Author

Mel

Hi my name is Mel. I'm from Sydney, Australia and I am a mother of one (so far). This blog is just a collaboration of my favourite things, reading, being a mummy, and just being. Hope you enjoy!

Mean Streak – Sandra Brown

Mean Streak – Sandra Brown

Mean Streak

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Oh Sandra Brown! Good ol’ trusty reliable Sandra Brown. Always a good read! No exceptions for this gripping romantic thriller with its twists and turns and steamy love scenes. I really enjoyed it.

While training for a marathon in the freezing conditions of the North American wilderness, Dr Emery Charbonneau loses consciousness and wakes in a cabin with a head injury, being nursed back to health by a rugged and extremely mysterious man. However, mystery man isnt giving even giving her his name, and is refusing to take her back to civilisation. What does he want from her? Was it him that knocked her out? Who is after him? Why is he hiding? And why can’t she stop thinking naughty thoughts about him?

I really enjoyed the story and the twists and turns. But I have to say it. I HATED mystery man’s twist. His reasons for hiding out were just such an anti-climax that I had to deduct a whole star.

Otherwise I enjoyed the character development. The romance was entirely unbelievable, but that was the fun of it! There were some steamy scenes, and I absolutely loved the other twists that took me by surprise.

The medical information that was in the book was well researched which I appreciated. The nurse in me approved which is always good! It had quite a lot of violence and action scenes which were also well done. If it weren’t for that awful twist involving mystery man, I would have rated it higher.

The audio version was fantastic, I really enjoyed the narration.

Would I recommend Mean Streak?

Yes it was a great romantic suspense. A solid 4 stars! Typical reliable Sandra Brown! One day I will read all of her books!

Mean Streak was purchased by myself, at my own expense at audible.com


If you enjoy Mean Streak you may also enjoy:

White Hot      To die for

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My Not So Perfect Life – Sophie Kinsella

My Not So Perfect Life – Sophie Kinsella

My not so perfect life

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Sophie Kinsella is a reliable go to for amusing and mindless entertaining chic lit. Just what I was looking for after reading a few heavy thrillers and being in the mood for something lighthearted. I wanted to laugh, and giggle, and I was not disappointed.

Katie, or “Kat” as she wants to be known now, is living her dream, working in London at a branding company. She is extremely positive despite her long morning commutes, mediocre paying job, and frustrating, yet utterly brilliant boss. So when she gets the flick from her job, everything comes crashing down and she is forced to move back home to the country and help her father and his wife with a new glamping business. Meanwhile her boss Demeter brings her family glamping and funniness ensues.

Look, its not going to win any prestigious literary awards, but My Not So Perfect Life was a fun read. The audio version kept me entertained and I really enjoyed the writing and humour. I thought that perhaps it was a bit tedious in places, and especially around the end at least an hour could have been cut out of it. But having said that it was a sweet story, a cute romance… It was exactly what I was in the mood for reading.

I really liked the glamping part of the story, it was something different and I enjoyed listening to them getting everything ready and entertaining the guests. I guess it was just something I haven’t often read about.

The narrator was really good in this one. I loved her voice and her accent and thought she played all the parts perfectly. Especially Demeter. I also enjoyed how the romance was a bit of a slow burn, and all the missunderstandings that went along with it.

Would I recommend My Not So Perfect Life?

Absolutely, it was a really fun contemporary chic lit and I will probably go back to it again when I feel like a few laughs.

I purchased My Not So Perfect Life at my own expense on audible.com


If you enjoy My Not So Perfect Life, you may enjoy:

Paris Is Always A Good Idea   Welcome to Temptation

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One for the Money – Janet Evanovich

One for the Money (Stephanie Plum #1) – Janet Evanovich (1994)

One for the Money

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

One for the money is one of those popular books that it seems everyone has read except me. So when I was going through a reading slump and couldn’t get into any book that I started reading, I thought I would try this one. Its been on my to read pile for SO LONG. I decided to go the audio version. And I made it through!

Stephanie Plum gets sacked from her job and being desperate, approaches her cousin for a job at his bounty hunter business. Originally intending to go for a filing job she takes up bounty hunting when she sees that she can get a cool 10k for bringing in a particular suspect who has jumped bail. However, the subject is ex cop Joe Morelli who had a fling with once when they were teenagers. So with a trusty gun and the help of a few friends to navigate through the biz, she is on her way to catching the suspect. However she gets herself into a bit of trouble with a psychotic stalker first, and ends up relying on the very person she is meant to bring in. And of course, sparks.

I get it. I really do. Back in 1995 this would have been a great book. Amazing even. But now, in the 2010’s, it is full of inappropriate sexism, sexual harassment masked as “sexual tension”, annoying characters, and bad fashion that belongs back in the 90’s.

Having said that, I can look past all of that and put myself back in the 1990’s and appreciate this book for what it is, an entertaining read that you can just enjoy without getting too much into it.

Sure, Stephanie Plum may be a touch on the annoying side, but for the 90’s, she is kick ass.

I loved the fact that there are no mobile phones, and technology feels like it belongs back in the stone ages. And hey, it may be interesting to see what Stephanie got herself up to in the next 20 years, with the 24th instalment of the series having just been released last year.

The audio version was pretty good. There are two different ones apparently and I chose the more recent. Although reviews for the latter one seem to be better from what I have seen.

Would I recommend One for the Money?

Yes, I think so. Although you may need to ask me after a few more books.

I purchased One for the Money at my own expense at audible.com


If you enjoy One for the Money, you may enjoy:

To die for   Orphan X

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The Last Laugh – Tracy Bloom

The Last Laugh – Tracy Bloom (2018)

The Last Laugh

4.25 Stars (4.25 / 5)

Bittersweet! That’s the main word that pops into my mind when I think about this book. So sad yet so joyful and lovely. Devastating, yet uplifting. I haven’t read many non-psychological thrillers from bookouture, but they have hit the mark on the head with every genre it seems!

On the day Jenny finds out she has terminal cancer, she finds out her husband is screwing a leggy blonde. Talk about a bad day. So in order to make herself feel alive again, she organises a huge party. Just like the ones she had in her 20’s. She invites all her family and old friends to come along. What transpires is a lovely story of reconciliation, moving through regrets, and of love.

To be honest when I started this book I didn’t like it. I thought that Jenny was a complete dill. How could she act so blaze about a terminal cancer diagnosis. And I couldn’t relate to her not being able to tell anyone about it. But as I kept reading I began to warm to her and the other characters, and by 3/4 through I was laughing out loud.

I really started to enjoy the characters and the dialogue. Although I couldn’t help but feel like her husband was a complete bastard, I was even warming to him by the end. Impending death puts everything into perspective I guess.

The main thing I was surprised about was how much I was thinking about this book after I finished. Not only thinking about the actual book, but thinking about the main theme – How important it is to enjoy your life right now. How you shouldn’t wait to mend relationships and how you should always try to be happy, even when life is really REALLY crappy. I like to think of myself as a pretty upbeat, easy going person. I have seen quite a few people die (occupational hazard of being a nurse I guess…) But I don’t know how I would handle this if it happened to me.

Would I recommend The Last Laugh?

Absolutely. It was a quick, entertaining and upsetting in a good way. Death is a part of life, and I really enjoyed and appreciated this perspective. Great book!

Many thanks to author Tracy Bloom and Bookouture via NetGalley for a copy of The Last Laugh for me to review. The last Laugh will be available for purchase from the 23rd February from: AMAZON | AMAZON AU


If you enjoy The Last Laugh, you may enjoy:

Paris Is Always A Good Idea   The Sun In Her Eyes

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To Die For – Linda Howard

To Die For (Blair Mallory #1) – Linda Howard (2004)

To die for

2 Stars (2 / 5)

Good audio funny romance” I asked Google… TO DIE FOR – LINDA HOWARD! Was an overwhelming response… Next time I won’t ask Google. This book started off well enough, I actually was enjoying it. And then it took a turn and couldn’t recover.

Blair Mallory is a confident blonde bombshell with an inner monologue to put any angsty teen to shame. She is a successful woman with her life nicely organised, running her own gym and driving her Mercedes convertible. Until someone who looks exactly like her is found dead outside her gym. Then she soon realises someone is out to kill her. Enter lieutenant Wyatt Bloodsworth, to help her find the killer, and of course re-ignite some mega sparks that he has with Blair left over from a few years earlier.

So, I enjoyed the first few hours of the audio version. I quite liked the narrator and the cute southern drawl. I enjoyed the banter between the characters and even though it was corny, I was enjoying the story and Blair’s character. That is, until she got together with her man and all of a sudden it became the most annoying thing I’ve ever listened to. No woman complains that much. Her stupid and pathetic behaviour was laughable, yet I found myself listening on because I wanted to know who was out to get her.

And then, when we finally do discover the perpetrator, it was the biggest and stupidest climax to a book I can remember reading (or listening to in this case). I literally cringed! Ekk! Yet if the book had just cut out about 3 hours of her jabbering about her stupid thoughts, I would have enjoyed it a lot more.

And Ms Howard! What on earth was with the sexism?? It was everywhere! So painful. This one was a definite miss from me.

Would I recommend To Die For?

Nope, some of her others are much better!

I purchased the audio version of To Die For at my own expense via audible.com

 


If you enjoy To Die For, you may enjoy:

Spotless   

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Red Rising – Pierce Brown

Red Rising (Red Rising #1) – Pierce Brown

Red Rising

3 Stars (3 / 5)

I love a good bandwagon. Nothing I love more than getting all swept up in the hype for a popular book, and get excited along with others about how fantastic it is and how much better my life is because I read it! This is what was made pretty clear would happen when I read Red Rising – with its 4.26 average on goodreads which is AMAZING! But. Alas. I was not so swept up. Not quite so excited.

Without giving too much away, because the plot is such an important thing, and there are so many big twists and turns that I don’t want to ruin for anyone… But the central character Darrow, is a ‘Red’. Reds are pretty much the lowest of the low class, and the colours increase in class until we reach the ‘golds’ who are the top of the food chain. So Darrow and his wife are living a pretty miserable existence underneath in the mines of Mars. Darrow is a “helldiver” or miner of Helium 3 which is being collected so that one day Mars will be able to be terra-formed and people will be able to live on the surface. So we get to know a little bit about Darrow and his life and then some bad things happen and suddenly he is plummeted into a matrix-take-the-red-pill type of situation where he finds out the horrible truth of the actual real world. So eventually Darrow is taken in by a group who want to bring down the class system, so they make him a gold. Thus begins an epic hunger games type of situation, where ‘gold’ Darrow has to fight for his life in order to rise up the social system, to bring the whole thing crashing down.

I listened to the audio version by Tim Gerald Reynolds, which I thought would be weird considering I had just finished the fabulous Riyria Rising trilogy also narrated by Reynolds. But he puts on a bit of an irish-like accent in this one which made his voice almost unrecognisable. So it was no problem. His singing was a bit of a problem though… I am sure it is more the song than the voice.

I would class it is a cross between the wool series, the hunger games and divergent series, with a bit of other dystopian YA books thrown in there too. Although I’m not sure why this is classed as YA. There is NOTHING YA about it.

So, its quite an intricate plot, and I went into it knowing absolutely NOTHING about the book, except for how great it is supposed to be. So was pretty surprised with the epic hunger games situation which I was not totally expecting.
Its a enriched world that Mr Brown creates, and he does a good job about it. The whole book is well written, filled with extensive character development and vivid scenery. It has lots of blood and gore, action, betrayal, twists and turns, ups and downs. So why then? Why was I not so caught up in this one?

Without the haters getting all “BUT THIS IS MY FAVOURITE BOOK! F*** YOU MEL!”, I would like to disclaim that this is just MY opinion. And we can’t all like the same book! No hate mail please!

Darrow. I had major issues with Darrow. The first being, how on earth he could have been 16 years old. Just like one of my favourite fantasy novels Six of Crows, I had to willingly and purposely PRETEND that he was older so I could enjoy reading about him at all. I get that he kind of had to be that young in order for the story to progress, it just didn’t work. I couldn’t take it seriously, and it was an issue for me whenever I thought about it – so I pretended he was 25 year old Darrow, and even then it was a bit of a stretch, but it worked better for me.

The whinging. Yes, I get it. You’re all angst-y. “I’m really a red, bloody damn it!”. Yes. I get it. I don’t want to hear about it anymore. OH MY GOD HERE HE GOES WHINGING AGAIN! I did listen to the audio version, so perhaps the narration didn’t help with the angst situation, but BLOODY DAMN I was annoyed with him constantly whinging. I actually started listening to the second book too and it is STILL going on! I actually had to stop.

The women. Women in this book are pretty much objects that the male characters get to rape. The reds, rape. The gold’s in the game, rape. Rape everywhere. Even though there were a couple of stronger female characters, they were still at risk of – yup you guessed it, rape. I found it really unnecessary and almost offensive. I understand that its a tough world that they live in, but enough with the raping and pillaging already! And if they weren’t being raped, they were being spoken to or about like trash. It left a bad taste in my mouth.

I was somewhat conflicted. There were some things I really did enjoy about the book. I loved some parts even! Some of the twists were really clever, others were quite predictable. I really enjoyed how he wrote the novel and as you were reading (or listening to in my case), it was like you were listening to a book about war. I appreciated that. I really did. I just didn’t enjoy the book as a whole as much as I was hoping to.

Anyway that’s enough I think. I didn’t find it a bad book. 3 is still a good rating. And perhaps I’m overly critical because I was expecting so much. I don’t know. I am glad I read it. And I will eventually get to the second one after a bit of a break with books that aren’t quite so full on for a while.

Would I recommend Red Rising?

I think its definitely one that you have to experience if you enjoy this kind of fantasy, survival, dystopian sci fi type thing. You might be just like the majority and think it is the best book ever!

I purchased Red Rising at my own expense on audible.com


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Broadcast – Liam Brown

Broadcast – Liam Brown

Broadcast

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

Those who know me know that I am a little bit addicted to YouTube. Every day in short gaps of time that I have (too short to grab a book), I watch short videos on YouTube. I like to think I know who all the biggest YouTube stars are and am subscribed to the biggest channels. Also my absolute FAVOURITE Netflix show is ‘Black Mirror’. So when I read the words “YouTube” and “Black Mirror” in the description of this book I had to see what it was all about.

Minor online celebrity David is approached by a massive technology company to participate in an all new social media concept known as “MindCast”. Every thought and feeling will be streamed live online. Non stop. Initially slightly reluctant, David decides to go ahead and have the MindCast brain implant. This is when things start getting crazy. He suddenly becomes the worlds biggest celebrity. But there is a price to pay for all the attention, and ZERO privacy with his thoughts.

Fantastic concept for a book! I loved that it was futuristic, but at the same time not too far off some sort of reality. It was interesting to see how the fame and constant lack of any kind of privacy got to David.

David himself is a good character. I would say he is quite dislikeable and vain, but throughout the book and with the massive weight that is on his shoulders, you cant help feeling a bit sorry for the poor bugger. By the end of it though I was feeling a bit less sorry for him…

Ok, it was right up my alley, a great concept and I enjoyed the tale of the main character. So why did I not give it a higher rating? Part of the problem for me was the ending. It just didn’t do it for me. I saw the twists coming, and when it ended I felt a bit let down.

The story itself flowed, but became a bit dry by the end. I wanted a bit more grit. A bit more oomph. A few things were left unexplained and I was left overall feeling slightly unsatisfied. HOWEVER, still a fun read!

Would I recommend Broadcast?

Yes I really enjoyed the subject matter. Although I didn’t give it the highest rating, it was still enjoyable and if you like YouTube and social media, you will most probably enjoy it too!

Thanks to the author Liam Brown via NetGalley for a copy of Broadcast to review.


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Heir of Novron – Michael J. Sullivan

Heir of Novron (Ryira Revelations #3&4) – Michael J. Sullivan

5 Stars (5 / 5)

Surprisingly it didn’t take me long to get through this huge conclusion to the adventures of Hadrian and Royce. And I must say it was my favourite of the trilogy.

What DOESN’T happen in this epic adventure! A captured princess, an enslaved empress, a magical horn and a dangerous adventure to a lost magical city. Twists and turns, romance, ups and downs… a fantastic read! How could I NOT give it 5 stars!?

I must admit, I did see a fair few of the twists coming, especially the BIG ones! But it didn’t stop the goosebumps from happening.

Loved the romance in this one. It was a slow burn, but ultimately very satisfying.

The main plot and subplots are so well done. Really well written and extremely enjoyable. There is so much humour from the majority of the characters and there was numerous occasions where I burst out laughing.

Again Arista is my favourite character. I just think she is amazing. And yet again, the boys Royce and Hadrian make the most entertaining duo.

I really enjoyed the audio version. Even though I could have read it in paper format at least 3x as quick, there is something wonderful about a good fantasy book done well in audio. It holds my attention slightly more than other genres. And I knew I would enjoy this one as I loved the first two with the same narrator.

Would I recommend Heir of Novron?

Absolutely! I think this would be a perfect series to begin with if you are not too familiar with fantasy, or just a lot of fun if you are!

I purchased Heir of Novron at my own expense through audible.com


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The Night Stalker – Robert Bryndza

  1. The Night Stalker (Detective Erika Forster #2) – Robert Bryndza

The Night Stalker

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Oh Bookouture…. I think you are my absolute favourite publishers… Another great read!!

A great second instalment in the adventures of Erika Foster. I really enjoyed the girl in the ice, and am happy that there are a few more to get through in this series.

Erika and her delightful team are back solving murders and catching serial killers. When a doctor is found dead in his bedroom, naked, and with a plastic bag over his head, it’s up to them to piece the clues together and find the killer.

Great series, however not my favourite thriller series. Not sure if it’s something about slightly broody damaged female characters that has me a bit bored at the moment. Perhaps I need to step away from the genre for a while.

Having said that, it’s a solid thriller that will keep any thriller fan happy, lots of twists and turns, great secondary characters, a bit of blood and guts, violence and all together a great book that makes for some very entertaining reading! Not enough romance for my enjoyment, but yes, I know. She’s lost her husband recently. I get the no romance…

Would I recommend The Night Stalker?

Yup! Any thriller fan would enjoy this quick entertaining read!

Many thanks to the author and bookouture via netgalley for a copy of The Night Stalker in exchange for an honest review.

 


If you enjoyed The Night Stalker, you may enjoy:

Daisy in Chains

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Play Dead – Angela Marsons

Play Dead (D.I. Kim Stone #4) – Angela Marsons (2016)

Play Dead

4 Stars (4 / 5)

I like this series, I really do. But I don’t LOVE it. It doesn’t stay with me like some other series. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s Kim’s character, it’s defiantly not the writing which is great. I really can’t put my finger on it. But I do enjoy it, and for thriller fans this 4th novel surely will not disappoint.

Yes there is yet another serial killer, and it’s up to Miss Congeniality Kim and her team to figure out the pieces and put the puzzle together before more people die.

What I really did like about this one was the setting. Utterly fascinating! I never even knew that there were such things as “body farms” but of course it makes total sense. How do the scientists know how long it takes bodies to decompose in numerous settings? Because they test it! Of course! What an original idea for a setting, I was so impressed with it, even though, ewww gross!

I just don’t enjoy reading about Kim for some reason. I get she has issues and is all broody because of that, but she annoys me more often than not. I like the other characters, even though I wish there was a bit more spark.

It was a good story, but again, I figured out the twist too early. But I still enjoyed it.

Would I recommend Play Dead?

Yes absolutely! Even though the series doesn’t stay with me, it is a good thriller series that every thriller fan will surely enjoy. I will certainly read the others and have no doubt I will enjoy them too.

Big thanks to the author via netgalley for a copy of Play Dead for me to review.

 


If you enjoy Play Dead, you may enjoy:

   The Girl In The Ice   Little Black Lies

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