Month

December 2015

The First – Kipjo Kenyatta Ewers

The First

The First

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

This was one of the first books I ever requested from NetGalley, and it has been sitting on the shelf for way too long! I decided to get it read before new years! The premise was interesting and It gets pretty good reviews.

Sophia Dennison is on death row, found guilty of murdering her husband in cold blood. However after the lethal injection, something very strange happens… She comes back to life. Taller now and with super-human strength and speed, she embarks on a journey to discover what happened to her and who really killed her husband, before an elite unit of soldiers armed with special weapons can catch up with her!

I must say this was not a bad book at all! I’m not the biggest fan of the cover, and I think I was expecting it to be bad but was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t. That’s not saying it didn’t have its bad points. Some of the editing was terrible and I got very annoyed with the constant details. There were intricate details of even secondary characters, about how they came to be where they are, and it made the story quite tedious at times. However, ignoring those relatively small aspects, I quite enjoyed the story.

I liked the different take on the superhero thing. Loved that it was a female and I enjoyed the chase and the twists and turns as she started to get some answers about her life and the death of her husband.

I enjoyed the fight scenes and how she used her powers. I also loved the bad guy, and there were a few good twists and turns in there! I loved the last third of the book too, it was really exciting! It had a satisfying ending which sets it up for a good sequel.

The First – Would I recommend it?

Yes, it was a good read! A good escape for a few hours.

Many thanks to author Kipjo K Ewers and the publisher via NetGalley for a copy of this book to read and review.

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Clean Sweep – Ilona Andrews

Clean Sweep

Clean Sweep

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

Clean Sweep is the first in the new Innkeeper chronicles series by Ilona Andrews. Ilona Andrews is quite a popular urban fantasy author (or author’s technically as its a husband and wife team). This is the first book of theirs that I have read, and I admit I enjoyed it. Perhaps not as much as others seem to have enjoyed it though.

Dina runs a bed and breakfast in a small town in Texas. However beneath the surface, this Inn is not your normal place to stay. Dina is an Innkeeper in a magical bed and breakfast and caters to paranormal alien creatures. Soon she finds herself harbouring a killer, a werewolf, an injured vampire and a little beast. And there are a bunch of nasty creatures coming after her.

This was an extremely fun adventure. Honestly I would have rated it higher, if it were not for one pet peeve. A kinda love triangle… I HATE LOVE TRIANGLES! Everything for this book was going SO WELL! She and Sean were having a really fun romantically tense, fun filled adventure going on, and then the stupid vampires had to show up. And that’s where it went downhill for me.  Not that there is REALLY any contest between the creepy vampire and the spunky werewolf.

Don’t get me wrong, it was still lots of fun. I loved the magical world, it was complex for such a short book and I loved the layers of storyline. It just began to feel a little too much like Anita Blake or Sookie Stackhouse in the last third. Like its been done SO many times before.

Having said that though, it was only the first book… Setting up the scene. And I have read some rave reviews about the second book, which I will put on my to read list! I am interested to know what happens.

The audio version was great! I really enjoyed the narrator and her southern drawl!

Clean Sweep – Would I recommend it?

Yes it was a lot of fun, with or without the love triangle.

ADD TO GOODREADS

Authors Website

 

If you enjoy Clean Sweep, you may enjoy:

Midnight Burning

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The Fold – Peter Clines (Audio Version)

The Fold

The Fold: 4 Stars (4 / 5)

The fold is another great science fiction/horror by Peter Clines. It is a stand alone novel but if you have read his previous novel “14” you will be pleasantly surprised by some merging stories and characters.

Mike Erikson likes to think of himself as a normal guy… Your average high school teacher. However he has a special ability, a eidetic memory. He is able to remember everything he has ever seen or heard, replaying it exactly like it just happened. His old friend Reggie convinces him to come and work for him, assessing a top secret project. A group of scientists and computer experts have created a doorway that “folds” time and space. Those who walk through the doorway are teleported to a matching doorway somewhere else. However, the doorway isn’t quite what it seems…

I have read some reviews of this book who loved it up until the last third or so of the book, saying that it takes a strange turn and becomes unrecoverable. In some ways I tend to agree. However I suppose because I read 14 (which does the EXACT same thing) I was expecting the specific twists and turns. However I admit I preferred 14.

I enjoyed all the characters in The Fold, however they are quite a similar bunch to the characters in 14. The male main character Mike in The Fold bared some striking similarities in personality to Nate in 14, and the same for the female leading character Jamie, who was very similar to Veek. Arthur was similar to Tim, and the other secondary characters also bared similarities to their counterparts in 14. This wouldn’t be so bad, except for the fact that 14’s characters and storyline were superior. The endings of both were extremely similar and I just wish there was a bit more.

I loved the monsters and creatures in The Fold. They were a bit more detailed and gruesome than they were in 14 and I enjoyed that.

The romance in The Fold was a bit of a let down. I think it was just too similar to 14 because the characters were so alike… It just didn’t do it for me.

Overall I enjoyed the story. The story itself I give 3.5 Stars..

However

What jacked this review up to 4 Stars?? THE NARRATOR!!! Oh my GOSH Ray Porter is a FANTASTIC narrator!!! I am so amazed how good he is! Seriously, there is a reason why he won best narrator for 2015 in the audible awards! When you listen to him, its like you are listening to 12 different people. He is so amazingly talented! I want to go out now and get everything he has ever narrated and listen to it! I am going to miss his voice now I have listened to over 20 hours of him total!

Would I recommend it?

The story? Yes it was a good read, even if it takes you in places most people didn’t want to go towards the end. However the audio version was FANTASTIC despite the story, and I would recommend listening to it to anyone! I think especially those who are new to audio books and get annoyed with monotone narrators, because Ray Porter is NOT ONE!

ADD TO GOODREADS

PURCHASE AUDIOBOOK FROM AUDIBLE

If you like The Fold, you may enjoy:

14

Nimona – Noelle Stevenson

Nimona4 Stars (4 / 5)

There is something wonderfully fun about graphic novels. Something about the art and being able to see the characters adds a whole other dimension to the story. I am continuously amazed at the talent of not only the artists, but the writers who weave complex, utterly amazing storylines into a limited amount of dialogue and pages. Nimona is no exception. Nimona was written and illustrated by Noelle Stevenson. It started off as a serialised web comic, before becoming immensely popular and put into print this year. Although I had never heard of it before I started seeing reviews on GoodReads, I’m glad I gave it a go!  What fun it was!

Our story beings when Nimona announces herself to supervillain Ballister Blackheart, as his new sidekick. When she proceeds to show him that she is actually a shapeshifter and able to shift into any animal, he gladly takes her on. However Nimona has a different way of dealing with the “good guys” than Blackheart (namely murdering them). And our Blackheart is a supervillain with a conscience. So things get a little out of control. Who is Nimona really? And how can Blackheart bring down the institution and his old ‘friend’ Goldenlion without Nimona killing him?

 I can see why this book has gotten a load of fantastic reviews! Its a lot of fun, easy to read and extremely enjoyable. The dialogue is at times hilarious and other times totally grippingly serious. The illustrations of the characters and events are fantastic!

The characters were all great. There weren’t too many crammed in and it made it so easy to get swept up in the story. My favourite part of the book was the relationship between Blackheart and Goldenlion. What pent up frustration and romantic tension there was there! I loved that Blackheart was bad, but good, but bad, and that the good guys were not as good as they let on.

Nimona was the star of the show though. We begin to learn more about her and where she came from… Or do we?

The only thing I didn’t like about it really was it was too short for me! I am an extremely fast reader, even with pictures to keep me occupied it would seem, and it was over way too quickly! But that’s my problem, nothing to do with the book itself!

Extremely entertaining, I would recommend Nimona to any graphic novel fan. Also to graphic novel novices, I think this would be a great introduction.

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Honor’s Knight – Rachel Bach

 

Honor's Knight

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Honor’s Knight is the sequel to the fabulous Fortune’s Pawn, which was one of the best books I have read this year. Unfortunately, like many sequels, it didn’t quite match its predecessor in terms of awesomeness.

Devi is back in Honor’s Knight. She has no memories of most of the events that occurred in the previous novel. She is still on the Glorious Fool, and for some reason whenever she looks at the horrible cook, she feels repulsed and physical nauseated. Yet when she is not looking at his face, she is oddly at peace with him. Will she be able to get her memories back in time to save the universe?

I was disappointed with the balance of action/romance/violence/mystery that this book had compared to the first one. And I got a bit annoyed with her constant thought ramblings… “I don’t like Rupert, I like Rupert, I HATE Rupert, I LOVE Rupert”. There was way too much thought dialogue about trivial things too. And the romance? Lame in comparison to the first one, I was waiting for something to happen. Although I did enjoy the fight scene! And that’s all I’m going to spoil about that particular scene! Lots of fun!

Honor’s Knight still possessed some excellent qualities. The violence and action was awesome. The action never stopped. Her suit was as cool as ever, and I enjoyed the addition of some new characters that were not in the first book. Also as far as storyline goes, it really did expand and answer some questions that were lingering at the completion of the first one.

The audio book was awesome like the first with the same narrator. I have looked to see if the third one is on audiobook. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be, so I am going to have to read the third version with my eyes. This is disappointing because Emily Durante and I are in a narrator/listener groove now that I will miss. So that’s a real bummer.

However, looking forward to reading the last instalment because I want to know what happens.

Would I recommend it?

Yes, ONLY if you have read the first one. It wouldn’t go well as a stand alone. There is SO MUCH backstory you need!

If you like Honor’s Knight you may enjoy:

Fortune's Pawn

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Fortune’s Pawn – Rachel Bach

Fortune's Pawn

5 Stars (5 / 5)

I really should read more sci-fi. I really enjoy it! And Fortune’s Pawn… HOLY MACARONI!!! What a FANTASTIC book! WARNING – ENTHUSIASTIC RANT AHEAD!

Meet Devi! Our smart, strong and BUTT KICKING heroine. Devi is an armoured soldier and leaves her prestigious position to take a security job on the Glorious Fool, a trade ship. For some reason security personnel that serve on this ship tend to do well for themselves, and she is determined to be a devastator – an elite type of armed guard that protect the king himself . The highest position that an armoured guard can get to. And Devi is ambitious. On the Glorious Fool the people she encounters are not what they seem. The Captain is something more than a trader, his daughter is more than a little girl, and the cook is more than a cook. But she has no idea what their secrets are. And she is going to find out and use the information to become a devastator. If she doesn’t die first.

This book was fantastic! My synopsis doesn’t do it justice! Think Firefly, crossed with Battlestar Galactica. It was AMAZING! Mystery, violence, sexual tension, thrills, comedy, aliens, space travel… And this is just the first book!

And the audio book! WOW! Think I have a new favourite. I couldn’t stop listening! I loved every minute of it! Emily Durante did such a fantastic job as the sarcastic mercenary!

Devi is an awesome character. Yes it has a little clichéd powerful Buffy/Alien type thing going on, but I love reading about the awesome strong female character. I loved the dialogue, the fact that she drunk way too much and made mistakes and wasn’t perfect. She is the best female lead character I have read about in a long time!

The romance was fabulous! I have read a few reviews complaining about the large romantic aspect of this novel, but I think it absolutely made it! It still would have been interesting without it, but added an extra dimension that I loved. Plus, I love a good dose of romance and sex in a book!

Another star of the book was Devi’s armoured suit “Lady”. It was almost a character itself. I thought it was so clever and I loved that it was like an extension of her body.

Oh I just loved this book! I’m already into the second!

Would I recommend it?

Yes! For any science fiction fan, and also for sci-fi newbies! Those who want a good, easy to read, fabulous story! And I absolutely recommend the audio version, which is the best one I have listened to so far!

“But fair warning, being drunk doesn’t slow down my head shots.”

ADD TO GOODREADS

  • PURCHASE FORTUNE’S PAWN

AMAZON | AMAZON AU  | AUDIBLE 

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P.A.W.S. – Debbie Manber Kupfer

P.A.W.S.

3.25 Stars (3.25 / 5)

Don’t get me wrong, I love dogs… I grew up with three of them! However, I admit I am a cat person. My cat has been my constant companion and best friend for the past 11 years. So I was excited when I was approached by the author to read this book. Think the Animorphs crossed with Hogwarts and you have P.A.W.S, an entertaining YA paranormal fantasy series.

After the death of her grandmother, Miri is sent to live with her aunt and uncle who send her straight to boarding school. When she is there she discovers that with the help of an amulet left to her by her grandmother, she is able to transform into a cat. With help from a newly acquainted werewolf, she soon escapes to P.A.W.S. the Partners of Animagi, Werewolves and Shapeshifters. There, she begins to learn how to use and enhance her powers and discover some she never knew she had. However, there is conniving evil werewolf after Miri and her amulet, and Miri and all her new friends are in danger.

I enjoyed this easy to read paranormal fantasy. It was easy to read and I enjoyed the premise and the characters. It was quite complex with the different characters and their back stories and I really enjoyed that.

At times it feels like it is geared towards a very young audience, but then there would be a graphic or violent scene and it makes me think it is written for a slightly older audience.

It moved quite quickly, which is not a bad thing, except at times it felt a bit disjointed and I felt the romance between Miri and Danny was rushed and unbelievable. It had no basis, there was just an instant attraction between them, with no tension or explanation really.

I enjoyed Alistair character. He was so evil and really entertaining to read about and I loved the twist about him and his connection with Miri and her mother, although it was predictable.

You gotta love a good shapeshifting story, and CATS!!!

Would I recommend it?

Yes, for fans of quick YA paranormal reads. Looking forward to the sequel to see what happens next.

Many thanks to Debbie Manber Kupfer for a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Debbie grew up in the UK in the East London suburb of Barking. She has lived in Israel, New York and North Carolina and somehow ended up in St. Louis, where for the last 14 years she has worked as a freelance puzzle constructor of word puzzles and logic problems. She lives with her husband, two children and a very opinionated feline. She believes that with enough tea and dark chocolate you can achieve anything!

If you enjoy P.A.W.S you may also enjoy:

What Lies Within

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Beside Myself – Ann Morgan

Beside Myself4 Stars (4 / 5)

I have a feeling that 2016 is going to be the year of the psychological thriller! I can only hope so, Its my favourite genre! Thankfully I managed to score an advanced copy of this little beauty Beside Myself, and I loved it!

Helen and Ellie are identical twins. There was a complication at birth and the cord was wrapped around Ellie’s neck for an extended period of time and because of this she wasn’t quite right. Sickly, and mentally slow compared to her sister, Ellie lived in Helens shadow. One day they decided to play a trick on everyone and swapped places. After managing to fool everybody, even their mother, Helen wanted to swap back. However Ellie refused, SHE was Helen now. After nobody believes her, and after encountering a lot of bad luck, Helen (Now Ellie…. Or is she??) has to live her life as someone she isn’t. And things don’t go well for her. Now after many years, her sister is in a coma following an accident. Will she wake up? Will Helen ever get her real life back? Or is it even hers?

The premise of this book was what grabbed me, that and the spooky cover. Twins are always interesting to read about. Being an only child myself I can only imagine what it would be like to have a sibling who is so physically similar to you. It was interesting to read about their connection.

I’m not sure if I would say this book is particularly thrilling as such, but the thrills come from reading about life from Ellies perspective. Her mental illness comes through so strongly in the writing of this book, it is really well done. The dark mood is also another thing that grabbed me about Beside Myself. You quickly get caught up in the depressing state that Ellie’s life is now in, and get totally captivated with reading how she got to this point and what happens next.

I thought the ending was fantastic. There was a revelation that I was not expecting. However the book itself was quite slow moving in places. I understand a bit of a slower pace was needed to set the scene, however it almost got to dragging point for a little while about 60% in. But then it started to pick up again, and I devoured the rest.

I have a thing about medical inaccuracies in novels. It drives me nuts. And there were a few scenes in the hospital that I picked up on. Especially the one where Helen was speaking with a breathing tube in which is impossible and a common medical mistake in a few novels I have read, however I also noticed that because of the tone of that scene it could be argued that Ellie was imagining it.  Which makes it alright I guess. Didn’t stop me from enjoying it overall though!

It was written really well, and I loved all the characters. Ellie (or Helen… Or is it Ellie?) was such a great leading character. Such an interesting story. It jumped back and forth in time with each chapter, which confused me at the beginning but I quickly got used to it.

Would I recommend Beside Myself?

Yes, for any psychological thriller fan!

Thanks to author Ann Morgan and the publisher Bloomsbury via NetGalley for an advanced copy in exchange for my review.

If you enjoy Beside Myself, you may enjoy:

Little Black Lies    the girl with no past    Baby Please Don't Go

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Welcome to Temptation – Jennifer Crusie

Welcome to Temptation

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Welcome to Temptation was SO MUCH FUN! Romance is one of my guilty pleasures to read… Predominantly a thriller fan at heart, I still admittedly LOVE a good romance novel. This one was just great! Totally over the top and corny, but such good escapism!

Sophie and her sister Amy travel to the small town of Temptation to film a movie for a hollywood star Clea, who  grew up there. On the way they crash into another car, and that is the beginning of their troubles. There is way too much to go into in detail, but Sophie soon starts falling for the town mayor Phin, her sister starts falling for the town cop, her delinquient brother shows up, Cleo’s ex husband shows up causing trouble, someone shows up dead, Sophie inadvertently ends up making a porn film, and on top of all that, someone is trying to kill her!

I’m surprised I enjoyed this so much. I have read only one other book by Crusie, Bet Me, and I must have been one of the only people on the planet who read that and was less than impressed! But I liked the premise of this one, and it shows up on peoples favourite romance lists all around the world so it was about time I read it.

I couldn’t source a copy (reasonably priced that is) so ended up opting to use up a credit on audible. Glad I did, the audio version was great! At first I didn’t like AAsne Vigesaa’s seemingly monotone voice, however I’m not sure if it was her voice or my annoyance that shifted, but soon I was absolutely hooked! I loved her rendition of all the characters, especially Clea!

I think it is the quirkiness that got me in this book. All of these over the top, out of control situations had me laughing out loud! I just loved the witty dialogue between the characters. I loved Sophie, and the tension between her and Phin. I also enjoyed reading about the town. Temptation felt like a character of its own with all its fun residents and events. Don’t think I would have wanted to live there though.

I do have criticisms, it was a little long, and I had a bit of a problem with the male lead Phin and his attitude, but I was easily able to just forget about the things that were annoying me, and just enjoy the fun!

Would I recommend it?

Yes for the ADULT romance fans! This book ain’t for the youngins!! Quite a few steamy scenes!

If you enjoyed Welcome to Temptation, you may enjoy:

Spotless    Beating Ruby

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The Sun In Her Eyes – Paige Toon

The sun in her eyes

4.25 Stars (4.25 / 5)

I enjoy women’s fiction, but it is not my favourite genre. Its not often I get totally engrossed in it. But today, I couldn’t put this book down. Every second that my son had his eyes closed today, my eyes were buried in this novel. Thank goodness he still has a day nap! When he was awake and we were going about our day, I was still thinking about it, and I picked it up again as soon as he went to bed tonight to finish it! I thought it was great.

Amber is 29 and living in London with her husband Ned and their relationship has been going through a turbulent time. She gets a phone call from her fathers girlfriend telling Amber that her father has had a stroke and she needs to come home to Adelaide, Australia. In the same morning she had just been made redundant, and with no work commitments, she hurries on a plane, alone. When she reaches Adelaide she has to confront her father’s condition, her wicked step mother, and the man she has been in love with since she was eight years old. Amber is forced to evaluate her life and discover if the grass really is greener on the other side..?

Now I didn’t particularly like the main character Amber. I thought some (ok most) of her decisions were stupid and there was more than one occasion that I wanted to slap her across the face and scream “WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?”. But she was so READABLE! Even though I didn’t like her, I was totally hooked and immersed in her life! I was FORCED to like her by the author DAMMIT! I really didn’t want to!

The beauty in this novel is the way it is written. The way the flawed characters pulled at the heartstrings and how the relationships twist and turn. I have read novels with similar themes and premises that just fell totally flat in comparison. I am so excited to take a look at the authors other novels which I have heard are as good, if not superior to this one.

The interactions between the characters and the budding chemistry and humour was so enjoyable, however at times it dragged a little bit for me. But don’t let that turn you off this book, I am a thriller junkie so I think I get frustrated at a slower pace than most people would, especially big fans of women’s fiction.

Overall I thought it was fantastic.

Would I recommend it?

Absolutely for any romance/womens fiction fan. I think you will really enjoy the superb writing and extremely likeable characters.

Thanks to Paige Toon via NetGalley for a copy of The Sun In Her Eyes to read and review!

If you enjoy The Sun In Her Eyes, you may enjoy:

Romance 50's Style    image

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