Saturday 28 March 2015

REVIEW; Carrots, by Colleen Helme


Genre: New Adult, Drama, Thriller

Recommend: Yes

Shelby Nichols stops into a convenience store to buy some carrots. Whilst paying, the bank section of the shop is robbed and she fails to duck before being shot by the thief. The bullet grazes by her head but when she awakes she begins answering people's thoughts, before realising she can read minds. Confiding in her husband, he can't help but treat her differently, knowing he has no privacy. When Shelby picks up on thoughts about Kate, his co-worker, she soon turns into investigator to see what's going on between them. 

Meanwhile the bank robber is out to kill Shelby, knowing she's the only eye-witness and Shelby has to keep avoiding his path. Soon, Shelby finds herself working for a mob boss who discovers her mind reading ability and forces her to work for him in exchange for her family being safe.

Working right in the middle of organised crime and battling the mental struggle of being over-powered by so many thoughts, Shelby is soon fighting to merely stay alive. 

My Thoughts:
I had high hopes for this book. It sounded so promising with such a unique idea/take on the mind reading front. However, there were a few aspects of the overall story/execution that killed the whole thing slightly. 

Shelby: I felt she was poorly developed. Her current emotions were always described but with little reasoning. There was no opportunity to learn what influences or motivates Shelby. Her familial relationship was all over the place in that it wasn't properly defined - although Chris' character was well done. His anger/frustration at Shelby reading his mind was so understandable and realistic. It got quite tedious reading about how annoyed Shelby was towards Kate when she could see Chris wasn't interested nor reciprocating. He trusted her not to read his mind but she couldn't trust him to remain faithful. She just felt a little all over the place and mood-swinging. 

Characters: I can usually keep up pretty well with novels that have a lot of characters in them. However, there were too many minor/nameless/faceless characters to keep track of. There were the five business men that remained numbered and then there were other mob names floating around, then the jeweller causing chaos, the policemen, Uncle Joey's men... There were too many introduced with not enough purpose or depth to create an impact and towards the end with the scene in Uncle Joey's office when there's a heavy conversation going on- I just got lost completely. 

Ramos: I liked him- was genuinely upset when he got shot and wanted to give up the book!! He was brutal but Shelby could glimpse his moments of humanity and realise he was doing what he did as it was his job and he did find it difficult at times. His care for Shelby was adorable and it's one of the strong points that makes me really want to read on about where their relationship leads...

Story: The whole story in general was enjoyable and unique. The head injury brought on this new ability and it was refreshing to read about the burdens it caused rather than just the positives. I liked how Shelby had difficulty at the beginning to refrain from answering and how Dimples and Ramos were beginning to catch on to her ability and how she went about hiding it. It added a fun and light-hearted aspect to such an eventful book!

Ending: After the final "main scene" it all closed pretty abruptly. Without giving too much away, all the conversations and follow ups just seemed rushed in an effort to finish the story- after a story that nearly carried on a little too much at points. A longer conclusion would have brought this up to 4 stars for me straight away.

I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys drama/suspense. It's not too focused on a romantic element but more so a thriller vibe. Apart from being confused about characters at times and the sharp ending, overall it was still a brilliant read. It lulled at parts but I really enjoyed it and it was definitely refreshing and a stand out novel; it's one I'll definitely remember. I also love the name of the book; it's just fun and quirky! 

Monday 16 March 2015

REVIEW; Changing Tides (Kill Devil Hills #2), Sarah Darlington


Genre: New Adult, Drama, Romance

Recommend: Yes

This second Kill Devil Hills novel focuses on Ellie Turner, Georgina's older sister. Ellie is a lesbian and a tomboy and has never been, nor wanted to be, with a man. However, when faced with the opportunity on an aeroplane to experiment with the famous alpha-male actor Nate West, Ellie quickly questions everything she believed about herself. 

Nate West has had his share of heartbreak and is a Hollywood badboy to the core. Travelling in disguise to avoid recognition the last thing he wants is a romance. But when tattooed confident Ellie strides through his life in a fleeting moment, Nate is left lost without her. 

Throw in the typical family drama, Ellie returns home left wondering where she stands after her time with Nate. They both confirm their deep connection whilst battling their personal issues and working out if they're truly compatible at all.

My Thoughts:
After reading the first novel recently I was apprehensive as to whether the second installment could follow. It definitely didn't disappoint.

Georgia and Noah, who I loved, still feature so their love is continued through Ellie's story. 

Ellie: Ellie was a character I loved in the first novel so I was so excited to read from her point of view. She has such an effervescent and genuine personality and I admire her morals and spunk. I liked how she was so confident and sure of herself and then suddenly one incident made her doubt everything she'd known. Her reactions to everything that happened seemed so realistic and believable whilst her doubt and confusion was palpable. 

Nate: I loved him for the most part but I think the stereotype got a little in the way. He is a Hollywood bad-boy and has definitely played the field after a heartbreak. But as soon as he got acquainted with Ellie he wanted more than he'd ever had. I think personally I don't enjoy the "instant love" and whilst it wasn't a love at first sight scenario, there was a hint of it being too much too soon. In saying that, how he viewed Ellie was so endearing and sexy to read and he's someone you'd love to meet in real life.

Story: LOVE LOVE LOVE! Full marks for originality with this one. I've never read anything like this and both characters had confusion to battle with. Their connection was so strong and written in a such a beautiful manner that drew the reader in. I quite liked how Ellie was thrown off her feet. It's comforting to read about a character who feels they've everything under control and then they meet someone that makes them question all they knew about themselves. 

There's no silly love triangle or stupid misunderstanding that there tends to be with Hollywood romances; it's all solely based around Nate and Ellie battling their internal issues. Their romance and connection is probably my most envied that I've ever read, even more so than Noah and Georgia. Everything between them, their interactions, sex, humour, it's all raw and candid.

Overall; I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. I love Ellie and was rooting for her all the way with whatever she chose. This is such a strong second installment of the series and I look forward to reading more. There is a brilliant dichotomy of suspense with romance and drama and it all balances beautifully. 

Thank you to the author for allowing me advance read & review!

Saturday 14 March 2015

REVIEW: My Rebellion Checklist, by Susan Soares


Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Drama

Recommend: Yes

Victoria feels like her life is falling apart, her parents inform her they're getting a divorce as she's recovering from a car accident and her relationship with her boyfriend comes to an end. Constantly living her life to please her parents and stuck in her ways, she decides to break free from routine and set out to change herself. 

Creating a list of changes, including her name being shortened to Tori, getting a tattoo etc, she sets out to find herself and become her own person, regardless of the opinions of everyone else. 

Soon she realises that Finding herself doesn't necessarily mean going to extremes and maybe she didn't have to go too far to discover who she wanted to be.

My Thoughts:
I really loved the idea of this story and how true and focused it remained on Tori’s rebellion. So many novels try to fit in multiple story-lines; however this really kept to the singular plot and was expanded and built upon really well. 

Tori’s character was one of the few I’ve read about that I feel I can relate to a lot. She’s stuck in her rigid planned ways and wants to break free of routine. I like how her list went beyond the simple appearance change and enjoyed accompanying her on her journey to just get lost and find herself. Her internal battle with her own mind, especially after her mom kept upsetting her, was quite an emotional rollercoaster but wasn’t exaggerated. One can understand why she turned to Adam after suffering rejection and why she decided to run the red light. 

The plot was focused around such a simple idea- a rebellion list. You wouldn’t think you could centre a novel on such a small choice but the simplicity of the decision was crafted really well to make the novel, e.g. quitting working for her dad which lead her to the Pizza shop, leading her to ultimately completing her list. It all just flowed effortlessly with the subtle connections.

The characters were all extremely real and credible. I think Rebecca really stood out to me as she was clearly Tori’s best friend and had her best interests at heart but the fact she was hurt and affected by Tori’s extremities (like getting a tattoo, running the red light) really emphasised her love for her friend, rather than being the stereotypical best friend that just supported anything and everything. 

The romance element to this was beautiful. Tori and Zack’s instant chemistry was palpable but it wasn’t over-kill. They had a flirty close relationship but Zack came across like a genuine guy and not some “book boyfriend” that seems to perfect to exist. Their relationship wasn’t made a core feature of the novel that took over but was subtle enough that you were willing something to happen between them. 

Overall, I think this was a really great read. The idea was so original and quirky and the whole plot flowed really well. All the characters had their idiosyncrasies and really stood on their own with strength. I really loved the introduction of the novel with Tori being on her way to hospital; it captivated my attention immediately and laid out the foundations of the novel with a solid start. The novel continued on the high level it began which is a definite plus! Will definitely be recommending. 

Thank you to the author for letting me Advance Read & Review this novel! 

Amazon UK

Monday 9 March 2015

REVIEW; Finding My Prince Charming, by J.S.Cooper


Genre: New Adult, Drama, Romance

Recommend: No

"Can a Playboy Prince ever be tamed?

When Lola Franklin decided to study abroad she never anticipated embarking on a whirlwind weekend romance with a hot guy before classes started.
And she certainly never counted on the hot guy being her new professor. Or a Prince. Or the biggest asshole she had ever met.

Xavier Van Romerius is the playboy Prince of Europe and he loves his life. He doesn’t do relationships, and never wants to get married. But when he see’s Lola Franklin flirting with his little brother Casper, he realizes that maybe he needs to rethink his ideas about love before the wrong Prince gets the girl."

My Thoughts:
I couldn't even write my own summary for this novel as I DNF'd at 59% and it was painful. 

Xavier: He sounded much better in the blurb but he was a total ass. And not the good "book boyfriend ass" that you love to hate but just completely unlikeable. He did not have one redeeming quality and treated Lola terribly for no reason. He calls her all sorts of names and just teases her cruelly. Not. Good.

Lola: One word- weak. I think she was meant to be portrayed as a strong woman who got swept off her feet by Xavier but it failed. She made such a big deal of not sleeping around and then fell so quickly under Xavier's spell and he wasn't even charming. A weekend romance would not blossom between two such people when one is absolutely obnoxious and disrespectful and she was nearly worse for putting up with it.

Characters: The characters in general were all awful. None had a strong backing or depth to them and none of them could be liked. Their personalities weren't defined or consistent in any way and so no attachment could be made. 

Story: What story? This sounded so promising but it felt like a really, really poor first draft fan-fic by someone that had no concept of story building etc. I really don't know how this got published. There needs some major structure work needed and execution of plot. The characters need to be written as the age they are, not as immature children. 

This is one of the first books I "read" that I could find no positive to. It was all just boring and painful and I struggled to get to the 59%. Such a shame as it sounded so much better but, oh well.