Month

November 2015

Spotless – Camilla Monk (Audio Version)

Spotless

4.25 Stars (4.25 / 5)

Spotless! What a pleasant surprise! When I purchased this little “gem” (see what I did there?) for less than 5 bucks off audible I didn’t really have my hopes up. However, I wanted a new audio book, and the premise sounded entertaining and it had good reviews, so here we are…

So Island is a young woman who comes home early one day to find gun for hire English James Bond type March in her living room, sorting through her things… And cleaning them. He has a pretty bad case of OCD… He wants a diamond that her late mother stole ten years ago and doesn’t really buy her “I have no idea what the hell you are talking about” pleading (even though she actually doesn’t know what he is talking about). So there begins Island’s adventure around the world with March in an attempt to not only find the diamond, but discover who her mother actually was, and what exactly does March have to do with any of this… Whilst also trying to figure out what is going on with this spark between her and the hunky Englishman.

Spotless was a great to listen to for a bit of escapism. The first half of the book was setting up the scene and the characters, it was enjoyable, but it wasn’t till the second half that I really started enjoying it. There were a few violent scenes which were pretty tame (by my standards – Me being a pretty big blood and gore fan). And some killer romantic tension happening, especially in the last half of the book.

There were a few twists and turns that I didn’t see coming, and I always love that, because I’m normally not easily surprised…

I loved the characters, especially March. Island and her constant rambling annoyed me on occasion but not enough for me to dislike her character. I enjoyed the secondary characters in Spotless. They all had surprising depth.

The audio version was pretty good. Amy McFadden did a great job, especially in the little snippets before each chapter. However the one thing that I didn’t like was her rendition of March. For some reason with the English accent she pulled I could not for the life of me picture a sexy man! I couldn’t take it seriously. It didn’t go so far as to ruin the story for me, but for me it was a small downer in an otherwise entertaining performance.

Would I recommend Spotless?

Yes absolutely for anyone who loves a bit of entertaining romantic tension and suspense, a very odd “bad” guy, and someone who doesn’t mind getting caught off guard by a funny part of the story and snorting out some of their drink… Twice!

Authors Website

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If you enjoyed Spotless, you may enjoy:

the enchanted Island

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Lost Girls – Angela Marsons

Lost Girls

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Fast paced is right! The latest in the D.I. Kim Stone series starts off with a bang and doesn’t let up! From the first gripping page you are hooked! Lost Girls is a fantastic read!

Kim Stone is back again after two young girls are kidnapped. One of the mothers asks for Kim directly to get her daughter back. But why did she ask for Kim? What history do they have? And is Kim going to be able to find both the girls when she discovers that the kidnappers have previously taken two young girls, and only one was returned?

Totally gripping from the start to the end. Thought it was fantastic!

If you haven’t read the previous two Kim Stone novels, its not a necessity – however I feel that you will not grasp the entirety of Kim’s character, and why she is the way she is, if you don’t read the others. Especially Evil Games.

Kim, what can I say about her? I have totally warmed to her character in the last two novels. I really enjoy her escapades and the way she works. I love her team and love her lack of social skills! I think she is fantastic! I only wish for a touch of romance! That’s the only thing that I feel has been missing from the series. We had a glimmer in each book, but that was it.

Lost Girls is really well written. Easy and quick to read and its not easy to put down!

My ONLY criticism is something that is totally my fault… I guess I read so many thrillers and ‘who-done-it’s’ that I always guess who the bad guy is. And this one was a bit too predictable for me. I knew who the uber bad guy was straight away, and even in the parrallel storyline I guessed who the perpetrator was straight away. I must say I was disappointed that I was right. HOWEVER it didn’t take any of the fun away from the story. And hopefully others will be more surprised.

Would I recommend it?

Absolutely! It was a really enjoyable read!

Many thanks to Angela Marsons and the publisher Bookoutre via NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for my review.

If you enjoy this book you may enjoy:

Evil Games    little black lies    the girl with no past

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When the Serpent Bites – Nesly Clerge

When The Serpent Bites

3 Stars (3 / 5)

I enjoyed “When the Serpent Bites” the debut novel by Nesly Clerge.

The story is about Frederick Starks. Starks makes the decision one night to confront his wife’s ex lover. The circumstances that occur next drastically alters Starks life, and lands him in prison. Predominantly the story is set in the prison where Starks is trying to stay alive. It is also told through flashbacks and memories of Starks and his wife Kayla before the incident. Gradually we learn that perhaps Starks is not quite the victim of circumstances that he portrays himself to be.

I obviously didn’t quite “get” this book as much as my other friends – who have rated it higher than I have. My main issue with the book is the main character Starks.  At times I found Starks to be almost unreadable. I couldn’t understand most of his actions or the rationales behind the majority of his thought processes. I couldn’t understand his hypocrisy.  Just when I thought he might see the light, nope… Back to square one. I felt he made little to no personal development, and I just really disliked him. I have read a few reviews of people who totally disagree with my take on Starks, saying they can understand the choices he made, and how they feel sympathy for his character. I’m afraid I didn’t. I understand that this is the first of a trilogy so hopefully his character will go through some major developments in subsequent books.

Apart from my dislike of the main character, I also I felt the book was a bit long and repetitive. I felt I was forever reading about the same thing, about how Starks was betrayed… and betrayed… At times I struggled to get through some of it.

HOWEVER… For a debut it was EXTREMELY well written! I especially enjoyed the courtroom scene and many of the jail scenes where he was plotting the demise of one character or another. I loved how he could just buy his way out of everything. Thankfully I don’t know what prison life is like but I imagine it could be quite similar to the way Clerge describes it in this novel.

I enjoyed the majority of the counselling scenes. Even though Starks wouldn’t take responsibility for any of his actions, they were insightful and well written.

I thought the other characters were all portrayed well, I enjoyed the interactions between the characters and the events that occurred in jail. Even though I found the twist at the end to be quite predictable, It was still well done. I am interested to know what happens in the continuation of Stark’s story.

Overall Thoughts:

I liked it. I would be interested to see where he takes all of the characters in the next two books.

Thanks to Nesly Clerge via BookLover Catlady for a copy of this book in exchange for my review.

PURCHASE

If you enjoy this book you may enjoy:

Baby Please Don't Go    Pretty Baby

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Ready Player One – Ernest Cline (Audio Version)

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4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

Ready Player One – What an exciting, original and FUN story!

To sum Ready Player One up briefly, it’s the year 2044 and the internet has transformed into the OASIS, a virtual reality world where anything is possible. Much of humanity work and play in this virtual universe. The mega rich, uber 80’s nerd James Halliday, creator of the OASIS, has passed away. As he had no living relatives, he created a complex game inside the OASIS – and the winner gets all of his fortune. In his video will, he stated that he has hidden his fortune somewhere in the OASIS, and that to decipher all the clues, one must be extremely well versed in 1980’s pop culture! Suddenly the majority of people want to find the fortune, but the clues are difficult to interpret. When high school student Wade almost stumbles across the answer to the first clue, this virtual game becomes very real, when his life and the life of his friends, are put in danger in the real world.

I don’t even know where to begin to talk about this story! It was just so different to anything I have ever read (or listened to) before. What a blast from the past! I can’t believe how the author brought the 80’s back to life so easily! The games, the movies, the music! Even though I wasn’t a teenager in the 80’s, I still remember a lot of the things that are referenced. Even the parts I was not familiar with I still enjoyed! I loved how the whole world went 80’s crazy after Halliday died. The young kids were studying all things 80’s and leg warmers were back in fashion!!

I just LOVED the OASIS! Its not so far fetched really, to imagine that soon we will all wake up, go to the bathroom, eat breakfast and then log on to the net. There we will be able to sit in a virtual classroom and not have to leave our house, or work in a virtual office… That aspect of it is quite believable. The rest is total science fiction, but still SO MUCH FUN! I just thought the whole thing was so cleverly done. It was exciting, interesting, and you almost felt like you were in a computer game just listening to it!

I found myself totally engaged in Wade’s journey! I loved how the story progressed and the characters developed and virtual romance blossomed. The characters were all total nerds and I really enjoyed the dialogue between them and their “avatars”. There were so many twists and turns in the book too! Thought everything was just so darn clever! I enjoyed the big corporation vs a handful of 80’s nerdy teenagers aspect to the story too.

The audio version: Will Wheaton! What can I say? I admit I had a bit of a crush on his voice in this one. What a fantastic performance! I cannot think of ANYONE who would have done this better! It sounded like he had SO MUCH FUN doing it too! There were so many times that I was laughing out loud!

Would I recommend it?

Absolutely! Ready Player One is not just for 80’s nerds, its for anyone who loves a good story and wants to escape for a while. I doubt I will read anything like this again anytime soon! If ever! Fantastic!

Authors Website

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Evil Games – Angela Marsons

Evil Games

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Evil Games is the second book in the Kim Stone series by Angela Marsons. Admittedly the first in the series was not my favourite book. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy it – I read it before I started blogging my reviews so I actually can’t remember what it was about it that didn’t totally grab me. It seemed to grab the majority of my reading buddies who rated it extremely highly.  I wasn’t against reading the sequel, but it wasn’t on my list of priorities. However when I kept seeing phenomenal reviews for this and the third instalment “Lost Girls”, it sparked my interest again. When a few trusted book friends suggested that I give Kim Stone another shot, they convinced me. And I’m extremely glad they did!

Detective Inspector Kim Stone is back in this fabulous psychological thriller. Stone investigates the murder of a convicted rapist. Something doesn’t quite add up when they find the perpetrator, and trusting her instincts, Kim investigates deeper and gets more than she bargained for when she is faced with an extremely intelligent and difficult adversary, who is manipulating mentally vulnerable people to do their bidding.

I am really enjoying the depth of Kim’s character. Gradually we are learning more and more about why she is the way she is. Her childhood is explained in a lot of detail in this book and we begin to understand the horrors of her past. I’m extremely glad I read the second book before the third one, even though I have heard it is great as a stand alone. I also enjoy her interactions with other characters. I remember one of the things I didn’t like about the first book was the lack of… I was going to say “romance” but that’s not the word I am looking for, I guess tension or chemistry with Kim. There was a female teacher in the first one and someone else if I remember correctly, and in this one there was a glimmer of attraction with David, but I just felt it wasn’t enough. I understand why though. Her character is MAJORLY damaged… Sorting out her life comes before a roll in the hay – I understand that, but still I am hoping that the third book will focus a bit on her attempting a not so platonic relationship with another human being. I always enjoy a bit of chemistry/tension in thrillers, even if it doesn’t end well.

I really enjoyed the psychological aspect of this book. What a character Alex was! Loved to loathe her! It was refreshing and original to read of events from her perspective… Her skewed view of the world. And I really enjoyed the mind games and the extent that she would go to, to get her way. I have read characters like hers before, in other books by other authors, but I didn’t enjoy them half as much as I enjoyed Alex.

There is some subject matter that is disturbing, but there are no overly graphic scenes. So this book will appeal to any thriller fans, even the ones who don’t like too much violence and just enjoy a good story!

 As like the first one, Marsons writing is impeccable. Easy and so much fun to read. There are not too many characters, but there are just enough to make it difficult to guess who the bad guy is at the end. I was glued to this book from beginning to end and I am really looking forward to the next one! I have Lost Girls on my kindle ready to go! 🙂

Would I recommend it?

Absolutely! Marsons is emerging as one hell of a thriller writer!

If you like this book you may enjoy:

the girl with no past    Baby Please Don't Go    imperfect strangers    Now you see me   Pretty Baby    little black lies

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Romance, 50’s Style – Margaret Lynette Sharp

Romance 50's Style

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Ah the 50’s… What an era! Even though it was set 30 years before I was born, I still appreciated this story of Romance, 50’s Style!

The novel is comprised of two stories, Whatever it Takes and Sisters and Rivals. Whatever it Takes is a story of Lisa, who goes back to Australia from London for the wedding of her father to his secretary. She has left behind her boyfriend Liam who she was starting to get serious with. There she runs into an old flame, and has to ultimately decide her future. Sisters and Rivals is the story of Linda. Linda has started dating Harry, whom she adores. However her sister Tessa has a history of stealing her boyfriends. Even though she is engaged to one of Linda’s exes, can Linda trust Harry not to fall for Tessa’s charms?

Loved all the characters! I found Linda to be a bit of a bore though. I guess at that time it was less common to stand up for yourself, and it just wasn’t her personality. However I felt utterly sorry for her situation. It made me appreciate that I am an only child and don’t have a horrid sister!

The thing that I kept thinking about when I read this book was just how different things are now. I guess its up to interpretation to decide if this is a good thing or bad thing, but personally I am glad I am from this generation. I appreciate the different style of “courting” that we have now. It was much simpler back then, or superficially so anyway. Life is different now. Multiple marriages in a life is beginning to be a norm, social values are so totally different, and of course we all have huge flat screen televisions now 😉

I enjoyed the writing style of this book, it was light but interesting and I enjoyed the characters and the dialogue between the different characters. Sharp did a great job recreating the era and the mood of the 50’s with her writing.

I enjoyed the setting of the 50’s in Australia, specifically my home town Sydney. It was interesting reading about places I have been and love, from such a different time perspective.

Would I recommend it?

Yes, for all fans of a little bit of romance and a bit of fun.

Many thanks to author Margaret Lynette Sharp for a copy of this book to review.

If you enjoyed this book you may enjoy:

taking leaps and finding ghosts     piece by piece - Cathie Whitmore    The Secret Years    the mine

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Love Is Murder – Various authors (Audio Version)

Love is Murder

2.5 Stars (2.5 / 5)

There is something about a good romantic suspense. The thrills and danger puts you in a certain frame of mind, so that when the romance hits, when it is done well, it’s breathtaking… I had to give these short stories a go after I saw the cover.. But the cover was a bit deceiving, I would read ANYTHING Sandra Brown writes, but she only edited it and did a brief sentence or two to introduce you to all the stories. I guess they did the cover for suckers like me who see Sandra Brown and go “OK IM READING IT!”. Having said that though, some of the stories were really good,  however others were not so good.

I’m not going to go through all the stories as there were WAY too many of them to review one at a time. So I will mention the stand outs. I really enjoyed “Hot Note” even though it was more a paranormal story. Last Shot was another stand out about a very special scanning machine. Again more paranormal, but it was a great story! I also enjoyed Without Mercy, far from a romance I thought, but a great story… I guess the better ones for me were actually the ones with a better story and less romance. I felt a bit let down by the quality of the stories to be honest.

I can see how it is difficult to develop romantic suspense in a short story. After all it takes tension to get a good romantic build up. Therefore the majority of the stories involved two people who already know each other, and have been apart for a while, only to come back together. This is fine and lovely, but it got old after a while. The only story I feel that got a good new romance blossoming with an original story was the first one, Diamond Drop. I felt this was extremely clever compared to the others. Otherwise the story was about a couple who were already an item and something else happens to bring them closer together. These stories got old fast too.

 I just didn’t love it enough to rate it higher. The good stories did not outweigh the average ones in my opinion, and for a compilation of romantic suspense stories, I felt a lot of suspense, but was totally let down in the romance department!

And that last story?? WTF was that Lee Child?? That was the first Lee Child writing I have ever read and its not making me want to pick up any Jack Reacher books any time soon!

The narration however, was superb! How fantastic were Christopher Lane and Shannon McManus! They totally salvaged this book for me! I am so glad I had listened to the narration rather than read it, because I don’t know if I would have made it through otherwise!

Would I recommend it?

As I said, a few of the stories were good, however mostly It was a bit of a let down. If you are interested, the audio version was really well done and made it much more enjoyable.

If you enjoyed this book you may enjoy:

image    mirror image    white hot

The Threat Below – Jason Latshaw

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5 Stars (5 / 5)

What a fantastic surprise! What an ABSOLUTELY AWESOME book! When I first saw The Threat Below, I was apprehensive. There are SO many YA dystopian books out there. I wasn’t sure that this one was going to be much different than the rest. But with a whole lot of positive reviews, and thankfully a bit of time on my hands, I decided to give it a go. And I’m SO GLAD that I did! I had already decided on my top 5 books of the year, a list compiled in my head – awaiting December for me to put it together and blog it, not expecting the next month and a half to bring me anything worthy… Now its going to have to be changed! Yes, this book was THAT GOOD!!

Set in the distant future, Icelyn is the heir to Mountaintop, a place where the remaining existence of humanity lives high up on a mountain, separated from the world below. They are separated by a wall, and further below is a thick cloud covering that makes visualising the world below impossible. They have lived this way for hundreds of years. But now their water supply has been tainted, and people are dying. Someone has to go down below to save them all…

This wasn’t your typical YA dystopian book. It was EPIC. But so easy to read! Think The Silo Series by Hugh Howey, meets A Game of Thrones with a touch of The Hunger Games, Lord of the Rings, Planet of the Apes and a sprinkle of The Sparrow rolled into a fantastic YA read. But I don’t think this is just a YA Book! Even though the central characters are young, I am sure this book will be enjoyed by just about anyone!

This book captured me from the first chapter! What a fantastic premise! It has EVERYTHING! Excitement, action, adventure, un-worldly creatures, romance, power, betrayal, love, hate, violence, BEARS!! IT HAS BEARS!!! I could keep going!

The characters are FANTASTIC! Every one of them, from the dickheads up on Mountaintop, attempting to out play and our power each other… To the young ones stuck below cloudline. Each character brings a unique energy to the book. Usually quite a lot of characters in a book annoys me, mostly because I can’t keep up because I read so fast! I get confused with names and who is who when there is an abundance of characters. The only thing I got confused about at the beginning of this one was the difference between Torrain, Tranton and the Tarlinius, (All the T’s) but after it got going it didn’t take long at all to become engaged with EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER!

The book doesn’t go any way you expect it to and I love that. You have no idea what is waiting around the corner, all you know is that HAVE to see what’s waiting there!

The only thing I almost don’t like about this book, is the strange little almost love triangle thing that Icelyn has got between Ad and Torrain. I get that love triangles are often pivotal in most YA books… I understand why they appeal to younger audiences, what is more young adult than the perils of love?… And in this book it wasn’t too bad. Its just love triangles in general piss me off but I didn’t hate it enough to deduct stars from it, so that’s saying something.

Another thing that I feel doesn’t quite do the book justice is the cover. It just doesn’t really grab your attention. Honestly if it was based on the cover alone I wouldn’t have read it. I would hate to think that others are missing out on such a fantastic book because of it. Don’t get me wrong, its not a “bad” cover… It just lacks something for me. I know that when I first look at a book I only really take a quick glance at the cover. My initial feeling about this cover was “Meh…”. Also because the authors name is so big down the bottom (in plain font that again, doesn’t do the book justice) I didn’t even really look at what was behind it. I didn’t realise that there was a monster down there. It wasn’t until I read reviews and considered reading the book that I looked closer and realised that there was a monster down there and that were thick clouds below the mountain, not water or some kind of red sea. The cover can make or break a book, and this one doesn’t do it for me. However I loved the small illustrations at the start of each chapter that made it clear where the chapter was set.

Nevertheless, once you start the book you CANNOT stop. Or at least, I couldn’t. Thought it was absolutely fantastic! Loved the complex story and the relationships between all the characters and creatures. I thought it was truly original and undeniably worthy the whole 5 stars!

Would I recommend it?

ABSOLUTELY! Read it and tell me what you think of it! I’m DYING to discuss it with someone!

“Life is exactly what it is, and nothing more.”

Many thanks to author Jason Latshaw via WordSlinger for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

If you like this book you may enjoy:

Melophobia

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Midnight Burning – Karissa Laurel

Midnight Burning

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Sometimes you just need to get out of reality for a while and read a good paranormal fantasy. It is not my most favourite genre, but I really enjoyed this fun mythological/paranormal fantasy Midnight Burning by Karissa Laurel.

Solina travels to Alaska following the death of her brother, to organise his belongings and his apartment. While she is there she spends time with her late brothers best friend Val and his friends, and their employer Thorin. It soon becomes apparent that whomever killed her brother is now after her. She has dreams of wolf-like creatures and discovers that her brother was killed by being torn to shreds by a wolf. Soon she is on a quest to discover who she really is and who she can trust, and is running for her life.

First of all I had to comment on the cover. I love it! I’m not sure why it grabbed me so much when I saw it, but it suits the book perfectly and is absolutely gorgeous!

 I really enjoyed this book. It was well written, REALLY well written. The book grabbed me from the start!

I loved all the characters and it was great to watch them and their relationship with Solina develop. I loved Skyla, I found her to be one of my favourite characters. And I enjoyed Solina’s character. Even though she did a few things that annoyed me.

I am not a big fan of love triangles in books. They make me cringe. A lot. But Laurel is clever here, she makes it a love triangle without having any of the characters actually commit. So its not a love triangle exactly…. Its hard to explain, It just works. I love the tension between the characters, especially Solina and Thorin. I was hoping that a bit more would happen between them, but she is obviously saving that for subsequent books!

I enjoyed the first half of the book more than the second half. I was actually expecting it to be a werewolf story, but it most certainly isn’t. It is so much more than that. Once the truth came out and Solina discovered who she was, it started to get a bit too mythological for my liking. Its just not stuff I’m particularly interested in and a lot of the characters and mythology was over my head. However it wasn’t all about that and still had an awesome story line, so I still enjoyed reading till the end!

Speaking of the end! Loved the ending! I will absolutely read the next one as I want to know what happens!!

Would I recommend it?

Yup! For fans of paranormal fantasy. It was a fabulous story, a great escape from reality for a while and was really well written. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Thanks to the author Karissa Laurel for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Things You Won’t Say – Sarah Pekkanen

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3 Stars (3 / 5)

I liked Things You Won’t Say. It was a nice story.

Mike is a police officer who is suffering from PTSD following a shooting where his partner was almost killed. Now there is another shooting, but Mike was the one holding the gun. And now he is in a lot of trouble. Can his marriage stay together? Will he go to jail? Relationships, marriage and family are the main focus of this novel. It is all about the characters and their interactions with each other. Mike and his wife Jamie, whose marriage has been strained ever since the original shooting, and their struggle to stay a family unit for their children during times of severe stress… Mike’s ex Christine whom they have a son with, and her constant need for attention, and Jamie’s sister Lou who troubled in her own right, while trying to help her sister hold her family together.

I did enjoy this book, but I must say I didn’t feel a lot of love for all of the characters. I did warm to all of them in some way, however things they did annoyed me a lot of the time. I just couldn’t let myself completely get carried away with their story. I found myself willing the book to get to something good.

I found that the story started off strongly but quickly slowed down and I felt it dragged on. However it still had some very good moments, especially with Christine and her attempt to steal Mike back, and her antics at her new job. However the dull far outweighed the exciting for me unfortunately. Although – I still wanted to see what happened with all the characters and how it all concluded, the conclusion and the twist was ultimately satisfying. But unfortunately my frustration with the characters, and the slow pace, kept this at 3 stars for me.

I have to mention how well it was written. I found the writing extremely good. It was my first Pekkanen novel and I would be interested in looking at her other work to see if I enjoy any others a bit more.

Would I recommend it?

If you are a women’s fiction fan you may enjoy this.

Thanks to the author via NetGalley for a copy of this in exchange for my honest review.

If you enjoy this book you may also enjoy:

the mine   taking leaps and finding ghosts   piece by piece - Cathie Whitmore

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