Monday, 13 June 2022

Book Review: Tokyo Dreaming (Tokyo Ever After #1) - Emiko Jean

 Pan Macmillan    Released: 14th June 2022   RRP: $19.99



Return to Tokyo for a royal wedding in Emiko Jean's Tokyo Dreaming, the sequel to the Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick and New York Times bestseller Tokyo Ever After

When Japanese-American Izumi Tanaka learned her father was the Crown Prince of Japan, she became a princess overnight. Now, she’s overcome conniving cousins, salacious press, and an imperial scandal to finally find a place she belongs. She has a perfect bodyguard turned boyfriend. Her stinky dog, Tamagotchi, is living with her in Tokyo. Her parents have even rekindled their college romance and are engaged. A royal wedding is on the horizon! Izumi’s life is a Tokyo dream come true. Only...

Her parents’ engagement hits a brick wall. The Imperial Household Council refuses to approve the marriage citing concerns about Izumi and her mother’s lack of pedigree. And on top of it all, her bodyguard turned boyfriend makes a shocking decision about their relationship. At the threat of everything falling apart, Izumi vows to do whatever it takes to help win over the council. Which means upping her newly acquired princess game.

But at what cost? Izumi will do anything to help her parents achieve their happily ever after, but what if playing the perfect princess means sacrificing her own? Will she find a way to forge her own path and follow her heart?

Review.

Tokyo Dreaming is a continuation of Princess Izumi's story and her newly discovered life of being a Princess of Japan.
With her parents now engaged and a royal wedding on the horizon, life would seem to be perfect, but when the Imperial Council won't approve of her parents getting married, Izumi decides that she will do whatever it takes to make herself into the kind of Princess that the Council approves of in hopes it will help her and her Mother be accepted.
While I did enjoy this book. I found myself torn between Izumi's two relationships and I even preferred the newest one more than her old one (I don't want to spoil the plot, hence the vagueness), and I think that's the main reason I didn't enjoy this as much as the first book 'Tokyo Ever After'.
I recommend this series for those that enjoy a really good YA contemporary series, they're quick reads and lots of fun.

I received a copy of this book to review from Pan Macmillan, all thoughts are my own.





Friday, 10 June 2022

Book Review: Realm Breaker (Realm Breaker #1) - Victoria Aveyard

 Hachette Australia     Released: 4th May 2021     RRP:$22.99



Save the world or end it.

A strange darkness is growing in the Ward. Even Corayne an-Amarat can feel it, tucked away in her small town at the edge of the sea.

Fate knocks on her door, in the form of a mythical immortal and a lethal assassin, who tell Corayne that she is the last of an ancient lineage—with the power to save the world from destruction.

Because a man who would burn kingdoms to the ground is raising an army unlike any seen before, bent on uprooting the foundations of the world. With poison in his heart and a stolen sword in his hand, he'll break the realm itself to claim it. And only Corayne can stop him.

Alongside an unlikely group of reluctant allies, Corayne finds herself on a desperate journey to complete an impossible task, with untold magic singing in her blood and the fate of the world on her shoulders.

Review.

"No mortal alive had ever seen a spindle'.
So begins Realm Breaker, the first novel in a new epic fantasy series.
After loving the Red Queen series, I was excited to discover this new world that Victoria had created.
The first couple of chapters had me trying to wrap my head around all the characters that had been introduced and who was who; once I got past that, I found myself pulled into the story and all the adventures that took place throughout.
I appreciated having multiple POVs throughout the book; I feel it adds more depth to the story.
I adored Dom, he's like a big teddy bear, and I really hope he and Sorasa end up together; I found their interactions and entire relationship funny, which was a favourite part of the book for me.
I can't wait for book two, 'Blade Breaker,' to again follow our ragtag group on their mission to save the world.

A big thanks to Hachette Australia for sending me this review copy; all thoughts are my own.





Thursday, 2 June 2022

ARC - Book Review: Between A Fox And A Hard Place - Mary Frame

 Amazon  Released: 3rd June 2022, Kindle $5.99 & Paperback $20.89




She's determined to keep her family home. He won't let his friend down. Will conflicting interests shatter their chances of happily ever after?

Finley Fox refuses to give up her life's work. With her family's cabin rental business at risk of going under, the eldest of five has been laboring for years to care for the property, not to mention her now grown siblings. But when a New York billionaire makes a play for the ailing resort, Finley struggles to resist her attraction to the handsome man sent to secure the deal.

Archer Weston craves stability. With his best buddy since childhood in need of a favor, the lonely businessman heads to the mountains to convince the owner to sell. But his mission hits a hurdle when his heart melts in the presence of the hardworking, beautiful woman.

With debt and sibling drama piling high, Finley fears that leaning on her irresistible guest for support could end in her own heartbreak. But as their relationship grows and intensifies, Archer is caught between his long-term loyalty and his one shot at finding his forever…

Can this unexpected couple keep both their dreams alive?

Between a Fox and a Hard Place is the first book in the Fox Family romantic comedy series. If you like swoon-worthy men, witty dialogue, and enemies-to-lovers antics, then you'll adore this sweet and steamy tale.

Review.

Between A Rock And A Hard Place was such a delight to read; I sat and read this within four hours; I couldn't put it down; I loved it!
I really enjoy reading series that are based on siblings who will all end up with their own book and love story.
The family dynamics and heartwrenching history make for an emotional but uplifting story that tugs at the heartstrings; Jacob will break your heart; I can't wait for his book and for him to finally feel at peace and to find happiness.
Finley and Archer have such great chemistry and were great main characters that kept me thoroughly engrossed throughout.
I get quite excited discovering new authors which Mary Frame was to me and to discover her back catalogue as well, while I await book two.

I was sent this book to review from BookSirens; all thoughts are my own.




Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Book Review: Tokyo Ever After (Tokyo Ever After #1) - Emiko Jean

 Pan Macmillan Released 25th May 2021, $18.99



A Reese Witherspoon Book Club YA Pick!

Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean is a hilarious and heartfelt novel perfect for fans of To All the Boys I've Loved Before and The Princess Diaries.

Izumi Tanaka has lived an uneventful seventeen years in her small town, keenly aware of all the ways in which her family is different from most of her classmates. But then Izumi discovers a clue to her previously unknown father's identity . . . and he's none other than the Crown Prince of Japan.

Soon she's traveling overseas to meet the father she never knew and discover the country she's only dreamed of. But being a princess isn't all ball gowns and tiaras. There are conniving cousins, a hungry press, a scowling but handsome bodyguard who just might be her soulmate, and thousands of years of tradition and customs to learn practically overnight. Izzy soon finds herself caught between worlds, and between versions of herself – back home, she was never "American" enough, and in Japan, she must prove she's "Japanese" enough. Will Izumi crumble under the weight of the crown, or will she live out her fairytale, happily ever after?

Review.

Tokyo Ever After is one of those YA books that is a joy to read, one of those feel-good stories that, while it's not all happiness and sunshine all the time, still leaves you with a smile on your face.
I really love a good YA contemporary, which this was, add in a whole secret royalty storyline and you have yourself a funny, exciting and intriguing story with an atmospheric setting in Japan.
What made this story so enjoyable was our main character Izumu (Izzy); I loved her; she was so interesting and quirky and just so much fun.
I don't think there was really any characters that I disliked, except maybe The Shining Twins (read the book, and you'll understand).
This book definitely had The Princess Diaries vibes, which is certainly not a bad thing.
I look forward to book two; I can't wait to see what's next for Izzy and the whole cast of characters.

A big thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for this free review copy.
All thoughts are my own.



Friday, 13 May 2022

May 2022 Upcoming Book Releases.

 


Releases: 17th May 2022


The New York Times bestselling authors of The Unhoneymooners present a charming, laugh-out-loud novel filled with adventure, treasure, and, of course, love.

Lily has never forgotten the man that got away . . . but she certainly hasn't forgiven him either!

As the daughter of a notorious treasure hunter, Lily makes ends meet using her father's coveted hand-drawn maps, guiding tourists on fake treasure hunts through the canyons of Utah. When the man she once loved walks back into her life with a motley crew of friends, ready to hit the trails, Lily can't believe her eyes. Frankly, she'd like to take him out into the wilderness - and leave him there.

Leo wants nothing more than to reconnect with his first and only love. Unfortunately, Lily is all business: it's never going to happen. But when the trip goes horribly and hilariously wrong, the group wonders if maybe the legend of the hidden treasure wasn't a gimmick after all. Alone under the stars in the isolated and dangerous mazes of the Canyonlands, Leo and Lily must decide whether they'll risk their lives, and their hearts, on the adventure of a lifetime . . .


                      A Queen of Ruin (Deliciously Dark Fairytales Book 4)


Releases: 30th May 2022


The final book in the Wall Street Journal bestselling series!


                                       The Inadequate Heir (The Bridge Kingdom Book 3)


Releases: 24th May 2022



Releases: 31st May 2022


A gym nemesis pushes a fitness influencer to the max in this steamy debut romantic comedy that TikTok readers can't stop talking about!

Curvy fitness influencer 
Crystal Chen built her career shattering gym stereotypes. After a recent break-up, she has little time left for men, instead finding joy in the gym - her place of power and positivity.

Enter firefighter 
Scott Ritchie, the smug new gym patron who routinely steals her favourite squat rack. Soon, sparks start flying . . .

As the ultra-competitive foes battle for gym domination, the last thing they expect is to run into each other at their grandparents' engagement party. And, in the lead-up to the wedding, Crystal discovers there's a soft heart under Scott's muscled exterior. Bonding over family, fitness and cheesy pick-up lines, she just might have found her person.

But when a photo of them goes viral, savage internet trolls put their relationship to the test . . . Are they strong enough to get through it?


Releases: 16th May 2022


From USA Today bestselling author Jenika Snow comes a new full-length standalone dark mafia romance set in the Underworld Kings world.

Anastasia was a Russian mafia princess.

I was unworthy to even look at her.

But that didn’t stop a bond, a friendship to form between us. She was the only good and right thing in my painful, brutal life. She was the only one who could look at my bruises and wounds and see I wasn’t a total waste of space.

But I was ripped away from her, thrust into the underground world of violence and fighting, molded and shaped to be the ultimate killing machine for the Bratva.

And that’s who I was now.

Razoreniye. Ruin.

Now, ten years later, all of humanity had been stripped from me, all the emotion and empathy that I’d once felt taken away until I was nothing more than the beast who craved blood and had far too many kills tallied up.

But they could never take her away from me. And so I followed her, watched her through her bedroom window, broke into her apartment, and held her as she slept.

I wasn’t a good man. I was carved out from the very devil himself, and although I would never be good enough for Anastasia, that didn’t mean I’d ever let anyone else have her.

So when she was forced to marry another, I did the only thing that made sense.

I took her in the middle of the night and kept her locked up until she realized she was mine and mine alone.



                                         The Merciless Ones (Gilded Book 2)


Releases: 26th May 2022



Releases: 17th May 2022


From the author of Today Tonight Tomorrow comes a magical romance in the vein of Groundhog Day about a girl forced to relive her disastrous first day of college—only to discover that her nemesis is stuck in the time loop with her.

Barrett Bloom is hoping college will be a fresh start after a messy high school experience. But when school begins on September 21st, everything goes wrong. She’s humiliated by the know-it-all in her physics class, she botches her interview for the college paper, and at a party that night, she accidentally sets a frat on fire. She panics and flees, and when she realizes her roommate locked her out of their dorm, she falls asleep in the common room.

The next morning, Barrett’s perplexed to find herself back in her dorm room bed, no longer smelling of ashes and crushed dreams. It’s September 21st. Again. And after a confrontation with Miles, the guy from Physics 101, she learns she’s not alone—he’s been trapped for months.

When her attempts to fix her timeline fail, she agrees to work with Miles to find a way out. Soon they’re exploring the mysterious underbelly of the university and going on wild, romantic adventures. As they start falling for each other, they face the universe’s biggest unanswered question yet: what happens to their relationship if they finally make it to tomorrow?


Releases: 24th May 2022


Selma Blair has played many archetypal roles: gullible ingenue in Cruel Intentions. Preppy ice queen in Legally Blonde. Fire-starter in Hellboy. Muse to Karl Lagerfeld. Face of Chanel. Cover model. Advocate for the multiple sclerosis community. But before all of that, Selma was known best for being one thing: a mean baby. In a memoir that is as wildly funny as it is emotionally shattering, Selma Blair tells the captivating story of growing up and finding her truth.

The first story Selma Blair Beitner ever heard about herself is that she was a mean, mean baby. With her mouth pulled in a perpetual snarl and a head so furry it had to be rubbed to make way for her forehead, Selma spent years living up to her terrible reputation: biting her sisters, lying spontaneously, getting drunk from Passover wine at the age of seven, and behaving dramatically so that she would be the center of attention.

Although Selma went on to become a celebrated Hollywood actress and model, she could never quite shake the periods of darkness that overtook her, the certainty that there was a great mystery at the heart of her life. She often felt like her arms might be on fire, a sensation not unlike electric shocks, and she secretly drank to escape.

Over the course of this beautiful and, at times, shocking memoir, Selma lays bare her addiction to alcohol, her devotion to her brilliant and complicated mother, and the moments she flirted with death. There is brutal violence, passionate love, true friendship, the gift of motherhood and, finally, the simultaneous devastation and surprising salvation of a multiple sclerosis diagnosis. In a voice that is powerfully original, fiercely intelligent, and full of hard-won wisdom, Selma Blair's Mean Baby is a deeply human memoir and a true literary achievement.


                                Misrule: Book Two of the Malice Duology


Releases; 17th May 2022



                                                   A Game of Retribution: 2


Releases: 31st May 2022


















ARC: Book Review: Stone Cold - Winter Renshaw

 


Released: 14th May 2022


The most humiliating moment of my life begins with an early morning message from my ex’s notoriously heartless best friend.

Jovie—

In no way does this mean my opinion of you has changed.

I’m reaching out because sometime in the middle of last night you tagged yourself in Jude and Stassi’s engagement photo.

I don’t care if you were drunk or it was unintentional. I suggest you remove it immediately since the wedding is in two months (which I’m sure you know since you were clearly FB stalking them). The damage is done, but no reason to make things more awkward.

You’re welcome.

Stone

I waste no time removing my accidental tag before the sharp-tongued novelist in me fires off a response to the man who harbored extreme and inexplicable hatred of me during the three years I dated his best friend in college.

Only I didn’t expect him to respond.

And nothing could have prepared me for what he would say …

… or for all the ways this gorgeous villain with cruel icy blues would become the biggest plot twist my life had ever known.

Review.

I'm hitting the jackpot this year when it comes to great five star reads; Stone Cold is no exception.
This was a fun, quick, contemporary romance that I didn't want to end; I loved Jovie and Stone, both together and apart.
I also really appreciated the dual POV'S, I wish every romance writer did that; I think this story needed it, especially with the flashbacks.
Stone Cold is one of those books that, if you're having a bad day it would lift your spirits; it's cute and sweet, with great characters and an intriguing storyline.
It had me reading till after two in the morning; while I could have finished reading it then and there, I made myself put it down so I'd still have seventy pages left for the next day because I wanted to delay getting to the end.
This was my first Winter Renshaw book, and it certainly won't be my last.

I received this book to review from Hidden Gems; all thoughts are my own.


Wednesday, 27 April 2022

Head Stuck In A Book: My Best Books Of 2022 - So Far.

Now that we've made it through the first four months of 2022, I thought I'd make a list of my favourite books that I've read so far this year that are all 5 star reads.

So without further ado here they are:



My first five star read of the year was 'Forgotten: Dark Musicals' which was a spin-off of the Dark Musicals series by Laura DeLuca
While I never reviewed this one on my blog, I did write this quick, small review on Goodreads.

This one hurt, this one really hurt!
I just...shocked is not the word for it.
This book broke me, I went through three tissues.
Why???????????

With his Broadway dreams derailed after a car accident leaves him visibly scarred and plagued with panic attacks, 17-year-old Erik Patko is forced to transfer to a private school in New Jersey where the only bright spot is reuniting with his childhood sweetheart. Trying to bolster his confidence, the effusive Evie convinces him to audition for the drama club production of The Russian Princess. He lands the lead, but with Evie haunted by her past and a stalker on the loose, Erik has several mysteries to solve before the curtain falls on opening night.



This was another book I read that I didn't review on my blog (this was before I got back into really blogging again).
But I absolutely loved it!

An Arranged Marriage Standalone Mafia Romance. The first time Cassio meets his fiancĂ©e, she calls him “sir.” After losing his wife, Cassio is left to take care of two small children while trying to establish his rule over Philadelphia. Now he needs a mother for his children and someone who can warm his bed at night. But in a world as traditional as his, choosing your wife is duty not pleasure.Rules have to be followed, traditions heeded. That’s how he ends up with a woman—a girl—barely of age. She may not be what he and his children need, but she’s lovely and a sweet temptation he can’t resist. Giulia has always known she’ll marry the man her father chose for her, but she never expects to be given to someone so much older. Suddenly she’s supposed to be a mother to two small children when she hasn’t even held a baby before.Giulia quickly realizes that Cassio isn’t interested in a relationship on equal footing. Her mother has warned her that men of power, like Cassio, don’t tolerate insolence. Tired of being treated as a nanny, Giulia decides to fight for her version of a happy family.




Best Peter Pan Retelling Ever!

The stories were all wrong — Hook was never the villain.

For two centuries, all of the Darling women have disappeared on their 18th birthday. Sometimes they’re gone for only a day, some a week or a month. But they always return broken.

Now, on the afternoon of my 18th birthday, my mother is running around the house making sure all the windows are barred and the doors locked.

But it’s pointless.

Because when night falls, he comes for me. And this time, the Never King and the Lost Boys aren’t willing to let me go.

The Never King is a dark retelling of Peter and Wendy. If you like your enemies to lovers romance with hot, ruthless, morally gray love interests, you’ll enjoy The Never King and the Lost Boys. You can expect hate kissing, fighting, bickering, and ‘touch her and I’ll unalive you’ vibes.




Karma is a bitch—but then again, so am I.

Ten years ago, a group of men murdered my mother and thought they had killed me. I’ve spent every day since planning revenge against the man behind the attack—my father. As the head of a powerful crime family, he won’t be an easy target, but nothing matters more than making him pay for what he’s done.

Now, I return in disguise, only to end up on the radar of the Quad—the four most dangerous men in the city…men I’ve been desperately in love with since I was a teen. I have no idea if they were in on the plan to have me killed, but I can’t stop myself from craving their taste, their bodies and their rough, domineering touches. Even though I know the risks, I keep falling deeper into our twisted relationship.

My plan is simple—find and get rid of the people who carried out the attack, kill my father…and don’t fall in love with the men who might have betrayed me.

This world already killed me once—let it try again.

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of murder, attempted murder, and violence. It includes a morally gray heroine.
 



Have you ever been in a stalemate with the head of the mob?
Me neither, until Sebastian Romano waltzed into my life.


I probably should have held my tongue that first night, but I’m used to alpha males and Sebastian is nothing I can’t handle.

He runs this city and gets everything he wants, but I would rather die than give him my art gallery.

It’s not just that it’s all I have left of my gran. The gallery is proof of my independence – a corner of this big city that’s all mine.

Problem is, negotiating real estate with a gangster isn’t exactly...fair.

I can ignore the intimidation, the deadlines, the threats. But when Sebastian starts poking into my private life, that’s one line too far.

So how come when my world is imploding—again—Sebastian is all I want to cling to?

And why do I feel safest with the deadliest man in town?

My Legacy is a suspenseful slow burn, enemies to lovers, dual POV mafia romance. Contains explicit sex scenes and violence – 18+.




I definitely preferred this book more than book two.

Rowan
I’m in the business of creating fairy tales.
Theme parks. Production companies. Five-star hotels.
Everything could be all mine if I renovated Dreamland.
My initial idea of hiring Zahra was good in theory, but then I kissed her.
Things spiraled out of control once I texted her using an alias.
By the time I realized where I went wrong, it was too late.
People like me don’t get happy endings.
Not when we’re destined to ruin them.

Zahra
After submitting a drunk proposal criticizing Dreamland’s most expensive ride, I should have been fired.
Instead, Rowan Kane offered me a dream job.
The catch? I had to work for the most difficult boss I’d ever met.
Rowan was rude and completely off-limits, but my heart didn’t care.
At least not until I discovered his secret.
It was time to teach the billionaire that money couldn’t fix everything.
Especially not us.

Dreamland Billionaires is the first book in a series of interconnected standalones following three billionaire brothers.



This book is currently my favourite book so far this year, I only hope that the other two books in the series will be just as good!

One strong-willed woman set on revenge.
Three childhood friends who are now her enemies.
Get ready for Alexandria to create chaos.

My name is Alexandria Donatella McCarthy, daughter of the don of the Rossi syndicate. Abused. Neglected. Underestimated. I’m about to unleash hell on this town. Keane Agosti, Rafael Ortiz, and Jaxson West don’t know it yet, but I am the devil who will bring that hell to their doorsteps—and take my father down right along with them.

I was born into a life that showed me nothing but pain. A toy, a pawn, to be used by my father, Maximillian Rossi. My brother, Kellan, was the only bright light in my dark world. Then one day, he was gone. Taken from me. And it’s their fault. My brother’s three best friends. Keane, the leader of the group whose quest for power will be his undoing. Jax, the twisted psycho who lost his soul a long time ago. And Rafe, my ex-boyfriend who shattered my heart and left me when I needed him the most.

Now it’s my turn to descend into the darkness. I will destroy them all, burn the Rossi house to the ground, and then rise from the ashes.

Are you ready for me, boys? This savage princess is coming for you.

Reader’s Warning: Savage Princess is a dark, enemies to lovers, mafia, reverse harem romance and contains scenes that may be triggering to sensitive individuals such as blood, violence, scenes depicting torture, foul language, consensual sexual content, and references to past sexual abuse/trauma. If you are not familiar with reverse harem romances, this troupe is where the female protagonist has more than one love interest and is in an intimate relationship with more than one man. Savage Princess is book 1 in the Savage Kingdom three-book series and ends with a cliffhanger. Recommended for mature readers.



So this was a re-read, I first read this year's ago in primary school. I still absolutely love it!
No review for this one.

Matilda is a little girl who is far too good to be true. At age five-and-a-half she's knocking off double-digit multiplication problems and blitz-reading Dickens. Even more remarkably, her classmates love her even though she's a super-nerd and the teacher's pet. But everything is not perfect in Matilda's world. For starters she has two of the most idiotic, self-centered parents who ever lived. Then there's the large, busty nightmare of a school principal, Miss ("The") Trunchbull, a former hammer-throwing champion who flings children at will and is approximately as sympathetic as a bulldozer. Fortunately for Matilda, she has the inner resources to deal with such annoyances: astonishing intelligence, saintly patience, and an innate predilection for revenge.

She warms up with some practical jokes aimed at her hapless parents, but the true test comes when she rallies in defense of her teacher, the sweet Miss Honey, against the diabolical Trunchbull. There is never any doubt that Matilda will carry the day. Even so, this wonderful story is far from predictable. Roald Dahl, while keeping the plot moving imaginatively, also has an unerring ear for emotional truth. The reader cares about Matilda because in addition to all her other gifts, she has real feelings.



The last of my five stars reads so far this year, so a total of 9 out of the 55 books I've read so far, not too bad.

As a third-year Ph.D. candidate, Olive Smith doesn't believe in lasting romantic relationships--but her best friend does, and that's what got her into this situation. Convincing Anh that Olive is dating and well on her way to a happily ever after was always going to take more than hand-wavy Jedi mind tricks: Scientists require proof. So, like any self-respecting biologist, Olive panics and kisses the first man she sees.

That man is none other than Adam Carlsen, a young hotshot professor--and well-known ass. Which is why Olive is positively floored when Stanford's reigning lab tyrant agrees to keep her charade a secret and be her fake boyfriend. But when a big science conference goes haywire, putting Olive's career on the Bunsen burner, Adam surprises her again with his unyielding support and even more unyielding... six-pack abs.

Suddenly their little experiment feels dangerously close to combustion. And Olive discovers that the only thing more complicated than a hypothesis on love is putting her own heart under the microscope.