Category Archives: Review

Review – Summer’s Lease – Carrie Elks

Synopsis:

Meet the Shakespeare family: four sisters, four stories . . . four ways to find true love

Cesca Shakespeare has hit rock bottom. Six years after the play she wrote bombed at the box office, she’s unable to hold down a job, keep an apartment, and worst of all her family have no idea how far she’s fallen. So when her fairy Godfather offers her the use of his friend’s Italian villa for the summer, she grudgingly agrees to try writing a new play. That’s before she finds out the house belongs to her arch-nemesis, Sam Carlton.

When Hollywood heart-throb Sam Carlton sees his name splashed across a gossip rag, all he wants to do is hide. That’s how he finds himself traveling to Italy, deciding to spend the summer in his family’s empty villa on Lake Como. Except when he arrives it isn’t as empty as he’d hoped.

Over the course of the hot Italian summer, Cesca and Sam have to come to terms with their pasts. What begins as a tentative friendship quickly grows into an intense attraction – and then a scorching fling. But they can’t hide from reality forever . . . as their different worlds collide, Sam and Cesca face a choice: is this just a summer romance, or could their love weather even the coldest winds?

A brand new series from the bestselling author of Fix You and the Love in London series.

 

 

Review:

 

I ADORE Carrie Elks’ books. They’re feel good, easy reads that make you care about the characters. Her writing style is very fluid and whisks you away into the lives of imaginary people.

Summer’s Lease is no different. I honestly felt so much pity and sorrow for Cesca in the beginning, I wanted her to succeed, to get a happy ever after.

When she goes to Italy, through the descriptions, I felt as if I was there beside her, breathing in the fresh air of Lake Como and soaking in the rays of the sun.

Cesca is stuck in a rut. She bounces from job to job, and can barely afford to pay her rent. All because of one person – that’s how she sees it anyway. She goes to Italy to not only make some money without having to worry about all her other bills, but also to remind herself who she is and what she wants out of life.

It’s all going well until Sam Carlton turns up, hiding from the trappings of fame, fortune, and Hollywood.

Told through a dual POV, I never once got confused between the character’s voices, and all included are well rounded, individual, and realistic. They were’nt perfect and had flaws like everyone. They were relateable and had me rooting for them – except Foster. I didn’t root for him in any way, shape, or form. But I won’t say any more about that. You need to read the book!

As enemies to lovers books go, this is one of the best I have read. A mixture of soft scenes, steamy scenes, and angsty drama, it’s got everything.

I can’t wait to read the rest in the series.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under British, contemporary, Favourites, Promo, Review, Romance, Series, Upcoming Release

Review – Lives Collide – Kristina Beck

Synopsis:

You can plan your life, but sometimes life has a mind of its own…

Following Lisa’s near-death experience as a teenager, she is haunted by the emerald-green eyes of the stranger who saved her life. Her only connection to him is the leather jacket he left behind. Years later, she’s still reeling from the aftereffects of her injuries, convinced that no man will love her once he uncovers her secret. She lives a life of solitude and hides behind her days of monotony. And then James storms into her life.

After James helps a young girl in a car accident, he sets his life course—determined that nothing will stand in his way. Once he accomplishes his dreams, one unforeseen event changes his orderly existence into one of chaos. He spirals downward and can’t summon the strength to pull himself from the edge of despair. Until Lisa becomes a beautiful distraction.

Familiarity and a sense of peace draw them to one another. They soon discover they lived parallel lives that intertwined at the most crucial points. Can their revelations help them face their fears and move forward, or will history repeat itself?

Review:

 

3.5 stars

*I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*

The entire idea of this book is wonderful. I absolutely loved the idea of two people fated to meet and be together, and Lives Collide didn’t disappoint in that respect.

I must admit, I wasn’t keen on the 1st person narrative. At times it was a little jarring to read, and both characters had a lot of internal thoughts and worries. Sometimes, these came across as a little juvenile for their ages, but on the whole I enjoyed reading their thought processes.

While I devoured this story in pretty much one sitting – kudos to Beck for keeping me turning pages, needing to know what happens next, the writing style felt a little off. I think it was because of the slight immaturity at times of both Lisa and James. I can’t put my finger on what exactly bugged me, but it was there.

I will read more of this series as I loved and cared about all of the characters who were all very well rounded and never blurred into one another. Each character had their own personality, and apart from Bryant, I wanted to see them all get their happy endings.

If you’re after an easy read that deals with sensitive issues in a wonderful and delicate way, then I do recommend Lives Collide.

Leave a comment

Filed under contemporary, Promo, Review, Romance, Series

Review – Mind Guerilla – Martin Tracey

Synopsis:

When a high-end escort is discovered murdered in her plush waterside apartment, so begins the hunt for a serial killer known as The Crucifier due to the unusual slaying and positioning of his victims.
In parallel there remains the need to locate a dangerous and elusive doomsday cult.

DCI William Chamberlain and DI Judd Stone have an acute thirst for justice on both accounts.

Stone is an ex-football hooligan turned cop. Riddled with guilt and anger, he is used to getting results – albeit somewhat unconventionally.

Chamberlain suffers from Multiple Sclerosis, but curiously, as his health deteriorates, his ability to perform acts of telekinesis increases. When faced with life or death, Chamberlain progresses from manipulating physical matter to controlling minds and sets in motion a dramatic chain of events. But why do things spiral out of control, placing an unknown high-profile target in danger?

Assistance comes from the most unlikely of sources but who is also working against the wheels of justice?

And just what is the connection between The Crucifier, the cult and the high-profile target?

With Spaghetti Western overtones, the chase from Liverpool to London and through both Birmingham UK and Alabama, finds both detectives having to confront their darkest demons in pursuit of the sweet taste of revenge.

 

Review:

3.5 stars

This is an excellently written crime novel, but for me it was a little too over detailed (police procedure, so that was expected to a certain degree) and some points are explained more than once.

My main issue is that there are too many story arcs happening within the novel. We have the serial killer, a cult, and then the story with Marlon Howell. I understand why all are included, but at times the book felt a little too cluttered.

The characterisation is excellent and although there’s a large cast, I never once got any of them confused with one another. This is a testament to Tracey’s writing ability and I will certainly read more books by this author.

This injection of paranormal felt a little displaced for me, and I often found it jarring to read. However, all loose ends were tied up very well at the end of the book.

It was an excellent read, but at just over 500 pages, it felt like, at times, I had been reading for forever. Yet, I never once wanted to put it to one side. It was just a little too ‘busy’ to be able to read in one or two sittings.

Leave a comment

Filed under British, contemporary, Detective, Mystery, Paranormal, Review, Suspense

Review – Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher

Summary:

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out how he made the list.

Through Hannah and Clay’s dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

 

29844228

Review:

 

 

This is a book that will stay with me for a long time, yet I didn’t love it.

I’d been meaning to read this book for a long time, but just never got round to it, then the show came on netflix.

The show broke me. As a parent, I am petrified of my kids (one of whom is 12 and in secondary school) not being open and honest with me about both the good and bad things in their lives. How can I help them if I don’t know what’s happening? In the show, Hannah’s parents (and Clay’s to a certain extent) are completely oblivious to what is going on with their kids beyond the small snippets they are fed, so Hannah’s suicide is a huge shock for all of them.

Watching Clay listen to the taps and slowly begin to lose his mind in guilt and uncertainty is heart breaking, almost as much as what Hannah suffered – in a weird way. This is a kid who never really did anything to anyone, got along with most people, and seemed to be a pretty likeable guy; yet here he is on a list of people Hannah blames.

In the book, Clay only takes a night to list to the tapes and the reader isn’t privvy to what is happening with parents or the others mentioned on the tapes. If I had read the book before the show, I don’t think that would have bothered me, but having seen how well the show rounded out these other characters mentioned in the book, reading felt a little 2 dimensional to me.

While Asher has dealt with such a touchy subject in a wonderfully sensitive way, he could have easily explored the repercussions more – the way the show did.

There are so many questions left to be answered it may leave the reader frustrated, but isn’t that the case when someone makes the choice of suicide? Aren’t those left behind plagued with questions, even if they know ‘why’?

Leave a comment

Filed under contemporary, Promo, Review, Suspense, YA

Review – The Talisman Chronicles – T. M. Franklin

Summary:

A mysterious house. An old journal. A dusty chest holding more than secrets.

Each talisman found in the chest grants the chosen a gift, a unique ability.But with that power comes a burden–the duty of The Order.

Something is coming.

Something evil.

And it’s up to The Order to stop it.

The Talisman Chronicles – All Six Episodes Available for the First Time in a Single Volume

 

Image result for the talisman chronicles tm franklin

 

Review:

Six short stories, all centred around a house and a mysterious chest. This is T. M. Franklin at her YA Paranormal/romance best!

Window:

I originally read this when it was first released, and this is my review from back then (I will edit at the end)

The touch of paranormal to what is a seemingly normal house makes for an interesting story. Chloe has always been linked to the house and the picture window in the living room. It shows her things. Thinks of the past, the present, and what could be.

Chloe, apart from her gift, is your average teenage girl who isn’t part of the ‘in crowd’ at school, preferring to spend her time with her best friend Miranda. Ethan, the boy who lives across the road whom she has a crush on, used to be their friend, but became big man on campus and decided to hang with the popular crowd. Chloe and Miranda are fine about this, until the house shows Ethan in danger.

What follows is a very sweet story about friendship and caring for others and hilarious Twitter conversations. Without spoiling the story, I will say it took me about an hour to read it and I loved every minute. The characters are likeable and relateable, even with the gift Chloe has, and the reader cares about them just as much as the house does.

I want a house like that, that makes me feel warm and fuzzy

*EDIT*

The way Franklin has extended and adapted this story to make it the beginning of a series is fantastic as she hasn’t lost the soul of the original story. It smoothly leads into the next without any hitches!

Timepiece:

Following on from the first book, Wren is new into town. After Chloe and Miranda become friends with her, and she’s having weird dreams about Chloe’s house, she begins to embrace her destiny – afterall, that is what it is.

By the end of this book, it’s still not completely clear why these things are happening to the teens in their town, but Franklin’s effortless writing style makes you want to keep reading until the very end so you have all the answers.

Gauntlet:

I think Beck, the main in this episode of The Talisman Chronicles, is my favourite character. He’s focussed on doing well at school and with his swimming, but there’s something about him, a serious side that is so endearing. What we don’t know, until this episode, is about his sister, and the crap he and his dad are going through with her and Beck’s mother.

While all that is going on, Beck is brought into the fold with the others and the prophecy. His destiny is explained to him, and it takes him a while to get used to it and his relationship with Wren. He’s a strong character with flaws that make him all the more relateable.

Mantle:

I have to admit. This episode was my last favourite (which I still enjoyed), but I can’t work out why. It still had the action and a lot more resistance from Maia to everything happening. She was the first to not just blindly accept what was happening to them all. I liked that about her as it made it feel that little more realistic, but there was something a little… off about her episode.

While a lot of questions left open by the previous episodes are answered in this book, more are created by the end of it which is frustrating in such a good way!

Shield:

Dylan has been a character readers have met a couple of times due to his knowing Chloe and Miranda at school, and then his dad becoming involved with the Order. When Dylan is given his gift, his dad wants nothing more to do with them, and orders Dylan not to either, but the draw is far too strong, for them both.

Dylan defies his dad and puts himself in danger, but eventually his dad realises he needs to do this, they ALL do.

Prison:

Once again, Chloe is the main in this episode, but by the time this one comes around, we can see how much stress she’s under and how tired she is by everything. All she wants to do is protect Ethan and others not in The Order while The Order prepare for the big fight.

Sadly, it seems that not everyone will survive the battle and this is weighing on Chloe and her friends worry about her.

Are The Order strong enough to band together and do battle?

 

All in all, this series is fabulous, and I couldn’t put it down. Not one episode slowed the flow of the entire story, and there were a couple of moments that shocked me as I hadn’t seen them coming. I’ve miss T. M. Franklin’s writing, and as ever, I need more!

Leave a comment

Filed under Action, contemporary, Favourites, NA, Novella, Paranormal, Promo, Review, Romance, Series, Short Story, Supernatural, YA

Review – Angelfall – Susan Ee

Summary:

It’s been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels’ stronghold in San Francisco where she’ll risk everything to rescue her sister and he’ll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

 

Image result for angelfall cover

 

Review:

 

While this book is a solid 3* from me, I have to admit that the first third of the book were a bit slow moving. Penryn’s inner monologue was a little grating, but once she and raffe are on their own, it picked up.

Not having read many books/series about angels, but having gone through a spate of apocalyptic books; I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started Angelfall. Set two months or so after angels took over (I’m assuming Earth, but this book only really deals with America), life as we know it has pretty much gone to shit. Apparently, celestial beings are pretty shitty – but that wasn’t too much of a surprise. Penryn, her disabled sister, and her mum are trying to escape their tiny apartment and get to safety.

We didn’t really get much insight into Paige until after angels have plucked her and flown off with her. This give Penryn her drive to survive after being separated from her family, and thrust into the compay of Raffe, and angel that has had his wings hacked off by other angels.

The mystery surround him was the main thing that kept me reading when I was getting a bit fed up of Penryn’s admiration of him and her apparent fabulousness. She’s a martial arts expert (ish) and apparently pretty beautiful, but we aren’t given much evidence of this.

Once Raffe and Penryn go on the move, things got a little more interesting, particularly within the camp and their subsequent escape.

A few things irritated me with the story, but not enough to make me put it down for too long, and I do want to read the rest in the series. It’s a great idea, but not brilliantly executed, but I was able to overlook that and escape for a few hours.

Leave a comment

Filed under Angels, contemporary, Review, Romance, Series, YA

Review – Confess – Colleen Hoover

Synopsis:

At age twenty-one, Auburn Reed has already lost everything important to her. In her fight to rebuild her shattered life, she has her goals in sight and there is no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a chance and puts her heart in control, only to discover that Owen is keeping a major secret from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.

To save their relationship, all Owen needs to do is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin.

 

 

Review:

 

Scrolling through my Instagram feed, I stopped at one picture that was just text. It was an anonymous confession. Intrigued, I carried on reading the posted confessions. Some made me laugh, some made me cry, and other broke my heart. The comments were uplifting, helpful despite the people commenting not knowing who had confessed, and others were downright funny. Knowing this was linked to a new Colleen Hoover book, I was both nervous and excited.

I have waited so long to read this book because I knew it was going to rip my heart out and stomp all over it, but when I finally did pluck up the courage to open it, I couldn’t put it down.

Auburn Reed is 20 and is struggling. She lost her first love (only love really) to an dreadful disease, and since then she’s never managed to settle. She plays her cards close to her chest, and we the reader is left wondering what happened in the five years since she was forced to say a final goodbye to Adam.

Owen Gentry hides away in his art studio, inspired by people’s deepest, darkest confessions. Submitted without names via a slot in the door to his studio. Then, once a month he showcases his artwork that these words inspire. – now this is a GREAT concept, one that had me wanting more and more. The inclusion of some of his paintings into the book made Hoover’s words come to life. The only thing I would have liked to have had more of, was more of Owen’s artistic process. We only really ever hear about the end results of what he is painting, not while he is painting.

When Auburn walks into Owen’s studio looking for a job, he recognises her and her name straight away. Why? He keeps that to himself. There’s an instant attraction between the two of them, but because of aspects of each of their lives, they try not act upon them. When they do arrange to meet, Owen stands Auburn up.

What follows on is a story of heartache and more secrets. Told from both character’s POV, the reader finds things out as Owen and Auburn reveal them.

Such a wonderful story, told extremely well. I’m looking forward to seeing the tv series adaptation of it (If I can view it in the UK)

Leave a comment

Filed under contemporary, Favourites, Review, Romance

Review – Fangirl – Angel Lawson

Synopsis:

Ruby Miller has her summer all planned out. Sitting by the pool. Babysitting for some extra cash. Packing for college. All of that changes when a fan video Ruby and her best friend, Iris, create goes viral gaining their little fansite a ton of hits and the attention of the big wigs in Hollywood.

Ruby and Iris fall into the world of actors, movie sets, teen stars and elusive artists. Not only is their friendship put to the test when Ruby’s cast in the lead role of the newest zombie flick, she must straddle the line between fiction and reality, love and lust, and being true to herself.

 

25349069

 

Review:

Red Stars 5

 

Reading the Death Fields books first made me realise that they were a kind of continuation from this book, so naturally, I had to read it (I get possessive over linked books and a series)

Fangirl deals with Ruby and Iris – two utter fangirls (I see what Lawson did there) over the Zocopalypse comics (The original title of the first Death Fields book) and the character of Alex (and Wyatt obviously). They run a blog about it, be it news about the comics, it’s creator Gabe Foster, and anything else to do with the franchise. They decide to make a fan video of a section of the story, and that is the beginning of things blowing up.

Anyyone who has been a fangirl/boy will understand Ruby and Iris as characters. They are defiant in their adoration for Zocopalypse, the characters, and the creator – but their blog has rivals. Mostly, in the form of Ruby’s ex-boyfriend, Reid. He gets jealous of the attention their video gets them – Ruby in particular, As someone who has been involved in a fandom blog back in the day, I totally ‘got’ this aspect of the story. This and the tweets about the fandom brought smiles and memories to my face. Sometimes, I would love to go back, others I would never deal with all that again.

While the story itself is a bit ‘out there’ in what happens, it was a great escapism story that would make any reader wonder what they would do in those situations.  That to me makes a great book and story.

The writing is top notch and Lawson makes us believe we are a part of the fandom, even if only while we’re reading the book.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under contemporary, Favourites, Review, YA

Review – The Girl Who Punched Back – Angel Lawson

Synopsis:

The second installment of the Death Fields Post-Apocalyptic Thriller Series
The Girl Who Punched Back

Three months have passed since Alexandra traveled through the wasted death fields to reach her sister, Jane. There’s no resemblance to her former life. No college. No best friend. Her mother is dead. Her father and her friend, Cole, toil away in the labs of her sister’s research facility, working to create a vaccine for the virus that ravages the living.

Hope for a cure is dampened by the growing society Jane has developed. Armed troops fill The Fort, and the only way Alex knows how to keep an eye on her sister is by joining the elite Fighter army led by Wyatt, a mercenary and deadly soldier. Some days, Alex considers him a friend. The rest of the time, she’s unsure where his loyalties lie. The truth is, Alex isn’t always sure about herself, either.

All Alex wants is to right the wrongs of her sister’s dangerous meddling, but Jane has bigger plans than vaccinating the survivors. Alex and her allies quickly learn that rabid cannibals are not the biggest problems facing mankind, but at what lengths will they have to go to save the world?

 

34388331

 

Review:

Silver Stars 5

 

Following on 6 months from the ending of book one, Alex is still fighting off the eaters. It’s not an easy life, but she’s relatively safe, has regular food, and a roof over her head. She’s also in a relationship with Cole (I totally ship her with Wyatt), and is wary who she trusts.

Let’s be honest, I don’t blame her. after a few revelations at the end of book 1, I’d say her choices are justified.

The pace is just as fast the first, but it’s all set at the same time. No jumping between Alex’s present day and the lead up to it. I kind of missed that, but her back story has been told and all that’s left is her journey forward.

We meet a few new characters in book two who really add to the story and help Alex on her fight against the eaters and in her quest to find out the truth. We also meet up with some old characters who I both liked and disliked. Although this book has a much larger cast, it never feels overcrowded and each character is pivotal to certain parts of the story. Lawson manages to individualise each and every one of them.

I kinda need book 3 now…

 

Book Releases March 10

Leave a comment

Filed under contemporary, Dystopia, Promo, Review, Series, Upcoming Release, YA

Review – Grievous – J. M. Darhower

Synopsis:

Once upon a time, there was a girl who stopped believing in fairy tales after her innocence was stolen.

Morgan Myers is tired. So damn tired. Most people either push her around or brush her off, and she’s not putting up with it anymore. Determined to reclaim the life that had been stolen from her, she puts her trust in the last person she ever expected to: the notorious they call Scar. Morgan sees a side of him that few people seem to know—the man, not the myth. Lorenzo. And what she sees, she likes, a lot more than she thought she would.

But fairy tales aren’t real, as life likes to remind her. Some dragons, you just can’t slay, no matter how hard you fight them. And when hers comes back around, breathing fire, she’s forced to face some unimaginable horrors. But there’s a white knight in combat boots out there that isn’t afraid of monsters.

You see, it’s impossible to be afraid of something you see every day in the mirror.

 

 

33629853

 

 

Review:

Silver Stars 4

 

 

After leaving the first book on a cliffhanger, knowing J.M. Darhower was reeasing Grievous a short while after was a relief.

Diving straight in, knowing I was going to get the answers to the questions I was left with, I devoured each and every word in the matter of a day.

While I loved the characters in the first book, I loved the MORE in this one. Morgan, while breaking, is still as strong and quick mouthed as ever. Despite the one thing she wants, she’s not blinkered in her fight to get what is hers back.

And Lorenzo… well. He’s still foul mouthed, quick to anger, but he has a soft side. But, don’t cross him because let’s face it. He’s a bit batshit…

Grievous is as, if not more, fast paced as Menace. The action never slowing or losing momentum keeps the reader turning the page, needing to know how everything’s going to play out in the end.

There are certain characters I wanted to see hurt, and other I wanted to see get their HEA. It doesn’t happen that way for everyone (Sorry Three), but nothing ever came across as forced or as a thrown in plot point.

Another excellent series from Darhower.

Leave a comment

Filed under Action, contemporary, Promo, Review, Romance, Series, Suspense