30 Dec 2016

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My Favourite Series of 2016

This list is is no particular order of favourites.  I have loved reading each and every book mentioned below.  Some are series that I have completed and some that have books still to come out or ones that have come out recently and I haven't had the chance to get to yet but this list below is a list of the series that I have enjoyed, whether or not I have completed them yet.

My Reviews:  Ransom Canyon (1) Winter's Camp (0.5) Rustler's Moon (2) Lone Heart Pass (3) and Sunrise Crossing (4)         

From New York Times bestselling author Jodi Thomas comes the first book in a compelling, emotionally resonant series set in a remote west Texas town—where family can be made by blood or by choice…

Rancher Staten Kirkland, the last descendent of Ransom Canyon's founding father, is rugged and practical to the last. No one knows that when his troubling memories threaten to overwhelm him, he runs to lovely, reclusive Quinn O'Grady… or that she has her own secret that no one living knows.

Young Lucas Reyes has his eye on the prize—college, and the chance to become something more than a ranch hand's son. But one night, one wrong decision, will set his life on a course even he hadn't imagined.

Yancy Grey is running hard from his troubled past. He doesn't plan to stick around Ransom Canyon, just long enough to learn the town's weaknesses and how to use them for personal gain. Only Yancy, a common criminal since he was old enough to reach a car's pedals, isn't prepared for what he encounters.

In this dramatic new series, the lives, loves and ambitions of four families will converge, set against a landscape that can be as unforgiving as it is beautiful, where passion, property and pride are worth fighting—and even dying—for.



My Reviews :  Indiscretion (1) Masquerade (2) and Legacy (3)    

 A young woman's journey of discovery takes her to a world of forbidden passion, savage beauty, and revenge.

Spring, 1950. Alexandra de Falla, a half-English, half-Spanish young writer abandons her privileged but suffocating life in London and travels to Spain to be reunited with her long-estranged family.

Instead of providing the sense of belonging she yearns for, the de Fallas are driven by seething emotions, and in the grip of the wild customs and traditions of Andalucia, all of which are alien to Alexandra.

Among the strange characters and sultry heat of this country, she meets the man who awakens emotions she hardly knew existed. But their path is strewn with obstacles: dangerous rivals, unpredictable events, and inevitable indiscretions. What does Alexandra's destiny hold for her in this flamboyant land of drama and all-consuming passions, where blood is ritually poured on to the sands of sun-drenched bullfighting arenas, mysterious gypsies are embroiled in magic and revenge, and beautiful dark-eyed dancers hide their secrets behind elegant lacy fans?

"Indiscretion"is a story of love and identity, and the clash of idealsin the pursuit of happiness. But can love survive in a world where scandal and danger are never far away?







My Reviews:   The Bone Season and The Mime Order

The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people's minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.

It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.

The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine and also introduces an extraordinary young writer, with huge ambition and a teeming imagination. Samantha Shannon has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut.



My Review :  Flawed(1)

You will be punished…

Celestine North lives a perfect life. She’s a model daughter and sister, she’s well-liked by her classmates and teachers, and she’s dating the impossibly charming Art Crevan.

But then Celestine encounters a situation where she makes an instinctive decision. She breaks a rule and now faces life-changing repercussions. She could be imprisoned. She could be branded. She could be found flawed.

In her breathtaking young adult debut, bestselling author Cecelia Ahern depicts a society where perfection is paramount and flaws lead to punishment. And where one young woman decides to take a stand that could cost her everything.
 








My Review:   Series Review

 From the author of the popular Weather Warden series comes the debut of an exciting new series set in Morganville, Texas, where you would be well advised to avoid being out after dark.

College freshman Claire Danvers has had enough of her nightmarish dorm situation. When Claire heads off-campus, the imposing old house where she finds a room may not be much better. Her new roommates don't show many signs of life, but they'll have Claire's back when the town's deepest secrets come crawling out, hungry for fresh blood. Will she be able to face the town's terror or will she drown like everyone else?





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28 Dec 2016

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My Favourite Stand-Alone Books of 2016

I have decided to do two separate posts on my favourite books of 2016.  This is the first of those posts and includes my top five favourite books for this year.  These are in no particular order and would class them as my equal favourites for this year.  I have used the term stand-alone a bit loosely with the first book on this list but taken the view that as I read it as a stand-alone book rather than a series (which would take a very long time to read as there are nearly 50 books in this series!)  I would highly recommend each and every one of these books below, so if you haven't picked up any of these you need to!!



My Review :  Click here

Although technically this is part of a series, I read this as a stand-alone so have classed it as such.

Nature versus nurture...
 
The shots came quickly, silently, and with deadly accuracy. Within seconds, three people were dead at Central Park’s ice skating rink. The victims: a talented young skater, a doctor, and a teacher. As random as random can be.

Eve Dallas has seen a lot of killers during her time with the NYPSD, but never one like this. After reviewing security videos, it becomes clear that the victims were killed by a sniper firing a tactical laser rifle, who could have been miles away when the trigger was pulled. And though the locations where the shooter could have set up seem endless, the list of people with that particular skill set is finite: police, military, professional killer.

Eve’s husband, Roarke, has unlimited resources—and genius—at his disposal. And when his computer program leads Eve to the location of the sniper, she learns a shocking fact: There were two—one older, one younger. Someone is being trained by an expert in the science of killing, and they have an agenda. Central Park was just a warm-up. And as another sniper attack shakes the city to its core, Eve realizes that though we’re all shaped by the people around us, there are those who are just born evil...


My Review :  Click Here

Beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover returns with an unforgettable love story between a writer and his unexpected muse.

Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day before her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. 


Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist





 My Review:  Click Here

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. 

When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be. 







 

My Review:  Click Here
  
Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step....

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen's best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody's business, but she can't mind her tongue, so she's lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women--mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends--view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don't.


 My Review:  Click here

A BIG NOVEL ABOUT A SMALL TOWN ...

When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock.

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty fa├žade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils ... Pagford is not what it first seems.

And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?




 


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27 Dec 2016

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Book Review / The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people's lives.

EVERY DAY THE SAME
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

UNTIL TODAY
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?



Published:     13th January 2015
Publisher:  Riverhead Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Owned



MY REVIEW

What I liked about this story...    This was one of those books that I had seen everywhere and then found out that there was a movie of it so I thought it was about time I picked up the book so I can watch the movie.  I haven't watched the movie yet as I wanted to write my review of the book and get my thoughts about before having an opinion about the book  I really enjoyed this.  Ok, so it was a slow read but that was the part of the story that I enjoyed the most.  You see Rachel at the beginning taking the train every day that passes a particular row of houses every time.  Over time Rachel knows a lot about a particular couple that lives in one of those houses.  As the story goes on, we learn more and more about Rachel and more and more about the couple who live in the house, as the story is split into two different perspectives.  As well as seeing Rachel's side of the story, we also get to follow the story of the couple in the house.  I loved how the story become more complicated than I could ever imagine and I loved the build up of the suspense.  If I was being honest, I enjoyed the build up a lot more than the reveal.


What I didn't like about this story...  Although I did enjoy this and I will definitely be checking out the movie as I mentioned above I enjoyed the build up in the story a lot better than the reveal.  By the time we got to the ending I had already expected what was going to happen.   I would have loved to have been surprised a bit more by what happened. 


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22 Dec 2016

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Book Review / The Stone Angel by Margaret Lawrence

In her best-loved novel, The Stone Angel, Margaret Laurence introduces Hagar Shipley, one of the most memorable characters in Canadian fiction. Stubborn, querulous, self-reliant – and, at ninety, with her life nearly behind her – Hagar Shipley makes a bold last step towards freedom and independence.

As her story unfolds, we are drawn into her past. We meet Hagar as a young girl growing up in a black prairie town; as the wife of a virile but unsuccessful farmer with whom her marriage was stormy; as a mother who dominates her younger son; and, finally, as an old woman isolated by an uncompromising pride and by the stern virtues she has inherited from her pioneer ancestors.

Vivid, evocative, moving, The Stone Angel celebrates the triumph of the spirit, and reveals Margaret Laurence at the height of her powers as a writer of extraordinary craft and profound insight into the workings of the human heart.




Published:     8th September 2016 (originally in 1964)
Publisher:  Apollo
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher

 



MY REVIEW

It is not often that I picked up a classic or book older than I am but I have to be honest and say that this beautiful cover drew me in along with the description of what the story was about.  Little did I know that this book would be such an emotional read I just could not put it down and read this in one day.  It was very slow to start with and it did take me a while to get into the story but it was definitely worth the effort, that's for sure.   We follow Hagar who is around 90 years old living with her son and his wife.  We see flashes of her past as she remembers it but what made this story great for me was seeing her in her 90 year old self where she would have these 'flash backs' but she was actually zoning out and forgetting where she was in the present day.  We see her decline in heath with her son's wife trying to help the best that she can but even she is getting to the end of her tether.  The most emotional part of the story for me was the ending.  Even though I should have expected the ending, I really didn't and it was very emotional to finish reading the book in that way.  

A heartbreakingly emotional classic that I would highly recommend reading...  For me, I would say it is a great read for the Autumn/Winter months...





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