Posted in Book Reviews

The Summer House by Jenny Hale

I loved the The Summer House as it was filled with intrigue, romance, friendship and family secrets.

summer houseCallie Weaver and her best friend, Olivia decide it’s time for fresh start and invest in a beach house.  Their plan is to renovate and open the house as a bed & breakfast at North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Whilst out getting some lunch one day, Callie unexpectedly meets local heartthrob, Luke Sullivan.  She finds herself drawn to him, despite feeling that a relationship is the furthest thing from her mind.

During the renovation process, Callie and Olivia come across an old diary belonging to the previous owner.  The diary is full of past secrets, with the potential to affect lives in the present.  They decide to give it to the owner’s brother to see what he wants to do with it.

What a perfect summer holiday read!  I loved the way that the author handled the story.  The setting was gorgeous and easy to visualise.  The characters were well developed and likeable.  I could easily imagine the seaside village and the characters.  I enjoyed the suspense that played out alongside the sweet romance when old secrets were revealed.

I was happy to discover that Luke, although coming from a wealthy family, wasn’t a “spoilt rich boy”.  Instead, he turned out to be a caring, helpful and very likeable character.  I found myself really rooting for Luke and Callie’s happily ever after.

This was an enjoyable and entertaining read, which I would recommend to anyone looking for a “time to chill and read” experience.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

This feel-good book deserves

Posted in Book Reviews

Geekerella by Ashley Poston

Ahh….who doesn’t like a feel-good story.  I loved Geekerella!

geekerellaGeekerella is a modern day Cinderella tale starring Elle Wittimer, a geeky 17 year old, who feels like she doesn’t belong anywhere.  She is orphaned when her father dies and forced into virtual slave labour by her demanding stepmother and twin stepsisters.  Elle escapes her bleak reality by losing herself in the fantasy world of Starfield, an old TV show, which she used to watch with her dad.  She even writes extensively about all things Starfield on her blog, Rebelgunner.

Elle discovers that her favourite show is being remade into a film.  She is extremely disappointed to find that Darien Freeman, a soap star, will be playing Federation Prince Carmindor.

Elle hears that the producers of Starfield are hosting a CosPlay contest, which she is desperate to win as it could be her ticket to a brighter and better future for herself.  She has been scrimping and saving behind her stepmother’s back so that she can pay for her ExcelsiCon ticket and expenses.

Elle works part-time on the Magic Pumpkin food truck with Sage, her green-haired, best friend, who helps her on her quest to go to ExcelsiCon.  Sage, together with Elle’s newfound text “friend”, embolden her to open up and take charge of her life.

Meanwhile, Darien is reluctant about having to participate in this year’s ExcelsiCon as the “true” Starfield fans have written him off as just another shallow heartthrob, totally unsuitable to play Carmindor.  What they don’t know is that Darien is a closet nerd and a Starfield super fan.  Under pressure from his father, Darien is frustrated by the constant burden of having to maintain his superstar image.  He really just wants to be himself.  He wants someone in his life, who will understand and support him without judgement.  Someone like the girl he’s been texting, by accident at first, but it feels right as he can be himself with her – except he can’t reveal his identity.

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Conclusion

This book pays homage to the fandom culture and I highly recommend it.  I was charmed by the references to Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, amongst others.  The Cinderella retelling made me feel nostalgic and happy.

This book helps us to understand that we are all unique and deserve to be loved.  We discovered how much the characters learnt about themselves and despite being scared, they were brave enough to stand up for what they believed in and what they wanted.

The advice then is:  You have a voice, so use it to stand up for yourself.  This is your life.  Take charge and unlock your potential.  Surround yourself with people who care about you and distance yourself from those who seek to trample all over you.  You also deserve a happy ending.

This feel-good book deserves

Thanks to NetGalley and Quirk Books for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in Book Reviews

Beneath a Burning Sky by Jenny Ashcroft

I enjoyed Beneath a Burning Sky.  This intriguing historical novel takes place in two locations, one being England and the other being Egypt.

burning skyThe main character, Olivia, 22 years old, is coerced into marriage by her grandmother to a cruel and abusive man known as Alistair Sheldon.  She relocates to Egypt with him and is happily reunited with her sister, Clara.  She is treated atrociously by Alistair and inadvertently develops feelings for her husband’s boarder, Captain Edward Bertram, when he befriends her.

Amidst all the tension, Clara is kidnapped when they visit the city.  The reason behind this abduction is unclear and Olivia does her utmost to find her, despite all the obstructions put in her path.

Without spoiling it for you, I can say that this is a thrilling and deeply intriguing story with plenty of action, romance and suspense, predominantly set in Egypt during the 19th century.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys this genre.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.

Posted in Book Reviews

The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

“In a world of etiquette and polite masks, no one is who they seem to be.”

The Beautiful Ones reads like a classic novel with a paranormal twist.

beautiful onesThis beautifully written story is all about Hector Auvrey and Nina Beaulieu. Hector is out to exact revenge on the woman who broke his heart. Nina is a socially awkward young girl, who unwittingly falls in love in Hector.  She later finds out that she was being deceived.

The story is told from the perspectives of three very different characters: Hector, Nina, and Valerie. Hector is a telekinetic “talent”, previously impoverished, now a wealthy well-known stage performer. He has spent a decade pining for his first love.  Valerie, the antagonist of the novel, is a bitter, jealous woman, who was guilted into marriage to a wealthy man by her family.  Valerie resents Nina, her cousin by marriage, who has the social freedom that she never had. She is naive and somewhat impulsive.  Nina, like Hector, is telekinetic, and her uncontrolled displays have rendered her a social nuisance.

I don’t want to spoil the story for you.  What I can say is that you won’t regret reading this fascinating book.  I was enchanted by this elegantly written novel filled with vibrant, captivating characters.  I found the tension between the characters gripping and authentic.  I didn’t want this story to end!

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for providing me with this ARC.

This book deserves

Posted in Book Reviews

The Agony of Bun O’Keefe by Heather Smith

“Set in 1980s Newfoundland, The Agony of Bun O’Keefe is the story of a 14-year-old girl who runs away to the city and is taken in by a street musician who lives with an eclectic cast of characters: a pot smoking dishwasher with culinary dreams; a drag queen with a tragic past; a Catholic school girl desperately trying to reinvent herself; and a man who Bun is told to avoid at all cost.”

agony bun

Bun is fourteen and it’s 1986.  She has lived almost her entire life in a junk filled house with her hoarder mother.  Bun is kicked out of her home with no money and nowhere to go.  She finds a place to stay with a motley group of twenty-somethings.  Now maybe she can finally learn how to find her own way in life.

The Agony of Bun O’Keefe is a well written and interesting read. Smith has a unique style and Bun is a quirky and interesting character.  All the characters are real and engaging.

The plot is fascinating. Bun deals with love, loss, numbness all while trying to find her way in life. She has some interesting coping mechanisms, which you will read about in this story.

Smith deals with difficult subjects like abuse, AIDs, and prostitution in an appropriate way. The ultimate message here is about how to deal with real family and what it means to choose your own family. This leaves you feeling a little sad, yet uplifted at the same time.

I think that this book will be enjoyed by teens and adults alike. The Agony of Bun O’Keefe is a fresh and fascinating story.  I’m sure that you will enjoy it as much as I have.

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This book deserves

Posted in Book Reviews

Demon Leap (The Specials #1) by Tricia Owens

I really enjoyed this paranormal thriller!  Demon Leap is a uniquely interesting and imaginative story that will have you mesmerized from page 1 right up until the end.  The characters are well written and interesting.

demon leapThe main character is Arrow and she’s driven to expose the government conspiracy of how her parents and thousands of others died in the War.  To do so, Arrow has to align herself with dangerous criminals known as the Specials.  “They are magic misfits and criminals, recruited and blackmailed to fill ordinary positions within the Sinistera Hotel.”

Arrow is a magically highly skilled person with some very important secrets. Her grandmother, one of the warriors that fought against the demons in the War, is now hidden away in a nursing home.  Her mind was broken by government methods to strengthen her magical abilities and Arrow pays for her care and medication, which isn’t cheap.

Arrow is framed for a couple of murders and finds herself in a situation where she has to take a job at ‘The Sinistera Hotel’.  This is a scary place where the majority of the inhabitants are menacing and dangerous criminals. She is given the position of head of security, a job she is not quite sure that she is capable of.  However, The hotel is the only place where she might just have the chance to survive if the residents or the other Specials (people like her) don’t take her out first.

This is an exciting and fast paced story.  Arrow is an engaging and interesting character and I enjoyed her interaction with the other characters in this book.

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I am looking forward to exploring the rest of this series as it has intrigued me. I love the author’s style of writing and I really enjoyed the excitement and intrigue of this story.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read this book in return for an honest review.

This book deserves

Posted in Book Reviews

The Dating Game by Avril Tremayne

Thank you to Netgalley and HarperCollins UK/HQ Digital for The Dating Game in exchange for an honest review.

Although this is a sequel (and I haven’t read Book 1), The Dating Game reads fine as a standalone.

dating gameI really enjoyed The Dating Game.  It is a heart-warming, sexy, romantic tale full of suspense and miscommunication between couples.

Firstly, we have the agreement between Sarah and David, which makes for an excellent storyline, and their chemistry makes for an interesting read.  Sarah agrees to model for David as a portrait model and in return, he will provide her with dating advice since her current success rate is dismal. She has set a goal of keeping a love interest for 3 weeks and 1 day in an effort to break the dating curse she feels she has.

Sarah and David are attracted to each other from the beginning, but Sarah won’t act on it because she thinks that Lane might still have an interest in David and she doesn’t want to break the girl code with one of her best friends. However, David doesn’t care about Lane, and is relatively indifferent to Sarah’s desire to keep their arrangement secret. Eventually, Sarah and David do what people do in romances and unwillingly fall in love.

Sarah feels guilty about avoiding Lane and Erica and decides to come clean about what she’s been doing. Once this is done, she and David agree that he will be the person to break her curse and they will date for 3 weeks and 1 day.  They do this with the clear understanding that they are secretly in love with one another. To makes matters worse, David has serious personal relationship baggage and, at the end of the best 3 weeks and 1 day contract ever, he leaves Sarah! So frustrating! What will happen next?

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This is an easy addictive read and I really enjoyed it. Now, I need to find the first book in the series and see exactly what went down between Adam (Sarah’s brother) and Lane.

This book deserves

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The Silk Weaver’s Wife by Debbie Rix

Thank you, Bookouture, for inviting me to read this fabulous book:  The Silk Weaver’s Wife by Debbie Rix.

silk weaver's wifeI really enjoyed this authentic portrayal of silk weaving history meeting silk weaving present.  The author does an amazing job of interweaving the stories to make this an emotional and entertaining read.

I highly recommend that you take a moment and read this wonderful book, which transported me to the past and then brought me back to the present in a thought provoking and memorable way.

The Silk Weaver’s Wife is set in two different time periods – silk weaving in 1704 and 2017.  Anastasia is the main character in 1704 and her family is headed by a very difficult father with a gambling problem. She has fallen in love with Marco but it appears that her father has different plans for her and forces her to marry someone else, who treats her very badly.  Her story is absolutely devastating but attests to her strength of character.

The author incorporated lots of fascinating historical facts relating to travel, silk weaving, and fabric design as well as art, which lends interest to the chapters relating to 1704.

The chapters of 2017 speak of Millie, who is the main character.  A journalist, who finds herself in an unsatisfactory romantic relationship with her married boss.  She is given the opportunity to write a feature in Italy, exploring the silk weaving history of a particular area.  A little romance wouldn’t go amiss either…

 

Debbie Rix is skilled at interfacing the past with the present throughout this storyline.  I really enjoyed waiting for the stories to unfold chapter by chapter.  I was sorry when the story came to an end as I was enthralled from start to finish.  This is an extremely well written, emotive, fascinating and authentic historical read.  I’m sure that you’ll enjoy as much as I did.  I LOVED this book!

I’ve definitely found a new favourite author!  Thank you, Debbie Rix and Bookouture for introducing me to this great author!

This fantastic book deserves

Posted in Book Reviews

Firebolt (The Dragonian #1) by Adrienne Woods

I really enjoyed Firebolt and am looking forward to the next in series. What an interesting blend of medieval fantasy tempered with some urban fantasy.  I had such fun reading this book.

fireboltSo, the story…Elena is constantly on the move with her father seemingly running away from something.  On one particular night, they are attacked by dragons!  In the next minute Elena finds herself in another world without her father, who has been killed.  Apparently Elena is special and there are great expectations for her potential so she is enrolled into the School of Dragonia.  Here, she learns of magic, dragons and Dragonians amongst other things.

Now, bear in mind that Elena is just your seemingly normal run-of-the-mill average teenager, who is clumsy and only excels at one thing (which she doesn’t like), which is riddles.  She is the opposite of what you’d expect from a heroine.

Surprisingly, her new world is very similar to our world in that it has cars, museums, shopping malls, modern technology, etc., but on an advanced level.  But half of her new classmates are dragons in human form and…they have dragons in this world.  Her school reminds me a bit of Hogwarts with a mixture of regular and magical subjects.

The characters are interesting and I enjoyed their interaction, i.e. Sweet Sammy, Prince Lucian, Flirty Brian, Brave Becky and, of course, the mysterious Blake.

I read this book quickly as I thoroughly enjoyed it.  It was very entertaining and well balanced.

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Adrienne Woods created a whole new world for us to explore with an interesting back story to boot.

If you enjoy fantasy books with dragons, friendship and some romance, then you will enjoy this book.

This book deserves

Posted in Book Reviews

Detention Land by Susan Orion

“Detention Land” by Susan Orion can only be described as an unusual read.

detention landThe story had potential but it lacked appeal for me, sorry to say.  You may enjoy it as I think that we all like different stories for different reasons.

Roger is a 15 year old boy, who appears to be constantly in trouble, which causes him to be placed in endless detentions, where he is in dialogue with an anonymous person via an intercom system.

The story alternates between when he is in detention and him writing in his journal. The impression I received form this story was that Roger was a very troubled youth, both emotionally and psychologically.  I think that it showed that he used his imagination to cope with the reality of his troubled life.

It sounded like his parents were possibly neglectful and abusive but this was seemingly downplayed by the anonymous speaker so I was left wondering about this.  Was Roger being bullied?

I’m hoping that some of the confusion I felt in reading this book will be clarified in the next book in this series.

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I received a copy of this book from the publishers via Netgalley for free in exchange for an honest review.

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