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.
Sunday, 21 January 2018
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Sometimes I find myself in need of a dark romance. The kind to show you the darkness of the world, while somehow leaving you with a belief in love. It’s a hard line to toe, and I often find books labelled as ‘dark romance’ aren’t actually all that dark. The hero is a member of a gang, or the heroine has a dark past. Those things are fun, sure, but they do not equate to a truly dark romance. Dark romances need to be gritty – like a good thriller, you need blood, guts, and tears.
Due to my bad luck with searching out truly dark romances, I was a wee bit tentative about Jennifer Bene’s Imperfect Monster. It sounded wonderful, but I couldn’t help but question whether it was too good to be true. I mean, would it really be that dark?
It turns out, yes – yes, it would be.
I have read a couple of truly dark romances in my time – a few insanely dark ones – meaning this one does not earn the spot as being my darkest romance. However, there is certainly truth in the label. This isn’t just a book with a dark label, this is a book that delivers what it promises. Therefore, I certainly recommend fans of dark, yet insanely hot, romances jump upon this. This is not a book to be missed, one you do not want to overlook, as it is truly wonderful.
From the very start I was pulled into this story. Not only was it exactly what I needed to cure my dark romance craving, it was a truly addictive read. There is so much about this one – the world, the characters, the storyline – to pull you in that you find it near-impossible to put the book down. Once you start, you’ll be wanting more. It’s not just a case of wanting to know how the story ends – it’s a case of needing to know.
There are plenty of romance books on the market to deal with the mafia and gangs, but I find there is a line that quite a few authors do not consider. Some take it too far and fall into clichés, with one too many viewings of The Godfather result in a very stereotyped view; some seem to step away from the idea all together, making it seem just like any everyday situation with the occasional shooting or drug exchange thrown in. In Imperfect Monster, we get one of those good examples of the underworld. There is violence in abundance, and the events that play out will leave you pulled into the world in no time at all. It is real and brutal, just the way I like these kinds of reads.
Add in the wonderful characters, and you’re guaranteed a wonderful read. Both our male and female lead brought so much to the table. I fell in love with them both in no time at all, and the relationship between the two of them was wonderful. It leaned a tiny bit towards insta-love, but I was so wrapped up in the individual character storylines that I didn’t mind at all. I may not be a fan of insta-love, but every so often it plays in really well with a book and I find myself able to overlook it. Such is what happened here – I was so in love with both characters that I was able to overlook how quickly they reached the point of love. Not to mention the interactions were insanely hot – with something so intense, I was able to turn my head and ignore the whisper of insta-love.
Both of those things are wonderful alone, but it’s always great when a wonderful world and amazing character come together in a gripping storyline. Throughout things are building, you know we’re moving towards the action scene. Personally, I would have liked for things to have been a bit more explosive – nevertheless, I adored the way everything came together. It was such a wonderful story, with multiple elements coming into light throughout.
There is no doubt I will be picking up more Jennifer Bene in the future. Imperfect Monster was a wonderful introduction to the author’s work, and it’s left me extremely eager for more.
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Saturday, 20 January 2018
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
One Shot is the ninth book in my biggest guilty pleasure series – Jack Reacher. Since picking up Killing Floor, I have been slowly working my way through the Jack Reacher books. I say slowly, but it’s more of an ebb and flow when it comes to my reading of the series. There was a couple of weeks between Killing Floor and Die Trying; three months between Die Trying and Tripwire; four months between Tripwire and Running Blind; five months between Running Blind and Echo Burning; a couple of days between Echo Burning and Without Fail; five months between Without Fail and Persuader; a month between Persuader and The Enemy; five months between The Enemy and One Shot. As you can see, it’s not a series where I jump in one after the other – I pick up the series when the mood strikes me, when the guilty pleasure comes calling. Nevertheless, it is a series I will continue to read.
Despite how I will continue to read the series, part of the reason for the gaps between my reading of each book is the fact that the books never really blow me away. I enjoy them all, but I have only given three four-star ratings (Die Trying, Without Fail, and Persuader) thus far. A third isn’t all that bad, but it means my desire to read the series is not the same as my desire to read other series.
I’ve said this before, it’s because of the storytelling. I enjoy the stories, but the storytelling leaves much to be desired. It is not the kind of literature I can read a lot of, the writing style being something I can deal with for short periods of time before I need something with insane prose that keep me glued to the page. These are telling it as it is kinds of stories, information without the extensive prose I prefer. I know many will enjoy this, but it’s not the kind of storytelling I lean towards. Hence, it always takes me a while to get into the story.
While One Shot was the story to be picked for the Jack Reacher movie, I’m not sure why. As with the prior books it was interesting, but it was rather average compared to some of the other stories we have had in the series. There was a nice bit of mystery going on throughout, but it wasn’t my favourite from the series. In fact, while I didn’t work out all the details, quite a few things were expected. It was mediocre, and not the Jack Reacher book I would have picked to make into a movie.
Overall, another fun guilty pleasure read. As this one did not blow my mind, it may well be a couple of months before I pick up another Jack Reacher novel.
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My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Blackout is one of those books I was rather excited to read, only to be disappointed by the story I was given. Marc Elsberg had a wonderful idea, one that will make people think about the world today, but it did not hit the spot I had been hoping it would. In other words, the potential was there but it failed to deliver.
The story itself was interesting, I cannot deny my interest in the story. I was left wanting to find out more, wanting to see how everything came together, but there was a significant feeling of disinterest towards many things. The story had me, but the other elements let me down.
Take the characters – I didn’t care for any of them. There were quite a few characters within the book I could have come to love, had there been more to them. As it was, characters waded through the story and I never once came to care about any of them. I wanted someone to do something interesting, I wanted something to come out about one of the characters that would have made me obsessed with their characterisation. It’s not that the characters were flat – I simply found myself uncaring, forgetting the names as soon as the book was over.
Another element I found to be lacking – the part to have saddened me the most – is the action scenes. I do not need action throughout, but thrillers need a few hard-hitting scenes. The heart should be pumping, you should be on the edge of your seat, and the pages should be turning. It’s a must for thrillers in my mind. This book, however, never once had my heart pumping. There were plenty of occasions where the scenes could have reached the necessary level, but they never did. Hence, my disappointment.
Despite this, there was some pretty solid research throughout the book. The details given about certain things that occur, and how it links to parts of the real world, were wonderful. It simply wasn’t enough to make me fall in love with the book.
Overall, I’d been hoping for more.
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Wednesday, 17 January 2018
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Dragon School: The Dark Prince is the third instalment of Sarah K.L. Wilson’s Dragon school series, and if I’m completely honest it is my least favourite thus far. Dragon School: First Flight and Dragon School: Initiate were both wonderful stories, ones that pulled me in and left me wanting more. While I did enjoy Dragon School: The Dark Prince, I feel as though it was not quite to the same standard as the prior stories.
Dragon School: The Dark Prince does move our story forward well. More of the world comes to light, characters continue to develop, and the story moves forward. However, I feel as though it did not hit me as hard as the prior instalments. While the story did move forward at a fast pace, I feel as though there wasn’t quite as much action. It wasn’t a filler book, as things did happen, but I wanted more action to ensure I enjoyed it as much as the prior instalments. I wanted things to hit me hard, whereas this book seemed to be focused more on giving us new information regarding the elements that are coming into play.
In truth, I feel as though the events in this book are going to be pivotal going forward. The new elements we were introduced to were a lot of fun, the way things developed between the characters has me excited for more, and the way this story ended has me wanting to grab the next instalment instantly. It may not have blown my mind, but it was another interesting read. It progressed the story forward well, and I’m still addicted – hence my four-star rating when I consider it to be more of a three-point-five-star read.
Overall, worth picking up if you’re enjoying the series thus far – whatever comes next, I cannot wait to read.
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Tuesday, 16 January 2018
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Well, damn. To say I enjoyed this is an understatement – I was addicted, completely gripped throughout, and I adored the story.
In fact, this was extremely close to receiving a five-star rating. In many ways, this is a The Lies of Locke Lamora situation all over again. Not in terms of the story – the two books are completely different, in most conceivable ways – but in the reason why I did not give a five-star rating. What I mean to say is that a little thing prevented me from rounding my rating up. Only once have I managed to overcome my fear of the little thing and handed over those five glowing stars, and that was with The Martian after a lot of debate. I came extremely close to handing this one a five-star rating, in the same way I hovered over those five-stars with The Lies of Locke Lamora, but I couldn’t quite bring myself to do so. I was close, so very close, but I just held off from doing so. Thus, while I have given this a four-star rating, know it is a very strong four-stars – so close, it was almost a five-star read.
Blake Crouch has been on my radar for quite some time, his Wayward Pines series sounding like the kind of thing I would love. With so many books I’m interested in, I have yet to work around to the Wayward Pines series. Surprisingly, when I picked up Dark Matter, I did not make the connection in my mind. In fact, if you had asked me before I started reading for the name of the author I probably wouldn’t have been able to tell you. I picked the book up because the synopsis sounded interesting and I needed another book to complete a deal. It turned out this was my favourite book of those I purchased that day, something I have found to happen a couple of times, and it has guaranteed I will be picking up more Blake Crouch in the future.
You see, I picked this one up because it sounded like the kind of thriller I would enjoy. What I did not expect was a wonderful science-fiction novel. I can be somewhat selective when it comes to my science-fiction reads – I really enjoy the genre, but I find it can be a bit hit or miss at times – and had I realised this was a science fiction read I’m unsure as to whether I would have picked it up. The title should have given it away, the synopsis should have made me realise sooner, but in my mind I was anticipating a dark and twisted psychological thriller. Instead, I was given a wonderful science-fiction read, with all the elements of a wonderful thriller – a sci-fi thriller.
From the very first chapter I was lost to this book. It was one I refused to put down – holding it in my hand as I ate dinner, sticking my nose in deeper as people sat down to watch television, and the age old taking it to the toilet with me when the need to pee became too much. In other words, putting it down was pretty much impossible. I was sucked in, needing to know what comes next. Every page you turn leaves you wanting more, each new element of the story sucking you in deeper.
The events hit you hard and fast, there is plenty of action with one thing following another before you could take a breath. There was always something happening with this one, making it extremely fun and unbelievably addictive.
Plus, the science-fiction element was wonderful. Part of the reason I find myself picky with science-fiction reads is caused by my inability to turn off the scientist part of my brain. I question everything. I find myself checking the information given to the knowledge in my mind. Faulty scientific information makes me sad. With this one, the science was really well done, adding so much to the story. It is not the kind of book where you need a physics degree to understand it, as it easily brings the concepts to life in gripping ways.
Honestly, I was lost to this story. I enjoyed our main character; I enjoyed the events; I enjoyed the way things came together. As I stated at the start, however, there was that one little thing. For me, it was the writing style. I love unique writing styles, they’re my favourite thing. At times, though, I felt as though the writing pulled me out of the story. It wasn’t regularly, but it happened more than once. I blame this on how the writing was-
Not full sentences.
It is hard to emulate, but at times it was a bit distracting. Once, possibly twice, I could have dealt with – but when it occurred throughout, I found myself unsure. It felt unnecessary to me, occasionally interrupting the flow of the story. It may not be a thing to distract everyone, but I found myself noticing it more than I would have liked. It is not enough to put me off reading more Blake Crouch books, but it was enough to prevent me from giving a full five-star rating.
Also, I should point out how some people may not be happy with the ending. I loved it, I really enjoyed the way everything came together. For people who like it when every tiny detail comes together, when every little string has been tied, this book will not be for you. The ending is a bit on the open side – you have an ending, but you’re left with one big question. I won’t say what the question is, but some may not be happy with such an end. Personally, I really enjoy endings that are a bit open, and this one was brilliantly done.
Without a doubt, I loved Dark Matter. I cannot begin to express just how much fun I had with this one, but it certainly exceeded my expectations. More than worth the read, for sure, leaving no doubt of more Blake Crouch books appearing on my bookshelves in the future.
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