Saturday, 19 August 2017

REVIEW; Fair Game, by Monica Murphy

Rating: 

Genre: New-Adult, Contemporary 

Recommend: Yes

Book 1

NO SPOILERS!!! 

Summary:

Jade's boyfriend bets her at a poker game, in the hopes he can win $50,000. He loses. Jade now owes the arrogant infamous Shepard Prescott. 
He loves watching her squirm and chasing after the one girl who keeps saying 'No'. But as Shep starts to fall for the feisty girl, he has to convince Jade he is no longer playing games and may actually be falling in love with her. 

My Thoughts:

I don't know if I am in a lull in regards to NA Romance novels, as a lot I've read lately I've just been skipping paragraphs and eye-rolling. But then Tijan, Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher can still write words that get inside my heart and my head and keep me awake at night and think

First 50% of this book: It was really good and I actually read it in one sitting as I was so hooked. I feel the start was extremely strong; it begins with the poker game and Jade being part of the bet. The chemistry between Jade and Shep is amazing, their banter hilarious. But honestly, the book fell from there. 

Second 50%: Predictable, boring. Ok, it wasn't bad. But as soon as everything starts up with the two, it just follows the same pattern in 95% of other YA/NA books. There were no twists or aspects that make the book stand out. Once they got together, everything was hunky dory and wonderful together - which, yes, can happen in real life obviously. But it was just boring :( sorry!

All the intimate scenes just felt like repeats, and I ended up skipping a lot of the last few as they added nothing to the overall story and the whole plot of the book felt like a massive shift. Meanwhile, slut shaming galore! So, Jade talks about how her roommate just goes from guy to guy but isn't 'a slut or anything'. Why does that statement have to be added? Just state how Jade and Kelli treat guys differently but stop with the slut shaming in every goddamn NA book! 

Shep: I didn't like him. I liked him for the first chapter, but for the intimate scenes, or when he was trying to charm Jade early on, I just cringed so much at his lines and arrogance. As he fell for Jade, granted, he did improve in respecting her and behaviour and there was a struggle between his old "player" self and trying to be a good boyfriend to Jade. I didn't find his arrogant nature swoon-worthy in the slightest anyway. 

Both main characters, of course, had parental issues!! What NA book would have a main character with a nice family?! But anyway, neither actually acknowledged the issues they had with their parents until it was imperative for the story and keep the plot turning. 

Overall:

I nearly DNF'd, but persevered. Not the best book I've read and a very flat and predictable story line. 

Saturday, 12 August 2017

REVIEW; Luckiest Girl Alive, by Jessica Knoll

Rating: 

Genre: Thriller

Recommend: No

Standalone

SPOILERS!!! 

Summary:

Ani FaNelli is engaged to a notable figure, she has a promising glamorous career, and is moving up the ranks in city's social scene. Ani is determined to keep her image prestigious and proud. She now has landed an interview/documentary series about her life. But when she was a teenager and attended Bradley School, there were some drunken nights and painful events that Ani has worked hard to bury. With the documentary looming, Ani's past threatens to come to life. 

My Thoughts:

DNF at about 60%. Up to this point there was no aspect that constitutes as psychological thriller in the slightest. In the 60% I read, all that had been covered was Ani attempting to keep her facade up in front of her fiance, and then the ordeals she endured as a teenager at school... She judged other women based on how they looked and what they wore and apparently depending how you place a clam shell down on your plate is a giveaway on how posh you are... wonderful - but still no thriller... 

Ani is reunited with her teacher, who cared for Ani when he heard she had been attacked by a student. Now older, he is taking part in the documentary about Ani's life and she is concerned about what he will disclose, whilst also fancy-ing him and being jealous of his partner, despite Ani supposedly being happily engaged. I somewhat enjoyed her vindictive side and attempts to be a socialite... but nothing happened! 

Overall:

I can't recommend this due to not being able to complete it. By 60% nothing had occurred to warrant it being a thriller, never mind a psychological one. I really don't see what has won so many high ratings and a movie deal. 

Saturday, 5 August 2017

REVIEW; Unseen Messages, by Pepper Winters

Rating: 

Genre: New-Adult, Contemporary 

Recommend: Yes

Standalone

SPOILERS!!! 

Summary:

Estelle ignores all the signs before getting on her flight. She knows the universe is trying to tell her something. After crash-landing on a secluded island in Fiji, she has to step up. Along with Galloway, the pair find themselves taking care of two orphaned children, and learning to survive in the wilderness along with their injuries. As hope turns to acceptance, the new family unit have to fight to survive and live alongside each other, adapting to island living. 

My Thoughts:

With 591 pages, I was so excited to get lost in this book and escape. Although not as lost as they get in the book! 

I feel like this is a total different genre of book compared to what Pepper Winters has written before. There was no taboo or dark themes in this. 

Estelle: Poor woman! She has been flung into stardom and following her music tour all she wants to do is go home. Despite all the warning signs to not get on the plane - she ignores them so she can get home quickly. I don't quite understand her reasoning to get on a dodgy helicopter after her haste to return home, but hey ho. 

Galloway: I didn't really like him for the majority of the book. He only saw Estelle as a sex object for the initial time when stranded. He had a broken leg and couldn't walk, but was angry with Estelle for taking care of them. How archaic! While the survival instinct flared up in Estelle, I never felt it did with Galloway. However, with the dual POV, we do get an insight into his past and thought process and I think this really saved him as a character as viewing him from Estelle's POV would not have sufficed. 

Pacing: The book spans about 7 or 8 years (I think). For the majority of the time on the island, the pacing was brilliantly done - with time skipped when necessary but notable moments developed, so it never really felt like it dragged. 

Plot: I enjoyed (more than I expected) the story of survival and the information of how they learned to cope and survive e.g. Estelle testing the plants for any allergic reactions to try and discover more food. There was one death I really didn't enjoy (but sort of understand why it was required) and it tore me up! There was a lot regarding the blossoming romance that frustrated me. If there had just been some better communication there would have been a lot less drama and hassle, although that would've defeated the a lot of the sub-plots then... 

Ending: I loved that the story continues beyond being rescued and the twists still occur once they get to Australia. There wasn't that immediate happy ending at being rescued and returning to civilisation. I actually think this was one of the best endings to such a great long story. 

Overall:

I think this would be a wonderful holiday read to get totally lost in. It's quite dangerous and graphic, with some truly heart-wrenching scenes. 

Saturday, 29 July 2017

REVIEW; House 23, by Eli Yance

Rating: 

Genre: Thriller, Suspense

Recommend: No

Standalone

SPOILERS!!! 

Summary:

Joseph Lee was framed for his wife's murder. She was bludgeoned to death as he was out cold on the bathroom floor. He wasn't convicted, but that doesn't stop his town from blaming him. Joseph hasn't left his house in 6 months, until a new couple move in to number 23, across the road. The wife looks the image of his dead wife, Jennifer, and Joseph feels a connection with her. Slowly, he befriends the couple and mourns his wife's death. But not everything is at is seems; especially as the real murderer has not yet been discovered.

My Thoughts:

This started off really promising. There was the initial suspense of who was the real murderer and what was with connection with Zala looking like Jennifer. 

None of the plot fitted well for me. My interest was piqued when it was clear there was something more going on with Zala and her husband, but as soon as Joseph uncovered some information it all tumbled in a downward spiral with so much excessive, unwarranted violence. 

So much of the build up to the action is also unnecessary. There is a lot that pulls you in; the desire to discover the real murderer for one, which is hardly even addressed. We do find out, but it's a totally new character that is just thrown in at the end with a typical, feeble excuse and reasoning. It all just boils down to an affair and a jealous husband. While conveniently the new neighbours are cons who are squatting in the murderer's house, so it all really comes full circle...

The pacing is a little off. As said, the first part is good as the drama and suspense steadily increases, pulling you in. But as soon as one thread of info is discovered, it all becomes unraveled in one breath. 

Overall:

I wouldn't recommend this novel, unfortunately. It didn't flow well and the whole plot was haphazard and alien. 

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

ARC REVIEW; Mirror Me, by Tara St. Pierre

Rating: 

Genre: Young-Adult, Contemporary 

Recommend: Yes

Standalone

NO SPOILERS!!! 

Summary:

Hannah now attends a prestigious, strict school, as a last effort of her mother's to tame her. After a rebellious past and an event involving Hannah's best friend, Hannah can't look at herself in the mirror. When she does, her reflection doesn't match what she expects, and Hannah fears for her sanity. When objects become displaced, screens appear backward, and Hannah is accused of going places & doing things she has no recollection of, Hannah debates if she can even trust herself. 

My Thoughts:

***Thank you to the author for providing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review***

Wowww! The blurb provided doesn't really allude to the extremities of what occurs and I was SO hooked. There are so many questions; What happened with Nikki? Is Nikki alive? Who is really to blame? Is Hannah seeing things? What is going on with her reflection? Who is moving her phone? The list goes on. 

It's actually quite a difficult book to review without giving spoilers away as you need to nearly go into this book half blind. 

Hannah: I think Hannah was a brilliant main character. We know she has had a rebellious past and is now paying the price under the strict rule of her mother. She has had to move away from her old life, her best friend, Nikki, and doesn't even get to keep photos of her life. She is now trying to keep her head down, get good grades and just stay out of trouble, but it's not good enough in her mother's eyes. As a teenager, she also has the ongoing drama of school life and friends and trying to fit in and be a part of things as much as her mother will allow. Her mother only approves of one friend solely because she believes she helps Hannah's grades and that's all that counts. As the story builds, you really feel for Hannah and her loss of control over her life as the unthinkable drama unfolds. 

Story: This is such an original concept, brought to life so well. Slowly, Hannah is being accused of doing things she has no memory of; plagiarizing and sneaking out, getting her in further trouble, and we have no idea how it's all happening. Told from Hannah's POV, the reader is left with the same wonder and questions as Hannah, not knowing the importance of mirrors and the messages left. Added with the mystery of Hannah's past and it's quite a page turner! The pacing is executed brilliantly; there's enough ongoing drama to prevent any dragging, balanced perfectly with answers, so it's not just an ending filled with all the answers we had.

Characters: I really liked that there weren't too many characters in this. They all held purpose and had distinct personalities and reasoning, that made them so realistic. I think I would've liked a teeny bit more of an insight into the beginning of Hannah's relationship with Cole, but then again, Hannah also missed out on most of that too! Hannah's mother is just awful, with absolute no emotional bond with her daughter, but yet even with her there is character development and attempted justification. 

I thought I had figured out what was happening as we got a little bit more revealed, however the "twist" near the ending really got me (a positive). When the why is revealed, it's a bit like a punch to the stomach (in a good way) and there lies a great underlying message about forgiveness. Everything is finished off expertly, and it feels like the whole story is justified with solid reasoning rather than just being an unexplained event.  

Overall:

This is an extremely original and captivating read with great twists. There is a thread of Fantasy genre intertwined with a solid, thought-provoking theme regarding growing up and forgiveness. A magical YA read. Tara St. Pierre has one of the best imaginations!

Saturday, 22 July 2017

REVIEW; Malik (Carter Brothers #1), by Lisa Helen Gray

Rating: 

Genre: New-Adult, Romance

Recommend: No

Book 1

SPOILERS!!! 

Summary:

Harlow Evans has moved into her Grandmother's following the murder of her parents. Next door, 5 boys live with their grandfather - The Carter Brothers. On her first day at her new school, Harlow makes an enemy who will stop at nothing to humiliate and ruin her life. 
One Carter brother, Malik, claims Harlow as his, as they all fight to protect Harlow. 

My Thoughts:

I really don't know where to begin. The amount of notes and highlights for this book surpass any other - and not in a good way. 


Writing: I appreciate self-publishing and love that it's becoming such a huge thing. But come on! At least get an editor of some kind. It's known you can't self-edit as you read what you expect to have written and not see it for the first time, but the standard of writing in this is abhorrent. I was honestly so shocked, especially as it is so highly rated and yet very few comment on the grammar. There are no typos (congrats on using spell check) but the grammar is horrendous. 

“Whose going to be there?’’ - Who's surely?
"Myles goes back to reading his health and social workbook, and go back to the laptop." - Yep, makes sense...


“Or they were click flicks,’’- Chick Flicks or is click flicks a thing? 

"No one has lived there in over eighty year's" - It should be "years ", without apostrophe due to it not being possessive. (If it were, e.g. "she had eighty years' experience)

"he turns to study his food, with his one hand resting on my thigh" - using "his one" suggests he only has one hand and it doesn't read well. 

The author clearly had an aversion to commas; none would be used when using a name e.g. "What do you want Craig?" and it should read "What do you want, Craig?" It's vocative case and therefore is separated from the direct address!! This error was ALL THROUGHOUT THE DAMN BOOK! I learnt a lot of punctuation rules from reading alone, and then a little research over the years for essays and further understanding - this should be a basic trait picked up by the author if she actually reads! 

Also would be good if the headings weren't left as Word default - really added to the unprofessional nature. 

SHOW, NOT TELL. The unwritten rule of writing a good story, yeah? You plant ideas in the readers mind to leave them to piece together feelings, or emotions... or jokes! 

"The name sounds like bust-her-cherry and not Buster Cherry"


Thank you, for pointing the joke out. Would never have worked it out myself.

Harlow: What an annoying heroine. She appeared to only be affected by the murder of her parents when it suited her. Day to day life - there was no grieving whatsoever! She also happened to be a curvy, hourglass girl with brown hair and blue eyes... an hourglass figure which APPARENTLY all boys despise... um... what? Then to add to her innocence of ignorance, she never wore makeup!!! Oh, Em, Gee! A naive, innocent, poor orphaned 17 year old virgin, who is soooo beautiful and doesn't know it, but doesn't even attempt makeup as her parents said she didn't need it. Sorry, but if a teenage girl is insecure about how she looks, she will try makeup to boost her confidence, regardless of what her parents say... 

She also did my head in regarding her relationship with Malik. I get the whole being scared to trust shit, I'm the least trusting person there is, but I wanted to smack her. She was so dense she believed BULLIES WHO HATED HER over her boyfriend. Like, they've tripped you up, humiliated you countless times, and yet you still believe what they say about the guy who has been by your side since day one? Whatever. 

Carter Brothers: Now, there is a great opportunity for the series here- five insanely hot and witty brothers and their individual issues blah blah, wonderful. But 5 of them? And all 5 of them good looking and well built? Maybe 3 would've been realistic but I felt like I was reading a story from a teenage girl's fantasy of the perfect scenario. Oh, and all having names beginning with M? F sake. 

Insta-Love: Christ on a bike. THERE WAS F ALL ROMANCE IN THIS BOOK ANYWAY! Day one, and Malik just CLAIMS Harlow, and this is meant to be absolutely breath-taking and romantic?! WTF? There's no emotion or build up to their relationship (not to mention zero chemistry) and Harlow flips from being a scared little virgin to a flirty daring minx as quick as the wind changes. Come on. 

Bullying: I think authors have great power in what they write. Books often provide solace for struggling teenagers and therefore triggering topics should be presented well and dealt with carefully. It was all over the place here. It was all just used to propel the plot, with no real emotion behind it. Even rape was included and not very respectfully. 

Why were Harlow's parents murdered? Why did the murderer come back to kill her? NONE OF THIS WAS ANSWERED! I'm surprised it wasn't the classic death by car crash. At least you aren't left wondering why they were killed. A murderer returning to kill the daughter would suggest more than a mugging or random killing. But nope. Never got to know any of that. 

The story read like it was set in America. Even the names. Malik/Mason/Maverick/Myles - kind of all American names! There was some American english/terminology used too. The only giveaway to the setting was once or twice Pound Sterling currency was mentioned. 

Overall:

I think maybe YA would enjoy this more, as it all plays into the perfect fantasy of damsel in distress being saved by 5 guys.  

Saturday, 15 July 2017

REVIEW; Thief (Love Me With Lies #3), by Tarryn Fisher

Rating: 

Genre: Fiction, New-Adult, Contemporary 

Recommend: Yes

Book 3

NO SPOILERS!!! 

Summary:

Caleb's marriage has ended and he realises he never got over Olivia. But she is now happily married and has built a wonderful life with her husband. The two have always had the worst timing in making themselves available for each other and now is no exception. Caleb soon finds it's not as simple as he thought to win the woman of his dreams back again. 

My Thoughts:

The final installment of this series is presented from Caleb's POV, with the story being both from the present and flashbacks. The great thing about the alternative POV's throughout the series was the truth that get reveals. A lot of questions from the first two books were addressed from Caleb's truth and memories in flashbacks and conversations. I think overall, the three books work so well together and read amazing consecutively compared to most series where there's a strong end/start between each book. In hindsight I can't even be sure what happened exactly in each book, they blended so seamlessly. 

This wasn't as good as the previous two novels but was a reasonable ending to the series. The ending/epilogue was probably as perfect as it could be. I think endings are rather tricky to compose - do a HEA and it's predictable, don't do a HEA and you've broken the hearts of everyone who has read the series... hard one to choose! But the epilogue was perfect, it wasn't completely perfect in terms of a 100% HEA but it was more realistic. 

I don't want to give anything away for the last book, which makes it difficult to review. Caleb annoyed me so much. It felt like he thought Olivia would just come running to him after everything despite Olivia having her happy ending herself already. 

I enjoyed seeing a greater Olivia presence than in Dirty Red, where she didn't really feature. I also loved how she had so much more of a backbone and didn't allow Caleb to just walk all over her. Half of me was rooting for them to just accept their love and get on with things, but the other half was rooting for them to just carry on with their separate lives. 

Whilst this book is a bit of a mess, it's a wonderful mess! And I loved it. The whole series spans about 10 years and it's heart-wrencher! 

Overall:

I read both book 2 & 3 of this series on the one plane flight, so that highlights how addictive this series is. There are some decent plot twists and dramas's that will have you screaming at the characters. One of the best series I've read! 

Saturday, 8 July 2017

REVIEW; Dirty Red (Love Me With Lies #2), by Tarryn Fisher

Rating: 

Genre: Fiction, New-Adult, Contemporary

Recommend: Yes

Book 2

SOME SPOILERS!!! 

Summary:

Leah Smith beat Olivia in winning Caleb's heart. Olivia is no longer competing and Leah has a marriage and a baby on the way. The perfect family. But Leah isn't finding marriage or motherhood the easiest - compromise was never her style. Being married and following "rules" is cramping her lavish lifestyle as she fears her image will be destroyed. After beating Olivia, she may now lose Caleb all on her own. 

My Thoughts:

The Opportunist blew me away and I always worry the follow on books won't be as exciting as the initial novel. The idea of a novel from Leah's point of view really intrigued me as she was such a hateful vindictive character. 

I am a sucker for Tarryn's evil characters as she writes so twisted and amazing in their POV, and nearly justifies all the horrible things they do. What a woman Leah was. 

In The Opportunist she mainly comes across as a jealous love rival, doing what she needs to do to keep Caleb. But Dirty Red exemplifies her true horrid nature. She is so manipulative and her lack of empathy borderlines sociopath behaviour. She even uses her new born as a weapon of manipulation. 

There were times where I really felt for Leah. I actually had sympathy for the bitch. She is so insecure and that is the root of a lot of her evil actions, you want to just hug her and also bash her head against the mirror to just show her what she has. But her fear of losing Caleb and losing her "image" caused her own self-destruction to losing everything. She even is jealous of her own baby girl because she doesn't like another female having Caleb's attention - that is twisted! 

We get an insight into her past, which sometimes eludes to her present behaviour, although not excusing the majority of it. It was also an opportunity to see a different side of Caleb. In book one Caleb is presented as a boy in love, wanting a restart in his life to find himself, possibly a little bit of a push-over. However in Dirty Red he becomes a man. A father who will protect his baby at all costs and we see his ruthlessness as he finally stands up to the bitch he married. 

Just when you think you can justify Leah's actions, she continues to be more selfish and wretched. And I loved it. I loved reading from the POV of a despicable, vile human. 

Overall:

I am such a fan of Tarryn Fisher so of course recommend this whole series. Never before have I loved to hate a main character so much! 

Sunday, 2 July 2017

REVIEW; Wilde Like Me, by Louise Pentland

Rating: 

Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, Motherhood

Recommend: Yes

SOME teeny SPOILERS!!! 

Summary:

Robin Wilde is a single mother doing her best. She has a wonderful friend in her 6 year old daughter, Lyla, but often the loneliness and absence of a companion weasels into her mind and destroys her confidence. After being on her own for years, Robin decides it is time for a change. Arming herself with red lipstick and a dating app, Robin is back in action, ready to find herself a team-mate. As her career takes off and life changes, nothing could prepare her for the wonderful journey she is about to embark on. 

My Thoughts:

Oh myyy! Leading up to midnight on the release date I was like: 


But I was in Crete visiting family so it didn't release until 2am for me.. So I headed to bed anticipating the morning. And just wow


I am a huge Louise fan and find her expression and story telling original and witty, so I immediately fell in love with her writing, exemplifying her idiosyncrasies. 

All along Louise has stressed that this is not a story of her life, and is fiction, but that she wanted to write a book she could relate to. This novel proves you need to write about what you know. There is a distinct difference in books where authors have attempted to convey an emotion/feeling they've never experienced compared to this, where the emotions are so evocative and pronounced, the characters and story gets under your skin. 

I can't remember the last book I read where I was SO affected by the emotions and thoughts of a character. 

Robin Wilde: What a woman. She is doing a wonderful job of raising her young daughter, with her useless ex who doesn't even know how to take care of Lyla when she has a cough! Naturally, she compares herself to the other glamorous mothers at school who appear to have their shit together, while Robin has barely managed to get dressed for the school run. Robin witnesses every "perfect" family unit swan around her in apparent happiness, as she struggles to fit IKEA furniture into her car while her child yells she needs to pee! (lol). What is so poignant is the relentless efforts of this woman to be a good mother, and how evident to the rest of us that she is doing a fabulous job with Lyla, but yet she doesn't see or feel it. Robin is such a kind-hearted soul (taking care of Marnie) and you can't help but want to give her a hug and assure her she's doing good. 

Robin goes on such journey of character development and it is amazing to watch as she blossoms (and wobbles) and how her wonderful support group of fellow mothers and friends are there for her to remind her what she means to them and how much she is valued. As Robin's confidence and belief grows, it allows for hilarious moments/altercations as she stands up to the bullies in her life! 

All the insecurities felt by women on a daily basis are addressed and it's a wonderful novel to express empowering messages and motivation. I actually cried at the end and thankfully I had sunglasses on so no one could see my leaking mascara. 

The humour and wit of Louise is palpable throughout. I laughed so many times and read aloud some one-liners or paragraphs to my mom as I read along - something I haven't done so yet this year. 

Again, as Louise has taken inspiration from what she knows, Lyla's voice is very realistic. So often authors have a young child as a character but their voice/speech is incorrect for their age. Usually I keep away from stories that have a child character but I loved Lyla so much. She was responsible for so many chuckles. 

One thing that really struck a chord with me was Robin's relationship with Theo. I am SO grateful Louise included this sub-plot and is quite similar to my experiences - meeting someone, letting them call the shots, allow yourself be unhappy with them but do it anyway for the little bit of happiness they do provide. Reading how Robin adapts as she learns more about Theo, to their final encounter, in some way it provided me some closure in my own life. 

We are so often told in society/media that to be worth something we should have another half. Robin herself wanted this other half. And a strong message that I took from this was that we don't need someone. Robin wanted someone so badly on her team she allowed someone to treat her with no respect to try and fit in with the other mothers and what society expected. But yet she was raising her daughter wonderfully. She may not have had her shit together but where it mattered, she was ace-ing it. As her Aunt Kath told her, look at everything you do have rather the one thing you are missing. 

Ultimately, don't settle. Love yourself enough to know your worth. 


Overall:

I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this to everyone. So empowering and hilarious, but with low moments that make you well up. It really is like a huge hug in a book - and after reading the "Dear Reader" section at the end, I will certainly revisit this book (and probably a lot as I grow up) as a reminder to acknowledge my own worth and accomplishments. 

Reading this, Robin Wilde is definitely a friend for life. 

Saturday, 1 July 2017

REVIEW; Captured (Gowns & Crowns #2), by Jennifer Chance

Rating: 

Genre: New-Adult, Romance

Recommend: Yes

Book 2

SPOILERS!!! 

Summary:

Lauren Grant is visiting Garronia as her best friend is soon to marry a Prince. She is a perfect woman with a perfect image to maintain, and never falters in front of a man. Dimitri Korba is set as her bodyguard, but he finds the sharp and confident American to be attractive and enticing. But Lauren has had an older admirer since she was a child. He is friends with her parents and when the threat of him causes her into hiding, Lauren and Dimitri are forced together as they explore their mutual feelings. But is their romance part of Dimitri's duty to protect her? And can they survive the threat of Lauren's future husband?

My Thoughts:

Lauren: Oh, what a girl! She is an amazing character and I related so much to her. She has a rock hard exterior and always has the perfect mask in place to maintain a pristine image. She is actually quite a sensitive soul who is only protecting her heart. I found her quite alluring, as she attempted to use her looks to manipulate Dimitri but also let her heart betray her head so often. Her internal battle of head vs heart was such a strong theme and so relevant to young females. 

Setting: This was set on a fictional island, however due it not being an actual place there was a lack of history or culture presented. There were links to a Greek island, however the culture and nation were fictional. For me, this sort of affected the reality being presented and I didn't get an adequate description of the idiosyncrasies of the people or land to build a sufficient setting. It just felt like a no man's land between Greece and Turkey. Beautiful nonetheless though. 

There was a beautiful romance built between Lauren and Dimitri, presented by dual POV. I rather enjoyed this insight into both of their minds as it was often comical - the pair were playing the exact same game and the author managed to shield enough information from us to still allow for doubt and speculation when required - for once not everything was just given to us on a plate. 

I appreciated how there were two plots really- their romance and the drama between Lauren and Henry. The drama certainly intensified where Henry was involved, and the two plots were well blended to propel each other and provide a good story. 

Overall:

I quite enjoyed this read. There was a beautiful balance of humour, drama and romance that kept me reading and hooked - read within 24 hours! A perfect summer read. 

Saturday, 24 June 2017

REVIEW; Rumor Has It (Limelight #1), by Elisabeth Grace

Rating: 



Genre: New-Adult, Romance, YA

Recommend: Yes

Book 1

SPOILERS!!! 

Summary:

Ellie has returned to live with her mother following graduating college. After being the star of an embarrassing viral video, all she wants to do is keep a low profile. After falling through the bathroom window of a villa rented by a famous hip-hop artist, that low profile is heavily jeopardised. Mason Nash is taking time off work for a few weeks, and the pair agree to enjoy their time together while it lasts. But when Mason is signed up for a reality tv show, Ellie is thrust into the limelight and they each have to work out what or who they really want. 

My Thoughts:

Ellie: I think ultimately I liked her, although annoying at times. She definitely read as a vulnerable character who was trying to remain true to herself and protect herself from further harm and keep from damaging her career prospects. I feel like she seemed more like a 17 y/o rather than a university graduate though. I appreciate her desire to remain out of the spotlight and she was adapting to the celebrity culture quickly, but she just didn't carry the maturity or personality that I feel a graduate, who lived away from home for a few years, would have. 

Mason: he's not on his way to the book boyfriend list, however he was rather amusing and charming. I didn't really appreciate his brash attitude in assuming Ellie's actions incorrectly. I accept it warranted for the necessary plots, but just felt after ALL they'd been through together, it was rather out of character of him to not even allow Ellie to explain herself, especially after his huge speech re trusting her explicitly. Although I am not a fan of hip-hop, I liked that we got to see some of Mason's family history and his personal life rather than his celebrity one. 

Story: I'd nearly say this is suited for YA readers, apart from perhaps the sexual content, although it was not really explicit. But the interaction and drama screamed YA in my head. The book was written in dual POV and unfortunately I feel this affected my rating; had it been presented from a single POV, the reader could approach the story with the same missing info and make the same judgment of trust, but in allowing us see both sides of the story, it left little to be worked/found out by the reader. 

I feel like there was the attempt to build a solid relationship and chemistry between Ellie and Mason, but a big part of me felt it was a tad Insta-Love like. Quite soon on Mason just "knew" Ellie was different and his interest piqued from their first meeting and that instant attraction put me off a little and I just didn't connect with their chemistry.  

Overall:

I think due to the immaturity of the characters/events, this is perfect for younger readers. It's a decent light story that is well written. 

Goodreads

Saturday, 17 June 2017

REVIEW; The Opportunist (Love Me With Lies #1), by Tarryn Fisher

Rating: 

Genre: Suspense, New-Adult

Recommend: Yes!

Book 1

SPOILERS

Summary:

Three years ago, Olivia broke Caleb’s heart and he vowed to leave her life and never see her again. Olivia believes he is in her past, until she sees him in a music shop. What she doesn’t expect is Caleb not to even recognise her – he has amnesia and has no idea who she is. Olivia sees this a second chance at love, but every attempt to confess who she really is, is interrupted. She learns of Caleb’s near engagement and soon is in a battle to win Caleb. But threats and blackmail ensue, with a world of secrets ready to burst open. Can true love really win if the chance has already gone?  

My Thoughts:

WELL HOLY SHIT! I love Tarryn Fisher’s work and this is the third novel of hers I’ve got to read. What I really loved in this, is that while there was a happy ending, there wasn’t THE happy ending. It was REALISTIC! I spent the whole book rooting for the pair to just stop messing about and be honest and live their life together. But, that isn’t really how life always works out and this was a refreshing read that depicted that. It shows how two people can always find their way back together, and give each other their heart… but for once a book showed that love does not always trump everything else.

Words cannot describe how much I loved this for those reasons. I’m becoming tired of the whole love/romance genre at the moment as am fed up of the forever happy endings with “The One” that’s all just crap. Life isn’t that perfect that allows the hiccups to occur and two people still get their happy ending. Life happens. Actions done in anger or remorse have effect. People change. People can have an unbelievably strong connection and chemistry – but it still be unhealthy. Anyway… moving on…

Olivia: I think she is one of my favourite protagonists. She is far from perfect but it makes her human. She believes she is a horrible person because of her lies and deceit, but it wasn’t THAT bad. It was done out of love for Caleb and although some actions are rather extreme, she wasn’t the one that broke into someone’s apartment to trash everything and then blackmail a girl… But I really felt for her. She loved Caleb so much and seeing him with Leah broke her, as she knew Leah was a scheming bitch and Caleb was unaware. And yet in the end, she let him go. She was able to put his happiness before her own and this was the ultimate mark of character development.

Caleb: Yeah, I have some issues with this guy! So, we are led to believe that Olivia has done something horrible and betrayed Caleb and that she hurt him… BUT WHAT DO WE FIND OUT?! Well Caleb here was about to cheat on her but she caught him in the act. And somehow, he manages to turn it around onto Olivia because she goes and has meaningless sex with a stranger. If he were any way half decent he would have realised how hurt she must’ve been to have resorted to that… so from that moment I wasn’t a Caleb fan. Also… he comes back and calls Olivia out on lying – HYPOCRITE! But, I still like the guy… I guess that’s the magic of Fisher’s writing. I can pick out all these aspects of Caleb that make me dislike him, but I was still rooting for the pair to get together.

Story/Writing: It’s amazing. I’ve discussed Fisher’s writing style before and it’s astounding. The descriptions are brilliant without boring the reader with paragraphs of scene setting. So much can be evoked in one sentence. I enjoyed the jumping from past to present – especially as it was clearly marked “The Past”/ “The Present” at the beginning of the chapters! I read this in less than 24 hours (the first 68% when I went to bed and sadly at to stop to try get some sleep) as I just couldn’t predict where the story was heading.
 “You can only give your heart away once; after that, everything else will chase your first love”

Please don’t be true or else I am fudged! lol

Overall:

I’d recommend this to anyone my age (22) to read to just be aware of some of the ugliness that comes with loving someone. I could relate to more than I’d like, but also learned a lot from it too. It really shows how sometimes, two people loving each other isn't always enough. 

Saturday, 10 June 2017

REVIEW; Girl Undone (TJ Peacock and Lisa Rayburn Mysteries #3), by Marla Madison

Rating: 

Genre: Suspense, Mystery

Recommend: Yes

Book 3

NO SPOILERS

Summary:

Private Investigator TJ Peacock, and psychiatrist Lisa Rayburn, are hired by Ms Petretti to solve the mystery surrounding her niece’s disappearance. Kelsey Blasko went missing on Tuesday, and turned up in the mall on Friday with no memory of her abduction or what happened.
Meanwhile, criminal blogger Bart Kosick, is being harassed by a persona Headliner. Leaving threats and breaking in, Bart realises the danger when a young girl’s dead body is placed on his property. Both crimes soon interlink as the danger increases and creeps closer to home.

My Thoughts:

Story: Breaking it down simply, this was a good story. I read it within 24 hours so there was definitely an element that drew me in and kept my attention. There were good plot twists and often parallel story lines were interlinked, making a few pieces fall into place. However, at times, some plot holes were answered but I was left unsure of what this meant for the parallel story line. I like in a series when there is a bigger plot going on across the books with an individual “front plot” per book, and I am presuming that was the case for this – Kelsey’s disappearance was the front plot and Bart being harassed the bigger plot. I’m still uncertain how these two plots truly interlinked at the end though due to the sort of cliffhanger ending…

There was multi POV, the reader seeing events unfold from numerous persona’s which kept the pace of the novel alive and moving appropriately.
There were a few typos which broke up the pace here and there, mostly grammar ones that could’ve been noticed with perhaps another read through?

Characters: A negative in this were the quantity of characters. This is book 3 in the series so I assume the rash introduction and background of a few characters was for a speedy introduction to get the reader up to date. But it did become a little confusing. Halfway through the book a girl called “Shannon” was present and I’d to search back to recall who she was by re-reading her introduction at the beginning. 

Overall:

I would recommend this book for anyone requiring a quirky mystery read that isn’t too heavy. If you can get to grips with who is who early on, it’s an extremely easy read!