Monday, 18 January 2016

ARC Review: Take the Fall by Emily Hainsworth

Take The FallTake the Fall

Author: Emily Hainsworth
Series: -
Pages: 368
Publisher/Source: Balzer & Bray
Release date: 16th February 2016

Synopsis: (Goodreads)

WHO KILLED GRETCHEN MEYER?

Fear grips the residents of Hidden Falls the night Sonia Feldman and her best friend, Gretchen Meyer, are attacked in the woods. Sonia was lucky to escape with her life, but Gretchen’s body is discovered at the bottom of a waterfall. Beautiful, popular, and seemingly untouchable, Gretchen can’t be gone. Even as Sonia struggles with guilt and confusion over having survived, the whole town is looking to her for information…could she have seen something that will lead the police to the killer?

At the top of the list of suspects is Gretchen’s ex-boyfriend—and Sonia’s longtime enemy—Marcus Perez. So when Marcus comes to Sonia for help clearing his name, she agrees, hoping to find evidence the police need to prove he’s the killer. But as Gretchen’s many secrets emerge and the suspects add up, Sonia feels less sure of Marcus’s involvement, and more afraid for herself. Could Marcus, the artist, the screwup, the boy she might be falling for have attacked her? Killed her best friend? And if it wasn’t him in the woods that night…who could it have been?

Review: 4 ½ out of 5 stars

I love who dunnit mysteries so I was more than eager to read Take the Fall by Emily Hainsworth and I was hooked from the very first page.

I never quite knew who could be trusted! Our MC is Sonia Feldman and everyone she seemed to come in contact with I considered a suspect, I had no idea who could be trusted which I loved.

Sonia lives in Hidden Falls, on a fateful night she was attacked in the woods but managed to escape with a few cuts and bruises, her best friend Gretchen Meyer who Sonia had dropped at home earlier was not so lucky and was found dead at the bottom of the waterfall, an event which sends the whole town into turmoil as they try to determine who would attack Sonia and kill popular Gretchen.

Number one suspect is Gretchen’s ex-boyfriend and Sonia’s enemy Marcus Perez but when he approaches Sonia for her help in clearing his name she is torn about whether to trust and help him out or turn a piece of evidence she has over to the police.

I enjoyed Sonia and Marcus’s interactions, I was really eager to know why there was so much animosity from him towards her so I was surprised when we find out; I came to enjoy their friendship and the way they helped one another to find out who the murderer was.

As I mentioned everyone to me was a suspect, including Gretchen’s family and Sonia’s friends; as information emerges and threats are made lines are blurred about everyone’s motives. I was so immersed in Emily Hainsworth’s storytelling that I couldn’t put this book down, I was anxious to know who the killer was and in the end I guessed completely wrong! what a huge surprise.

Take the Fall was edge of your seat gripping, it was thrilling and filled with many moments that I didn’t expect; Sonia did make a few silly decisions but she was eager to find out who had killed her childhood best friend so I could forgive her careless moves.

Emily Hainsworth’s writing is gripping; you get a real sense of the emotions and the imagery in her detailed story-telling which I love.

Overall, beautifully written, Take the Fall moved me, shocked me and entertained me; I will definitely be picking up more books written by this author.  



Emily HainsworthAbout the author: Emily Hainsworth was raised in Syracuse, New York, until she fell in love and fled its gray skies for the sunny Rocky Mountains. Before she started writing full time, she worked as a turndown maid at a fancy golf club, scooped poop at a dog boarding kennel, worked retail in an upscale pet boutique, and owned a dog grooming business. She currently resides in Denver with her family. Emily's debut novel, THROUGH TO YOU, a romantic sci-fi thriller, was published in 2012 by Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins. It was on the Fall 2012 Kids Indie Next List, received a starred review from VOYA magazine, was translated into nine languages, and was optioned for film by Paramount Pictures. Her second novel, TAKE THE FALL, is a suspenseful YA thriller about a girl trying to understand why she escaped murder when her best friend didn’t. Available 2.16.2016.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Review: The Barrier Between (Collector #2) by Stacey Marie Brown

The Barrier Between (Collector #2)The Barrier Between

Author: Stacey Marie Brown
Series: Collector 2
Pages: 418
Publisher/Source: Twisted Fairy Publishing
Release date: 4th June 2015

Synopsis: (Goodreads) Zoey’s life has taken a dramatic turn. Only a few months ago she was a Collector working for the a secret part of the government called the Department of Molecular Genetics (DMG), tracking and collecting fae. Her life had been changing and improving with a partner she loved and a sister she adored.

Now all that is gone—Daniel murdered by a fae, and Lexi killed when the Seattle area is devastated by a powerful, magical electrical storm. Zoey herself is altered by her association with the Wanderer, Ryker, in life-changing way.

Zoey discovered she was an experiment from the very company she worked for. She could die at any moment of a threatening defect—taking Ryker’s magic with her.

In a race against time, Ryker and Zoey set out to find a way to transfer his powers back before it’s too late. Their journey takes them to the rainforests of South America, dealing with those who are after something Ryker possesses and who will stop at nothing to obtain it for themselves.

What Zoey and Ryker discover can destroy them or tear them a part for good.
 

Review: 4 out of 5 stars

** Contains possible spoilers from the first book **

The Barrier Between is the second book in the Collector series by Stacey Marie Brown and begins in Peru where City of Embers left off.

As a bit of background, our MC Zoey was recruited into the Department of Molecular Genetics and trained as a Collector, she hunted and collected the Fae because of her unique Seer abilities. When the Seattle area is devastated by a powerful, magical electrical storm she ended up ostracized from the people she has known and trusted and she is more or less forced to spend her days travelling alongside Ryker, a merciless Fae Wanderer.

I loved the amount of character progression that we see from both Zoey and Ryker, they are complete opposites and initially detested each other’s race so to see the romance begin to grow and them become allies was great – I loved the tension between them and their witty banter is done very well. I also love Sprig the sprite! He brings some great comic relief to the story; he’s a lot of fun. We also get to know a few characters a little more from the first book and I never quite knew where their loyalties lay.

The plot was fast paced and exciting! Stacey Marie Brown takes us on a thrilling adventure as the characters set out to find a way to transfer Ryker’s powers back from Zoey before it’s too late. I enjoyed their journey through the rainforests of South America, dealing with those who were after something Ryker possessed – this was something that I was quite eager to know more about from the first book.

Stacey Marie Brown’s writing is wonderful, the dialogue is done really well and I enjoyed the imaginative world-building which isn’t over the top but kept me engrossed and wanting to know more. I am definitely excited to read the next book in the Collector series.

Overall, The Barrier Between is a book filled with adventure and twists and turns aplenty, I was riveted from the very first page and I am excited to see where the story goes – it does end on a big cliff-hanger so thankfully book 3, Across the Divide has been released (phew). 

Stacey Marie Brown
 
About the author: Stacey Marie Brown is a lover of hot fictional bad boys and sarcastic heroines who kick butt. She also enjoys books, travel, TV shows, hiking, writing, design, and archery. Stacey swears she is part gypsy, being lucky enough to live and travel all over the world.

She grew up in Northern California, where she ran around on her family's farm, raising animals, riding horses, playing flashlight tag, and turning hay bales into cool forts. She volunteers helping animals and is eco-friendly. She feels all animals, people, and environment should be treated kindly.


Friday, 8 January 2016

Review: The Girlfriend Request by Jodie Andrefski

The Girlfriend RequestThe Girlfriend Request

Author: Jodie Andrefski
Series: -
Pages: 216
Publisher/Source: Entangled Crush / Netgalley
Release date: 11th January 2016

Synopsis: (Goodreads): Updating best friend to girlfriend is more than a change of status...
Emma has been best friends with Eli since she moved to his neighborhood ten years ago. Tired of being cast in the role of the girl next door, Emma creates a fake Facebook profile in the hopes of starting an online friendship with Eli, which would hopefully lead to more. Like...way more. From friend request to In a Relationship--it all seemed so completely logical when she'd planned it.
Eli can't figure out what Emma is up to. He’s pretty sure she's the one behind the Facebook profile, but then again, why would she do something so drastic instead of just admitting she wants to be more than friends? And who the heck is this new guy he saw her with? Eli starts to think that just maybe...he missed his chance with the girl next door.
Two best friends, one outlandish ruse. Their status is about to become way more than It’s Complicated...
This Entangled Teen Crush book contains one fake Facebook profile, two best friends who secretly crave each other, and a dreaded sex talk with parents...boy crush in the room included. Pushing a relationship beyond the friend zone has never been so crazy...

Review: 2 out of 5 stars

Not a good start to the year with my first disappointing read being The Girlfriend Request; a YA contemporary romance by Jodie Andrefski. I love a good friends to more story but this definitely fell flat for me.

Emma and Eli are the best of friends but Emma wanted to be more but she is extremely reluctant to admit her feelings so she starts up a new Facebook profile to friend Eli, get him to fall for her and then reveal it was her all along.

This book would be perfectly suited to the younger reader, I think this is where it faltered for me because I couldn’t understand the characters reasoning and actions; I was stumped about why Emma felt the need to complete a fake Facebook profile in the hopes that they would become more than friends, you can see right from the onset that there would be drama caused from the lies and deception so I wasn’t sold on the storyline although I’m sure the teen reader may be able to relate.

What I thought would be a fun and cute book ended up being full of drama, there were unnecessary fights and jealousy, Eli went from having Emma in the friend zone one moment to ‘noticing’ her the next; this trope annoys me. I understood why Emma would be shy to tell her best friend that she felt more for him but the way she went about it was really juvenile.

As you can tell, I didn’t completely love the characters in this book, they are both relatable teen characters but there were numerous moments where I was just infuriated with them both and their actions. We also get to meet a few side characters and I found them each interesting; I liked Jake and Sarah. 

Overall, I felt this story was written well but it didn’t wow me at all. I liked how the book ended despite it being rushed and cliché but up until that point there was a high level of uncertainty.

*Thank you Entangled Teen via Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review The Girlfriend Request.



About the author: I've been passionate about reading since I was a little girl, which lead to a love of writing. I write YA--especially if it involves at least some kissing.

I have my B.S. in Secondary Education-English from Penn State University, and am also pursuing my M.S. in Mental Health Counseling.

I live in a small town in Pennsylvania with my teenage daughter.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Review: Oblivion (Lux companion) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Oblivion (Lux, #1.5)Oblivion

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: Lux
Pages: 350
Publisher/Source: Entangled Teen
Release date: 1st December 2015

Synopsis: (Goodreads) Experience the epic love story of OBSIDIAN as told by its hero, Daemon Black…

I knew the moment Katy Swartz moved in next door, there was going to be trouble. Lots of it. 

And trouble’s the last thing I need, since I’m not exactly from around here. My people arrived on Earth from Lux, a planet thirteen billion light years away. Plus, if there’s one thing I know, it’s that humans can’t be trusted. We scare them. We can do things they only dream about, and honestly, we make them look weak as hell. ‘Cuz they are. 

But Kat is getting to me in ways no one else has, and I can't stop myself from wanting her—or wanting to use my powers to protect her. She makes me weak, and I’m the strongest of our kind, tasked with protecting us all. So this one simple girl…she can mean the end for us. Because the Luxen have an even bigger enemy—the Arum, and I need to stay on my game. 

Falling for Katy—a human—won't just place her in danger. It could get us all killed, and that’s one thing I’ll never let happen...

Review: 3 ½ out of 5 stars

Oblivion is Obsidian, Onyx & Opal combined from Daemon's point of view.

Anyone who knows me knows how much I absolutely adore JLA! I fell completely in love with the characters in the Lux series but I felt that their story had already been told so I wasn’t overly keen to read Oblivion which is from Daemon’s POV and although I enjoyed it, I didn’t completely love it.

I enjoyed the snark and the wit when I first read the series, Katy Swartz is a book loving human who had lost her father and lived in a remote area with her mother; Daemon Black is a Luxen and her swoon-worthy next-door neighbour. They were an unlikely pair but I liked how they eventually came together but in Oblivion it seemed like it was all about the romance which I’m all for but I felt the importance of what was going on with the DOD, Arum, Luxen and humans wasn’t the emphasis, it was more of Daemon pursuing or being an ass to Katy.

There were scenes in Oblivion that we don’t see in the first books which I appreciated but there are also some that I am glad we do get to read about again. I am a big sucker for the smexy scenes. I also loved reading about how much Daemon cared for his family but also how he came to take a chance on Katy despite what had previously happened between his brother and Bethany. He had a lot of responsibility and protected those fiercely that were close to him; I felt for him at times; he was torn between his heart and his duty.

As much as I do love most of the characters in this series, my biggest gripe was actually with Daemon and Katy and their behaviour at times which was a bit of a shock, he didn’t come across as ‘needy’ previously but in this he came across as an annoying stalker at times, I never thought I’d ever think this but some parts had me cringing; especially when he was jealous of the time Katy would spend with other guys; it felt repetitive and wasn’t the Daemon I had grown to previously love. Katy and her reluctance to give in to her feelings could also be annoying; there was certainly a big case of cat and mouse going on.

Despite the above I did enjoy this book; it was written well but I think I got more out of reading it the first time around because the element of surprise and excitement of what was going to happen in this was missing. This is the main reason why I tend to avoid books that are re-written from another characters POV; it just doesn’t work out for me.

Obsidian – I liked reading the reasoning behind why Daemon was being such an ass constantly to Katy, I also liked the background rehash on the Luxen/Arum and DOD. I really despised Andrew and Ash in this book.

Onyx – Miscommunication, secrets, drama and a very annoying Katy. She grated on my nerves at times especially during the scenes with Blake; my heart broke for Daemon in regards to finding out about Bethany and his brother.

Opal – My fave book, I love the story and romance progression in this book. Katy is more kick ass and less reliant on others.

Overall, I think if you are a fan of the series then it is worthwhile grabbing a copy of this book; its perfect if you were thinking of a re-read of the whole series.



Jennifer L. ArmentroutAbout the author: # 1 New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Jennifer L. Armentrout Lives in West Virginia. 

All the rumors you heard about her state aren’t true. 

Well, mostly. When she's not hard at work writing, she spends her time, reading, working out, watching zombie movies, and pretending to write.

She is the author of the Covenant Series (Spencer Hill Press), the Lux Series (Entangled Teen), Don't Look Back (Disney/Hyperion) and a yet untitled novel (Disney/Hyperion), and new YA paranormal series with Harlequin Teen. 

Jennifer also writes New Adult and Adult romance under the pen name J. Lynn. The Gamble Brothers Series (Tempting the Best Man/Tempting the Player) and Wait for You. Under her pen name, she is published with Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Resolutions We Have For 2015

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. It is a chance for everyone to share lists and get to know fellow bloggers.

January 5: Top Ten Resolutions We Have For 2015 (can be bookish, personal resolutions, "I resolve to finally read these 10 books, series I resolve to finish in 2015, etc.)

1. I would like to get started on the Harry Potter series – they have been sitting on my bookshelf forever! I love the movies so I really hope to read the books.


2. I want to catch up on the Lunar Chronicles series by Melissa Marr – I have read Cinder but ever since I found out that the sequel featured different characters I gave up, I hope to get back into this series because I thoroughly enjoyed Melissa Marr’s writing, world-building and characters.


3. I want to get back into blogging on a more regular basis – I took a bit of a blogging, commenting, computer etc. break at the end of 2015, I found it all a bit too much and I was getting really bored so I hope to get back into the swing of posting regularly again.

4. I want to make some new blogging friends – I have my fave blogs tabbed on my computer so its easy for me to just click and visit so I want to start stopping by a few more, I have been a bit slack in branching out lately.


5. I would like to attend at least one blogging / publisher event – In the almost 5 years that I have been blogging, I have never attended a bookish event. I hope to be able to at least attend one this year.


6. Comment, comment & comment some more – this sort of relates to #4; I want to start commenting on other logs a little more as well as respond on my own blog.

7. To catch up on the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning - My fave series is Fever by Karen Marie Moning and I have been putting off starting on the spin-off series which originally featured Dani O’malley as the MC, she wasn’t my favourite character so I haven’t had the urge to read these but I hope to this year.


The next few are personal resolutions:-

8. Milestone birthday – I have a milestone birthday this year and my aim is to be fit, healthy and to lose just a few unwanted kg’s. I actually started my fitness goal a few months ago now but I have been a little naughty over Xmas and NY so I want to get back into it.

9. Holiday – Hubby just celebrated his milestone birthday so as a gift to each other we are taking a family overseas trip, I want to plan something fabulous and have it booked by April at the latest.



10. Stress less, have more fun! – I am a big stress head & often suffer from anxiety, especially when it comes to my family so I want to take a step back and focus more on me and my health and wellbeing, I need to de-stress and take things easy. This has been my resolution for a while but this year I hope to achieve it.

Monday, 4 January 2016

Happy New Year!!


Happy 2016 everyone & thank you for stopping by!

I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas and an amazing start to 2016!! 

We had a really lovely Christmas, the kids were spoilt rotten, we spent the day with my family and then my in-laws which was great! it's summer here in Australia and the weather was amazing! (not the best now) It's been a great few weeks of catching up with friends and family and we haven't stopped eating, I attempted a slow cooked Christmas pudding for the first time and it turned out soooo well, I was quietly impressed with myself.

 

New Year’s started off quietly for us as I have had both of my kids sick with a viral infection, joy oh joy! We did get to bring in the NY with a great feast, our family visiting and watching the Sydney city skyline and local beach fireworks from our balcony which was pretty amazing! How did you bring in the New Year?

Sydney Harbour 2016!

I took a very much needed break from reading, blogging, commenting and all home computer time at the end of 2015 and I think it was the best thing for me because I started to feel really burnt out; I started taking on extra hours at work and by the time I would get home, do afternoon activities with the kids and relax I just had no motivation to do anything book-ish related unfortunately. I have enjoyed taking time out for me and to not focus on catching up on review books and feeling the need rather than want to blog but I think I have my mojo back now and I’m ready to start the New Year afresh. I have some pretty amazing 2016 ARC review titles to read so I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts on them with you.

In 2015 I was 6 books off meeting my Goodreads challenge, my goal was 150. I have the same goal for this year and fingers crossed I meet it as I have since 2010 (I’m pretty sure I did for last year but I haven’t been very active on GR’s to update my books).

I didn’t have a great reading year; I only gave 6 books a 5 star rating so I am hoping 2016 is an amazing reading year. What was your fave book of 2015?

Did anyone set a NY resolution? I don’t normally but this year I am having a milestone birthday & by that date I want to be fit, active and lose a few kg’s; I’ve been so motivated and well behaved with my eating for the past few 4 months but the Christmas and NY break really messed with my eating habits (I have an obsession with rum balls and eggnog!)

View of my daily walks - motivation enough ;-)


I hope that you have all had a wonderful start to the year and I look forward to talking books with you all throughout the year.

xx