Saturday 18 March 2017

Review: Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens

Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: March 14th 2017
My rating: 4 stars 
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | TBD | Kobo

Eleven years ago, Lindsey Nash escaped into the night with her young daughter and left an abusive relationship. Her ex-husband, Andrew, was sent to jail and Lindsey started over with a new life.
Now, Lindsey is older and wiser, with her own business and a teenage daughter who needs her more than ever. When Andrew is finally released from prison, Lindsey believes she has cut all ties and left the past behind her. But she gets the sense that someone is watching her, tracking her every move. Her new boyfriend is threatened. Her home is invaded, and her daughter is shadowed. Lindsey is convinced it’s her ex-husband, even though he claims he’s a different person. But has he really changed? Is the one who wants her dead closer to home than she thought?
With Never Let You Go, Chevy Stevens delivers a chilling, twisting thriller that crackles with suspense as it explores the darkest heart of love and obsession.

My Thoughts:
Never Let You Go is a suspenseful read, one that will keep you anxious and guessing! The first third sets the stage with past and present chapters, giving a glimpse into Lindsey’s life and marriage, how it devolved into a terrifying mess. Lindsey gets away, we know this right away from the first chapter, and Andrew is sent to prison.

Lindsey was so in love with Andrew at first, and he was the perfect husband.  Even in those blissfully happy days, Andrew showed signs of controlling behavior; gradually isolating Lindsey and chipping away at her self-confidence. The tension grew as he became increasing abusive!  

Eleven years after her escape Lindsey has built a nice life for her and Sophie in a quiet, picturesque seaside town.  She has her own business, and is dating an fun, easy going man, but now that Andrew’s been released she fears it’s just a matter of time before he catches up with them.  Strange things begin to happen and Lindsey is convinced Andrew is responsible.  Her daughter Sophie is not so sure. Was her dad really that bad?

It’s really hard to write a review without spoiling things, so I guess I’ll just say the story was riveting! I read late into the night to see how it all played out.  I have mixed emotions about how it all ended up romance wise, but the mystery was thrilling.

Connect with Chevy Stevens:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Thursday 16 March 2017

Mini reviews: Truly and Madly by Ruthie Knox

Truly (New York #1) by Ruthie Knox
Publisher: Loveswept
Publication Date: August 5th 2014. 
My rating: 4.5 stars. 

May Fredericks hates New York. Which is fair enough, since New York seems to hate her back. After relocating to Manhattan from the Midwest to be with her long-distance boyfriend, NFL quarterback Thor Einarsson, May receives the world’s worst marriage proposal, stabs the jerk with a shrimp fork, and storms off alone—only to get mugged. Now she’s got no phone, no cash, and no friends. How’s a nice girl supposed to get back to safe, sensible Wisconsin? Frankly, Ben Hausman couldn’t care less. Sure, it’s not every day he meets a genuine, down-to-earth woman like May—especially in a dive in the Village—but he’s recovering from an ugly divorce that cost him his restaurant. He wants to be left alone to start over and become a better man. Then again, playing the white knight to May’s sexy damsel in distress would be an excellent place to start—if only he can give her one very good reason to love New York.

Truly was a book with one of the most atypical situations, but was a book which really ended up working for me. May finds herself with no money, no ID and so no way to get back home, she’s also just broken up with her boyfriend of four years, so has no place to go either. She ends up in a bar and hopes that some nice person will take pity on her dire situation, instead she ends up with a grouchy guy called Ben and he doesn’t come across as people person at all and has the shortest fuse ever. But like May I found myself drawn to his character, Ben had been through a lot and really wanted a change and maybe May was it, if only he would let himself try. I adored the time May and Ben spent together getting to know one another, like I mentioned both had rough pasts and so I just wanted both to finally find their happiness. It was definitely great seeing how they both bought the best out in each other, you’d think they were complete opposites with how May just let everyone walk over her and dictate her life and Ben losing his temper all the time so quickly. But you could say May and Ben were just the perfect fit for one another, the development of their relationship was mesmerising to watch and their scenes spent together off the charts *fans self*. I also liked how Knox made their relationship so believable, the way Ben was quick to help May out anyway possible when he didn’t even know her did come across as strange to me at first. But the evolvement of their relationship quickly helped me forget the initial doubts that I had and the obstacles that came along the way made me root for them even more. Truly was a book which completely took me by surprise, I enjoyed devouring the sexy as hell scenes and the witty and hilarious characters that Knox created. I for one can’t wait to dive into the rest of this series.

Madly (New York #2) by Ruthie Knox
Publisher: Loveswept
Publication Date: March 14th 2017. 
My rating: 3.5 stars. 

Allie Fredericks isn’t supposed to be in Manhattan, hiding in the darkest corner of a hip bar, spying on her own mother—who’s flirting with a man who’s definitely not Allie’s father. Allie’s supposed to be in Wisconsin, planning her parents’ milestone anniversary party. Then Winston Chamberlain walks through the door, with his tailored suit, British accent, and gorgeous eyes, and Allie’s strange mission goes truly sideways. Winston doesn’t do messy. But after a pretty stranger ropes him into her ridiculous family drama with a fake kiss that gets a little too real, he finds out that messy can be fun. Maybe even a little addicting. And as the night grows longer, Allie and Winston make a list of other wild things they could do together—and what seems like a mismatch leads to a genuine connection. But can their relationship survive as their real lives implode just outside the bedroom door?

Madly was a book which I was extremely looking forward to reading after l’d devoured Truly. I also really wanted to get to know Allie and have her chance to finally shine. This I knew however would be a big undertaking with the great impression that Ben and May had left in Truly, and I guess you could say that this was one of the reasons I didn’t end up enjoying this book as much as I did Truly. I really did like Allie’s character and seeing the development of her relationship with Winston come about, there was passion and a second chance in love that both characters deserved. But their relationship didn’t leave me with the same make my heart feeling that Ben and May left me with. This was definitely proven whenever Ben and May made an appearance in Madly. I guess you could say sometimes it’s just difficult to enjoy a relationship as much, when the bar has already been set so high previously. This minor factor aside, I enjoyed reading about the reason that bought Allie to New York in the first place and although it wasn’t under the best circumstances, I adored the group of friends that she was able to find to rally around her when she needed it the most. Despite having some issues, Madly was still a refreshing read, Knox was once again able to create a story that I found myself completely caught up with and one that I really didn’t want to let go off. Her writing was once again poignant and flawless. I’m utterly grateful that I decided to give this series a go, as it’s definitely been something that I’ve been in the mood for!

Monday 13 March 2017

The Readers Den Five Year Blogoversary

Hi everyone, wow I would never have thought that I would be writing a post five years on from when I first started The Readers Den. So much has happened these last five years, but I'm hugely grateful that because of your support and following we have managed to make it this far. A big thank you to my co-blogger Rachel, who seriously is the best blogger and friend a girl could ever ask for. Thank you to Allie, Rashika and Siiri who have become my best friends, I share everything with these ladies, so I'm hugely grateful to have these ladies in my life. And to all the bloggers who have been there for us from the very beginning: Nick, Joy, Keertana and Heidi and to those we've built great friendships with along the way: Lauren, Ari, Eva, Emma, Nereyda and anyone else that we've forgotten thank you so much, we honestly wouldn't have been here without you!

Can I just say ditto to everything Jasprit has said above?!  Seriously, though, I didn't want to blog and then I couldn't resist when Jasprit made me an offer to co-blog soon after she started The Readers Den.  I'm sooo thankful I took Jasprit up on her offer and I believe we're a great match. Jasprit is the easiest, nicest person to work with and we share the same motto on blogging. We've changed a bit and become a bit more relaxed to our approach, and I'm happy to say I have joy from sharing our love of books! Thank you so much to all the followers, commenters; people who've stuck with us since the beginning.  It would be a lonely void without all of you! I'm so thrilled to exchange ideas, and thoughts on so many books with like minded people!

To say thank you, we are giving two lucky winners the chance to win a 2017 release from the list below. This giveaway is international, as long as The Book Depository ships to your country. Good luck everyone! 


Thursday 9 March 2017

Review: Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs

Silence Fallen ( Mercy Thompson #10) by Patricia Briggs
Publisher: Ace
Publication date: March 7th 2017
My rating: 5 stars 
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | TBD | Kobo
In the #1 New York Times bestselling Mercy Thompson novels, the coyote shapeshifter has found her voice in the werewolf pack. But when Mercy’s bond with the pack—and her mate—is broken, she’ll learn what it truly means to be alone...

Attacked and abducted in her home territory, Mercy finds herself in the clutches of the most powerful vampire in the world, taken as a weapon to use against alpha werewolf Adam and the ruler of the Tri-Cities vampires. In coyote form, Mercy escapes—only to find herself without money, without clothing, and alone in the heart of Europe...

Unable to contact Adam and the rest of the pack, Mercy has allies to find and enemies to fight, and she needs to figure out which is which. Ancient powers stir, and Mercy must be her agile best to avoid causing a war between vampires and werewolves, and between werewolves and werewolves. And in the heart of the ancient city of Prague, old ghosts rise...

My Thoughts:
Silence Fallen kicks off with a bang as Mercy is abducted and taken to Europe by vampires.  What do they want and how will she get away? 

As usual Mercy survives by her wits, thinking things through quickly and using hard won experience to her advantage.  Mercy is away from Adam and her Pack for most of the book, but before you go panicking, let me reassure you Adam is still very much a part of the story and we get his POV more than we have in any other books in the past.  I loved it! Got to “see” just how much Mercy means to Adam, and how living with his wolf is more of a struggle than I knew.

It was interesting to get a bit of Marsilia, Stefan and Wulfe’s history, why they came to America.  It was interesting to see Marsilia in a little different light, and not as awful as she usually is. 

Patricia Briggs has crafted one of my all-time favorite female characters in Mercy. Her intelligence shines with every problem she encounters.  Mercy ponders things through like body language, repercussions of action, and what she says, weighing possible outcomes, doing this pretty quickly!

Silence Fallen is another amazing installment in the Mercy Thompson series! I was almost glad I was sick this weekend because it gave me an excuse to sit home and read this straight through.  It took me longer to finish than an average book, because I didn’t want to miss anything!  There were a few twists, and one surprise I did not see coming.  The reveal was worked in very quietly, too, IMO. All around it was a riveting read, one of the best in the Mercy Thompson series!

 Connect with Patricia Briggs:

Wednesday 8 March 2017

Review: Seven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse

Seven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse
Publisher: Hachette Children's Group
Publication Date: March 9th 2017. 
My rating: 5 stars. 

Sophia has seven days left in Tokyo before she moves back to the States. Seven days to say good-bye to the electric city, her wild best friend, and the boy she’s harbored a semi-secret crush on for years. Seven perfect days…until Jamie Foster-Collins moves back to Japan and ruins everything. Jamie and Sophia have a history of heartbreak, and the last thing Sophia wants is for him to steal her leaving thunder with his stupid arriving thunder. Yet as the week counts down, the relationships she thought were stable begin to explode around her. And Jamie is the one who helps her pick up the pieces. Sophia is forced to admit she may have misjudged Jamie, but can their seven short days of Tokyo adventures end in anything but good-bye?

I’ve come across a handful of books this year which have completely taken me by surprise, I’m pleased to say Seven Days of You was one of those books. I remember reading the blurb a few months ago, thinking it would be the sort of book that I would enjoy and although it did take me a while to get into initially, on my train back home I was completely hooked. Vinesse goes above and beyond in creating a gorgeous read in the wonderful backdrop of Tokyo. I’m one of those readers that love to read books set in different cities; it makes the wanderlust within me want to come out in full force. And Tokyo really is one of the least expected places that I would have thought I’d want to go visit. But reading Seven Days of You really changed all that, it was clear to me that Vinesse really went all out with her research into Tokyo, the places she describes that our MC Sophia and her friends visit, the modes of travel and even the food, made me feel as if I was right there with these characters and I enjoyed every single moment of finding myself lost in Tokyo.

It’s sometimes hard to believe that this book is only set over seven days, as Vinesse packs in so much into this great book, it focuses on friendship, yearning, young love and having fun and adventures. Our characters Sophia, Jamie, David, Caroline and Mika had a lot going on, Sophia was moving back to the States, something she really didn’t want to do, having made such great friends over here and Jamie was on his back to Tokyo, having spent the last three years studying abroad. There was an underlying tension between Jamie and Sophia that we didn’t know a lot about, we didn’t know why Sophia wanted to avoid Jamie and it also seemed like there were a lot more secrets amongst this group of friends too. I really liked this mystery aspect of the story, of course I wanted to know what had happened between Jamie and Sophia all those years ago, because it was clear that there was something between them now and they only had seven days left together and so I really just wanted them to make the most of it. I loved the build up of discovering what had happened between Jamie and Sophia, and watching the way the group dynamics quickly changed in the last few days that Sophia had left here. Some of the secrets that emerged along the way I also weren’t expecting, but they contributed to the heartache along the way and making Seven Days of You more of an emotional read for me, which I enjoyed rather a lot. I enjoyed the carefree attitudes that Vinesse gave us in our characters, how Sophia although making some mistakes along the way, which I understood, really tried to make the most of her last week in Tokyo. It was about discovering yourself, having fun and making the most out of life. Sophia was a character who I adored, she had a lot to deal with, but I appreciated the little nudges she got along the way, how her family played a pivotal role in her life and the development of this story. She was a character that I could easily relate to having moved around quite a bit myself when I was younger, but she was also a character that you couldn’t but help want to do well and get the most of life. So you could say that I was a big fan of the turn of events in this book. The rest of the characters also bought so much to this beautiful story, Jamie and his curly hair definitely bought all the swoons, he quickly became one of my favourite characters. David, Mika and Caroline were also a complicated bunch, but were just so unexpected in their actions, that I loved having them pop up as I never knew what could happen next. I also need to mention Sophia’s family, every family has their ups and downs and so I really appreciated that despite some of the misunderstandings, they were there for Sophia.

Seven Days of You had everything that I love when it comes to reading, it had a wonderful setting in Tokyo, characters that had such complicated friendships, but withstood no matter what and the development of one of my favourite relationships to date. Vinesse’s writing and story building was wonderfully done that I really didn’t want this book to end at times, I would totally be up for a sequel too (pretty please) for me there could more development to come from the ending that we’re given. Seven Days of You has quite easily become one of my favourite reads of the year, I highly recommend everyone giving this book a go, you will not regret falling in love with these characters and gorgeous story. 

Tuesday 7 March 2017

Review: Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop

Etched in Bone ( The Others #5) by Anne Bishop
Publisher: Roc
Publication date: March 7th 2017
My rating: 5 stars 
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | TBD | Kobo
New York Times bestselling author Anne Bishop returns to her world of the Others, as humans struggle to survive in the shadow of shapeshifters and vampires far more powerful than themselves…

After a human uprising was brutally put down by the Elders—a primitive and lethal form of the Others—the few cities left under human control are far-flung. And the people within them now know to fear the no-man’s-land beyond their borders—and the darkness…

As some communities struggle to rebuild, Lakeside Courtyard has emerged relatively unscathed, though Simon Wolfgard, its wolf shifter leader, and blood prophet Meg Corbyn must work with the human pack to maintain the fragile peace. But all their efforts are threatened when Lieutenant Montgomery’s shady brother arrives, looking for a free ride and easy pickings.

With the humans on guard against one of their own, tensions rise, drawing the attention of the Elders, who are curious about the effect such an insignificant predator can have on a pack. But Meg knows the dangers, for she has seen in the cards how it will all end—with her standing beside a grave.

My Thoughts:
Etched in Bone, the conclusion of The Others was bittersweet to me.  I was happy to get another installment of this amazing series and sad because I knew it was the end of Simon and Meg’s story! 

Meg’s presence in the Lakeside Courtyard changed so much between the humans and the terra indigene, opening them up and weaving them together as no one would’ve thought possible.  The changes have come to the attention of the Elders, a fierce type of terra indigene rarely seen, powerful and deadly when they want to be. The Elders have stepped into the conflict between human and terra indigene when the Humans First and Last group made a concerted effort to wipe out them out. It didn’t go well for the humans, at all.

This is where the story takes off.  Lieutenant Montgomery’s brother, Jimmy, comes to the Lakeside Courtyard when he hears he might have something to gain.  This guy is a real piece of work; Simon, Henry, Vlad, and Tess know it, and are ready to toss him out before he becomes trouble, but the Elders want Jimmy to stay while they observe his actions as a kind of experiment on just what type of humans they should guard against.  This was the perfect example of how one person can cause so much trouble, even with a tight knit community such as the Lakeside Courtyard, and it had my insides in knots at time. I have to say, Lieutenant Montgomery’s siblings were pretty awful, especially in contrast to his mother, Twyla and him.  Twyla has become sort of a den mother to the Lakeside Community and I loved her to bits!   The scene with Skippy and the dinner brought a few tears on!

The Others is one my all-time favorite fantasy series! The plots are engrossing and will put you on edge, but the real draw for me has been the relationships between all these varied characters.  Of course, the most important to me were Meg and Simon. As the series has gone on, they’ve become each other’s “constant” and anchor in life.  Even when Meg and Simon didn’t understand their relationship and feelings that bubbled up between them, it was so plain to everyone else!  I relished every interaction, and oh, that ending scene!

I love that the typical animosities between humans and terra indigene fell by the wayside for the few who decided to work together in the Lakeside Courtyard, and their extensions.  Their cooperation was fueled by Meg’s uniting influence.   Like I said, I’m so very sad to say goodbye, and I’d kill for a Simon and Meg epilogue/novella/short story! (Pretty please, Ms. Bishop?!!!)  But I was so thrilled to hear that Etched in Bone isn’t the complete end of this world. Even though the next book, Lake Silence, won’t be focused on the Lakeside Courtyard, there is a continuation.  Click HERE for more info.

Monday 6 March 2017

Giveaway: Beauty & the Beast: Classic Tales About Animal Brides and Grooms from Around the World edited by Maria Tatar

 I love the story of Beauty and the Beast, so I'm thrilled to be able to feature Penguin's new release:

Published to coincide with Disney’s live-action 3D musical film
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, starring Emma Watson

Classic Tales About Animal Brides and Grooms from Around the World
Edited by MARIA TATAR 

Classic Tales About Animal Brides and Grooms from Around the World
Maria Tatar ▪ Penguin Classics ▪ $16.00
On sale March 7, 2017 ▪ ISBN: 9780143111696

Fairy tales and folklore are a deep well from which both literary and popular culture continually draw; we look to these stories for entertainment and guidance from the first years of childhood through the last years of old age. Penguin Classics has teamed up again with the acclaimed Harvard fairytale scholar Maria Tatar to present the remarkable collection BEAUTY AND THE BEAST: Classic Tales About Animal Brides and Grooms from Around the World (Penguin Classics; On sale March 7, 2017; $16.00; ISBN: 9780143111696), which features one of our most beloved and elemental fairy tales in versions from across the centuries and around the world.

Perhaps no fairy tale is as widely known as BEAUTY AND THE BEAST—and perhaps no fairy tale exists in as many variations. To some, it is a love story, demonstrating the transformative power of compassion; to others, it is a cautionary tale, helping sort out sexual politics, marital roles, and feelings of ostracism. Nearly every culture tells the story in one fashion or another. From Cupid and Psyche to India’s Snake Bride to South Africa’s “Story of Five Heads,” the partnering of beasts and beauties, of humans and animals in all their variety—cats, dogs, frogs, goats, lizards, bears, tortoises, monkeys, cranes, warthogs—has beguiled us for thousands of years, mapping the cultural contradictions that riddle every romantic relationship.

In this fascinating volume, preeminent fairy tale scholar Maria Tatar brings together tales from ancient times to the present and from a wide variety of cultures, highlighting the continuities and the range of themes in a fairy tale that has been used both to keep young women in their place and to encourage them to rebel, and that has entertained adults and children alike. With fresh commentary, she shows us what animals and monsters, both male and female, tell us about ourselves, and about the transformative power of empathy.

Prefacing each story with an introduction that establishes its place within culture and within the anthology, Tatar provides not only an entertaining collection but also a way to appreciate how cultures around the world have used animals in storytelling to understand those who are different or foreign or otherwise outside of their communities.

About the Editor
Maria Tatar is the John L. Loeb Professor of Folklore and Mythology and Germanic Languages and Literatures at Harvard University. She is the author of many acclaimed books, as well as the editor and translator of The Annotated Hans Christian AndersenThe Annotated Brothers GrimmThe Classic Fairy Tales: A Norton Critical EditionThe Grimm Reader, and The Turnip Princess and Other Newly Discovered Fairy Tales. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The lovely people of Penguin Books have graciously offered to give away a copy of Beauty & the Beast: Classic Tales About Animal Brides and Grooms from Around the World to one Readers Den follower.  Simple fill in the rafflecopter below for a chance to win.

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