Friday, 27 November 2015

Follow Friday and Black Friday Giveaway!!!


Happy Black Friday everyone! Here is my Follow Friday for this week and also a very special Black Friday giveaway!

This weeks question is....

Black Friday Eve! You have $100 (or pounds or whatever your currency is) to spend on books. What are you going to buy?

This is an impossible question to answer.  I literally have 1840 books on my Goodreads Wishlist page.  How do I pick £100 worth?  I guess I would see what is on sale.  The more books you can buy the better right?  What do you think?

I would definitely pre order The Winds of Winter.  I cannot wait for this book.


(Find out more about Follow Friday by checking out Parajunkee and Alison can read)



To celebrate Black Friday I will be giving away two books to two lucky winners.  First up is a hardback of Immortal by J.R Ward (urban fantasy, romance) and secondly a hard back signed copy of Sick by Tom Leveen (YA, Zombie horror)

All you have to do to win is enter via the Rafflecopter tab below.  You have one week and the giveaway is open internationally.  18+ only for Immortal please.
If you chose to enter please remember to leave a comment on the blog letting me know what book you would like to win. 

BOOK REVIEW: House of Royals by Keary Taylor

Every town has its history and skeletons, but Silent Bend, Mississippi’s are darker than most. Ruled from the shadows by the House—the immortal Born and their aging, enslaved Bitten—everyone knows not to go out after dark and that the police will never look into crimes involving blood.

Alivia Ryan didn’t know the man who claims to be her father through a will even existed until she inherits the Conrath plantation. Instead of the sleepy house she expects, she finds a mansion and a staff who look at her with fear in their eyes.

Ian Ward tried to kill Alivia the first time they met, and then insisted he train her to defend herself against the House, who he claims will try to manipulate and take her in for their own political reasons. And the growing attraction between them will threaten their lives—Ian is a sworn enemy of the House.

In Silent Bend, people disappear, the threat of a demented King and the legend of his resurrecting Queen hang over everyone’s heads, and proving loyalty means far more than blood. You’d better watch who you trust in this town.
Sometimes I read a book that just makes me want to cry. Not because it is sad, or because it made me laugh too hard. Sometimes books make me want to cry because I really, really wanted then to be great and instead they ended up being the opposite. This is where I am with House of Royals, I am in a land of bitter disappointment. It wasn't supposed to be like this. I am a fan of Keary Taylor and I thought the description for this book sounded epic yet somehow it all went wrong. I am saddened to say that I didn't like anything about this book.

A while back I read a book by Keary Taylor called What I didn't Say. It was a beautiful book full of emotion and gorgeous writing. I feel like The House of Royals is the complete opposite. It had none of the magic I found in What I Didn't Say.

I thought this book was all over the place. I found the writing stale and confusing. I felt like nothing was explained properly and that not enough time was given to important things. The time line jumped constantly, in the middle section of the book it felt like you couldn't read a paragraph without it jumping forward two weeks. This utterly devastated the romance and gave it no real chance to grow. On top of that I found the whole thing boring.

Unfortunately the characters were no better. There was nothing to them, no real personality. The romance lacked chemistry, structure and sparks of any kind.

I could go on but I don't really want to. It really upsets me to write such a scathing review of a book written by an author I truly respect.

1 star

Find out more:

House of Royals by Keary Taylor book 1 in the House of Royals series.
Published June 21st 2015 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 224 pages.
A free copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review.  Image courtesy of Goodreads.

Monday, 23 November 2015

BOOK REVIEW: Close To You by Stacia Kane

Churchwitch Chess Putnam has seen, and banished, her share of ghosts, but not of the Christmas Past variety—the holiday has been illegal since the Church of Real Truth defeated the undead and took control of the world in 1997.

Yet when she and her boyfriend, Terrible, make a trip to an abandoned auto junkyard, they find more than the rusted auto parts and spare tires they’d bargained for. They also run across a creepy Miss Havisham-type hell-bent on reuniting with her long-dead husband just in time for Christmas—even if it means taking Chess and Terrible down with her into the City of Eternity…

If Chess and Terrible don't manage to keep these ghosts in the past, they won't have a future…
Quite a few years ago I read a book called Unholy Ghosts, the first book in Stacia Kane's Downside Ghosts series and I absolutely loved it. It was dark, gritty and at times plain gross which is everything I love in an Urban Fantasy book. Yet despite falling in love with it I never carried on with this series. Other books just seemed to fall in my lap and despite wanting too I never got round to buying the second book.

I probably should not have read Close to you considering that it is book number 5.5 in the series and I have only read number one but when I was offered a chance to get my hands on this book I just couldn't stop myself.

For me Stacia Kane has to be one of the finest romance authors of our generation. I am constantly astonished by the depth of emotion she manages to get into her books. No-one else writes romance like this. She makes it feel real in a way that no over romance author has managed for me. It isn't over done or cheesy. It feels genuine and I wish there were more authors out there that could make me feel the same.

Stacia Kane's talent for writing doesn't stop at the romance. Her plots, world building and characters are also spot on. She isn't afraid to take her books to dark places and have characters who are far from perfect.

Close to you, despite being short had all of that. It was spooky, festive, dark, romantic and touching which is pretty amazing considering that this novella is under 100 pages long. The characters were just as great as when I first came across them. Chess is my kind of girl, a tom boy with a bad attitude and some questionable habits. And then there is Terrible. If there is some real life Terrible out there please send him my way because that is a man I would definitely want to meet.
In short, I loved this book and I have seriously got to invest more time into this series in the future.  

4 stars

Find out more:

Close to you by Stacia Kane book 5.5 in the Downside Ghost series.  Published October 8th 2013 by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Image courtesy of Goodreads.

Monday, 16 November 2015

BOOK REVIEW: Accidentally Married on Purpose by Rachel Harris

One ring plus one wild night equals one crazy love

Sherry Robicheaux loves men. She loves love. And she loves an adventure. So when she meets a mysterious man while working backstage at a country music concert in Vegas, she’s all about what’s happened in Vegas staying there.

Country music superstar Tyler Blue just wants a weekend of anonymity…though there’s something about the spunky waitress with the streaks of purple hair that tempts him like no other. Until the next morning, when they both wake up with fuzzy memories…and rings on their fingers.

Convincing Sherry to maintain the ruse for his public image isn’t the hardest part—it’s reminding himself that their time spent playing husband and wife in her small town of Magnolia Springs can’t last. Tyler’s first love will always be music—and the road is no place for a sweet downhome girl.
I am going to be straight with you, Accidentally Married on Purpose is one of those, 'I got so drunk in Vegas that I married a stranger' stories. There are a million books like this out there and at this point I feel like I've read them all. You are probably wondering why I keep reading them. Well the answer is that I literally cannot stop myself, which tells you everything you need to know about my level of will power and my relationship with romance literature. You see, the thing is that most of the time reading romance novels makes me want to put my head through a wall. But, every now and then a book comes along that makes it all worth it. Was Accidentally Married on Purpose one of those books? No. But in all honesty it really wasn't all that bad either.

Accidentally Married on Purpose ended up being pretty cute. It had some substance and well built characters which was likely due to not having any love scenes to take up room. I felt like Harris built up the story and the romance well. The feelings felt genuine and the characters were relate-able. Unfortunately, the last ten percent descended into cheesiness that was hard to stomach. It just all got a little too sickly for me.

Both Sherry and Tyler were likeable characters they could both be a little bone headed at times but I mostly understood the motives for their actions up until that last ten percent where they become one of those couples you just want to punch.

I didn't love this one but I didn't hate it either. It was a good way to spend a train journey to London but I wasn't crazy about it.

3 Stars


Find out more:

Accidentally Married on Purpose by Rachel Harris.  Love and Games book 3.  Published by Entangled on 14th July 2014.  Contemporary, romance.  266 Pages.
A free copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review.  Image courtesy of goodreads.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015


It seemed like a lifetime ago that I giddily and slightly apprehensively booked my holiday to Japan. 6 months have slipped away in the blink of an eye and in 4 short days I will be heading to Gatwick airport and starting my journey to Tokyo, via Istanbul. 
This is not only my first trip to Japan but also my first visit to Asia, a continent that has fascinated me for years. I am embarrassingly excited but also a little scared. I have booked everything independently, I am going on my own and I don't speak a word of Japanese. I am scared that I will be unable to do anything, that the language barrier will be impossible to get over and that I will get lonely doing this all alone. But there is a bigger part of me that is excited and exhilarated. I imagine myself staring wide eyes around a city that will quite simply blow my mind. I imagine meeting interesting people and going to magical places. Which one will turn out to be the reality we will soon find out. 
I hope that going on this big adventure will be good for me. I have let my confidence slip over the years, I used to be carefree and I travelled around the world without fear or trepidation. In the years since I let someone take the confidence from me, I let myself become unsure and skittish. This is my attempt to re-find myself. Am I nervous? Absolutely but I am also excited, inspired and proud that I have taken this step.
To be honest I haven't helped myself by leaving everything until the last moment. Unfortunately this is the person I am. I am terrible at planning and great at convincing myself I have all the time in the world when I don't. I haven't planned what I am going to do when I get to Tokyo. I want to see the sites and would like to visit Nico and Kyoto but I haven't planned anything. To be honest most of my thinking so far has revolved around eating Japan's world famous cuisine. I have been abroad before and have had everything planned and I have been abroad and winged it. Every time winging it had been better so I plan to take it easy and see when fate takes me.
Hopefully this post will be the start of my travel journal. If I have the time and the internet connection I will blog my experience as I go, if not then I guess I will have to share it all when I get back. Either way I cannot wait to share my experiences with all of you.

Image courtesy of GoBoiano

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Movie Review: Gone Girl

“What are you thinking? How are you feeling? What have we done to each other?”

If you have a partner, have you ever thought of these questions? If you do, do you have any answers to any of these? In fact, these questions were asked twice by Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck), once at the beginning of the movie, and once again at the end. But despite his “double identity” as both the victimizer and the victim, I don’t think he had the puzzle figured out at all – because he never knew that he was the source of everything, the seed of the tragedy.

Five years into their marriage, the former New York-based writers Amy (Rosamund Pike) and Nick were festering in Missouri after being hit by the cruel waves of economic recession, redundancy and the sickness of Nick’s mother. The initial romance, sweetness and attraction had been worn out by distrust, suspicion and, Nick’s infidelity. Yes, infidelity, the most sinful of all sins in the book of marriage’s vices – one day when Amy was on the street, she saw her husband and his mistress, kissing, hugging, with Nick doing all those little sweet traits that should only belong to her to the other woman. This unleashed the darkest thoughts of a typical “Type A” person: catastrophe, cruelty, and revenge. We didn’t know how and where did Nick hooked up with the twenty-something sexy student in the first place – it might be OKCupid, Bazoocam or even Snapchat – but that didn’t really matter, because what awaited the betrayer was a severe punishment from the icy and villainous goddess whom he had sworn a vow to. She framed a perfect disappearance, a nearly perfect crime scene in their house, and a well-planned fake pregnancy to draw all public attention and hatred towards the man. She manipulated everything as she knew that her fame as the writer of the popular “Amazing Amy” book series would be handy enough. And there she was, driving to a remote area on her own, while her husband was suffering from her vengeance and being accused as the ruthless murderer of his “pregnant” wife…

You might wonder, did the punishment gone too far? Did a disloyal husband have to be suffocated by the harsh accusations from the neighborhood, the media and even the entire America? Well I couldn’t help but believe that was, though a bit out of control, justice be done. I am a woman, and I have no sympathy towards an infidel guy, especially a guy who could even have sex with his mistress in his sister’s house after his wife had gone missing. As what we know from the Game of Thrones, “There is a beast in every man (and woman) and it stirs when you put a sword in his (or her) hand.” If you’re scared, you might want to give yourself and your partner a Type A Personality Test before you plan to tie the knot. And don’t ever attempt to go infidel.

By Jessica Olsen

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Book Review: Even in Paradise by Chelsey Philpot

When Julia Buchanan enrolls at St. Anne’s at the beginning of junior year, Charlotte Ryder already knows all about the former senator’s daughter. Most people do... or think they do.

Charlotte certainly never expects she’ll be Julia’s friend. But almost immediately, she is drawn into the larger than-life-new girl’s world—a world of midnight rendezvous, dazzling parties, palatial vacation homes, and fizzy champagne cocktails. And then Charlotte meets, and begins falling for, Julia’s handsome older brother Sebastian.

But behind her self-assured smiles and toasts to the future, Charlotte soon realizes that Julia is still suffering from a tragedy. A tragedy that the Buchanan family has kept hidden … until now.

Retellings appear to be the in fashion genre for YA authors at the moment.  I have come across many of them and have only liked a few.  If I am honest I wasn’t all that fussed about reading Even in Paradise.  It is a reboot of Brideshead Revisited which I didn’t think would work as YA.  It is also about rich and entitled people which again is not really my thing and didn’t really appeal to me.  I requested a review copy of this book on a whim and then was faced with the reality of having to read it when I didn’t really want to.  It was a silly thing to do and I shouldn’t have done it but I am sure glad I did because Even in Paradise ended up being the best contemporary YA book I have read in a really long time.

In terms of writing Even in Paradise is simply gorgeous.  Everything about this book is just beautiful and of such a high standard.  It is hard to believe that this is a debut as the quality is so high.  Every description, conversation and character is just bursting with life.  The world was built exceptionally well and it took me no time at all to get completely lost in the pages every time I picked this book up.

The story itself was everything I could have wished for.  It was funny and emotional and most importantly realistic.  Philpot could have filled the pages with angst and drama but instead decided to stick with some realism.  Growing up is both wonderful and difficult.  Most of the first loves and best friends made in our teens are lost to us at some point.  That lose is undeniably painful but it is a part of growing up and is unavoidable.  I truly applaud Chelsey Philpot for giving this book the ending it deserved not the ending more readers would love to read.  That’s not to say this book doesn’t have a happy ending, it does, but perhaps not the ending you are expecting. 

What really makes this book work is the characters.  Even in Paradise is told (in pretty amazing past tense) by Charlotte who is quite literally your average teenage girl.  She doesn’t have a huge personality and she isn’t going to blow you away with her awesomeness but that it ok, that job falls to Julia, Charlotte’s best friend.  In reality this is Julia Buchanan’s book she is full of bubbly personality and charm, yet under all that is a vulnerable and unstable young woman who needs some help.  It is easy to see how Charlotte fell in love with Julia and the rest of the Buchanan’s because in my own way I did too, despite the pomp and lavish lifestyle they led.

The romantic element of this book is between Charlotte and Sebastian, Julia’s brother.  It is pure and beautiful but is never really the focus of the book.  Again Philpot moves away from the norm and makes the main relationship between two friends instead of lovers.  This worked for me and I found it balanced the story nicely. 

There were a couple of negatives (the French got a little annoying) but for the most part I found little to complain about.  Even in Paradise is a great read that I really hope will get the attention it deserves when it is released in October.  Chelsey Philpot is a fantastic new talent in YA literature and I hope to read more from her soon.

4 stars 

Find out more:

Genre: Contemporary Romance, YA

Release Date: 14th October 2014

Published by: Harper Collins

368 Pages

A free copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.