Saturday, 14 October 2017

REVIEW; Bad Mommy, by Tarryn Fisher

Rating: 

Genre: Romance, Psychological Thriller 

Recommend: Yes

NO SPOILERS!!! 

Summary:

Fig lost her little girl and believes that her soul is present in a girl she watches at the park. She learns where the girl lives, and conveniently moves into the house next door, befriending parents Jolene and Darius. She wants everything that Jolene has - her child, her husband, her house, her style. As the imitation reaches new levels, so does the danger. 

My Thoughts:

Well where to start with this whirlwind of a book. I think this was definitely the best book I've read this year - it has to be. I love Tarryn Fisher's books and they usually hit me pretty hard, but this was on a whole new level of crazy (or maybe on par with Marrow). 

We know Fig has lost a child, and her relationship disbanded as her partner didn't want to try again while Fig couldn't cope with the loss. She slowly becomes fixated on a little girl she sees in the park, following her therapist's advice that she would meet her child's soul again. 

But Fig is an obsessive person, and moves into the house next door to Jolene and her young daughter. Fig is envious from the start; of Jolene's life including her home, her husband and her sense of style. It starts of rather minor, with Fig buying similar home decor, or vising places that Jolene has posted on her social media. But her stalker tendencies are dismissed by Jolene, but her husband, Darius, can't let it go. 

This book is told from three different POV in three distinct parts; Fig (The Psychopath), Darius (The Sociopath) and then Jolene (The Writer). And HOLY SHIT! It's hard to know who to believe as the plot twists and totally blindsides you and makes you feel sick with worry and... it's just a book that is impossible to put down. To the reader, it appears like Jolene and Darius have a happy, tight marriage. But after Fig's meddling, is it all for appearances? Can we trust Darius? There are just so many times that I had to stop and try and piece together the puzzle and THE ENDING! 

The ending of this will never escape my memory. This wins the best ending ever and it absolutely punches you and guts you. I even ran out of the room to my mom to tell her how it ended because I was so in shock. Even now, what wonderful literary wisdom to write that way. 

As victim to emotional blackmail in a relationship with a narcissist, I feel like this is an important read. It really highlights how blind love can be when you are being lied to and how you need to be stronger to rise above it all, now matter how much it F's you up. I got chillsssss...


Overall:

Wonderfully psychotic and captivating - one of my favourite reads from 2017 with some twisted characters brought to life with magical writing skills.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

REVIEW; Tangled Beauty, by K.L. Middleton

Rating:

Genre: New-Adult, Suspense, Romance

Recommend: No

Book 1

SPOILERS 

Summary:

Sinclair is asked by her best friend, Jesse, to pretend to be his girlfriend at a family event. He can't come out to his parents as he risks being cut off. Visiting the grand home for the weekend, Sinclair meets Jesse's attractive lawyer brother, Reed, and sparks fly. Meanwhile, Sinclair also has a secret admirer who will stop at nothing to get his girl.

My Thoughts:

All right, so this is definitely a quick read, coming in at well under two hours. As a quick read, it fills the gap nicely. 

Writing: This needs to go back to the Editor's desk for starters. Names were spelled incorrectly, punctuation missing (at the end of a chapter once). The pacing is horrendous. Set over the course of one weekend and leading up to a big party, the suspense is slowly built just for it all to go off in one big explosion and then a chapter at the end to round it all off. Totally unbalanced.

Story: What a whirlwind. I feel the thriller aspect of this should have been excluded. It read like two totally different plots; the plot with Reed/Sinclair happening with all the family drama as a romance novel. And then a chapter here and there from Michael (who we don't know anything about, other than he is watching Sinclair) to add in the suspense and create totally unnecessary drama. I feel there was a substantial plot in the romantic drama alone, without trying to just add a kidnapping/murder on top randomly. 

Characters: The only character I liked was Jesse. Sinclair is very one-dimensional, with no idiosyncrasies or personality. Reed appeared to be mature but was a character you could find in most NA books - reformed player. Throw in two characters with similar names - Sela and Sera? And then Jack! Jesse's father was an absolute slimeball. He was probably necessary for the whole romantic dealings and lying, but I didn't understand how Jesse and Reed were so accepting of his actions. Reed admitted that Jack had hit on every woman he brought home. He knew right away he couldn't trust his fiancée but yet let them just continue behind his back. Sinclair knew Sela was cheating on Reed, but yet believed her when she called Reed's name to make Sinclair jealous. Ugh - there was just no brain involved in any of this! 

They were all cliché characters. The proud, rich parents that were homophobic - and no real issue explored about how this is wrong etc. Slut-shaming. Reed is supposed to be a lawyer and busy with his clients, suggesting his is rather successful and there is reference to how he has earned his money. In parallel though he is well known for his female company - surely that's not an image that bodes well for a lawyer? 

I feel like there were some decent topics just thrown about in this novel (homophobia for one) as if that made it a good novel. It doesn't. There was no character development or issues explored in any detail to allow for reader thought or moral dilemmas. It was all just so shallow. 

Overall:

Cut out the thriller story-line and there is a premise for a great novel. Sadly, it would need to be packed out properly, with character building and development and the pacing of everything totally revised. Do not recommend. 

Saturday, 30 September 2017

REVIEW; One Condition (The Lust List #1), by Nova Raines

Rating: 

Genre: New-Adult, Romance, Contemporary

Recommend: Yes

Book 1/4

NO SPOILERS 

Summary:

Hayley Wade returns to Los Angeles following the death of her rock star father. Leaving her a large inheritance with conditions, Hayley is left to deal with his dangerous debt involving drugs. 
Kaiden Stone is number one on The Lust List - a list of the hottest, wealthiest bachelors. In a Paparazzi encounter, he "saves" Hayley and the pair have an undeniable chemistry. But both have pasts and drama that catches up with them, and when lying to Kaiden becomes part of the plan to get her inheritance, all they've built up could fall down even quicker.


My Thoughts:


This was an OK read. I read it in nearly one complete sitting so it definitely drew me in and held my attention. I think in one way, I wish it had been longer as it all just felt like an introduction to the characters and their story more so than a first novel in a series.

Hayley: I liked her for the most part. She was independent and had been through all sorts of hell and now suffering for her father's actions. She had no interest in being a part of the Hollywood life and I became totally swept up in her whirlwind of a life. However, I was a little let down with how she acted in the club with Kaiden... I felt like she didn't have any self respect or dignity and at this stage she hardly knew the guy! She lived for the validation from Kaiden rather than just being her own person completely and not caring what he thought. Oh well.. everyone has flaws.

Kaiden: I finished this still not really understanding him. Like Hayley, I couldn't help but like him from their first encounter. But then he became a total riddle. This sort of worked though, no guy is an easy read. At times he appeared like an ass and I'd have expected that by the end we would get some insight about him, but nope... nothing. Hard to feel anything towards him, positive or negative. Mystery is good but too much and you just become disinterested.

Story: The story was pretty standard for a NA novel. Wasn't too much of a fan the drama at the end, personally. But it was a good cliffhanger and a part of me really wants to read the second book to find out what happened, sooo it did succeed in grasping my attention at least. The chemistry between the two was palpable and they had good banter.

Overall: 


A quick read but an electric one. Filled with chemistry and drama and death threats, this is a captivating romance read. 

Goodreads 

Saturday, 23 September 2017

REVIEW; Punk 57, by Penelope Douglas


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Rating:

Genre: New-Adult, Romance, Suspense

Recommend: Yes

Standalone

NO SPOILERS!!! 

Summary:

Misha and Ryen were set up as pen-pals in 5th grade, both their teachers believing they were the same gender. Growing up, Ryen gave Misha the best version of herself, as she tried to be better for his sake. Ryen was the only girl that Misha ever cared about. She wrote him letters, nearly 3 for every one he replied to, but she knew he needed her. Her words kept him focused. They don't follow each other online, so to keep that distance in their lives and certain anonymity. But when Misha believes he has met Ryen in real life, he goes above and beyond to meet her. Ryen is unaware Misha has been right in front of her all along. 

My Thoughts:

I've been waiting to read this for so long and I wasn't disappointed. From the beginning I was hooked as we delve into Misha and Ryen's story, told from dual POV. 

Ryen: I really liked her because she truly wasn't perfect, possibly even not a nice character. For once we got a character that wasn't completely naive, innocent, oblivious to their good looks etc. Ryen was a bitch at times, allowing weaker characters to be bullied if it saved herself. Misha didn't like the real Ryen he saw in person, and so chose to torture her instead.  I think there was wonderful character development for Ryen, as she yearned to be the best version of herself that she wrote on paper to Misha and as she grew in real confidence to commit to her moral high ground and defend those in need and put the real bullies back in their place.

Misha: He was a total ass, but mostly for the right reasons. Misha is a musician and Ryen's letters and words act as a huge muse for his work. He meets Ryen on a night out, both unaware of who each other is, but he instantly learns that she is the Ryen behind all of his music. After numerous life changing events, Misha joins the same school as Ryen under the false name of Masen, shielding his identity from Ryen and gradually becoming a staple person in her life. He battles with admitting his real name, but he has other reasons to be in the same town and can't let his true identity be known. As Masen, he treats her like shit, trying to charm her into submission and crack her icy exterior and queen status. All the while Ryen can't help but fall for him as Masen, while feeling guilt about Misha. 

There was a great sub-plot propelling this story all along. We got the main hype about Misha and Ryen's online vs real relationship, but there was also a lot going on in Misha's life that kept the pace tumbling along nicely with a lot of suspense. There's quite a bit revealed about Ryen as she develops along with the story line, and it makes for a very surprising read. 

Overall:

This was a highly addictive read, full of drama and emotion, with an original plot. One of the best books I have read this year as the battle of choosing between who you are and who you want to be is explored in depth. 

Saturday, 16 September 2017

REVIEW; Kaleidoscope Hearts, by Claire Contreras

Rating: 

Genre: New-Adult, Romance,

Recommend: Yes

Standalone

SPOILERS 

Summary:

Elle is trying to move on with her life, following the death of her fiancé. Returning home and moving in to live with her brother, she comes face to face to his best friend, Oliver. 
Elle has always been off limits to Oliver, but when she was younger he broke her heart when he left for college. Elle tried to move on with Wyatt, but realised it was a different type of love, one that wasn't enough. 
Now faced with the opportunity to give Oliver another chance, Elle has to decide if she is ready to move on, and if it can really be with the one who broke her.   

My Thoughts:

I'm a little torn with this as have some mixed feelings about it all. 

Elle: I really liked her and felt a huge amount of sympathy for her. She was tormented by what she should feel following the passing of Wyatt. I really loved how subtly it was portrayed that she did love him, but just not as much as her feelings for Oliver, and how guilty she felt by this. At times, I did want to give her a kick to just jump into things with Oliver, but at the same time could understand her hesitation and fears. It was a great battle between two different loves but also fighting against what society expect you to act like vs your own emotions. She was such a compassionate and kind-hearted soul and it was beautiful watching Oliver draw this out of her.  

Oliver: He was one adamant man! I loved his resolve and how he wouldn't give up on her. Elle was the one person that made Oliver want to be different and she changed him. He wanted her for so long but never could due to her being his best friend's sister. He didn't have the perfect track record but he grew up as he got older and knew what he wanted, so it was interesting seeing his character development from the flashbacks of when they were teenagers. 

3 stars? I liked it, but didn't love it. By the time of writing this I had read a few books in between and honestly, very little of this was memorable. It was a decent cute read but I didn't really care for the relationship between them. There was too much focus on why they couldn't be together and I would have liked more secretive dalliances before they told Vic. 


Overall:

A decent romantic read worth a shot. It's different and is a heartwarming story about two forbidden loves finding their way back together. 

Goodreads 

Saturday, 9 September 2017

REVIEW; Cousins (Cousins #1), by Lisa Lang Blakeney

26222151Rating: 

Genre: New-Adult, Romance

Recommend: Yes

Book 1

NO SPOILERS!!! 

Summary:

Elizabeth is with her boyfriend when thugs break into her room, threaten her boyfriend and beat her up. Tied up with drugs, he very quickly becomes her ex. For her safety, she moves in to live with her Aunt. 
Her cousin Roman comes and goes. The same cousin who used to prank her as kids. Meeting as strangers, the two form a bond on intense chemistry and attraction. When they meet as cousins, they wonder is it too late to ignore all they'd built as strangers. 

My Thoughts:

Firstly, by the time I've gotten around to writing this review (less than a month since reading), I've already forgotten the majority of the book... especially the ending. 

Elizabeth is attacked when with her boyfriend, and for her safety, moves to live with her Aunt. She married and acquired a step-son; Roman. Roman and Elizabeth aren't actually blood related, so it's not as taboo as it all sounds. They met briefly when they were kids, but twenty years on they now meet in a night club and don't recognise each other. When their paths continue to cross, their chemistry is unbelievable, and they begin to act on their mutual attraction.

Roman is a fierce, hot-headed guy who fixes things for a lot of money. His latest venture is to fix up an elite night-club subject to an attack. His latest unprofessional venture is to mind his spoiled cousin, Elizabeth. Roman is fully aware of the effect he has on her, and uses his charm and power to make her squirm and cringe at every possible moment until she gives in to their undeniable chemistry. 

Story: This was a decent story line. The romance is not as taboo as initially considered, so it's not too daring or cringe, but there's still lines to be crossed and rules to be broken that make it somewhat forbidden. The writing level is rather average, making for pretty easy reading. We also got a  dual POV and I didn't like that aspect. I think this would have had a lot more allure and suspense had it just been from Elizabeth's POV, as then there would have been some reader doubt over Roman's intentions instead of finding out everything.

Overall:

It was a decent quick read, but nothing too memorable. Ends on a cliffhanger too, which I didn't really enjoy.