Tuesday 31 January 2017

Review: Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner

Right Behind You (Quincy & Rainie #7) by Lisa Gardner
Publisher: Dutton
Publication date: January 31st 2017
My rating: 4 stars 
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Is he a hero?
Eight years ago, Sharlah May Nash’s older brother beat their drunken father to death with a baseball bat in order to save both of their lives. Now thirteen years old, Sharlah has finally moved on. About to be adopted by retired FBI profiler Pierce Quincy and his partner, Rainie Conner, Sharlah loves one thing best about her new family: They are all experts on monsters.

Is he a killer?
Then the call comes in. A double murder at a local gas station, followed by reports of an armed suspect shooting his way through the wilds of Oregon. As Quincy and Rainie race to assist, they are forced to confront mounting evidence: The shooter may very well be Sharlah’s older brother, Telly Ray Nash, and it appears his killing spree has only just begun.

All she knows for sure: He’s back.
As the clock winds down on a massive hunt for Telly, Quincy and Rainie must answer two critical questions: Why after eight years has this young man started killing again? And what does this mean for Sharlah? Once upon a time, Sharlah’s big brother saved her life. Now, she has two questions of her own: Is her brother a hero or a killer? And how much will it cost her new family before they learn the final, shattering truth? Because as Sharlah knows all too well, the biggest danger is the one standing right behind you.

My Thoughts:
Thirteen year-old Sharlah hasn’t seen her older brother, Telly, since he killed their parents in self-defense eight years ago. Obviously, these two didn’t have the greatest start in life with drug addicted, violent parents, but they had each other.  Telly loved Sharlah, would feed her, make sure her clothes were clean, and take her to the library each day after school to read her favorite books.  Now Sharlah is finally getting a permanent home, and parents who love her: Quincy and Rainie, a perfect pair for this troubled girl.  Both have personally experienced firsthand the horrors humans can inflict on others, both have their own dark pasts, and can easily relate to Sharlah’s issues.

As everything is looking up for Sharlah, Telly life is another story.  It seems he’s the prime suspect in a series of shootings that baffle law enforcement.  Did that night Telly saved them change him so much that he could commit these crimes or is there more at play here?  Sharlah doesn’t know what to believe, but she must find out the truth. Thankfully, she has her criminal profiling parents to help.  The clock is ticking to find answers and Telly before anyone else is killed.

I was thrilled to hear after so many years we’d be getting another Quincy/Rainie book! Apparently, Lisa Gardner wrote Right Behind You in response to a poll asking readers who should star in her next mystery, and the overwhelming answer was this beloved duo.  Quincy and Rainie have long been my favorite characters of Ms. Gardner’s many books.  Their history, emotional struggles, and romance captured my heart! The mysteries they worked on were riveting! I spent the last few weeks re-reading most of their previous stories before reading Right Behind You.  That isn’t necessary to enjoy this story, I believe you can read this installment as a standalone, but it did greatly enhance my enjoyment. 

I will say the mystery part didn’t really take off for me until the 39% mark, but I didn’t mind. Life with Sharlah, Rainie and Quincy, still acclimating to each other while investigating the shooting, was engrossing to me.  More threads and possibilities become apparent as the team investigates Telly’s life with his foster parents, a place he seemed to settle into, and the urgency to find Telly ramps up.  I was eager to get to the bottom of what actually happened all the while hoping everything would turn out okay for Sharlah and her brother!

Ms. Gardner really does her research into criminal behavior and investigative techniques making her mysteries a stand out for me.  They are well written crime procedurals with a solid, multi-layered cast of characters.  Most of her stories have left me thinking about them long after I closed the book.

Lisa Gardner is going on tour, the dates and cities are below. Alas, she's not coming to my state! *sobs*


Connect with Lisa Gardner:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Monday 30 January 2017

Review: Traitor to the Throne (Rebel of the Sands #2) by Alwyn Hamilton

Traitor to the Throne (Rebel of the Sands #2) by Alwyn Hamilton
Publisher: Faber & Faber 
Publication Date: 2nd February 2017
My rating: 5 stars 

This is not about blood or love. This is about treason. Nearly a year has passed since Amani and the rebels won their epic battle at Fahali. Amani has come into both her powers and her reputation as the Blue-Eyed Bandit, and the Rebel Prince's message has spread across the desert - and some might say out of control. But when a surprise encounter turns into a brutal kidnapping, Amani finds herself betrayed in the cruellest manner possible. Stripped of her powers and her identity, and torn from the man she loves, Amani must return to her desert-girl's instinct for survival. For the Sultan's palace is a dangerous one, and the harem is a viper's nest of suspicion, fear and intrigue. Just the right place for a spy to thrive... But spying is a dangerous game, and when ghosts from Amani's past emerge to haunt her, she begins to wonder if she can trust her own treacherous heart.

Wow I am seriously lost for words here, it’s been a long time I loved a book this much. Rebel of the Sands was a book which I thoroughly enjoyed, but with The Traitor to the Throne Hamilton totally upped her game with this one. There’s so much that I want to say, but really can’t without it being too spoilerish. After the explosive ending in Rebel of the Sands I didn’t know what to expect and to be honest I did struggle with the initial beginning of the story. There was so much I’d forgotten, but once I got past that initial memory loss I was utterly hooked. There were so many things that I wanted to happen and ways for things to go down, but of course nowhere and no one was ever safe. I couldn’t expect to be calm especially when a rebellion and potential war was in process. And of course Hamilton had a way of snatching things away when I least expected them. This aspect highly contributed to me practically shutting myself away and devouring this book. I always had a tense feeling in my stomach with everything going down and I never knew what could be lurking around the corner. At the same time in order for Amani to get through the situations that she found herself in, she had to put her trust in someone. Whilst there were new characters introduced that I wouldn’t have trusted with a ten foot pole (seriously they just made my skin creep out), there were other new characters which I wanted to get to know more like Rahim for instance. There were already so many characters that I’d become fond of and attached to: Jin Ahmed, Shazad, Imin, Hala, Izz, Maz, Navid, and Delila, that I couldn’t bare if anything happened to them. But fresh new characters like Rahim and Sam I welcomed with open arms, at times it did seem like they had their own agenda’s going on, but they always came through when needed. Also Sam brought about such great humour to scenes which were already dark and super tense and so it was very much needed. But I also liked how Hamilton gave us characters who redeemed themselves, I honestly didn’t see it coming as I mentioned trust was such a big issue in this book. Who could anyone really trust when loyalty came from the most unexpected of places taking me completely by surprise? 

Amani honestly had it all to deal with in Traitor to the Thrones, she always had to try and be one step ahead of the game, with so many enemies lurking about (so many I didn’t expect at all along the way). But with all the suffering and questions about whereabouts, this had a massive impact on the rest of the rebellion group too. Despite the dire situations our characters found themselves in, I liked the loyalty and courage not to back down that came through with this group. They were constantly thinking of ways to get out and outsmart the enemy and without leaving anyone behind. I hugely respected the rebellion characters for this. Amani really found herself on a daunting path and one at times that I thought she would never escape or recover from. Also Hamilton had this way of creating a safety net when you thought everything would be okay, only for it to be snatched away from you in the blink of an eye. That and the slowly chipping away of my already fragile heart left me a distraught mess at the end. 

Traitor to the Throne was a brutal read at times (I’m saying this in the best possible way) as I really do love my books which have a huge emotional impact on me. I don’t think my review could fully demonstrate just how much I loved it! It had so much more than I was expecting, it was full with epic revelations, characters who you never wanted to let go, betrayal and many traitors in the mix. It was a story that despite leaving me a big sobbing mess at the end, instilled that little bit of faith that things could be okay. Please don’t go and destroy my heart Ms. Hamilton in the next book I’m begging you!! But Honestly Traitor to the Throne is one book that no reader should be missing out on, I was in absolute awe of Hamilton’s exquisite writing and world building that I know that I will be book pushing Traitor to the Throne onto everyone as a must read of 2017!

Sunday 29 January 2017

The Readers Den Weekly Wrap Up!

Hi everyone, with Rachel and I's crazy work schedules, we miss sharing whats going on with us. We used to have a lot of fun with our Showcase Sunday posts, so thought we'd do something regular on the blog, where we share bookish news and life news in general as a weekly recap!


(Click on Book for Goodreads link).


Okay so I didn't have the most consistent of reading weeks, Traitor to the Throne was a five star read for me, look out for my review tomorrow on the blog, I didn't enjoy Dirty Rowdy Thing as much as it's predecessor Sweet Filthy Boy, but Sebastian York was a delight as always! And what the heck was up with The Last Star, this series just went downhill for me as the series progressed and that ending what was up with that?

Just one review on the blog from me this week, although it wasn't West's most strongest read in my eyes, it was still enjoyable overall. 


Three of the four books I read last week were great for me. Loved Right Behind You, The Bird and the Sword, and A Crown of Bitter Orange. A Promise of Fire was a DNF about half way through I couldn't take Cat anymore. To me she came off as snotty, petulant, and behaved like a 5yr old. It could've been partly due to the audio narration she came off like that, but I was really starting to hate her so I quit. I also spent time skimming through the previous books of the Quincy and Rainie series to refresh my mind before I read Right Behind You, but I won't list all those books!



You can see more of my bookish photos on my Instagram here 

(Click on Book for Goodreads link).


I finally went on a book spree this week, it's been so long since I had so I thought I deserved a treat! All of the above books I'd been highly anticipating and I also pre-ordered Alex Approximately by Jenn Bennett. It also feels like so long since I last read a book by Julie James, so can't wait to get stuck in. Also how amazing does Seven Days of You sound?


Arlene from WinterHaven Books went to the ALA in Atlanta last week and sent me a box of lovely books! Thank you, Arlene! I'm most excited about these gems:

Seven Minutes in Heaven by Eloisa James | Till Death by Jennifer L. Armentrout | Because You're Mine by Colleen Coble | Any Day Now by Robyn Carr | Always by Sarah Jio


(Click on Book for Goodreads link).


I am always happy for more books from Jojo Moyes and so these short stories sound perfect. I haven't read a book by Sarina Bowen before, but this book was all over my feed this last week, I blame you again for this Nick! ;)


Till Death by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I actually added it to my TBR, after reading a rave review, the day before Arlene sent me a copy.  Where I Belong by Claudia Connor, and Trust Me by Laura Florand. The Comfort Zone by Sally Thorne, after reading and loving The Hating Game I can't wait for this one! No cover yet, though.



How to Get Away with Murder is finally back! I haven't been able to catch up with this week's episode yet, but I can't wait! I'm also planning to catch up with Scandal, with that though I'm about half a season behind :(


Just added this to my Amazon Watch List. Hope its good! Has anyone else watched this series?


Well I started my week brilliantly, I hit the circuits class and although it was so hard, I liked that I made it through, but the end of the week then consisted of Pizza and chilli heat wave Doritos I just have to find that balance. I also want to try and make the time to go to the gym at least twice, but it's super hard to fit it in around work :(


This has been my last week. I've been sick, taking cold meds and drinking vitamin C tea!  Pretty boring right?  Well, at least I got a bunch of reading done. 

How was your week?

Thursday 26 January 2017

Review: A Crown of Bitter Orange by Laura Florand

A Crown of Bitter Orange (La Vie en Roses #3) 
by Laura Florand
Publication date: January 24th 2017
My rating: 4.5 stars 
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks | Google Play


Childhood friends. Tristan Rosier might have asked Malorie Monsard to marry him when he was five years old, but things had only gone downhill from there. She’d spent the rest of their lives ignoring him, abandoning him, and destroying his perfumes. Now she was back, to wreak who knew what havoc on his life.

Lifelong enemies. Tristan might choose to dismiss the generations-long enmity between their two families, but Malorie didn’t have that privilege. Like all the other privileges wealthy, gorgeous Tristan took for granted that she couldn’t. But if she was going to restore her family company to glory, she might just need his help.

Or the perfect match? They’d known each other all their lives. Could these childhood friends and lifelong enemies ever uncross their stars and find happily ever after?
My Thoughts:
Coming back to Grasse after her grandmother’s death is bittersweet for Malorie.   She loves her grandmother’s countryside home, La Maison de Monsard with its fragrant bitter orange grove.  But coming back brings back years of memories, the family’s shame over a past betrayal, and Tristan.  After years of trusting her charming father to have their family’s best interests at heart, and being disappointed time and time again, Malorie has learned to only rely on herself.  She finds it hard to believe that charismatic Tristan genuinely cares for her anymore than a passing flirtation.  Yet, that playful boy she was always paired with in the classroom throughout school, turned into a beautiful man, the one she fantasizes about on lonely nights.

Tristan has always tried to capture Malorie’s attention, but she never seemed interested, but he’s grown up now and figures a few things out:

He’d spent all those years in high school unable to touch Malorie not because she was busy dismissing him as an immature trouble-maker but because she was too proud to risk him looking down at her?

And the future seems to open up with possibilities! 

One of the reasons I love this series is because of the beautiful setting: the French countryside!  Through Ms. Florand’s gorgeous descriptions, I could almost smell sweet scent of orange blossoms wafting on the breeze through the Monsard’s orchard, high above the Mediterranean Sea!

I adore this big, close family!  The Rosier Cousins all team up to tease Tristan, payback for his needling while Matt and Damien were figuring out their own romances.  And of course, the dreaded ALIEN PHOTO shows up!! The Cousins were very eager to bring that historical gem out to share with Malorie!  The family’s matriarch, Tante Collette is there to dole out much needed wisdom and understanding to Malorie and Tristan over a garden lunch.  I love the respect and care the family shows to her!  I hope she does live to one hundred twenty-three!

I’m always impressed by Laura Florand’s amazing insight into feelings and motivations. She really gets to the heart of her characters, making them come alive with layers of complex emotions.  I felt their attraction, yearning, and vulnerabilities keenly.  Both Malorie and Tristan had misconceptions about their feelings through the years, but growing up gives clarity that helps sort all that out. This was such a beautiful, emotional story!  I eagerly await Lucien’s story!


Laura Florand burst on the contemporary romance scene in 2012 with her award-winning Amour et Chocolat series. Her international bestselling books have appeared in ten languages, been named among the Best Books of the Year by Romantic Times and Barnes & Noble, received the RT Seal of Excellence and starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Booklist, and been recommended by NPR, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal, among others.

After a Fulbright year in Tahiti and backpacking everywhere from New Zealand to Greece, and several years living in Madrid and Paris, Laura now teaches Romance Studies at Duke University. Contrary to popular opinion, this means she primarily teaches French language and culture and does a great deal of research on French gastronomy, particularly chocolate. For more information, please see her website: www.lauraflorand.com.  
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