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


29104680
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. 

Saturday, 2 September 2017

REVIEW; Pushing The Limits, by Brooke Cumberland

Rating: 

Genre: New-Adult, Contemporary 

Recommend: Yes

Standalone

NO SPOILERS!!! 

Summary:

Aspen's life changed when her twin committed suicide. Surviving with immense guilt, she turns to art classes as a form of therapy. Morgan moved state to escape heartbreak, and teaches art in the college. Both hurting, the two form a sensitive bond involving a mutual appreciation of art. 
Neither want to cross the lines of student and teacher, but when Aspen has to pose naked, Morgan wonders where the boundaries truly are of their relationship.

My Thoughts:

Firstly, this is a lot more than just a student/teacher romance. 

Aspen is of age and an adult, taking art classes as a form of therapy in dealing with her sister's death, which her parents have forever blamed her for. At a young age, she has suffered and lived well beyond her years, and has now built walls around her heart and emotions to prevent anyone getting close to her again. Through her art, she expresses her grief over Ariel. Most of the time, Aspen is a bright and happy girl, able to joke with her friends and have fun. But in seconds, she can be triggered and have panic attacks.

Morgan has returned to California after he left a few years ago following a heartbreak and a family bereavement. He finds himself as guardian for his 12 year-old niece. Seeing Aspen's portfolio, he is instantly drawn to her work and how evocative her pieces are. He can't imagine how much more Aspen will affect his life in person, far beyond the powers of her art. Throw in his feisty, zestful niece, Morgan realises he has a lot to learn about women.

Immediately Morgan had inappropriate thoughts about Aspen, and I guess this could be taken two ways. Either he was unprofessional from the get go and only had one thing on his mind, or it just portrays how much Aspen affected him from day one. He remained respectful for a considerable length of time, and his compassion and care for Aspen was alluring. 

Forced to acknowledge their limits, they can't help but fall for each other as they spend more time together; bonding over grief and art. Both have their insecurities and concern about allowing anything to develop and their pain about that is palpable. Both have heartbreaking pasts, and they're each other's salvation.  Morgan forces Aspen to acknowledge her pain and trauma, properly mourn her sister's death and let go of her guilt. While Aspen shows Morgan that he can love again. 

We get an insight into their story from both POV's and I really enjoyed that. We got to learn a little about Morgan's past and his struggles following the heart-wrenching start of Ariel's funeral from Aspen's POV. Reading their love unfold from both sides built a complete picture of forgiveness and love.

Overall:

This is an amazing story, pushing far beyond the limits of student & teacher, as two broken souls fight all odds to save each other and give the hope of life again. 

Saturday, 26 August 2017

REVIEW; Roommates With Benefits, by Nicole Williams

Rating: 

Genre: New-Adult, Contemporary 

Recommend: Yes

Standalone

NO SPOILERS!!! 

Summary:

Hayden Hayes is pursuing a modelling career in New York. With only a few dollars to her name, she moves into a tiny apartment, where bedrooms are separated by dividers. Oh, and her roommate is Soren Decker... a guy. 
The two fight over everything, but Soren has her back. As time flies, they both have to acknowledge their mutual attraction. But Soren is fighting for a baseball career and distance threatens their relationship. 

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this so much. It was such an entertaining and witty read for the most part, with some twists that do pull on the heartstrings a little bit and bring you back down to Earth with a bang. 

Soren and Hayden's relationship at the beginning was hilarious. I really think Nicole Williams portrayed brilliantly what it is like when a girl and guy live together and the little things that annoy a female that males don't even notice. It allowed for some hilarious dialogue and sass. 

Soren was an absolute sweetheart. He has the cocky sense of humour (penthouse view - lol) that although irritates Hayden, you can't help but love. What really made him a concrete good guy in my eyes was the balance of sacrifice. From the beginning he was willing to help Hayden financially, but without straight up telling her and embarrassing her (hurrah for a guy not TELLING a girl he'll take care of her in an arrogant alpha way!) and the subtle gestures he did to help her out while considering Hayden's feelings were amazing. 

At the same time, he had his own career dream and he was ambitious and focused and not willing to just give up on his own dreams because the woman of his life walked through his door. I really, really, loved that. I'm tired of reading stories where a character gives up everything they've ever wanted for the person they love. (I know, that's what love is, but when you're young, you should still keep in mind your own dreams!)  

Hayden was trying to make it in the modelling industry, and still shows her innocent and naive side. Now, I've read a few negative reviews claiming Hayden was so stupid not realising her agent was making advances on her and defending his behaviour. And I'll just respectfully say that those reviewers have clearly never worked under an older male, as a young female, and put up with similar behaviour (perhaps out of naivety) so to not upset the apple cart and not make a who-ha out of minor actions until lines are actually crossed. Nowadays, it is so hard to know what is and is not meant as a joke or crossing boundaries and sometimes girls just suck it up to get where they need to be in their career... and Hayden didn't stand for his advances when he clearly crossed the line... moving on. 

I really applauded her ambition and empathised with her fear about losing Soren. Although a little annoying, her fears were realistic and required to keep the plot active. I would've liked more of an update regarding Hayden's career in modelling... but hey ho. 

Overall:

I'd recommend this to anyone who wants an entertaining, romantic read. A great charming story!

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.