Posted in Book Reviews

Lies Jane Austen Told Me by Julie Wright

Thank you to Netgalley, Julie Wright and Shadow Mountain Publishing for allowing me to read and review Lies Jane Austen Told Me.

Emma Pierce is a marketing executive for a firm called Kinetics and a fervent Jane Austen fan but sadly, she still hasn’t found her romantic hero although she is dating the rich and hot Blake Hampton.

Emma is invited by Blake to his family’s home but turns him down as she is busy at work.  A friend of hers encourages Emma to be spontaneous and decides to visit Blake on a whim.  Between them, they have decided that Blake must intend proposing to Emma by reason of the invitation.

Emma’s boyfriend, Blake, looks less than thrilled to see her when she arrives unannounced on his doorstep and she discovers that he is with another woman.  Blake protests his innocence but Emma storms off in embarrassment.  Whilst walking away, Emma is stopped by Lucas Hampton, who apologises for his brother’s behaviour and offers her a ride home.

Come Monday morning back at the office, Emma discovers to her mortification that Lucas has been offered a consulting position with her firm and they will be working closely together for the foreseeable future.

She finds herself drawn to Lucas and the more she learns about him, the more she likes him.  But at the same time, he is singing his brother’s praises and seems like he is trying to get Emma and Blake back together.  Emma is initially confused about her feelings, but then comes to realise that she only has “friend feelings” for Blake but is in love with Lucas.  Where will this lead?  Could he be her Mr Knightley?

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Conclusion

I liked the idea that the heroine and hero of this story were flung together as co-workers so that they could get to know each other on several levels.

It was compelling to witness Emma’s realisation and understanding of her own feelings in contrast with how angry she felt about Jane Austen’s unrealistic expectations of love and finding Mr Right.  She finally came to the conclusion that Jane Austen’s works were written to empower women and not to leave them with false expectations of romance.  To live life to the full, we need to take risks in life and love.

I have always been a Jane Austen fan and I enjoyed reading this book immensely.  I think that there is a bit of Emma in all of us.

This book deserves a fabulous

Posted in Book Reviews

Breakwater (Broken Tides Book 1) by Catherine Jones Payne

Thank you to Netgalley, Catherine Jones Payne and Fathom Ink Press for allowing me to read and review Breakwater.  This is my honest and unbiased opinion.

breakwaterI liked that this story had strong female characters, who weren’t afraid to stand up for the less fortunate and speak the truth as they saw it.  I think that this story has political parallels evident in our own society.

Jade is a seventeen year old mermaid, whose father is one of the mer-king’s trusted advisors.  Everything in her life is wonderful and she is preparing to marry her handsome fiancé, but her bubble is about to burst.

She witnesses her fiancé murder a naiad and he and his family try to stop her from reporting it.  Of course, Jade does the right thing by breaking off their engagement and reporting him at great personal cost to herself and her family.

This incident plunges the underwater city of Thessalonike into uproar and tensions flare between the mer and the naiads (the lesser water race).  Jade learns too late that the choices that she makes have far reaching effects for her family and her city.  The fragile peace is shattered and the mer guards are killing naiads to get them under control.  Jade is caught between trying to help the naiads and keeping her family safe.

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Jade, as the protagonist in this story, can come across as naïve, which could be irritating in parts as she doesn’t seem to grow in character and she foolishly thinks that she can save everyone by sacrificing herself.

There is a hint of a developing romance between Jade and a mer, who lives amongst the naiads and is a long-time friend.  I am presuming that this will be elaborated upon in Book 2.

This book offers plenty of intrigue, authentic characters and interesting plots.  It will leave you wanting to find out what happens next.

This story earns a solid 3 stars.

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The Stone Quest (Book 2 of The Middengard Sagas) by June Wilson

I love The Stone Quest even more than The Stone Keeper !  Action packed and full of twists and turns!  This book has kept me guessing from beginning to end.

stone questThe Stone Keeper (Book 1) was a riveting and enjoyable read but Book 2 has left me wanting even more.  I need to know what happens next!

In Book 2, Alice is back in Melbourne, mourning the loss of her cousin, Toby, and wondering if her friend, Jess, is okay.   Somehow, her stone was returned to her after she had thrown it away but she is unable to return to Middengard.

While out on a walk during an unexpected weekend away to Portsea with her relatives, Alice finds herself transported back to Middengard.  War is coming and it is imperative that Alice finds the other Doom Stone so that good can conquer evil.  Only the Stone Keeper can sense the stone, which has been hidden by the Aetheling (Gods).

Who can she trust?  People aren’t as they appear.  Events begin to unfold and there are some interesting character developments,  but we will have to wait for Book 3 to unveil the rest of the mysteries.

 

This book ends on a HUGE cliff hanger!  It’s a very exciting read and I can’t wait to find out what happens in Book 3.  June, please put me out of my misery soon!  I am loving your series!

This awesome book deserves

Posted in Book Reviews

Alice in Brexitland by Lucien Young

Thank you to Netgalley, Penguin Random House UK and Ebury Publishing for allowing me to read and review this ARC.  This is my honest and unbiased opinion of Alice in Brexitland.

aliceinbrexitlandThe current hot topic in the UK is BREXIT, especially with a general election looming in early June.

I thought that this parody mimicking Alice in Wonderland, transposed with our views/news on Brexit makes this book an amusing and entertaining inventory of events.  It’s especially funny to see the politicians, etc., being portrayed as Wonderland characters.

I think that, in the current political situation, we could do with a light hearted take on events and this book does that.  I thought that it was cleverly written and clearly depicted those involved in Brexit in an amusing way.  However, you will not be left feeling any better about leaving the EU if you voted to Remain.

Each chapter leads Alice to meet a new character. David Cameron is depicted as the rabbit leading Alice into Wonderland.  Jeremy Corbyn is the Caterpillar, who sits on a toadstool smoking his hookah and being no help to anyone; Humpty Trumpty, perched on a wall hat he wants the Mexicans to pay for; the Cheshire Tw*t, who likes to disappear leaving only his grin, a pint, and the smell of scotch eggs remaining; and the terrifying Queen of Heartlessness, who’ll take off your head if you dare question her plan for Brexit.  Will Alice ever be able to find anyone who speaks sense?

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The pictures are really well drawn and the artist is very talented at accurately capturing the personality of the real intermingled with the fantasy of these characters.

Conclusion

This book is cleverly written political satire. It’s a short read and portrays the characters well. The story follows similarly to Alice in Wonderland, even including the tea party.  By the end, Alice in Brexitland is very frustrated by the characters, which is probably how most of us feel.  I really enjoyed the book and I think you will too.

This book deserves a fun .

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Like Other Girls by Claire Hennessy

I enjoyed reading Like Other Girls and I think that Claire Hennessy dealt with several difficult issues faced by teens/YA sensitively.

like other girlsLauren is a 16 year old girl, who thinks that she doesn’t fit in.  She feels like she doesn’t have any real friends at her posh all-girls school.  To make matters worse, Lauren’s mother is recently been appointed as head teacher.

She has fallen out with her best friend, Steph or should I say Evan?  Lauren is confused about her sexuality.  Although she has a boyfriend, whom she feel just uses her for sex, she is also attracted to girls.

Lauren feels overwhelmed by the stress of trying to deal with her friendships, family and her love life.  As a result, she starts to drink heavily to escape from her feelings and makes some risky choices.

One drunken night, Lauren breaks up with her boyfriend only to find out that she is pregnant.  She doesn’t know who to confide in and feels totally alone.  The problem with living in Ireland is that it is impossible to receive any meaningful help so she decides to fly to England for an abortion.

Having gone through this procedure all alone and being unable to talk about it with anyone, Lauren continues drinking heavily and finds her life spiralling out of control.

In an effort to help Lauren, she is convinced to meet with a counsellor.  At first, she doesn’t think it will help but slowly comes to realise that it will help her deal with her issues.

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Eventually, Lauren confides in her mother and her friends and attempts to take back some control of her life by campaigning for better help for Irish women who find themselves pregnant and in need of intervention. And the best news for Lauren is that she reconciles with her best friend, Steph.

Conclusion

I think that the subjects of teenage pregnancy, abortion, gender identity, sexuality and alcohol abuse are dealt with in a sensitive and thought-provoking manner in this novel.

Teens and young adults should read this book as it explores many subjects that they struggle with.

I would like to thank Bonnier Publishing for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book rates a deserving

Posted in Book Reviews

Innkeeper Chronicles Volume 1 by Ilona Andrews

Thank you to Netgalley, Ilona Andrews and her publishers allowing me to read and review Innkeeper Chronicles Volume 1.  This is my honest and unbiased opinion.

clean sweepOn the surface, Dina Demille is the owner of a quaint Victorian bed and breakfast inn named Gertrude Hunt based in a small Texas town.  Her only permanent companions are a Shih Tzu called Beast with unexpected skills and a retired, bloodthirsty Galactic aristocrat, who may not leave the grounds for fear of being killed on sight.

In reality, Dina is a magical Innkeeper armed with a powerful magical broom and a house with mysterious powers which responds intelligently to Dina and any threats to itself or to her.  You see, the inn isn’t for human visitors, it’s really a way station for otherworldly visitors to Earth.

As an Innkeeper, Dina is supposed to keep a low profile and stay neutral and safe, but when something starts killing the local dog population and threatening humans, she can’t ignore it.  Dina tries to convince the local werewolf, an annoyingly attractive ex-military guy named Sean Evans, that he should step in and take care of the dog-killing alien.  He blows her off so she decides she has to take the matter into her own hands to protect her community.

 

To make matters worse, a severely injured cosmic vampire asks for sanctuary at the Inn.  This marks the entrance of the devastatingly handsome vampire named Arland, who is the Lord Marshall of Krahr.  He portals in to tend to the injured vampire and help with eradicating the alien predators attacking dogs and threatening humans in the local community.

And somehow it all gets very complicated from there, but it involves a semi-sentient house, a Shih Tzu with unforeseen talents, and some sexy guys, wrapped up in an intermingling of science fiction and fantasy and liberally enlivened with Ilona Andrews’ typical sarcastic humour. Who knew that werewolves and vampires are actually space aliens?

I’m a huge fan of Ilona Andrew’s’ novels.  Initially, I wasn’t sure that I liked this story but it grew on me and I got really invested in the characters.  I was sorry to come to the end of the book and can’t wait to read more.  I loved the characters and how they interacted with one another.  There is plenty of action, adventure, romance and magic.  And you will be left with wanting more…

All in all this is an enjoyable, fun read and it deserves a fantastic

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Agent of Enchantment (Dark Fae FBI #1) by C. N. Crawford and Alex Rivers

Thank you to NetGalley, Weapenry Co-Op and the authors for allowing me to read and review this book.  This is my honest and unbiased opinion.

agent of enchantmentI really enjoyed this story as it combines two of my favourite genres – fantasy and thriller.

If you like the popular FBI profiling TV shows, you will enjoy reading Agent of Enchantment.

FBI agent and profiler, Cassandra Liddell is sent on assignment to London to help with an investigation into a series of Jack the Ripper copycat killings.

Things, however, aren’t as they seem.  Cassandra starts seeing things that she can’t explain and she becomes aware that something supernatural is involved in these killings but how can she explain this to the local police without coming off as being crazy?

On her first night in London, Cassandra is attacked by two men, who definitely don’t appear to be human and is rescued by a lethally alluring fae.  She cannot decide if he is a main suspect in the murders or if he is trying to help her.  Does he have his own agenda?  What does he want from her?  Cassandra doesn’t know who to trust when the tables are turned and the police start to suspect her of being involved.

In her attempts to clear her name and find the real killer, Cassandra finds out that she isn’t all human.  Her world is turned upside down and she has to fight for her life.

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This is an exciting roller-coaster read that will hook you from the beginning and keep you enthralled until the end.

This fab writing duo of Crawford and Rivers works seamlessly to provide an entertaining and thrilling story. Agent of Enchantment is a great start to the Dark Fae FBI series and I can’t wait to read the next book. I found the characters riveting; the plot was very intriguing and left me wanting to read more. This is definitely a series I will be following as it is full of fresh ideas and interesting characters.

Agent of Enchantment deserves an entertaining

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No Filter by Orlagh Collins

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Orlagh Collins and Bloomsbury for allowing me to read and review this ARC.  This is my honest and unbiased opinion of “No Filter”.

No Filter is the story that reminds us all of that summer … the one where your life changed … the unforgettable memory of the one you still think about sometimes when you let your mind wander.

Orlagh’s debut YA novel is fresh, poignant and the characters are interesting and quirky, lending to this book’s appeal.

no filterEmerald comes from a privileged background but her family has dark secrets that threaten to change her life forever.

She comes home to find her mother unconscious on the bathroom floor.  Her father sends her mother off to rehab and Emerald is packed off to Ireland to live with her grandmother for the holidays.

Emerald feels lost and alone without her usual access to social media … until she meets Liam at the beach. Something special sparks between them and they both go on a journey of discovery to find their true selves and ignite their heart desires.

This is such an authentic, relatable, feel good story about two young people overcoming their personal and family struggles to find their own way in the world.

At first I wasn’t sure if I was going to like Emerald but she grew on me.  Her character is unfiltered and she follows her instincts.  She wins you over and makes you think about your own life.

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Liam is a gentle, quirky, repressed musician, who makes the perfect, very appealing YA heartthrob. He cares about other people and tries very hard to please his family, despite wanting more out of life than what they want for him.

This isn’t a predictable read.  I loved the mini plots interwoven amongst the characters featured in this book.  It was an enjoyable and interesting story that I think you will find very engaging.  It’s the perfect summer read and left me feeling happy!

Orlagh, I loved “No Filter” and look forward to your next novel.

This feel good book deserves an inspiring

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Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig

This is not normally the type of book that I would gravitate towards reading but I loved it!  I urge you all to read it as this is an unique and life altering story.  Ginny Moon’s story broke my heart into a 1000 pieces as I was given a rare insight into the mind of a young, autistic girl.

After being removed from her abusive, drug addict mother, Gloria, at nine years old, Ginny finally finds her “forever home” with her new “forever mGinny Moonom and dad”.  It’s just the type of home that all foster children long for.

Ginny appears to be an average teenager – she plays flute in the school band, practices basketball every week – but she is also autistic, so she views life differently to most of us. Everything said to her is taken literally and she can only answer one question at a time.  She values honesty and cannot abide lies.  Ginny starts every day with exactly nine grapes, she loves bacon and pineapple pizza and is Michael Jackson’s biggest fan.

So why is 14 year old Ginny so desperate to be kidnapped by her birth mother and return to that awful existence that nearly killed her?  Who is this Baby Doll that Ginny left in a suitcase in her mother’s house?

This is a heart melting and touching story that ends with Ginny truly finding her place in the world when she realises that her past is truly her past and she can embrace her new life with her “forever” family.

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Everyone needs to read Ginny Moon.  Take a chance.  You won’t regret it.  It will have a positive impact on the way you think about your life.  It has such an authentic appeal and I dare you not to be moved by Ginny’s story.

This uplifting book deserves a heart-warming

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The Apprentice Witch by James Nicol

Firstly, thank you so much to James for sending me a copy of your amazing debut novel,The Apprentice Witch, which I absolutely loved reading! This review is my honest and unbiased opinion.

This is an enapprentice witchchanting read and I couldn’t put it down.  It’s one of those books that I wish didn’t come to an end as I wanted to read more about Arianwyn’s witchy adventures.  I can’t wait for the next book!

Arianwyn Gribble is poised to undertake her evaluation to become a fully-fledged witch but something goes horribly wrong and she fails her assessment.  With intervention by her grandmother, who serves on the Witches Council of Elders, Arianwyn is granted the status of Apprentice Witch and is sent off to serve the community of a sleepy town called Lull, in disgrace.

On her bus journey to her new home, she meets Salle Bowen and they become fast friends, which Arianwyn needs as she doesn’t know anyone in Lull.  Before leaving, she chooses a book from her grandmother’s bookshop titled “The Apprentice Witch’s Handbook”, which offers Arianwyn some comfort.  She is uncertain of her future but determined to prove that she is worthy of being a witch.

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Arianwyn soon discovers that there are lots of strange and magical things lurking in the shadows of the Great Wood forest near the town.  Things aren’t going smoothly for Arianwyn.  The more she tries to help families rid themselves of magical pests like snotlings, the more trouble she seems to get into when things go horribly wrong.

Nightmares of dark and evil magic and the arrival of her old school bully and rival, Gimma, throws Arianwyn’s world into turmoil as they are assigned to work together.  Unbeknownst to everyone around her, Arianwyn is struggling to contain a mysterious magic inside her.  Will she manage to contain it or will it wreak havoc on this small town?

The Apprentice Witch is a real coming of age story, with strong themes of friendship and courage, and characters you can’t help but love!  Arianwyn will weave her magical powers over you and capture your heart.  Even the premise that there are four cardinal glyphs used by witches when they create spells is totally believable.  It is as if James is allowing us a glimpse into a world we haven’t yet discovered as all the details seem so authentic.

I love the fact that the heroine in this story, Arianwyn, is filled with human flaws but is incredibly brave and overcomes her lack of confidence in herself to save the town.

James has assembled a great cast of characters from the bumbling mayor Josiah Belcher, to the mean and spiteful Gimma and the strong matriarchal figure of her grandmother. It is a tale of friendship, bravery and the power of self-belief.  This is a delightful and entertaining story, which I’m sure that you will enjoy as much as I have.

This captivating book is worthy of