Sunday, 30 August 2015

Book Review (494); Safe At Last (Slow Burn #3) - Maya Banks


Safe at Last (Slow Burn #3)

by 
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My Thoughts.
The Slow Burn series is incredibly hard to put down once you've picked one of the books up, filled with suspense, pulse pounding action, romance and of course terrific story-telling, they are very addictive and you'll find time passing by very quickly so absorbed you'll find yourself in each and every one of the books.

Safe At Last deals with a very sensitive matter, one that can at times be hard to read about but Maya has done a very good job of tackling the subject sensitively and with the compassion and delicateness that this story needed, there is a lot of violence towards women in this book but it's dealt with in a way that hopefully shouldn't offend or upset anyone in any way, and that is because of the strength and professionalism of Maya's incredible writing.

While these books are primarily contemporary romantic suspense in nature, I also enjoy the heroines in each and every book having a psychic gift in some sense, adding a bit extra to the storyline and setting this series aside from it's counterparts.

I look forward to the next installment, Wade and Eliza are a couple that I can't wait to read about, a highly recommended series that I can't get enough of.

I give this 5/5 stars.



Maya Banks is a multiple #1 USA Today and New York Times bestselling author whose chart toppers have included erotic romance, romantic suspense, contemporary romance, Scottish historical romances. She is the author of the Breathless Trilogy, the Surrender Trilogy, the KGI novels, the Sweet series, and the Colters Legacy novels.

She lives in the South with her husband and three children and other assorted babies, such as her two Bengal kitties and a Calico who’s been with her as long as her youngest child. She’s an avid reader of romance and loves to dish books with her fans and anyone else who’ll listen! She very much enjoys interacting with her readers on Facebook and Twitter as well as in her Yahoo! Group.





(ARC) Book Review (493): The Dead Girls Of Hysteria Hall - Katie Alender


The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall


Publication: 25th August 2015
Publisher: Point
Pages: 336
Genre: Horror
Age Appropriate: Young Adult
Buy It: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
In this asylum, your mind plays tricks on you all the time…

Delia’s new house isn’t just a house. Long ago, it was the Piven Institute for the Care and Correction of Troubled Females—an insane asylum nicknamed “Hysteria Hall.” However, many of the inmates were not insane, just defiant and strong willed. Kind of like Delia herself.

But the house still wants to keep “troubled” girls locked away. So, in the most horrifying way, Delia gets trapped.

And that’s when she learns that the house is also haunted.

Ghost girls wander the halls in their old-fashioned nightgowns. A handsome ghost boy named Theo roams the grounds. Delia finds that all the spirits are unsettled and full of dark secrets. The house, as well, harbors shocking truths within its walls—truths that only Delia can uncover, and that may set her free.

But she’ll need to act quickly, before the house’s power overtakes everything she loves.

From master of suspense Katie Alender comes a riveting tale of twisted memories and betrayals, and the meaning of madness.
My Thoughts.
As soon as I first saw the title and cover of The Dead Girls Of Hysteria Hall I knew this was a book that I wanted to read, the blurb only made me even more eager for it, so receiving an ARC for review had me very excited.

I don't generally read a lot of books that feature ghosts, only because I like to read before bed and reading something like this creeps me out, in the dark at night, every little sound having you second guess what is making that noise, it got to the point where it was freaking me out so much I could only read it during the day, that was how well written this story was.

The twist at the start of the book was unexpected and shocking, not what I was expecting at all and that added to the eeriness and sense of anticipation this story held, nerve-wracking and at times heart-racing there is never a dull moment.

There seems to be nothing more creepier than a supposedly abandoned asylum, as I can attest to after making my way through this book.

Those who are looking for a thrilling story that will be sure to give you a bit of a scare, definitely give The Dead Girls Of Hysteria Hall a try, you won't be disappointed.

I give this 4/5 stars.


Katie Alender author photo 300x375About the Author:

Katie Alender is the author of The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall, Famous Last Words, Marie Antoinette: Serial Killer, and the Bad Girls Don’t Die series. She is a graduate of the Florida State University Film School and lives in Los Angeles with her husband, daughter, and two dogs. When she’s not writing novels, she can usually be found quilting, reading, eating delicious high-calorie foods, and hanging out with her friends (on very special occasions, she manages to do all of those things at once).

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Saturday, 29 August 2015

(ARC) Book Review (492): Dead Upon A Time - Elizabeth Paulson


Dead Upon a Time

Publication: 25th August 2015
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 224
Genre: Fantasy/Fairy Tale Retellings
Age Appropriate: Young Adult
Buy It: Amazon | Barnes & Noble 
It's a fairy-tale nightmare . . .

One girl is kept in a room where every day the only food she's given is a poisoned apple. Another is kept in a room covered in needles -- and if she pricks her finger, she'll die. Then there are the brother and sister kept in a cell that keeps getting hotter and hotter. . .

A sinister kidnapper is on the loose in Kate's world. She's not involved until one day she heads to her grandmother's house in the woods -- and finds her grandmother has also been taken. Already an outcast, Kate can't get any help from the villagers who hate her. Only Jack, another outsider, will listen to what's happened.

Then a princess is taken, and suddenly the king is paying attention -- even though the girl's stepmother would rather he didn't. It's up to Kate and Jack to track down the victims before an ever after arrives that's far from happy.
My Thoughts.
I know I've said this quite a few times throughout my time writing book reviews but I love fairytale retellings,  how the stories and characters can be changed and interpreted by different authors is what keeps me coming back to them, that and memories of reading the originals when I was younger, finding retellings that are unbelievably out of this world is always something I look forward to, unfortunately Dead Upon A Time fell a little short.

The concept of this book had me excited, fairytale characters held in prisons of their well known downfalls, Snow White and a basket of apples, with one apple being poisoned and so begins her endless task of figuring out which one not to eat, Hansel and Gretel stuck in a room where the temperature steadily increases every minute and so on, it falls to Kate of Little Red Riding Hood fame and Jack from Jack and the beanstalk to save them by the King's orders whose daughter Cinderella has also been kidnapped.

Unfortunately it didn't have the excitement that I was craving, there were a few unanswered questions such as Kate's parents and the reasons for their disappearance, I didn't think that it was explained fully, I found myself taking quite a while to finish this book and it's not very long at all, I just wasn't all that eager to want to pick it up again once I'd put it down and that was disappointing.

So while the idea of this book was intriguing, I just didn't enjoy it as much as I'd hoped to, but in saying that it wasn't terrible at all, in fact quite a few people seemed to enjoy it, I just couldn't seem to connect to the story, I will still pick up anything else Elizabeth writes though, just because this wasn't one of my favorite reads ever doesn't mean I won't fall in love with her next release.

I give this 3/5 stars.


Sunday, 9 August 2015

Book Review (491): Never Always Sometimes - Adi Alsaid


Never Always Sometimes

Publication: 4th August 2015
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 320
Genre: Contemporary
Age Appropriate: Young Adult
Buy It: 

Never date your best friend

Always be original

Sometimes rules are meant to be broken 


Best friends Dave and Julia were determined to never be cliché high school kids—the ones who sit at the same lunch table every day, dissecting the drama from homeroom and plotting their campaigns for prom king and queen. They even wrote their own Never List of everything they vowed they'd never, ever do in high school. 

Some of the rules have been easy to follow, like #5, never die your hair a color of the rainbow, or #7, never hook up with a teacher. But Dave has a secret: he's broken rule #8, never pine silently after someone for the entirety of high school. It's either that or break rule #10, never date your best friend. Dave has loved Julia for as long as he can remember. 

Julia is beautiful, wild and impetuous. So when she suggests they do every Never on the list, Dave is happy to play along. He even dyes his hair an unfortunate shade of green. It starts as a joke, but then a funny thing happens: Dave and Julia discover that by skipping the clichés, they've actually been missing out on high school. And maybe even on love.
My Thoughts.
From the very start Never Always Sometimes had me excited, I adore my cheesy YA contemporary romances, even better when it features a guy and a girl who are best-friends and secretly in love with one another, and that's what I wanted and expected to get, I was enjoying this book immensely and then it got towards the end and to say I was disappointed is putting it lightly, I HATED the end, there I said it, I don't enjoy saying that but it just ruined the whole entire book for me, and it just didn't make sense to me whatsoever, that might also be because the story didn't go where I fully expected it to, I wanted the cliche' so badly, this was on it's way to being a five star read and now I'm conflicted as to what rating to actually give it, which is really frustrating for a book that I was so into.

I really enjoyed the friendship between Dave and Julia, and their characters, by the end of the book I had nothing but dislike for Dave and immense sympathy and pity for Julia, I felt so bad for her I ended up in tears, that's how good Adi's writing is, unfortunately the storytelling was not to my liking, too bittersweet and unfulfilling for me, not what I wanted when I picked Never Always Sometimes up, however I did enjoy the writing style and I wouldn't hesitate to pick up another of Adi's books, I'd probably have to check to make sure I wasn't going to be unhappily surprised by the end before giving it a go though.

A hard thought out 2.5/5 stars.

 About the Author

adiAdi Alsaid was born and raised in Mexico City, then studied at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. While in class, he mostly read fiction and continuously failed to fill out crossword puzzles, so it’s no surprise that after graduating, he did not go into business world but rather packed up his apartment into his car and escaped to the California coastline to become a writer. He’s now back in his hometown, where he writes, coaches high school and elementary basketball, and has perfected the art of making every dish he eats or cooks as spicy as possible. In addition to Mexico, he’s lived in Tel Aviv, Las Vegas, and Monterey, California. A tingly feeling in his feet tells him more places will eventually be added to the list. Let’s Get Lost was his YA debut.
Author Links:
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Thursday, 6 August 2015

Blog Tour: Excerpt & Book Review (490): The Hotter You Burn (The Original Heartbreakers #2) - Gena Showalter


The Hotter You Burn (The Original Heartbreakers #2)

Publication: 28th July 2015
Publisher: HQN Books
Pages: 384
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Appropriate: Adult
Buy It: Amazon + Barnes & Noble
New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter is back with a sizzling Original Heartbreakers story featuring a troubled playboy and the woman he can’t resist… 


Beck O'ckley is ruthless in the boardroom...and the bedroom. He's never been with the same woman twice, and vows he never will. With a past as twisted as his, meaningless sex keeps the demons at bay. His motto: One and done. No harm, no foul.


Harlow Glass is the most hated girl in town. The beautiful artist is penniless, jobless and homeless. When she sneaks into Beck's home—her ancestral estate—for food, she's shocked by his early return...and her immediate, sizzling and intense attraction to him.


For the first time in Beck's life, he can't get a woman out of his mind. All too soon, friendship blooms into obsession and he'll have to break her heart...or surrender his own.
My Thoughts.
I have been a huge Gena Showalter fan for a long time now, every new release is met with excitement, The Hotter You Burn is my favorite so far in The Original Heartbreakers series, I flew through this book so fast I couldn't and didn't want to put it down.

There was so much to love in this story, Gena writes contemporary romances just as well as she does paranormal romances, creating characters that you can't help but love and care about and storylines that are sure to keep you glued to the pages.

The back stories of our two leads Harlow and Beck brought substance and understanding to these two characters, Harlow who was a bully when she was younger is now shunned by everybody in Strawberry Valley, leaving her jobless, homeless and penniless she lives in a hidden tent on her old property which is now owned by Beck and his two buddies Jace and West, Beck spent his childhood shuffled around foster homes leaving him feeling unloveable and unable to love in return, he spends one night with a woman and that's it nothing more, a bit of a manwhore you could say, when he catches Harlow who is starving and hasn't eaten properly in quite a while stealing a pie from the house, he suddenly can't get her out of his head which is something new for him, but Harlow wants a commitment and to get married and have kids one day which is something Beck definitely doesn't want, it doesn't look good for these two, but fate has a way of working things out and their journey to their happily ever after is entertaining and emotional, a combination which left me wanting more but happily satisfied with their story.

Gena never disappoints and The Hotter You Burn is another winner, get set to read this book in one sitting, you wont be able to help yourself, it's just that good!

Highly recommended.

I give this 5/5 stars.


THE HOTTER YOU BURN excerpt 1:


“I’m leaving, that’s what,” Harlow said. Determined words, snotty tone. She attempted to wrench herself from Beck’s grip.
“Oh, no.” Beck merely tightened his hold. “We’re going to have a glass of sweet tea while you two crazy kids get to know each other better.”
Harlow anchored her hands on her hips. “You know what? You’re right. We are going to get to know each other. But your presence is unnecessary, Beck. Leave.”
“Not gonna happen.”
“We don’t need—”
He cut her off, whispering, “If you and West get married and live happily ever after, you’ll have to get used to having me around.”
She snapped her mouth shut, then lifted her chin and grumbled, “That’s a very sad point.” She flashed a too-bright smile at West and eased into the chair Jase had vacated. “I’m game if you are.”
Beck vibrated with irritation as he carried a pitcher of tea and three glasses to the table and settled between the pair. “My girl here has certain ideas about the kind of man she wants to end up with,” he explained, “and I’d like to know if the two of you are compatible.”
Understanding dawned on West’s features, a smile nearly breaking free. He cleared his throat and donned his most uncaring expression. “Sure. Whatever.”
Beck poured the tea, handed out the glasses, and Harlow clutched hers as if it were a lifeline.
“Kick us off, sweet pea,” he said. “Tell my good buddy Lincoln—that’s his first name, in case you didn’t know—a little about yourself.”
“Well.” There was a slight tremor in her voice. “I’m twenty-six, and I’ve never been married.”
“Would you like a medal?” West muttered, while staring down at his cell phone, playing one of the games he’d created.
She glared at Beck, but he merely arched a brow.
Don’t make plans with men you don’t know.
“Yes, actually, I would like a medal, considering I’m hot but don’t realize it, which makes me even hotter.” The tremor had vanished, the snotty attitude firmly in its place. “It’s a miracle no one’s snatched me up. But then, most men are idiots, so…”
West smiled, realized his mistake, and glowered at his screen.
Beck braced elbows on the table. “You’re suggesting outward beauty is all that matters.”
“Hardly. My personality is hot, too. But Beck, darling.” Sugary-sweet tone now. Too sweet. “You aren’t part of this get-to-know-you session, even though you insist on being a total third wheel, so do us all a favor and zip your stupid lips.”
Then, she dismissed him. Looking to West, she traced her fingertips over the collar of her shirt, so feminine Beck’s every masculine instinct growled, hungry for the next meal. “So. Lincoln. How old are you?”
West played the video game a little longer before deigning to answer. “I’m twenty-eight, but I’ve got the stamina of an eighty-year-old coma victim. Horrible lover. Even worse cuddler.”
“Well, those skills can be taught,” she said, reaching over to caress his shoulder. “Anyway, you’re quite young to be so successful. It’s impressive.”
It was impressive. Beck wasn’t sure where he would have ended up without the guy.
West shrugged. “I work hard,” he said, then added, “probably too hard. I tend to ignore the people in my life. Especially women.”
“Well, I understand how taxing such a busy work schedule can be, and I commend you for it.” She gave his shoulder another caress, and Beck almost jerked the two apart. “I hope the lucky ladies in your life are as understanding as I am.”
“I guess,” West said and shrugged again.
“Wow, just look at these muscles, West. You are amazingly strong, aren’t you?” She cast another narrowed glance Beck’s way, presumably to make sure he was watching as she scooted her chair closer to West’s. “You know,” she said, the tip of her finger toying with the rim of West’s glass. When she caught a bead of condensation, she brought it to her lips and sucked, causing Beck’s groin to twitch behind his zipper. “I have a skill of my own, but it’s quite naughty.”
West glanced up, phone forgotten. “Do tell.”
“Yes. Do.” Beck simmered with renewed anger—even more desire. He smoothed a lock of hair from Harlow’s face. One touch, but he was greedy for more.
Her breath caught, but she leaned away from him, getting closer and closer to West, until her mouth was poised at the shell of his ear. In a husky voice low enough to be considered a whisper but loud enough for Beck to overhear, she said, “I’m super good at parking.”
Stick a fork in me. I’m done. Done with the conversation. Done with watching the object of his obsession doing her rock-solid best to arouse another male. “West doesn’t need to hear about that. Let’s go—”
“Even boys from two counties over dreamed of making out with me in the backseat of their trucks,” she continued with an effortless sensuality. “I’m very bendy.”
Beck slammed his glass on the table, tea sloshing over the sides of the rim. “Harlow here is looking to settle down forever,” he barked. “She thinks you’d make an awesome groom.”
“Marriage?” West sneered with distaste. “Me? Hell, no. Never.”
“He’s all for others tying the knot, but when it comes to himself he thinks the Newlywed Game should be called the Dig Your Own Grave game,” Beck explained, relaxing now that the conversation had taken a new direction.
Harlow unveiled a brittle smile. “Maybe you just haven’t met the right person, Lincoln. You don’t mind if I call you Lincoln, do you?”
“Call me whatever you like, but I have met the right person.” His voice cracked. “She died.” He stood, his chair skidding behind him, and strode out of the kitchen.
Harlow rounded on Beck, all hint of supple, willing female gone. “I hope you’re happy with yourself. You did this.”
“Me?”
“Yes, you.” The words were nothing more than a hiss. “You wanted me to know I can’t win the affections of anyone else, that I’m stuck with you, destined to be your newest conquest.”
“Stuck with me?” he snarled.
“Yeah, that’s right. You aren’t the prize you think you are, Beck Ockley, but maybe West is. Maybe he’s worth fighting for. Maybe, unlike you, he has a heart and the ability to care for someone other than himself.”
“I have a heart. I care.”
She didn’t seem to hear him, plowing ahead. “You know, there are plenty of guys in town. Why focus all my efforts on just one? I’m sure lots of guys would like a chance to get to know the new me. I can bring them back to my RV—”
My RV.”
“—and practice being married, just the way you suggested.”
Beck would burn the RV to ash first.
Too far gone to fight his sense of possession, he hooked his foot around the bottom of her chair and forced her chair closer, closer still. Their thighs touched, and she gasped, perhaps at the force he’d used, perhaps with a desire of her own.
He grabbed her by the waist and easily hefted her onto the table, on his feet and between her legs a second later, glaring down at her.

“I want you, and it’s past time I showed you how much. You’ll keep your sweet ass parked on this table and you’ll show me your skills. Me. No one else.” And then his hand was cupping the back of her neck, drawing her forward.


GENA SHOWALTER
Gena Showalter is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author whose works have appeared in Cosmopolitan and Seventeen magazines, as well as Entertainment Weekly. Her novel Red Handed has been optioned by Sony Television. Critics have called her books “sizzling page-turners” and “utterly spellbinding stories,” while Showalter herself has been called “a star on the rise.” Her mix of humor, danger and wickedly hot sex provides wildly sensual page-turners sure to enthrall.

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Sunday, 2 August 2015

Book Review (489): Armada - Ernest Cline


Armada

Publication: 14th July 2015
Publisher: Crown Publishing
Pages: 368
Genre: Science-Fiction
Age Appropriate: Young Adult
Buy It: Amazon + Barnes & Noble
Zack Lightman has spent his life dreaming. Dreaming that the real world could be a little more like the countless science-fiction books, movies, and videogames he’s spent his life consuming. Dreaming that one day, some fantastic, world-altering event will shatter the monotony of his humdrum existence and whisk him off on some grand space-faring adventure.

But hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little escapism, right? After all, Zack tells himself, he knows the difference between fantasy and reality. He knows that here in the real world, aimless teenage gamers with anger issues don’t get chosen to save the universe.

And then he sees the flying saucer.

Even stranger, the alien ship he’s staring at is straight out of the videogame he plays every night, a hugely popular online flight simulator called Armada—in which gamers just happen to be protecting the earth from alien invaders. 

No, Zack hasn’t lost his mind. As impossible as it seems, what he’s seeing is all too real. And his skills—as well as those of millions of gamers across the world—are going to be needed to save the earth from what’s about to befall it.

It’s Zack’s chance, at last, to play the hero. But even through the terror and exhilaration, he can’t help thinking back to all those science-fiction stories he grew up with, and wondering: Doesn’t something about this scenario seem a little…familiar?

At once gleefully embracing and brilliantly subverting science-fiction conventions as only Ernest Cline could, Armada is a rollicking, surprising thriller, a classic coming of age adventure, and an alien invasion tale like nothing you’ve ever read before—one whose every page is infused with the pop-culture savvy that has helped make Ready Player One a phenomenon.
My Thoughts.
Armada was a book that wasn't on my radar at all until I was offered the chance to review it, that's not to say I've never heard of Ernest Cline, his book Ready Player One is extremely popular and a book that I hope to get around to purchasing and reading at some point, what had me excited about Armada was the concept, while I'm not a big science-fiction fan nor a video gamer there was just something that drew me in to the idea, and I'm so happy to say that I loved this book!

Everything in this book worked from the action packed storyline that kept me on my toes as I anxiously made my way to the end and the pop references scattered throughout of video games, movies and tv shows, I found myself going with the flow and even forgetting at times that I was reading a story that was science-fiction based, Ernest has a way of having the reader lose themselves in the story so much that a genre you're not really familiar with or a big fan of becomes truly exciting and hard to put down.

Armada was a story that I couldn't really find a fault with, I perhaps would have liked a different result at the end, no spoilers but everyone who has read this book will probably know what I'm talking about, but in saying that I know why it was written that way, why I guess it had to happen that way, that's not to say I'm happy with the decision at all, but that's just me being sentimental.

All in all I thoroughly enjoyed this book, because of Ernest I may expand my reading preferences and give other science-fiction books a go, I do know that I will definitely be getting to Ready Player One A.S.A.P, if Armada is anything to go by I'm going to love that book too, this book made for a very pleasurable reading experience after a bad reading slump.

Highly recommended/

I give this 5/5 stars.


ERNEST CLINE 
has worked as a short-order cook,
fish gutter, plasma donor,
elitist video store clerk, and tech support drone.
His primary occupation, however,
has always been geeking out,
and he eventually threw aside those other promising career paths
to express his love of pop culture full-time as a spoken word artist and screenwriter.
His 2009 film Fanboys, much to his surprise, became a cult phenomenon.
These days Ernie lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, their daughter,
and a large collection of classic video games.


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