These ‘about me’ sections, or even sections that inform you about blogs, have never been my forte. Much to my chagrin, I was never taught the unwritten rules of what you are supposed to say. The links at the side of the blog – Twitter and Goodreads, for example – are liable to tell you more than I could ever say in words.

Mostly, this will be a book blog. I read a lot, and I love to share my views on my most recent reads. I try to read a little bit of everything, but if you look closely you’ll notice I will occasionally become obsessed with one specific genre for a short period of time. Old books, new books, yet to be released books – I read them all. If you’re an author looking for advance readers or just wish for more reviews of a book you’ve already released, please feel free to contact me. There is a contact form at the side of my blog – if you scroll down below the Twitter and Goodreads sidebar you will find it – so drop me a message and I’ll be sure to get back to you in double time. After all, finding new authors is what makes the book world go around.

Thanks for taking your time to read this. With a little bit of luck, you will find my blog much more interesting than this mundane introductory section.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Review: Holden

Holden Holden by Julia Sykes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Earlier this year I read Dark Lessons by Julia Sykes and was instantly left wanting to read more of her work. I went ahead and brought her Impossible series, the entire notion intriguing me. Another series, her Dark Grove Plantation series, also grabbed my attention. I looked everywhere for Awakened, Taken, and Broken, but I could not find them. I found out they were being extensively re-written and re-titled, and I instantly put them on my to-read list. Holden is the first of these re-written and re-titled books.

In all honesty, I’m not usually a big lover of stories of this length. I have a serious love-hate relationship with short stories. That being said, I really enjoyed this one. I had a couple of problems with this, but for the most part it was a wonderful read.

I’ll begin with the good.

The characters were great. Quickly we fall in love with both of them, and the chemistry between them was wonderful. Told from alternating points of view, we get to see inside the minds of both the characters. They’re two very different characters, but they go so well together.

The romance was swoony worthy. It was steamy, exactly as you hope for from a Julia Sykes read. As I said, the characters have real chemistry, and this always helps with ensuring the steamy scenes are great. Not to mention, Julia Sykes simply seems to know how to write the hot stuff.

The storyline was interesting. It’s a very simple tale, but it is done so well. There’s nothing overly complex, meaning you’re pulled straight into the story, and your attention is held throughout. For such a short story, there is a lot to be found in this one. Plus, it leaves you curious about the stories that are to come in the future books.

Then the things that left me feeling somewhat unsure.

It’s a case of instalove. I’m not a fan of this, and cannot help but roll my eyes at the speed of the story. Everything took place within a matter of days. For me, that is not enough time for emotions to develop. Those who enjoy instalove will like this element of the story, but those who are not fans will be less than pleased.

The final chapter could have been more powerful. I enjoyed the way the story came together, I enjoy the events, yet the ending seemed to come about far too quickly. There was the potential for lots of emotions, but it didn’t quite hit the high notes it could have.

Overall, I enjoyed this one. I’ll certainly be reading the next Dark Grove Plantation story – I already have Brandon sitting on my Kindle – as this series promises to be a lot of fun. Well worth the read for anyone looking for a quick steamy read.

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Review: Industrial Magic

Industrial Magic Industrial Magic by Kelley Armstrong
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Industrial Magic is the fourth book in Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series, and it’s easily my favourite thus far. All the books have been enjoyable, each book seems to reach a new high, and I can only imagine what I will feel as I continue to work my way through this series. In all honesty, I’m annoyed it’s taking me so long to work my way through them. I’m so close to buying all the other books in the series and binge reading them across a week, such is my level of love for the world Kelley Armstrong has created.

I was a bit unsure about Paige and Lucas in Dime Store Magic, but I came to really love them by the end of the book. Thus, I was super excited to jump into Industrial Magic. I was somewhat nervous, as I’ve read a number of reviews where people have labelled this the weakest book in the series, but I adored it. It opened up so many new elements of the world and there were so many scenes that pulled at my heartstrings. It was a quite different read to the prior books, but that only made me enjoy it more.

In all honesty, I’m now heartbroken that we’ll be moving on from Paige and Lucas in the next book. I was disappointed when book three changed our characters to the duo, but now I want to stay with them for longer. I want to see what more happens in their world. I never anticipated falling so in love with the characters, but the events that took place throughout this story earned them a spot right up there alongside my other favourite characters. I’m positive I’ll love the future point of views, but books three and four will certainly hold a high spot for me throughout the rest of the series.

What I really loved about this one is how it has opened up so many possibilities for the world going forward. The characters we are introduce to and the events that unfold promise many great things in the future books. Not to mention, they were a lot of fun throughout this book. The new characters make for extremely interesting reads, giving us plenty of drama throughout the story. The events, whilst slow at times, leave us on the edge of our seats regarding how everything comes together. I’m a big fan of Kelley Armstrong, and throughout this story demonstrated why I’m such a big fan.

Overall, it was a wonderful read. I cannot wait to read the next book in the Women of the Otherworld series and find out where everything goes from here.

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Review: First Frost

First Frost First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Garden Spells was my first Sarah Addison Allen read, and it instantly left me wanting to read more of the author’s work. With there being a second Waverley Family book, I knew exactly where I would be heading for my next Sarah Addison Allen read.

Garden Spells was a truly magical read, one that left me in love with the magical realism world Sarah Addison Allen had created. It was such an uplifting story, with so many positively feelings, that I was left feeling light and breezy for days after reading it. I went in expecting the same thing of First Frost, but I was given something very different.

Whilst First Frost is a wonderful sequel, I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as I enjoyed the first book. It grabbed me, it was an interesting story, and I enjoyed returning to the characters; however, it wasn’t what I had imagined it would be. The feeling of this book seemed to be much darker. Not that this was a dark read – considering the gritty crime novels I read on a regular basis, I doubt I could ever label a book in this genre truly dark – but it was not the light and fluffy read of Garden Spells. Whilst Garden Spells focused upon showing us all the good in life, this book seemed to exist to demonstrate not everything is perfect.

I love a good realistic read, yet it felt unusual for the sequel of Garden Spells to have such a feel to it. Due to it being so different, it took me a while to fall deep into this story. I enjoyed the tale, but it didn’t trap me in the way the first book did. It is still an enjoyable story, it still has many of the happy feelings sprinkled throughout, but it jarred with the Waverley Family image I had in mind.

Whilst it was nice to revisit the family, I can honestly say I did not enjoy this one as much as I enjoyed the first book. It was a good read, but it wasn’t what I’d expected.

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Review: Garden Spells

Garden Spells Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Garden Spells is the first of the two Waverley Family books, and it will leave you diving straight into the second book. Honestly, it was a truly adorable read, addictive in so many ways.

My friend won this book in a giveaway and positively adored it, thus I knew I needed to give it a read. When she read the second book and enjoyed that too, I knew that I’d be jumping into the series as soon as I had the chance.

Garden Spells is a truly immersive magical realism world. It’s one of those magical realism books where the magic is extremely subtle. You know it is there, you can see it all around you, and yet it is never thrown in your face. Comments are consistently made, but there is none of the fireworks you often see in these stories. The magic is merely a background to the much deeper, more wonderful aspects of this story.

This is a story of family, of love, of being yourself. It’s one of those books with many deep meaningful messages. The kind that tells you so much without feeling like a lecture from your mother. From the very start, family plays a major role in this story. There’s reconnection, finding out truths, and being there for each other. Not long after, the romance is brought into this story. It mixes in so well with the family elements of the story, never becoming an over the top tale. It’s sweet and addictive, much like the entire book. Throughout it all, we have a darkness lurking in the background. You’re constantly waiting for the penny to drop, for the secrets to come together in an explosive manner.

It really was an addictive read. So lovely and sweet. Words cannot do justice to how adorable the story was. Without a doubt, it’s a worthwhile book.

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Review: The Assassin and the Desert

The Assassin and the Desert The Assassin and the Desert by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Having read and enjoyed the first five Throne of Glass books and impatiently awaiting the sixth, I decided it was time to work my way through the five novellas offered up in The Assassin’s Blade. I’d debated reading these stories at an earlier stage, yet I found myself too pulled into the main story to take a detour. I’m there now, though. I’m holding out that these five stories will tide me over until the sixth book is released.

Upon finished The Assassin and the Pirate Lord, I was unsure whether or not the stories would do much. The Assassin and the Pirate Lord was an okay read, but for the most part I really didn’t care. The Assassin and the Healer improved upon the first novella, yet it still wasn’t quite what I had hoped for. It was enough to leave me with the belief the stories would improve. With The Assassin and the Desert, I’m back at my earlier stage. It was an okay read, but I really had expected so much more from this.

Whilst this story was better than The Assassin and the Pirate Lord, I did not enjoy it as much as I enjoyed The Assassin and the Healer. I think it’s because I had the highest expectations for this one. It promises us so much, I was once again holding out hope for the deadly assassin story I’ve been crossing my fingers for throughout the entire series, yet it wasn’t quite what I had wanted.

Following the first two novellas, this one continues to show us our main character in the days before the main series. It is nice to see how everything came together, to see details that are alluded to in the main series, and to be given an insight into yet another part of the world. It was fun to pass the time, but I wasn’t crazy about this story. It was so slow, and it lacked the powerful punch I had been hoping this one would deliver.

I’m positive those obsessed with Throne of Glass will love this, but for me it was simply okay.

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Friday, 21 July 2017

Review: The Masterpiecers

The Masterpiecers The Masterpiecers by Olivia Wildenstein
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Masterpiecers is one of those books where I was unsure as to what rating I was to give it. A part of me screamed out four stars, yet another part of me screamed out three stars. Overall, it’s a three-point-five stars rating from me. I opted to round up because, in the end, I was truly addicted to this one.

The Masterpiecers was a divergence from my usual read in quite a few ways. I enjoy suspense and I enjoy young adult, but I rarely mix the two together. I often find such a mix never quite lives up to my expectations. When I’m reading suspense, I enjoy the gritty reads. When I’m reading young adult, I enjoy the simple escapism. I’m well aware that a combination of the two genres will not result in a combination of the two elements – simply by being young adult, such reads will never quite be the level of gritty I enjoy – yet the synopsis of this one grabbed me enough to leave me willing to take the leap. I was interested to see what this one would bring us.

The Masterpiecers is told from two alternating viewpoints, taking on one of the big trends in thriller at the moment. Sometimes I find myself groaning when this happens – I sometimes feel as though authors are doing it to ‘fix it’, much like we’re all back at school in the awkward teen phase – but with this one it really worked. Our two characters are in very different places, two very different stories are taking place. Through the alternating perspectives we get to see how each individual story unfolds, whilst being show how well intertwined the storylines are.

The storyline of Ivy gives us an insight into the world of reality television. The storyline of Aster gives us an insight into life behind bars. Both stories were interesting in many ways, I was curious about what was happening in both stories. Both storylines required me to step away from reality – Aster’s in particular had me thinking ‘that would never happen in real life’ and certain elements of her storyline (mainly the mental health element) had me questioning the way people were behaving – but when I managed to distance myself from real possibilities and the fiction of the story I did enjoy all that took place. Some things required more of a suspension of belief than other elements, but when my head was wrapped around all of these aspects, the story does intrigue.

The two storylines were brought together really well. I will admit to working out quite a lot of the details, but it was interesting to see the way in which the details slowly came to light for both of the sisters. It made for a really gripping read to see how they would react to the new information and to watch them try to puzzle things out, as they were pulled deeper into the web.

Overall, it was a really interesting story. It has certainly left me interested in where the story will go from here.

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Thursday, 20 July 2017

Review: Loving Kalvin

Loving Kalvin Loving Kalvin by Siobhan Davis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Loving Kalvin in the fourth book in the Kennedy Boys series, but it is the first book in the series to work as a standalone novel. Although you do not need to read the Kyler books (the first three books in the Kennedy Boys series), it will help you somewhat if you have read those books. The Kyler books will give you a lot more background into the characters and some of the details brought up in this story. However, the Kyler books contain a taboo romance that will not be for everyone. Should the Kyler books not be your cup of tea, this book is still a fabulous read. If you are interested and you’re unafraid to read the taboo romance, I would certainly recommend reading this series in order. Each new book in the Kennedy Boys series brings something new, and it is great to see the characters develop from one book to the next. I can assure you, you’ll be pulled into the world of the Kennedy boys and you will be screaming out for more.

In all honesty, my feelings towards Loving Kalvin are much like my feelings towards Kalvin as a character. It’s poetic, when you stop and think about it. I was super excited to grab this book (I was excited to meet all of the characters in Finding Kyler), I was interested at the start of the book but I wasn’t as crazy about it as I had hoped I would be (I was interested in his character but I didn’t really like him as much as I’d hoped I would), but as things progressed I became truly addicted and fell in love in so many different ways (as his story developed I realised what a great character he was and my feelings towards him changed). As I said, it’s rather poetic when you stop and think about the parallels between the two.

As I said, I was super excited for this book. I became truly invested in Kalvin’s storyline throughout the Kyler books and I could not wait to find out where his story was going to head in the future. Although he is not my number one Kennedy boy, he managed to work his way much higher up my list than I’d thought he would. His storyline contained so much drama, there was so much to him, and I couldn’t wait to dive into more. It should come as no surprise to hear I dived right into this with a large quantity of excitement bubbling within.

At first, I wasn’t quite pulled into the story. Yes, I was curious. Yes, things were happening. Yes, I really enjoyed the introduction of new characters and the change of scenery. However, it didn’t quite hit me in the same way other books by Siobhan Davis have hit me upon the opening chapters. This is because the book is a lot slower and more character driven. It’s not a bad thing – I’ll go on shortly to explain why this is a wonderful thing – it merely means you need to stick with the story for a little bit longer before it starts to move at a rapid pace. You’re pulled in by all the little things, but the bigger aspects of the story that leave you losing your connection to the outside world due to a disappearance into the story come at a later date.

I will admit to another element of the story threatening to leave me unsure. The book is filled with lies and deceit – it’s a very substantial part of the story. One of the elements I worked out very early on. I’m not going to say what it was, as I have no wish to spoil the story, but I feared it would be a cliché in that the detail would be kept a secret to the reader until the very end. You can imagine my joy when Siobhan Davis introduced the readers to this element of the story before the thirty percent mark. It was a wonderful change to the usual tropes in the genre, and it’s at this point that I really fell into the story. I honestly cannot explain why I loved this change of approach so much. Such details are usually written in the synopsis and there is a lack of emotional attachment, or the detail is kept hidden from the reader and this makes it difficult to connect. Siobhan Davis once again demonstrates she is more than willing to push the usual boundaries aside, taking expected elements of a story and twisting it into something new and uniquely her own. I won’t say any more on this matter – again, those pesky spoilers – but I did love the way Siobhan Davis went about this, it added so much more to the story.

Because, honestly, every detail of this story makes it an extremely emotional read. There are a lot of difficult emotions as we deal with heavy issues, but there is also plenty of light to be seen. It is your happy ever after story, but to reach that end you need to work your way through the storm. Whilst in the storm, there are also moments of lighter weather. Your emotions will be ripped raw, but there are also those moments where you’ll let out a good giggle. Honestly, I let out so many booming laughs throughout. I’ve recently moved house and I can only imagine what my new neighbours must be thinking of me from the volume of my laughter. It really is a deeply emotional book. You have the good, you have the bad, and you have everything else in between that makes a book true to live.

You really will be so invested in these characters. There is so much development for them both – both within this book and between the Kyler books and this one. There is so much drama to be found – a very different kind of drama to that faced in the Kyler books, but still plenty of drama. Along with all the other goodies that make up a Siobhan Davis books: the sweet romance, the heavier issues, and the endless addiction. With all of the heavy stuff focused upon the characters, we’re given a moving book where we truly connect with the characters. It is another fabulous read from Siobhan Davis.

I know a lot of people are labelling this her best work, their favourite Siobhan Davis read, but I’m not sure if I can do such a thing. This is not due to a dislike of the story – far from it. Merely that I had a brainwave whilst reading this. I cannot put Siobhan Davis books into the same category. Her science fiction reads have a category. Her contemporary reads have a category. Her contemporary reads can be further split up into smaller categories. Keeping Kyler was, without a doubt, my favourite of the Kyler books, but to compare Kalvin’s story to Kyler’s story is… well, I cannot even think of an analogy that fits. They’re vastly different in terms of how they feel. Kyler’s story ripped me apart and Kalvin’s story sewed me back up. They’re both great reads – all the Siobhan Davis books I have read have been great reads – but they’ve very different reads.

If you loved Kyler’s story, then you really need to pick up Kalvin’s story. It really does add so much to the Kennedy Boys series. Not only is it a great standalone novel, it also does many additional things. The biggest aspect is that it has left me super interested to read The Irish Getaway. Book three-point-five cannot come soon enough. I have so many questions about what happened and I’m so excited to receive all the details. This book also opens us up for the next book in the series – Saving Brad. I’m going to be honest by saying Brad is my least favourite of the characters (it’s an unpopular opinion, I know, and I’m sorry for this), but the little snapshot at the end of this one does have me intrigued about what will happen in his story. I feel as though there are some pretty big things to come, and I’m rather excited to see what happens.

In short, once again, Siobhan Davis has delivered a winner.

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