Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Review: Red Glove by Holly Black


Title: Red Glove

Author: Holly Black

Series: Curse Workers #2

Publisher: Gollancz

Publication date: 16 Jun 2011

Format: Paperback | 272 pages

Genre: YA | Paranormal 


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


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 


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


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 


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 clich├ęd, 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


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