Saturday 24 December 2016

REVIEW; Ruin (Ruin #1), by Rachel Van Dyken

Rating: 

Genre: New-Adult, Romance

Recommend: Yes

Book 1 of 3

SPOILERS 

Summary:

Kiersten is from a small town and a sheltered life when she moves to college. She suffers from nightmares and depression and tries her best to hide all this. On her first day of college she literally bumps into Wes Michals - who happens to be her RA. 
She soon realises he is a true friend she can rely on and in no time things become more as she spends Thanksgiving with him and his father. Little could prepare Kiersten for the secrets Wes harbors though, as she realises everyone has a past, but not all have a future. 

My Thoughts:

To start with I found the writing and first meeting of the two main characters to be awkward and cringe. Ruin had received such positive and high-rated reviews but I can't help but feel a little bit disappointed. I don't see what the huge fuss was... I never really warmed to Wes. I really didn't find the banter back and forth believable or charming in the slightest.

POV: There is dual POV in this and it didn't work. The only way I could distinguish between if it were Wes or Kiersten was just from who was being addressed. The writing style didn't change depending on who it was and it often changed mid scene, just making the exchanges harder to follow. 

Insta-Love: Deduct a star immediately. Kiersten slams right into Wes and he instantly falls for her. So bored of it. Absolute no reason for even a sparked interest in an attempt to make it develop naturally or anything- just two characters inseparable from first sight. It all just makes it more difficult to believe their feelings are real and genuine and not clouded by lust. 

Wes: I didn't really like him much. I guessed his secret from the beginning, or near enough. I didn't really like his cocky attitude at the start and saw nothing to see why Kiersten warmed to him. 

"I'm going to make it so hard for you to forget this first kiss that you don't want anyone else kissing you ever again. When the guy you fall in love with kisses you - it better put this kiss to shame - if it doesn't, then he isn't the right guy. Because I'm going to do a damn good job, and I want the guy that earns you, that takes that heart of yours and holds it in the palm of his hands... I want that guy to be able to make you feel things I'll just be tapping into. Do you understand, Kiersten?" 

Maybe that sort of romantic declaration is what a lot of girls want to hear, but for me... major cringe when you hardly even know the guy! By the end, I felt like he was a totally different character beyond what had been already depicted and much preferred that side of him. 


Overall:

I've read other books by the author and loved them so presumed I'd enjoy this. For some reason the characters just didn't work this time for me. The writing style didn't flow like I expected and it was awkward at times.

Goodreads 

Saturday 17 December 2016

REVIEW; Royal (Rixton Falls #1), by Winter Renshaw

Rating: 

Genre: New-Adult, Romance

Recommend: Meh

Book 1 of 3

SPOILERS 

Summary:

Demi has been in love with her older brother's best friend Royal since she can remember. But at 18 he leaves her family and her father forbids her from ever contacting him again. He's gone. 
7 years later Royal turns up on Demi's doorstep as she holds vigil by her fiancé's hopsital bedside as he lies in a coma. But her fiancé had broken up with her before he crashed and now Demi feels she must stay by him. Even more reason to stay away from Royal... especially as she can't afford to be heartbroken again. But Royal is not going to walk away so easily this time.

My Thoughts:

In a nutshell - I was expecting more. 
This took me over a week to read at a time where I didn't have a lot going on... and for me, that's a long time. 

Angst: There was a great amount of angst in this and I presume the purpose was to build suspense and propel the plot but I got so wound up and frustrated. If Royal and Demi could just stop for 2 seconds and just TALK about things instead of shutting down and jumping to conclusions and making promises and gestures but never acting on it... good grief! It was exhausting. 



Demi: Half the time I feel for her, other half I want to shake her up. She was stuck in a tough spot knowing Brooks had cheated on her and left her but no one else knowing she she had to stay by him for appearance's sake. But it was all going to come out anyway re the credit cards and the reported being pregnant and Demi planning on setting her lawyer father after her so why even bother keeping up the act!? Nevermind she was terrible at it, walking out of his charity event and allowing Royal to park his car - overnight - at her house! Just cut the damn strings and grow a pair! 

Royal: So I liked him... sort of. I guessed in some way why he had gone away for 7 years and wasn't far wrong. But I didn't like how he shied away from just being honest to Demi. He deserved for Pandora to go and tell Demi before he did. He wanted the best of both worlds - to walk back into Demi's life with NO explanation - "yet" - but immediately pick up where they left off... 



Story: It was focused a lot on Royal trying to win back Demi but I skim read a lot of it. There was drama involving Brooks and his affair and manipulation of Demi. For a book with a lot of dialogue there was very little said and I lost interest quite quickly. Neither Demi or Royal were willing to discuss actual issues or their situations - but they were willing to rekindle their long lost relationship physically while Demi delved into a battle of if she could trust him or not... 


Overall:

This just wasn't for me. There was too much unsaid and it caused immense frustration and annoyance beyond the usual tension level. 


Saturday 10 December 2016

REVIEW; Rebel (Rebel Wheels #1), by Elle Casey

Rating: 

Genre: New-Adult, Romance

Recommend: Yes

Book 1 of 3

NO SPOILERS 

Summary:

Teagan Cross discovers her father has died and left everything to his new wife. She needs a job - fast. Following rejection after rejection Teagan forces herself into the local garage, Rebel Wheels, on a trial to tidy up the place and restore some order. She forces herself into Rebel's life, and he reluctantly accepts her as he soon realises he needs her just as much as she him. But as information surrounding Teagan's father's death comes to light, she realises she is not as safe as she thought. 

My Thoughts:

Teagan: She really made me laugh so many times. Her brutal honesty and constant running mouth were hilarious, especially in contrast to Rebel. She had bursts of confidence that led her down dangerous and exciting paths, but yet the vulnerable aspect to her character was evident at times. She really felt like a great rounded character - terrified of life ahead but putting on a brave face to attack the world. Her whole world pretty much falls apart and yet she's too proud to accept hand outs from her friend and is hellbent on earning her keep. I love her fighting attitude. 

Rebel: It's rare to read a male character and not see the feminine writer shine through. Rebel said very little - like a usual guy, and won my heart over. The banter between the pair was hilarious, especially as he often responded by not replying at all. Also, 1 star for being a mechanic who knows muscle cars. Have to say as a car girl, it's refreshing to find a story based in a garage with a good depth of info. 

Drama: There was a good underlying mystery to all of this surrounding the death of Teagan's father which added a serious and dangerous element alongside the blossoming relationship. Probably was a little bit over the top but I can't say I minded. It was a good climax to make Rebel cop on and actually make a move on Teagan. 

Overall:

This was a free book when I got it and I always expect them to be sub-par but this definitely surprised me. Like finding a gem among a bunch of rubble stones. It was hilarious and exciting and such a great story. 

Goodreads 

Saturday 3 December 2016

REVIEW; Ugly Love, by Colleen Hoover


Rating: 

Genre: New-Adult, Romance, Suspense

Recommend: No


Standalone


NO SPOILERS 

Summary:

Tate Collins moves in with her pilot brother, and meets his friend who lives across the hall - Miles Archer. Getting off on the wrong foot, they both share a mutual hatred and attraction for each other. As they both allow the attraction to win over hatred, rules are set. No past, no future - just the present without any promises. Tate believes this is enough as she tries to dance around Miles' pushing and pulling and constantly be what he wants of her. But when she finally puts herself first, is it too late or can they have a future together?

My Thoughts:

Writing: One of the best things about Colleen Hoover's work is her writing style. All of her novels are so quirky and presented in such unique ways that just captivate the reader at how she pushes the boundaries again and again. 

Romance: Hmm... this is where the book fell for me. In one way, it was a beautiful tragedy of sorts. I couldn't feel the chemistry between Tate and Miles. I understood (sadly) the battle Miles was facing about being afraid of loving again as the possible hurt just isn't worth it and thought his internal battle about getting close to Tate was depicted well. For once, the male character who doesn't want to settle down didn't waver at first glance and stuck to his guns, and for this, I applaud. 

Tate: I'm torn between loving and hating Tate - a good thing in this instance I think. It's very easy for women to judge the female character for letting herself be used and abused and hiding her feelings just for some time with the guy she likes. We're all guilty for causing our own pain and being available at the drop at a hat. But it's a little teenager/early 20's move. At Tate's age I sort of wanted her to be a bit stronger, even just at moments when Miles totally broke her heart and yet she still didn't make him wait or sweat it out. I really wanted her to just lose it with him for once! She was way too patient. 

POV: The dual point of view in this novel was split in time as well; Tate's POV set in the present and Miles back when he was 18 and in a relationship with his first love. This half worked; I wanted to know what had happened to Miles and this kept my interest, but I did speed read his parts. It sometimes felt like more of a filler in-between building the suspense between Tate and Miles sorting their shit out. 

Overall:

Honestly, this wasn't as good as I was expecting, but was still an enjoyable read that definitely pulled on the heart strings. I think maybe, I'm just over the dramatic love stories for the time being...

Goodreads

Saturday 26 November 2016

REVIEW; When Summer Ends, by Isabelle Rae


Rating: 

Genre: New-Adult, Romance,

Recommend: Yes


Standalone


SPOILERS 

Summary:

Chloe meets Will the bartender after getting into a club with fake ID. After stepping up to help him make drinks, the pair can't keep away from each other. Chloe meets his family and believes she's found the one and ends her summer on a high. Until returning to high school and Will walks in as her new teacher. 
Immediately he ends things with Chloe, crippled with guilt of dating a student. But Chloe  won't give up on them and will do anything to get a second chance. And as much as Will knows it's wrong, he can't forget the girl he fell in love with over the summer.

My Thoughts:

Chloe: She is so immature I really don't see how Will falls for her but anyway... I don't like how she played games and jumped to conclusions. I didn't like how she involved Ollie just to make Will jealous, even though Ollie got overly possessive about all of her male friends, I just felt bad for Will and didn't think it was fair to play with Ollie like that. She overreacted a lot and didn't even want to adhere to Will's plan of putting space between them. Just wished she was a bit more mature about it all. 

Will: I can see why Chloe falls for him but at times I wished he'd see what he was doing. For starters, obviously I know student/teacher relationships are illegal so when he discovers the truth I appreciate his efforts to end things, even if it means hurting Chloe despite really caring for her. But he often tells her to stay away but then is the one to initiate contact with her. Then when he realises she was underage he becomes overly dramatic about going to jail and how wrong it all was, which again, great he sees the seriousness of it all, but then still continues to see her. But the story would have been pretty short if he sat her down and just said 'wait until graduation' (which he did) and everything went to plan.

Story: I am a sucker for the forbidden/taboo romances. There's always something exciting when there's the risks involved. In this case they met each other outside of the classroom, meaning Will really falls for Chloe believing she's older and welcomes her into his family. When he discovers the truth, he tries hard to end things, but neither can deny their attraction. This causes a string of turmoil and heartache and ultimately drama, as the pair try to get on with things in secret. I didn't understand the need for Nick's character. Although he's Chloe's ex, I don't understand how someone would willingly set his life aside to support her when he thought she was pregnant. 

Overall:

Although it wasn't the best story of its kind, and rather cliché, I was still hooked and rooting for them to pull through. Recommend for those who enjoy these type of stories. Relatively predictable but enjoyable. 

Goodreads 

Saturday 19 November 2016

REVIEW; A Different Blue, by Amy Harmon

Rating: 

Genre: New-Adult, Romance

Recommend: Yes

Standalone

SPOILERS 

Summary:

Blue Echohawk doesn't know who she is... not even her age. Her mother left her with a stranger when she was two, and he raised her as his own, teaching her about life and how to carve wood, constantly moving around. 
With his passing she is left on her own to discover herself. Having to attend high-school Blue doesn't want to do an assignment involving telling her story. Her teacher, Wilson, is instantly drawn to Blue's attitude and wants to know more. And instantly an unlikely but strong friendship is born, as Blue embarks on a journey to discover herself and balance a relationship with her teacher.

My Thoughts:

WOWOWOWOWOWOWWWwwwwWWWwwWwwwWwWWWwow!

Blue: Blue Echohawk is such a compelling character. She has a beautiful story considering she knows nothing of it to begin with... she doesn't even know if she is 19 or 20. As a result, we go on a gorgeous journey of self-discovery and redemption and revelations. She had great wit and sense of humour but yet an ability to feel the highs and the lows with raw emotion that affected me. She was such a unique character with her own struggles and I feel responded to bucket loads of shit thrown at her with a strong armor of attitude and bravery. 

Once upon a time... there was a little blackbird, pushed from the nest. Unwanted. Discarded. 

Writing: I'm so used to reading NA novels with easy read language. The prose in this is so engaging and encouraging, with a vocabulary above average of that usually found in similar novels. Although this story was so compelling, the manipulation of language was what really drew me in and what I found addictive. It was so refreshing! 

Romance: So I stumbled across this due to student/teacher relationship. Firstly, for the majority of the book Wilson had a girlfriend and no romantic barriers were pushed whilst they remained student/teacher so there was none of that consequence dealt with. What was beautiful was how their relationship evolved into a true and caring friendship as Wilson helped Blue on her journey. Part of me wished there was more romance depicted between the pair but I sort of liked how delicate and slow their relationship bloomed and how it was focused more on the emotional connection. 



Overall:

I wasn't expecting this book to affect me as much as it did. I honestly thought it would be a sub-standard level of writing but yet it was so powerful and a story I will remember for a long time. There is a beautiful soft romance woven around the journey of self discovery and is just fantastic. So poignant. 

Saturday 12 November 2016

REVIEW; Downshift (Skid Row Kings #1), by Winter Travers


Rating: 

Genre: New-Adult, Romance, Suspense

Recommend: No


Book 1


NO SPOILERS 

Summary:

26 Y/O Violet Barnes is on her own. Since her parents' death she has built her own life and keeps herself to herself. A book nerd, she works in the library to earn some money and fulfill a passion. 
Luke Jensen owns the local garage, where his two brothers work, and his younger teenage sister Frankie lives. Luke doesn't have time for innocence and vanilla, whilst Violet doesn't care for Luke's arrogant facade when she meets him through Frankie. But their stubborn arguing soon brings them together and they fight to be with each other, despite having opposite pasts. 

My Thoughts:

As a car girl I love any romance involving racing and cars and long to find an author actually showing knowledge about engines and how things work when a pivotal character has the hobby... in fairness to Travers, that was well depicted in this novel. 

Characters: I don't know why, but I couldn't connect with Luke or Violet. At the beginning I loved their chemistry and was hooked, but about a third of the way in I lost focus completely. Violet was 26 and I couldn't relate to her level of innocence at all. If her age had not been divulged, I would've guessed she was about 17 or 18 judging by her maturity. Frankie was integral to Violet meeting Luke, but she seemed to only re-appear when convenient for a plot twist or further drama. Luke will not be making it onto my book boyfriend list. I didn't find him charming or anything redeeming about him. He seemed to do a 180 too quickly for it to be believable from going to having one night stands to being devoted to Violet, even though we did get some mental battle. 

'"He beat York off the line and stayed ahead the whole race."
"That's good, right?"'

Is she serious?! Pretty sure everyone knows the person who stays ahead in a race wins!

POV: Dual POV can work really well... or be detrimental to the story. Sadly, in this case it was the latter. There was no added value having the insight into Luke's mind and the writing was not distinct enough to differentiate between characters. A reader should be able to tell who's POV it is without being told IMO. This is a common find among the female writers and although it probably doesn't bother 99% of readers, it's one of my pet hates. The thought process and mind of a male is entirely different to that of a female, and Luke showed too many female thinking patterns.

Romance: The initial chemistry between the pair drew me in and was electric. But then it all sort of fell by the wayside and felt strongly amateur. I cringed at most latter conversations or romantic scenarios between them both and sped read a lot of the remainder of the book. Luke calls Violet "Princess" throughout, but way too often for it to be endearing. 

There was a lot of pages of pure dialogue that held no meaning or substance. With this, there was also a lot of tell after the reader was shown. Authors need to have faith in their readers picking up on subtle nuances and double-meanings rather than over explaining everything. 

If the main characters are late twenties to thirties, I expect some maturity and advance in the writing style. I felt like I was older than them all in this book and it made me lose interest. 

Overall:

I wouldn't recommend this book. There were too many minor issues for me that disrupted the effect of the story and I couldn't get swept up in their romance. However, majority of people are giving this 5 stars, so if the issues listed don't bother you, than maybe it will be your sort of thing.

Goodreads

Saturday 5 November 2016

REVIEW; November 9, by Colleen Hoover

Rating: 

Genre: Romance, Suspense

Recommend: Yes

Standalone

SPOILERS 

Summary:

Fallon's life changed on November 9th. Ben's mother committed suicide on November 9th. Ben and Fallon meet on November 9th. And then they make a deal. Fallon and Ben will continue their separate lives, but meet up again every year on the same date. The rest of the year they stay away without contact, no messaging, no calls, no social media contact. The date becomes something special to them both, but as their life changes each year, can they see it through and find love together? 

My Thoughts:

Story: For the most part I really enjoyed the premise of the story - meeting each other on the same day for 5 years before re-evaluating their lives together. But honestly, I don't understand the insta-love effect. I can't imagine how one can go a year without seeing someone, or even changing. The whole point was from 18-24y/o one changes but to be honest I didn't see much evolving of the characters.

Book: I enjoyed how Ben was writing a novel of their story within this - like a book within a book about the book! But I didn't understand the discussions re a bad romance novel and then mention of insta-love but yet they acknowledge that's what happened to them...? Seemed a bit weird acknowledging a bad aspect of a novel that's included.

Ben: Meh... I liked him at first when he showed up at the restaurant but I felt it hard to warm to him after the dress incident. His pushing for giving Fallon self-esteem was good but I felt he needed some sensitivity added to him. If a guy forced me to wear something I wasn't comfortable in just because he was paying for dinner I'd roundhouse him! 

Fallon: I really felt for her. Her dad was horrible to her and her career was ruined (ultimately because of him) but I hated the melodramatic romantic selfless acts of love she claimed were for the better that just pushed the guy she loved and who loved her away. I'm so over the "you're better without me bullshit" that's everywhere these days. If you find that sort of true love, you deserve to be broken hearted for rejecting it! 

Romance: the romantic scenes did not work. Ultimately cringe although suspect the aim was for some delicate handling of it all but really didn't work this time around. I feel like their should have been some more insight into the pain endured the rest of the year to solidify the level of happiness achieved on November 9th. While only recording November 9th has huge impact, at times it felt like the rest of the year didn't even happen but gaining an insight into their lives without the other would help hit home how much they needed each other. 

Overall:

I loved this and the unique spin of the story with some great plot twists and dark parts. But there was a little lacking for me and I didn't love the romance as much as I wanted too. Still, recommend it though!  

Goodreads 

Saturday 29 October 2016

REVIEW; Predator, by Michelle Horst


Rating: 

Genre: New-Adult, Romance, Suspense

Recommend: Yes


Standalone


NO SPOILERS 

Summary:

Cara has been on the run through America since the murder of her parents in South Africa. Trying to fly under the radar, Cara soon finds herself kidnapped and locked up after letting her guard momentarily slip. But she's a fighter, and doesn't give up when she is being beaten or raped. 
Then in lands Predator, hired to kill her captors and save her. But he has his own demons and reasons for protecting her. Together, they need to work on saving Cara and rebuilding her life, while flying under the radar. But Cara doesn't want to rely on him and is trying to battle her feelings for him. They can't get too comfortable though, as the danger is always out there. 

My Thoughts:

Predator: He is a hired killer. He gets rid of the bad guys and rescues if necessary. Cara's uncle hires him to save Cara and he busts in and rescues her, hell bent on building her back up to the girl she was. But I am disappointed he didn't remain as Predator for long, he very quickly became human and less powerful by being called Damian. Being Predator allowed him to appear more powerful and secretive but stripping him of the title stripped also the intimidation. He wants to save Cara because he couldn't save his first love which is absolutely devastating to read about the amount of guilt he has being harbouring. 

Cara: I liked her strength and independence. When kidnapped she could have taken the easy route by succumbing to the torture to receive a lesser punishment. Instead, she proved to be a difficult victim by always fighting back. Even when Damian rescues her, she remains independent and tries not to rely on him for anything. But then at times, she did a 180 and appeared extremely weak, panic attacks and crying after everything. Understandable at times but then at others it was just frustrating. 

Story: there's quite a simple storyline that allows for focus on grief and trauma and character development. I was expecting a lot more action compared to what there was. Apart from a few scenes, there wasn't much else going on.  The story was told from both POV's and I wish it wasn't. Allowing the reader an insight into Damian's mind further stripped him from the secretive allure around him. But we get some truths revealed before they are to Cara and we learn a lot more about the danger Cara is still in despite being rescued. 

Overall:

This is definitely more of an emotional read and it does work if you have the patience for it. It deals with real harsh issues and the mental process of moving on and natural reactions. While I would have liked more action, I can appreciate the delicate nature of the topic at hand and think it was depicted realistically and truthfully. Definitely recommend. 

Goodreads 

Saturday 22 October 2016

REVIEW; The Bet, by Rachel Van Dyken

Rating: 

Genre: New-Adult, Romantic Comedy

Recommend: Yes


Standalone


SPOILERS 

Summary:

Kacey did not expect to be back at her home town after so many years, but childhood friend and now hottest Bachelor, Jake, has a proposal. His grandmother is ill and he needs to have a fiancé to prove he is ready to settle down and take on the family business. Kacey tentatively agrees but is hoping Jake's older brother Travis would not be around after he did nothing but tease her as a child and torture her in school. But now reunited as adults, she can't ignore the attraction of his smile or the chemistry they clearly have... meanwhile she is meant to be proving she's engaged to the younger brother.

My Thoughts:

This is a hilarious read. I didn't expect it to be so good!!! Told from three POV's, Kacey, Travis and Jake, we learn a lot about their past and the drama hidden between them all. 

Kacey: Jake was the first person Kacey slept with and then he left without saying anything and she lost her best friend. That same night her parents died. You could say she's had it rough. Meanwhile, Travis always made her life hell. Little did she know that stemmed from him liking her as a child but always ruining his chances to impress her. Now she's back as a part of their family and the drama that ensues is hilarious! She has had a rough life and Jake's grandmother has always treated her as her own. She's meant to be there for the weekend to help Jake, but it's a weekend where she discovers a lot more about her parents and their death. My heart broke so many times for her! Jake had done a number on her and now she has trust issues... so of course she is hesitant when both brothers make a move on her. 

Jake: He was a great character. A player whose last plan is to settle down and he has to try convince his family that he is marrying Kacey, despite having not seen her for years. The great thing was that he wasn't a character that was to be converted or changed. He was allowed to be the player and sleep around and wasn't shamed for it either - he was just allowed to be. 

Travis: He was so sweet and had the patience of a saint. He loved Kacey since they were children and it must have hurt so much watching her with his brother believing they were getting married. I enjoyed reading the banter between them and watching their chemistry flourish. 

Grandmother: She stole she show for me. She was absolutely hilarious. Never try to con a granny! She knew right away that Jake was lying to her but never really let on, all the while rooting for Travis to go and get Kacey. I loved her so much. She was so wise but cheeky and was getting the most action in the whole book by dating her neighbour. 

Overall:

This isn't a love triangle book in the conventional sense. It's clear where the real emotions and feelings lie and it's a beautiful quick read. There's a lot of heartache and drama so it's not all fun and laughter, but a great story regardless.

Goodreads 



Saturday 15 October 2016

REVIEW; Madam Tulip and the Knave of Hearts, by David Ahern

Rating: 

Genre: New-Adult, Suspense, Mystery

Recommend: Yes


Book 2

NO SPOILERS 

Summary:

Madam Tulip is back in another mysterious setting surrounded by suspicious activity and life threatening situations. Derry O'Donnell is hired to perform her psychic act in a stately home in England after her current theatre role is jeopardized due to a falling stage. When things suddenly go awry, Derry has to stay longer than she anticipated as she is thrust into a murder mystery. Surrounded by a wealthy family who are focused on protecting themselves, Derry wonders how she will come out of this fiasco. Throw in the usual drama between her artist father and art-dealer mother, Derry O'Donnell just can't catch a break. 

My Thoughts:

***Thank you to the author for a copy in exchange for an honest review***

I really loved the first installment of Madam Tulip and was pleasantly surprised that this surpassed the first story. 

Derry: She really makes me laugh a lot! I love the constant battle between her want to make it as an actress but constantly finding herself being pulled back into the persona of Madam Tulip and her hesitance to accept it as a career of sorts... all the while battling her controlling and materialistic mother who is trying to sculpt her into her own minion. 
"Derry remembered once standing on the top tread of a stairway at Dublin Airport, only for it to lurch into motion and reveal itself as an escalator. Such were conversations with Vanessa. All you could do was scramble backwards hoping somehow to end up where you should have started."
I would probably disown or strangle Vanessa were she my mother... but I hope she sticks around as she makes for a wonderful character to dislike! Their relationship is such a dichotomy to that between Derry and her father - which is somehow also dysfunctional.

Mystery: The suspense in this hit me a lot more than in the first novel. There was a really intricate web of threats and danger that I found so enthralling and thrilling - such as random body parts turning up in the post! With the climax looming the chapters covering the action were so fast-paced but detailed that the fear of the characters was palpable. 

Setting: The setting for this story really made it for me. A stately home in England with a complicated family history of secrets and deceit, I was hooked fairly quickly. I think the majority of people nowadays love the insight into a privileged and stately environment. Although, we still got some glimpses of Derry's Irish heritage beyond the initial chapters. 

“’Shinne Feena Fawl’ declaimed Derry, accompanying her proclamation with sweeping gestures. The crowd perked up. The was new. This was fresh. “Athaw fay towl in Ayring,” Derry added,”

Writing: I love Ahern's writing style. There is a great "story-telling" vibe that really made me feel like I was sitting down listening to a great whirlwind of events being related. I think this plays a huge part in why this series is so alluring. While the main concept is a murder mystery who-dunnit, more often than not I found myself chuckling away with his quirky style. 

“They might also detect a subtle nuance signalling please go away, and on your way out tell anyone without halitosis and with two atoms of charm to come on in. But subtle nuances were as lost on Frankie as the aroma of distant hamburger to a cactus”


Overall:

This is perfect for anyone who loves a cozy mystery with a twist. There are threats and deaths, but hilarious scenarios that keep it light in-between the drama. 

Goodreads 

Saturday 8 October 2016

REVIEW; By Invitation Only (Gilt #1), by Geneva Lee

Rating: 

Genre: YA, Romance, Suspense

Recommend: Yes

Book 1

NO SPOILERS 

Summary:

Emma Southerly feels out of place at Belle Mère Prep, just outside of Las Vegas. Her mother has left and upgraded to a rich husband and Emma is left with her alcoholic father. 
When her best friend invites her to a party hosted in the home of her father's arch enemy, Emma knows she should say no... There she meets Jameson, hiding out from the crowds and the party and Emma has the best night of her life. But waking up in the morning she discovers Jameson is now the prime suspect in a murder, and she is thrown into the mess of truth and deception.

My Thoughts:

Story: I feel like this was a guilty pleasure read. Definitely YA and for younger readers but I loved it. The Romeo and Juliet vibe runs through this but in an adorable way, and the added mystery of "Romeo" being a murder suspect really adds a thrilling side to it. There's a great mix of romance and excitement with the captivating plot twist of a "who dunnit?" 

Emma: I felt so sorry for her. Her mother left and "upgraded" her whole life, leaving poor Emma with her alcoholic father and grieving over the loss of her sister. She is then forced to attend the party of the rival family, And then she unknowingly falls for his son and has to keep him a secret from her father. She is then fired into doubt and wonders if he truly is responsible of murder and the poor girl can't just get a break!

I'm not so much a fan of how the books have been split up. Usually with a series I like each individual book to have at least some story resolve but we don't get many answers in this so feel pressured into buying book 2 to find out anything about this story. As a result, this all felt like a build up but you need to get the 2nd installment for the actual climax. This type of thing usually just annoys me so much I don't want to bother with the next book as I feel it's cheating a little. I don't mind cliffhangers, but give us SOMETHING! 

Overall:

Despite feeling short-changed, I still enjoyed this and got swept up into Emma's world. Recommend for YA readers who enjoy a 90210/Pretty Little Liar's mash up. 

Goodreads 

Saturday 1 October 2016

REVIEW; Needing To Fall, by Ryan Michele

Rating: 
Genre: New-Adult, Dark, Romance

Recommend: Yes


Standalone


NO SPOILERS 

Summary:

Reign has bounced from foster home to foster home and been through it all growing up. Hated by her parents she went on to be abused and witness the murder of her only friend when he tried to protect her. 
Broken from life, Reign is living from day to day. But after discovering something from her past, she is sent back years. Barely surviving, Reign meets Lynx. He's been through hell and back and wants to help Reign. He understands. Together they will battle the darkness in an effort to reach the light. 

My Thoughts:

Now this is a dark read. Holy shit. I loved it. 

Reign: we know she's had it rough but nothing could prepare me for just how bad she had it. Her own parents despised her and life was against her from the beginning. If that wasn't torture enough, she was then victim to countless amounts of abuse from the foster families. She wants to die and I really feel for her. She really has no reason to live and has lost everything. I'd do the exact same and I was so pissed at Andi for getting in the way and caring. 

Lynx: can we all get one? He was amazing. A fellow patient suffering from PTSD he has his own battles to fight. I loved how he wasn't afraid to say the truth to Reign. He didn't baby her. He wasn't a perfect man either and probably someone that is hard to love, but yet they were so wonderfully matched. Him helping her helped himself.

This is primarily a story that focuses on finding love among all the pain and heartache. Both characters are suffering different type of heartache and trauma, but yet kind trust each other again and fight past all their demons. It's by no means romanticised or made seem attractive. It's ugly and it's heart-wrenching, but the outcome is a beautiful story between the pair. It's not always easy either, and they have to fight a lot for it, but it depicts something dark and scary and real, and shows the path in moving on with life and not giving up. That's important to read.

Overall:

This really blew me away. It was so dark and powerful and the writing was extremely evocative I was suffering with Reign. It's a read that will definitely haunt you and stay with you for a long while.

Goodreads 

Wednesday 28 September 2016

BOOKTOUR REVIEW; Loving Amber (Riverstone Estate #1), by Roya Carmen

Rating: 

Genre: New-Adult, Romance

Recommend: Yes

Book 1; The Riverstone Series

NO SPOILERS 

Summary:

Amber always loved Paul from a young age while Aiden always bullied her. But Amber put up with Aiden hating if it allowed her be a part of their group. 
But as adults, Amber loses Paul and her brother in the same night, and Aiden survives. As a result, she can't help but put all the blame on Aiden and vows to keep him out of her life. 
As time passes and they are constantly thrown together, Aiden will stop at nothing to prove he deserves a place in her life, and is not the bad guy she thinks he is. After all, he only annoyed her as a child because he liked her. 

My Thoughts:

***ARC received in exchange for an honest review***

From soon on we know this is going to be a story that involves emotions and heart-strings. 

Told from dual POV we get an insight into the story from both Amber and Aiden's side. I'm uncertain if I liked this - the viewpoints switched often and during the same scenes and it got a bit confusing that it changed for no reason. I think the story would have had more impact if it was majority the POV of Amber and occasionally changed to Aiden for imperative moments or scenes...

Amber: The poor woman has lost her twin and husband in the same night so I can't help but feel for her. She wants to protect herself and her son and choose the guy who can provide stability and be a good father figure. All through the books she's fighting against her head and her heart. But good grief she certainly pushed and pulled a lot and it got a tad frustrating. 

Aiden: He really won me over. He was so sweet and utterly patient beyond belief concerning Amber. I felt sorry for him with how Amber constantly used him. Although I understood why she did what she did, his feelings were taken advantage of in sorts and that's not something usually seen regarding the hero.

Story: This is a heartfelt and emotional story about allowing yourself to be loved and moving on. I found it to be a little slow though. By 40% in there was still no action or romance between the two... it all just took a bit too long to ever occur. Following the climax and drama the story finished up then quickly. However, this deals with the healing process of loss and love, and that is a slow journey so I suppose the tension and emotional warfare is accurately represented by the slow story. 


Overall:

This was a beautiful read and I would recommend it. It's a gorgeous story of the battle between head and heart and the truth about love.