I really enjoyed Reawakened, the first book in the series but it's so long ago that I read it that I struggled to remember all the plot details. CouldI really enjoyed Reawakened, the first book in the series but it's so long ago that I read it that I struggled to remember all the plot details. Could have done with a handy recap at the start of this one....more
'To Have and to Hold' is the first book I've read by Lauren Layne and kicks off her brand new series, The Wedding Belles. An indulgent treat, this was'To Have and to Hold' is the first book I've read by Lauren Layne and kicks off her brand new series, The Wedding Belles. An indulgent treat, this was exactly the kind of book that I was in the mood for. It was sweet and romantic and reminded me a lot of some of my favourite Jill Shalvis titles. I'm so pleased that there is a whole series about the Belles to look forward to. I'm going to be reading them all!
Brooke is a wedding planner who has recently moved to New York and has got a job working for the Wedding Belles - a service which helps brides to plan their dream weddings. She's been hurt in the past but wants to put all of that behind her and move on with her life. I liked the steely centre that Brooke has and the way that she is always looking for the positives in a situation. She is one tough lady but she 's also a real sweetheart and I'm sure readers will identify a lot with her. In the course of helping to plan the wedding of Maya Tyler, she meets his brother, handsome businessman Seth. Although she is instantly attracted to him, he is much more of a closed book. He is gruff and appeared controlling at first, but it soon becomes evident that he is just trying to look out for his sister and ensure that she doesn't get her heart broken. Once you get past his tough exterior, he is a real softie underneath.
Brooke and Seth both have issues to deal with and there are some ups and downs as they traverse the numerous obstacles in their path. I never doubted though that they would perfectly compliment each other if only they could truly open up their hearts.
I thought that the book was sweet, sexy and romantic and very well written. The characters were rounded individuals who I really liked and there were some intriguing secondary characters too, who I'm hoping to see more of in the future. They all seem to have their own stories to tell.
The ending genuinely made me cry and Lauren Layne made me a very happy reader indeed.
Bring on more of the Belles! 'For Better or Worse' is next in the series and I can't wait. ...more
I love a good YA thriller and 'With Malice' by Eileen Cook ticked lots of boxes for me. It actually reminded me of '13 Minutes' by Sarah Pi3.5 stars.
I love a good YA thriller and 'With Malice' by Eileen Cook ticked lots of boxes for me. It actually reminded me of '13 Minutes' by Sarah Pinborough in the way that the main character gradually has to regain her memories of a pivotal event and how the storyline unfolds like a puzzle - piece by piece.
The central protagonist, teenager Jill, wakes up in hospital after a terrible car crash which happened during a school trip to Italy. She has lots of questions about who was involved and what caused the crash and is shocked to discover that she was the one driving the car. Was she responsible? As readers, we are left as clueless as Jill. Her memories and dreams begin to construct events but are they real and can they be trusted?
The plot unravels slowly and I found the pace of the book a little frustrating. Small fragments of information are drip fed to readers by the police interviews which feature throughout the story and by the online comments. These are left by friends, acquaintances and members of the public who comment on what has become an international incident.
I really liked 'With Malice', although I felt that the ending let it down. The big finale wasn't as dramatic or as satisfying as I was expecting and it was somewhat of an anti-climax after the brilliant build-up which preceded it. It was also very ambiguous which isn't something I normally like. You are left to draw your own conclusions in the end about what you believe is true or false.
This was a fairly quick read which overall I really enjoyed. There were a few things about it which bothered me and some loose plot threads which could have done with tightening up but that aside, it was just the kind of thriller that I like. ...more
I thought I would enjoy this title a lot as I've really liked all of Sarra Manning's previous books. Unfortunately it just didn't grab my attention anI thought I would enjoy this title a lot as I've really liked all of Sarra Manning's previous books. Unfortunately it just didn't grab my attention and it seemed too much like other stories I've read before. Maybe I wasn't in the mood for contemporary YA when I picked it up, but for me, it was more of a miss than a hit.
The main character Sunny spends most of the book, which takes place throughout the course of one night, on the hunt for her runaway, potentially cheater, boyfriend. Her travels take her to numerous well-known areas of London, including Mayfair, Soho and Camden (Ahh Camden, I know it well). What frustrated me was that I wanted to shout at her not to bother, to forget all about Mark and go home instead, rather than traipse all over London for someone that she shouldn't waste her time on. On the other hand, I did enjoy being reminded about how diverse and varied London is and how much the City has to offer. It's one of my favourite places to visit so it was fun to see some of the areas I haven't been to before.
The ending was a bit too clichéd for my tastes and I felt that it didn't really offer anything new to the reader. It's such a shame because the book sounded good and I thought it would be great fun, but in the end it fell flat for me and was a struggle to finish. ...more
My favourite thing about this book were all the lovely recipes interspersed throughout the story. I need to dig out my apron and whip some of these upMy favourite thing about this book were all the lovely recipes interspersed throughout the story. I need to dig out my apron and whip some of these up!...more
'And I Darken' is the first in a new trilogy by author Kiersten White, who has reimagined Vlad the Impaler as a female called Lada and has3.5 stars.
'And I Darken' is the first in a new trilogy by author Kiersten White, who has reimagined Vlad the Impaler as a female called Lada and has set about breathing new life into a series of historical characters.
I loved the start of the book. I was absorbed by the story and the characters and I couldn't put it down. I'll admit that my interest waned a little in the middle when I felt the pace of the story got a bit bogged down but then it picked up again at the end and I was sucked back in.
I haven't seen a female heroine like Lada before in YA. She is most definitely an anti-princess. She refuses to be beholden to anyone, she fights as well as any man and she is determined not to let anyone control her or own her. Occasionally, I found her quite difficult to like. She's so tough and prickly that it's hard to get past the armour she surrounds herself with. Her achilles heel (if indeed she has one) is her love for her younger brother Radu.
Radu was my favourite character in the book. There is a lgbt angle to his storyline which was well written and depicted. He spends a lot of the story conflicted about his feelings but I really felt that he came into his own in the second half. He and Lada have a complex relationship which only becomes more complicated when they meet Mehmed, the son of the Sultan.
Brutal and bloody, 'And I Darken' pulls no punches and spares you nothing. It's very in your face. It blends historical fiction and fantasy together brilliantly and is an extremely intriguing opening to the series. ...more
‘V For Violet’ by Alison Rattle is set in the 1960’s. I’ve been trying to think and I don’t think I’ve actually read anything set in the sixties befor‘V For Violet’ by Alison Rattle is set in the 1960’s. I’ve been trying to think and I don’t think I’ve actually read anything set in the sixties before. It’s not my favourite period but it was an interesting choice and worked well not only with the overall themes of the book but also in terms of showing what post-war society was like for a lot of teenagers. I’m doubtful that the historical setting will appeal to all readers however.
The main character Violet has finished school and is working in her parents fish and chip shop. She’s afraid of being left behind by her best friend who has a job in a factory, new friends and a fella on her arm. When Violet meets the dangerous and exciting Beau, she discovers the possibility of a romance of her own. However, she also has family problems to deal with when her long presumed dead brother returns, at the same time that girls from the area start turning up dead. I really liked Violet and I could identify with some of the feelings she had at the start about finding her place and the worry she has about what’s coming next. Having left school behind, the real world is opening up to her and that can be scary. She grows a lot as a character throughout the story and I think even surprises herself by the end.
Unfortunately the overall book was a bit hit and miss for me. There were parts I liked and thought were well done and there were other aspects of the story that felt a bit rushed. It seemed like Alison Rattle was trying to work a lot of different threads into the story and not all of them were given enough attention. The mystery element of the book was probably my favourite part but I was disappointed with the outcome. I don’t want to spoil anything about the plot but I thought this could have had much more impact if a different direction had been taken in terms of the murderer. The romance between Violet and Beau was okay but I didn’t feel any real sparks between them and Beau came across as a bit one-dimensional at times. The storyline with Violet’s brother could have been quite powerful but again, I think this wasn’t given enough attention until near the end of the book and by then I didn’t feel invested enough in the conclusion.
What I do like about Alison Rattle’s books is that they are all so different and she doesn’t restrict herself to one particular time-frame, setting of theme. You never know what to expect from her stories. Although this wasn’t a huge hit with me, I have enjoyed her writing in the past, so will put this title to one side and will look forward to whatever she has in store for readers next.
'Bullet Catcher' was a brilliant read, based around a unique plot which was totally different to most of the other Young Adult books around at the mom'Bullet Catcher' was a brilliant read, based around a unique plot which was totally different to most of the other Young Adult books around at the moment. Very refreshing. It was gritty and exciting, placing the characters in life and death situations where there was no easy way out. As I was reading it, I couldn't help but think that it would make a fantastic book-to-film adaptation. A western for teens with a strong female heroine.
The story unfolds with the main character Imma, longing to escape her pitiful existence in the small town of Sand. When she sees a chance for a different future for herself, she grabs it and follows a mysterious bullet catcher out of town and across the desert. Her fate inexplicably linked to his, she has no idea that difficult choices await her as she starts out on a journey that she can't turn back from.
I loved the idea of bullet catchers - people who can catch bullets and turn them back on those who fired them. How cool is that?! The concept is so original and different. Imma has to choose between this life and that as a gunslinger. It's great that these roles are not barred from females, who can equally do everything that a man can do.
Joaquin Lowe has ensured that the reader stays gripped from start to finish. Family ties are forged and broken, alliances are made and forgotten as everything is put on the line in the fight for survival. This was a fantastic read which I would definitely recommend to male and female readers alike. I haven't heard anything about a sequel but the story was left open-ended, so I'm going to keep my fingers crossed that there will be another book in the series very soon. ...more
This was quite a different change of pace to Alyson Noel's previous books that were much more on the spiritual/paranormal side of things. 'Unrivalled'This was quite a different change of pace to Alyson Noel's previous books that were much more on the spiritual/paranormal side of things. 'Unrivalled' is a contemporary YA about a group of young adults vying for the same huge cash prize by promoting a series of nightclubs. Each have their own reasons for taking part and wanting to win. They get points based on how successful their night club is and each of them tries to get Hollywood IT girl, Madison Brooks, to grace their club. That is the sure fire way to score some big points.
The story actually starts one month prior to the rest of the plot. Madison Brooks goes missing but who the mystery surrounds who is responsible for her disappearance. The rest of the book unfolds with the three main characters Tommy, Aster and Layla, each becoming untangled with the seemingly glamorous but ultimately seedy, Hollywood night club scene. I have to say that I wasn't particularly a fan of any of the characters. They all seemed pretty shallow and certainly not that likable. I didn't care an awful lot about who won the competition and the Madison Brooks element of the plot was intriguing but not enough to keep me engrossed in the story.
I'm sad to say that I just don't think this title was very good. Although it was compared to Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girl it was a poor imitation of both of those series and isn't one that I'm invested in enough to want to continue reading. ...more
'Sweet Little Lies' is the first book in Jill Shalvis's new series Heartbreaker Bay. With every book I read by this author, I become more and more a f'Sweet Little Lies' is the first book in Jill Shalvis's new series Heartbreaker Bay. With every book I read by this author, I become more and more a fan of her stories. I adore her Lucky Harbor series and this was in a very similar vein. It was feel good, romantic, uplifting and a perfect read to pick up and devour while snuggling into your favourite chair with a big cup of tea. I am so pleased that Shalvis has such an extensive back catalogue of titles because I seriously want to read them all!
The main character Pru, has spent a large proportion of her life trying to make amends for the terrible series of events that her parents caused. Her need to give to others and her selflessness lies at the core of her being. She is always thinking of how she can help people and often puts their needs before her own. She was a wonderful character and one that I immediately found myself liking and rooting for. Her latest wish is that handsome bartender Finn will find true love.
I adored the romance which begins to flourish between Pru and Finn. She gives him fun and warmth and adventure and in return, he gives her stability, trust and support. They really compliment each other and I definitely fell for them as a couple. I cared about what happened to them and I couldn't wait for them to realise that they were just perfect together. There are some pretty hot and steamy scenes between the two of them and you will be guaranteed to get very hot under the collar.
The ending was beyond perfect and for some reason reminded me a little bit of Jane Austen's 'Persuasion' which is one of my favourite classics. I also have to give a shout out to Thor the dog who was utterly adorable and a complete sweetie. If you haven't discovered Jill Shalvis yet then you need to remedy that immediately. She's my new go-to author for heart warming romances which leave you feeling all fuzzy inside. ...more
'Shaken' is the third book in Joss Stirling's fantastic series about the Young Detective Agency. This time, the story takes place on the other side of'Shaken' is the third book in Joss Stirling's fantastic series about the Young Detective Agency. This time, the story takes place on the other side of the Atlantic in Manhattan, New York.
Rose Knight, the girl next door, is hiding a big secret. She is trying to raise millions of dollars to pay for her father's ransom using her brains, genius and stellar computer skills. She wants help from no one but Damien Castle, on a visit from abroad, is determined to ensure that Rose doesn't get herself any deeper into trouble.
I liked both Rose and Damien, who don't necessarily get off on the best foot, but end up becoming friends and then a pretty cool couple. They are very different but their personalities compliment each other well and although I didn't initially see sparks between them, they work well together. It was also great to see Damien and his friend Joe again, after they both featured in earlier books in the series.
The story was a bit slow at the start and I kept waiting impatiently for something to happen but the plot built nicely and in the second half there were plenty of exciting moments and some great action packed chapters. It was great to see Rose not just sitting around and waiting for someone to help her like a helpless female. She tries to get out of trouble on her own, using intellect and wit.
I loved the ending so much! Thank you Joss Stirling. It was absolutely perfect!
I hope there's another book in the series. It would be brilliant to see Joe find his perfect match too. ...more
I wanted to like this book. I thought that I would like it. It sounded right up my alley with a plot which is based on Shakespeare's Othello but set iI wanted to like this book. I thought that I would like it. It sounded right up my alley with a plot which is based on Shakespeare's Othello but set in space. How awesome does that sound?! I usually love books that are a spin on a Shakespeare play but this one didn't do it for me at all. There was too much sci-fi, I thought that the dialogue was quite wooden and clunky and I didn't find the relationships between the characters very believable, especially the insta-love between Vee and Nathan.
The story seemed to take an age to really get going and as this is quite a big book, I toyed with the idea of giving up on it and moving onto something else. However, I'm always hopeful that things will pick up and improve and I like to give every book a fair chance, so I carried on until the end. But I just didn't enjoy it at all. I do have a rocky relationship with Malorie Blackman's writing. Some of her books I've thoroughly enjoyed and others have been more of a struggle to finish. Sadly, 'Chasing the Stars' just wasn't for me, although I will still be looking out for other Shakespeare spin-offs in the future. ...more
'13 Minutes’ by Sarah Pinborough is a dark and captivating tale, inspired by a true life event. I picked it up with the intention of reading a few cha'13 Minutes’ by Sarah Pinborough is a dark and captivating tale, inspired by a true life event. I picked it up with the intention of reading a few chapters and ended up finishing the whole book in one sitting. The plot is gripping and the various twists and turns throughout the story ensured that I was constantly kept on my toes. The killer twist near the end was absolutely brilliant and made me want to turn back to the first page and read everything again but in a new light.
The story highlights the fraught teenage friendships that are formed in high school, the power of the Queen Bee and the changing dynamics of female friends. Who’s in and who’s out is all important. With echoes of ‘Pretty Little Liars’, the book centres around a pivotal event which unfolds right at the start of the story. The near drowning of Natasha who is found just in time to prevent disaster, but who was technically dead for 13 minutes, is the mystery that gradually unravels. With no memory of what happened leading up to the event, did she slip or was she pushed? And who would have wanted to cause her harm?
Much of the story that follows is told by her former best friend Becca. Pushed aside by Tasha when she formed a friendship with two other girls, Becca is gradually drawn back into Tasha’s circle by a series of circumstances. The dynamic between the two girls is interesting and well written. I liked the chess analogy and the way that you are never quite sure if they really are friends or adversaries.
I enjoyed the structure of the book itself, and the way that the characters have to work backwards to make sense of what really happened. The addition of notes from Tasha’s journal and the case notes of the Detective on her case, also added an extra layer to the narrative.
There are some jaw dropping moments in the book and a dark edge to the plot. It reminded me a little of ‘Suicide Notes of Beautiful Girls’ by Lynn Weingarten, but although it had similarities, it was still a unique and original read....more