Monday, 28 September 2015

Review of Throb by Vi Keeland

The bit on the back…

The rules:

No dating.

No sex outside of the game.

No disclosing the terms of the contract.

Rules were made to be broken, right?

Eight weeks ago I signed a contract. One that seemed like a good idea at the time. A handsome bachelor, luxury accommodations, and a chance to win a prize my family desperately needed. There were some rules though. Lots of them actually. Follow the script, no dating, sex, or disclosing the terms of the deal. After my self-imposed moratorium on men the last year, it wouldn’t be hard to live up to my end of the bargain…so I thought. Until I realized the deal I’d made was with the devil…and I was in love with his dirty-talking brother.


This is the second book by Vi Keeland that I’ve read. I downloaded and read Beat – the sequel to Throb – first before realising that it comes after Throb. You don’t need to read them in order although I would say I did enjoy Beat more than this so if at the end of the book you don’t find yourself completely captured by Vi’s writing read Beat because it’s just up there at that next level.

The story is all about Cooper and Kate. I was watching Love Island on ITV2 at the time I read Throb so it was pretty coincidental that this story has the same sort of thing going on. Kate’s signed up to a reality TV show with the hope of winning the prize fund. It’s straightforward – she just has to be the girl that the bachelor chooses but then Kate meets Cooper and he is a direct contravention to all of the rules she has to live with for the next 8 weeks.

When Cooper and Kate first meet there is an instant spark between them. Kate’s resistance to Cooper makes him even more hung up on her. When they meet again their fate is sealed and the chase is on for Cooper. To be honest I didn’t feel any attraction, from Kate anyway, between her and the bachelor Flynn. I understood her reasons to continue trying to win the show but at the same time I found it hard to relate that to the depth of her feelings for Cooper.

The title suggests a sexy story and while Cooper did heat things up it wasn’t quite how I thought it would be. I get that the TV show element mixed up the standard love triangle plot a little but Flynn’s feelings definitely didn’t feel reciprocated.


If I had to choose between reading this or Beat again I would definitely choose Beat.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Review of Chasing River by K.A. Tucker

The bit on the back…

Armed with two years’ worth of savings and the need to experience life outside the bubble of her Oregon small town, twenty-five-year old Amber Welles is prepared for anything. Except dying in Dublin. Had it not been for the bravery of a stranger, she might have. But he takes off before she has the chance to offer her gratitude.

Twenty-four-year-old River Delaney is rattled. No one was supposed to get hurt. But then that American tourist showed up. He couldn’t let her die, but he also can’t be identified at the scene—so, he fled. Back to his everyday life of running his family’s pub. Only, everyday life is getting more and more complicated, thanks to his brother, Aengus, and his criminal associations. When the American girl tracks River down, he quickly realizes how much he likes her, how wrong she is for him. And how dangerous it is to have her around. Pushing her away would be the smart move.

Maybe it’s because he saved her life, or maybe it’s because he’s completely different from everything she’s left behind, but Amber finds herself chasing after River Delaney. Amber isn’t the kind of girl to chase after anyone.

And River isn’t the kind of guy she’d want to catch.


I feel like I have been waiting for this book for ages. As soon as it downloaded I started it. Ugh, I LOVE K.A. Tucker’s writing. The Burying Water series so far has been amazing and made me read the entire Ten Tiny Breaths series too. You should definitely give them both a go.

Chasing River is the third book in the Burying Water series. Although each book can be read as a standalone each novel makes some reference to the story before it so for completeness and in the name of no spoilers you should definitely start with Burying Water. I thought Tucker had topped Burying Water with the second book Becoming Rain but Chasing River is even better than them both.

Chasing River is quite different. It’s the story of River and Amber. Amber was a secondary character from Burying Water and we know a little about her life as a nurse. In this story we see her at the beginning of her travelling Europe adventure starting in Dublin, Ireland. The story starts a little unexpectedly with the characters running into each other, River managing to save Amber’s life. The action starts in chapter 1 and just continues at the same pace.

After she recovers Amber from the accident, something triggers her memory and she searches for River to thank him and this is where our real story begins. Oh man I absolutely love these characters. River is just completely fresh from any of the characters I’ve met in either of Tucker’s series. There is an attraction between the characters that is deeper seated than the usual attraction which is completely to do with River saving Amber. I love that this cemented their initial friendship. There is a lot that River tries to hide from Amber, more for her safety than anything else, but some of his secrets are nearly too much for the couple to handle.

I think the fact that it’s set more close to home than America really meant something too. The story behind the characters is real life, it’s hard hitting and it’s not pretty to read about. This happens to real people. It was a brave subject to write about and it was done with detail and respect and it worked.

I cannot wait for the next instalment to come in October, it’s already on pre-order.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Cover Reveal - The Elemental by Lisa Veldkamp

Today I am helping to reveal the new cover of The Elemental by Lisa Veldkamp. I've known Lisa for almost as long as I've been blogging so it's a pleasure to share this with you. I absolutely love it!



The bit on the back...

Time is running out, and only the Elemental can save the world.

“My name is Catherine van Dyk. I run a private massage and coaching practice in Shoreditch, London—nothing special, you would say, and you would be right. Except something terrible is about to happen to our planet, and I’m the only one who can do something about it, so no pressure. Am I going to succeed? This time I might finally be able to control the elements. I have to. To save my life. To save all our lives.”

Catherine van Dyk is an Elemental, which means she can control earth, air, fire, and water—sort of. Catherine is trying to leave her darker days behind her, but she and her friends, who have similar abilities, must try to restore balance to our world. Whether her new neighbor Tristan can help her in that has yet to be seen. Is Tristan who he says he is? With disaster on its way and only one week to go, time is running out. For Catherine, for her friends, for all of us.


About Lisa


Lisa is the author of the poetry collections Nothing is Forgotten and When Words Start to Sing, and The Elemental, part I of The Fire Trilogy. This is her first short story for teenagers, The Bridge Between Yesterday and Tomorrow. She has a background in social services and music, but writing has always been a part of her daily life. One night she dreamed the outlines of The Elemental and took it as a sign from the Universe to pursue a career in writing.

She grew up in a small town in the Netherlands where her parents always taught her to think outside the box. She has a degree in social studies and joined the Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids as an adult.

Lisa loves London—according to her, “the city where magic dwells”—and can often be found there. She still resides in the Netherlands, however, with her partner and their dog, Miss Ginger Rogers, and if you’re lucky, you may find her in her favourite coffeehouse, Barista cafe.

Review of The Accidental Life of Jessie Jefferson by Paige Toon

The bit on the back…

Meet Jessie, small-town girl turned wild child . . .

Jessie has never known her real dad, and when her mum dies she thinks any hope of finding him is gone. As she goes goes off the rails, her stepdad announces that her father is Johnny Jefferson - legendary rockstar and former hell-raiser.

Still dealing with her loss, and now the daughter of a superstar, Jessie is sucked into the LA lifestyle - paparazzi, parties and hot guitar-wielding boys included.

But is Johnny up to the job? And, more importantly, is Jessie?


Let me start this review by stating now that I was so conflicted about this book! As a fan of Paige’s chick-it books I was in no doubt that I’d read her new YA release. I just didn’t know when I’d actually get around to reading it. I absolutely love Johnny Jefferson. I’ve read Johnny and Meg’s story countless time and I could probably recite parts of the story. One thing Paige delivers in every single book is allllll the feels and Johnny and Meg have more than their fair share of emotions to deal with. That being said I think Paige has hit the nail on the head with this YA series from the cover to the story. I enjoyed it as an adult fan of Paige but I also wish I could read it as a teenager too!

It’s taken me quite a while to get round to starting this story but it was so worth the wait! This story is all about Jessie Jefferson. Jessie was just an average teenager until her mum died and she started to rebel, hang out with the wrong crowd and she’s started to lose herself. When her stepdad drops the biological dad bomb everything changes.

Jessie is easy to identify with at the beginning of the story. A lot of teenagers will be able to relate to her everyday school and teenage struggles but some will also be able to relate to her family situation too. What not many people will be able to relate to is the fact that her dad, who she’s never met, is a massive rockstar who all her friends fancy. During the initial stages of reaching out to Johnny I could feel the emotions building and I was really hoping Johnny was going to come through for her.

Jessie’s life changes basically overnight and Paige takes you on this journey with her to LA – glamorous and exciting already – and plants her into Johnny’s life. I felt like the tension and awkwardness was rolling off the pages as both Jessie and Johnny’s family tried to adjust to this new situation. I was on the verge of tears many times as I read the book and just kept hoping for everything to work out.


While Jessie is in LA she makes some friends of her own and gets a taste of what her life could be like. I loved this part of the book because it’s complete escapism in that Jessie is going to Hollywood parties and listening to live bands whose lead singer she’s had a little flirt with. I feel like Paige has pitched this perfectly for YA readers and I loved learning about Jessie and seeing her with her friends in LA which got me out of that “I already know Johnny” feeling. If you’ve read and enjoyed this I would recommend All American Girl by Meg Cabot.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Review of Beautiful Liar by Tara Bond

The bit on the back…

Responsible

Nina Baxter knows all about responsibility. With her father dead and her mother drowning her sorrows, it's up to Nina to take care of her younger sister, April, and try to hold the family together. But when her options run out, she is forced to take a job working for the wealthy Noble family.

Reckless

Alexander Noble is the rakish heir to an unimaginable fortune. Sexy, charming and entitled, he's never had to do a day's work in his life, and devotes himself to pleasure and partying. With a reputation for bedding a different woman every night, he doesn't appear to give a damn about anything.

Rotten

From their very first meeting, Nina knows Alex is bad news, and vows to stay away from him. But as their paths continue to cross, she can't help being drawn to his raffish charisma - especially when he makes no secret of his interest in her. For the first time in her life, Nina is on the brink of following her heart. But can she believe Alex when he tells her to trust him? Or is he just another beautiful liar?


Firstly thank you to Simon & Schuster for approving me for this title on NetGalley. The blurb made this story sound right up my street and hearing about it on Twitter made me want to get started right away with it.

The story starts off well and hooked me from the beginning. The introduction to main character Nina is a little different and right away you are let in on the scale of the issues she faces with her family, especially her mother who is a considerable liability. The story follows in much the same vain with Nina constantly battling to overcome adversary and come out on the other side stronger for it. She’s fighting to get her family back together and it’s a constant burden for her throughout the book.

Nina takes a job the Noble family as a last resort. The family’s lifestyle couldn’t be more different from Nina’s and it’s something that’s played up throughout the whole story. Nina is hard to get to know and has problems with trusting people and letting her guard down. To that end Nina finds it hard to be able to rely on anyone but herself and I saw her character as a bit of martyr. Throughout she did get a bit better at accepting help but it seemed to only be when she was left with no other option. I severely disliked her mother in the beginning of the book for putting Nina in this impossible situation but not seeing the bigger picture fuelled this for both Nina and me as the reader.

Nina and Alex come up against each other in the story and the chemistry between is immediate and intense. Throughout I got the feeling the Alex was holding something back and all of the bravado he puts on with his arrogance and drinking and devil may care attitude sometimes seemed like a show more than his true self. I admittedly found him as attractive as Nina did and secretly wished they could overcome whatever it was that made them clash throughout.


The story was addictive and a bit of an emotional rollercoaster constantly going up and down because as soon as Nina started to get somewhere something else seemed to crop up. I would recommend this for fans of Beth Kery and Courtney Cole and I’ll definitely be looking out for more from Tara.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Review of Surviving The Rachel by Aven Ellis

The bit on the back…

Bree Logan is ready to start her post-college life, but when she’s dumped by The One, unable to land a professional job, and has to move back in with her parents, she doesn’t think things can get worse until she ends up with her hair chopped into The Rachel, the infamous haircut made famous by the show Friends. Which is not good since it’s no longer 1994. But sometimes you have to go through challenges to get what you really need, and for Bree, could that include a different career and a romance with Jack Chelten, the boy-next-door?


Bree is the main character in Aven’s fourth novel. She’s just coming out of a break up and is putting her best foot (and dodgy hair cut) forward. I was reading this when I had my own dodgy hair cut so I could totally empathise with Bree. I think her “Rachel” hair cut made me think of a young Jennifer Aniston playing Bree in my mind.

Bree is very easy to like and I think part of this is her self-deprecating nature and her joy of pleasing others. She is a hard worker and the extent of it shows when she starts her new job. I liked being on the learning curve with Bree and always find it interesting to read about a character who has a job in a line of work that’s so different to my own. Aven’s writing is in depth in description and I felt like I could have been in the story alongside Bree.

Aven’s main characters all have one thing in common and that is their down to earth personalities. This love story focuses on the bond between the characters and their common interests and it’s about getting to know the other person and what makes them tick. With all of Aven’s couples I’ve enjoyed seeing them get to know one another and it was no different with Bree and Jack. I enjoyed the Friends quotes and also Jack’s love of all things Germany. I studied German at school so I liked reading the Friends episode titles in German and it added a little extra sparkle to the book for me.


This is a lovely, thoughtful story about learning to overcoming all the obstacles life throws your way. 

I love Aven’s writing and I loved seeing a little bit of her personality shining through in the character’s fashion style. I loved the catch up with Avery and Deke from Chronicles of a Lincoln Park Fashionista (my favourite of Aven’s books) and I’m very much looking forward to starting The Definition of Icing!

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Review of The Things We Do For Love by Alice Peterson

The bit on the back…

Love may hurt, but not loving hurts even more . . .

January Wild loves her daughter, her dog and her childhood home by the sea.
Single parenting is tough, but January has no regrets. She has a job she loves, a happy home and the support of her beloved grandfather. The arrival of a new boss, however, threatens to shake up January's safe world.

Ward Metcalfe loves great sales results and a well-run office.

Everyone at her office agrees: Ward is a soulless, corporate slave driver. Even Spud, the company mascot, dislikes him.

A secret stands between them.

Yet over time January sees there is more to Ward than meets the eye. Rumours circulate. What exactly is he hiding? and is January prepared to risk everything to find out?


Firstly thank you to Quercus for approving me for a review copy of this beautiful book. I absolutely adored Alice’s last novel One Step Closer To You so I was excited to read this novel – even the cover is gorgeous.

The story is all about main character January Wild.

January is the narrator throughout the story and I absolutely loved her. She has an awesome strength, especially in the face of adversity and she has had more than her fair share of it over the years. Alice weaves the past and present together in this novel portraying January’s strength perfectly. I really thought this was clever because one tiny bit of January’s past unfolds a little at the time and doesn’t in the slightest show her being all “poor me”. Every time she faces a trial she picks herself up and forges ahead for the good of her family.

The story is both heart-breaking and breath taking from page to page. I cried more than once throughout the story as there was certain parts of January’s story that I could relate to personally. January’s life revolves around her daughter and caring for her. I loved January’s drive to provide for her daughter and how she continually put herself second to everyone else’s needs.

January’s relationship with Ward starts off as tenuous but swiftly changes as they recognise something in each other. Ward always felt a little out of reach or unobtainable due to his reluctance to share his own past. When he eventually does come clean it makes you see him in a whole different light.

Seeing the past woven into the story lets you truly appreciate “the things we do for love”, or things we can hope to do as January feels like someone you would want to strive to be.


Alice’s writing flows easily throughout the book and kept me hooked until the very end. I read the book over a couple of sittings and can easily see myself re-reading it again in the future. Alice completely captured my heart with this story and just like One Step Closer To You it is one of my favourite reads of the year. Amazing Alice, five beautiful stars.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Review of Win Me Over by Nicole Michaels

The bit on the back…

DANCE LIKE NOBODY'S WATCHING

Callie Daniels is a singular sensation. She owns and operates her own bakery, contributes to a popular lifestyle blog, and is the dance team coach at a local high school. She lives by her own design and desires. She's happy-and busy! Callie has too much to do to make dating a priority. Mr. Right will have to fit into her life when the time is right. . .

LOVE LIKE YOU'VE NEVER FELT IT BEFORE

Football coach Bennett Clark always plays by the rules. He knows that his new colleague Callie is off limits but she's so beautiful-and irritating!-that Clark can't get her off his mind. She wants him to participate in a charity dance contest, and won't take no for an answer. Soon, what begins as a festive athletic endeavor turns into a heated flirtation on and off the dance floor.

Could it be that the free-spirited Callie has finally found a way to melt Clark's tough-as-Teflon heart?


Firstly thank you to St Martins for approving me for a copy of this title via NetGalley. This is the second of Nicole’s books that I’ve read, the other being Blame It On The Mistletoe. Win Me Over is the second book in Nicole’s Hearts and Crafts series and although I know I’ve skipped book one I didn’t feel like I had missed too much as it’s about a different couple than the main characters in Start Me Up (book 1).

Callie and Bennett are the main characters in Win Me Over. I instantly liked Callie but took a little longer to like Bennett. Callie is, well, she reminded me of a Barbie. Dance Class come Bakery Barbie! Her feisty, sparky attitude shot off the page and I loved her confidence in her ability. I think this could get quite annoying in a character and could come across as arrogance if Callie wasn’t also a realist with dreams to chase just like the rest of us.

Bennett came across immediately as moody and grumpy but I suppose any man who finds himself backed into a corner might come across that way too. I got over my coolness towards Bennett quite quickly when it became clear that he was quite the hunk and his brooding nature doesn’t define all of him. The story is funny to watch unfold especially as Callie and Bennett get closer through their dance lessons.


I found this story to be an easy read and found that I just kept wanting to read more. In my mind I imagined it being set somewhere like the fictional town of Tree Hill with that small town community feel which is strengthened when the whole town comes together in the name of one of Bennett’s best basketball players. I enjoyed the story and I’m looking forward to starting Start Me Up. If you like Maggie McGinnis and Crista McHugh I think you’ll enjoy this series!

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Review of The Betrayal by Laura Elliot

The bit on the back…

Nadine and Jake Saunders were married as teens. Tied to one another by a night of passion that resulted in a pregnancy neither could turn away from.

Now, years later, their children have all flown the nest and the pact they made as teenagers – to give one another the freedom to pursue their own dreams – has resurfaced.

But freedom comes at a price …

While Nadine and Jake begin to untangle their lives from one another, Jake embarks on a passionate affair with a beautiful woman, Karin Moylan. What he doesn’t know is the dark history Karin shares with Nadine.

As lust spirals into dangerous obsession, Jake must break free from Karin. But he must also ask himself how well he ever really knew Nadine. What secret is she hiding? The truth, when it is revealed, could destroy them all.


Firstly a big thank you to Bookouture for approving me for a copy of this book on Netgalley. I hadn’t read any of Laura’s books before but I had heard of her through Twitter. I really loved the sound of the blurb and I’ve been looking more and more toward the Crime/Thriller genres so I couldn’t wait to get started.

The story follows Nadine and Jake through their divorce and life after.

From the very beginning of the story I was on Nadine’s side. Her first person narrative makes her easy to identify with and also made me feel pretty defensive of her. Jake was instantly cast as the bad guy for me even though they both have their own parts to play in the ultimate downfall of their marriage. Nadine's past plays a big part in this story and her relationship with Karin has literally scarred her for life. Laura weaves the past into the present in this story making it a completely compelling read.

Karin Moylan is a horrible character. Well, she’s a good character in this story but a horrible, manipulative bitch. In the opening pages of the book the impact of Karin is felt in the way the sheer memory of her sets Nadine off kilter. There is an uneasy tension from that point on whenever Karen is mentioned between Nadine and Jake and more so when she starts to take more of a prominent role in the story. I didn’t like her at all. I was suspicious of her and as most of her scenes are with Jake, in his third person narrative, there is a distance between the reader and the Karin.


I couldn’t predict where this story was going and was constantly second guessing throughout. It’s one of those books where you’re desperate to find out what happens but you also want to take your time so it’s not over so quickly. I will definitely be reading more from Laura after reading this!