Saturday, April 25, 2015

Review: Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols

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Subtle, evocative and putting me in a haze of fulfillment
Title: Going Too Far
Author: Jennifer Echols
Publisher: Simon and Schuster, UK
My ratings: 5 out of 5 stars
Released: 17th March , 2009
Before I start singing accolades for Going Too Far, let me start by apologising that I've never read anything by Jennifer Echols before. I certainly has seen her books floating around but I never really managed to pick it up. Recovering from a reading slump I decided to ask my followers which book would be the ideal book to introduce me to her and the unanimous answer was Going too Far.While the blurb did not excite me I thought it so many people can't be wrong.

Lo and behold 24 hours later, I'm sitting and looking around me blurry eyed as to what happened to my day? I spent the whole day immersed in John and Meg's story. It was beautiful, evocative ad deeply satisfying. So the story goes like this. Meg is somewhat of a troubled child. With her dyed blue hair and a penchant to mix with the wrong kind of people, she keeps looking for trouble. Then one day with a bunch of drunk friends she decided to go drinking on the bridge over the railway lines which had been rumoured to have killed two people before. However they get caught by the police and before she realises what is happening she and her friends have to spend a week with one of the emergency departments to reflect on their mistake. Worst of all Meg is assigned to spend the graveyard shift with the officer who caught her in the first place.

At first I did not like Meg. I disliked that she started trouble on purpose and was not nice to the people around her. But slowly as the story progressed I realised that I really warmed up to her. She genuinely cared about the people around her and what I loved about her was her stark honesty. She had a crush on John soon after her 'punishment' began and she was okay to admit it. I could really see how the events of that week made her realise the consequence of her actions. She was naughty and I loved how she would rile John just to get a little reaction from him. She had a painful past which never left her mind making her all that more vulnerable inside the tough exterior she portrayed.

John After on the other hand was utterly swoon worthy. I have to give to Jennifer how she managed to transform him (in Meg's mind) from a grumpy old cop to a 19 year old hunky teenager who was just as troubled as her. The interactions between John and Meg were subtly done and I could feel how they slowly found each other attractive and how their relationship evolved. The sexual tension between them was palpable and every time John blushed, I giggled.

After reading a few books by Jennifer Echols ( at the point of writing this review) I have to say I commend her on writing real teens who are not afraid to speak about sex and have sex as a matter. I think sometimes authors don't want to go their as it seems we all want to protect our kinds but let's be honest here. We were all 17 once and not everyone was innocent and doe eyed. While the theme was serious I never felt that it was too heavy and bore down the story line. This book is aimed at a slightly older YA audience and deals with some series issues like drugs, lose and emotional scars.

In the end, Going Too Far was an excellent read. It was subtle, evocative, sweet and wonderful. I sat down and devoured this book. John and Meg were adorable together and I wished there were more pages to this book. My foray into contemporary YA was a success and if all books are like Going Too Far, I never want to come out of this haze of fulfillment Going Too Far cast on me.




Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Review + Blog Tour: The Liar by Nora Roberts

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Nora Roberts dazzles us again
Title: The Liar
Author: Nora Roberts
Publisher: Piatkus Books, UK
My ratings: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Released:16th April, 2015
The Liar is my first book by Nora Roberts. While I've read her earlier book written as J.D Robb, The Liar felt different being in a completely different genre.

The premise goes like this; after the death of her husband Shelby is left in a load of debt and a web of lies built by her husband. After selling off as much she could she decides to have a fresh start and move to s small town Rendezvous Ridge. There she starts her new life on a clean slate but soon enough her past catches up with her and her life start going out of control.

I enjoyed The Liar which was quick to hook me in. The small town setting was sweet and the side characters added such flavour to the story. Griff who lands in Shelby’s life was adorable and the romance was slow and well built. I liked Shelby who was strong willed and determined. Her world had turned upside down but that didn't stop her from just getting on with life. She is not weak that is what I admired her the most for.

The plot dragged a little in the middle but the fast paced ending more than made up for it. The Lair was a strange mix of romance and thriller which I haven't read before. The mish-mash of genre was a refreshing change for me.

It is easy to see why Nora Roberts is a huge phenomenon. She has a finesse and confidence in her writing which comes across in her stories. The story sweeps you and before you knew it you are invested in the characters and want to know more about them who are so real that they can be a person you already know.

Overall, The Liar is another solid addition to the already shinning repertoire in Nora Roberts' writing career.

Released on the 16th April, 2015

Review copy provided by Piatkus Books, UK

Check out the other blogs participating in this blog tour.


The Author

Nora Roberts is the number one New York Times bestseller of more than 200 novels. With over 450 million copies of her books in print, she is indisputably one of the most celebrated and popular writers in the world. Her last three hardback novels were all top ten bestsellers in the UK and in 2013 alone Little, Brown Book Group sold over 1.2 million net copies of Nora Roberts’ books.



Saturday, April 18, 2015

Review: Under My Skin by James Dawson

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James Dawson proves again why is a heavy weight in UKYA
Title: Under My Skin
Author: James Dawson
Publisher: Hot Key books, UK
My ratings: 4 out of 5 stars
Released: 5th March, 2015
While I have heard a lot about James Dawson, I haven’t read any fiction he has written before. Hence when given a chance to read Under My Skin about a haunted tattoo, I pounced on it.

Before I get down to the review, let me tell how beautiful the actual book was. With sprayed bright pick edges and filled with various tattoo inside and outside, it had a running theme throughout the book and it gave a clear picture what Molly Sue looked like.

The story is about Sally Feather, a shy, introverted girl who is bullied at school. With old fashioned parents and only a few friends she somehow gets tricked into getting a tattoo of Molly Sue. The tattoo make her feel rebellious and powerful but then it starts talking. That’s right. Her tattoo starts talking and moving around.

Sally Feather was a well written protagonist whom readers will be able to relate to instantly. Sally’s parents are conservative and Sally feels they don’t understand her. Her only life-line are her childhood friends. I loved how getting Molly Sue, Sally grows as a character. At the beginning when she is awkward, shy and a pushover by the end of this book she gains confidence and a personality.
My copy. (via my Instagram Account)

My favourite thing about this book was Molly sue. My feelings were so conflicted about her. I loved what she did for Sally, helping her gain confidence and standing up for herself. She was the little jolt of energy that Sally needed. Molly Sue helps her navigate the dangerous waters of high school and achieve whatever Sally wanted. However this is where the twist is, that Molly Sue was out of control. She takes things to another level. She was willing to go to any length to get what she wanted. Soon she was taking over Sally’s body and committing crimes which were being blamed on Sally.

I really enjoyed the sassy and mouthy Molly Sue even if she was evil. The whole thing was creepy and edgy. The concept of a haunted tattoo which spoke, moved and took over your body will stay in my psyche for a long time and I don’t think I’m ever getting a tattoo. I loved how diverse this story was and how concepts like feminism and homosexuality were addressed.

Overall, I really enjoyed my first foray into James Dawson’s fiction. Under My skin was beautiful, poignant, creepy and eerie. With a dash of romance, friendship and family, Under My Skin was highly entertaining and has convinced me why James Dawson is such a heavy weight when it comes to UKYA.


Review copy received from Hot Key Books, UK
 


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Review: Cold Burn of Magic (Black Blade #1) by Jennifer Estep

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Sword wielding ass kickery!
Title: Cold Burn of Magic
Series: Black Blade
Author: Jennifer Estep
Publisher: K- Teen
My ratings: 4 out of 5 stars
Released: 28th April, 2014
Jennifer Estep writes a cracking Urban Fantasy with the elemental assassin’s and her Ya series Mythos Academy is also crack. So Estep’s new YA fantasy series Cold Burn of Magic follows Lila who is a 17 year old orphan living alone in a municipal library. Her mother died while trying to protect one of the mob families in tourist town known for its magical residents. One day she accidentally saves the life of a Mob Prince and before she knows it she is his body guard in knee deep in Mob Family politics.

Cold Burn of Magic was fast paced and action packed. Lila was a hard ass and her life experiences shaped her personality. She comes across as gruff and silent but she knows more that she lets on. She was loyal, determined, and courageous. A character which I could easily root for.

The side characters were well crafted and they added a great dynamic to the story and world building. The love interest Devon will also make readers hearts swoon and I cannot wait to see more development between Lila and Devon’s relationship. While I enjoyed learning the new world but I figured out who the bad guy ages ago.

Over all Cold Burn of Magic is fast paced, well thought, intricate and packs a punch. It is great entry into a new world where minsters and humans live side by side with mob families fighting for domination with a sword wielding, kick ass heroine taking them down one fight at a time.

Review copy provided by the publisher by NetGalley  

Releases 28th April, 2015
 


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Audiobook Review: The Assassin's Blade (Throne of Glass #0.1-0.5) by Sarah J Maas

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Majestic, beautiful and gut wrenching
Title: Assassin’s Blade
Series: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury, UK and Audible Books
My ratings: 5 out of 5 stars
Released: 13th March, 2014
The Assassin’s Blade is a collection of novella set before the amazing series, Throne of Glass start. It consists of five stories which follows Celaena’s story on how she got to the salt mines in the first place.

If you are new to this series you don’t have to start this series from The Assassin’s Blade before reading Throne of Glass but it is a fabulous edition of the stories and it is a wonder to Celaena in all her glory before she is picked up my Chaol at Endovier.

I realise that when the early books were released some readers had some reservations about Celaena’s claim to be the calibre of assassin she was portrayed as. This book blows that into smithereens as we get to read about how Celaana’s life was as Arobynn’s prodigy.

Best of all it had Sam Cortland. I’ll fore-warn that the last novella The Assassin and The Empire would require a box of tissue. It took me through a roller-coaster of emotion from hope to devastation to anger. I was utterly furiously on Celaena’s behalf.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book with it various novellas and I have a feeling some of them will be coming back in the future books of Throne of Glass. I adore whatever S J Mass as she has talent to somehow her readers able to connect and root for her characters. Moreover after the events of Assassin’s Blade I’m afraid for Celaena and also for me as Mass is not afraid to take risks with her characters and I don’t think my heart will be able to take any more after Sam Cortland.

Mass knows how to write her male protagonists and time and time again she keeps churning out fabulous ones like Sam, Chaol, Dorian, Rowan, Tamlin, Lucien, Rhys. Sigh. I suppose you get my point.

I can whole heartedly recommend this book as it made me tear up in the train which hasn’t happened in a long time. The narrator Elizabeth Evans did a great job at bringing Celaena to life with the right mix of entitlement, arrogance and emotion.

This book and this series is majestic, fabulous, and non-stop action. If you haven’t read this series I’d ask you to drop everything and start this now. It just that good.

You can read my reviews of Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight and Heir of Fire by clicking on them.




Sunday, April 5, 2015

Review: Bold Tricks (The Artist's Trilogy #3) by Karina Halle

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Disappointed and relived that it is over
Title: Bold Tricks
Series: The Artist’s Trilogy
Author: Karina Halle
Publisher: Headline Eternal, UK
My ratings: 2 out of 5 stars
Released: 16th December, 2014
I have been a Karina Halle fan since 2010. I’m one of those rabid fan of EIT that absolutely adored this series. When she began to get the popularity she deserved I could not have been happier. Unfortunately, it wasn’t for the amazing EIT series that got readers attention; it was Sins and Needles ,her contemporary erotica. I personally tried really hard to like it but failed. I am unable to understand the appeal for this series.

I read the first book which was enjoyable but as the trilogy went on it become worse and worse for me. I tried really hard to get on board but I was unable to do so. Bold Tricks is the final book in the Artist’s Trilogy and brings the toxic love triangle between Ellie, Camden and Javior.

Bold Tricks takes off exactly where Shooting Scars ends with Gus and Ellie’s mother taken hostage by Travis and the gang running for their lives. I thought this premise would give me the long awaited battle between Camden and Javior, the push and pull in Ellie’s mind but surprisingly she made up her mind pretty early in the book.

What my major problem with the book was, why was Javior demonised for Ellie to choose one or the other. Once she made up her mind, Javior was depicted in an increasingly bad light and Camden was almost given a Sainthood. I never liked Camden but I fancied the scheming, murderous Javior. My feelings aside, I just felt that Ellie was looking at Camden with tinted glasses and Javior was being turned into a monster. In fact towards the end, I started to hate Ellie.

I felt the dialogues were really cheesy while the action kept me on the edge of my seat, the premise with the romance left a bad taste in my mouth.

Overall Bold Tricks bored and at some points annoyed me. I still love Karina Halle but I like her horror more than the romance tittles she writes. She is doing what her readership demands I guess but a few more horror titles will not go amiss. I adored the Experiment in Terror series (Read my raving reviews here) and it is one of my favourite series and I still say it is a must read. The Artist Trilogy may appeal to you but it was not for me.


Review copy provided by Headline Eternal, UK
 


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Audiobook Review: the Dream Theives (The Raven Boys #2) by Maggie Stiefvator

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Gut wrenchingly beautiful
Title: The Dream Thieves
Series: The Raven Boys
Author: Maggie Stiefvator
Publisher: Scholastic Audio
My ratings: 5 out of 5 stars
Released: 5th September, 2013
A fter the bombastic The Raven Boys, I could not wait to start The Dream Thieves. I have to say this series has become one of my favourites so far.

In Dream Thieves, the group is still dealing with the ramifications of the vents in The Raven Boys. The mystery of Cabeswater has to be solved but there are other things in motion which will take the story in a whole different direction.

What I most enjoy in this book is not the story or the plotting. In fact I think are the weaker points of these series. However it is the characters and the atmosphere which make this book as popular as they have been. A few new characters play major roles in this book and I can say I’m conflicted about them. The Grey Man and Kavinsky play pivotal roles in this edition of the story.

Where The Raven Boys was Noah’s book, The Dream thieves is Ronan’s book. Being in Ronan’s mind was excruciatingly painful and somehow it was exciting to see the world from his eyes. Then we have Adam had forever changed after the encounter in Cabeswater and he has his own demons to fight.

Blue and Gansey break my heart in this book and I firmly believe that I’m a little in love with him. YA books are choke-full of bad boys making many of us swoon but I love that Gansey is so different than all of them. He is refined, subtle, gentle and wonderful. A total boy scout and I love it. The author really knows her characters well that she is able to imbibe such subtle nuances within each dialogue and line. It breaks my heart that Gansey is probably going to die and I’ll be reduced to a mass to blubbering jelly.

I do believe the story progression is rather slow but with characters like The Raven Boys, I could watch them all day getting on with life as long as Maggie Stiefvator writes them.

On a side not, I think Will Patton does a bang up job of narrating this hauntingly beautiful story. His voice turns effortlessly dreamy to creepy in an instant. I recommend this book a 100%.




 

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