28 May 2017

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Book Review / Blood Sisters by Jane Corry ***Contains Spoilers***



Three little girls set off to school one sunny May morning. 
 
Within an hour, one of them is dead. 
 
Fifteen years later, Alison and Kitty are living separate lives. Kitty lives in a care home. She can't speak, and she has no memory of the accident that put her here, or her life before it.

Art teacher Alison looks fine on the surface. But the surface is a lie. When a job in a prison comes up she decides to take it - this is her chance to finally make things right.

But someone is watching Kitty and Alison.
Someone who wants revenge for what happened that day.

And only another life will do...



Published:     4th May 2017
Publisher:  Penguin
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher




MY REVIEW

What I liked about this story...      It is not often that I come across a thriller where I honestly do not know or can't figure out what is going to happen.  Blood Sisters is one of those books.  I really couldn't tell what was going to happen until the very end!  It was not just at the end of the story where I was surprised.  I am not sure whether I was just not paying attention or whether it was a good slight of hand but I honestly didn't recognise the character in the care home as Kitty!  I should just mention that when it comes to thrillers I do not read the description of the book apart from the caption that usually features on the front of the book.  That way I don't get spoiled and any surprises the author wants me to find, I don't know then in advance. 

What I didn't like about this story...   It did take me a while to get into this story and I am not sure whether that was just me and my mood at the time or whether the beginning just had a lower pace than the rest of the book but I can tell you it is definitely worth the read!


Continue reading Book Review / Blood Sisters by Jane Corry ***Contains Spoilers***

22 May 2017

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Blog Tour Book Review / Two Lost Boys by LF Robertson


 Janet Moodie has spent years as a death row appeals attorney. Overworked and recently widowed, she's had her fill of hopeless cases, and is determined that this will be her last. Her client is Marion 'Andy' Hardy, convicted along with his brother Emory of the rape and murder of two women. But Emory received a life sentence while Andy got the death penalty, labeled the ringleader despite his low IQ and Emory's dominant personality.


Convinced that Andy's previous lawyers missed mitigating evidence that would have kept him off death row, Janet investigates Andy's past. She discovers a sordid and damaged upbringing, a series of errors on the part of his previous counsel, and most worrying of all, the possibility that there is far more to the murders than was first thought. Andy may be guilty, but does he deserve to die?




Published:     16th May 2017
Publisher:  Titan Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher 



MY REVIEW

What I liked about this story...   This book could not have come at a better time, right in the middle of my 'I really want to read thriller style books' mood.  What I liked the most was actually following the case as it went along and discovering things as Janet was discovering them.  A lot of the time, to be honest, I had not guessed what might happen but sometime I did but that didn't matter.  This book definitely kept me on the edge of my seat for most of the book.  As most who know me know that I love a good book about secrets and this one fit right into that category.   The ending for me was brilliant, I had kind of suspected what would happen but loved to see it all play out.

What I didn't like about this story...  Although this is not technically a negative I am putting it here anyway because it is all I have to put in this section but I would have loved to have learnt more about Janet, more about her back story etc throughout the book as well as having the main story. 



Continue reading Blog Tour Book Review / Two Lost Boys by LF Robertson

17 May 2017

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Book Review / Lies by TM Logan


WHAT IF YOUR WHOLE LIFE WAS BASED ON LIES?
When Joe Lynch stumbles across his wife driving into a hotel car park while she's supposed to be at work, he's intrigued enough to follow her in.

And when he witnesses her in an angry altercation with family friend Ben, he knows he ought to intervene.

But just as the confrontation between the two men turns violent, and Ben is knocked unconscious, Joe's young son has an asthma attack - and Joe must flee in order to help him.

When he returns, desperate to make sure Ben is OK, Joe is horrified to find that Ben has disappeared.

And that's when Joe receives the first message . . .




Published:     17th January 2017
Publisher:  Bonnier Zaffre
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher




MY REVIEW

Right when I had started to want to read thrillers I picked this up and I am so glad I did.  This book solely holds the responsibility of me wanting to read a lot more thrillers than I would normally!    We follow Joe Lynch in this story who at the beginning just happens to see his wife at a hotel having a far too familiar heated chat with his friend Ben.  What follows is just one thing after another most of which is predictable but I enjoyed following Joe as he delves deeper and deeper into the troubles he never knew that he had.  What I loved the most was the ending.  What a great twist in the story and definitely one that I wasn't expecting!   









Continue reading Book Review / Lies by TM Logan

15 May 2017

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Book Review / Gone by Min Kym

The spellbinding memoir of a violin virtuoso who loses the instrument that had defined her both on stage and off -- and who discovers, beyond the violin, the music of her own voice

Her first violin was tiny, harsh, factory-made; her first piece was "Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star." But from the very beginning, Min Kym knew that music was the element in which she could swim and dive and soar. At seven years old, she was a prodigy, the youngest ever student at the famed Purcell School. At eleven, she won her first international prize; at eighteen, violinist great Ruggiero Ricci called her "the most talented violinist I've ever taught." And at twenty-one, she found "the one," the violin she would play as a soloist: a rare 1696 Stradivarius. Her career took off. She recorded the Brahms concerto and a world tour was planned. Then, in a London cafe, her violin was stolen. She felt as though she had lost her soulmate, and with it her sense of who she was. Overnight she became unable to play or function, stunned into silence.

In this lucid and transfixing memoir, Kym reckons with the space left by her violin's absence. She sees with new eyes her past as a child prodigy, with its isolation and crushing expectations; her combustible relationships with teachers and with a domineering boyfriend; and her navigation of two very different worlds, her traditional Korean family and her music. And in the stark yet clarifying light of her loss, she rediscovers her voice and herself.


Published:     25th April 2017
Publisher:  Viking
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher




MY REVIEW


I always find it hard to review a non-fiction book.  How can you review someone's thoughts and life experiences?  I really enjoyed this story and finding out more about Min Kym.  I will be honest and say that I hadn't heard of her before but I do love reading non-fiction biographical books about musicians and knew that I had to give this a go...  Finding out more about her, her life and career I found fascinating especially when it came to learning more about her family and their way of life, which is something I had not known a lot about.

I have to be honest and say that there were parts particularly where Min was going into detail about her violin that it did lose my interest a bit.  I found it a lot more interesting reading about her life.



Continue reading Book Review / Gone by Min Kym

12 May 2017

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Blog Tour Book Review / Rocks Beat Paper by Mike Knowles

A phone call brought Wilson and nine other men to a job in New York. At first, he couldn’t see a way to make the heist work, but the score — millions of dollars in diamonds — kept him looking. Wilson came up with a plan he knew would work . . . until the inside man got killed and took the job with him.

With no way inside, the crew walks away without the diamonds. Alone, Wilson is free to execute the job his way. Wilson sets a con in motion that should run as predictably as a trail of dominoes — except the con doesn’t rely on inanimate tiles, it relies on people.

Wilson pushes all of the pieces across the board only to find out that there are other players making their own moves against him. Everyone is playing to win and no one is willing to walk away because the job is about more than money, the job is about diamonds. And in this game, rocks beat paper every time.



Published:     16th May 2017
Publisher:  ECW Press
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 6, Wilson Mystery
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher




MY REVIEW

What I liked about this story...   I don't normally read stories about heists but I liked the sound of this one.  To me it seemed like there was more to the story than what meets the eye and I was right!  There were quite a few twists and turns in this story which kept me on my toes that's for sure!  For me, it didn't matter that this book was book 6 in the series because it was definitely a story that can be read as a stand-alone, separate from the rest of the series.  That said, I will be picking up the first books in the series when I can get my hands on them.  What I also liked was the somewhat comedic at times interaction between the characters in this heist.  At times they are serious and focusing on the job at hand but at other times they seem to like having friendly digs at each other, which I found very amusing! 
 
What I didn't like about this story...  Although I did enjoy this book very much I would have loved to have read more about the heist and the story when the characters were out and about.  There was a lot of discussion  and preparation meeting  type dialogue at the beginning which did add to the story but I would have loved to have learned more about character backgrounds and what they were doing on the 'job'.  That said, this may be something I might pick up in the first books in the series that I have missed.






Continue reading Blog Tour Book Review / Rocks Beat Paper by Mike Knowles

9 May 2017

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Book Review / The Valentine House by Emma Henderson

In June 1914, Sir Anthony Valentine, a keen mountaineer, arrives with his family to spend the summer in their chalet, high in the French Alps. There, for the first time, fourteen-year-old foundling Mathilde starts work as one of the 'uglies' - village girls employed as servants and picked, it is believed, to ensure they don't catch Sir Anthony's roving eye.

For Mathilde it is the start of a life-long entanglement with les anglais - strange, exciting people, far removed from the hard grind of farming. Except she soon finds the Valentines are less carefree than they appear, with a curiously absent daughter no one talks about. It will be decades - disrupted by war, accidents and a cruel betrayal - before Mathilde discovers the key to the mystery. And in 1976, the year Sir Anthony's great-great grandson comes to visit, she must decide whether to use it.

Vividly evoking the dramatic landscape that so enthrals the Valentines, this deeply involving, intriguing novel tells the story of an English family through the generations and a memorable French woman, whose lives seem worlds apart yet which become inextricably connected.


Published:     6th April 2017
Publisher:  Hodder & Stoughton
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone

Source:  Review Copy from Publisher



MY REVIEW

What I liked about this book...  This book was very much a surprise for me.  This is not normally something that I would pick up in a book shop but there is nothing that I like more is a good family drama with the prospect of deep family secrets along side this.  What I liked the most about this book was the sense of history and following Mathilde where she joins the Valentine household and also many many years later when she is not that far away...  I liked the sense of family history going through the different generations starting with Sir Anthony Valentine (who was a character that I deeply disliked at the start of the book but have to say that I liked him a bit more by the time I got to the end). 

What I didn't like about this book...  This book was a bit slow moving for me.  I had wished there was a bit more pace and a bit more drama or something surprising happen.  That's not to say that I didn't enjoy this book, I did and would recommend it for those who like a bit more of a laid back style family style book.







Continue reading Book Review / The Valentine House by Emma Henderson

2 May 2017

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Book Review / Miss Mary's Book of Dreams by Sophie Nicholls

Dreams, books and vintage fashion - the second book in the bestselling ebook series by Sophie Nicholls, author of The Dress.

In historic York, Ella seems to have the perfect life. She's a published author, her bookshop is thriving, she's married to the man of her dreams and they've started a family of their own.

But Ella is struggling. Motherhood isn't quite everything she imagined it to be, and she's worried that there may be cracks in her marriage.

On the other side of the Atlantic, despite endless blue skies and a stream of eager customers in her vintage dress shop, Ella's mother Fabia finds that life in San Diego is not enough for her. She misses York, and can sense that Ella needs her, so she flies home.

And this is when they meet Bryony. With a complicated life and secrets of her own, Bryony may have some of the answers they're looking for.

Can Ella and Fabia help her find her way, whilst also working out how to find their own happily ever after?

 
Published:     23rd March 2017
Publisher:  Zaffre
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher



MY REVIEW

What I liked about this story...  Anything that has book in the title or has anything to do with book shops I am definitely going to check it out and read it!  A very interesting story to read, a story of family, love and starting again indeed with also a hidden touch of magic folded in.  The best parts for me were the stories of Ella and Bryony.  You have Ella who runs a bookshop, has a husband and daughter and is also an author.   She is struggling with a lot of those and we watch her in this story struggling and coming to certain decisions on certain things.  You then have Bryony who has her own complicated family problems and personal problems.  I liked finding out more about each of these characters, finding out their secrets and seeing how they dealt with them. 
 
What I didn't like about this story...   First of all I will say that I really enjoyed the writing style of this author and will be checking out more to read.  That said, I really didn't enjoy the plot in places.  I found at some parts, mostly nearer the middle of the story, I got a bit lost and got the feeling that there were more to these characters than I was reading.  I did a little digging on Goodreads and realised that there is a trilogy written by this author called the Everyday Magic series, which seems to feature some of the characters in this book which makes me thing that maybe I should have read that trilogy first?  I am not sure on that point but maybe that would have solved my confusion.  That said, I did love the two main characters and am definitely intrigued to pick up that trilogy to find out whether there was anything I have missed.




Continue reading Book Review / Miss Mary's Book of Dreams by Sophie Nicholls

1 May 2017

Month in Review / March and April 2017

To be honest, March was not a really productive reading month for me.  I just wasn't in the mood to read.  Sometimes that happens and I don't force reading unless I really want to.  It worked because the month of April was outstanding reading wise.  I just could not stop!  I will jist point out that even though I have put in the Harry Potter series in this wrap up I did start listening to these in Audiobook format from January but finished them now.

Let's talk about favourites for the months of March and April.  In the stand-alone section, Before the Rains stood out to me as a firm favourite, giving it 5 stars.  Dinah Jefferies was a new author to me so I wasn't sure which way that book would go but I loved it and I will definately be looking into more books by her in the future.  Looking at the series I read, my favourite has to be the Throne of Glass series.  Despite the fact that some of the books in this series are HUGE I just could not stop reading and read them quicker than what I thought...   

I hope you have all had great reading months and looking forward to what comes up in May!


STAND-ALONE BOOKS READ

Click here for my review

Science geek Meg is left to look after her little sister for ten days after her free-spirited mum leaves suddenly to follow up yet another of her Big Important Causes. But while Meg may understand how the universe was formed, baby Elsa is a complete mystery to her.

And Mum’s disappearance has come at the worst time: Meg is desperate to win a competition to get the chance to visit NASA headquarters, but to do this she has to beat close rival Ed. Can Meg pull off this double life of caring for Elsa and following her own dreams? She’ll need a miracle of cosmic proportions …

Fans fell in love with the warmth, wit, romance and fierce friendships in Flirty Dancing, Love Bomb, Sunkissed and Star Struck, and Stargazing for Beginners has all that and galaxies more. This is the best kind of real-life fiction – with big themes and irresistible characters, it goes straight to your heart.




 Click here for my review

Hartwell, Delaware—the perfect place to get away from it all, and find what you never knew you needed…

Bailey Hartwell has many reasons to feel content—her successful business, a close circle of friends, and her steady boyfriend…even if their romance feels staid after ten years without a serious commitment. The only challenge in her life comes in the form of sexy businessman Vaughn Tremaine. She thinks the ex-New Yorker acts superior and that he considers her a small-town nobody. But when Bailey’s blindsided by a betrayal, she’s shocked to discover Vaughn is actually a decent guy.

Vaughn admires Bailey’s free spirit, independence, and loyalty. As his passion for her has grown, his antagonism toward her has only worsened. Every little thing Bailey does seduces him. But when Vaughn’s painful emotional past makes him walk away in fear he will hurt her, it opens an old wound in Bailey, and she uncharacteristically retreats.

Once Vaughn begins to realize he’s made the biggest mistake of his life, he has no choice but to fight like he’s never fought before to convince Bailey that the love they’ve found together only comes around once in a lifetime.



Click here for my review


A romantic, heart-wrenching tale of love against the odds from the Number One Sunday Times bestselling author
 
1930, Rajputana, India. Since her husband's death, 28-year-old photojournalist Eliza's only companion has been her camera. When the British Government send her to an Indian princely state to photograph the royal family, she's determined to make a name for herself.

But when Eliza arrives at the palace she meets Jay, the Prince's handsome, brooding brother. While Eliza awakens Jay to the poverty of his people, he awakens her to the injustices of British rule. Soon Jay and Eliza find they have more in common than they think. But their families - and society - think otherwise. Eventually they will have to make a choice between doing what's expected, or following their hearts. . .


SERIES READ AND COMPLETED



Click here for my review


After seventeen-year-old Thais Allard loses her widowed father in a tragic car accident, she is forced to leave the only home she's ever known to live with a total stranger in New Orleans. New Orleans greets Thais with many secrets and mysteries, but none as unbelievable as the moment she comes face to face with the impossible — an identical twin, Clio.

Thais soon learns that she and the twin she never knew come from a family of witches, that she possesses astonishing powers, and that she, along with Clio, has a key role in Balefire, the coven she was born into.
Fiery Clio is less than thrilled to have to share the spotlight, but the twins must learn to combine their powers in order to complete a rite that will transform their lives and the coven forever.
 




Following the unexpected death of her father, 18-year-old Layken is forced to be the rock for both her mother and younger brother. Outwardly, she appears resilient and tenacious, but inwardly, she's losing hope.

Enter Will Cooper: The attractive, 21-year-old new neighbor with an intriguing passion for slam poetry and a unique sense of humor. Within days of their introduction, Will and Layken form an intense emotional connection, leaving Layken with a renewed sense of hope.

Not long after an intense, heart-stopping first date, they are slammed to the core when a shocking revelation forces their new relationship to a sudden halt. Daily interactions become impossibly painful as they struggle to find a balance between the feelings that pull them together, and the secret that keeps them apart.





Harry Potter's life is miserable. His parents are dead and he's stuck with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he's a wizard. A mysterious visitor rescues him from his relatives and takes him to his new home, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

After a lifetime of bottling up his magical powers, Harry finally feels like a normal kid. But even within the Wizarding community, he is special. He is the boy who lived: the only person to have ever survived a killing curse inflicted by the evil Lord Voldemort, who launched a brutal takeover of the Wizarding world, only to vanish after failing to kill Harry.

Though Harry's first year at Hogwarts is the best of his life, not everything is perfect. There is a dangerous secret object hidden within the castle walls, and Harry believes it's his responsibility to prevent it from falling into evil hands. But doing so will bring him into contact with forces more terrifying than he ever could have imagined.

Full of sympathetic characters, wildly imaginative situations, and countless exciting details, the first installment in the series assembles an unforgettable magical world and sets the stage for many high-stakes adventures to come.





After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her ... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead ... quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.













Continue reading Month in Review / March and April 2017

30 Apr 2017

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Series Review / Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas **NO SPOILERS**


After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her ... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead ... quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.



MY REVIEW

What can I say, it has been a very long time since I read a series and can honestly say that each and every book I loved and have given 5 stars to.  I would 100% say that I could read this series over and over again, I certainly could read it over again now but I won't because my TBR is quite large so I had better start on something else lol!

What I loved the most about this series...  The characters and the plot to name only two!  I loved how the characters progressed with each story, some good and some not so good.  You have Celaena who starts out in the slave mines in Endovier and then getting picked to take part in a contest to be the King's Champion (aka Assassin).  With each story you see more and more of her story, find out some things that you didn't know before and sometimes there are things that you know but are waiting for other characters to find out which is equally as enjoyable.  You then have the plot.  Each story has its own plot line and hurdles to get over but the more and more you read of this series you discover that there definitely is a bigger picture and even though I have read all that is out at the moment in this series, I still get the feeling that there is more to come.

What I wasn't fond of with this series...  Honestly, despite the fact that I loved this series there were points (more so in Queen of Shadows and Empire of Storms) where Celaena was a bit more 'brattish' than I would like her to be but at least there were characters around her that counterbalanced that trait and tried to keep her in line, sometimes winning and sometimes failing.

Recommended Reading...  As there were novellas with this series I did wonder how I would fit them into the series.  I ended up reading them all in one go and after I had read Empire of Storms.  In hindsight, I think it would have been better if I had read them after Queen of Shadows, still all in one go but when re-reading this series at some time in the future I feel the novellas are best read before Empire of Storms.








Continue reading Series Review / Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas **NO SPOILERS**

29 Apr 2017

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Book Review / The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J Maas ***Contains Spoilers***

***Contains Spoilers***
I will be posting a non-spoiler series review soon

The Assassin and the Pirate Lord
On a remote island in a tropical sea, Celaena Sardothien, feared assassin, has come for retribution. She’s been sent by the Assassin’s Guild to collect on a debt they are owed by the Lord of the Pirates. But when Celaena learns that the agreed payment is not in money, but in slaves, her mission suddenly changes—and she will risk everything to right the wrong she’s been sent to bring about. 


The Assassin and the Healer
Meet the Assassin: beautiful, defiant, destined for greatness. Celaena Sardothien has challenged her master. Now she must pay the price. Her journey to the Red Desert will be an arduous one, but it may change the fate of her cursed world forever...

The Assassin and the Desert
The Silent Assassins of the Red Desert aren’t much for conversation, and Celaena Sardothien wouldn’t have it any other way. She’s not there to chatter, she’s there to hone her craft as the world’s most feared killer for hire. When the quiet is shattered by forces who want to destroy the Silent Assassins, Celaena must find a way to stop them, or she’ll be lucky to leave the desert alive.

The Assassin and the Underworld
When the King of the Assassins gives Celaena Sardothien a special assignment that will help fight slavery in the kingdom, she jumps at the chance to strike a blow against an evil practice. The misson is a dark and deadly affair which takes Celaena from the rooftops of the city to the bottom of the sewer--and she doesn't like what she finds there.

The Assassin and the Empire
Celaena Sardothien is the assassin with everything: a place to call her own, the love of handsome Sam, and, best of all, freedom. Yet, she won’t be truly free until she is far away from her old master, Arobynn Hamel; Celaena must take one last daring assignment that will liberate her forever. But having it all, means you have a lot to lose . . .

Published:    4th March 2014
Publisher:  Bloomsbury
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Books 0.1 to 0.5, Throne of Glass
Source:  Owned Copy


*** Contains Spoilers***


MY REVIEW



The Assassin and the Pirate Lord
Now this one was my favourite of the whole lot of novellas purely because of the interactions between Celaena and the Pirate Lord.  They are both so fiery and cunning it was interesting to see how they played the circumstances that surrounded them.   What also made this great was seeing Celaena as she met with the Pirate Lord, discover what she did and what she did about it. 

The Assassin and the Healer
Being honest this was a bit slow going for me.  I did enjoy meeting Ylena and finding out more of her story (and see how she might be connected to more books in the Throne of Glass series possibly) but felt that there was not a lot of twists and turns like I usually like to read in this series.  I did, however, like to see Celaena and how she befriended Ylena and helped her on her way.


The Assassin and the Desert
I really enjoyed this one.  You have Celaena who has been sent to the Red Desert as punishment for her betrayal to her Master from what she did in The Assassin and the Pirate Lord, probably thinking that she will fail and never come back but she rises to the occasion and goes above and beyond in this novella. Things aren't always what they seem in this one and I loved that!

The Assassin and the Underworld
This one was a bit slow for me but I did like the twists and turns of the story.  Celaena gets sent out on a job with Sam and things aren't what they seem.  Who should they trust and is their assignment all what it seems to be?  It appears not.  Someone has double crossed them.  For me, this one just seems like a 'lead in' to the next novella.

The Assassin and the Empire
As I had predicted when finishing the fourth novella above this one certainly does tell the story of how Celaena ends up in Endovier and explained how Sam died to a certain degree.  There are a lot of open-ended questions in this one but the story certainly gives more than enough hints to let you come to your own conclusion.





Continue reading Book Review / The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J Maas ***Contains Spoilers***

25 Apr 2017

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Book Review / Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas ***Contains Spoilers***

***Contains Spoilers***
I will be posting a non-spoiler series review soon once I have finished reading The Assassins Blade

KINGDOMS WILL COLLIDE.

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius as war looms on the horizon. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those who don't.

With her heart sworn to the warrior-prince by her side, and her fealty pledged to the people she is determined to save, Aelin will delve into the depths of her power to protect those she loves. But as monsters emerge from the horrors of the past, and dark forces become poised to claim her world, the only chance for salvation will lie in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

In this breathtaking fifth installment of the New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series, Aelin will have to choose what—and who—to sacrifice if she's to keep the world of Erilea from breaking apart.


Published:     6th September 2016
Publisher:  Bloomsbury
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 5, Throne of Glass
Source:  Owned Copy


***Contains Spoilers***


MY REVIEW

Just when I thought the books in this series don't get any longer, this one was the longest yet at 693 pages long.  Like with Queen of Shadows, this one took a little while to get through but I just couldn't put it down!  In this book we certainly learn a lot of secrets and there are certainly a lot more treacherous people in the midst trying to stop Aelin from doing what she needs to!

As with Queen of Shadows, you get a lot more of that wonderful character interaction going on and you can certainly feel the history between certain characters between Aelin, Rowan, Manon and so on...  Although I really enjoyed this story, in this one the only part that I wasn't particularly fond of was at certain parts when Aelin was headstrong in doing something without consultation and seemingly thinking things through, almost selfishly at some points.  I found that a little annoying but with that we had a great balancing character in Rowan who does a great job most of the time reeling her in.  With this book more than the others I got a great sense of 'pairing up' with the characters also.  You have Aelin and Rowan, which we already knew about but then you have a few others one of which was very surprising indeed - Dorian and Manon!!!  That is going to be very interesting to follow in the next instalment (that I just found out about and am so excited for!!!).

What I loved the most was the last part of this book where you have all these different things happening according to plan but then you have a few unplanned things happen but unbeknown to most of the characters Aelin had organised behind their back should something bad happen.  That was very interesting to read and makes me wonder what else does she have planned.  We also find out a few more secrets in this story, but I felt just enough to keep you hooked in.  Still I believe there is so much more to learn (and certainly reading the book description for book 5 in the series (I believe coming out in September this year) there are more things to learn...







Continue reading Book Review / Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas ***Contains Spoilers***

23 Apr 2017

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Book Review / Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas ***Contains Spoilers***

***Contains Spoilers***
I will post a non-spoiler series review once I have finished reading the series.

The queen has returned.

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past…

She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.

The fourth volume in the New York Times bestselling series continues Celaena’s epic journey and builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.


Published:     1st September 2015
Publisher:  Bloomsbury
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 4, Throne of Glass
Source:  Owned Copy


***Contains Spoilers***

 MY REVIEW

I just can't stop reading this series!  This book was certainly more of a challenge for me being all of 648 pages long, which is longer than what I usually read.  How can I possibly sum up all of the things I loved about this series, this book in particular in just a single review?  Let's see what I can do...

If it wasn't possible to love the character interaction more in this series so far this book has certainly pushed that limit further.  With each book in this series the characters get more and more used to each other and you can tell the history between them with the way they interact with each other; sometimes laughing, sometimes angry and sometimes both at the same time!  Celaena/Aelin's personality I love the most. She is so sassy and fiery but at the same time she shows such compassion and love to the characters she loves it just shows how great she will be Queen of Terrasen.

You then have the world-building.  In this book more than the others before I felt I got to see more and more of what was around, especially the different types of people in different parts of this world.  I especially loved following Manon, the Ironteeth witch who, like Celaena, has such fire I am surprised that anyone wants to try and cross her path but equally you see her have compassion for those who truly deserve it especially with the introduction of a new character called Elide.  I have a feeling that we are going to be seeing more and more of this character as the series goes on.

Lastly, there is the plot line.  Although this book was a monster of a book to read at no point was I bored or confused.  Every aspect of this story had its own place some descriptive, some adding to the suspense of what was to come with the added joy of a few twists and turns around the corner as well!

I know I must say this after ever review in this series but honestly I can't wait to get onto the next one!





Continue reading Book Review / Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas ***Contains Spoilers***

21 Apr 2017

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Book Review / Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas ***Contains Spoilers***

***Contains Spoilers***
I will be posting a non-spoiler series review when I have finished reading the series.

Celaena has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak―but at an unspeakable cost. Now, she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth . . . a truth about her heritage that could change her life―and her future―forever. Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. Will Celaena find the strength to not only fight her inner demons, but to take on the evil that is about to be unleashed?

The bestselling series that has captured readers all over the world reaches new heights in this sequel to the New York Times best-selling Crown of Midnight. Packed with heart-pounding action, fierce new characters, and swoon-worthy romance, this third book will enthrall readers from start to finish.




Published:     2nd September 2014
Publisher:  Bloomsbury
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 3, Throne of Glass
Source:  Owned


***Contains Spoilers***
MY REVIEW

I am really loving this series!  I can't believe it has taken me so long to get to it!    This one was far longer than the first two at over 565 pages.  It was a challenge to read!  It was also one of those that I just could not put down and I managed to read it over two days (over a lot of hours I will point out!) but it was well worth it!

This book was a bit different to the first two in this series.  You still have the three 'main characters' Celaena, the Price and the Captain of the Guard but this time they are not together.  You have Celaena who is travelling to another land on a job for the King (or so things seem to start with), the Prince and Captain of the Guard are back at the Castle but face some very hard and different choices.

What made this book great for me was the revelations that we find out all of which I really wasn't expecting.  There were a lot of twists and turns, which I loved!

We also follow the story of groups of witches battling it out to find out who will become the leader and when a certain group does they need to do a certain job for the King, but we don't find that out yet.   This part of the story intrigued me and gave me the feeling that we will be seeing a lot more of this part of the story in the next book, but that's just a feeling...

Continue reading Book Review / Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas ***Contains Spoilers***

19 Apr 2017

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Book Review / Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas ***Contains Spoilers***

 ***Contains Spoilers*** 
I will be posting a spoiler free series review once I have finished reading the series :-)

"A line that should never be crossed is about to be breached.

It puts this entire castle in jeopardy—and the life of your friend."


From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena's world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie... and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.


Published:     27th August 2013
Publisher:  Bloomsbury
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 2, Throne of Glass
Source:  Owned






 ***Contains Spoilers***
MY REVIEW

I just could not put this book down.  Even though it was the second time I have read this, it has been a while and a lot of the story I had long forgotten.  Of course, we are still following Celaena who is now the King's Champion and has been given her first tasks.  The King has a list of people he believes are against him.  Celaena's job is to hunt them down and kill them.  It was very interesting to see Celaena learn of these tasks and the choices she made when seeing them through.  

Of course you still have the love aspect of this story, which I was very much looking forward to seeing more of but the most interesting aspect of this story is when Celaena finds out more about the castle and we see a little more about the history of the world and those who have come before.  For me, that was the best part of this story.  To find out more about that means that I could greater understand what was happening in the present, although I do get the feeling there is so much more to learn...  There are definitely a few twists and turns in this story, a lot of them I have to be honest and say that I was not expecting at all!  

I just can't wait to move onto the next book, which I have not read at all yet... :-)

Continue reading Book Review / Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas ***Contains Spoilers***

15 Apr 2017

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Book Review / Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

"Nothing is a coincidence. Everything has a purpose. You were meant to come to this castle, just as you were meant to be an assassin."

When magic has gone from the world, and a vicious king rules from his throne of glass, an assassin comes to the castle. She does not come to kill, but to win her freedom. If she can defeat twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition to find the greatest assassin in the land, she will become the King's Champion and be released from prison.

Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her.

And a princess from a foreign land will become the one thing Celaena never thought she'd have again: a friend.

But something evil dwells in the castle—and it's there to kill. When her competitors start dying, horribly, one by one, Celaena's fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival—and a desperate quest to root out the source of the evil before it destroys her world.


Published:     7th May 2013
Publisher:  Bloomsbury
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 1, Throne of Glass
Source:  Owned Copy



MY REVIEW

Now that a lot more of the series is out and I now own all of those I thought it would be a good time to catch up with this series.  This series has been one of my most anticipated series for a very long time, in fact probably since the first book came out in 2013!  The last time I through this series I got as far as Crown of Midnight, but only because that was the latest one out at the time!

I loved this the first time I read it and if it is possible I loved this even more the second time around!  What I loved the most was the love triangle type situation going on between Celaena, the Prince and the Captain of the Guard.  I liked how there was a lot of will they won't they with all characters, it was very hard to guess who Celaena would end up with.  I have to say that I believe she made the right choice! 

I really can't wait to read more of this series and see what comes next!  I have a feeling that there are a lot of secrets and a lot more aspects to this world and characters to discover and that makes me really excited to continue... :-)



Continue reading Book Review / Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

7 Apr 2017

Blog Tour Author Feature / The Reunion by Roisin Meaney

It's September 2015 and sisters Caroline and Eleanor Plunkett receive invitations to their twenty year school reunion. But for both, the invitation takes them back to a time they'd rather forget ...

For Caroline, it's a reminder of a night she's never told anyone about - and the traumatic consequences she had to face on her own.

While for Eleanor, who has spent the past fourteen years trying to get over the death of her young daughter, the school reunion is a stark reminder of life before grief.

As the reunion approaches, both sisters face choices and decisions about their lives. Caroline, a successful knitwear designer living in England must choose between love and honesty. Eleanor, who long ago removed herself from the restaurant she started with her husband, must finally make a decision to choose the man she married and the son she has forgotten for so long.




Charity Begins at Home

I’m not certain when it started: all I can say for sure is that I’ve been doing it for a long time. I’ve never tried to hide it, everyone knows. Most of my friends treat it as a quaint character trait, something harmless, even a bit amusing – but maybe a little embarrassing too. They’ve long since learnt to accept that I do it, but they wouldn’t be caught dead joining me.
I’m talking about spending a few bob in charity shops. I can’t pass one without going in and having a rummage – and I’m spoilt for choice in Limerick, which boasts several excellent ones. The notion that you might chance on the perfect top/dress/skirt/bag for a fraction of its original price is intoxicating. It’s the not knowing that I love, the flicking through rails or searching shelves with literally no idea what I might find that keeps me going back, just in case. I think of it as lucky dip shopping.
Mind you, I have my standards. The item in question must be in good nick: if not brand new, with original tags still hanging off it – yes, they crop up occasionally – then at least looking as good as new. I wouldn’t consider anything stained or torn or missing crucial buttons, anything that looks like it was washed at the wrong temperature, or not washed enough. Pre-loved as opposed to just pre-owned; that’s what I’m after when I go hunting.

And labels are important, in the sense that I won’t buy something like a Penney’s top second-hand, not because I have anything against Penney’s, or similar low-priced stores, but because I can easily afford new stuff in Penney’s, and new is always nicer than nearly-new.
Despite my standards, the low prices can sometimes seduce me to rash decisions. Over the years I’ve bought my share of disasters, things that seemed like such a bargain in the shop – a Jesire dress for a tenner! – but that do nothing for me when I try them on again in the cold light of home. I might wear them once, if at all, before they end up back in the charity shop. These mistakes don’t bother me unduly: I’m only down a few bob, I’ve still done my bit for charity – and the shop might manage to sell them again in a week’s time.
A few years ago I took my love of charity shops to a new level, and volunteered to do a weekly shift in my local Oxfam. I got such a kick out of it: I loved meeting the customers, many of whom dropped in regularly, most of whom were happy to chat as they browsed; and I had such a laugh with the other volunteers at the tea breaks – with no salaries to earn, there was no pressure, no workplace competitiveness, and a wonderfully relaxed air about the place.
Of course, the other big benefit of working there was getting first choice of everything that came in. I was lucky enough to be the only size ten among the Friday morning volunteers, so I had nobody to fight with when a gem appeared in my size.
It was a great way to pass a few hours, and a lovely diversion from the writing. Ultimately I had to give it up when deadlines approached and time became tight, but I paid tribute to charity shops everywhere when I worked one into a subsequent book (after first having assured all of my ex-colleagues that nobody was based on any of them!)
I can’t understand some people’s disdain, or dislike, of the idea of recycling goods in the name of charity. For me it’s a win-all-round situation – the donor finds a home for her cast-offs, the customer gets a bargain, the shop makes a sale and the charity benefits. Who cares if someone owned it first? If it fits, and it suits you, and the price is right, so what if you’re the second person to love it?
And now you’ll have to excuse me – there’s a rather nice Abercrombie and Fitch top (seven euro) in need of a little rinse…




Continue reading Blog Tour Author Feature / The Reunion by Roisin Meaney

5 Apr 2017

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Series Review / Slammed by Colleen Hoover



Following the unexpected death of her father, 18-year-old Layken is forced to be the rock for both her mother and younger brother. Outwardly, she appears resilient and tenacious, but inwardly, she's losing hope.

Enter Will Cooper: The attractive, 21-year-old new neighbor with an intriguing passion for slam poetry and a unique sense of humor. Within days of their introduction, Will and Layken form an intense emotional connection, leaving Layken with a renewed sense of hope.

Not long after an intense, heart-stopping first date, they are slammed to the core when a shocking revelation forces their new relationship to a sudden halt. Daily interactions become impossibly painful as they struggle to find a balance between the feelings that pull them together, and the secret that keeps them apart.


Published:     2012
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Books 1, 2 & 3, Slammed
Source:  Owned Copies



MY REVIEW

What I loved about this series...  After reading one or two of Colleen Hoover's books before I have now made it my mission to read all of her books.  They are so addicting and easy to read, how can you not!!  You have got a real mix of emotions in this series but what stood out to me as my favourite parts would have to be these...  Firstly, you have Will and Layken - how they meet, interact and how they have a will they won't they relationship (my favourite kind to read about).  You also have the individual stores of Will and Layken; Will is the sold carer for his little brother with his parents having died and Layken having moved to the neighbourhood after her father's death.  You also have one or two surprise twists and turns along the way that I won't spoil for you in this review but a few of them I was expecting and a couple that were a complete surprise.  Loved it!   


What I didn't like about this series...   Now, I loved reading Slammed and Point of Retreat (books 1 and 2) but when it comes to book 3 I have to be honest and say that I couldn't finish it.  I got to about 50 pages in and, honestly speaking, got bored.  It was a lot of flash backs to things that I already knew about and had read about before in the previous two books.  I didn't want This Girl to ruin what I had loved about the first two books so I decided not to read it.  I think this is one that I might pick up later on this year or later on sometime in the future and read independent of the first two to see what I think of it then.  To me, from what I read it just seemed repetitive. 




Continue reading Series Review / Slammed by Colleen Hoover

2 Apr 2017

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Series Review / Balefire Series by Cate Tiernan


After seventeen-year-old Thais Allard loses her widowed father in a tragic car accident, she is forced to leave the only home she's ever known to live with a total stranger in New Orleans. New Orleans greets Thais with many secrets and mysteries, but none as unbelievable as the moment she comes face to face with the impossible — an identical twin, Clio.

Thais soon learns that she and the twin she never knew come from a family of witches, that she possesses astonishing powers, and that she, along with Clio, has a key role in Balefire, the coven she was born into.
Fiery Clio is less than thrilled to have to share the spotlight, but the twins must learn to combine their powers in order to complete a rite that will transform their lives and the coven forever.





Published:     2005-2010
Publisher:  Speak
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Books 1 to 4 - Balefire Series
Source: Owned Copy




MY REVIEW

What I liked about this series...  This book has been on my bookshelf for years.  Its always been one that I say I will pick up one day but never got around to it.  So, now I decided to get on with it and read it!  Cate Tiernan's Sweep series is one of my favourite series of all times, so I was very excited to be reading another series by her.  What I loved about this series was the history.  You have Thais and Clio who discover that they are twins and that there's a lot more to their family history than meets the eye.  They are witches, which is my favourite kind of 'supernatural' story to pick up.  You have goodies and baddies throughout and it was fun to try and figure out who was who. 

What I didn't like about this series...   Although I did enjoy reading this series, there were one or two things that bothered me.  Firstly, you have a massive case of insta-love/lust going on.  Both Clio and Thais seem to fall head over heels in a matter of seconds and I found that very unrealistic.  Mix that with a really weird love triangle that got me confused for part of the book, I didn't really get on with that side of the story.  Without giving too much away, I also found the ending to be very confusing.  You have a particular character I thought would bring a massive explosion type of story line to the story but it never really happened, or certainly didn't appear to for me. 




Continue reading Series Review / Balefire Series by Cate Tiernan

31 Mar 2017

Blog Tour Author Interview / Growing up with Conference


Make General Conference fun year-round!

From the creators of the blog Sweetly Made Just for You comes a new book filled with fun and creative ways to get your family excited for general conference, including crafts, recipes, FHE ideas, and more!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW


1.  If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why?
I look up to Gerald Lund, because he is a fantastic writer. I would also like to work with Josi Kilpack because my sisters and I met her at a Deseret Book blogger event and she was enthusiastic, down to earth, and shared interesting ideas about being an author.

2.  What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write?
My sisters are “stay at home” moms and worked on the book from home. Personally, I work at an elementary school as a Reading Intervention Specialist, so usually my writing occurred at night, after the kids went to bed! There were also occasions where I woke up in the middle of the night and came up with ideas. I have a notebook next to my bed and write the ideas quickly before I forget!

3.  What is the hardest part of the writing for you?
The hardest part of writing was the editing, which was a long and difficult process. The best part was writing with my sisters!

4.  When and why did you first start writing?
My sisters and I grew up writing short stories as children. In fact, we wrote a weekly family newspaper and passed it around to the family to read!! I used my writing skills at BYU when there were many papers to write. As an adult, I worked for a resume company and would use a lot of my writing skills to critique resumes. I’ve always enjoyed writing and like to share my ideas with others. My sisters and I also have a goal to someday write a children’s book!

5.  How did you come up with the idea for your book?
My sisters and I are raising children, and constantly share ideas with each other. One of our priorities as parents is to teach our children the gospel. So, we started collaborating our ideas of ways to make general conference and family home evening more exciting in our homes. We have also talked about writing a book about holidays and birthday parties, because this is another avenue that we get really creative! Actually, I had a dream about the book, which got me thinking about writing a book to tell others about all our ideas. I spoke with my sisters and we decided to get started on the project!

6.  Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now?
YES! I read every night. In fact, I can’t go to sleep until I have read. Right now, I am reading “The Orphan Keeper” by Camron Wright. Fantastic book!!

7.  Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?
Have patience, work hard, and persevere. Dreams do come true!



Continue reading Blog Tour Author Interview / Growing up with Conference