Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Temp

Title: The Temp
Author: Emily Benet
Genre: Contemporary adult
Rating: 5/5
Cover: 10/10

I was sent an ARC of this book from the publisher via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The first word that springs to mind is fresh. Amber is quirky and funny, and her story was an absolute delight to follow. What really struck me about this book was just how utterly, unabashedly British it was. You don't get many books who are so unapologetically Brit, in a world of American authors, so that alone was enough to make me pause and take notice. But then Amber comes along, and starts going on about all these crazy ideas of how to become an artist and famous at that.

In a style almost reminiscent of the blunders of Princess Mia from The Princess Diaries (the grown up, British version, of course!), the book follows Amber as she chases her dream around London with a lot of determination and a stack of... bananas.
It probably didn't help that the first image that pops into my head when I think of a banana is a minion from Despicable Me, which just made the entire book that much funnier, I think.

Minions aside, however, Benet tells a great story about following our dreams, and finding love in the places we sometimes least expect - another very refreshing part. Not being sure which way Amber was going to go in the man department until well past the 50% mark is always a bonus, as it kept me guessing and wondering, making sure I was always thinking about the characters as I went about my day.

It probably goes without saying, since I stayed up well past my bedtime to finish this, but I definitely recommend this book to anyone in search of an easy, funny and light-hearted book. The characters are compelling, the plot is believable - what's not to love?

Note: no sexually explicit scenes in this one, but marked as adult for the swearwords that come naturally to the Brits, but might shock an American ;)

The Temp is out October 23rd.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Dirty Red

Title: Dirty Red (Love me with Lies #2)
Author: Tarryn Fisher
Genre: Contemporary adult
Rating: 5/5
Cover: 10/10

You can find my review of the first book, The Opportunist, here, and of the third book, Thief, here.


Oh, jeez. That ending. I just... I've always hated Leah, and never truly believed that she loved Caleb; more like, she loved his money and his status and that every woman who saw him, wanted him. She loved being the object of envy of every single woman in town because he was hers and not theirs. That's what she loved, not Caleb himself. She loved that because she "snagged" him, her father finally treated her well; she loved that running after him made her mother notice her and give her advice. She loved all of that, but she never really loved the man himself.
Because when she started truly falling in love with him, she realised that being with him when he didn't love her either wasn't enough; she realised she wanted his love, and she knew that she'd never have that.

So, yeah, even though I knew all that, knew that she had ruined and devastated Olivia for all the wrong reasons (not like Olivia was a saint either, but at least she truly, sincerely loved Caleb), I never, ever EVER expected Leah to cheat - and yet, she flirted with the manny, slept with her husband's brother and is already lusting after Olivia's husband (more on that later). So that little bomb at the end... whoa. I'm still trying to wrap my head around that one.

And yet... while Dirty Red was a fabulous read, it didn't leave me emotionally exhausted like The Opportunist did. More evidence that Olivia is more deserving of Caleb than Leah - even if she did do some pretty crass stuff.

Now, on to the subject of Noah. I like Noah. I really think that comparing how both Olivia and Leah came out from their relationships with Caleb says much more about their characters than the lies and deceit that they committed while with him. Olivia knew she was doing something bad, and in the end, she was strong enough to break that addictive cycle and get to her happy place. Sure, she still loves Caleb - I never expected anything less. But she also had the strength to admit that the person she was when she was with him was not a person she wanted to be. So she let him go and married Noah. Enter Leah, yet again. I know Noah loves Olivia (duh), but I was shocked by his and Leah's interaction. He was friendly. Guess he figures if it weren't for Leah, he wouldn't have married Olivia, so that sort of makes sense. But what really caught my attention was Olivia's description of Noah. It made me wonder. Of course, when she first met Caleb, it wasn't this, but it seems like now, Leah feels inferior to Olivia - to the point where, if given the chance, I'm quite sure she would have cheated on Caleb with Noah, just so she could rub it in Olivia's face that she could. It makes me sad, because Olivia really did move on with her life (I think... at least, that's the idea I got from the end of The Opportunist, but I could be wrong, idk), and Leah is still rehashing the same thing over and over, because she married a man knowing that he could never truly love her.

Now that's desperation for you.

Friday, September 26, 2014


Title: Ravensong
Author: M. L. Hamilton
Genre: Contemporary YA/NA
Rating: 4/5
Cover: 5/10

First things first, and I'd like to know what the hell this book is doing on 'adult' shelves. There is not a dot in Ravensong that is adult. Not a single drop of ink. So I went expecting what most adult books have, and halfway through realised that I'd been mislead. Nevertheless, I was already roped in, so hey-ho. But if you're putting off reading it right now because you're in the mood for YA, pick it up; it's YA all right.

Now on the stuff that matters...
Ravensong was a tricky one to rate. The book started out So. Darn. Good. And it kept on being good, right up until about 75% in. Then things just got weird. And I'm not necessarily saying that weird is bad, but this weird was definitely confusing enough I can feel a headache building.
It kept jumping from memories to present without any indication of what was what, changing from one memory to the other with the same marking as though it were changing POV, and it took me a few lines to figure out if what I was reading was a memory, or a new development. And, while I found all those memories fascinating, and loved the chance to get to know Josh better, they were really just sort of... put there, kind of randomly, far - and long - enough to the end of the book that I worried we'd be stuck with memories and never find out how things turned out in the present. Since the book starts with a memory, I guess putting the others closer to the beginning of the book would have made more sense. Also, while Josh was almost 4D, there was so much depth to him, I felt a lack of depth regarding some of the other characters, most notably Elena and Julian.
All that considered, and the truly great plot, I decided a 3.5 rating would be about good, and just rounded it up to 4. To sum it up: an interesting read, and definitely worth your time.

Seduction and Snacks

Title: Seduction and Snacks (Chocolate Lovers #1)
Author: Tara Sivec
Genre: Adult contemporary
Rating: 5/5
Cover: 9/10

How to review this book? Oh Lord. Okay, here goes: this is the goddamn funniest book I have ever read. I can't wait for the next one, because if it's half as hilarious as this one, I really need that book. Like, right now.

Most of the books that have reviews saying "OMG SO FUNNY!" have at least 2-3 really good, literally laugh-out-loud moments, where you thoroughly embarrass yourself if you're reading in public (which reminds me: do not - I repeat, do NOT - read Seduction and Snacks in public, unless you want people to know you as the crazy chick who won't stop laughing by herself). Because remember those 2-3 funny moments? Try 20-30 of them. I was in hysterics at a point, and even my dad, who is used to my craziness while reading gave me a funny look.

So, yes. If you're looking for a good, healthy laugh (and don't mind dirty-talk... it is an adult book, people.), definitely read this one. They say laughing makes you younger, right? I must have just lost about 3 years with this book alone ;)

If I Die

Title: If I Die (Soul Screamers #5)
Author: Rachel Vincent
Genre: YA
Rating: 5/5
Cover: 6/10

Oh, wow. Where to start, what to say...?

I'll keep it short and sweet, shall I? A few hours after finishing the book, I have to hand it to Rachel Vincent: she managed to make me go from loving to loathing a character in five books. That's no small feat, considering usually my love for fictitious men never wavers. But she did it. And to be honest, it wasn't even five full books, but more like three. Or something.
ANYWYAY. I'm babbling. What I mean to say is - THANK THE GOOD LORD IN HEAVEN Kaylee has some good, natural sense of what she needs and chose the right guy. I was starting to wonder if it was going to become a pattern for authors to make the girl end up with the wrong guy just to rile up the fans. Thankfully, Kaylee didn't join that group.

Cheesy ending, maybe, but not perfect, and that was fun. I actually had a moment of doubt concerning Kay's demise there, too, which was also fun to experience... amazing story, not a second to pause for breath, and absolutely stunning humour - courtesy, of course, of my favorite grim reaper.

Yep, this one's a keeper.


Title: Allegiant (Divergent #3)
Author: Veronica Ross
Genre: Dystopia
Rating: 4.5/5
Cover: 10/10

Contrary to popular reaction, I quite liked the ending.
It's such a massive spoiler, that I won't discuss it directly here (there will be some hints to it though, so don't read on if you don't wanna know), but can I just say that I found it very interesting that I asked a friend, when the negative reactions started coming in, if Four died. She replied "no, thank god. I don't think I could have dealt with that". So I just assumed everyone was mad because they broke up.
I really want to go back to her now and ask her why she couldn't have dealt with Four dying, but was only 'disappointed' with what actually happened. I don't know, it sounds wrong. It feels ALL wrong that if the love interest dies, we all cry, but the second the author choses to kill off someone else, then suddenly it's a crap book.
Naw, guys. Stop.
You're embarrassing yourselves.
Personally, I'd like to congratulate Ms Roth. The thing about her books have always been how emotionally true they have been. In a dystopian world, Tris shone through to me as one of the few YA MCs who actually reacted to the crap that happened in her life in a plausible way. There's only so many super-enduring girls I can read about before I start feeling like the most useless piece of shit for not being able to pick myself up so fast. But not Tris. She mourned, she grieved, she got mad, she went a little nuts, and she loved so, so fiercely.
So, in a strange way, this ending was very satisfying.
Of course, it won't make watching it in the movie any easier, but a good, dignified ending that did right by the characters.


Title: Hallowed (Unearthly #2)
Author: Cynthia Hand
Genre: YA
Rating: 5/5
Cover: 7/10

This book deserves all the freaking awards. To anyone who hasn't gone through what Clara goes through in HALLOWED, it might just seem like a sad, if interesting, book.

To those of us who were unlucky enough to lose our mothers at the age of 17 to cancer, this book is so much more. You don't get many books that explore so deeply all the ramifications of being a teenager and having your mother's days counted; knowing that they're counted, and yet being unable to do a thing to change that.

Having to say goodbye every night, because you just never know which night will be the last.
HALLOWED went deep, poked that festering and bleeding hole in my heart. I wasn't just reading about Clara. I was Clara. My deepest thanks and awe to Miss Hand - I just hope the feelings in this book weren't from her personal experience. No one deserves to go through that sort of stuff.

Monday, September 22, 2014


Title: Arcana
Author: Jessica Leake
Genre: YA/New Adult historical
Rating: 4/5
Cover: 9/10

I received an e-galley from edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Honestly, I'm not quite sure what to say about 'Arcana'. In truth, the story and the characters (*sighs*, Colin Thornewood, you gorgeous specimen you!) were extremely likeable and compelling, but I felt like sometimes the author was trying maybe a little too hard. Although Wren was a delight as a narrator, there were instances of telling, not showing, that jarred from the rest of the story, stopping the flow of the narrative.
Most specifically, I felt like the matter of her mother could have been handled differently to make it more mysterious and less... well, cringe-worthy really.
But other than that, the plot was well-thought out and developed, so much so that I find myself wondering if there will be a second book. Even if it was about Lucy (and James...), with Wren and Colin only coming in as secondaries, or even just exploring more about the Order - either way, I would be very excited for a continuation, especially as I haven't had anywhere near my fill of Thornewood men.

A definite must-read for all lovers of magic/historical romances!

Fair warning to those of you considering getting this: I marked it as YA/New Adult (I hate that label, to me it's either YA or adult, but oh well) because it gets to the steamier side of YA, though it is in no way explicit, and there is no swearing. Just be warned, in case you plan on letting a 9 year-old read it ;)

Publication is due for November 4th, so keep your eyes open for this beauty!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Spotlight Wednesday: Great Exploitations

This will be a monthly part of the blog from now, in which I spotlight one book or series that I have a particular love for, and feel like more people should know about.

Title: Great Exploitations novella series

Author: Nicole Williams
Genre: Adult contemporary
Rating: 5/5
Covers: 10/10

Here's the premise before I explain why everyone should read this:

"Seduction. Infidelity. Blackmail. Scandal. It can all be bought for the right price and for Sienna Stevens, business is good. 

Because she’s in the business of Great Exploitations. 

She’s an Eve, a member of a secret society of women contracted by the wives of wealthy, powerful men for one reason and one reason only: to seduce their husbands. To ensure their pre-nuptial agreement will be null and void thanks to a little loophole known as the Infidelity Clause. To ensure that those wives don’t find themselves on the other side of a divorce without a penny to their name. 

When it comes to the Eves, Sienna’s one of the best because she follows the number one rule of the Eves to the letter: don’t let it get personal. 

When the job file of her wealthiest client yet falls into her lap, Sienna realizes that this case could be the one that’s impossible to detach herself from. The payout would lead to her independence, but will the cost be too high in the end?”

Now, if the covers (and the gorgeous play on words of the title of the series, I mean come on!) weren’t enough to grab your interest, I'm not sure what to tell you - other than it's awesome, and you should go read it. Right now.

Trust me, you will want to read these. It’s the proverbial f*ck-you to all cheaters everywhere, and it is glorious. Plus, the protagonist is sassy to boot. And even if you don’t enjoy reading much, you’ll probably still like these, because on average, they’re about 60 pages long. The author meant for it to be like a soap or a TV show, with each “episode” showing a little more of backstory, while also having a “weekly” (I say "weekly" because it's more like every 3-4 months, but still) case to solve.

The fifth and final instalment will be out in October, according to Williams, so there's plenty of time to catch up!

note: the covers used are for the first and second volumes respectively. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Illusions of Fate

Title: Illusions of Fate
Author: Kiersten White
Genre: YA
Rating: 5/5
Cover: 10/10

I don't know about Downtown Abbey, cause I don't watch it (yes, yes, I know...) but in my humble opinion, this was way better than The Mortal Instruments, so take the Cassandra Clare part with a pinch of salt.

I loved Jessamin. She is so headstrong, and determined to go after her dreams, it was really nice to read. She is thrust into this world of magic, helter-skelter, and yet she manages to maintain a level of cool confidence - both in herself and in others - that was just awesome to read.
As for Finn, well. He was infuriatingly cute, and the scenes between those two were, without a doubt, some of the best scenes. Their banter was off the scale, and seeing the high-and-mighty magician thrown by an 'island rat' was loads of fun.

Beware of the twist at the end, though. There are two, one of which was pretty obvious, but the other one threw me for a loop entirely.
I look forward to the possible short story from one of my favourite characters, Eleanor. I felt like there was a whole lot of story potential there, and hope to see something about her in the near future :)

Trial by Fire

Title: Trial by Fire (Worldwalker #1)
Author: Josephine Angelini
Genre: YA fantasy
Rating: 5/5
Cover: 10/10 (UK version - it has little glittery stuff in her hair too, it's so pretty)

Quick tip: do not read this like I did, on the tail of Heir of Fire. Not only do they both have 'Fire' in the title, they also both have Rowans. I have since found that my new favourite name is Rowan, and cannot contain my Rowan feels - the fact that they're entirely different characters makes no odds to my love and devotion, and I have started up the Unofficial Rowan 'Fire' Fanclub so I can have an excuse to sit and daydream about them. But I digress.

The premise of this book was fascinating, and the book itself didn't disappoint. Lily was a very likeable character, and I loved her trying to explain to everyone what different things meant.
I cannot wait to see Rowan's reaction to stuff like cars and planes, it will be glorious.

But my favourite part (Rowan aside) was the fact that I'm still not entirely sure if Lillian is evil or not. She clearly believes that she's doing what is best, but then why pull Lily over? I hope to find out in #2, because I was so confused. And not in a bad way, mind you. Just... weird.

I loved seeing Lily grow and flourish from this sickly, weak girl in her own world, into this glorious, powerful witch in the other universe. As a rule, I tend to hate parallel universes, because they have the nasty habit of breaking up my OTPs (see: Rose and the Doctor and Lyra and Will). But, in this case, it's actually pretty cool, especially since there doesn't seem to be any averse effect whatsoever in changing universes, which gives me the hope that this particular pairing won't be separated at the end.

All in all, a good book, with fun characters, and amazing world construction :)

The One

Title: The One (The Selection #3)
Author: Kiera Cass
Genre: YA
Rating: 5/5
Cover: 10/10 (as usual)

Contains spoilers regarding the end pairing, so kindly avert your eyes if you don't want to know.
I could go on endlessly about why I love this book. But really, it comes down to the fact that I got to high-five my kindle at the end.
Just kidding.
Sort of.

No, but honestly, though. Throughout The Elite, the pain and heartache of a love triangle always kept me on the edge about whether or not my pairing would... pair out, pun intended. I had a feeling that was the only way to go, but you never know, what with authors taking drastic (and courageous) decisions lately, like killing off their protagonist (I don't need to name names, you all know what I'm talking about), so I wasn't quite sure. And I sort of loved that - that uncertainty right until the end, because I'll be honest, I always thought Aspen and Mer had more of a friends' relationship than anything, so when she starts looking at him a lot towards the end, it did make me worry for a second there. But, no, she pulled through in the end, and boy WHAT an end! 
I was nearly in tears, because holy shit Maxon, for a guy who swore up and down never to write a love letter, you sure wrote one pretty amazing one, damn you. And then I wanted to strangle him, and it was perfect. Absolutely perfect, because even at 98%, I still didn't know if he'd made it, and I just love it when books can keep me on edge like that. Bravo, Ms Cass, beautifully done.
As for America herself, well. She's spunky and I love her, what can I say? She does remind me of me a little, with all her foot-in-mouth situations, though I'm obviously no princess, so no one really cares ;)
It's sad that this is the last book - I was really looking forward to something about life in Ilea after the castes are gone... who knows? Maybe one day we'll get a short story revolving around married bliss that mentions how everything's going. I think I'd like that very much, cause I will miss that pig-headed prince (woops, King now!) of theirs.

Half Bad

Title: Half Bad (Half Life #1)
Author: Sally Green
Genre: YA dystopia
Rating: 4.5/5
Cover: 7/10

I... wow. Okay. First off, can I just say how refreshing it was to have a male protagonist? Don't get me wrong, I love me some strong, badass female protagonist just as much as the next person, but I haven't come across a male one since Percy Jackson, and before that, only with Harry.

But moving on. Nathan was... different. I will say, this book gets a 4.5 rating simply because some of the indecision bored me a little. However, I want book 2. It's not a desperate desire for it, but I think there's loads of potential in it. The whole idea (which is really only explored in the epigraph from Shakespeare, but which, I think, is likely to be explored more in the next instalment) of there not being any good or bad, just people's pre-concieved notions of good and evil, really intrigued me, and I can definitely see how that would translate into Nathan's life.

As for the romance angle, I don't know. Annalise seems to me like the fantasy of a 14-year old boy. A lot can change in 3 years, though, and to be perfectly honest, I felt that Nikita (Ellen) was a better match for him than Annalise. Or, if he turns out to swing that way, I'm all for Gabriel, too.

Either way, a very good book - and an easy read, too. Despite the possibility for a deep, psychological search in book 2, Half Bad sticks quite nicely to the physical aspect of growing up without parents and having to deal with the doubts and questions about who you are and how, if at all, your thoughts and feelings during your teenage years will shape who you become in the future.

Command Me

Title: Command Me (The Royals Saga #1)
Author: Geneva Lee
Genre: adult
Rating: 3/5
Cover: 10/10

I spent most of this book unsure whether or not I wanted to go on reading it. While I could stomach Fifty Shades of Grey, which is, in some ways, more uncomfortable than the tamer scenes in 'Command Me', I found Alexander's constant assertion that she wanted it, even though she told him she didn't, deeply unsettling. 
No means no, no matter the circumstances, especially considering he did this the second time they met. Also, Fifty (aside from #2) had considerably less explicit sex, and a hefty amount of character development that was sadly lacking here, especially when the S&M aspect is so clearly being pushed in what is so obviously geared to be a romance.
However, the characters were enough to have me intrigued, and I will likely read the second one. It helps that he did eventually listen to her 'no's, and that she was finally able to assert herself independently of him.
No means no, people. Always.

Heir of Fire

Title: Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3)
Author: Sarah J Maas
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: 5/5
Cover: 8/10

Warning: contains minor spoilers.

I don't have the words to explain this book, truly don't.
Celaena has always been one of my favourite characters because she's so very real. She grieves and feels pain and almost crumbles under it. But she doesn't, because she keeps on fighting, and that is something I admire a great deal.
And in this book, this was even more obvious than in the others; struggling to come to terms with Nehemia's death, she's lost and adrift, having left her friends behind (most notably Dorian, who, bless his soul, stand behind her no matter what - he better not be dead or else...). But then, enter Rowan.
You know, a friend a long time ago told me this theory she'd found somewhere that everyone had three soulmates in the world. The thing is, most people associate that word with romantic love (and believe me when I say, I would not be sad to see Rowan as king of Terrasen... just saying), but it is so much more than just that. They get each other in a way that is really something else. They have entire conversations without speaking a word, because they know each other so well. And I get it, it probably will never to lead to anything else, because of his fallen mate all those years ago, but I think that so far beyond that, he is what she needed, she is what he needed - they complete each other, and their scenes together were so perfectly written and described, it really was something else to behold. I can't wait to see these two get together and unleash themselves on the world.
Though Aedion (who is not dead, btw, I refuse to believe he'd be dead... plus he was in the vision of the future she saw, so there has to be a - pretty strong - chance that he'll live, right?) will not be impressed that someone else got swear the blood oath before him haha.

*rubs hands together* when can I get the next one? :)

Need more of Celaena & co? Check out my very spoiler-filled GIF review here.