Thursday, 28 February 2013

Glamour by Penelope Fletcher

Kindle Edition, 2nd Edition, 205 pages
Published October 7th 2010 by Poison Princess (first published October 1st 2010)

Blurb: “Rae Wilder has problems. Supernatural creatures swarm the earth, and humanity is on the brink of extinction. Stalked by a handsome fairy who claims she is like him, demonkind, Rae thinks maybe it was a mistake breaking the rules by going over the Wall into demon territory. Plunged into a world of dark magics, fierce creatures, and ritual sacrifice, she is charged with a guarding a magical amulet. The changes to her mind and body are startling, but rather than accept her purpose she struggles against who she is destined to be. Throw in a big lust for a vampire who can't keep his hands off her, and life starts to get complicated. Rae is forced to make the ultimate choice: to live and die human, or embrace her birth-right and wield magics that could turn her into something wicked, a force of nature nothing can control.”

It has been a while since I finished this book and I can’t remember hugely well what I thought of it, which already tells us something.

I will admit that I mostly downloaded the book because I thought the cover was pretty and because it was free. It turned out to be quite an enjoyable read. Some of the writing is a little bit off and could do with editing but the characters were quite engaging and the story had some tension and drama to it. I am still tempted to read the next one as I do want to know what happens next but I think the story needs a lot more development to reach its potential. I really like the idea behind the story but it needs more added to it and for many more questions to be answered.

Also, I have to admit that Rae gets on my nerves a bit – she’s just a bit wimpy considering she has just found out that she has magical powers and the potential to be really powerful and make a difference in the post-apocalyptic world. Hopefully in the next book she will get more of a grip and embrace a bit of girl-power!

It’s enjoyable if you like magic and a multitude of mythical creatures turning up (which I usually do). There is also a bit of a love triangle forming which could be interesting although the concept is becoming a bit jaded for me…

6 out of 10.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Blog Tour: Falling for You by Heather Thurmeier. Review, extras and giveaway

Paperback, 242 pages
Published August 20th 2012 by Crimson Romance
ISBN 1440552045 (ISBN13: 9781440552045)
Disclaimer: I was sent a free copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Falling for You blurb:
Newly single Cassidy Quinn is thrilled to be a contestant on the new reality dating show The One. But her excitement turns to horror when the gorgeous bachelor turns out to be her ex-boyfriend. Seeing Brad again makes Cassidy realize she might not be as “over him” as she thought—and then she meets hunky cameraman Evan Burke.

After watching his brother lose his wife in a tragic accident, Evan vows never to fall in love. But following Cassidy around as her personal cameraman makes him question his decision, and resisting her gets harder with every sunbathing, bikini-wearing day.

Cassidy and Evan begin a forbidden affair while her ex-boyfriend tries to win her heart back one groping, awkward moment at a time. If Cassidy can manage to stop falling off horses (literally), stop falling onto her ex-boyfriend, the bachelor (yes, literally), and stop falling in love with backstage playboy Evan, she might still make it through the show without becoming a tabloid sensation.
But soon Cassidy must choose between the ex who broke her heart and the cameraman who might never love her back. For Cassidy, this reality show just got real.

My thoughts:
Firstly, I want to warn readers before they get any further that this book contains mature content of a romantic nature, it is of a far more discreet level than the likes of Fifty Shades of Grey (which I haven’t actually read) or Bared to You, but I thought I would mention it before anybody gets upset.

Now that that’s out of the way I can say that I enjoyed this far more than I thought I would. It was such a fun read! I’m not a fan of a reality TV in general and find it hard to understand why people would want to be involved in it, but I can understand in this that Cassidy wants to try something new and to have an adventure – it definitely puts her in situations she is not used to. She’s a really interesting character; I’d like to be friends with her, although I would have to fight her for Evan who is definitely swoon-worthy and worth breaking the rules over! I fell in love with him a little bit; Thurmeier writes great descriptions and the story is quite well written so you grow to love and hate the main characters depending on their actions. I found it to be easy to read and I got into the story really quickly; the author had a nicely flowing, effortless style. My only problem was that I did not see the appeal of Brad at all. The author mentions that he can be sweet but I just didn’t notice all that much of that.

The romantic parts of the book are lovely and Thurmeier builds the tension between Cassidy and Evan really well. The scenes as part of the TV show are funny and add to the tension between the characters. I’m definitely looking forward to the next book in the series, Stuck on You, which follows a lovely character from this story in another reality TV show. I definitely recommend this, 7 out of 10 from me.

I chose this excerpt from the book because it shows some of the drama and comedy:

“I don’t know about you girls,” Zoe said, “but I definitely think there are more hot men here than just the bachelor we’re all fighting for.”
“What are you talking about?” Holly asked. “Brad is super-hot. Like hawt.”
“Yeah I know, but you can’t honestly say you haven’t noticed the guys following us around, right?” Zoe nodded her head in the general direction of the cameramen surrounding the pool a few feet back.
“Zoe, you know they can still hear us in here,” Erica whispered.
Cassidy opened her eyes at the talk of cameramen. What is Zoe up to now?
“I know they can hear us, moron. That’s the point.” Zoe propped herself up on the edge of the hot tub on her forearms, forcing her breasts to jut out in front of her. “And I’m hoping one particular cameraman likes what he hears…and sees.”
Cassidy’s jaw dropped into the hot water as she realized Zoe was not only being overtly sexual, again, but this time it was projected directly at Evan. Her Evan.
Back off bi-otch. Six, seven, eight… Just relax. Keep your mouth shut. This is none of your business.
“You know we can’t do anything with the crew,” Erica said. “It said so on one of those forms we signed.”
“I know that,” Zoe huffed, “but that doesn’t mean I can’t have a little fun while I’m waiting around for the finale, does it? Besides, someone needs to give America something good to watch. You girls certainly aren’t helping the ratings.”
Holly rolled her eyes. “So you’re going to screw around with the crew to help ratings?”
“Oh relax, girls. It’s not like I’m going to sleep with him or anything.” Zoe smirked. “Just a little harmless flirting, that’s all. Unless of course, someone else already has her eyes on him?”
Cassidy locked eyes with Zoe.
Is she implying there’s something going on with me and Evan? Why would she think that? Just because I want to jump him every time I’m near him doesn’t mean I have a thing for him. I can’t help it if my mind goes to dirty places when he’s around. I’ve never acted on one of those thoughts, so what’s she getting at? It’s not like she can read my mind… Can she? No, idiot, she can’t.
Say something, she’s still staring at you.
“You can do whatever you want, right girls?” Cassidy said to the other women. “Maybe you’ll even get yourself kicked off the show.”
“They can’t kick me out for saying hello and being polite.”
I can kick you.

Author biography: Heather Thurmeier is a lover of strawberry margaritas, a hater of spiders, and a reality TV junkie. She was born and raised in the Canadian prairies, but now lives in upstate New York with her own personal romance hero (aka her husband) and their two little princesses. When she's not busy taking care of the kids and an adventurous puppy named Indy, Heather's hard at work on her next romance novel.

Follow these links to find out more:


***Heather will be offering a $20.00 AMAZON or B&N Gift Card to a randomly drawn commenter throughout the tour!***

The more you comment the better your chances of winning. Here is the link for you to follow the Tour

Monday, 25 February 2013

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Paperback, 482 pages
Published January 5th 2012 by Michael Joseph (UK) (first published December 31st 12)
ISBN 0718157834 (ISBN13: 9780718157838)

Blurb: “Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.”

This book is fantastic.

I thought about leaving it there but I thought if you’re reading this then you probably want to know a bit more about it. This story is about Lou and Will. When Lou loses her job she eventually finds a new job as a companion for a man who is disabled. From the moment they meet their relationship is tense, and funny and inspiring.

This is not just a love story, it tackles a lot of issues about disability and how people are treated. The author even mentions small things about the difficulty of getting round London in a wheelchair because only a minority of the tube stations have lifts, which I had never considered before but now I can’t stop noticing how many shops have steps up into them, or how restaurants have tables so closely packed together it’s doubtful that a wheelchair could fit in there. The more I think about disability the more I think how unfair it is that as well as having to cope with their physical problems, society seems to be against them as well and it the issue just seems to be ignored most of the time.

An even bigger issue in this book is the question of euthanasia and if it is acceptable, understandable, right or wrong, if the families are cruel and heartless for helping their loved ones to die with dignity… I won’t mention my views on the subject but I think that the author deals with the issue in a really considerate manner.

I wept buckets of tears at this one, I was left a snivelling wreck… if you’re looking for something jolly this probably isn’t for you. That is not to say that the whole book is gloomy, there were lots of moments where I laughed out loud. However, it can be difficult to read about, both due to the issues that are discussed and because it can make you view yourself and your attitudes differently. I don’t want to say any more and spoil the story for you because there are so many other things that happen. The characters are fantastic and Jojo Moyes has the effortless writing ability, which can be so elusive, which draws you in to her beautiful story.

This is about finding hope in the darkest times of your life.

Just read it! 9 out of 10.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

Paperback, 357 pages
Published January 3rd 2013 by Black Swan (first published July 2012)
ISBN 0552778095 (ISBN13: 9780552778091)

Blurb: “Recently retired, sweet, emotionally numb Harold Fry is jolted out of his passivity by a letter from Queenie Hennessy, an old friend, who he hasn't heard from in twenty years. She has written to say she is in hospice and wanted to say goodbye. Leaving his tense, bitter wife Maureen to her chores, Harold intends a quick walk to the corner mailbox to post his reply but instead, inspired by a chance encounter, he becomes convinced he must deliver his message in person to Queenie--who is 600 miles away--because as long as he keeps walking, Harold believes that Queenie will not die. So without hiking boots, rain gear, map or cell phone, one of the most endearing characters in current fiction begins his unlikely pilgrimage across the English countryside. Along the way, strangers stir up memories--flashbacks, often painful, from when his marriage was filled with promise and then not, of his inadequacy as a father, and of his shortcomings as a husband. Ironically, his wife Maureen, shocked by her husband's sudden absence, begins to long for his presence. Is it possible for Harold and Maureen to bridge the distance between them? And will Queenie be alive to see Harold arrive at her door?”

“If we don't go mad once in a while, there's no hope.”
― Rachel Joyce, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

I have been very lax recently with reviewing what I'm reading, sorry everyone! It’s a shame I didn’t have time to write a review of this immediately after I finished it, I would have a lot more to say than now!

What I remember overall is that this is such a lovely, inspiring and life-affirming story. The author evokes a connection with all the characters in the story, no matter how briefly they are part of the story – and there are a lot of small meetings as Harold travels the country – or if you even like them; Rachel Joyce has created characters that seem real. I felt like there were thousands of big and small events in their lives which made them who they are when we meet them in the story.

The idea behind the story really appealed to me as well. How often in our lives do we wish we could just get away for a while? In Harold’s case, he leaves for a very noble reason, his pilgrimage is a walk of faith that if he travels by foot all the way to Berwick-upon-Tweed(?) he will be able to save Queenie’s life and atone for the mistakes he has made in the past in his friendship with her.

The elusive son David makes you think about what happens when parents and children love each other but just can’t communicate with each other or even possibly like each other very much. I’m sure everyone has moments when they are frustrated with their families and vice versa, but I can’t imagine this level of incompatibility. Reading the way David spoke to his parents, but especially to Harold, makes me want to rant about how young people should be more respectful to their elders and mutter about kids these days, even though I’m only twenty-one – blimey I sound like a grump.

Anyway, the journey itself is beautifully described both in terms of the scenery and of Harold’s emotions as he overcomes the barriers that he meets. Meanwhile, his wife Maureen, who has been left behind, provides a sharp contrast to the new experiences that Harold is discovering and the past that he is finally coming to terms with, while she finally learns to deal with past events – I don’t want to spoil it! – from the home where it has been ignored for so long.

The only part of the book that I didn’t really like, but still felt realistic, was when Harold’s pilgrimage became high jacked by people who were much more concerned with their own lives and the possibility of media attention than the fact that Harold just wanted to complete his walk and didn’t want or need their interference. Again I could probably rant here about the media but I’ll keep this focussed on the book! The stories of random generosity were inspiring and made me think about how I should do more to help others, not just myself or the people I know.

This is such a moving story and I will admit to shedding a few tears but it really leaves you with a sense of hope and warmth. This is not just about a walk, it’s about life and all of its sorrow and joy, and how it’s not perfect but we’re united in being human and trying to deal with it all. This book is basically just really lovely and thought-provoking, 8 out of 10.

Falling for You Giveaway

So I'm going to be reviewing Falling for You by Heather Thurmeier as a host for Tasty Book Tours. They are hosting a number of tours at the moment so go have a look at their website.

As part of the tour, Heather will be offering a $20.00 AMAZON/or B&N Gift Card to a randomly drawn commenter throughout the tour. So make sure to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't forget to come back on the 26th February to read my review!

Monday, 11 February 2013

The Salem Witch Society by K. N. Shields

Published September 1st 2012 by Little, Brown Book Group
ISBN 0751549533 (ISBN13: 9780751549539)

Synopsis: "Two hundred years after the Salem witch trials, a grisly new witch hunt is beginning.

Salem, New England, many dark nights ago. It is a time of spells and shadows, of black magic and blood. And the most famous witch hunt in history is about to begin...

Years later, a young woman is found savagely murdered, a pitchfork thrust through her neck, her body arranged in the shape of a star: the death pose of a witch. Someone - or something - is reviving the terror of the notorious Salem Witch hunts. And only one man - a brilliant, eccentric loner with a dazzling mind and a fascination with witchcraft - can keep the evils of the past at bay.

Rich in history, mystery, and witchcraft, THE SALEM WITCH SOCIETY is a twisting, terrifying thriller - a dark fairy tale for readers who loved A Discovery of Witches and The Interpretation of Murder."

This book wasn't what I expected it to be, although, looking back at the blurb, it does cover everything that it said it would. However it definitely wasn't any sort of fairy tale. At its heart, this is a crime novel where the main characters try to solve a string of murders that seem to have links to witchcraft prosecution.

The main characters were well developed, and I really like the relationship between Perceval Grey and Archie Lean, their conversations sometimes made me chuckle out loud. However the other characters that they came across were not always very clearly defined, which made it difficult to keep track of who they all were.

The investigation aspect of the book was good but again sometimes became confusing, with all of the threads they were following, referring to people that I had forgotten about, and strange references that didn't make any sense to me. I thought the author had over complicated it all really. I appreciate that they wanted to throw in red herrings and false trails, but this bordered on ridiculous at times. The motives behind the murderer also seemed realyl flawed to me and I don't know if that was a deliberate technique to make them look crazy or if the author him/herself got confused confused as to why they were doing it.

I also thought that the witchcraft in the book would be used in different ways, however it is portrayed in such a negative, clinical way that I just didn't really like. Considering how much the Salem Witch Trials are talked about in the book, the author just didn't make them seem real to me, which is ridiculous because that is pretty much the only thing in the book based on reality.

It's a shame really that it wasn't better written overall because the last quarter or so of the book was really good, the author built up the tension really well and it became much more thrilling. I think that this book needed a lot more editing done to it to smooth over the cracks in the story and to make it as fantastic as it could have been, because the idea behind the story was really interesting.

I am going to give it 5 out of 10 because there were moments when it was really good but it needed a lot more detail in places and less detail in others. I probably won't be reading this again.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Angels' Blood by Nalini Singh

Mass Market Paperback, 339 pages
Published February 11th 2010 by Gollancz (first published March 3rd 2009)
ISBN 0575095725 (ISBN13: 9780575095724)

Blurb: "Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux knows she is the best- but she does not know if even she is good enough for this job. Hired by the dangerously beautiful archangel Raphael, a being so lethal that no mortal wants his attention, Elena knows failure is not an option—even if the task is impossible.

Because this time, it's not a wayward vamp she has to track. It's an archangel gone bad.

The job will put Elena in the midst of a killing spree like no other—and pull her to the razor's edge of passion. Even if the hunt does not destroy her, succumbing to Raphael’s seductive touch just might. For when archangels play, mortals break."

First of all, I would like to thank Rachel at The One With Rachel's Book blog for lending this to me! Does anyone else swap books they love with their friends? If I love a book, I immediately want everyone I know to read it and enjoy it too. Anyway, this will just be a quick review as Rachel explains it brilliantly in her review!

I really enjoyed this book. Elena is pretty kick-ass and seems to have an interesting history that I think will be gradually revealed throughout the series. She is definitely a better character than the Elena in the Vampire Diaries book series. I love her relationship with Raphael as well, although his lack of communication is at times annoying.

The tension is built up really well in the book, both in the hunt for the crazy archangel and between Elena and Raphael. The world that they live in is really well created with its own history and rules. While Elena battles her way through dealing with the challenge she has been given, it is really funny watching her step on so many peoples' toes in order to get the job done!

A really enjoyable read, I'm looking forward to the next book in the series! 8 out of 10