Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Review - Wethering the Storm (The Storm, Book 2), by Samantha Towle

Music journalist Tru Bennett has done the impossible: capture the heart of rock-star bad boy Jake Wethers. Now they’re busy planning a wedding and navigating their new life together in the US. Of course Tru misses London and her best friend, Simone, but living happily ever after with Jake in LA is going to be great…right?

Wrong. Even the bright California sun can’t whitewash the dark side of celebrity coupledom. Greedy music execs, merciless paparazzi, and Jake’s wild past are lurking around every corner. Making matters worse, Jake announces he doesn’t want kids, which just may be a deal breaker.

Tru loves Jake more than anything. But when a devastating crisis threatens to destroy everything they’ve fought for, the couple must face the hard truth: What if, this time, love is not enough?

I've been a pretty big fan of Samantha Towle since I first discovered the Alexandra Jones series last year. I thought her characters were well written, witty and interesting, the storylines were original and captivating, but most of all her actual writing style flowed really well and made for an all round good read.

When I first saw The Mighty Storm, the first book in the Storm series, I knew without a doubt that I would be reading the book. All of the above, PLUS hot guys in bands? I'm sold. In fact, it was one of the first 'bad boy musician' type books I picked up, so safe to say it got a solid review from me. However, I didn't figure that the rest of this series could offer too much more than we already saw in The Mighty Storm. We had the romance, the drama, the obstacles to overcome etc. What more could she possibly include in another book?

But BOY was I wrong. I won't lie, the first half of the book followed a similar pattern to the first and I thought the initial big plot point was very, very predictable (and very 50 Shades... Just sayin'). I started to groan around here and begged Towle to offer something in the latter half of the book to pick it up and keep it on par with The Mighty Storm...

AND THEN BAM! There it was. I won't give it away BUT GOOD GIRL Samantha Towle. It was exactly what the book needed and from that point onward I was a god damn blubbering mess. I genuinely don't think I've cried so much, so consistently, at a story. It wasn't necessarily full blown ugly face, snot cry, but it was pretty much steady tears until I closed the book.

Jake's character in this story appealed to me a lot more, too. He was much more controlled, made pretty much no stupid decisions (okay, maybe one), and just generally a more likable character. I also felt this way about Tru, though I did start to tire of her mood swings (and if I remember correctly, I felt the same throughout The Mighty Storm).

But anyway, for me, the character's weren't the most important thing in Wethering the Storm. What I needed to really keep this book on par with The Mighty Storm was a more exciting storyline, and Towle more than offered that. So much so that I've given Wethering the Storm 5/5 stars on GoodReads, a whole extra star than it's predecessor. Would definitely recommend.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Review - Twisted Perfection, Abbi Glines

Life outside of her house was a new experience for Della Sloane. The dark secrets of her past weren’t something she ever intended to share with anyone. They would never understand. No one would ever get close enough to find out. There was always a chance she’d go crazy sooner than they expected…

Woods Kerrington had never been one to be attracted to fragile females. They seemed like too much work. He wasn’t in it for the work just the pleasure. A night full of naughty fun had been exactly what was on his mind when he’d laid eyes on the hot little number that didn’t know how to pump gas and needed some help.

What he didn’t know was she was as fragile as they came. The carefree girl who spoke her mind and didn’t care what the world thought of her was more breakable than he could ever imagine…

Right, so I've read a few Abbi Glines books in the past, and while I've never given them huge scores, they've definitely always been good for a YA/NA pick me up when I've needed it - and Twisted Perfection was no exception.

Glines tends to follow the same pattern in her books with troubled protagonists that find love and solace in each other's imperfections (this isn't a bad thing, some of the best YA/NA authors I've read are exactly the same).

Della Sloan is a little darker than a lot of leading females I've come across; a broken recluse with a suicidal mother and a strong belief that she'll meet the same tragic end. Woods Kerrington is more typical of this genre; a rich, 90210-esq socialite set to inherit his fathers fortune of beach houses and diamonds should he marry in his station continue the family's flawless name.

As with most relationships in this genre, for me, it was much too rushed and I didn't really see too much development in terms of discovering each other and all that jazz. It was very much a 'wham-bam thank you ma'am, oh now I'm in love' type thing which always irks me a little. It did with Della and Woods more so because of how much Woods is willing to risk for his infatuation with a one night stand.

Despite this, the characters were easy to like and Della isn't too needy and doesn't make too many decisions which I'd like to punch her for, which I unfortunately find quite often. There's a nice mix of 'booster' characters that offer a bit of variety in terms of dialogue, are also pretty easy to like, and keep the narrative flowing.

The actual storyline was nothing spectacular, though the darkness of Della's past was somewhat of a nice (albeit morbid) surprise and added to the intensity of her character (however, I was still slightly surprised at how developed she was in terms of social skills and confidence given her upbringing... just sayin')

Anyway, I don't have anything super amazing to say, it was an easy read and gave me the fill of romance, passion, and YA/NA that I was looking for and expecting. I'm guessing there'll be more to come in this series that I may or may not check out depending on my TBR list at the time. Middle of the road 3 out of 5 stars for Twisted Perfection - worth checking out for YA/NA fans and Abbi Glines fans will certainly love it.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Review - Promises After Dark (After Dark, Book 3), Sadie Matthews

Intensity, sensuality, and seduction awaits in the final part of the provocative romantic AFTER DARK trilogy that has left readers longing for more.

Can a fractured love be salvaged? Parting with Dominic has left me broken in a way I could never have imagined. We held elation in the palm of our hands, but one misunderstanding brought it crashing down around us. Now the hurt and sadness follows me like a shadow and makes choosing the right path to take impossible.

But one moment with him and the pulsing heat is singing in my blood again; his touch lights a fire that my body refuses to ever forget. I'm hopelessly lost in him. Finding our way back to one another will take trust and a leap of faith - only then we will know whether we have a chance at forever.

I read the first two books in this series a few months ago now, before I started blogging, so I can't 100% remember what I said about them. The first book Fire After Dark I read when I was still in my 50 Shades phase so according to GoodReads I've given it a 4 out of 5. The second, Secrets After Dark I've given a 3 out 5 and after finishing book 3, Promises After Dark, I think I'm seeing a downwards pattern.

To be completely honest, I got bored with this book. I remember book 1 being a bit naughtier and more relationship/sex orientated, and therefore more Dominic orientated, but book 3 just felt like I was reading the dialogue for a Broken Sword game.

The language was quite wooden in places and a number of times I found myself having a "who speaks like that!?" moment. Dominic wasn't really in the story too much and it focused much more on Mark and Andrei and Beth's relationship with the two men. I missed Dominic's presence and eventually started getting a bit irritated with Beth's devotion to him given his somewhat lackadaisical attitude to her. We kind of go through a big chunk of the book without him, then all of a sudden its 'lets buy a house and live happily ever after'. I'm not convinced by the sincerity of the relationship which ultimately makes me not care about it.

The story line was okay but after the first 2 books I think I was expecting something a little more exotic than what it turned out Andrei was up to. The final encounter with Beth and Andrei was hugely disappointing and pretty unbelievable given Andrei's fierce determination for the entire book up until that point,

I don't have too much to say about it to be honest. I'm not sure if this is the final book and Matthews is rounding it off as a trilogy or whether there's another one to come, but I'd be really disappointed it that's how she's chosen to end the story.

I after reading Promises After Dark, I wouldn't recommend this series to adult fans. If I would have to describe it in one word it would be 'average' and to be perfectly honest, if there is a 4th book, I probably will have forgotten about the series by the time it comes out. I'll give it a 3 out of 5 because I'm feeling nice.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Review - Walking Disaster (Beautiful, Book 2), Jamie McGuire

Finally, the highly anticipated follow-up to the New York Times bestseller Beautiful Disaster. Can you love someone too much?

Travis Maddox learned two things from his mother before she died: Love hard. Fight harder.

In Walking Disaster, the life of Travis is full of fast women, underground gambling, and violence. But just when he thinks he is invincible, Abby Abernathy brings him to his knees.

Every story has two sides. In Beautiful Disaster, Abby had her say. Now it’s time to see the story through Travis’s eyes.

I literally cannot tell you how excited I was for the release of this book. Beautiful Disaster was one of my favourite books of 2012 and Travis Maddox is officially my favourite book boyfriend ever.

The one thing I wanted after reading it was a little more insight into Travis and what went on in his head, so when McGuire announced that Walking Disaster would be the same story but from his perspective, I flipped.

The main thing I loved about Walking Disaster was that it doesn't pander to a general audience. You probably wont understand most of it, or get some of the jokes or references, unless you've read BD. I thought that was brilliant. Kudos to McGuire for not pushing out another novel purely to gain a following. Obviously fans are great but this book felt a little more personal and I took it as McGuire giving a more intimate hat-tip to BD fans (who are totally obsessive mental - in a good way, of course).

Travis, as always, was a huge ball of neuroses, sex, and brooding, and we wouldn't have him any other way. His character didn't deviate at all from BD and within seconds of opening the book his style of speech and thoughts brought back all kinds of feelings from BD that I shouldn't be having about a fictional character.

It was great to be reading all the crucial moments from Travis's POV and I had a major swoon moment when McGuire FINALLY explained the meaning behind the 'Pidgeon' nickname, which is freaking adorable by the way.

We (obviously) get much more insight into Travis's life and his relationship with his dad and brothers which you don't get to see in BD and it was really lovely (crap word, I know) to see a more relaxed Travis. McGuire is also a great writer with that side of the narrative and just reading those scenes made me feel comfortable for him. It was refreshing to see a male protagonist in this genre who is able to brood and vent with his family and friends in equal measure. (I tend to find a lot of male characters a little too broody, you know?)

As the story line didn't change there's not too much I can comment on that (go and read my Beautiful Disaster review) but naturally there were new scenes in Walking Disaster and a lot more dialogue from Shep and Travis, and again, it was nice to see Travis's relationship with Shep from an inside perspective.

I thought McGuire did a great job in BD of making the reader understand Abby and Travis's relationship and how Travis reacted to certain situations, so I can't say I found anything profoundly new from that angle. We know Travis smashes up the apartment, we know he sits outside Abby's dorm room all night, we know he plans the surprise party etc. That's not a bad thing as I don't really think any of that needed to change... and theres another tick for McGuire's writing - She doesn't over-do it on the detail. She has a panache for knowing just how much info needs to be given. This was something that I worried about when picking up WD but McGuire hit the nail of the head square on.

I won't lie and say I loved the ending a whole lot. I don't know what I was expecting because I think I would have been equally as upset if we just left Abby and Travis in college with a 'and they lived happily ever after...' stuck on the end, but the whole thing with Travis's job and Benny was maybe a little too far fetched and I'm not convinced the story really needed it to be honest.

Despite that, if you were a fan of Beautiful Disaster, even a little bit, then go and read Walking Disaster. I've just sat and read it in a day and I'm already considering starting my third re-read of BD just so I can start it again. I love these two books, I love the story line, I love the characters, I love McGuire's writing, and if none of that can sway you, just read them for Travis Maddox. Hands down 5 out of 5 stars, exactly what it needed to be.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Review - The Collector by Victoria Scott

Dante Walker is flippin’ awesome, and he knows it. His good looks, killer charm, and stellar confidence have made him one of hell’s best—a soul collector. His job is simple: weed through humanity and label those round rears with a big red good or bad stamp. Old Saint Nick gets the good guys, and he gets the fun ones. Bag-and-tag.

Sealing souls is nothing personal. Dante’s an equal-opportunity collector and doesn't want it any other way. But he’ll have to adjust, because Boss Man has given him a new assignment: Collect Charlie Cooper’s soul within ten days.

Dante doesn't know why Boss Man wants Charlie, nor does he care. This assignment means only one thing to him, and that’s a permanent ticket out of hell. But after Dante meets the quirky Nerd Alert chick he’s come to collect, he realizes this assignment will test his abilities as a collector…and uncover emotions deeply buried.

There are 2 reasons I read this book. 1) The blurb is well written and witty. 2) Victoria Scott has done such a great job at marketing this book, creating SO much hype around it, that I felt like I wouldn't be friends with the cool kids unless I had this latest shiny toy.

And then there's the reviews. And boy, are there a lot of them. Through various competitions and ARC giveaways people managed to get their hands on this book some weeks ago and ALL I've seen since then is 5 stars and Dante Walker swoons, on Twitter, on Facebook, GoodReads, blogs... It's like this book was stalking me. I had to have it.

My first reaction after finishing the books was something along the lines of "well, I wasn't expecting that." I'm not sure exactly what I was expecting, but it wasn't that. From the cover and the whole 'bad boy' thing, I thought this was gonna be a bit darker, maybe something along the lines of the Lux series, but it wasn't... and I'm not sure how I feel about that.

I enjoyed reading it for sure. It was really well written and, like the blurb, it was witty and entertaining, but something about it held me back. I think that's the flip side of great marketing. I had certain, high expectations of The Collector that didn't quite match the actual book.

If I hate to describe it in a colour, it would be pink. Charlie, as a character, would be pink. Girly, sparkly, neon pink. I am not a fan of pink. There's not too much about her I really liked to be honest and she wasn't what I was expecting as a protagonist in the slightest. When she was first introduced and we hear her talking and see her bedroom, my first thought was "This isn't Charlie, no way. He's walked into the wrong bedroom". But alas, there she was.

I didn't really get the dynamic between Dante and Charlie, he's all bad boy and she's all nerdy and not that attractive, but somehow, as they always do, Dante falls head over heels for her. I get the whole 'she's the opposite of him/the other half of his personality/what he wants to be' type thing but I don't think she was likable enough as a character for me to want them to be together.

Dante is your typical brooding and mysterious YA character, which isn't a bad thing, I liked him. He was funny, attractive, sarcastic, and it was cute watching his feelings for Charlie grow... but to me, he wasn't any different to any other leading guy. There wasn't anything exceptional about him and there weren't any proper swoon moments for me. He was great, but I didn't love him.

As far as the story line goes, the actual idea of the seals and collectors is really good. I've never come across anything like it before and I'm always impressed when I find a truly unique concept. I also love a good Heaven vs Hell narrative, so The Collector ticked that box for me, too. As I've said, the story line wasn't what I was expecting and while it was good, it wasn't anywhere near the best Heaven/Hell/romance narrative I've ever seen.

All in all, it was a good book, but I was spoilt by the fantastic marketing. I think Scott could have done much more with Dante's character and Charlie could have been much more likable. I'm going to give it a 3.5/5 (4/5 on GoodReads) because although it was very well written, it still lacked quite a lot for me. I will be reading the rest of the series but I don't think it's the kind of series I'll be fervently waiting for.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Review - Fate and Fury (Grey Wolves Book 6) by Quinn Loftis

The last few days have been the darkest of Sally’s life. After experiencing the joy of finding her mate, she now suffers the pain of losing everything she holds dear. Both the Romanian and Serbian packs have been captured, ripping Sally’s soul mate away from her almost as soon as she had found him. 

Her best friend and the emotional glue that usually holds Sally together, Jacque Pierce, lies writhing in a restless coma, having been put down by Desdemona’s dark magic. Jennifer Adams, the unshakable one, has revealed to her friends and her mate that she is pregnant, but the Fates have marked her unborn baby for death. 

Though she rails against the darkness, deep inside Jen knows that Decebel’s baby must die as payment for her own life, and the knowledge is tearing her soul to pieces. Cypher, King of the Warlocks, has claimed Jacque’s mother as his mate and agreed to help Desdemona open a door that would release a horde of demons from beyond the Veil.
So I have FINALLY gotten round to reading Fate and Fury, which is the 6th book in the Grey Wolves series by Quinn Loftis. Before I start the actual review I need to get something off my chest that bugged the hell out of me whilst I was reading this book...

I must have somehow bought an ARC or something because this was disappointingly one of the most poorly edited books I've ever come across. Seriously. There was comma's eeeeverywhere and in the complete wrong places, I found a number of spelling mistakes and other grammatical errors, as well as some points where words were missing completely (the occasional 'and' or 'a'). So just an FYI Quinn... Fire your editor.

ANYWAY, other than that I liked Fate and Fury, as I knew I would. I've said it before and I'll say it again, the Grey Wolves is hands down my favourite werewolf-esq series. I love the idea of the mates and the passion behind that and I think Loftis does a really great job of bringing in A LOT of characters and scenarios that I think many other authors would struggle with.

Fate and Fury was no exception to this. There's wolves, there's elves, pixies, witches, dragons, trolls, you name it, Fate and Fury has it, and most importantly, they're all presented at appropriate moments and they're all relevant to the story. Loftis hasn't just thrown them in there as an aside, going "hey look! I can do magic", she makes you totally understand the characters and the part they each play in the narrative. Because of that, the story line flows really well, the introduction of new characters is exciting, and the book generally reads really nicely.

The only niggle I'm going to add in terms of story is that there were times when I felt like I was kind of reading a list, which is always a potential issue when you have a bigger number of protagonists. There were a couple of moments when it was kinda like "then Jacque and Fane did this, then Jen and Decebel did this, then Sally and Costin did this". I've never noticed that at all with the rest of the series so I'll let Loftis off as she does such a great job of everything else.

The characters, as always, are great to read. Each has their own personality and unique dialogue and while some are maybe slightly more boring than the rest (cough *Sally and Costin* cough), they are easily balanced out by strong characters like Jen and Peri who constantly bring the entertainment as far as dialogue is concerned (Though I don't remember Peri being so sarcastic... her character deviated a lot from what I remember).

I was a little confused as to why the (super long) blub was all about Sally when I felt the narrative was split up quite nicely between everyone. That threw me a little bit as I went into Fate and Fury thinking this was going to be Sally's story but if anything, her character was somewhat drowned out but other things going on and more entertaining characters. But hey, maybe that's just me.

Hands down my favourite moment is the final chapter that Decebel is in. I won't give it away but OH. MY. GOD. I was literally devastated. It crossed my mind one or two times but I didn't actually think Loftis would do it! I didn't even need the last chapter after that to be honest, she could have finished it there and I'd probably been doubly as psyched for the next book!

As you can probably tell by how disjointed this review it, I have mixed opinions on Fate and Fury. I liked it, of course I did, but I don't think I can say I loved it, not when you compare it to the first 5 books in the series. I wouldn't go as far as to say I was disappointed by the book, but I definitely felt the lack of the males at the beginning and as I said before, some of the characters we're teetering a liiitle too close to the edge of being dull.

Dialogue gets a 5/5 for sure but all in all I'm going to have to give it a 3.5/5 (Sorry Quinn, I love you but this is the lowest I've given in the whole series). I'll give it a 4/5 on GoodReads but as I can do halves on here, I think a 3.5 is pretty fair. I'll definitely be reading the rest of the series but I hope future books are edited better and maybe structured slightly better.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Review - VULTURE (The Ferryman and the Flame, Book 3), Rhiannon Paille

So, I was given an ARC of VULTURE from Rhiannon Paille because I'm a huge fan girl of Paille's writing. She didn't ask for a review, she didn't ask for promotion, and she didn't really ask for any feedback, so you can rest assured that whatever you find in this post is solely based on how effing awesome VULTURE is and for no other reason.

Given all of that, I'm not entirely sure how much I can really discuss the book - as you can tell from the image, there's no artwork for it yet and as far as I'm aware there's not even a release date (I think 2014?). So apologies if you're hoping this is coming your way any time soon!

Firstly, if you haven't read SURRENDER and JUSTICE, books 1 and 2 in The Ferryman and the Flame series, then I suggest you do so right now. You will need to read those to have any scooby doo what's going on, but believe me, they're both worth your time.

The most exciting part of VULTURE for me was the relationship between Krishani and Kaleil; it has never been so intense and heartbreaking, and is just exhausting to read. The lengths they both go to to save the other is painful and you see such an evolution of their characters in VULTURE; it's not only refreshing to see the main characters convincingly struggle in their relationship but you begin to understand why they make certain decisions and finally see both of them get a grasp of just how dangerous their situation is.

As always, Paille's writing is wonderful and within the first few pages I found myself back in The Lands of Men and once again immersed in the beautiful surroundings and characters that Paille has done such a wonderful job of creating in the first 2 books. She isn't your typical YA writer so if you're looking for sarcastic best friends and witty one liners, you're probably in the wrong place. However, if you're looking for Tolkien-esque fantasy, unconventional narratives, and an impeccable writing style, Paille's your girl.

The story line is exactly what I wanted it to be and, more importantly, I think it's exactly what it needed to be. SURRENDER and JUSTICE had a certain urgency to them that Krishani and Kaleil seemed to be misunderstanding but in VULTURE the weight of everything finally hits them and I'm going to be terribly cliched and say that the whole story is just one huge roller coaster of despair and devastation. It's event after event of obstacles and war; like the the first 2 books were the gradual build up and VULTURE is the crescendo. And the best part about it is that it's not even the final book in the series.

Everything about this book, particularly K&K's relationship takes a darker and more desperate tone compared to SURRENDER and JUSTICE and it's just fantastic to read. The ending is just devastating, completely unexpected, and for me, hands down the best part of the book in terms of how well it was written (not that the rest was bad). VULTURE is one of those books that you can read, thinking you've got it sussed, then BAM! the ending hits you and you're right back to square one with a giant WTF! expression plastered across your face.

VULTURE is nothing like the rest of The Ferryman and the Flame series in some ways, but couldn't be a better and more relevant installment in others. Expect more passion, more deceit, more war, and more nightmares, and don't be fooled into thinking this is a love story with a happy ending.

Adored it, my favourite in the series so far. 5 out of 5 for Paille and the flawless world she has created.