Thursday, 9 May 2013

Mini-Reviews: The Stag and Hen Weekend and On Every Street

The Stag and Hen Weekend by Mike Gayle
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publication date: 14th February 2013.
My rating: 3 stars

The Stag and Hen Weekend is the story of Phil and Helen, a couple in their thirties about to commit their lives to one another . . . that is of course if they can just manage to get through their respective stag and hen weekends (his: Amsterdam; hers: a country house and day spa in the Peak District) without falling apart. Told in the unique form of two separate stories that have common characters as well as themes and conclusion, The Stag and Hen Weekend can be read from front to back or from back to front putting the reader in the driver's seat as to which story they wish to read first.

The Stag and Hen is two separate stories told from Phil and Helen on their stag and hen weekends away. I randomly started with Phil’s stag, he and the lads decided to go away to Amsterdam. Phil and Helen had been together for nine years, so Phil knew for a long time coming that Helen was the one for him. I had a hard time connecting with Phil’s story, maybe because he was an older character than what I usually read my pov’s from. But it was fun getting into the lads mind set and watching them having a good time. The only thing that didn’t work for me was how all of Phil’s mates didn’t really give encouraging messages to Phil to get married. He was getting married next week and all of his friends had stories where they just got married for the sake of it or their partner didn’t want to get married, way to put self-doubt in the grooms head a week before his big nuptials. Then as more self-doubts started trickling in, Phil decided making erratic decisions and listening to random strangers instead of his gut instinct about his feeling towards Helen. Phil’s story started off as good fun between a group of lads but unfortunately trailed into several unwanted secrets being discovered and the groom getting cold feet.

Now with Helen’s story I much preferred, after what had gone on in Phil’s story I was eager to know whether the assumptions Phil had made were true or not. With Helen also I felt I could connect more with her character and understand the situation she was going through. Helen’s weekend in comparison was also a lot more fun, she had attitude from future sister in law and an ex-boyfriend confusing her feelings to deal with. Both Phil and Helen had individual important decisions to deal with which could affect their future in a big way. With both characters I thought I knew the decisions they would make, but both stories were left wide open with me having no clue what they would do.

Despite some issues, The Stag & Hen weekend was a decent rainy day comfort read.

On Every Street by Karina Halle
Publisher: Metal Blonde Books
Publication date: March 9th 2013
My rating: 4 stars

When young con artist Ellie Watt decides to call herself Eden White and go after the drug lord who ruined her as a child, she never expects to fall for one of his henchmen. But Javier Bernal is no ordinary man. Subtly dangerous and overwhelmingly seductive, Eden finds herself passionately in love with Javier, the very person she's set-up to betray. With her body and heart in a heated battle against her deep need for revenge, no one will walk away from this con a winner.

The fact that I was up until 1:30am finishing this novella off gave me the biggest insight into why so many other readers are currently encumoured by this series. I’m always a little wary to jump on the current book bandwagon, as I always end up being in the minority of readers who end up being burned. But from just reading the On Every Street novella, I knew it was exactly what I needed.

Ellie White is hell bent on revenge, ever since her parents used her as bait and ruined her life, she wants to get back at those who did this to her. Travis however is not an easy man to crack, he’s wealthy and dangerous, and so it will be tough getting close to him. Ellie knows the only way to do so is by getting close to somebody near him and that’s where Javier Bernal comes in *sigh*. Ellie’s sole goal was to take up another identity, get inside close enough to Travis, get her revenge and get back out. She knew it could be a long job, but she didn’t expect to fall for Javier in the process. But how could she not resist? He was charming, suave and made her feel protected like no other man could. Honestly this man’s smooth lines even made me dizzy. Ellie knew she was toying with a dangerous line; her feelings for Javier were getting more and more confused, until she no longer knew why she was there in the first place. 

Ellie and Javier’s relationship was a toxic one at most, but it was also so addictive. Both kept secrets from one another that could blow up in each other’s faces at any moment. And even though Ellie knew Javier’s life was dangerous, she still couldn’t get enough. How Ellie kept sane in this relationship I have no clue, especially with how close she came to meeting Travis. Despite their relationship starting on false pretences on both sides, I loved the relationship between Ellie and Javier, like I mentioned previously it was magnetic and at some points totally scary, but with Javier Bernal around; I couldn’t get enough. I was somewhat disappointed with the turn of events in the last part of this book. But I can’t wait to see how the story will unfold in Sins & Needles, where I hope there will be tons more of Javier. But I’ve also heard there’s a new guy on the block called Camden, so I’m positive there will be plenty of fun and danger to look forward to!


  1. Wait.. So the first book didn't have a specific ending? O_O That's pretty bad. I don't usually like books written that way. I want to know for a fact what happens. I agree that if you're a friend, you um.. see thing differently from your perspective and you'll see if it is the right choice and in these kind of situations friends usually need encouragement to really go through with it and inspiring words etc. It must suck for if one's friends are discouraging or but doubts in one's head.

    As for the second book, the team you're rooting for, I think, really depends on which book you start first. Do you start with this novella or the first book in the series. I've heard LOTS of great things about the other guy -- Camden. I hope you won't be torned though. I hate switching teams in the middle of a series and I seldom do. I really want to read this series though. This magnetic start is what I crave for in a series. I'll probably pick it up when there're more books published in this particlar series though. I hate waiting. Patiently:-)

    Siiri @ Little Pieces of Imagination

    1. I've got an OCD when it comes to reading books, I have to read them in order, so I started with the novella first and maybe that's why I really like Javier. Whereas most other readers I know started with Sins and Needles, so preferred Camden and by that books Javier is portrayed totally in a different way :( I hate switching teams too, but let see what happens with the next book!

  2. I've been putting off Karina Halle's books for so long, mostly because of the hype (sometimes it definitely has the opposite effect on me), though I do have to admit that I'm curious. I'm glad you enjoyed the novella, Jasprit! As for The Stag and the Hen Weekend (love the cover), I'm glad that it was a decent read overall, despite the problems. Sometimes a rainy-day read is just what we need. :)

  3. I really do love the sound of The Stag and Hen Weekend. It's just so...different, I guess. I think that appeals to me in the grand scheme of things, despite the flaws with it. In regards to On Every Street, that romance sounds spicy, and I'm totally sold based on that alone! Great mini reviews...I think I'll need to look into these books further :)

  4. I've never heard of bachelor/bachelorette parties (or weekends in this case) called stag and hen weekends. How sheltered am I? This does sound like a fun little book, perfect when you just want to be entertained and don't really need anything else from it. I like too that you didn't know what they would do in terms of the decisions they both face, that keeps things interesting:) Fantastic reviews Jasprit!

  5. The first one doesn't sound like my kind of read, but I LOVE the sound of the second! Novellas usually aren't my cup of tea, however, this one sounds fantastic and I've been warming up to them. It makes me even more excited that you stayed up late reading it. I'll definitely have to read it soon! Great mini reviews :)

  6. Yay! Loved the mini reviews. The first one sounds like quite the rainy day comfort :D And the second one sounds like something I wouldn't be able to take my eyes away from :D

  7. I haven't heard of The Stag and Hen Weekend before, but I'm now curious about why things are being left open-ended... I was really hesitant to try Karina Halle's books due to the hype but seeing that you liked the novella, I may put it on my read list. Thanks for sharing, Jas!

  8. Oh, how interesting. I have not heard of STAG AND HEN at all, but I suspect from reading your review I'd have a similar reaction as you did, Jasprit. This sounds like a fascinating idea conceptually (front to back, back to front), but it would take a very gifted hand to actually pull it off.

    And sheesh, I still haven't read any Karina Halle books yet! I had difficulty getting into her first Experimental in Terror book, but there are so many raves for all of them across the board that I'm very curious.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  9. You've got the mini-review this time ;) I haven't heard of either of these. Stag and Hen is completely new to me and yeah I've got that feeling with some books. The idea seems really good but then realization so-so.
    I've heard of Karina Halle and actually have read one of her books. I really loved it so I think I'll give this one a try. I see it was captivating for you :)
    Great review Jasprit :)

  10. OH, I am SO glad you enjoyed On Every Street! I'm waiting to read them soon, but only after the sequel is closer since I'd hate the cliffie for sure. I can't wait, especially knowing you loved it, Jasprit! :)

  11. On Every Street sounds good, and I love being sucked into a book where I don't even want to sleep.

  12. This is actually the first time I hear about these books, but I;m glad you seemed to have enjoyed both of them! On Every Street sounds like an awesome read, and I'm excited to read about their relationship ;) Great review, Jasprit!

    - Farah @ MajiBookshelf

  13. You have to read Sins & Needle! I love Javier (and I'm definitely his team), but Camden is something entirely different. I love both these guys and I hope you enjoy reading about them!

  14. So is this part of the Sins and Needles series? I bought that book and of course, I haven't read it yet. I am hearing such crazy good stuff about those books! Must read soon!

  15. Ellie and Javier remind me a bit of Chess and Terrible from Downside Ghosts and it's the best possible compliment I can give them. I have the first book on my Kindle, but I have no idea if I'd like them. Ellie sounds like a very damaged, troubled character who makes a lot of mistakes along the way and I'm not the most patient reader,I'm afraid
    Still, I'm determined to at least try.
    Thanks for the great reviews, Japsrit!

  16. This must have been good if you were up til 1.30! I really need to start reading this series. glad you enjoyed it :)

  17. Okay, Stag and Hen Weekend is a fabulous title! Glad you liked it. I'm planning to read On Every Street soon. I love Karina's writing.
    Great reviews, Jasprit!


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