Thursday, 18 October 2018

The Truth About Us - Megan D. Martin

The Truth About UsThe Truth About Us by Megan D. Martin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There were things that I loved about this book and things that I didn't. I'll start with what I did like: I liked the interaction between Tyler and Rowen. It was clear that they still had feelings for one another and were drawn towards each other in a way that they just couldn't resist. I wanted to know what was going to happen and of course, I wanted to see them back together. I liked all of that.
Unfortunately, where the book fell short was mostly to do with the conclusion. Throughout the book, we'd had them pushing and pulling towards and away from one another. Unable to finish, but unable to get back together. Suddenly, out of nowhere, the end appeared. It was almost as though the author couldn't decide how to get them back together, so she just missed that bit. It was completely unexpected and after the build up in the rest of the novel left me feeling a bit flat. The big reveal about why they had broken up before also seemed a bit silly. I just don't think that someone would do that.
I also wasn't thrilled by the way secondary characters were treated. Tyler's treatment of his girlfriend was terrible and both his friends and her friends seemed pretty horrid.
I did want to know what was going to happen in this book and I enjoyed much of the early part. I think that this made the end even more of a let down than it otherwise would have been. What a shame.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Wednesday, 17 October 2018

A Murderous Malady - Christine Trent

A Murderous MaladyA Murderous Malady by Christine Trent
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love a good historical murder mystery, so I couldn't wait to start reading A Murderous Malady. I discovered later that it's actually the second book in the series, but I don't think that I missed out by having not read the first. It works fine as a stand-alone novel.
Choosing to use real people as the characters in your book is always a challenge. Are you just borrowing the names of these people, or are you trying to faithfully recreate them as they were. In this book, not only is the main character a real person but so are many many of the other characters. On the whole, I think this worked and worked well. I will admit that this isn't really my period, so I don't know much about any of these people and can't comment on how true to life they are. From a murder mystery novel point of view, they all work really well. I don't know if I can picture Florence Nightingale being an amateur detective, as well as all of the nursing reforms that she undertook, but in terms of the book, it worked well.
There were a few Americanisms that crept into the story, which for me at least, did detract from the overall read. I know that this book is probably mostly for an American audience, but it is set in Victorian Britain and personally, I prefer it to be more faithful to the language that would have been used. The word 'stoop' was used quite a bit, I tried to look it up and I think that it's something to do with the front of the house, but I'm still not entirely sure. Apparently, it comes from the Dutch language originally. Either way, it's not something that we have ever used in Britain and it really got on my nerves.
Little niggles like this aside, I really enjoyed the story and the mystery setting. I'd be more than happy to read more in this series.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Saturday, 13 October 2018

Destiny Fulfilled - Laire McKinney

Destiny Fulfilled
Laire McKinney
Publication date: August 7th 2018
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Only love can save them…
Wren O’Hara is waiting for the day she succumbs to mental illness like her mother. When she is attacked by a psychotic client at work, and saved by what must be an angel, she fears the time for insanity has come.
Little does she know, her savior is an immortal warrior druid named Riagan Tenman, and that he will challenge everything she ever thought she knew about reality.
Now Wren must decide if the fantasy unfolding before her is true, or if she has finally lost her mind.

Author Bio:
Laire McKinney is the author of contemporary and fantasy women’s fiction. She believes in a hard-earned happily-ever-after, with nothing more satisfying than passionate kisses and sexy love scenes, endearing characters and complex conflict. When not writing, she can be found traipsing among the wildflowers, reading under a willow tree, or gazing at the moon while pondering the meaning of it all. She lives in Virginia with her family and beloved rescue pup, Lila da Bean.

My Review

I loved the idea behind this story, it was a modern day meets ancient druid supernatural type thing. Wren's mother is suffering from schizophrenia and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Wren is convinced that she is going to become ill with the same things, so when she starts to hear voices and see things that can't possibly be real, then surely this is the start of that. Except, of course, they are real.

When immortal druid warrior Riagan is banished from his world, he has three days to find the love of a woman and love her in return. Only then can he return to his world and save the sacred cauldron. Of course, he soon comes across Wren, whose real first name is destiny and they find that they are drawn to one another.

There was a lot of promise to this story and while the end did work for me, I'm afraid I didn't really buy the instant love. There didn't seem to be any foundation for it and I couldn't really feel any emotional attachment to either Wren or Riagan. It didn't help that he considered raping her at more than one point. No, I'm sorry, it just didn't work for me. As I said, had there been a bit more in the way of falling in love and a little less forcing himself on her, then I'd have liked it more.

Just a small extra niggle. It bothered me the way Riagan talked, one minute he was talking in a sing-songy 'old-fashioned' style, the next he'd use words like okay. I'm no sure immortal druids, who have no knowledge of modern life, such as this one would be using okay. At points, his language made his sound like yoda, rather than someone from the past.

Overall this is a book with a lot of potential and while I enjoyed aspects of it, ultimately it wasn't for me. I can see that some people might really like it though.


Friday, 12 October 2018

Love Cutter - Michelle Jester


Love, Cutter
Michelle Jester
Publication date: August 28th 2018
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult
After an attempted suicide Carter finds himself in a coma. He is able to hear the world around him, yet he can’t move. What he hears propels Carter to begin to see life in a new way, especially when one of his nurses, Kinley, shares parts of her tragic past with him. Soon, Carter realizes he is falling in love with her.
Months after being transferred from the hospital, to a rehabilitation facility, he suddenly wakes up with a passion to live that he never had before and a determination to find the one person he feels may be able to help him put the pieces of his life together again. However, when he returns to the hospital, Kinley is gone and Carter must try to find her based solely on the things she shared with him while he was in a coma.
Only, nothing is as it seems and Carter learns the biggest lesson of them all… the differences between expectation, perception, and reality.

Author Bio:
Michelle Jester lives in Greenwell Springs, Louisiana with her husband, high school sweetheart and retired Master Sergeant. Together they have a son and daughter. She is a hopeless romantic and has been writing poems and stories for as long as she can remember.
One of her prize possessions is a bracelet with only a yellow, Rubber Duckie charm on it; which she wears every day to remind her to enjoy the fun and happy things of life!

My Review

This was quite an interesting idea. Carter is in a coma and Kinley is his nurse. She talks to him and he gradually falls in love with her and learns more about his family and starts to deal with the problems in his life. Kinley has issues herself but finds herself drawn to Carter, as she learns about him from his family.

There were a lot of big issues dealt with in this book and it was a read that held my attention. Unfortunately, it didn't quite live up to the promise of its premise for me. It was still an interesting read though.


Thursday, 11 October 2018

Lesson Plan for Murder - Lori Robbins

Lesson Plan for Murder (A Master Class Mystery)Lesson Plan for Murder by Lori Robbins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wasn't sure from the description if this was supposed to be a lighthearted style murder mystery or something a bit more serious. (I won't say cosy mystery as I have an almost irrational hatred of the term.) In all honesty, by the end of the book, I still wasn't entirely certain which it was supposed to be if indeed it was either.
On the whole, I enjoyed the storyline and the various characters. There was enough depth in the periphery people, such as Liz's husband George, (who, by the by, I did not like) to keep my interest in more than just the mystery. I didn't solve who done it this time. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure that I liked the big reveal, I'm not convinced that it actually worked. The buildup to that though, with the various deaths and clues that were given was ok.
Liz herself was a little annoying as an amateur detective, on one hand, she didn't seem to want to be involved and then the next second was actively writing lists of suspects and interviewing people. The police officer that she befriended seemed a little too willing to help her too.
I realise that it's always a difficult balance when it comes to this kind of story, we want our character to find out things, but it's not always obvious why people would be willing to tell her things.
Overall, this was a fairly enjoyable read. I did think that the mystery side of things did fall a little flat and as there is a second book planned, I'm not entirely convinced that I see Liz being the kind of person that falls into the ideal accidental detective character. It may be that she develops this side a bit further in the next book. There is certainly plenty of room for more to be revealed about her childhood and family.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Aftereffects L.J. Green

L.J. Greene
Publication date: October 8th 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
What could be more terrifying than falling in love with the person who is your good place? Maybe realizing just a smidge too late that there can be dire consequences to becoming your best friend’s lover.
The lives of Keir Stevens and Selene Georgiou serendipitously collide mid-span on San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, one jarring step ahead of fate. He’s a temporary transplant from Seattle; she’s facing the biggest career opportunity of her life. They have no notion of the common thread that connects them.
As they come to discover they share a similar adversity, their relationship evolves from a fun and frivolous infatuation with nowhere to go into a true friendship with sincerity, humor, and respect at its heart.
It’s awfully hard not to fall in love with that – even if you’re pretty darn certain you shouldn’t.
But when love and friendship suffer their own devastating collision – their interests brutally conflicting – the consequences of blurring the lines between the two suddenly become real. In the end, which one will be the stronger? And more importantly, can either survive?
AFTER EFFECTS is a standalone dual POV adult contemporary romance about the things we choose in life out of all the things that are beyond our choosing – a tale of love and friendship, of time and how we spend it, and of the inner wars that ultimately show us what really matters.

Author Bio:
Romance author, obsessive multi-tasker, California native, music lover with no apparent musical talent, travel enthusiast, and cheese connoisseur.

My Review

Well, what a read this was. I love friends to lovers stories, they are one of my favourite plots in romance books. Having said that, this one was a little different. This isn't two longtime friends who find that there is more to their relationship than they'd realised. Rather, it's about two people who are attracted to one another but feel that they can't be together, but at the same time, they develop a deep friendship. In many ways, this book felt as though it were telling a more real and lifelike love story than many romance books out there. 
I haven't read anything by L.J. Green before, but I'd certainly be interested in future books. I loved the writing style and that certainly helped to move the story along. Both Keir and Selene were great characters. If anything Keir was a little too good to be true, he was so sweet you couldn't help but like him. Even when he was being a dick, he was doing it for the right reasons.
I loved this book, the storyline, the characters, the way they worked out what was important to themselves and each other. I was left with a big happy sigh. Highly recommended.


Tuesday, 9 October 2018

The Fear of Falling - Amanda Cowen

The Fear of Falling
Amanda Cowen
Publication date: October 8th 2018
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
When Ella Jones’ twenty-first birthday ends with a bang – literally – she never imagined it would be with her best friend since freshman year, Ryan Owen.
A year later, after their so called “mistake”, they’re still best friends and about to rock their Senior year at the University of San Francisco. But when Ryan returns from spending a summer in Australia and brings back a friend, Liam George, who takes an immediate liking to Ella, Ryan starts to question the Aussie’s intentions with his best friend. The trouble is, Ryan has a girlfriend of his own, and Ella and Ryan swore they would never cross that line again – until they do.
They try not to let their second slip up affect their friendship, but when Spring Break forces them to vacation under the same roof; and Ryan’s ex walks back into his life, Ella is shocked by a fierce stab of possessiveness. And when Ella continues to see Liam, Ryan finds himself plagued by unfamiliar jealousy. With their friendship strained for the first time, Ella and Ryan face an alarming truth: Maybe they can’t be just friends. Maybe they are falling faster than expected. And maybe, deep down, they want to.

Author Bio:
Amanda Cowen can be found eating cupcakes, singing off-key, or watching a good RomCom when she isn't trapped on her computer writing stories. She is an "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" fanatic, a hater of roller-coasters and a country music junkie. She lives in Thunder Bay, ON where the summers are short and the winters are long.
Amanda would love to hear from her readers. Become a fan on Facebook, follow her on Instagram @authoramandacowen, or follow her on Goodreads.

My Review

I love friends to lovers stories so I was quite excited about this one. Ryan and Ella have been best mates, but that's all they are. They play poker, hang out together, watch cheesy films and he calls her Jonsey (which the author feels the need to tell us is a pet version of her surname Jones, you don't say). One day they end up in bed together and both decide that it was a mistake, hoping to go back to how things were before. 

Ella clearly has a lot of issues around relationships and commitment and keeps telling Ryan that them being together is a mistake. Ryan might keep agreeing with this, but it's clear that he doesn't believe it. On the whole, I like the development of the relationship between them, although it is a little laboured and could have been 'trimmed' a little. 

There are a couple of things that irritated me slightly. For example, why would an Australian's parents be 'professors' at Auckland University? It seems to make little sense. There was also a scene late on in the story where another friend confronts them about their 'relationship.' The whole thing seemed completely bizarre to me. I'm not sure that anyone would be that nosy or intrusive and it just didn't feel natural.

Overall this was a nice story. I liked Ella and Ryan, even if I did want to shake them both at times. 

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