Tuesday 30 June 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I've Read so far in 2015.


Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where each week they post a new top ten list and ask fellow bloggers to share their lists on that topic.

This weeks Top Ten Tuesday topic is: Top Ten Books I've Read so far in 2015.




For some reason I found it a real struggle choosing my top ten favourite reads for 2015 so far, I had read some amazing books at the beginning of the year, but my last couple of weeks hadn't been that great reading-wise. But these ten books were ones which genuinely blew me away with their amazing world building (Red Queen and A Court of Thorns and Roses), had me sobbing uncontrollably (Me Before You) and just had characters that I never wanted to let go. I'm actually quite surprised with some of the books which ended up being my favourites, as I'm a hardcore contemporary sort of girl, but I'm glad that some fantasy and historical fiction books were able to sneak their way in. 

Which books ended up being your favourite this year so far? Link me up!

Friday 26 June 2015

Short & Tweetish #5: Until the Beginning & Third Grave Dead Ahead

I'm back again with a couple of 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

Until the Beginning (After the End #2) by Amy Plum
Publisher: Harper Audio
Publication date: May 5th 2015
Length: 8 hrs and 30 min
Narrator: Emily Rankin, Graham Hamilton
My rating:  4.5 stars 
Amazon | B&N | TBD | Audible | GRs

My Thoughts:
Excellent conclusion to an exciting duology!  This is YA at its best! I definitely recommend the audio version.  Emily Rankin and Graham Hamilton’s performance made the story come to life!

I was amazed with Juneau and Miles ability to strategize and use whatever they had available in pursuit of the ultimate goal of saving Juneau’s clan.  Juneau had to sort through her beliefs to and find her own truths, but she didn’t let the questions hold her or her powers back.  I have to say her father and clan trained Juneau well, in spite of the lies they told. 

I loved the positive character growth Miles had through this journey, and I was pleased he caught on so quickly and became a real asset. The romance was lovely. Not so much that it took over the plot, but enough swoony moments to satisfy this romance junky. 

Third Grave Dead Ahead (Charley Davidson #3) by Darynda Jones
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Publication date: January 31st 2012
Length: 9 hrs and 51 min
Narrator: Lorelei King
My rating:  3.5 stars 
Amazon | B&N | TBD | Audible | GRs

My Thoughts:
As usual I laughed my ass off (got weird looks from my hubby all the while, lol!) at Charley’s antics.  The mystery was addictive, but I put a few things together way before Charley should have.  I was surprised by at how things got serious real quick and there were grisly parts that creeped me out and wrenched my heart!  Darynda really put Charley through the ringer in this installment! Betrayals from loved ones and something sad at the end made me feel terrible for Charley!

I wished we got more meaningful interactions between Charley and Reyes, and that we got more information on him.  I’ve already started the next book, and I’m happy to report we are finally getting somewhere on that front!


Wednesday 24 June 2015

Review: Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry

Nowhere But Here (Thunder Road #1) by Katie McGarry
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication date: May 26th 2015
My rating: 3 stars 
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository 

An unforgettable new series from acclaimed author Katie McGarry about taking risks, opening your heart and ending up in a place you never imagined possible.

Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she's curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn't mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both.

Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They're the good guys. They protect people. They're…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club's most respected member—is in town, he's gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it's his shot at his dream. What he doesn't count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down.

No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.

My Thoughts:
I’ve really enjoyed Katie McGarry’s writing in the past, and the prospect of reading a young adult romance set within a Motorcycle Club had me really excited. While I did enjoy parts of Nowhere But Here there were a few complaints that kept it from being a knockout read for me.

Emily’s plans for the summer change when a member of her biological father, Eli’s, family gets sick.  Eli is part of a Motorcycle Club, Reign of Terror, a legit club who obey the law of the land, but that doesn’t mean their lifestyle is anything normal to Emily.  She’s been raised to think (by her mother) they are a dangerous and rowdy bunch, and Emily is not really an open minded girl when her visit begins. 

Oz has been raised around the Reign of Terror and it’s his dream to finally get his patch and join the family security business. His plans are put on hold when he’s assigned to keep guard over Emily when her life is put in danger by a rival club.

I think my main issue with this story was the continual lies. Emily’s mother, adoptive father, biological father, and basically everyone else do nothing but lie to her, and as the reader I was in the dark, as well, on almost everything until about the 80-85% of the book. Being that this is a long book, 496 pages, that’s a substantial amount of pages! I think this story would’ve greatly benefited from some editing down.  I wanted to know what happened!  I wanted Emily to know what happened so she would stop judging these people when it was pretty clear there was much more to her story than her father just abandoning her!  Had the book been shorter or maybe if I was distracted by some danger or action maybe I would’ve been less frustrated.  Or maybe if I could’ve felt the romance more wouldn’t have minded. As it was, Emily and Oz are mostly at odds for the first 65% of the book, alternately lusting after each other and then judging each other. I really wasn’t on board with them as a couple until the last 35% of the book.  Plus, I couldn’t understand why Emily wasn’t grilling these people to get to the bottom of things when she supposedly stayed to find out the truth about her family.

Once the romance kicked into gear, I really wanted things to work out for Emily and Oz.  I was happy with the choices Oz made when he stepped out of the Motorcycle Club mindset.  Yes, he still loved the MC and his extended family, but Oz was in it on his terms by the end.  I’m still a bit mixed over Emily. I wished she put more effort into trying (to get to know them, not be judgmental, get to the bottom of things!) with Eli’s family.

I know it sounds like I didn’t like this book at all, which is not the case. I was glued to the pages for the last 35% of the story.  I finally got the answers, action and romance I wanted through the whole book.  I did have some moments in the end there were I had to suspend my disbelief, although, that doesn’t necessarily put me off a story. This is fiction after all. With all of this it’s been really hard for me to come up with a rating.  I’ve been trying to decide anywhere between 2-3.5 stars.  In the end I think I’ll settle on 3 stars.  I am excited for Razor's story next.

Friday 19 June 2015

Short & Tweetish Reviews #4: Romancing the Duke & The 9th Girl

 Audiobooks are an integral part of my life.  It's how I stay sane with a long commute to work. They also make chores and cooking more fun. Lately, I've been "reading" a lot but not reviewing much because I've been having a hard time putting my thoughts together for reviews.  Short & Tweetish Reviews (There's no way I can keep it to 140 characters!) is a way to share without so much pressure. This style of reviewing was introduced to me by Mary@The Book Swarm  and Karen's @For What It's Worth.

Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare
Publisher: Harper Audio
Publication date: January 28th 2014
Length: 8 hrs and 59 min
Narrator: Carmen Rose
My rating:  5 stars 
Amazon | B&N | TBD | Audible | GRs

My Thoughts: 

So utterly delicious! The writing was beautiful, and wickedly sensual! Izzy was a thoroughly likable and determined heroine who wanted her own HEA after being immortalized as an innocent child in her father’s beloved writings.  Ransom was the devilish, bad-tempered, scarred rake with a tender heart underneath all the rough and gruff.  At first he wants to drive Izzy away by being rude, suggestive, and shocking.  Little does he know that Izzy has dreamed of being debauched!

The banter between Izzy and Ransom was so delightful and naughty, but the two ended up with more emotions shared between them than just passion.  *sigh*

The narration was sheer perfection! Carmen Rose definitely propelled this truly fun story into brilliance! I’m pleased that the next book in the Castles Ever After series is also narrated by her. Yay!

The 9th Girl by Tami Hoag
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication date: June 8th 2013
Length: 13 hrs and 11 min
Narrator: David Colacci
My rating:  4 stars 
Amazon | B&N | TBD | Audible | GRs

My Thoughts: 
Disturbing and chilling and that wasn't even the serial killer part...

Liska and Kovac are teamed up on another case. The grisly murder of a teenage girl just might be the same girl who went missing from Liska’s son’s school.  This could be another victim of a serial killer they’ve encountered in the past, Doc Holliday, but Liska and Kovac are not ones to overlook other solutions.

There’s not much romance except between Liska’s teenage son, an artistic outcast happy in his own skin (loved him!!), and a girl who has compromised her values somewhat to blend with the “in crowd”.

A cop procedural type mystery that took me a little to get in to, but fiercely grabbed my attention about a quarter ways through! The narrator did well with the male voices, but his female ones were a bit lacking.

Wednesday 17 June 2015

Short & Tweetish Reviews #3: Death & The Girl Next Door & After the End

You may wonder how I end up reading so many books by the end of the month when you see my total on our Monthly Recaps, but it's really no mystery.  I'm just a girl with a long commute to work and an intense love of audiobooks! I've been having a hard time putting my thoughts together for reviews lately so I thought I'd try my hand again at 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.

Death and The Girl Next Door by Darynda Jones
Publisher: St. Martin's Press/Macmillan Audio
Publication date: October 2nd 2012
Length: 7hrs and 48min
Narrator: Lorelei King
My rating:  3 stars 
Amazon | B&N | TBD | Audible | GRs

My Thoughts:  
Darynda’s signature funny storytelling style. Sexy, mysterious hero, spunky heroine with abilities yet untapped.  No love triangle as the description leads you to believe, yay! Fun start to the series, but information was frustratingly slow to trickle in, and the heroine was slow to clue in on a few obvious conclusions. Lorelei King’s narration makes up for most of that. I plan on listening to the next one.

After the End by Amy Plum
Publisher: Harper Audio
Publication date: May 6th 2014
Length: 8 hrs and 47 min
Narrator: Emily Rankin, Graham Hamilton
My rating:  4 stars 
Amazon | B&N | TBD | Audible | GRs

My Thoughts:  
Everything about the world Juneau believes in is basically a lie.  Still, her powers are very much real as is her desire to find and rescue her kidnapped clan. 

Strong, smart, determined heroine. Juneau didn't have a whiny bone in her body, nor did this story suffer from lack of communication, which is a common complaint of mine with YA reads. She was upfront and honest with Miles.

Miles was self-absorbed and spoiled when the story began, but I was happy to witness positive character growth on his part. I did enjoy the romance between these two, even though it was a small part of the story.

A little slow in the beginning, but I highly recommend the audio book. Bonus with a male and female narrator! The story left off in sort of on a cliffhanger, but the second book in this duology is already released so that's not unbearable.  I'm on hold for the next audio copy. 

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