other hand, I was too relieved to be rid of that annoying, grating personality that was getting on my last nerve. I really began to warm up to the characters and it wasn't too far into the read either so I managed to give it a second chance.

 

During the middle of the book there was a great storyline going and a good bit of tension between characters as well as some hilarious pranks that broke up the story a bit. All was good and I couldn't wait for all the secrets to come out.

 

The last third of the book was disappointing, especially the ending. A lot of the focus of the read was on romance and so Candy's father's profession seemed out of place to me. It wasn't believable enough. At times it was just plain weird for such a light hearted read.

 

Maybe it was because there was no progression involved, but the read as a whole with mostly unconvincing with characters I couldn't relate to. There were no hints interspersed throughout the read to give some indication as to what should happen at the end. Normally I would  say that's a good thing since it makes a read unpredictable, but paired with unconvincing characters, it didn't work for me. The ending came out of nowhere.

 

Overall this read was okay but only just. It had moments where I genuinely thought it was getting to be a great read but sadly, instead it took one step forward and about ten back, ending up worse that it started out.

 

My rating: 4/10

 

Debra Doxer:

Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

 

Candy:

  1. Like Candy
  2. Sweet Liar

Friday, 31 July 2015

Review: Confessions of a Virgin Sex Columnist!

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Title: Confessions of a Virgin Sex Columnist!

Author: Kay Marie

Series: N\A (no info. yet but seems like there will be a sequel)

Format: Kindle | 304 pages

Genre: New Adult | Romance | Humour

Goodreads



My name is Skylar Quinn. I just moved to New York with my best friend Bridget, and I have a confession. Well, more than one. Okay, quite a few really. Fine, here goes!

Confession #1: I'm a sex columnist. Hold on, that's not really the confession. You see, I'm sort of a virgin...sex columnist.

Confession #2: I'm kind of in love with Bridget's older brother, Oliver. No, I was. No, I am. Wait, was? Am? Crap.

Confession #3: I've been avoiding Oliver for four years. Or I was until today, because he just moved in. Yes, you read that correctly. He's my new roommate. So that night we've both been pretending never happened, well, we might not be able to keep it a secret any longer. 

And trust me, this is only the beginning.

 

 

My thoughts:


Wow…this read was bloody hilarious from the very beginning. I mean really.


The main character, Skylar, had me in hysterics from the first page. I've never connected with a character so fast - her running commentary just had me choking back a laugh and it carried on from there. 

 

Skylar was a brilliant character. She had great relationships and her quirky personality made for some great reading. I loved how she really grew up throughout the read and ended up almost being a completely new character until she brings it back around to her old self again when the opportunity arises. She was a blast.

 

This read was just an all round hilarious, cute romance with lots of memorable characters - I loved every minute of it. I challenge anybody to read this without at least a smile on their face.

 

Memorable Quotes:


The best boyfriend I've ever had was a fictional character.

 

It's hard to be intimidated by someone you've had burping contests with.

 

My rating: 8/10

 

Kay Marie:

Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook

 

Monday, 6 July 2015

Review: A Change for the Good by Melanie Jayne

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Title: A Change for the Good

Author: Melanie Jayne

Series: N/A

Publisher: Big Dog Publishing

Publication date: Jul 7th

Format: Kindle | Netgalley | 146 pages

Genre: Adult | Romance

Goodreads



Two people starting over, making much needed changes in their lives.

Zoe crawford has moved to a new city after being dumped and humiliated by her ex-husband. She is going to put her wants and needs first and get her life in order.

Tony Alessi has returned to his hometown to rehab his body and soul, leaving his ATF career behind.

When Tony meets Zoe, he likes what he sees. She appreciates the attention from the younger man but doesn't want to participate in a cougar challenge. As Zoe learns to trust Tony, she admits to some odd happenings in her life. The feelings of being followed, call hang ups and an apartment break-in. When the attacks turn physical, she accepts Tony's help.

Soon Zoe's life is threatened, the couple hides in Tony's cabin and grow closer as they discover who they were and who they hope to be.

Will Zoe's past ruin her chance to change her life for the good?

 

 

My thoughts:


This is going to be an extremely short review since, unfortunately, there isn't much to say about this one.


I really didn't get on with this read. I honestly wish it was just the storyline, characters and plot issues but it wasn't. The writing needed a lot of work. So much so that I regret finishing the book. Harsh, I know. The timings were off a lot of the time in that one minute Zoe would be talking to her friend on the phone and the next minute it's a week later and she's shopping. It was annoying. 


It just needed work. It has so much potential to be a great story with the idea of a divorcee and a guy going through a lot of pain. I understood what the author wanted the story to be, but it missed the mark.


To keep this from being just a whole lot of me complaining here's what I couldn't stand:

  • Writing - didn't pace well, time skips, horrible dialogue.
  • Rushed the whole way through.
  • Back story and relationships weren't believable.
  • No real turning point at the start of the characters getting closer.

 

My rating: 3/10

 

Melanie Jayne:

Goodreads | Website | Twitter