Wednesday, 26 February 2020

If I'm Being Honest - Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka


Book: If I'm Being Honest
Authors: Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka
Genres: Young Adult, Romance,
Format: Kindle e-Book
Publication Date: 23rd April 2019

My Rating: πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ•
Date Finished: 26th February 2020

Description:

Cameron Bright's reputation can be summed up in one word: b*tch. It's no surprise she's queen bee at her private L.A. high school--she's beautiful, talented, and notorious for her brutal honesty. But when she slips up in front of her crush, Andrew, any affection he may have had for her quickly fades. To win him over, Cameron resolves to "tame" herself, much like Shakespeare's infamous shrew, Katherine. If she makes amends with everyone she's ever wronged, Andrew will have to take notice. Thus, Cameron begins her apology tour with Brendan, the guy whose social life she single-handedly destroyed. At first, Brendan isn't so quick to forgive, but slowly he warms to her when they connect over a computer game he's developing. To Cameron's amazement, she actually enjoys hanging out with Brendan; he appreciates her honesty in a way Andrew never did, and she's left wondering: maybe you shouldn't have to compromise who you are for the kind of love you deserve.

Review:

This starts with Cameron eating lunch with her two best friends and trying to do her Econ coursework. They start chatting about a party where Cameron's crush, Andrew, will be at the weekend and she plans to tell him she likes him. But things don't go great when they get interrupted and Cameron is really horrible to them, causing Andrew to call her a b*tch. She decides to try and publicly apologise to the girl who interrupted them and do it in front of Andrew but the girl points out something obvious and things get worse with Andrew.  She then decides to make a list of people she needs to apologise to and tries to figure out how.

I actually got really into this staying up until midnight last night to get to the 80% mark. I was drawn in by Cameron and the journey she went on from just being brutally honest and a bit of a b*tch to someone who enjoyed being friends and spending time with the less popular crowd. It was a great read and Cameron's internal thinking was interesting.

Cameron and Brendan were super cute. They had quite a lot in common and I found myself rooting for them from early on. I'll admit I had a little cry at a few bits. Some of the tears were for Cameron in regards to her dad, and some were for her and Brendan when he took something the wrong way and I felt as wounded as Cameron did.

I've read this is based on The Taming of the Shrew but I'm not that big a fan of Shakespeare so I can't compare as I've never read the book/seen the play but Cameron's views on it helped me understand it a lot more.

I'd enjoy reading more books from this writing duo.

Monday, 24 February 2020

Playing With Fire - R.J. Blain


Book: Playing With Fire
Author: R.J. Blain
Series: Magical Romantic Comedies, #1
Genres: Romance, Comedy, Paranormal
Format: Kindle e-Book
Publication Date: 30th January 2017

My Rating: πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ•
Date Finished: 24th February 2020

Description:

What do you get when you mix gorgons, an incubus, and the Calamity Queen? Trouble, and lots of it.

Working as the only human barista at a coffee shop catering to the magical is a tough gig on a good day. Bailey Gardener has few options. She can either keep spiking drinks with pixie dust to keep the locals happy, or spend the rest of her life cleaning up the world’s nastiest magical substances.

Unfortunately for her, Faery Fortunes is located in the heart of Manhattan Island, not far from where Police Chief Samuel Quinn works. If she’d been smart, she never would have agreed to help the man find his wife.

Bailey found her, all right—in the absolutely worst way possible.

One divorce and several years later, Bailey is once again entangled in Chief Quinn’s personal affairs, and he has good reason to hate her. Without her, he wouldn’t be Manhattan’s Most Wanted Bachelor, something he loathes. Without her, he’d still be married.

If only she’d said no when he asked her help, she might have had a chance with him. While her magic worked well, it came with a price: misfortune. Hers.

When Quinn’s former brother-in-law comes to her for help, he leaves her with a cell phone and seventy-five thousand reasons to put her magic to the test. However, when she discovers Quinn’s ex-wife is angling for revenge, Bailey’s tossed in the deep end along with her sexiest enemy.


Review:

This one starts with Bailey working at the coffee shop where she makes drinks for its regular but unusual breed of customers from humans to pixies to werewolves, adding a pinch of dust to each drink to give them a high. Her nemesis, Chief Quinn, comes in and she makes him a drink before he heads out, taking her boss with him, leaving Bailey to work an 18 hour shift alone. Jealously flares within Bailey as she's had a thing for Quinn since he asked her to find proof of his wife's cheating. When Bailey is asked by Quinn's former brother-in-law to help her find someone, she's reluctant but agrees, and is handed a phone. Only the phone isn't all that it seems setting in motion a series of events that throws her into Quinn's life more than either bargained for.

I enjoyed the first 40% of this more than the latter 60%. The beginning was fun and quirky. I loved the sort of love/hate thing she had going on with Quinn. I enjoyed the banter between her and some of the other cops and it was just up my street. It just seemed their will they/won't they get together thing was concluded too early in the book and I was wondering what the rest of the book would be about. It lost some of its appeal for me after the weird Gorgon vomit scene. And then I just struggled to connect with it again. I soldiered on, determined to finish it.

I also found Quinn's family very complicated. He has almost every type of creature in his family tree from angels to incubus to gorgon but he is very much human and I couldn't keep track of who was who half of the time.

I liked it enough that I'd buy more of this series.

Friday, 21 February 2020

Republic - Lindsay Buroker


Book: Republic
Author: Lindsay Buroker
Series: The Emperor's Edge, #8
Genres: Fantasy, Adventure, Romance, Steampunk
Format: MOBI e-Book
Publication Date: 19th April 2014

My Rating: πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ•
Date Finished: 21st February 2020

Description:

After the notorious outlaws Amaranthe and Sicarius helped overthrow the corrupt faction controlling the empire and brought in a great war hero to lead the nation to prosperity, they finally earned their pardons--and some time off. A tropical vacation cruising around in a private submarine? Perfect. But their trip is interrupted by a summons from the new president: they're needed back at home. Trouble unlike anything they've ever dealt with threatens to destroy the capital city and throw the fledgling republic into chaos.

Review:

I've had this book on my Kindle for a long time now. It was a gift from the author after signing up to her newsletter when she'd first released it, for fans of the Emperor's Edge series. And I was a big fan, steaming through all seven (really long) books, following the adventures of Amaranthe and Sicarius - and begging them to get together!

This one starts a few months after the events of Forged in Blood I & II, following just Amaranthe and Sicarius as they travel to a tropical island in a submarine, only things aren't as drama free as they were hoping and they get chased by the islanders after being recognised from a wanted poster of Sicarius. They quickly come up with one of their famous spur-of-the-moment plans and manage to evade them all and escape back to their submarine. Once back on board they get a summons from the newly appointed leader so they head home.

Back home, a giant carnivorous plant has started to grow in the cities harbour and is causing mayhem, growing rapidly and seeming to have a mind of its own. It doesn't like being cut, releasing a black mist with horrible consequences. Also back home, we meet up with old friends like Sespian and Maldynado and it feels like old times with the gang back together.

It was quite easy falling back into this series, though admittedly I couldn't remember half the cast apart from Amaranthe and her gang.

One thing I had forgotten about this was the use of unusual words to replace more boring ones such as 'verisimilitude' instead of...inspection, I guess is its easiest translation? It's a good job my Kindle has a built in dictionary or I'd have been stumped reading half of this book.

Monday, 17 February 2020

Heartstopper: Volume One - Alice Oseman


Book: Heartstopper: Volume One
Author: Alice Oseman
Series: Heartstopper, #1
Genres: Graphic Novels, Young Adult, LGBTQ+
Format: Kindle e-Book
Publication Date: 7th February 2019

My Rating: πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ•
Date Finished: 17th February 2020

Description:

Charlie, a highly-strung, openly gay over-thinker, and Nick, a cheerful, soft-hearted rugby player, meet at a British all-boys grammar school. Friendship blooms quickly, but could there be something more...? Charlie Spring is in Year 10 at Truham Grammar School for Boys. The past year hasn't been too great, but at least he's not being bullied anymore, and he's sort of got a boyfriend, even if he's kind of mean and only wants to meet up in secret.

Nick Nelson is in Year 11 and on the school rugby team. He's heard a little about Charlie - the kid who was outed last year and bullied for a few months - but he's never had the opportunity to talk to him. That is, until the start of January, in which Nick and Charlie are placed in the same form group and made to sit together.

They quickly become friends, and soon Charlie is falling hard for Nick, even though he doesn't think he has a chance. But love works in surprising ways, and sometimes good things are waiting just around the corner...

Review:

This was a recommendation on Goodreads after finishing Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda so when I saw it on Amazon today as a 99p deal, I just went and bought it. As a graphic novel, it's a quick read and I did find it very cute.

So Charlie is an openly gay young man in an English all-boys school. He's a really good runner and is invited by his form group seating partner, Nick, to join the rugby team as they are needing new players. The pair grow close as they spend time practising the game and talking in their form group and spend time around at each others houses. Charlie quickly falls for Nick but Nick's straight, right?

I did really like this. The storyline was engaging and I really felt for these two characters.

The artwork was a little strange at times but really detailed at others. I loved head on shots, the dog ♡, the trainers/converse near the end.

I would love to continue this at some point since it ended on a bit of a cliffhanger.

Friday, 14 February 2020

Sunshine & Secrets - Daisy James


Book: Sunshine & Secrets
Author: Daisy James
Series: The Paradise Cookery School, #1
Genres: Chick-Lit, Romance-ish
Format: Paperback
Publication Date: 19th March 2018

My Rating: πŸŒ•πŸŒ•
Date Finished: 14th February 2020

Description:

Welcome to The Paradise Cookery School - a place where dreams, and chocolate, are made!

When newly heartbroken chef Millie Harper is offered a job overseeing the launch of a cookery school, she jumps at the chance. Leaving her ex behind, Millie jets off to a hilltop cocoa plantation in St Lucia.

Despite the beautiful location Millie soon realises she faces a challenge to get the school ready on time. And sarcastic but extremely handsome estate manager Zach Barker isn't helping.

As Millie adjusts to the Caribbean pace of life she discovers her own carefree side in the tropical paradise. But can she fulfil her promise? Or will fun in the sun prove too much of a distraction?


Review:

This was a bargain £1 book from my favourite sells-pretty-much-everything store, The Works. I'd been eyeing the book online for a while in the stores 3 for £5 promotion they do but wasn't sure if it was something I'd enjoy as I can be really picky with my chick-lit.

Sunshine & Secrets starts with Amelia (Millie) at the airport, ready to go spend some time with her mum but instead gets a phone call from her sister with a great opportunity in St Lucia where she can help a successful chef open a Paradise Cookery School. The lady wanting to open the school has had an accident and broken her leg and can't fly out yet so Millie is left arranging the inputting of the top notch kitchen and checking the recipes the chef want to do with her clients are as good as they can be.

While on the island she meets some of the locals and people from the UK who stayed there after falling in love with the serene life. The Purple Parrot - a local bar - becomes her favourite place away from the Villa and she makes friends with its clientele, including the Villa's estate manager, Zach.

The secrets part of the title only really comes into play towards the end when it turns out some people have been using the cocoa husks of the Villa's trees for illegal deeds.

This book focused more on the food and island portion of things, whereas I would have preferred more of the romance aspect between Millie and Zach, although I understand that both characters are going to be in the next book, too. However, I don't think I will bother reading it.

Sunday, 9 February 2020

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda - Becky Albertalli


Book: Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda
Author: Beck Albertalli
Genres: LGBTQ, Young Adult, Romance
Format: Paperback
Publication Date: 7th April 2015

Rating: πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒœ
Date Finished: 9th February 2020

Description:

Straight people should have to come out too. the more awkward it is, the better.

Simon Spier is sixteen and trying to work out who he is - and what he's looking for.

But when one of his emails to the very distracting Blue falls into the wrong hands, things get all kinds of complicated.

Because, for Simon, falling for Blue is a big deal …

It's a holy freaking huge awesome deal.


Review:

I got this because I saw the film was out on DVD and I like to read the books before I see the film.

So, this centres around 16 year old Simon who's in the closet, scared to come out to his friends and family. He's instead having an email conversation with someone else from his school - someone whose identity he doesn't know - sharing tales of his life while starting to fall for this someone.

I actually really enjoyed this from the first page. I was drawn into the drama as Simon is pretty much blackmailed by a fellow pupil into helping him get a date with one of Simon's friends. Things escalate and don't go great in the end and I really felt for Simon. Kids can be so cruel to each other and over stupid things that shouldn't matter.

I just fell in love with this group of friends. I loved how protective they could all be of each other and then when Simon and his crush/Blue finally got around to meeting each other...I was smiling like a lunatic. It was so cute. I fell in love with them even more. There was just something so believable about this group. Crushes, friendships, parents.

I cannot write a truly fitting review of this book but if you like young adult books with gay characters or just a sweet romance, then you really should give this book a read.

I definitely feel like I need to read more books by Becky Albertalli now, if they're anything like this one.

Vampire Girl - Karpov Kinrade


Book: Vampire Girl
Author: Karpov Kinrade
Series: Vampire Girl, #1
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Vampire, Demons
Format: Kindle e-Book
Publication Date: 2nd April 2016

My Rating: DNF @ 34%
Date Finished: 9th February 2020

Description:

You think it's safe to walk alone at night. It's not.

You think the only threat is other humans. It's not.

Monsters are real. Demons are real. Vampires are real.

And I'm about to become one of them.

My name is Arianna Spero. I was an ordinary girl, living an ordinary life, until my mother lapsed into a coma. Now, I am her only hope. She made a deal with the devil, and on my 18th birthday he came to collect. But there's a way to save her. There's something the princes of hell want more than my mother.

Me.

So I signed my soul away and promised to pick a prince to marry. I would take the blood oath, become one of them, and give them an heir. I would become a princess of hell, and my mother would live.

I expected fire and brimstone. I expected pain and misery. I didn't expect beauty. I didn't expect magic.

I didn't expect love.

But the princes are keeping secrets from me.

Secrets that could shatter everything.


Review:

I gave up on finishing this at the 34% mark.

I struggled with this from the start. It didn't flow that easily and it seemed to take forever for something exciting to happen. It was about 28% before she even headed off to Hell or wherever it was Asher was taking her and I'd just kind of lost interest by then. I like something that's going to keep my attention and this didn't.

The interaction between the main character and her friends at the hospital after her mum had fallen into her coma just seemed rather awkward. And then the fact they let her "leave" so easily when they know how poorly her mum was...?

I liked the idea of her owing the Princes of Hell a favour and having to spend time with what were personifications of the 7 deadly sins to see who she would end up with but it just wasn't quite quick enough or written enough to my tastes for me to continue with it.

Thursday, 6 February 2020

Sin & Spirit - K.F. Breene


Book: Sin & Spirit
Author: K. F. Breene
Series: Demigods of San Francisco, #4
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Romance
Format: Kindle e-Book - Kindle Unlimited
Publication Date: 1st January 2020

My Rating: πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒœ
Date Finished: 6th February 2020

Description:

Kieran has stepped up to take his place as the ruler of magical San Francisco. As his girlfriend, that unfortunately means I'm under the magnifying glass. Everything I do is noticed, from how I act to how I style my hair. Most notably, of course, is how little I know about my magic.

The Hades Demigods want me on their team, and they don’t plan to ask nicely. Kieran and I are both under fire. They will kill him to get to me, and they'll take me by force if necessary. It is essential I learn more of my magic.

With no other options, I do what scares me the most - I summon the last Spirit Walker to help train me. Except, he's a loose cannon with looser morals and learning spirit is treacherous. I might evade the Demigods only to be lost in spirit forever.


Review:

This has been borrowed from the Kindle Unlimited Library.

Firstly I'll admit that it's been a while since I read the first three books in this series - and I believed that it was only going to be a trilogy, for some reason, so I had forgotten some of the details of this book but things were rehashed a little.

With Alexis and her small group now known by all the other Demigods in the world, they are thrown into a steep learning curve of dealing with politics and trying to learn how to use her powers for other things. There's also the fact that a Hades Demigod is trying to get their hands on Alexis, any means necessary.

A lot happened in this and, as mentioned above, I hadn't retained a lot of information about this series, so I was a little overwhelmed by all the characters. I quickly picked up who the Six were and Daisy and Mordecai.

I did enjoy this and should hopefully now remember enough for future books - book 5 is coming soon! - so I'm looking forward to reading them and seeing the results of that last chapter. I can see it's not going to go well and this group of amazing guys may end up fighting for their lives. Again.

This review is rather lacking but I have no way of saying more without giving away important plot points and that's just not fair.

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

The Girl He Used to Know - Tracey Garvis Graves


Book: The Girl He Used to Know
Author: Tracey Garvis Graves
Genres: Second Chance Romance, Romance, Autism
Format: Paperback
Publication Date: 8th August 2019

My Rating: πŸŒ•πŸŒ•
Date Finished: 4th February 2020

Description:

What if you had a second chance at first love?

Annika Rose likes being alone.

She feels lost in social situations, saying the wrong thing or acting the wrong way. She just can't read people. She prefers the quiet solitude of books or playing chess to being around others. Apart from Jonathan. She liked being around him, but she hasn't seen him for ten years. Until now that is. And she's not sure he'll want to see her again after what happened all those years ago.

Annika Rose likes being alone.

Except that, actually, she doesn't like being alone at all. And she just might have a second chance at first love.


Review:

I'll admit I bought this as a spur of the moment thing from one of my favourite bargain book shops The Works. I've never read anything by this author though I do have her book, "On the Island", to read on my Kindle - and have done for several years now.

This book switches between 1991 and 2001 with almost every chapter after Annika meets her college love for the first time in years, bringing back memories of their time together and making her want to reconnect with him. They meet for coffee and decide to reconnect as friends, going out to dinner later on in the week. Things slowly progress between them and they try again.

The last few chapters of the book take place around September 2001. I honestly had no idea where the author was going with this until the news channel Annika was watching started talking about "a plane crashing into the North Tower" and I'll admit a little shiver went through me.

I'm assuming Annika has some sort of Autism because she has a lot of the same traits as Rikki - from Water Bound - that I read a little while ago. Doesn't like certain clothing because of how it feels, hates loud sounds, doesn't know how to interact with people very well...etc. In fact this was discussed further on in the book and she is on the Autism spectrum.

I guess people are a bit cruel to those they don't get or understand but I really like how Jonathan always seemed to know what to say and do to ease Annika's anxieties when they were out together. He didn't mind putting his own wants aside to help Annika cope better in situations. They were perfect for each other in that.

I just found the story a little slow and not much seemed to happen in it really. The jumping between months seemed to miss out a lot of their growing relationship and I always feel a little cheated when that happens. I like to read it all.

Saturday, 1 February 2020

Awakened and Betrayed - Ivy Asher


Book: Awakened and Betrayed
Author: Ivy Asher
Series: The Lost Sentinel, #2
Genres: Reverse Harem, Urban Fantasy, Romance
Format: Kindle e-Book - Kindle Unlimited
Publication Date: 28th January 2019

My Rating: πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ•
Date Finished: 31st January 2020

Description:

My name is Vinna and I am a Sentinel.
I’m the last in a line of a hunted, magical race, coveted and killed for our power and abilities.
I was hidden and protected, but now that I’ve been found, it’s a race to see who can command and control me.
Joke’s on them, I bow to no one.
I need to master my magic, and protect the five guys I’ve marked as my own at all costs.
Because the line between friend and foe is dangerously blurry, and I’m collecting enemies like Sentinels collect runes.
It’s time to prepare for battle, claim my place, and get ready to fuck up anything or anyone that comes for me and my Chosen.


Review:

This has been borrowed from the Kindle Unlimited Library.

Awakened and Betrayed carries on from the previous book, The Lost and the Chosen, with Vinna on her way to a meeting with the Elders. It does not go well and she is separated from her guys and Lachlan's coven and ends up with Enoch and his. Things get a little complicated as Vinna's magic is assessed by the Elders and they realise how strong she is, if not what she is.

I feel like I should point out a LOT happens in this book. The above happens within the first couple of chapters but it sets in motion a series of events that occur throughout the book. She also meets a pack of werewolves, has a meeting with a certain lamia/vampire, makes friends with some people again, gets some new magic etc. It is filled to the brim with stuff.

I liked this but it didn't quite have the same feel to it as the first. It wasn't as smoothly written and if I'm honest, I'm finding it hard to keep up with who everyone is. As I mentioned in a status update on Goodreads: "She could end up with the biggest harem going because it doesn't matter who she meets, they're always drawn to her." 

I don't know if I'll be continuing the series. My Kindle Unlimited runs out in less than two weeks and I have a few other books I want to get through before then. I may eventually come back to it.

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