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.

Monday, 30 January 2017

Review: Sweetheart

Sweetheart Sweetheart by Chelsea Cain
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sweetheart is the second book in the Archie Sheridan and Gretchen Lowell series, and I’m annoyed with myself for waiting so long to read it. Don’t get me wrong, I hadn’t planned on waiting so long to read it: I just found it hard to find the book for a reasonable price. After finishing the first book and having a lot of fun with it, I was constantly on the lookout for Sweetheart selling at a decent price.

Was the wait worth it? Yes, it was certainly worth it.

The series seems to have been made with me in mind. I love a good crime thriller; I love stories that follow the same serial killer; I love a police officer that has been damaged in many ways. The Archie Sheridan and Gretchen Lowell series offers me all of those things. It’s not the perfect story, but it is certainly a series that has well and truly pulled me in.

I’ll admit that the writing always takes me a little while to get into. Whilst Chelsea Cain writes a wonderful story, I cannot say her writing style is one of my favourites. It isn’t that her writing style is bad – I doubt I would enjoy her stories as much as I do if such was the case – but it isn’t quite the lyrical, almost flowery, writing I favour. It always takes me some time to get into her work, it takes me a while to be lured into the stories she writes.

As with the first book, though, despite the writing style taking a while to pull me back into the story, things did get going very quickly. This one wasn’t as fast paced as the first story, but there was a lot going on. When things did start to come together the action really picked up, and we were pulled along for the ride. It became impossible to put the book down, the pages turning themselves as I hurried my way to the conclusion.

As with the first book, however, my favourite aspect was Archie. The crime storyline was fun, but it wasn’t as enjoyable as the first book. It was the Archie and Gretchen storyline that really made this wonderful. Archie is so damaged, and as twisted as it makes me, I love this about him. He’s not the most interesting of characters – but there’s something about how broken he is that makes me curious about what will happen next. I adore his character, waiting to see what new development will occur. Whilst I wasn’t overjoyed about some of the flashes to the past regarding Archie as a character, what happened to him in the present time of this book was a lot of fun.

Overall, I had a lot of fun with this one. I adore the way that the Archie and Gretchen storyline is intertwined into the mystery aspect of the story, and whilst one aspect may shine brighter than the other, it works to guarantee I will be reading the next book.

As I said in my review of book one, it’s not a perfect read but I am certainly part of the fandom and need to see where things go from here.

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Review: Just Listen

Just Listen Just Listen by D. Breeze
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m always tentative when I enter books dealing with mental illness. There’s a very fine line between making a great story that is realistic and writing a story that is insulting to those who living with such illnesses. I find this becomes even more problematic when the storyline is based around romance – so often it seems as though the mental illness in question can be fixed just because someone loves them. Such is not the reality of mental illness, and this book does so much to highlight that.

As my first D. Breeze read, I can certainly say the author surprised me. It wasn’t that I was expecting a bad book; merely the aforementioned tentatively left me feeling a little bit nervous about what I would be receiving. This is such a raw emotional read, one I loved so much more than I’d imagined I would. It’s such a short read – one I managed to read in the space of a couple of hours – but the impact of the book is long lasting. In fact, the processing of the story and coming to terms with your feelings will take longer than the reading of the story – such is the pure emotion to be seen in this book.

It wasn’t a case of emotions being thrown at us at every given chance, simply that the book is emotionally charged. The way in which the emotions are expressed is actually extremely simple when I compare it to other books – but there’s just so much depth to them. The emotions are expressed in such a way that we don’t really understand just how much we’re absorbing. Then, upon finishing the book, you realise just how hard the story has hit you – you realise that every word had a deep meaning, everything that happened was part of the journey to leave a lasting emotional impact. Honestly, it was so well done. It all seemed so simple throughout, yet this is one of those situations where the story telling was very deceiving.

Honestly, I’m having trouble trying to put my words into some kind of coherent review – such is the impact this book has had upon me. Ergo, I apologise if this review spirals into a rambling mess.

I know I’ve already stated that this book has a romantic storyline, but it is so much more than that. The story works to open your eyes when it comes to depression, showing us how apparent understanding and true experience can differ. With two alternating perspectives, it doesn’t matter which category you fall into, as this story will open your eyes to what it is like for both sides. Both the individual dealing with depression and the individual who loves someone with depression are shown in this story, both allowing us to see so much. Emotions are pure and true on both sides, showing us how so many different things can influence events.

Honestly, the author does an amazing job of showing both sides of the story. With our male main character, we get to see inside of his head. Often, this can be hit and miss. Fortunately, with this one we get to experience his depression without the negative labels that could be attached. We’re not forced to feel pity. We’re not left feeling sorry for him. We’re not made to judge him. We experience it with him, we understand what is going on, and we are made to understand the choices he makes. We’re given understanding; we get an insight into how difficult it is to live with such emotions. With our female main character, we get to understand the difficulties she faces. She’s not simply someone there to create a romantic story. She is her own person: she comes with her own flaws and problems. She’s a complex character; well-rounded enough to give us a real example of how such a relationship will play out. She doesn’t always say the right thing, she makes mistakes, but her heart is in the right place and her love is pure. The two together are wonderful, showcasing so many different aspects of life. From the mundane to the complex, from issues pertaining to living with depression to the simple moments in life that everyone experiences – we truly get to see so much.

I really did love it. It’s a paradox of simplicity and complexity rolled into one, creating a wonderful story that I’m still trying to wrap my head around. There is no doubt that this one will stay with me for quite some time. It really is a powerful read, filled with more emotions that I thought you could put into such a short story. It’s sensitive yet honest; it is eye opening without being brutal; taking you on an emotional rollercoaster from the first to the last page.

I would have been happy if this was a standalone read, but I’ve found out it’s the first in the series. I cannot wait to see what comes next; I cannot wait to see where the story goes from here.

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Release Day Blast: The Evolution of Ivy: Poison by Lauren Campbell.

We're celebrating the release of The Evolution of Ivy: Poison by Lauren Campbell!



Title: The Evolution of Ivy: Poison
Author: Lauren Campbell
Age: Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Cover Designer: Indie Solutions



Blurb:

They won't recognize the new me.

But they know the old me well—the me she harmed, and the me he loved.

She thinks she has him. But I'm going to take him back.

He thinks she's the one. But I'm going to show him he's wrong.

I thought it was over. But now I have a chance.

About the Author:

Lauren Campbell lives in Atlanta, GA, with her family, and is author of The Evolution of Ivy: Poison.

She was raised in Columbia, SC, with her three sisters who annoy her greatly.

An avid reader since early childhood, Lauren discovered her love for writing several years into owning a successful newborn photography business. After reaching out to author Colleen Hoover in 2013 for advice, Lauren painstakingly pieced together a heap of garbage loosely based on her personal life that she decided to trash. After one year of being on hiatus, Lauren subsequently came up with the idea for Poison after being inspired by a photo on the internet. She wrote Poison in three weeks. It is not a heap of garbage, has no personal ties, and is filled with characters Lauren cares more for than some of the real people in her life. But don't tell anyone that.

Lauren's social life is pretty boring, but she loves reading, coffee & hot tea, and living in her pajamas. She's a glutton for punishment, and regrettably signs up for things like Room Mom in her children's classes, leaving her up all night doing things like baking dozens of cookies between swear words. Her favorite food is avocado. If she could, she'd find a way to put it on everything.

Lauren is done writing in third person now.


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Sunday, 29 January 2017

Review: The Rest of Us Just Live Here

The Rest of Us Just Live Here The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I came to enjoy the Chaos Walking series much more than I’d anticipated. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that since reading the series I’ve been telling myself to pick up more work by the author. More Than This was at the top of the list, followed closely by The Rest of Us Just Live Here. However, I found the latter going cheap and decided to give it a read first. I’ve also found A Monster Calls going cheap meaning the book I most want to read is looking to be quite far down my list. With a little bit of luck anticipation will leave me loving the book, rather than being disappointed.

Anyway, onto what you care about; my feelings towards The Rest of Us Just Live Here.

I’d been eager for this one, due to the premise sounding wonderful. A book focused upon the everyday folks instead of those saving the world – it had such promise. There were so many things that could have been done, so many scenes that I was hoping for. However, it didn’t give me what I had been expecting. Truthfully, I didn’t enjoy this one anywhere close to as much as I’d been hoping I would. The book became more enjoyable the more I read of it, but it never gave me the real wow read I’d anticipated. Yes, there were fun moments; however, these fun moments were few and far between, these fun moments weren’t all they could have been, and the entire thing could have been so much more.

Obviously, I didn’t hate the book – it earned three stars from me, after all – but it was nowhere near the amazing read it could have been. Patrick Ness has such a large fan base that I expected something more from him. I’m always tentative when it comes to authors with large fan bases, fearful that there is too much hype, but after enjoying the Chaos Walking trilogy, I was willing to believe the hype. It just seemed as though this book was lacking. I plan to go on and read more Patrick Ness books – I already own A Monster Calls, so of course I’m going to read it – I’m simply hoping The Rest of Us Just Live Here was a blip.

Now, allow me to go on and explain why I feel so disappointed by this one.

As soon as I read the premise, my mind started to entertain so many different ideas. I’m sure the same thing happened to many people out there. It’s a book that could have went in so many different directions. Now I’m well aware that books very rarely go in the imagined direction – if they did, reading would be a lot less enjoyable – yet I felt as though this one picked the most basic of routes to follow. It felt like a few scenes picked up from everyday life, detailing mediocre contemporary fiction scenes. The only reason we knew something big was going on is due to the endless references to the Chosen Ones. Every time something happened it seemed as though we were reminded of how normal our main character was. Such a thing grew to be extremely tedious after a short while. I just wanted to shake him and say ‘I get it already; you’re not a special snowflake’.

It wasn’t as though this came about through the events caused by the Chosen Ones. Such things were happening in response to everyday events. Guess what – special snowflakes have everyday drama too, I’m sure. I’d understand the constant references had they been in response to the things going on in relation to the Chosen Ones storyline, but this aspect of the story was merely given the occasional reference. I felt as though the story couldn’t quite decide where it wanted to go: did it want to completely ignore the Chosen Ones aspect or did it wish to interact with it. As it was, the occasional reference to the events yet the constant talk of the Chosen Ones left me annoyed that the story didn’t go entirely in either direction.

All in all, it felt like a rather dull contemporary fiction read with the occasional ‘something more’ thrown in to prevent it from being a simple high school drama story. I just wanted so much more from this one. Towards the end things came close to that more I’d wanted, but by that point it was too late. I was already caught up in my ‘this could have been something else entirely’ bubble, meaning a handful of decent events couldn’t save a book filled with mere ‘meh’ events.

In short, if you’ve yet to read Patrick Ness, I would recommend you start somewhere other than here.

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Review: The 45% Hangover

The 45% Hangover The 45% Hangover by Stuart MacBride
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m always tentative when it comes to reading nonessential short stories that go with any series I love. However, after reading and loving Partners in Crime, I knew I would need to give The 45% Hangover a try. After all, it promised more Steel and McRae banter – something I’m always down to read.

I’ll be honest, at first I wasn’t overly pulled in. I was interested, yes, but it didn’t quite have the magic of the two Partners in Crime short stories that had left me walking around with my phone attached to my hand and people bumping into me in stores. Thus, I was a wee bit disappointed at first. I had been crossing my fingers that I would be given another almost five stars read, or even my first ever five star short story.

Fortunately, part way through things changed. I was pulled into the story, unable to pull my eyes away from my phone screen for any period of time. I was curious as to what was coming next, desperate to see how things played out. Moreover, by the end of the story I was in absolute stitches. I really couldn’t stop the giggling with the last part of the story. Honestly, MacBride created such an amusing scenario. He really does outdo himself all the time.

All in all, it was a fun little short story. I didn’t enjoy it as much as the prior Logan McRae short stories, but I had fun with it. It’s certainly worth reading if you’re a fan of the series.

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Saturday, 28 January 2017

Review: Close to the Bone

Close to the Bone Close to the Bone by Stuart MacBride
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I adore all of the Logan McRae novels, each book pushing Stuart MacBride higher up on my list of favourite authors. In fact, there are only a couple of authors I rate above Stuart MacBride – and those are my cream of the crop authors. Thus, whenever I see a story with his name on the cover, I jump at the book. Any book that belongs to the Logan McRae series is grabbed even quicker. Whilst I was late joining the McRae party, I’m well and truly an adoring fan.

Close to the Bone was another fun addition to the Logan McRae series, although I didn’t enjoy it as much as I’ve enjoyed some of the others. In fact, at times the story seemed to really drag. Yes, there were many wonderful aspects. Everything you would expect from Stuart MacBride could be seen; however, it wasn’t quite what some of the other books happened to be.

Truthfully, I think I know what did it for me. The last few books have seen more and more of the psychologist nosing his way into things (or being pulled into things, depending upon how you look at things). I enjoy his character, I really do. There was too much of him here, though. Now many will find he adds a lot to the story – yet I found myself unable to suspend belief in the way I needed to. Well, not so much suspend belief as ignore the reality of my world. You see, I belong to the psychology department at the University of Aberdeen, thus allowing me to know how the department works. The layout of the building, the way things played out, and all the other small things meant I wasn’t as pulled into the story as I could have been. As I should have been. I found myself going ‘nope, not correct’ every time something came about which I knew the truth about. Now throughout the series I have loved reading about a city I know well – however, I found it jarring to suddenly be inside of a building I knew well, and trying to input the story into the small setting. Such a thing will not have an impact on other readers, but it was off putting for me.

Thus, I blame my lack of enjoyment on being too close to the setting.

It wasn’t just that, though. The above is an entirely personal thing, which I tried to prevent from influencing my enjoyment of the book. After all, it wasn’t as though the entire book took place inside of the building I know so well. In fact, very little happened. It’s just the thing that stuck with me most. What did influence me into viewing this as one of my least favourite in the series was how long it took me to become pulled into the story. There were times when things seemed to drag. As always, a lot was going on – and yet I wasn’t enjoying things as I usually was. I wanted to know how things came together, and yet I wasn’t crazy excited about any single aspect of the story. Some aspects were more fun than other aspects – but, as a whole, things simple were. I’m really not sure what it was: I simply wasn’t as engaged as I usually am.

There was still plenty of the usual MacBride marks to be seen: the dark humour, the interwoven stories, and the gritty crime. It just wasn’t my favourite of the series.

I’m positive, however, that I will adore the next. After all, the Logan McRae series has become one of my favourite series.

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Friday, 27 January 2017

Review: Partners in Crime

Partners in Crime Partners in Crime by Stuart MacBride
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I honestly believe this is the closest I’ve ever been to giving short stories a five star rating.

Often, I find short stories to be a case of hit or miss. I’m even more tentative when it comes to any series I consider to be one of my favourites. Such stories can add so much more to the overall series, or they can be a handful of pages that add nothing much at all. Thus, I went in with a feeling of trepidation.

Whilst these two short stories don’t add all that much to the overall series, they are a lot of fun. Yes, references are made to the events within these pages in the future books – but it’s not the end of the world if you do not read them. I suggest you do, though, as they’re so much fun.

Of the two, DI Steel’s Bad Heir Day was my favourite. I cannot begin to explain how much I laughed at this one. I was so engrossed in the story that I walked around Asda reading this, earning many strange looks and a handful of questions pertaining to the noises I was making. Explaining what was so funny – well, that was something else entirely. Honestly, I cannot begin to explain how amusing this story was. Every turn of the page seemed to have me chuckling away at something new. I’m fairly certain I was close to hyperventilating at one point – such was my amusement. Yes, MacBride always brings about some kind of chuckle; this was something else entirely, though.

Stramash was also highly entertaining. It wasn’t quite as amusing, but it did earn plenty of giggles from me. I feel as though the story was a bit more substantial here, yet both were a lot of fun. Both gave us many entertaining Steel moments, yet Stramash was the one to give us amusement in the form of both Steel and McRae.

Considering the very small number of pages here, these were two wonderful little tales.

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Review: Shatter The Bones

Shatter The Bones Shatter The Bones by Stuart MacBride
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Whilst I enjoyed book six, Dark Blood, I wasn’t overly crazy about it. I’m not quite sure what my issue was, but I didn’t quite enjoy it as much as I’d enjoyed the prior books. Fortunately, Shatter The Bones is back to the wonderful standard of the other Logan McRae novels. Not that the standard had dropped by much in Dark Blood, but I certainly enjoyed Shatter The Bones a lot more.

Things start off with a real bang, pulling us into the action instantly. In fact, we’re pulled into the action before we really know what is going on. Due to this, we have a massive dose of action at the very start and then things slow down ever so slightly for a short while. This allows us to come to terms with all that is going on, to really understand what is happening. Whilst things have slowed down, though, we still have a lot of action. Things are constantly moving, with new things always appearing to add more to the story.

As always, MacBride brings us a story made up of many wonderful smaller aspects. Individually each criminal aspect is a lot of fun, but bringing them all together and adding more layers to the story makes it even more enjoyable. I say this every time, and I stand by it: MacBride does a wonderful job of interweaving stories. There are so many aspects that you’re trying to work out, so many things link in to others, and everything comes together wonderfully in the end.

I will admit, however, that I wasn’t quite as satisfied with this ending as I was with some of the other books in the series. So much seemed to happen in this one, and yet the ending didn’t feel as though it was quite the bang it could have been. Considering how some of the events in this one have an effect on characters for the future books, I would have expected a like bit more. So, whilst I wasn’t disappointed by the ending I did feel as though it was lacking in some ways.

As always, though, it was a wonderful read. I didn’t giggle as much in Dark Blood as I usually do, but I was back to my chuckling in Shatter The Bones. As ever, the dark humour is intermingled with many emotions on the other end of the spectrum, resulting in a rollercoaster of emotions as you work your way through the book. Without a doubt, you’ll be unable to put this one down.

All in all, it’s a wonderful addition to the Logan McRae series.

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Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Review: Dark Blood

Dark Blood Dark Blood by Stuart MacBride
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Stuart MacBride is one of my favourite authors, and with each additional book I read he manages to remind me why such is the case. Whilst I do not consider Dark Blood to be the best in the Logan McRae series – that title is still held by Broken Skin, which I had far too much fun with – it was a great read.

Blink Eye, book five, allowed us to see Aberdeen in summer along with taking Logan across the sea to mainland Europe for a while. In book six, we’re back to what we know and love. The exaggerated terrible Aberdonian weather (I say this, and yet when I was walking down Union Street the other day a voice in the back of my mind mumbled ‘this is what Stuart MacBride is always speaking of’) and the craziness of Grampian Police Headquarters.

Speaking of the craziness that is Grampian Police Headquarters, I wish to make a quick point. Throughout I felt as though there was something missing with this one. I was constantly looking for something that wasn’t there. As soon as I started reading book seven, I knew what was missing from this one – Rennie! I know, I know, you wouldn’t expect to miss him all that much. It turns out, it’s very clear when he is not around. I missed him in this book, I missed his banter much more than I had expected, but what saddens me more is that it took picking up book seven for me to realise what it was I was missing so much.

Even without Rennie, the book was a lot of fun. It wasn’t quite as fast paced as some of the other books in the series, but as always there was a lot going on. The many different aspects of the story were linked together, each brining something to the overall storyline. Admittedly, it took a while for these things to come together, and I wasn’t as pulled in as I sometimes am, but the payoff was worth it in the end. As always, MacBride manages to give us a wonderful story with multiple parts that will keep you interested throughout.

Overall, it was another wonderful read. As I said, it’s not my favourite, but I still loved it.

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Sunday, 22 January 2017

Review: Across the Universe

Across the Universe Across the Universe by Beth Revis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Across the Universe is one of those books I was never really sure about: a part of me wished to read it, yet another part of me wasn’t all that interested. When I found it going cheap in the university’s second-hand bookstore, I decided to give it a go. I was curious, after all, and the least I could do was give it a try.

When I first started the book, I wasn’t at all pulled in. I’m going to be honest: it took me quite some time before I was enjoying it enough to sit down and give it a real read. I kept starting and stopping, putting it down to do something else. It wasn’t that there was nothing going on – the story was growing and developing – I simply wasn’t interested in it. It wasn’t capturing my attention in the way a part of me had hoped it would. Truthfully, it felt like a bit of a drag.

However, I persisted – and persistence brought me a book that I came to enjoy.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not crazy about this one. I liked it, I’m interested about where the next two books will take us, but it’s very far from being one of my favourite books. Hence, the three star rating. Admittedly, it’s more of a three-point-five read, but I couldn’t quite bring myself to round it up. Yes, it got better with time. The more I read the more fun I had. However, there were too many things that I disliked for me to round it up instead of rounding it down.

My biggest issue is the predictability. I predicted a good ninety percent of the events. There was only one real twist, which I really liked, that I did not guess at all. There was one I had a couple of theories about, and in the end I opted to believe the wrong theory and the reveal let me see my error choice when opting to pick a theory I believed to be the answer. Everything else, I worked out well before the truth came out.

I hadn’t expected this book to be filled with endless shocks, but I would have liked more than I was given. The book was filled with such an air of mystery around events that I was left expecting so much more than I was given in terms of these surprises that the author kept trying to throw our way. For me, everything was far too clear for the air of mystique that seemed to surround each new aspect of the story that was introduced.

As I said, though, I didn’t hate this book. I’d just wanted something more.

I want to go on and read the next book – I’m hopeful that it will improve upon this one, and give so much more – but it is very far down on my list of priorities. There are so many series that I am interested in finishing that this one is unlikely to take priority for quite some time, unfortunately.

Overall, it was an okay read – it just wasn’t what I had been hoping for.

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Saturday, 21 January 2017

Review: Picture This

Picture This Picture This by Tobsha Learner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was my first Tobsha Learner book and I’m not one hundred percent sure how I feel about it. It was an interesting read, yes, although it wasn’t at all what I had been expecting.

A part of me had been expecting a real thriller – the edge of your seat kind, where to put the book down for a single moment is the equivalent of cutting off a limb. A part of me had been expecting erotica – I wasn’t sure of what variety, but I was expecting there to be a lot of skin-on-skin moments throughout. A very small part of me had been expecting a low-key historical fiction – a look at the not too distant past, going back a mere decade. Whilst it had aspects of all of these parts, it was never quite enough of any of them for me to say ‘yes, that is how I will label this book’. There’s enough to keep you interested in the book, yet I was never really pulled in to the degree that I had hoped to be by any of the components I’d been expecting.

In terms of the thriller aspect, there were many nods to the genre. We have a murder; we have forgery; we have attempts at ending lives; we have people digging to find out the truth of everything that had happened. Each of these aspects were linked together really well, although I feel that no single aspect was really explored to quite the degree I had hoped it would. What I had wanted was real drama, real action. What we were given is an air of mystique that never quite develops to the full explosive potential.

In terms of the erotica, it wasn’t quite what I had expected. I feel as though the description of the book being ‘erotically charged’ describes it better than a simple label of erotica. Whilst there were erotic scenes, they did not dominate the story. When they did appear, they were well done. It was more of a twisted romance, filled with all kinds of complications.

I think, for me, what stopped me from truly being pulled into either aspect of the storyline was all the details pertaining to the art world. I love it when books are accurate, and it was clear the author had done her research and knew what she was talking about. However, I feel as though more attention was given to what was going on in the art world than the other aspects of the story, meaning I wasn’t as pulled in by the other aspects of the story. In other words, I was distracted by the art world. It was wonderfully done, and I could imagine what was going on, yet it seemed to be given much more focus than any other aspect of the story (be it the romance, the thrilling events, or the complexities of the characters).

In no way am I saying I did not enjoy this one – it simply wasn’t what I had hoped it would be. It was interesting, it allowed me to find out a lot about the art world, but it didn’t quite satisfy me in the way I had hoped it would. If nothing else, it has left me interested to see what else the author has to offer – after all, I enjoyed her way of storytelling, I just didn’t enjoy the story quite as much as I had hoped I would.

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Friday, 20 January 2017

Review: The Midnight Star

The Midnight Star The Midnight Star by Marie Lu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I feel as though my journey with The Young Elite series is the opposite of my journey with the Legend series. With the Legend series, I enjoyed the books more and more. With The Young Elite series, I enjoyed each book a little less. As a whole, I enjoyed The Young Elites series a lot more than Marie Lu’s other series. The Legend series was a let-down, whereas The Young Elites was a lot of fun. However, I didn’t enjoy this ending quite as much as I had hoped I would.

Whilst The Midnight Star was a fun end to the series, it wasn’t at all what I had expected it to be. I was expecting a lot of big things to happen – and yet it felt as though too many things were thrown into too few pages, thus preventing the book from having the impact it could have. It almost felt as though Marie Lu simply wanted it to be over with, that she wanted to bring the series to an end as soon as she could. She brought together all of the loose ends, she made sure we knew what had happened to characters, and she made sure we got one final journey – however, it wasn’t at all what it could have been.

Mostly, things failed to have the emotional impact they could have. I’ve found this happens quite often in young adult fantasy novels – the events that take place are dire, yet they never quite have the emotions attached that they should. We know these things are happening, we know these things are bad, and yet they simply are. We’re not as pulled in as we could have been, meaning we watch the events rather than truly experiencing the events.

It doesn’t help that so many events occurred that could have had an emotional impact. It felt as though too much happened too close together. This can be good for emotional reactions, if done correctly, yet in this case it felt like overkill. So much was happening, one event leading straight into the next. It wasn’t even as though these events were all action filled. Some things would be glossed over, some things we would simply be told about. As a whole, it wasn’t quite what I had hoped it would be. I really do believe it needed to be a longer read than it was, if only so everything could have been given the attention it needed.

I’m also not sure how I feel about the ending. Marie Lu tried so hard to create an anti-hero, and I don’t think she ever quite achieved it. Despite this, the ending seemed to jar with what we had been shown throughout the rest of the series. It simply didn’t fit quite right with me, it felt as though it was too much – and possibly in the wrong direction. It was an interesting way to end things, and yet I don’t quite think it was the right choice for the series. I’d just been expecting something else, really.

Overall, I enjoyed this series a great deal. It was a fun journey, and it has left me willing to pick up whatever the author writes next.

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Review: The Rose Society

The Rose Society The Rose Society by Marie Lu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I didn’t care much at all for Marie Lu’s Legend series, yet her The Young Elites book really pulled me in. In both cases, I brought the entire trilogy at once. However, with Legend I carried on reading simply because I had the books, with The Young Elites I jumped into the second book instantly because I needed answers.

The Young Elites ended on a real high, meaning The Rose Society felt rather slow at first. I’d expected things to kick off with more of a bang, I expected there to be a lot more action. Yes, it was a lot of fun; however, I wasn’t quite as pulled into the story as I was with the first one. Things just seemed to be moving a lot slower, with a lot of buildup happening without there being the kind of action I’d been hoping there would be. As much as I love it when books set things into motion, this one simply wasn’t as engaging as I had hoped it would be after reading the first book.

Don’t get me wrong, a lot happened in this book. Most of what happened, though, wasn’t really all that much of a surprise. We were introduced to a new cast of characters – all of which I really enjoyed. In some cases, I questioned how I managed to get through one book without them there to make things so enjoyable. However, with their introduction came a lot of expected things. You knew where certain things would go; you knew what kind of plans would be formed and what events would be attempted. It felt as though this one was a little bit predictable in places – hence why I wasn’t as crazy about this one as I was the first book.

This left me believing I wouldn’t enjoy The Rose Society as much as I enjoyed The Young Elites – but then that ending. Wow. The ending more than made up for the slow speed and predictable scenes. The ending left me seriously excited for the final book, forcing me to forget about my feelings at the start of the book. It was unexpected, a real twist. It left me with so many questions, so many things I wanted to know. It also left me with the fear that bringing everything together in one final book will be exceptionally hard – yet the excitement of how everything will come together overshadows such a fear.

As a whole, it was a fun read. It wasn’t as fun as the first book, but the ending more than made up for it.

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Review: The Young Elites

The Young Elites The Young Elites by Marie Lu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wasn’t overjoyed by Marie Lu’s Legend series – if I’m to be completely honest, I was rather disappointed by it, believing it was overhyped and a massive let down – yet I was intrigued by her Young Elites series. My dislike of Legend left me unsure about entering this one, but in the end I’m glad I overcame my worries and gave it a read.

I enjoyed The Young Elites so much more than I enjoyed the Legend series. For me, the Legend series was lacking. It was lacking in originality – it felt like far too many dystopian books already on the market. It was lacking in world building – I had so many questions, so many things I felt needed more. It had rather predictable characters – I spent the entire series feeling as though they were the same characters, both seemingly flawless. Lots of things came together to leave me disappointed – yet the Young Elites had a very different feel, working to turn all of those things around.

The world building in this one was wonderful. It was so interesting, and I was truly pulled into the story. The building of the society was a lot of fun, allowing you to see a lot of the world and how the different parts interact. This, however, paled in comparison to the building of the magical system. It was so much fun to deal with. Whilst I did have some questions, they weren’t the kinds of questions that left me unable to enjoy the story. They were the kinds of questions that left me curious as to what kinds of answers would come next. Honestly, there’s such promise for the future books.

It’s not just the magic that has left promise for the future books, it’s also the characters and events. I’ll admit that the cast wasn’t perfect in this book either, but the characters were so much better than those in Legend. I know I really should avoid this constant comparison between the two, but it honestly surprised me how different the two books felt. The cast in this one were a lot of fun, with there being a lot of development for the characters throughout. My only real issue with the characters was how it seemed as though the author tried too hard to make an anti-hero. Like so many, I love a good anti-hero. However, if you’re going to make an anti-hero it needs to be done right. In this one, I feel as though it was far too obvious what was being attempted. I didn’t feel sympathy, I didn’t relate in the way that was intended, and I felt as though the author tried too hard to make our main character seem a certain way. Such a thing is what managed to distract me the most.

Overall, I couldn’t put it down at all. I had a lot more fun than this one than my original tentatively had me believing I would.

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Review: Bear to Love

Bear to Love Bear to Love by Amy Lamont
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bear to Love by Amy Lamont is the third book in the Kodiak Den series, although it does work perfectly fine as a standalone novel.

I actually read book four before book three, but such a thing failed to diminish my enjoyment of this one. I found both stories to be thoroughly enjoyable, both offering something very different, neither spoiling the other. After finishing book four I said that I would gladly go on to read the other books in the series, and such a statement still stands true. Having read books three and four, I now need to read books one and two – not to understand the series, but because I’m so interested in reading more about the Kodiak Den (and yes, because I’m interested in reading the backstory to two of the side characters in this one).

What Bear to Love gives us is a wonderful shifter novel, filled with more than just your simple mating bond. I don’t simply meaning this is a mating bond with a twist, I mean this story gives us an emotional rollercoaster as we’re pulled into the world of our main characters. We have all kinds of drama throughout the story, with just enough intrigue thrown in to leave you turning the page to find out what happens next. I always enter these books sure of a happily ever after, but even this one left me questioning whether it would be quite possible considering all the baggage involved in this story.

I won’t say too much about that baggage – just know it works to make an interesting cast of characters. The way in which the characters slowly come to life, the way in which we slowly see more of them, was wonderful. I love slow burners, and this one was perfectly executed. Considering the type of romance in this one, it was a really cute story – I really did enjoy watching the story develop for all of our characters.

Overall, it was a wonderful quick read. I would have liked it to be a bit longer with a bit more action, as it felt as though certain events came and went a little bit too quickly – however, I so often say such things about short stories, so it isn’t really an issue with this book but an issue of how I always want more from my quick reads.

As a final note, I would like to thank the author for allowing me to read this in exchange for a review.

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Monday, 16 January 2017

Review: Here Be Dragons

Here Be Dragons Here Be Dragons by Sharon Bolton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sharon Bolton is one of my favourite authors; I will pick up anything with her name on it. My favourite, however, is her Lacey Flint work. Anything and everything Lacey Flint related ends up in my hands without me looking too hard at what it is. Hell, Sharon Bolton could write a recipe to make Lacey’s favourite meal and I would grab it without a second thought – such is my love for the series.

One thing I’ve always wanted, however, is a Mark story. I love his character; I’ve always wanted to read a story that follows his world. Part of me has always wanted to read his older days, back when he was a younger officer, but reading a present day Mark story was just as fun. It allowed me to see into his world, it allowed me to see him as a more rounded character. I admit that I wanted more from this, that I would have favoured a full-length novel, but this was enough to satisfy my desire for the time being.

Whilst Here Be Dragons was a great short story, it wasn’t quite as powerful as the main series. It was a lot of fun, but it wasn’t filled with all the twists and turns you usually find in a Sharon Bolton novel. It had enough for a story of this length – yet when I compare it to the other Lacey Flint short story, If Snow Hadn’t Fallen, it seemed as though events progressed far too quickly without the mystique that could have been applied.

The events that occurred seemed to be less about creating a mini-mystery and more about developing Mark. As much as I loved the development of Mark, I’ll admit that I wanted more from the thriller events. A lot did happen, there were events that left me smiling, but it wasn’t the edge of my seat read I’m so used to seeing from Sharon Bolton.

Ergo, it made for a fun quick read but it wasn’t everything I had hoped it would be.

I will say, however, that it has left me super eager for another Lacey Flint story. I know Sharon Bolton is taking a break and writing a number of standalone novels – all of which have proven to be wonderful to date – yet the ending left me impatient to see where this story goes next. In other words, when the next Lacey Flint book is released expect me to go a little crazy over it.

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Sunday, 15 January 2017

Review: Screw Up

Screw Up Screw Up by Alexis Wilder
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Screw Up is the first Tinseltown Temptress novel, and as a whole I enjoyed it. I know I gave it a three star rating, but it’s really more of a three-point-five, sitting between the three and four stars. I had a massive debate as to whether I should round up or down, but in the end I opted for rounding down. Nevertheless, it was an enjoyable read and I will be picking up the second book to see where this story goes.

Screw Up promised to be a drama filled read – I expected lies, sex, secrets, and much more. Whilst I was given these things, they weren’t quite given in the way I had expected them to be. We have our main character playing out the role of the world’s first celebrity sex reporter. We have our main character dealing with a troubled past relationship. We have our main character involved with investments that are failing. We have our main character dealing with family drama. We have all of these things, and yet at times it felt as though those things were there but they weren’t really adding to the story. Alone, each element held some interest – collectively, nothing really stood out and everything was simply there.

The story around the world’s first celebrity sex reporter was extremely interesting. We get to watch as our main character goes out of her way to bed the sexiest men on the plant, along with getting to read what can be called a report card of their performance. This aspect made for highly entertaining reading. It wasn’t quite the erotica a part of me had been anticipating, yet such was not a bad thing. There was plenty enough so that you could gauge which of the celebrities knew what they were doing in the bedroom and which did not, whilst ensuring the book did not become a smut fest. In short, there was a nice divide between the sex aspects of the story and the other aspects.

As I said, it’s the collective aspects of the rest of the story that didn’t quite live up to expectations. I had expected a lot of drama regarding the past relationship, yet this aspect of the story wasn’t really of interest to me. References were made and details were given, but I was never really pulled into the story. It was just there. The failing investment aspect was more enjoyable, as it opened up a number of avenues and introduced us to some interesting characters. It was a lot more interesting, and was probably my favourite part of the non-sex storyline. The family drama was another aspect I didn’t care much for – it was only towards the end that I found myself interested, mainly because it opened up possibilities for the future books. Mostly, the family drama felt as though it was clich├ęd: whilst it had some unique aspects, for the most part it was something I’ve seen before.

In the end, I came to one conclusion: it’s a lot of set up. It’s the first book in the series, and I feel as though all of the things I wasn’t completely pulled into will be dealt with in the future books. I feel as though there will be a lot more drama in the future books, I feel as though I will be pulled into the storyline a lot more. When I look at this book as a means of setting up the series, it’s a four star read; when I look at this book as pure enjoyment, it’s more of a three star read as I wasn’t as engaged as I had hoped to be. Hence, it’s a middle of the road rating.

Nevertheless, as I’ve already stated, I’ll be giving the next book a read. It has left me interested to see where things go from here: I truly believe the next book will earn a solid four stars from me, as there’s a lot of promise of where things will go.

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Book Blitz: Finding Kyler by Siobhan Davis.



This is my stop during the book blitz for Finding Kyler by Siobhan Davis. This book blitz is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The book blitz runs from 9 till 15 January. You can view the tour schedule here: http://www.lolasblogtours.net/book-blitz-finding-kyler-by-siobhan-davis/

Special release week pricing!
Finding Kyler is only 0.99$ during the release week! Download a copy from Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/Finding-Kyler-Kennedy-Boys-Book-ebook/dp/B01NBH8DZF/) now before the price increases to $2.99. Finding Kyler is available to read in Kindle Unlimited.
Read an exclusive sample of Finding Kyler here: https://www.instafreebie.com/free/LRpBq

Finding Kyler (The Kennedy Boys #1)
by Siobhan Davis
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age category: Upper Young Adult
Release Date: January 9, 2017

Blurb:
Two fractured hearts and a forbidden love they can’t deny.

You shouldn’t want what you can’t have…

Faye Donovan has lost everything. After her parent’s tragic death, she’s whisked away from her home in Ireland when an unknown uncle surfaces as her new guardian.

Dropped smack-dab into the All-American dream, Faye should feel grateful. Except living with her wealthy uncle, his fashion-empire-owning wife, and their seven screwed-up sons is quickly turning into a nightmare—especially when certain inappropriate feelings arise.

Kyler Kennedy makes her head hurt and her heart race, but he’s her cousin.

He’s off limits.

And he’s not exactly welcoming—Kyler is ignorant, moody, and downright cruel—but Faye sees behind the mask he wears, recognizing a kindred spirit.

Kyler has sworn off girls, yet Faye gets under his skin. The more he pushes her away, the more he’s drawn to her, but acting on those feelings risks a crap-ton of prejudice, and any whiff of scandal could damage the precious Kennedy brand.

Concealing their feelings seems like the only choice.

But when everyone has something to hide, a secret is a very dangerous thing.

You can find Finding Kyler on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32827843-finding-kyler


Read an exclusive sample of Finding Kyler here: https://www.instafreebie.com/free/LRpBq


About the Author:
Siobhan Davis writes emotionally intense young adult fiction with swoon-worthy romance, complex characters, and tons of unexpected plot twists and turns that will have you flipping the pages beyond bedtime! She is the author of the Amazon bestselling True Calling and Saven series.

Siobhan’s family will tell you she’s a little bit obsessive when it comes to reading and writing, and they aren’t wrong. She can rarely be found without her trusty Kindle, a paperback book, or her laptop somewhere close at hand.

Prior to becoming a full-time writer, Siobhan forged a successful corporate career in human resource management.

She resides in the Garden County of Ireland with her husband and two sons.

You can find and contact Siobhan here:
- Kennedy Boys Newsletter: http://smarturl.it/KennedyBoysList

Giveaway
There is a tour wide giveaway for the book blitz of Finding Kyler. This giveaway is open international. These are the prizes you can win:
- One paperback of Finding Kyler by Siobhan Davis
- One paperback of Fallen Crest High by Tijan
- One paperback of Paper Princess by Erin Watt
- a $5 Amazon gift card

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Review: Once Upon a Dream

Once Upon a Dream Once Upon a Dream by Liz Braswell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Truthfully, I found Once Upon A Dream to be somewhat of a disappointment.
 
The Twisted Tales series seems to be dividing readers: some love the books whereas others despise the books. I found myself enjoying A Whole New World, appearing to be in the minority. I was able to accept that the story would not be for everyone, but I enjoyed it for the most part. Thus, I was intrigued to see what the second book would bring.
 
What I was given… well, the book didn’t give me much.
 
It took me forever to get into this one. I kept trying to get into it, but it never seemed to happen. Then, when I finally was pulled into the story it wasn’t long before I found myself rather bored again. It was a case of constant ups and downs, with there being more downs than ups. It really did seem to drag, with most events being dull. There was such potential, it could have been so much better, and yet it fell short in most ways.
 
I’ll start with the disappointment of events. I kept expecting things to happen. I was always eager for something big to occur. Only, nothing big ever seemed to pop out of the woodworks. Promises of action were dangled before us, and everything that played out was mediocre at best. There were a couple of interesting things – but nowhere near enough for a book of this length. It needed so much more to ensure amusement for the entire novel.
 
Then there’s the disappointment of characters. The Prince was the best part of this book, in my opinion, but even he stopped being amusing after a while. I wasn’t sure what it was about him, but there was a glimmer of promise within him. Every so often he would show the potential of being a real character – yet he never made it. As for the rest of the cast… to put it simply, they were flat. I grew so tired of listening to Aurora, grew tired of how she had nothing going for her at all. I feel as though there was supposed to be some kind of message behind her character, due to the attempt at development, but I was so bored of her I failed to pay as much attention as I probably should have.
 
Honestly, this wasn’t at all what I had hoped for. I’m planning to give the next story a read, if only because it’s one of my favourite tales, but if it’s anything like this one I may give up. The first book was fun – it didn’t blow me away, but I enjoyed it – yet this one barely managed to scrap a three star rating from me.
 
To make matters worse, there were so many errors in this. Typos that really should have been noticed. Mistakes that stare you in the face. I’m disappointed Disney, you can do so much better than this.

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Review: Sparks: Welcome to the Madhouse

Sparks: Welcome to the Madhouse Sparks: Welcome to the Madhouse by Dan Cummings
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sparks: Welcome To The Madhouse wasn’t at all what I had been expecting, and at the same time it was so much more than I’d been expecting.
 
The synopsis of this one grabbed me, and I was curious to see how things would play out. I wasn’t quite one hundred percent sure about how the story would evolve, but I did have some ideas in the back of my mind. Thus, I jumped in with more curiosity than anything else. I wanted – nay, needed – to see where things would head, if only to stop the musing of my mind.
 
At first, there was a lack of real understanding. We’re thrown into the story but we’re not quite sure of what it is we’ve been thrown into. Our main characters introduce the world, slowly allowing the world to develop; but when we flicker to glimpses of the bad guys, we’re left with more questions than answers. These questions go unanswered for quite some time. In fact, it’s not until around the forty percent park that we get an explanation of the supernatural world and all that is going on. Yes, we’re introduced to a large number of things; however, things don’t start to click into place until we’re at the forty percent mark.
 
I’ll admit to being somewhat annoyed at first with this, but it works. The main reason for this annoyance is that I thought the book was to be a standalone novel. A little voice in the back of my head, from the very start, was telling me otherwise, yet for some reason I did not wish to listen to that voice. The fact that this is the first in what is looking to be a wonderful series, means that holding off on information is perfectly fine – we get answers, we come to understand the world, and yet there is still enough room for growth. The annoyance I experienced therefore becomes annoyance at my own error. I really should have accepted the little voice when it told me it was the first in a series, rather than waiting until the ninety percent mark and realising there was far too much left unanswered and then accepting the little voice as being correct.
 
I’ll now continue as though I knew all along that this was the first in a series.
 
For the first book in a series, this one gives us so much. There really was so much to this one. We’re given a wide cast of characters, all bringing something different to the table. We’re given a complex world, a world that we know a lot about and yet we still have plenty of questions remaining. We’re given lots of action. We’re given amusement. We’re given emotion. All in all, we’re given all that we could ask for. Whilst at times the story felt as though it was slow going, it really was a gripping read.
 
A couple of things prevented a five star rating, though.
 
Whilst the book does have a number of humorous moments, it wasn’t the laugh out loud kind of humour where people turn to look at you as though you’ve lost your mind. It was amusing, yes, but it wasn’t overly so. What prevented it from being so is that at times it felt as though the attempts at humour were too much. It was as though the author was trying too hard. I giggled at times, but at other times I found myself rolling my eyes. Some of this links in with one of the main characters, but even so it felt like too much at times.
 
The other thing is that the action scenes felt like too much was going on. I love it when a lot is going on – such is what you want. However, with so many people involved with so many different things at one time, it felt as though there was too much occurring at once which prevented it from flowing quite as smoothly as it could have. I loved all the action that was involved, but these scenes never seemed to flow quite as smoothly as the other scenes in the book.
 
Overall, though, it was a wonderful read. I cannot wait to see what comes next in the Sparks world.
 
As a final note, I would like to thank the author for allowing me to read this in exchange for a review.

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Saturday, 7 January 2017

Review: An Education in Business

An Education in Business: A Somerset Novel An Education in Business: A Somerset Novel by Heather C. Myers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Since stumbling across Heather C. Myers last year, I have read quite a few of her stories. Without a doubt, she always gives a thoroughly interesting read – and whilst some stories may be stronger than other stories, I cannot say there has been a story I have disliked to date.

An Education In Business is the third novel in the Somerset series, the first series by the author I picked up. Having read and loved the two prior books, I was super excited for this one. Truthfully, it’s my least favourite in the series. Yes, it’s a fun read; however, it wasn’t quite the high of the two prior books. Each is an individual standalone novel, each adds something different, and a part of me missed some of the aspects touched upon in the first two novels.

This third book in the series has a very different feel to the two prior books. Whilst it gives us another werewolf story, it doesn’t play out in the way the two prior books did. The two prior books dealt more with the divide between the supernatural world and the human world, giving us a story of those trying to keep the world safe from the supernatural creatures. This one has more of a general supernatural feel to it: the werewolves are simply accepted in society, it’s a business romance story with a supernatural twist. Don’t get me wrong, it made a very fun read. I just missed the feel of the first two books. Due to this, my four star rating is a round up. It isn’t quite the full four star rating of the two prior books, but it was pretty close.

Despite feeling as though this book wasn’t quite what I had hoped for from the third book in the series, I did enjoy the story with this one. The main character was a lot of fun, and the storyline was highly entertaining. The way the characters and storyline come together to give us a wonderful chemistry is great, leaving you with many entertaining scenes. As soon as the two characters come together you’re pulled into the story, crossing your fingers for how things will play out. Whilst it didn’t have the feel of the prior books in the series, I do believe the coming together of these characters is one of my favourite from the author. It is such an entertaining story, one that left me smiling throughout.

The only thing I will say is that I feel as though the exchanges between characters didn’t flow as well as they could have. I feel as though some points countered each other: almost as though things that were said in one chapter were ignored so that characters could expand at later dates. What I mean is people would seem to forget about things we already knew, asking questions we already had answers to only for the answers to be more detailed than what we’d been given in the past. This was more so an issue that could have been amended through slight changes in wording, but it did distract somewhat.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed this one. It was an entertaining read, and I’m super excited for the next book in the series. The ending of this one shows we’ll be moving away from werewolves and vampires, giving us a promise of something wonderful – fairies. I cannot wait to see these creatures introduced to the Somerset world.

As a final note, I would like to thank the author for allowing me to advance read this in exchange for a review.

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Review: The Caller

The Caller The Caller by Chris Carter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Caller is the eight book in Chris Carter’s wonderful Robert Hunter series, and I cannot begin to explain how happy I was to win an advance read copy of the story.
 
When I saw a giveaway for Chris Carter’s newest story on Goodreads, offering the novel well in advance of release, I jumped at the chance to enter. I wasn’t expecting to win – I never am when it comes to my favourite authors – meaning there was a lot of excitement when I received an email telling me I had won. I cannot begin to explain my excitement, and as soon as I could I picked up the book and started reading.
 
The Caller is a brilliant addition to the series. I wouldn’t call it my favourite in the series, but it is a very strong read. In my mind, Chris Carter stands above many of the crime authors currently on the market meaning even his weaker books are well and truly worth a read. As I’ve said, though, this isn’t a weak book at all.
 
In this one, Chris Carter once again demonstrates how he is an author of the modern world. He uses modern day technology and trends to create a wonderful crime novel that reflects the real world. Issues we see today, trends that can be found, are shown within his books. Rather than being your typical murder mystery, Chris Carter sends us on a chase that uses the world as it currently is to add many layers to the story. The fact that these things could happen, the fact he uses things we see and interactive with on a daily basis, makes the story more terrifying. We’re constantly left with ‘what if’ questions, leaving us grateful that Chris Carter is simply writing these stories and not out there in the real world committing these crimes. I know for a fact, if something like this were to happen in the real world people would look at the world in a very different way.
 
Truthfully, as real as all of his novels are, I think this one addresses the most in terms of the modern world. Not only is it used in the crime – both in terms of finding victims and in terms of how the crime is committed – but it also addresses the modern world in terms of reasons why the crime was committed. It’s not simply a case of ‘this person is bad’; it has much more to it than that. Moreover, things aren’t as straight forward as they could be. As always, Chris Carter adds multiple layers to the story, telling a story within the story, allowing us to watch many things come together.
 
Now whilst each of these books can be read as a standalone novel, there is a story underneath it all. With this one, I found myself wanting to see more for Hunter on the relationship front. He’s a wonderful character and I believe I’ve reached the point where I want to see him happy, and certain events in this book left me hoping that there will be happiness for him in the future.
 
Overall, yet another wonderful Chris Carter read. I’m now off to slip into a post-Carter slum whilst I await the next book in the series.

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Review: Collide

Collide Collide by Michelle Madow
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Collide is a wonderfully addictive read, one I found impossible to put down. Honestly, it was so much more than I’d expected it to be, leaving me fearful I will be unable to do it any real justice in my review.
 
Collide takes a very interesting topic and creates an intricate story that will pull you in from start to end. For those who know of it, the book takes the topic of the multiverse and gives us a parallel universe story mixed with a time travelling story. It had the potential to become convoluted, yet it didn’t. There was enough in there to allow us to understand what was happening without making it inaccessible to the everyday reader. In short, it addresses it in the way any young adult novel should – it ensures the reader has fun without bogging them down with unnecessary excess information.
 
Our story stars in what I will refer to as universe one. We’re introduced to our main character, getting a glimpse into her world. Before we’re pulled in too deep, the action kicks in and events play out. At the Halloween dance a shooting occurs, leading us to believe our main character is dead. The story then shifts, moving us to the start of the week. Enter universe two, where there are a number of changes. Things we came to understand at the start of the book are different, people and events have changed – and it is very clear that our character is no longer in the world she knew. Is it a dream? Is she in a coma? You’re left with many questions, and slowly our characters work to solve the mystery. Whilst we’re never quite given answers, meaning we still have some questions as to what the truth of the matter is, our characters do enough research into the topic to leave us believing it is linked back to the multiverse theory.
 
As the characters work to solve out what has happened, they also work to stop the events that occurred in universe one. This leads to a number of entertaining scenes as our main character tries to convince people of what she knows, as the characters work together to decide what is the best course of action. Whilst their choice may not be the most sensible, it does work to make a very interesting story. Throughout we’re never completely sure of what the plan is, although we are given enough indications to have a pretty solid idea in our mind.
 
I will say, however, that I knew who the ‘bad guy’ was from the very start. Even before the change of universe occurred, I’d worked it out. The story does play out in such a way that we’re made to believe that a number of people could have been to blame for the event, yet it was a little too obvious who the real culprit was. I’d been expecting more of a twist when the answer came about – even though I was right about who it was, I had wanted the reasoning to be something bigger than I’d imagined it to be – alas such was not to be. It didn’t ruin the story, not at all, but it did leave me rather disappointed that there wasn’t some big twist at the end to shock me.
 
I will say that the read will not be for everyone, though. School shootings are a very scary reality, and I’m always tentative when such topics are touched in fiction novels. Truthfully, I was surprised by the care that was taken in this story. It was linked in with the multiverse aspect of the story with great care, although such a thing did lessen the shock factor to some degree. I would say this one is aimed more for the upper end of the young adult genre, if only because of the topic involved. My only real complaint in relation to using the shooting as the focal point of the story is that I’d expected more in terms of emotional responses from the main character. I feel as though her reaction was rather tame considering all that had happened, as I’d expected something a bit more extreme.
 
I think, in part, this links in with the romantic element of the story. In my opinion, the romance was given a bit too much attention. It overshadowed other elements, with our main character being obsessed with sorting out her love life alongside trying to stop a horrific event. Whilst it was great to watch the differences in the worlds slowly emerge, I stopped caring at some points as more and more romantic changes were brought into play. I think I would have enjoyed the romantic aspect of the story had it been a bit more subtle, if it hadn’t been quite so in your face with all the drama.
 
Nevertheless, it was a great read. I especially enjoyed how the ending left us with so many questions. There was one big intentional loose end, and I loved that. However, in regards to the other characters, I feel as though some things were tied together better than others. I’m not going to say any more about this rather vague statement, though, as it would lead to far too many spoilers – and nobody wants that.
 
Overall, I really enjoyed this one. Once I started reading it I found it was impossible to put down, the story pulling me in from the very start.
 
As a final note, I would like to thank the author for allowing me to advance read this in exchange for a review.

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