Friday, 4 November 2016

Review: Just an Illusion - Side A

Just an Illusion - Side A Just an Illusion - Side A by D. Kelly
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Darn, this book. First up, a warning - major cliffhanger. I mean major. And I have no idea when the next book is due out. Just saying. Right, now that's out of the way, I can wax lyrical about the greatness of this story. I'm not a love triangle fan, I'm really not, but I'm not sure the situation with Sawyer and Noah really counts as a love triangle. Why mention it then? I hear you ask. Because it's a pretty major part of the story, and I'm not sure how to describe it without giving too much away. Whatever it is, it's intense.

I'm a big Rock Star Romance fan. I'll read anything in the genre I can get my hands on, which means I've read some astoundingly good novels, and some real dross. Thankfully, Just an Illusion falls into the first category. From the very start it drew me in and wouldn't let go of me until the last page. Kelly's characters are addictive, and not just the main ones - there's a large cast of really great characters in this book, which always impresses me. The story has all the drama, intrigue and secrets you expect from a Rock Star Romance, and it manages to still feel fresh. Kelly has mastered the balance between feeling close enough to real life while still providing excellent fantasy escapism fodder.

Please, please will someone tell me that the next book is going to be out soon though, like really soon, because I'm suffering a major book hangover and the only cure is the sequel!

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Thursday, 3 November 2016

Review: The Legacy of Lucy Harte: A poignant, life-affirming novel that will make you laugh and cry

The Legacy of Lucy Harte: A poignant, life-affirming novel that will make you laugh and cry The Legacy of Lucy Harte: A poignant, life-affirming novel that will make you laugh and cry by Emma Heatherington
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Darn, this made me cry. But it also made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, so I'll forgive it for the crying part. There's something about Irish women's fiction - there are a bunch of really great authors in the genre, and Emma Heatherington is definitely a member of that group. The Legacy of Lucy Harte is, as it says on the tin, a poignant, life-affirming novel that will make you laugh and cry. I don't really like it when books state things like that in the title - I assume it's a ploy to get Amazon to list it in a certain way, and I find it somewhat arrogant. I'll make my own mind up thank you very much. But darn it, it's right. It is poignant - so very poignant. It is life-affirming - a gentle and kind reminder to live life to the fullest while you have the chance. And it did indeed make me laugh and cry, though it wasn't a full-on laugh-out-loud. It's more of a sweet story than a funny one, but it has its moments.

I enjoyed Maggie as a character - she felt real. She wasn't always good, didn't always make the right decisions, didn't always listen to advice. She drank too much, held on to grudges, wallowed in self-pity and smothered her creative urges. Then she receives the legacy of Lucy Harte, and slowly things begin to change as she steps out of her comfort zone and remembers that there's more to life than real estate. And so we follow her on a journey of self-discovery that is an absolute joy to read.

Regular readers of my reviews will know that I'm very picky about endings. I can't actually say much about this one - I'm not the spoiler type - but I will say that it was very well done. It felt right, even if it did make me cry. Well done, Ms Heatherington, on delivering a story that very much makes me want to read more of your work.

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Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Review: London Belongs to Me

London Belongs to Me London Belongs to Me by Jacquelyn Middleton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a New Adult adventure with a Young Adult feel to it. For once it's more about life than sex, and that's by no means a bad thing - I love a good raunchy romp, but I also love to read the stories about people starting over, following their dreams and finding themselves. London Belongs to Me is the latter.

Alex is a wonderful character - a kooky fangirl who suffers with anxiety and panic attacks, she's easy to relate to and easy to love. She drew me into the story and made me want the absolute best for her. Alex isn't the only great character in this book though - Middleton has created a stellar cast, with a charming and sexy love interest, a strong and no-nonsense best friend (or two), and an evil bitch who you love to hate.

As a Brit it was strange reading about exploring London from a (half) American's point of view, but I think Middleton did well with the concept - I can see this book doing very well on both sides of the pond. She makes London and its residents very British, while still explaining the little UK idiosycrasies for US readers.

London Belongs to Me has all the markings of a great chick-lit for me. It's easy to read without being too fluffy, it has just the right combination of adventure, romance and strife, a relatable cast of wonderful characters and a great ending. A perfect debut from an exciting new author who I'll be following for sure.

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Thursday, 18 August 2016

Review: The Thousandth Floor

The Thousandth Floor The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Just when you think everything's been done, a startling new idea comes along and shakes up a genre - The Thousandth Floor is that book, and McGee is that author. This amazing debut is sure to create a lot of buzz in the YA world, and rightly so. But what's it actually like? For starters, it's a backwards story - we're teased with an outcome first, then we're taken back to the beginning and led through the build-up, with secret upon secret slowly being revealed. Then there's the fact that McGee has somehow managed to give us a five-way POV without making it horribly confusing. When I saw the chapter titles and realised the book would focus on five different characters, I worried that I wouldn't be able to keep up, but it's actually very well-done. The five characters start of fairly separate, but as the book goes on they start to intertwine more and more, while they each give us an important aspect of the story. It's a risky tactic, but it pays off handsomly as McGee pulls it off with apomb.

Set in the future, we're given a delightful setting in the mega-huge tower, and it's a nicely-built world with realistic additions and revisions to our present. Complementing this futuristic world are the everyday problems of teenagers, families and friends, which will never really change. Fashions will change, but fashion will always be a thing. Love and friendship won't go away, and there will always be drama surrounding them. This is what McGee focusses on, and she does it remarkably well. I didn't expect this to be the first of a series when I read it - for some reason I was expecting a standalone, but then I got to the end, and it is a great end - no real cliffhanger, but an expectation of continuation. Book one is perfectly complete and incomplete at the same time, the ideal series opener. Roll on book two.

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Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Review: Melody Bittersweet and The Girls' Ghostbusting Agency

Melody Bittersweet and The Girls' Ghostbusting Agency Melody Bittersweet and The Girls' Ghostbusting Agency by Kitty French
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Is paranormal chick-lit an oficial sub-genre? Because if it isn't, it should be, and Melody Bittersweet should be the reigning queen. I love, love, loved this book. It's funny, sweet, entertaining, exciting and perfectly British. Melody is one of the best characters I've read for ages, and I desperately want to hear more from her - can't wait until the next book in the series comes out. She's not the only brilliant character though - not by a long shot. French has created a whole cast of whacky, awesome characters to play with, and that's not even counting the ghosts! I'm now off to read everything else she's ever written...

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Saturday, 16 July 2016

Review: How Not To Fall

How Not To Fall How Not To Fall by Emily Foster
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is simply gorgeous. It feels like a real honour to have the chance to follow Annie along her sublime journey of sexual awakening with her incredible teacher, Charles. Foster's erotic scenes are written with consummate skill - never unrealistic or overdone, the are superbly arousing.

For a plethora or reasons, I couldn't put this book down. The characters are wonderfully well-developed, the story itself is highly addictive, and the sex scenes (yes I'm mentioning them again - they're that good) are beautiful.

I am in love with Charles and Annie's brains - their big, beautiful brains. There is so much that is so clever about this book, not least its main characters, that it blows me away. And then there's the feels - oh, the feels. After a period of glorious sexytimes, the feelings inevitably enter the circle, and then nothing is easy anymore.

The ending of this book is exactly what it should be, which is also what you don't want it to be. But fear not, there is another book to come, but not until 2017, because Foster apparently likes to torture her readers. Write faster!

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Friday, 15 July 2016

Review: Songs About a Girl

Songs About a Girl Songs About a Girl by Chris Russell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow. If you like music and you like YA, you have to read this book. I've been veering away from YA for a while, preferring something a bit more adult to entertain me, but this was the perfect book to return to the genre with. Russell's sixteen year-old Charlie is such a great character - she's so realistic, as are all of the other characters around her. This is a start cast, and not just because half of it is made up of a famous boyband. Russell gives us a glimpse of the hardships of fame, the realities of working in the music business, and the real people behind the stardom. There's a backstory running through the book that keeps it interesting too, one which raises some questions that are not yet answered so be prepared for a bit of a cliffhanger.
Full of excitement, sweet romance and drama between family and friends, Songs About a Girl is one of the best things I've read in a while and I hope the next book is released in a timely fashion as I really want to know what happens next!

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