Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Review: Waterfall Effect

Waterfall Effect Waterfall Effect by K.K. Allen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It has been a while since I read a romantic suspense book that really blew my mind, so it’s no surprise to find out Waterfall Effect instantly grabbed my attention. It sounded like the perfect book to remind me why I enjoy the genre so much, the perfect book to satisfy my desire.

Fortunately, I was not mistaken.

Within pages, I was sucked into this story. It took mere chapters before I was lost, unable to put the book down. This one gripped me from a very early point, for so many different reasons, and I found it difficult to turn my attention away from the story I was enjoying so much.

The first thing to grab me was the writing. It’s one thing to say a book is well written, but another to find as many beautiful lines as you do in this one. I feared I would find myself bored of the water metaphors, yet each one seemed to be more beautiful than the last. The story flowed so well, certain lines bathing you in beauty – honestly, I was in love with the words.

Beautiful words are one thing, yet they are not enough to hold my attention. I need a good story too, and this one certain delivers. During this story, I dealt with a little bit of disappointment. Romantic suspense falls upon a continuum – some will be romance heavy, others will be suspense heavy. I prefer the latter category – those with lots of suspense. Waterfall Effect, however, is the former category – heavy on the romance. There were times when a part of me was hoping for a wee bit more suspense, where I wished it was more in line with my tastes, but this is just a personal preference. Later in the book we do get more of the action, there is a mystery throughout, and the suspense does exist – it may not have been to the level I usually like, but it worked. The story grew slowly, things develop in such a way that you’re constantly curious as to what will happen next, and I found myself won over by the more romance heavy read.

In terms of the story, I think my favourite part was how I was kept guessing. I did work out who the bad guy was, although there were plenty of times where red herrings existed to throw me off. I doubted so many of the characters, found myself willing to shift my belief. When we get all the details at the end, I found myself loving the way all the details came together. It may not be to the level of my crime fiction books, but for a romantic suspense read this one certainly keeps you on your toes in relation to the characters and motive.

Speaking of the characters, I loved them. I really enjoyed our main characters, came to love them so much. There was such history there, so much to enjoy. The side characters were a lot of fun, too. I love romantic suspense stories told in little towns, but the town needs to be done right. A lot of this comes down to the characters, and in this one we were given a great cast. There was good, bad, and those sitting in the grey area between. There really was so much fun to be had with the characters.

Overall, I adored this one. I was addicted throughout, and there is no doubt I will be reading more K.K. Allen in the future. If you’re looking for a great romantic suspense book, this one is well worth the read.

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Release Day Blitz: Waterfall Effect.





Title: Waterfall Effect
Author: K.K. Allen
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: February 28, 2018



Blurb

Lost in the shadows of a tragedy that stripped Aurora June of everything she once loved, she’s back in the small town of Balsam Grove, North Carolina, ready to face all she’s kept locked away for seven years. Or so she thinks.

As one of the victims of a string of mysterious disappearances in the small, picturesque Appalachian Mountain town, darkness has become her home—her safe blanket when the world reveals its true colors. But as the walls of darkness start to move in on her, she knows the only way to free herself from her past is to face it, head-on. She just needs to figure out how.

Upon arrival, Aurora isn’t expecting her first collision to be with the boy she left all those years ago. The boy who betrayed her trust with no regrets. The boy who is no longer a boy, but a man with the same stormy eyes that swept her into his current before she ever learned to swim.

She’d thought he was safe. He’d thought their path was mapped out. Turns out neither of them was ready for the crash at the bottom of the cascade.







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Excerpt

As I approach the edge of the winding river less than a minute’s walk from my cottage, it’s like someone has injected me with life. With a lift of my chin, I close my eyes and inhale until I’m no longer dulled and disoriented. Everything becomes clear. In Balsam Grove, I breathe the air with new lungs, feel the breeze with new skin, and see the land through new eyes.

I don’t try to navigate my way. I hike beside the river, around every curve and bend, uphill and against the current. It’s a familiar path, but my focus isn’t on the destination. Every now and then I stop to take a drink from the stream, pluck a fiery pink flower, and tune into a wild animal scampering across fallen leaves. But it’s not until I reach a steeper incline that I take a moment to assess where I’m headed.

The river has significantly increased in speed since I began walking a few minutes ago. A steeper incline forces me to distance myself from the water’s edge, onto a more manageable path through the woods. My thighs burn from the steady climb, and my throat aches from dehydration. I never planned to journey this far, but I could have at least thought to bring water. I’m ready to turn back, find the river, and drink from it when I spot the top of a familiar red house peeking over the hill. Hummingbirds unleash in my chest as I inch forward.

Mere seconds later, I’m standing on flat land again, taking in the two-story home that overlooks a waterfall, an old millhouse beside it. It’s like it came out of nowhere, but this house—it’s home to some of my best memories, my biggest dreams, and the beginning of the horrible nightmare that ended life as I knew it.

“Ah, that’s my girl,” a voice booms in the distance. “Bring it here, Lacey.”

Shit. Jaxon?

My eyes sweep left, to the source of the river. Two waterfalls coming from different directions spill into one body of water where Jaxon treads. He’s patting the water as Lacey paddles over with a stick in her mouth.

Jaxon takes the stick, then rubs her head before she continues paddling to the edge of the river. After she climbs out and does a full body shake to dry off, he tosses the stick to the side and turns back to the water, swimming lap after lap until I’ve lost count. Every powerful stroke reveals inches of well-cut muscle and betrays his familiarity with the water.

Jaxon always loved everything about the water. Diving, swimming, fishing…sex. I shiver at the memory of how well our slick bodies fit together. Of his delicate fingers stripping me of my bikini top so he could see all of me as he inched his way into my body, my heart. Of his hot mouth wrapping around my pebbled nipple just to hear my whispered cry. Of the way he watched me with hooded eyes as I came for him, my back pressed against a boulder and the plunging falls above us swallowing my cries.

He took everything good from me, but it was me that handed it over for the taking.

He’s still mesmerizing, and I can’t take my eyes off him now. With every stroke, I imagine him swimming away from me, away from our past and deeper into the rushing swell of the stream. How long has he been swimming? How far?

I swallow my anxiety as he finally breaks from his exercise to catch his breath. When he does, I’m as breathless as he is. 

I’m not sure how long I’ve been staring when he uses the slick rocks to pull himself from the water, but I’m completely captivated by the droplets coursing down his naked back and arms. He’s all strength and agility, effortlessly pulling himself to his feet. I should turn away, but I don’t. Instead, I watch as water glides from his long hair, down his narrow waist, and then over the most beautiful ass I’ve ever seen.

Is he…?

I gasp, my hand clapping over my mouth. But it’s too late. One slip of my breath is all it takes for Lacey’s snout to jerk in my direction and sound off the first menacing growl.






Author Bio


K.K. Allen is an award-winning author and Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences graduate from the University of Washington who writes heartfelt and inspirational Contemporary Romance stories mainly about “Capturing the Edge of Innocence.” K.K. currently resides in central Florida, works full time as a Digital Producer for a leading online educational institution, and is the mother to a ridiculously handsome little dude who owns her heart.

K.K.’s publishing journey began in June 2014 with the YA Contemporary Fantasy trilogy, The Summer Solstice. In 2016, K.K. published her first Contemporary Romance, Up in the Treehouse, which went on to win the Romantic Times 2016 Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best New Adult Book of the Year. With K.K.'s love for inspirational and coming of age stories involving heartfelt narratives and honest emotions, you can be assured to always be surprised by what K.K. releases next.


Author Links

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Review: Start Me Up

Start Me Up Start Me Up by J. Kenner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Start Me Up is the fourth book in J. Kenner’s Man of the Month series, and it’s another winner. After finishing book one, Down on Me, I was excited for more; after finishing book two, Hold on Tight, I was desperate for more; after finishing book three, Need You Now, my desperation had reached epic proportions. Now, four books in, I’m starting to regret my decision to read these books as they release – a part of me wishes I had waited until all twelve were out, and then I would binge read them all. After all, these are very much binge worthy books – after each one, you’re left wanting more.

The Man of the Month series is a collection of interconnected romance stories, proving individual stories as a larger story plays out. Each novel features a favourite romance trope, ensuring there is something for everyone. The first book, Down on Me, provided us with the friends-to-lovers trope; the second book, Hold on Tight, provided us with the second chance romance; the third book, Need You Now, provided us with the brother’s best friend trope. I’m not entirely sure what the correct label is for the Start Me Up trope, but I’m going to label it the one-night stand. You all know the story – that one-night stand that leads into something much more, the night that changes a person’s life.

Although each book is an individual story with a start and an end, I would recommend reading these books in order. To understand some of the details of the story in full, you need to understand how things came to be throughout the prior books. You’re certainly told, to ensure you have the basic facts to understand the story, but it is not the same as experiencing all that happened – for a bigger picture, read the series in order. This is especially true with this book. By this point, we’re a few weeks into the story line, and events in this book take us back to things that happened in the earlier books. In particular, it adds a lot more meaning to events that played out in the earlier books. Sure, you’re can pick and choose with these books – but to get the best experience I beg you read them in order, especially if you want the full impact of each story.

Like the prior two stories, you knew how things were going to play out in this one. You know how the trope plays out, and you know our male lead will be April’s man of the month. Despite this, the smaller details quickly pull you in. You know where things are going, but you want to see how things will come together. It’s the small details that suck you in, that leave you wanting more. Although this fourth book is not my favourite of the series, it provided all the feel-good elements I have come to enjoy in the prior book.

In fact, if I’m completely honest, this one shocked me. I went in with low expectations of this one, not overly interested by the characters – only to enjoy it so much more than I’d initially anticipated. It may not be my favourite in the series thus far, but it is certainly the one to have shocked me the most. Not because of any surprise twist, but simply because I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this one. It was mainly the characters I was unsure about, but it turns out I adored them both and the relationship.

Without a doubt, another fun addition to the series. Now, I’m super in need of book five. Book five is giving us one of the stories I’m really excited to find out more about – and the sooner I can jump in the better. That little snippet at the end of this book – it’s not enough, I need to see what comes next.

Hurry up and give me Get It On!

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Review: Eternal Desire

Eternal Desire Eternal Desire by Kim Loraine
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I will be completely honest about my rating of this one – it is more of a three-point-five-star read than the three stars I gave it. A part of me did consider rounding up, but in the end I decided to round down. Should I continue with this series, I feel as though the potential for higher ratings is certainly there.

Eternal Desire is the first book in Kim Loraine’s Siren Coven series, and I was instantly sucked in by the synopsis of this one. I love a good paranormal romance, and I went in with high hopes. It wasn’t long before I realised something, though…

Although Eternal Desire is the first book in the Siren Coven series, this book is actually a spin-off from the author’s Fallen Angel trilogy. In some cases, reading spin-off series is perfectly fine – however, with this one I felt as though there were a lot of gaps in my knowledge. Information is given, but it was not enough for me to understand all of the references. Much has been done in regards to world building and events in the Fallen Angel trilogy, and without that knowledge I spent most of the book lost. By the second half of the book, I had a decent understanding – and I think this is why I enjoyed the second half of the book more – but it still wasn’t enough for me to understand everything. I think, therefore, it is best to go and read the Fallen Angel trilogy first.

In fact, I have the first book, Waking the Watcher, on my Kindle already. Having read Eternal Desire, I know Kim Loraine is capable of providing a fun paranormal read – and I will be more inclined to go and start the trilogy now. However, I doubt I will read the next Siren Coven book until I am up to date with the Fallen Angel trilogy. I feel as though it’s an injustice to the author – this is clearly a fun series, I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to because I didn’t understand how heavily it would refence the author’s other work.

That’s my warning over and done with now, and I’ll say some things about the book without referring back to my own personal issue mentioned above.

What I enjoyed about this one was the siren element of the story. Although there are many witch books out there, the siren twist is something you do not see all that often. I enjoyed the way it was mixed in so well with things people already know about the paranormal world. Sitting side-by-side the shifter element, you could easily believe siren stories are something that is done every day – it just went so well.

I also enjoyed the way the story arc grew throughout this one. Things were rather slow at the start of this book, but the second half had a lot more action. Not only was there more action, but twists were thrown in that would clearly come into play in the later books in the series. There’s a lot of great set up for what is to come, and I’m certainly curious to see how everything comes together.

Overall, this was an interesting read – I simply wish I had been able to understand certain elements a bit better.

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Release Day Blitz: Start Me Up.

RB_BANNER

Start Me Up, the newest standalone in the Man of the Month Series by #1 New York Times bestselling author J. Kenner is LIVE!

4 - April -
Start Me Up
Wicked days. Sinful nights.
Meet Mr. April.
A high school drop-out with only his twisted sense of humor and panty-melting good looks going for him, Nolan Wood has turned a small radio gig into a thriving career.
Now a local celebrity, Nolan never wants for female companionship. But he never gets too close. And he damn sure never lets them see the man— or the pain—behind the jokes.
Then a one-night stand changes everything.
Career-focused, goal-oriented, and buttoned-down accountant Shelby Drake isn’t the kind of woman who’d usually catch Nolan’s attention, but her soft mouth, hidden curves, and deep sensuality blow his mind. And after only one taste, he wants more.
But Shelby wants nothing more to do with him. And now the radio playboy is on a sensual mission to convince her that opposites really do attract.
Her pleasure is his passion.
**Start Me Up is part of a binge read series by New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly, and #1 International bestselling author of the million copy Stark series, J. Kenner.
Each novel in the series is a STANDALONE romance with a guaranteed HEA!
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Down On Me
Amazon Universal: myBook.to/DownOnMe
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About J. Kenner

J. Kenner (aka Julie Kenner) is the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, Wall Street Journal and #1 International bestselling author of over seventy novels, novellas and short stories in a variety of genres. Though known primarily for her award-winning and international bestselling erotic romances (including the Stark and Most Wanted series) that have reached as high as #2 on the New York Times bestseller list, JK has been writing full time for over a decade in a variety of genres including paranormal and contemporary romance, “chicklit” suspense, urban fantasy, and paranormal mommy lit. JK has been praised by Publishers Weekly as an author with a “flair for dialogue and eccentric characterizations” and by RT Bookclub for having “cornered the market on sinfully attractive, dominant antiheroes and the women who swoon for them.” A five time finalist for Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA award, JK took home the first RITA trophy awarded in the category of erotic romance in 2014 for her novel, Claim Me (book 2 of her Stark Trilogy). Her Demon Hunting Soccer Mom series (as Julie Kenner) is currently in development with AwesomenessTV/Awestruck. Her books have sold over three million copies and are published in over twenty languages. In her previous career as an attorney, JK worked as a clerk on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and practiced primarily civil, entertainment and First Amendment litigation in Los Angeles and Irvine, California, as well as in Austin, Texas. She currently lives in Central Texas, with her husband, two daughters, and two rather spastic cats. jkenner

Connect with Julie:

Website: www.jkenner.com

Release Day Blitz: Eternal Desire.




Title: Eternal Desire
Series: The Siren Coven #1
Author: Kim Loraine
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: February 27, 2018



Blurb

Izzy

Dying young is tragic. Dying young and being reborn over and over for all eternity? That’s exhausting. My goal had always been to reunite with my sister witches and break the curse put on us. Love was a risk I wasn’t willing to take. It wasn’t worth knowing it’d end in heartbreak. Then a handsome beast found me and took me as his mate. Grant McTavish linked our souls without giving me a choice. Now, with a ticking clock, a shifter pack on the hunt for me and my sisters, and Grant trying to claim my heart, I’ve got to save myself in order to save the man I don’t want to love.


Grant

I never thought I’d find my mate. I’ve watched my pack members find theirs time and time again, but for me, it wasn’t an option. I do my job, fight to keep my pack safe, that’s it. But when my beauty walked into my life, there was no stopping my instinct. Izzy is mine, and no curse is going to take her from me. I’ll do whatever it takes to keep her safe. She may think keeping her love from me will keep me alive when her curse takes her, but I know better. We’ll have our happily ever after. I’ll make sure of it.







Purchase Links

99c for a limited time

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Free in Kindle Unlimited






Author Bio

Kim Loraine was raised a Navy brat but spent most of her life growing up in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. A proper Washingtonian, she's addicted to coffee, doesn't let a little rain ruin her day, and thinks the sun is a gift from God. When not chasing her three little minions around, Kim spends her time writing, reading, and binge watching Doctor Who.



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Release Day Blitz: Playmaker.





Title: Playmaker
A Breakaway Novel
Author: L.P. Dover
Genre: Sports Romance
Publisher: Loveswept/Random House
Release Date: February 27, 2018



Blurb

He knows every play in the book. But she’s calling the shots.

I’m Maddox Ledger, all-star winger and the reason the Charlotte Strikers killed it in the playoffs. Yeah, the tabloids like to call me arrogant. A real hothead. All I see is a guy who plays to win. Wreaking havoc on the ice, breaking a few hearts—that’s all just part of the game. And I’m sure as hell not sitting on the bench.

When my teammate asks me to be in his wedding party, I can’t refuse. Lucky for me, the bridesmaid I’m paired with is the definition of eye candy, but she’s so much more than that. Lacey Easton is totally irresistible and she makes me want to be a better man. A glimpse of bare shoulder takes me back to a steamy, two-week Vegas tryst I can’t forget. One I’m eager to repeat.

Suddenly our one-night stand is turning into the sequel. Still, Lacey’s keeping secrets. She doesn’t trust me. And maybe I deserve it. But I know more than she thinks I do and there’s no chance I’m letting her get away—or letting another guy take what is mine. This time, I’m playing for keeps. 




Purchase Links

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU





Excerpt

“And we’ll be right back,” Maddox announced, grabbing my wrist.
He pulled me away, and I went willingly with him. I glanced back at Braeden and he started toward us, but I shook my head, stopping him midstep. Maddox turned the corner, his eyes burning like fire.
“I thought I could get through this, but I can’t. I’m so fucking tired of the lies. I know who you are, Lacey.”
My heart stopped. I pretended to be stupid. “Of course, you know who I am. Stop being silly. We need to get back to the wedding.”
He stepped closer, caging me against the wall, with his lips so close to mine. “No,” he growled low. “I mean, I know who you are . . . Paige.” Keeping his eyes on mine, he glided a hand down my bare back and reached inside my dress, circling his fingers around my strawberry birthmark. My whole body broke out in chills. “Did you seriously think I wouldn’t recognize you?”
“Took you long enough,” I snapped.
“Oh, I knew who you were right after you left me in Vegas.” My mouth dropped. “Yeah, that’s right, sunshine. A well-paid private investigator can find out anything.”



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AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU




AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU



Author Bio


New York Times and USA Today bestselling author L. P. Dover is a southern belle living in North Carolina with her husband and two beautiful girls. Before she began her literary journey she worked in periodontics, enjoying the wonderment of dental surgeries.

She loves to write, but she also loves to play golf, go on mountain hikes and white water rafting, and has a passion for singing. Her two youngest fans expect a concert each and every night before bedtime, usually Christmas carols.

Dover has written countless novels, including her Forever Fae series, the Second Chances series, the Gloves Off series, the Armed & Dangerous series, the Royal Shifters series, the Society X series, the Circle of Justice series, and her standalone novels It Must’ve Been the Mistletoe and Love, Lies, and Deception. Her favorite genre to read and write is romantic suspense, but if she got to choose a setting in which to live, it would be with her faeries in the Land of the Fae.


Author Links

Monday, 26 February 2018

Review: Perfect Death

Perfect Death Perfect Death by Helen Sarah Fields
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Last year I won Perfect Remains in a Goodreads giveaway, after debating whether or not I wished to pick up the book, quickly finding out this was a series I would want to continue. At first, I wasn’t sure about Perfect Remains but it soon won me over. It wasn’t the strongest four-star rating I have ever handed out, but it guaranteed I would be back for more. Perfect Prey, on the other hand, blew me away. I enjoyed it so much more than I enjoyed the first book, leaving me desperate for book three. In fact, I was close to giving Perfect Prey a five-star rating – only holding back because of small elements. Thus, I went into Perfect Death with very high expectations.

Although Perfect Death is the third book in the DI Callanach series, it can be read as a standalone novel. As with any crime thriller, there is a start and an end point with the crime, ensuring you get closure. However, I would recommend you read the prior books first. Lots happens in relation to the personal lives of the characters, and to completely understand this you need to read the prior books. Not only are references made to events in the past, but certain elements build upon what we found out in the prior books. I’m not saying you cannot enjoy this without the prior books, I’m simply saying you’ll get a better experience if you read this series in order.

I’ll be completely honest about this one, I was uncertain at first. As I said, after the high of book two, I was expecting really big things for book three. However, when I started this one I feared a repeat of book one. Sure, I enjoyed the first book; however, I wasn’t completely happy with it. It was a book that won me over, not one that grabbed me from the very first page. In that sense, book three was like book one, but I did enjoy this one much more.

You see, it took a few chapters before this one completely sucked me in. I enjoyed seeing our characters again, but the story seemed to be rather slow moving. I think Perfect Prey has ruined me, leaving me with unrealistic expectations of what I can expect with each new Helen Fields book. They will all be fun reads, of that I’m sure, but I cannot expect to be sucked in at such a rapid pace ever time. With these stories, with the crimes Helen Fields writes, you need to stick around. Things build slowly, we get introduced to a lot of things throughout, and you need to take your time with things.

Once you reach a certain point, though, you’re lost to the story. Everything starts to come together and things build at a crazy rate. More and more is added, until you reach a climax that will leave you desperate for the next book. You fall in love with the characters, you get sucked in by the crime, and everything comes together so well. It may take a while, but once the book grabs you it refuses to let go.

Without a doubt, Perfect Death was another fun addition to the DI Callanch series. I’m already extremely excited for Perfect Silence – I’ll be grabbing it as soon as I can.

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Review: Siege and Storm

Siege and Storm Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Siege and Storm is the second book in Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone trilogy, and I enjoyed this one even more than the first.

The thing I loved so much about this one is the new characters we were introduced to. Although we have drama continuing on from characters and events in the first book, it was the new characters that made this book so much fun. It made for a much more interesting cast, giving me some of my favourite characters in the series. In fact, there were certain characters introduced in this one that I wish to see a lot more of in the future. They added so much to the book – in terms of both storyline and fun character aspects – and I couldn’t help but fall in love with them.

I also feel as though there was more to the plot in this one. We fell into the same trap that many young adult fantasy novels fall into – the romance trap, and all the associated angst – but aside from that, things start to stand out more in this one. The first book felt like it could have been almost any young adult fantasy novel, but the elements introduced in this one made it stand up well alone – this is where the book truly begins to stand out. It certainly makes the plot a lot more fun, it leaves you interested in seeing what direction everything will go in. You’re left with ideas, theories, but a lot of questions still exist.

All in all, it leaves you desperate to grab the final book to see how everything comes together.

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Sunday, 25 February 2018

Review: Heartbreaker

Heartbreaker Heartbreaker by Anna Brooks
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Heartbreaker is a quick Bulletproof Butterfly novella, although you do not need to read Bulletproof Butterfly to understand this one. It is set in the same world, with known characters, but it can be understood without any prior knowledge – such is how I entered this one, without any prior knowledge.

I’ll be completely honest, I expected something a bit more from this one. The book had the potential to be extremely emotional, based upon some of the topics involved, yet I was never sucked into the story. Sure, I was turning pages at a rapid pace to find out what came next – however, I never really felt anything throughout the story.

It was cute, there were interesting elements, but it did not reach the full potential. I wanted more – more emotion, more connections, and more of an investment in what happened.

A part of me is now interested in reading Bulletproof Butterfly, though. Perhaps this one would have hit me harder if I had already read the connecting book.

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Review: Shadow and Bone

Shadow and Bone Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Leigh Bardugo is an author to have been on my radar for quite some time, yet I spent a long time avoiding her books. Prior to reading Shadow and Bone, my feelings towards Leigh Bardugo were much the same as my feelings towards Sarah J. Maas. Both are big names in the young adult fantasy genre, and I feared the hype. In both cases, it was their second series that caught my attention – with Maas it was A Court of Thorns and Roses, with Bardugo it was Six of Crows. With Maas, I was able to jump into the second series without having read the first. With Bardugo, I did not want to do such a thing. With Maas I went back and read Throne of Glass, yet with Bardugo I decided to begin at the start.

Although I have been told Six of Crows can be read without reading the Shadow and Bone trilogy first, many suggested doing so for a better understanding of the world. I did go and purchase Six of Crows first, yet I managed to hold back on the temptation of diving in. I made myself order the Shadow and Bone trilogy first, and jumped straight in.

I’ll be honest – I’m rather annoyed with myself. Shadow and Bone was one seriously addictive read, and I wish I’d jumped on the bandwagon sooner. I wish the first time Shadow and Bone caught my attention, all those years ago, that I had picked up the book and jumped in straight away. I’ll admit it is not my favourite book in the genre, but it certainly left me wanting more.

In many ways, Shadow and Bone is like so many other young adult fantasy books out there. We have a special snowflake of a main character, surprise (to her) powers, and an evil that needs to be taken down. It seems to have worked down the ‘how to make a young adult fantasy novel’ checklist, striking off all the usual elements. Despite this, I was addicted. Even though things are rather black and white, although things are a bit cliched, it had enough in it to keep the attention – there was nothing in this one that would have me screaming from the rooftops regarding originality, but it knew how to keep my attention.

I enjoyed the characters. I enjoyed the world. I enjoyed the magic. I enjoyed seeing how things developed. I enjoyed the writing. I powered through it, and as soon as I was done I was left wanting more – and that is exactly what we want when reading a young adult fantasy novel.

I know there is some debate out there regarding the Russian inspiration, and I just want to make a quick note on it. I do not know enough to be an expert, but part of me feels as though the debate that I’ve seen around could have been avoided if the inspiration wasn’t so obvious. There were elements that seemed to fall into clichés, things some people may find issue with, and I feel as though a step back to make the parallels less obvious would have lessened the debate. You see, I enjoyed this world – I think it was a bit too obvious where the inspiration come from, as I like my fantasy to be far removed from the real world, but it was enjoyable. I know there is a lot of debate surrounding this, so I’ll leave my statement at that.

Overall, I had a lot of fun with this. It wasn’t perfect, but it kept me hooked and excited for more.

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Saturday, 24 February 2018

Review: Ripped

Ripped Ripped by Jake Irons
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ripped is the perfect read for any romance fans looking for a fun quick read, one they can complete in no time at all yet will enjoy. I’ll be completely honest, this isn’t quite a full four-star rating, but it was so close I had to round it up.

Ripped is a story filled with fun and wit, one that sucks you in quickly. The characters are fun, the town is interesting, and the storyline keeps you wanting more. It is a simple story, one that does not require you to use too many brain cells, but every so often we need such a read.

What made this one stand out for me was the male lead. He felt different to those we usually have in these kinds of stories. I’m no stranger to male leads who do not seem the type for a happily ever after – all romance fans can list many characters that fit the description – yet this one felt different. It was hard to place my finger on what it was, but he didn’t seem the type of character usually thrown into these kinds of stories. It was rather refreshing, actually. Sure, he was the quintessential stud with enough bad habits to annoy our female lead, but there was something about him that made this book feel different to the norm. Like I said, I cannot quite put my finger on it, but I liked it.

The ending will also intrigue people – but I feel like it will be a love or hate aspect, something to divide the readers. You see, the events in the last couple of chapters seem to come out of nowhere. I’m not going to say what happened, but it was entirely unexpected. People will either love this surprise element, or they will feel like it belonged in a different book. Personally, I enjoyed it.

In conclusion, Ripped was my first Jake Irons read and it has ensured I’ll be reading more of the author in the future.

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Review: The Silent Corner

The Silent Corner The Silent Corner by Dean Koontz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m a big Dean Koontz fan, have been for some time, but I find myself favouring his earlier books over his more recent work. Due to this, I haven’t read many Dean Koontz books recently. In fact, I was surprised to find out I went over a year without reading one of his books – due to that, I decided to make a change and grabbed The Silent Corner when I saw it in my local bookshop.

I’ll be completely honest, this wasn’t quite a full four-star rating. I had fun with it, but it wasn’t quite all I had been expecting. However, it was close enough to be rounded up – thus, such is what happened. Although it may not be my favourite Dean Koontz read, it is enough to ensure I’ll be reading the future Jane Hawk books as I feel like there is a lot to come.

In many ways, it is clear this is the first book in what is to be a series with many layers. Things are quite slow to start off in this one, but as the story progresses a lot comes to light. You know before you reach the end that not everything will be concluded in this book, there is just too much introduced throughout. Sure, there is a conclusion to one element – but far too much is left open for you to overlook the next book. You have questions, and you need answers.

My favourite Koontz reads have always been the ones on the horror end of the spectrum, yet this is very much a modern-day thriller. Filled with intrigue and action, our female action hero sucks us into a story we want to know more about. It may not be my favourite kind of story from Koontz, but it has certainly left me wanting more.

Without a doubt, I’m intrigued by what new twists book two will bring.

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Friday, 23 February 2018

Review: The Killer Next Door

The Killer Next Door The Killer Next Door by Alex Marwood
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Alex Marwood is an author to have caught my eye a couple of times in the past, but it’s only when I needed another book to complete a deal that I picked up The Killer Next Door. As the book had caught my attention a few times, I decided it was time to take the leap and see if it was what I was hoping for.

In truth, I was rather let down by this one. If I’m being brutally honest, this book spent a lot of time sitting around the two-star rating. It was more of a two-point-five-star rating in the end, and a part of me decided to round up – if only because it was marginally better than the books I usually hand out two-star rating to.

I think my biggest issue is that I went in expecting something completely different to what I was given. The title alone was enough to put ideas into my head. Unfortunately, the attention to the killer next door – the part of the story I was interested in – seemed to get lost under all the other stories going on. This was less of a thriller, and more of an insight into the lives and secrets of those living within an apartment building. It just so happens that one of these people, to spice things up a little, is a serial killer.

Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of attempts at the thriller aspect. Not only do we have a serial killer, we also have a run in with a gang. However, neither really lived up to the full potential. I wanted to be sucked into this one, yet I was more than capable of putting the book aside and doing something else.

Partly, it’s because I did not care for the characters. None of them interested me all that much. Partly, it was because of the writing. We seemed to shift from third person to first person within chapters, from perspective to perspective within chapters. It wasn’t the type of writing for me.

However, I can appreciate how things came together in the end. That is what had me rounding up to a three-star rating. It may not have been the explosive read I had been hoping for, but it came together better than I’d expected.

Although I have a mild interest in another Alex Marwood book, I doubt I will be picking it up any time soon.

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Review: Gods & Monsters

Gods & Monsters Gods & Monsters by Saffron A. Kent
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Gods & Monsters grabbed me from the moment my eyes landed upon the book. It screamed out to me, begging to be read. It sounded like the perfect book for me, and I went in with extremely high expectations. I expected a romance that would touch my soul, one that would leave me thrusting the book towards every romance reader I know… Only it didn’t play out like that.

First off, if you’re looking for a paranormal read, you’ve come to the wrong place. Despite the title, there is no paranormal to be found. Your next thought may be priest romance – it is not that, either. This is a story of forbidden love, a story between two individuals from a small-minded town.

In truth, my feelings are rather mixed when it comes to this book. There were some parts where I felt as though I was done with the book and did not wish to continue, yet there were other parts where I wanted more and could not stop turning the pages. In most ways, I was experiencing dichotomous emotions with this one. I was being pulled from one emotional extreme to the other, feeling both positives and negatives towards this one.

I’ll start with the good, as it’s probably easier that way.

The writing is one of those good things. There were quite a few beautiful lines within this one, many lines that were worth re-reading. It wasn’t a case of every word being a thing of beauty, but there were enough throughout for my mind to pick up on the wonderful way the author can weave words together.

The small-minded town was another element I enjoyed. The nastiness inside of the town, the way people focused upon certain things and blew them out of proportion, and the way there was a focus on the history really grabbed me. It’s the kind of thing we hate in real life, yet in the literary world we really enjoyed. It was really well done with this one, and I found myself loving the way I hated the town.

However, the is a bit more to be found in the list of things I disliked.

The biggest thing is our characters. Our female lead was so naïve. I found myself wanting to shake some sense into her. I know this plays into her small-town experience, but I found myself unable to care about her. At the start I felt some interest, but the more I read the more I disliked her. The same is true for our male lead – the deeper into the story we got, the more I disliked him. I enjoy an alpha hero like any other, but this seemed to cross the line in a-hole category. I’ve had a-hole male leads win me over in the past, but such was not the case here.

Another element I didn’t enjoy was the way their story played out. I kept waiting for the good, that moment that makes it all worthwhile. Except it never seemed to arrive. I love a gritty romance, a dark romance, but even those have moments where I feel my heart fluttering. With this one, I was just waiting. Waiting for something, for anything, that would hit me emotionally. As it was, things were rather predictable and failed to pack the emotional punch.

This saddened me even more because there was such potential with some of the events. There was an element in this one that you do not see that often, something with the potential to have been shocking. As it was, no single scene stands out in the mind. Things happened, but nothing was overly memorable. It’s one of those stories where it will fade into a single blur of information when people ask me about, rather than having anything specific I want to gush about.

Throughout, the story was trying to send a message. When there were beautiful lines the message started to sink in, but it was mostly lost under the events that failed to pack the potential punch. Perhaps I went in with my expectations too high, perhaps this simple wasn’t for me, whatever the case, this one wasn’t all I had hoped it would be.

I’m sure many will enjoy this, but I had been hoping for something more.

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Thursday, 22 February 2018

Review: Insatiable Bachelor

Insatiable Bachelor Insatiable Bachelor by Ruth Cardello
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A couple of years ago, when I first started to dip into romance, I picked up Ruth Cardello’s Maid for the Billionaire. It was an enjoyable enough read, one that left me willing to try more of the author’s work in the future. Although I have both Come Away with Me and Always Mine sitting on my Kindle, I have not worked around to reading them. I found other romance authors I was more interested in reading. I think, mostly, it was just a case of easing myself into the genre – had I picked up Maid for the Billionaire once I was deeper into the romance genre I’m sure I would have felt differently.

Thus, when the chance to read Insatiable Bachelor came about, I was more than willing to give it a try. Being the first book in the Bachelor Tower series, I was more than willing to see what Ruth Cardello’s new series was offering.

It turns out, Insatiable Bachelor has me wanting more. There is no doubt I will be picking up the second book in the Bachelor Tower series, as I’m desperate to see where everything goes from here. I’ll be honest and admit this isn’t quite a full four-star rating, but I was so addicted and intrigued I had to round up.

The notion of this one requires you to suspend your belief somewhat. An apartment building exclusively for men and a woman with a plan to give the entire system the middle finger sounds like a lot of fun, if somewhat unbelievable. Yet that is what this story boils down to. Sure, there is much more to it than that, but at the basics this is why you need to suspend your belief. Once you do such a thing, you’re quickly sucked into the story.

I’ll be completely honest, it’s not the most original of stories. Neighbours who don’t really get along; playboy who changes his way; love conquers all. By this point, romance fans know what to expect. However, when the story grips you, you’ll keep reading – and such was the case with this one. I found myself sucked into the characters, found myself sucked into the bigger picture, and I found I was working my way through this book at a rapid pace.

It’s a story that sucks you in, one that leaves you wanting more – with my biggest disappointment being that it wasn’t longer. I wanted to stay with these characters, I wanted more of their world – and such is why I’m planning to grab book two.

There’s no doubt this is looking to be an interesting series.

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