Review: Never The Bride

Tuesday 24 January 2017 No comments
Never The Bride Never The Bride by Charlotte Fallowfield
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I love my chick-lit books and have quite a collection of paperbacks, but I just couldn’t get to grips with Never the Bride. I thought the concept was interesting, the perennial bridesmaid with a whole host of comedic stories to tell, was pleasantly refreshing. The multitude of characters was endearing and fun to read about and the books setting, being not too far from where I live, was a nice change but, overall, I didn't enjoy this story, sadly.

We meet Abbie Carter as she journeys through bridesmaid dress after bridesmaid dress. With no love interest on the horizon, and all out of possibilities in the small village she lives in, her only chance at find love, as cliched as it is, was at a wedding, and she does, but in spectacular fashion. With all eyes on her as she and the other bridesmaids walk down the aisle, she notices the eyes of one person, in particular, looking at her and those eyes belong to Miller Davis. With a touch of jealousy and a heavy dose of spite, one of the other bridesmaids decides to punish Abbie but in doing so, she literally pushes Abbie into Miller’s arms. It’s lust at first sight for both Abbie and Miller but with Miller living in the US and Abbie tied to her home in Shropshire, will their relationship be doomed before it even commences?

SPOILER [I found this story too contrived and unnatural for a good chick-lit story but, despite my feelings on the slightly forced comedic nature to this story, it wasn’t that which turned me wholeheartedly against the book. No, it was the author’s obsession with poo, yes POO, that I completely spoilt this book for me. No kidding! If the book’s canine character wasn’t crapping on every page, the female lead, Abbie Carter, is getting up to quite disturbing things with her toilet habits. Why the author felt the need to add a scene involving diarrhoea and, dare I say it, blockages (internal and toilet), into her story I'll never know. And I swear she has an obsession with toilet brushes!!! Tell me, where is the humour in poo?!!!] SPOILER

As you can see, this book is a huge success in other people’s eyes so don’t let my feelings put you off. However, I do recommend proceeding with caution, especially if you’re of a sensitive disposition. Hopefully, you will find the humour where I found it lacking!

This ebook was kindly provided by the author prior to release date in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Review: All I Am: Drew's Story

Sunday 15 January 2017 No comments
All I Am: Drew's Story All I Am: Drew's Story by Jodi Ellen Malpas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another explosive story from the amazing This Man series.

It’s a while since I’ve read the "This Man" series and I had to remember who Drew was before reading this book. I needn’t have worried though, Drew more than made up for any lack of recognition by the impact his makes in this story right from the very beginning.

Still missing the fun times experienced at The Manor, Drew is a member of Hux and despite Jesse and Sam trying to persuade him that it’s time to settle down, he’s still only after one thing from life, and that’s to keep exploring his dominant tendencies without ties. Despite getting what he want’s from Hux, he’s still not satisfied and in part accepts that he does have something missing in his life but he’s clear in his mind that he doesn’t want a relationship, or does he?

Raya is the woman set to turn Drew’s world upside down. A new member of Hux, she’s only looking for detached, emotionless liaisons and Drew is the exactly the right man for the job. After a first meeting though, it becomes quickly apparent to both Drew and Raya that they share a spark but with them both determined to keep the other at arm's length, they look set to live their lives in isolation from each other. When an opportunity arises that pushes Raya and her personal life into Drew’s path however, Drew starts to question his outlook on life and wonders if maybe he will find what Jesse and Ava have together.

This story grabs from the first page and doesn’t let go until the end. The only downside was that this is only a novella; I could have devoured hours more from this delicious duo. As expected with JEM, the writing is impeccable and despite the story’s brevity, it definitely leaves you feeling very satisfied.

This ebook was kindly provided by the author, publisher and Netgalley prior to release date in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Review: Vanishing Act

Vanishing Act Vanishing Act by A.M. Madden
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From a steady start to an explosive ending, this book gave me all of the feels.

Initially fearful that Marshmallow/Spike the dog would be the driving force behind this story, it soon became apparent that this would be a gentle and more serene love story than perhaps I have been used to. Reminiscent of Samantha Young’s easy going writing style, AM Madden tells a story that is happy, sad, funny and sweet, all in equal quantities. Yes, two characters who fall in love thanks to an errant dog does sound a little cliche, but this storyline worked and in doing so, takes readers on a journey that is fraught with difficulties, especially once Landon Price reveals who he really is.

Zara Jobert lives a now protected life, having fled from South Africa, so much so that she doesn’t recognise Landon when he chooses her remote Hawaiian island to hide away on. With the press left behind, Landon is able to reinvent himself as Lance White and in doing finds that Zara sees him for who he is deep down, as opposed to his public persona. Together they ease into a relaxed romance albeit a tentative one thanks to Zara’s father who is keen to protect his daughter from men at all costs.

As the story progresses, so do Landon and Zara’s problems and once the press find them, their secret love affair becomes fully embedded in the public, and also in Zara’s father’s, eye. Landon knows that Zara didn’t sign up to a lifestyle like his and tries to free her from his Hollywood shackles but will Zara give up on their love affair or will she, and Marshmallow, fight for the man they love?

This really was an enjoyable and sweet romance and an easy summer read. I have been torn over whether to give this 4 or 5 stars but something, for me, was perhaps missing in its simplicity. Maybe I’m too much of a drama queen now or maybe I just can’t accept an uncomplicated love story for what it is. Either way, I wholeheartedly recommend this book and I will definitely be reading more from AM Madden.

This ebook was kindly provided by the author, publisher and Netgalley prior to release date in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Review: Dazed

Dazed Dazed by Maria Macdonald
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Seriously, why haven’t I read anything before by Maria Macdonald? I’ve promoted her like crazy, loved her book covers, added her titles to my TBR, and yet never actually picked up one of her books and read it. Well, Maria Macdonald is having the last laugh now. I freakin' loved Dazed and now I can’t wait to read more from her.

Yes, I know, I love my YA/NA books but I don’t think that was what attracted me to this story. The cover was fabulous, as expected for one of Francessca’s creations, but give me a blurb about pain, scars and suffering en route to a HEA and I’m there 100%. The blurb, as mentioned, pretty much sells this book but it’s not until you meet the characters that you come to understand just why you’ve been drawn to it.

As you delve into the story, you firstly meet Laura. A pretty but not so popular student, she likes to live life under the radar and tries, unsuccessfully thanks to her friend Morgan, to hide herself away as much as possible. It’s clear early on that Laura’s past has had a significant bearing on who she has become today but it’s not until later into the book that we come to realise just how much her life has affected her.

Next up we meet the two new McHottie brothers who have arrived at Laura’s college, Caden and his brother Tarrant. Caden is a popular, easygoing and good looking jock and his brother is the complete opposite: dark, brooding, scary and best of all, tattooed. Both brothers immediately notice Laura, but it’s a pull towards Tarrant that Laura feels the strongest.

As the story progresses, life for Laura becomes more and more complicated and she’s drawn to one brother but is loyal to the other. Best friends with Caden, Laura loves him unreservedly but it’s her feelings for Tarrant that causes her head to spin. With her best intentions of being invisible now impossible, thanks to the prominence of the two brothers, Laura finds herself facing off with her nemesis more and more frequently but what she doesn’t expect is that the one person capable of breaking her heart is secretly looking out for her.

This book is beautifully written. Yes, it’s young but it is not written in a way that makes readers feel uncomfortable about the actions of the main characters. This is a sweet coming of age story but also one with some sharp edges as Laura, Caden and Tarrant struggle with family life and try to find a way towards a peaceful future.

I would definitely recommend Maria Macdonald’s storytelling abilities, even if YA isn’t your thing. The way she writes draws you deeper and deeper into the story with effortless ease and does so without unnecessary and blatant promiscuity, which is a refreshing and pleasant change.

This ebook was kindly provided by the author prior to release date in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Review: Kiss Me

Kiss Me Kiss Me by L.P. Lovell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Dramatically dark yet delightfully decadent!

It feels like an age since we’ve spent time with Una and Nero but then when you start reading this book you realise that their story never left your heart in the first place.

Despite the dark theme, you can’t help but relish the love story contained within the pages of this series. We’ve seen Una’s past, and the reason why she is the person she is today, and all that is left is to witness her exact retribution against the man who stole her childhood, tortured her, abused her and made her into the cold hearted killer that she is today.

With Una pregnant and on the run she feels that she can’t trust anyone and that includes Nero. Nero is determined to bring his “Morte” back to him though and is willing to do anything to make that happen. Una is desperate to keep herself alive long enough to have her baby but knowing what she will never be able to keep him or her safe, her future with her child beyond its birth is uncertain.

Una must always be my strength, and I hers, because if not, then we will quickly become each others weakness.

With a story that crosses continents, readers follow in Una’s footsteps as she tries to outfox the man who taught her everything, Nicholai. With Anna, Una’s sister, under the watchful eye of the Mexican’s, but still at risk, Una’s story is multifaceted. She knows that she must do everything she can to keep her baby safe but will it be to the detriment of her sister’s wellbeing?

We are two predators, circling each other with a mutual respect. But I want him, and isn't this the most primal of instincts?

This story is written in such a way that you can’t help but hope for a future without danger for Una and Nero but with Una’s bloodlust and Nero’s mafia involvement, a future without violence may be off the table but they can at least try to ensure that the Russian threat is neutralised before finding their own brand of HEA.

We are the monsters in this story. We don't get happily ever afters,

Right from the first page, this series has gripped me. From meeting Una as a trained killer to going back to her childhood, the books have been an emotional challenge to read but yet one which I thoroughly enjoyed. If dark stories are what you enjoy, and gruesome and unnecessary acts of violence don't turn your stomach then let Una and Nero can take you a ride that you’ll never forget.

This ebook was kindly provided by the author prior to release date in return for an honest and unbiased review.
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Review: Luca

Friday 13 January 2017 No comments
Luca Luca by Sarah Castille
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another Mafia story with a smooth but dangerous Italian at the helm!

Whilst I loved Nico, I found this story a teensy bit slow to develop. Luca’s character more than made up for this though as he charmed his way towards making Gabrielle Fawkes his and only his, despite knowing that their relationship could ostracise him from his family.

Gabrielle is a Detective who is working towards finding the man responsible for killing her husband. The elusive drug lord, Garcia, has evaded capture to date and the closest Gabriella has got to him resulted in her being shot and benched from the case. Now working in theft, she is even more determined to find Garcia but with her case files no longer available to her, she seems to be at a dead end, that is until Luca steps up to help her.

Meeting whilst lying side by side in a hospital room, after having both been shot in separate incidents, neither Gabrielle nor Luca know of each other’s backgrounds but they both see something in the other that intrigues them. Gabrielle decides to take Luca up on his offer and decides to visit his restaurant with her friends and from that point on the duo become inseparable, whilst continuing to hide who they really are from each other.

The story from this point becomes mostly sexual as Gabrielle and Luca get to know each other in every sense of the word. Their connection and personalities match perfectly and despite not knowing, at first, that one is a cop and the other a made man, they find comfort in each other's arms. Eventually, their secret is outed and soon the rest of the family find out that Luca is dating a cop and knowing that there will be a price to pay for his relationship with Gabriela, Luca prepares himself for whatever is to be thrown at him. All he knows is that he’s not about to let Gabriella go.

I loved the strength and determination between Luca and Gabrielle despite living lives that are akin to oil and water. Despite their initial reservations though they are determined to be together come hell and high water and that’s exactly the message the rest of Luca's family receive from Gabrielle when things start to fall apart for them. This book has drama, violence and mystery by the bucket full, just what I want from a mafia story. It is well written although, as mentioned before a little slow to develop but when it does, it becomes explosive and captivating.

This ebook was kindly provided by the author, publisher and Netgalley prior to release date in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Review: The Silver Swan

Tuesday 10 January 2017 No comments
The Silver Swan The Silver Swan by Amo Jones
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was one twisted, dark teenage story and one which will leave you lost in a mire of unrelenting questions after finishing it!

Despite the ongoing drama throughout this book, I have been left with mixed feelings upon its conclusion. The characters were captivating. Madison, having started a new school, is looking for a quiet life but this is thwarted by The Elite Kings, a group of good looking if slightly disturbed teenage boys which, as it turns out, also includes her new step-brother. The concept of a secret society definitely gave this story an air of mystery and made a sweet college drama something else entirely. It was definitely unique in its approach and quite literally played games with your mind throughout the book.

I loved the start of this book and I was immediately drawn in by the characters but this was possibly because their story resonated with other popular books currently on the market. I loved the YA feel to it from the outset but this did become a little too unrealistic with the amount of free loving going on. I appreciate that young people have sex but this was written in a way that would be more acceptable with 25-year-olds upwards and not teenagers as portrayed here. As the story went on, my enjoyment of the story started to wane slightly and by the end, I felt as if I’d been on speed. Reality had checked itself out of the door and in its place was something quite disturbing. The ongoing intrigue throughout the book was maintained and added to my semi-enjoyment but overall the story lacked a general smoothness and instead came across lumpy, almost as if the book was rushed into completion. This may have been the author’s intention all along, as I said, this was one cray cray story.

Whilst telling the story in present time, Madison also unveils a book which may just hold the secret to her involvement with The Elite King’s Club. Unfortunately for ARC readers, like myself, there was one section from the secret book which was unreadable just to a formatting glitch and this left me wondering if my confusion towards the end of the book was because of something that I’d missed. However, the author has made assurances that this error will be corrected upon release.

This book ends on a huge cliffhanger and I hope that the next instalment isn’t too far away. Despite my misgivings, my curiosity was still piqued and I definitely want to know why Madison was drawn into the sick and twisted games of The King’s Club.

This ebook was kindly provided by the author prior to release date in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Review: The Neighborhood

Wednesday 4 January 2017 No comments
The Neighborhood The Neighborhood by Stylo Fantome
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For me, Stylo Fantome can’t write a bad book. She always manages to produce something really memorable and The Neighborhood hits the mark perfectly, that said, this instalment left me with all sorts of slightly unfortunate labels when it comes to describing Katya.

Book 1 was a 5+++ star, if not higher, rated read for me so book 2 had an almost impossible task to match it. I loved the ongoing love triangle between Katya, Wulf and Liam and I, like many other readers, was left struggling to decide whose team I was on at the end of the book. Now, after reading Book 2, I can definitely say that, surprisingly, I am not on #TeamKatya. Where did the sweet librarian-esque character go from book 1? Did Wulf and Liam really create the monster portrayed in book 2? I appreciate that Wulf and Liam’s “game” was cruel on poor, unsuspecting Katya, but still, I wasn’t expecting a “what goes around comes around” attitude from her. Instead of feeling wronged and hurt by Wulf and Liam’s actions, or even plotting physical bodily harm against them, she decides to play them at their own game. I guess I could get on board with that, let's face it, Wulf and Liam deserve a healthy dose of their own medicine but for this to take place over the entire duration of this book was, for me, a step, or two, too far!

As mentioned above, I love this author’s writing, so even with the possibly unnecessarily lengthy storyline, I was totally consumed by the book and I was kept on the edge of my seat hoping for something exciting to happen. What did occur was for Katya to switch from being Liam’s “angel cake” to a raving bitch, in my eyes. Ok, so I’ll admit it, I am #TeamWulf, so I guess, I am a little biased here and possibly a tad protective of “Wulfy” but still, did Katya really need to punish these two men so cruelly for wanting to be with her?

This instalment leads you down the Liam path, so to speak. Having been a little childish, but still totally loveable in book 1, he evolves into a more mature but still fun-loving character in book 2 (still no match for my Wulfy though, although I did find myself wavering for a nano-second). I guess this sweetening up of Liam just made Katya’s treatment of him, and Wulf, even harder to digest. Wulf, having been slightly aloof, but still totally lovable, in book 1 is typecast in much the same way but in this book, he tends to take more of a backseat to Liam’s story. Liam is the active pursuer of Katya, whilst Wulf decides to play the long game. That said, Wulf is the man who seems to have the power to bring Katya to her knees on more than one occasion. Liam and Wulf’s personalities are like chalk and cheese but that seems to work in their favour when it comes to tearing up Katya’s emotions.

In this book, we also get to spend more time with Wulf’s sisters, though I’m not entirely sure why at this stage. Part of me was left wondering if Brie would be an unsuspecting star of this book but despite adding a sharp edge to the storyline, thanks to her irascible personality, I felt her role was merely to demonstrate a different side to Wulf rather than to actually contribute to the story.

As you can guess, whilst absolutely loving this book, I really disliked Katya’s part in this storyline. The book itself is a solid 5 Star read but Katya, and her behaviour, and her elongated way of deciding which man is for her spoilt the story, slightly. By the end of the book I was praying for Wulf and Liam to just bin her off completely and to realise that she wasn’t worth the effort in the first place, but in true HEA fashion, there is a winner at the end of the story but will it be Liam or Wulf? And, will you be satisfied with who exactly ends up winning Katya’s cruel and unforgiving heart?

Readers will be delighted to find out at the end of this book that there is yet another instalment waiting in the wings and despite my feelings against Katya, I can’t wait for more from the neighbors.

This ebook was kindly provided by the author/publisher via Netgalley prior to release in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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