Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Review: Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2)

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2)
Publisher: Orion Children's Books.
Publication Date: 27th September 2016
My rating: 4 stars. 

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off the most daring heist imaginable. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they're fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, they're low on resources, allies and hope. While a war rages on the city's streets, the team's fragile loyalties are stretched to breaking point. Kaz and his crew will have to make sure they're on the winning side... no matter what the cost.

Six of Crows was one of those books that I thoroughly enjoyed; Bardugo weaved a wonderful and complex world with a fantastic set of characters. I actually didn’t even mind the multiple perspectives which is usually a big no no for me and of course I became quickly attached to a few characters in particular that I couldn’t wait to see what would be waiting for them in Crooked Kingdom. And once again Bardugo totally upped her game with this book, honestly the schemes she came up with I had a hard time grasping my head around at times, how she came up with these wonderful ideas was truly beyond me. I once again totally enjoyed how each character had their own personal issue going on, but at the end of the day their business still came down to the biggest concern at hand: Jan Van Eck. Honestly this guy, for some reason he really came across as not the most intelligent guy on the block, of course if you’re going up against Dirtyhands Kaz Brekker it would come across that way, but then out of nowhere Van Eck would just up the ante and Kaz would find himself right back where he started, he was one of those characters that you really couldn’t underestimate. But I really admire Kaz and his determination when it really seemed like his back was against the wall, he would pull out this epic idea which would leave me reeling, seriously I loved Kaz to death, but in Crooked Kingdom he really went onto show why he is one of my all time favourite characters.

Once again I loved being back with such a fantastic set of characters, but this time around I found myself looking forward to reading chapters from particular characters, don’t get me wrong I did enjoy reading the perspectives from everyone, but two characters in particular really held a big place in my heart that of course I couldn’t wait to gobble their chapters up. Bardugo really cemented this series as one of my all time favourites. I especially enjoyed the witty scenes littered amongst the tense and stressful ones, but also the cross references to her Grisha series (so much that I wanted to start a re-read as soon as I’d finished.) My only disappointments were that I wanted a lot more when it came to two certain characters, I did appreciate the progress that was made between them and understood the steps taken were hugely massive to both of them, but just a smidge more with them and I would have been the happiest girl alive. Also I so didn’t expect my heart to get all trampled upon, there’s only so much one can take when you form such a close attachment to such wonderful characters so that turn of events was totally unexpected. These misgivings aside Crooked Kingdom was a book I thoroughly enjoyed, I don’t know why I assumed that this series was going to be longer than a duology, so at the end of this book I was quite sad about having to say goodbye to such a wonderful world and unforgettable characters that found their way to my heart! 

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Review: The Deal (Off-Campus #1) by Elle Kennedy

The Deal (Off-Campus #1) by Elle Kennedy
Publisher: Audible Studios 
Publication Date: November 3rd 2015.
My rating: 4 stars. 

She’s about to make a deal with the college bad boy... Hannah Wells has finally found someone who turns her on. But while she might be confident in every other area of her life, she’s carting around a full set of baggage when it comes to sex and seduction. If she wants to get her crush’s attention, she’ll have to step out of her comfort zone and make him take notice…even if it means tutoring the annoying, childish, cocky captain of the hockey team in exchange for a pretend date. ...and it’s going to be oh so good. All Garrett Graham has ever wanted is to play professional hockey after graduation, but his plummeting GPA is threatening everything he’s worked so hard for. If helping a sarcastic brunette make another guy jealous will help him secure his position on the team, he’s all for it. But when one unexpected kiss leads to the wildest sex of both their lives, it doesn’t take long for Garrett to realize that pretend isn’t going to cut it. Now he just has to convince Hannah that the man she wants looks a lot like him.

I really hadn’t been feeling YA books for a while, I had binge read several books by Lauren Layne and thoroughly enjoyed them, but I was in the mood for my good run to continue and when I stumbled across Elle Kennedy’s Off Campus series, I’m thrilled that I decided to give it a go, because it was exactly what I was after. I love the set up of popular guy falling for the girl that he’d never noticed before. I loved the situation that Garrett and Hannah found themselves in, because it was done so well, Garrett was failing his ethics class and if he didn’t pull his grade up in his makeup exam, this could prevent him from playing in his upcoming hockey games. And that’s where Hannah comes in, she passed her ethics test with flying colours and so Garrett knows with her help he could be passing too. But Hannah is as stubborn as they get, Garrett is on her case relentlessly about tutoring him, but she won’t concede, what could Hannah want in return? And then Garrett knows exactly the solution, he will help Hannah make her crush notice her in return for her tutoring him. To be honest I knew how things would plan out, but I couldn’t care less, I loved seeing the relationship between Hannah and Garrett unravel, watching them really get to know one another and getting to know the real Garrett underneath, not the playboy type that we had been hearing so much about. Because seriously this Garrett that we got to know was every girl’s dream, he was attentive, sweet, but also vulnerable deep inside, he had so much of his own crap to deal with; but regardless he was always looking out for Hannah. They truly were a beautiful couple; the chemistry between them was just hot!

There were some real difficult issues that both Hannah and Garrett had to deal with, but Kennedy excelled in how Hannah and Garrett were there for one another. Also seriousness aside Kennedy was really able to mix up the humour well within the book, not only was Garrett a funny guy, his flatmates and friends Tucker, Dean and Logan also bought no end of fun to the book, I for one can’t wait to get to know these characters more in the next few books!

For the majority I really enjoyed this book, I was actually contemplating giving it 5 stars if it hadn’t been for that one incident which I really thought could have been unavoided, I felt as though it also dragged on for far too long and could have been resolved so easily if Hannah just talked to Garrett! That and the abrupt ending aside (that was totally the audiobooks fault, it had like 30 minutes left, but I didn’t realise this was because it had an extract of the next book for you to listen to!) The Deal was a book I thoroughly enjoyed. Lorelei Avalon was also a fantastic narrator, she did the voices for Garrett and her friends perfectly, so I’m happy that she will also be narrating the next book!

The Deal was definitely a guilty pleasure read, it had characters which you couldn’t help but fall for, some sexy as hell scenes and love hate relationship which was done spectacularly. I’m actually already considering buying this pretty set of paperbacks for future re-reads.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Review: Beautiful Maids All in a Row by Jennifer Harlow

Beautiful Maids All in a Row (Iris Ballard #1) by Jennifer Harlow
Publisher: Alibi
Publication date: October 11th 2016
My rating: 4.5 stars 
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
Dr. Iris Ballard’s glory days are behind her, so when Luke Hudson, her former FBI partner and onetime lover, asks for help constructing a psychological profile of an elusive serial killer who murders single mothers and dumps their bodies in the woods, Iris turns him away. She just wants to be left alone with her infomercials, her German Shepherd, and her vodka. That is, until she gets a peek at the case files.

The media has dubbed him “the Woodsman.” But after Iris learns the sickening details held back from the press, and as she sets foot onto the scene of his latest crime, she assembles a portrait of a more complicated, enigmatic, meticulous man. Control is his motivation. He thrives on it. Soon he even tries to manipulate the investigation by contacting Iris, hoping to rattle the woman he considers an intellectual equal.

The game is on. Iris thinks she has a read on her target, enough to push his buttons, to make him lose control. But when the Woodsman gains the upper hand, Iris faces the most painful reckoning of all—with her own violent past.

My Thoughts:
I’ve always been drawn to crime drama/mysteries, piecing together the evidence, outsmarting a killer, finding out what makes them tick.  But what made this story were Iris, a troubled ex-FBI profiler and her past partner, Luke who still works for the Bureau.  Their history and relationship was just as interesting as catching the killer to me. The two reunite to track down The Woodsman, a sicko who abducts, rapes, and tortures his female victims until he finishes them off by strangulation. It was ugly and brutal! There is a fight against the clock to find and stop this murderer before he abducts his next victim, and I felt Iris and Luke’s urgency and desperation as they hunt him.  Iris’ involvement in the case catches the attention of this horrible man, and I was very worried for her safety!

At first Iris is a self-destructive mess , something that frustrates me to no end, even if she did have plenty of good reasons to be a mess, I just find it hard to witness that kind of behavior.  Thankfully, investigating The Woodsman snapped her right out of that.  Being with Luke again, even though they pushed each other’s buttons a lot, seemed to help her get back into the land of the living, too.  I was fascinated by Iris’ ability to nail down so many things about the killer just by examining the evidence.  Some of her instincts seemed uncanny, which is why she’s pulled into this world all over again.

Luke and Iris must sort through their feelings for each other, in the midst of this pressure cooker!  Even though they’ve been apart for a couple of years, being together again makes it seem like they never parted. They spent so many hours together as partners in the past, knew each better than anyone else, and now they contend with the old feelings that led to a night of passion neither can forget.  Lust and attraction spark between these two and I just wanted more! I was pleased with how it ended, but I’m eager for the next installment to see how it all works out!

Beautiful Maids All in a Row was an exciting thriller guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat, biting your nails, and hoping this monster is caught or *better yet* dead by the end of this roller coaster ride! I can’t wait for the next book!

Connect with Jennifer Harlow

Monday, 17 October 2016

Cover Reveal and Giveaway: How to Disappear by Sharon Huss Roat.


Hi everyone, today I'm excited to share the cover for Sharon Huss Roat's new book How to Disappear, let me just say this book sounds absolutely fantastic! This lovely book isn't our until 2017, :( but worry not, we have a giveaway for one lucky winner to win an ARC copy! But without further ado here's the cover to How to Disappear! 


Vicky Decker has perfected the art of hiding in plain sight, quietly navigating the halls of her high school undetected except by her best (and only) friend, Jenna. But when Jenna moves away, Vicky’s mother starts getting worried . . . and desperate for Vicky to make friends, even if it means forcing her daughter to meet people.
And that’s the last thing Vicky wants. So she decides to invent a social life by photoshopping herself into other people’s photos, posting them on Instagram under the screen name Vicurious. Instantly, she begins to get followers, so she adds herself to more photos from all over the world with all types of people. And as Vicurious’s online followers multiply, Vicky realizes she can make a whole life for herself without ever leaving her bedroom. But the more followers she finds online, the clearer it becomes that there are a lot of people out there who feel like her—#alone and #ignored in real life.
To help them, and herself, Vicky must find the courage to face her fear of being “seen,” because only then can she stop living vicariously and truly bring the magic of Vicurious to life.
In this beautiful and illuminating narrative, Sharon Huss Roat shines a light on our love of social media and how sometimes being the person you think you want to be isn’t as great as being the person you truly are.

What do you guys think? I absolutely love it, the minimalist look of it and that teasing tag line has me super curious for more! I need it right away!  

Author Bio: 
Sharon Huss Roat grew up in Lancaster County, Pa., and now lives in Delaware with her husband and two children. She worked in public relations for 20 years before deciding what she really wanted to be when she grew up. Her debut novel, BETWEEN THE NOTES, was published by HarperTeen in June 2015. HOW TO DISAPPEAR, also from HarperTeen, will be released in summer 2017.
Instagram | Twitter Website | Facebook

And now for the giveaway, Sharon was lovely enough to giveaway one winner the chance to win an Arc copy of How to Disappear, you can enter by filling out the rafflecopter below. The giveaway is International. Good luck everyone! 

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Short & Tweetish Reviews & Giveaway: A Study in Scarlet Women & The Purloined Poodle

I'm back to doing Short & Tweetish Reviews (There's no way I can keep it to 140 characters!).  This style of reviewing was introduced to me by Mary@The Book Swarm  and Karen's @For What It's Worth

A Study in Scarlet Women(Lady Sherlock #1) by Sherry Thomas
Publisher: Berkley Romance
Publication date: October 18th 2016
My rating:  3.5 stars  
Links: Amazon | B&N | TBD | GRs
My Thoughts:
This took me a little to get into, but I was in awe of Charlotte Holmes' deductive skills, just like the legend! Love the idea that it's a woman! There was more than one mystery in play here, one major and several little with Ms. Holmes consulting, and all had me thoroughly captivated! Was less than delighted with Charlotte's initial action she thought would remove the inevitability of accepting any unwanted marriage proposals, but I think her skills don't always translate into common sense. The romance is bittersweet at this point; hoping for a better situation and more in the next book.

The Purloined Poodle
The Purloined Poodle(The Iron Druid Chronicles #8.5) by Kevin Hearne
Pubulisher: Subterranean Press
Publication date: September 30th 2016
My rating:  4 stars  
Links: Amazon | B&N | GRs

My Thoughts:
Atticus' hilarious hound, Oberon, narrates this latest adventure and it was a load of fun! Oberon's observations never fail to make me laugh. It this installment we have a case where prize winning hounds have been doggie-napped and Oberon is determined (with Atticus at his side, of course) to get these "purloined" pets back to their respective owners.  I was immediately sucked into the investigation!
I received a review copy, but I can never resist the audio version of this series so I bought a copy and ended up "reading" it that way.  Luke Daniels is an amazing narrator, bringing the characters to life! His comedic timing is spot on making me laugh throughout the story!

The lovely people of Berkley generously provided a Paperback Copy of A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas to giveaway to one lucky reader.  The giveaway is open to US or CA residents only. Just fill in the rafflecopter for a chance to win!

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