Monday 27 February 2017

Mini-reviews: Undeclared by Julianna Keyes (Burnham college #2)

Hi everyone, Rachel and I have very similar tastes when it comes to reading, so much so that we're often reading the same books at the same time without realising it. So we thought it'd be a cool idea to share our reviews on books that we had both been reading recently. Today we're sharing our thoughts on Undeclared by Julianna Keyes.

Undeclared by Julianna Keyes (Burnham college #2)
Publication date: February 27th 2017
Our ratings: 3 stars (Jasprit) /  3 stars (Rachel)
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo 

Kellan McVey is Burnham College’s most prolific athlete, partier, and ladies’ man—and that’s just how he likes it. Returning to reign for his third year, he wants nothing to change. Then Andrea Walsh shows up. It wasn’t too long ago that Andi and Kellan were lifelong friends, mortal enemies, and, for one hot summer, more. Then Kellan left and Andi stayed behind. Kellan thought he’d moved past that last summer’s heartbreak, but with Andi sitting next to him in class, befriending his friends, and battling for the same once-in-a-lifetime job opportunity, he’s starting to remember why he hated her…and why he loved her. Kellan has a long list of reasons that falling for Andi again is a terrible idea, though every new moment together challenges that theory. But Andi’s all too familiar with Kellan’s love ’em and leave ’em approach—and she’s found someone else to get serious about. Burnham’s campus king has never had to fight for a girl, but if he wants Andi to give him another chance, he’ll have to do the one thing he’s never had the nerve to do: admit it.

I loved Undecided! Crosbie and Nora’s romance just ticked all the boxes for me.  I read and enjoyed Undeclared, Kellan’s story, in 24 hours, but I didn’t love it, and that basically came down to Kellan. Still, like I said I read the book in a short amount of time, hooked by the story. 

I adored Andi, and felt bad for her, because it was inferred that Kellan somehow broke her heart before he left for college. She wasn’t mean to Kellan, when she really could’ve been.  Andi’s priority was college, having had to wait two years while saving money to go, you could tell it was important to her. 

I didn’t like Kellan in Undecided.  Yeah, I get that I’m not supposed to be judgmental if a guy sleeps with a bunch of girls, without promising them anything other than a good time, but hooking up with sixty-three girls without even bothering to find out a good majority of their names doesn’t stir up feelings of swoon for me.  I was soooo ready to change my opinion of him, especially if his actions were motivated by heartbreak, but Kellan was just so self-absorbed and clueless for much of this book! He had no clue what upset Andi at that baseball game?!! Really?!! Omg, I wanted to smack upside the head, he was so stupid!

I keep reminding myself that Kellan is only twenty-one/twenty-two, so I should give this guy a break.  There are not many twenty-one year old guys out there like Crosbie, with his big heart, most fall into the Kellan range of emotional maturity, but Crosbie set the bar high for me in the first book. Still, I rooting for Kellan to get it right, because even when he kept screwing things up you could tell he loved Andi.  I wanted him to get it right especially for Andi, because she really deserved it! Boy-oh-boy, when they were on the right track they burned up the pages! Julianna Keyes writes some hot stuff!

I do love this world Ms. Keyes has created, and I’d love more stories at Burnham.  I was thrilled to “see” Crosbie and Nora together and happy; leaving no doubt they’re in it for good. Marcela was delightfully wicked and hilarious, and I enjoyed her “adversarial” relationship with Kellan.  The book had some fun, clever humor. I cracked up over the Halloween pun costumes!  But most of all, I loved how everything turned out with Kellan and Andi.  I got some insight into why he kept screwing things up, and I finally fell for him.


I was a massive fan of Keyes book Undecided, the relationship between Crosbie and Nora was one of my favourites, I loved how it came about with neither of them expecting it. And whilst I was a fan of Kellan too I was eager for him to finally get his own story. If you know me by now you know I’m a massive fan of second chance romances and I was eager for more of Kellan and Andi when I’d learnt about their earlier relationship. It was clear to me that Kellan and Andi were meant to be, bits of their backstory that we were given over time, and the way they were around each other, I just wanted them to drop everything and just be together already. Also with everything that Kellan had dealt with last year, I liked the more responsible, considerate Kellan we got to see this time, even though a lot of the times he just wanted to jump right in with Andi. Keyes once again wrote a smoking hot romance; the scenes between Kellan and Andi were totally swoonworthy, that I wish we had a lot more of these scenes, rather than the obstacles and miscommunications that we got along the way. But this minor detail aside, I loved seeing the development of the beautiful relationship between Kellan and Andi and getting to know some great secondary characters, Dane, Choo and Bertrand were a delight! I just wish I was able to enjoy this book as much as I did Undecided, nevertheless, I will be looking forward with eager anticipation to more from Keyes in the future. 

Friday 24 February 2017

Mini Reviews: Pretty Face by Lucy Parker

Hi everyone, Rachel and I have very similar tastes when it comes to reading, so much so that we're often reading the same books at the same time without realising it. So we thought it'd be a cool idea to share our reviews on books that we had both been reading recently. Rachel and I were big fans of Parker's first book Act Like it, so we'd thought we'd share our thoughts on her second book Pretty Face.

Pretty Face (London Celebrities #2) by Lucy Parker
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication date: February 20th 2017
Our ratings: stars (Jasprit) / 4.5 Stars (Rachel)
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | TBD | Kobo
Highly acclaimed, award-winning author of Act Like It Lucy Parker returns readers to the London stage with laugh-out-loud wit and plenty of drama 

The play's the fling 

It's not actress Lily Lamprey's fault that she's all curves and has the kind of voice that can fog up a camera lens. She wants to prove where her real talents lie—and that's not on a casting couch, thank you. When she hears esteemed director Luc Savage is renovating a legendary West End theater for a lofty new production, she knows it could be her chance—if only Luc wasn't so dictatorial, so bad-tempered and so incredibly sexy.

Luc Savage has respect, integrity and experience. He also has it bad for Lily. He'd be willing to dismiss it as a midlife crisis, but this exasperating, irresistible woman is actually a very talented actress. Unfortunately, their romance is not only raising questions about Lily's suddenly rising career, it's threatening Luc's professional reputation. The course of true love never did run smooth. But if they're not careful, it could bring down the curtain on both their careers…

For some reason Pretty Face took me a while to get into, I blame the high that Act Like it left me in, nothing really could compare with Richard and Lainey’s relationship. However, despite the struggle with the initial start, once again Parker was able to win me over with her fantastic characters in Luc and Lily. Both Lily and Luc came from different backgrounds, so much so that I didn’t see them working together at all. Lily was a person who was completely overlooked, her role in show Knightsbridge didn’t have people flocking to hire her, but seriously though I knew beneath that assumptions that so many people had already made of her, there was serious talent and I was hoping that Luc would give her a try. Luc on the other hand was my sort of guy, he quickly lost his temper (which I loved, why do characters that get easily riled up or come to someone’s defence always come across as super-hot!). But also he wanted the best from his production, so once he’d finally been convinced of taking Lily on, I appreciated the confidence he exuded in Lily had and the extent that he would go to, to make Lily’s character the best. Really from Luc, Lily was able to become the best that she possibly could. Also with the time spent along the way, the miscommunications and difficult situations a really beautiful relationship was able to develop between Lily and Luc. For me once again Parker did an incredible job with the build-up of their relationship, the way they would both get torn up over things that happened really crushed me at times, but just went onto show how far both characters had come in their development and their feelings for one another. Alongside this great relationship that Parker gave us between Luc and Lily, there was once again an abundance of quirky secondary characters, which brought a great amount of delight and laughter to the story. Seriously though Parker really mixes up the romance, fun and tough scenes really well once again in Pretty Face. She was also once again able to win me over with a charming romance which I had my doubts about in the beginning. Pretty Face was another great follow up from Parker who is quickly becoming my go to author.

After reading and loving Act Like It, I was thrilled to get my hands on Pretty Face and it was everything I hoped for! Lucy Parker excels at writing witty, fun dialogue and banter, with British-isms like “snogging, kerfuffle, whinge, and arse-over-tits”; the last has to be my favorite, lol!

The relationship between Luc and Lily was sexy and fun, and full of emotion and chemistry!  Ms. Parker made Luc and Lily come to life, writing them with insecurities and faults, but each with a pureness of heart that made you love them even when they screwed up. I laughed, cried, (just a tear or two; don’t judge, I find I’m getting more emotional as the years go by!) and my heart welled with happiness when I finished.  I can’t wait for the next lovely Lucy Parker story!

 Connect with Lucy Parker:

Tuesday 21 February 2017

Review: A Darkness Absolute by Kelley Armstrong

A Darkness Absolute (Casey Duncan #2) by Kelley Armstrong
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication date: February 7th 2017
My rating: 4.5 stars 
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | TBD | Kobo
The follow-up to #1 NYT bestseller Kelley Armstrong’s acclaimed City of the Lost, Rockton town detective Casey Duncan makes a terrible—and dangerous—discovery in the woods outside of town.

When experienced homicide detective Casey Duncan first moved to the secret town of Rockton, she expected a safe haven for people like her, people running from their past misdeeds and past lives. She knew living in Rockton meant living off-the-grid completely: no cell phones, no Internet, no mail, very little electricity, and no way of getting in or out without the town council’s approval. What she didn’t expect is that Rockton comes with its own set of secrets and dangers.

Now, in A Darkness Absolute, Casey and her fellow Rockton sheriff’s deputy Will chase a cabin-fevered resident into the woods, where they are stranded in a blizzard. Taking shelter in a cave, they discover a former resident who’s been held captive for over a year. When the bodies of two other women turn up, Casey and her colleagues must find out if it’s an outsider behind the killings or if the answer is more complicated than that...before another victim goes missing.

Casey Duncan returns in another heart-racing thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong.

My Thoughts:
I love the setting and premise of this series! If you’re a fan of a well-plotted mystery with plenty of suspense, twists and turns, and multi-dimensional characters, (thankfully without a self-destructive streak!) the Casey Duncan series is for you.   

Rockton is a refuge city for those on the run. A city off the grid and under the radar, perfect for any trying to escape a whole range of situations: a stalker, abusive partner, or punishment from a crime.  Applicants are vetted for violence risk, meaning someone who poses a threat to others will not be admitted. Well, that’s the theory, anyhow. In book one, City of the Lost, Casey and Eric found some exceptions that cost the town dearly.  Are there more to be uncovered?

Casey is very smart and insightful, considering the motivations of everyone she deals with, helping her manage the residents in Rockton, as well as track down a particularly clever killer.

I was on edge so many times sensing danger, worrying that something terrible would happen to Casey! Kelley Armstrong did a wonderful job setting the stage for one nail-biting tale! The crime was disturbing, because it’s so very similar to the horrifying things we hear in real life.

I love the romance between Eric and Casey!  They’re in the new stages, smitten, and at times vulnerable wondering just how much this relationship means to the other. 

Just when I think Diana (Highlight for spoiler): will somehow redeem herself, she’s back to her self-centered schemes, rationalizing by suggesting her decisions ended up benefiting Casey. I can’t stand this woman. I’m thankful that Casey really does have her number, even if she wishes she were wrong. (End of spoiler) Jen is just awful.  She was in book one and things haven’t changed. That’s how she goes about getting a job?!  

Just like the first book, the current mystery is solved, albeit in a chilling way, but I’d say the punishment fits the crime! I can’t wait for the next mystery!  If you haven’t read the first book, City of the Lost, I’d highly recommend starting with that one first. 

Therese Plummer, one of my all-time favorite narrators is fantastic, as usual.  She makes any book even better with her performance.

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