Saturday, 30 January 2016

{Blog Tour} Built (Saints of Denver #1) by Jay Crownover

28494793Posted by Donna
Release Date: January 28th, 2016
Finished Date: January 9th, 2016
Publishers: HarperCollins
Genre: NA, Contemporary, Romance
Source: For Review
Format: Paperback
Pages: 352
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / Book Depo
 
The first in the new SAINTS OF DENVER series from NYT bestselling author of the MARKED MEN series, Jay Crownover

Sometimes you have to tear everything down to build something new…

Sayer Cole is frozen inside. At least, that’s what it’s felt like for as long as she can remember. She’s yet to let anyone past her icy exterior – and the one guy she thinks might melt her heart couldn’t possibly be interested in someone so uptight.

Rough, hard and hot-as-hell, Zeb Fuller has rebuilt his life and his construction business since protecting his family sent him to jail all those years ago. His elegant client, Sayer, makes him feel like a Neanderthal in denim, but despite the many hints that he’s been dropping to get to know her better, she seems oblivious to his charms.

Just as things finally start to heat up, Zeb’s past comes back to haunt him and he needs Sayer’s professional help to right a wrong and to save more than himself. As these opposites dig in for the fight of their lives, fire and ice collide in an unstoppable explosion of steam…

The Review: Being a huge fan of Jay Crownover's work it's safe to say I know I'll read anything by this author at this point. When I came to the end of the Marked Man series it was like an end of a era but knowing that a spin-off series titled Saints of Denver was coming, I was more than excited to see what Jay next had in store for us and as usual, this lady doesn't disappoint with Built.

I've always had a soft spot for Zeb from the moment he first appeared in the Marked Men series so I was definitely excited to see him have his own story. I wanted to get to know him more and of course I couldn't miss out on this opportunity. I loved his story! Zeb has definitely had a hard life when he made a mistake that put him in jail. Even though he was never really a bad guy, he's worked hard to prove to people that people make mistakes and given the chance they can turn their lives around. That's what Zeb did. He became a better person. Sought help for his issues. And I really admire that about him. He's life becomes even more crazier when his past catches up to him. But I loved how he was willing to step up to the plate and do something many people might not want to do.

I struggled a little bit with Sayer as a character. It wasn't because she was a new character but more that I wanted to get to know her more before her feelings for Zeb started to show. Yes, the characters have previously meet but it all felt a little too soon for her story. I wanted to know more about her before she started showing her feelings for Zeb but it was literally from page one. Felt a little insta-lovey on her part. But otherwise I felt her and Zeb were a good match. I wish there wasn't so much back and forth from Sayer though. She could see she had a good thing with Zeb but was too scared to try. But nonetheless when they were together it was fantastic to read.

I'm definitely excited to see what comes next from the series. Jay proves that she write smouldering love stories time and time again so I know for sure I'll definitely be reading the next.

Thank you to HarperCollins for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review.
 

Friday, 29 January 2016

{Blog Tour} Dumplin' by Julie Murphy

18304322Posted by Donna
Release Date: January 28th, 2016 
Finished Date: January 17th, 2016
Publishers: HarperCollins 
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Source: For Review
Format: Hardback
Pages: 384
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US 
 
For fans of John Green and Rainbow Rowell comes this powerful novel with the most fearless heroine-self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson-from Julie Murphy, the acclaimed author of Side Effects May Vary. With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine-Dumplin' is guaranteed to steal your heart. Dubbed "Dumplin'" by her former beauty queen mom, Willowdean has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American-beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked ...until Will takes a job at Harpy's, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn't surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back. Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant-along with several other unlikely candidates-to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she'll shock the hell out of Clover City-and maybe herself most of all.

The Review: Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy was a book I knew I wanted to read. I’d heard great reviews from the people who had read so I knew I was going to like it and I was right! 

Willowdean is dubbed as Dumplin’ by her mother. It’s her nickname for her but there’s one thing Willowdean doesn’t want and that’s for all the people at school to catch on to the embarrassing title. Being a ‘larger’ girl Will has never felt comfortable in her body and even more so when she takes notice in Bo – the guy she works with. But when Bo starts showing interest in her Will just can’t be happy with herself she knows she will always compare herself to the much skinner girls. So in a way to try and take back her confidence and do something her late aunt could never do for herself, Will enters the Miss Clover City beauty pageant – the one her mother won all them years ago. But will she have the confidence and strength to show the world that not only skinny people deserve to be a Queen?

I really enjoyed Willowdean’s story and I just loved the Dolly Parton reference’s. I had Jolene stuck in my head all the way through the story! Will was such a strong character at times and I so wanted for her to see her own beauty and become more confident about her body. Girls and Women are always worried about their weight at some point in their lives and I was sad for Will that it came so early for her and it was such a battle. I could sympathise with her struggles and my heart really went out to her. Her relationship with her mother was slightly rocky. I felt as though her mother really ‘helped’ her and just tried to ignore that she had a daughter that was slightly larger. I really wanted her to open her and just accept Will for the way she was but there was nothing wrong with her. And I really would have loved to have read more about Aunt Lucy who sounded liked the Mother Will should have had. 

Will and Bo’s relationship is a rollercoaster but one I loved. Bo didn’t look at things like Will, he didn’t see her as the ‘fat’ girl but just for her. He’s so sweet! 

In all, I really enjoyed Dumplin’ and I’ll definitely be keeping my eye out for more work by Julie! 

Thank you to HarperCollins for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review. 
 

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

{Feature} Waiting on Wednesday (#135)

 
"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. 
Donna's WoW
18584855Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Release Date: November 18th, 2016 

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland — the infamous Queen of Hearts — she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king's marriage proposal, she meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship.

Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.


  Donna's thoughts: I can not wait for another book by Ms Meyer! She's a stunning writer and I know this is just going to be amazing! 

Melanie's WoW
The Winner's Kiss (The Winner's Trilogy, #3)The Winner's Kiss (The Winner's Trilogy #3)
by Marie Rutkoski
Release Date: March 26th, 2016 

War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it, with the East as his ally and the empire as his enemy. He’s finally managed to dismiss the memory of Kestrel, even if he can’t quite forget her. Kestrel turned into someone he could no longer recognize: someone who cared more for the empire than for the lives of innocent people—and certainly more than she cared for him. At least, that’s what he thinks.

But far north lies a work camp where Kestrel is a prisoner. Can she manage to escape before she loses herself? As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover unexpected roles in battle, terrible secrets, and a fragile hope. The world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and Kestrel and Arin are caught between. In a game like this, can anybody really win?


Melanie's thoughts: I disliked the first book in this series but loved the second..... I wonder what the third will bring?

<What's your "waiting on" pick this week?
Want to participate? 
Grab the logo, post your own WoW entry on your blog, and leave your link at Breaking the Spine. 
Happy Reading!

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

{Review} The Halfling (The Aria Fae Series #1) by H.D. Gordon

28444587Posted by Melanie
Release Date: February 2nd, 2016 
Finished Date: January 9th, 2016
Publishers: Self Published
Genre: YA, Paranormal
Source: For Review
Format: eARC
Pages: Unknown
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US 
 
Being seventeen and an outcast is hard. Being seventeen and only half human is harder.

When Aria Fae gets cast out of the Peace Brokers, a secret supernatural organization that’s trained her since infancy, and is left to fend for herself in the human world, she finds herself in Grant City, intent on attempting a normal human life.

As a Halfling, Aria has abilities that are a little underused in the flower shop she lands a job at. And when her new friend Samantha Shy enlists Aria to help investigate her mother’s death, the two girls decide to become vigilantes.

A new drug called Black Magic is running rampant in the streets of Grant City, turning people into supercharged maniacs. With Sam’s mad computer skills, and Aria’s Faevian abilities, they may be just the heroes Grant City is in need of.

Or they may find out they’re in way over their heads, and their mutual crush on the same guy is the least of their worries.

The Review: The Halfling is the first book in the new Aria Fae series by the amazing H.D Gordon and takes place in the world of her other series – Alexa Montgomery Saga and Surah Stormsong novels – but you don’t have to have read those to enjoy this.
As the synopsis states- Aria Fae is 17 and on her own after being cast out of the Peace Brokers, an organisation that has trained her since she was a child. She finds herself in Grant city living in a run down neighbourhood, forced to get a job to survive and see her through school until she graduates. She immediately finds a friend in Samantha Shy when she stops the school bully from abusing her and they find that they have a couple of things in common. When she confides in Sam that she is a Halfling – half fae/half human – they begin an adventure as vigilantes with Aria being the masked avenger and Sam being the brains behind the outfit. They find out that because of a new drug flooding the city, people are becoming increasingly violent and women of all ages are going missing or being killed….. so let’s hope these girls know what they’re getting themselves into.

So, this was awesome! I always know I’m going to get a good read from this author and I was not disappointed.
Aria is a kick ass character and even though she seems quite pitiful and struggles with depression, she gets the job done. I love a good female lead character and Aria is definitely capable of looking out for herself, she is very likable and easy to connect with often making my heart ache for her and what she was going through. It was actually refreshing to see a character such as Aria deal with mental health issues, describing how she would be pulled into certain moods and such… it makes her more relatable. She and Sam were a great team and it’s nice to see these two come together through shared tragedies and bolster each other up, they each open each others eyes to different things and ways of life and share a friendship that you can tell will stand the test of time. Aria gets a love interest in this but it doesn’t take over the story and to be honest I was more interested in her mysterious brooding neighbour who has the potential to be something more???
The storyline was fab and just what I have come to expect from this author. The scenario of women going missing, a drug that is affecting people in strange ways and murders aplenty set up Grant City as quite the scary place to be. The story was very super hero-esque and reminded me of Arrow or Flash with the hero being out to make their city safe whilst a computer genius(s) backs them up in their lair. Aria’s back up were Sam and Matt and they were like a little family instead of a team, they also brought some light heartedness to the plot which was nice. For most of the story, the enemy is faceless and could be anyone, getting clues were hard come by but there was plenty of action when Aria was in masked mode and this injected a lot of excitement to the plot, she was an epic fighter and had a parkour/free running style to her self and her combat. I thought the story also had a gritty, real feel to it and could easily be a great book without the supernatural element. I thought the pacing was great also and my only grumble is that I wish Aria had been a bit older but this is just the beginning and I can tell it has a lot more to give. I am left with huge questions - I really want to know more about Thomas Reid - but liked the conclusion to this and it was tied up nicely, so now I can’t wait for more! 


Thank you to H.D. Gordon for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review. 
 

Monday, 18 January 2016

{Review} All the Rage by Courtney Summers

26098396Posted by Donna
Release Date: January 28th, 2016
Finished Date: January 7th, 2016
Publishers: Macmillan Children's Books
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Mystery
Source: For Review
Format: Paperback
Pages: 257
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / Book Depo 
 
Kellan Turner is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. But when she speaks up, she is branded a liar. Telling the truth has cost her everything, because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town.

But when news of Kellan assaulting another girl gets out, the cost of staying silent might be more than Romy can bear.
 

All The Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women in a culture that refuses to protect them.

The Review: This is some serious reading right here! I never know what to expect whenever I head into a Courtney Summers books but I know one thing, I'm always left thinking about the books after I've read them. They certainly leave an impression and All the Rage didn't fail to disappoint with it's powerful and emotional story about the effects on a  teenage girl who was raped and having no-one to turn to because no-one believes her. 

For me it was certainly hard to like the main character Romy but I think that’s the whole point of the story. How do you like a girl who hates herself? You can't. She’s a young girl with the world against her while struggling to come to terms with what’s happened to her. So I definitely see why she was such an unlikable character but I really truly did feel sorry for and also very angry for her. She lost her best friend. The community she lives in is ruled by the wealthy family and the boy who raped her is the son of the police officer. I could understand why Romy would want to shut out the world. The world she lives in is a horrible place. The only bright spot in her life was her Mother and Mother’s boyfriend along with Leon, a boy she works with. Leon and Romy’s relationship is rocky from the start. She can’t be honest with him and is always telling lies to keep her secret and in her eyes to keep Leon from seeing the real her. I liked Leon but I don’t think the romance brought anything to story, especially with how things turn out. 

The disappearance of Romy’s ex-best friend came as a shock to me. I wasn’t expecting anything else to come from this story other than the rape aspect but to see Summers’ tackle more than one serious issue within the story proves how talented she is. It added so much to the story and it was really hard to figure out what had happened.

I think the only disappointment from the story for me was I was expecting for Kellan Turner to be in the story more than he was. So even though I hate him, I think the story needed for him to be involved with the story more. And I would have liked to have had more closure for Romy, but still All the Rage turned out to a pretty damn good read! 

Thank you to Macmillian Childrens Books for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review. 
 

Friday, 15 January 2016

{International Giveaway} Just One Day by Gayle Forman

27775898Just One Day
by Gayle Forman
Release Date: January 8th, 2013
Publishers: Definitions
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Pages: 369
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / Book Depo 
 
A breathtaking journey toward self-discovery and true love, from the author of If I Stay.

When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.


So I met the wonderful Gayle Forman last year and decided to get a book signed by her for one of you to win (sorry it's taken me so long to post) Anyway, now one of you lucky followers will win a signed copy of this beauty! Feeling lucky? Enter away! 

Thursday, 14 January 2016

{Review} A Fistful of Fire: An Urban Fantasy Novel (Madison Fox, Illuminant Enforcer #2) by Rebecca Chastain

25901925Posted by Melanie
Release Date: October 10th, 2015
Finished Date: January 7th, 2016
Publishers: Self Published
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: For Review
Format: eBook
Pages: Unknown
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US 
 
Madison Fox survived her first week as California’s newest illuminant enforcer, defending her region against imps, vervet, hounds, and one lascivious demon. If her grumpy boss, Mr. Pitt, was impressed, he hasn’t told Madison. In fact, there’s a lot her boss has been closemouthed about, including the dark secret haunting his past.

But Madison’s problems are just igniting. Neighboring regions report an uncharacteristic flare-up of evil, fire-breathing salamanders blaze unchecked across the city, and Black Friday looms. Trapped doing cleanup amid mobs of holiday shoppers, Madison watches from the sidelines as dubious allies insinuate themselves in her region.

As suspicions kindle and the mysterious evil gains strength, Madison must determine who she can trust—and whose rules to follow—before her region and career go up in flames.

Sizzling with adventure and sparking with magic, A FISTFUL OF FIRE is fused with Madison Fox’s trademark blend of humor and ass-kicking action.

The Review: A Fistful of Fire is the second book in the ‘Madison Fox, Illuminant Enforcer’ series and it was just as awesome as book one!
Madison is definitely back on form here as she finds herself stuck in the middle of some power plays for her wardens’ area. With Madison being new to her job, she’s doing the best she can – after all, her area is one of the smallest but all of the evil seems to be concentrated in her boundaries. Her boss and warden of the area – Mr Pitt – is not having a good time of it especially when Madison realises that his fellow wardens have no faith in his ability to be a warden and with him appointing a total newbie and refusing to let any other enforcer train her - it’s not looking good. The holiday season is upon them and because of the flare up in Madisons’ area, she is relegated to the mall in another wardens’ area to stop the evil that likes to feed upon over-zealous shoppers.
Whilst in this area, Madison comes across something she has never seen before, something that draws her to it but is told to leave it alone by Mr Pitt but when the evil starts to multiply in the mall, she can’t help but think that the discovery she made is a big factor in that. She also finds herself smack dab in the middle of a power play where all roads lead to the wardens trying to poach her and oust her warden from his job which will lead to a confession she definitely didn’t see coming. Can Maddison weather this storm? And will she ever get to go on her date with Dr Love?
So, I really enjoyed this second book and thought it progressed seamlessly from book one. Madison is her usual fun self throughout, blabbing whatever comes into her mind, sticking her nose into places it really shouldn’t be and making a nuisance of herself with that lovely sense of humour along for the ride. She’s a girl after my own heart but one is for sure – she gets the job done – even if people don’t have such a high opinion of her. She is also a work in progress and I think you can see the changes in her straight away even if she has only been on the job for less than a month.
The storyline seemed very focussed on the agendas among the wardens – so sort of political in a way but that really gives us an insight into their world. That insight will show us the inner workings of the wardens, what it is they do, how they go about it and also introduces us to the other wardens and we find out who works for whom and what area they cover. I suppose when you have people who work like this, there will always be people who aren’t satisfied and want more – more power, more land, more enforcers etc so when it seems like everyone is out to expose Mr Pitt as incapable of doing his job, it doesn’t come as a surprise. I thought Madison shone for him and although she had doubts, she really showed her loyalty to him. I enjoyed getting to know more creatures, it was easy to imagine the little pests sucking on people in the mall and gave a fun look at Black Friday sales. There is a new creature that will make a big impact in this and I found myself really fond of it, just as much as Madison and all of the commotion it brings with it – I’m thinking some comic moments will follow. There wasn’t much in the way of romance although Dr Love appears throughout and seems very sweet…. But what I want to know is – how about Nico? Is there anything there?
The book is fast paced, full of mystery, meddlesome demons, devious humans, lots of enforcing and maybe a naked man….the story matures well, alongside Madison and I can’t wait to see what’s next for her.

Thank you to Rebecca Chastain for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review.