Thursday, 3 September 2015

{Review} The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler

18689664Posted by Donna
Release Date: May 21st, 2013
Finished Date: July 28th, 2015
Publishers: Simon Pulse
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Source: Gifted
Format: Paperback
Pages: 384
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / The Book Depo

When all signs point to heartbreak, can love still be a rule of the road? A poignant and romantic novel from the author of Bittersweet and Twenty Boy Summer.

Jude has learned a lot from her older sisters, but the most important thing is this: The Vargas brothers are notorious heartbreakers. She’s seen the tears and disasters that dating a Vargas boy can cause, and she swore an oath—with candles and a contract and everything—to never have anything to do with one.

Now Jude is the only sister still living at home, and she’s spending the summer helping her ailing father restore his vintage motorcycle—which means hiring a mechanic to help out. Is it Jude’s fault he happens to be cute? And surprisingly sweet? And a Vargas?

Jude tells herself it’s strictly bike business with Emilio. Her sisters will never find out, and Jude can spot those flirty little Vargas tricks a mile away—no way would she fall for them. But Jude’s defenses are crumbling, and if history is destined to repeat itself, she’s speeding toward some serious heartbreak…unless her sisters were wrong?

Jude may have taken an oath, but she’s beginning to think that when it comes to love, some promises might be worth breaking.

The Review: This is the second book I’ve read by Sarah Ockler and I have to say, I’m really impressed by what I’ve read so far and I can’t wait until I own another one of her books to read! 

Jude Hernandez wanted to spend her last summer before starting college experiencing things she’s never experienced before and that means road-tripping with her two best friends. But when her father health takes a turn for the worst, her priorities change and she vows to do everything she can to make her father happy – even if that means helping him restore an old vintage bike he’s had in the garage for the last two decades. But Jude doesn’t know much about restoring bikes and realises she needs help. Help comes in the form of Emilio Vargas who is more than happy to help, however Jude’s been sworn off dealing with the Vargas boys ever since two of Emilio’s brother’s broke her two sister’s hearts. Deciding to keep Emilio’s surname a secret from her family, Jude realizes that the more time she spends with Emilio the more she enjoys his company – especially when he’s not put off by her father’s weird behavior. But can Jude honor the oath she’s made with her sisters or is she willing to break it for love? 

The Book of Broken Hearts is a great YA contemporary and Jude’s story is good one but also a heart-breaking one too. When I went into this story I wasn’t quite expecting the emotional turmoil that came with watching Jude’s father slowly deteriorate from Alzheimer's. I’ve heard bits and pieces about the disease but reading it for myself through Sarah Ockler’s words it really does feel for anyone who has had a watch a loved one suffer from it especially when there is no cure. This book brings a lot of awareness to a disease that, in my opinion hasn’t been wildly expressed throughout the YA genre before. So well done Sarah Ockler! 

And while this story is focused around Jude and her father’s relationship which was very touching and loving – it’s also about Jude’s journey to finding out whom she really is and learning to take risks of her own like her father did when he was younger. Emilio definitely helps Jude with that. Not only does he help her come to turns with her father’s disease, he also becomes a pillar of strength for her, helping her out when she needs it. They seem to form a bond while restoring the bike together and it really added to the sweetness of their relationship which had several swoon-worthy moments which of course made you totally swoon.

In all, I’m glad I’ve finally managed to read another one of Sarah’s books because I definitely wasn’t disappointed by The Book of Broken Hearts and I simply can’t wait to own/read more! 
 

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

{Feature} Waiting on Wednesday (#126)

 
"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. 
Donna's WoW
20980791Forever with You (Wait for You #5)
by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Release Date: September 29th, 2015


In the irresistibly sexy series from #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout, two free spirits find their lives changed by a one-night stand…

Some things you just believe in, even if you've never experienced them. For Stephanie, that list includes love. It's out there. Somewhere. Eventually. Meanwhile she's got her job at the mixed martial arts training center and hot flings with gorgeous, temporary guys like Nick. Then a secret brings them closer, opening Steph's eyes to a future she never knew she wanted—until tragedy rips it away.

Nick's self-assured surface shields a past no one needs to know about. His mind-blowing connection with Steph changes all that. As fast as he's knocking down the walls that have kept him commitment-free, she's building them up again, determined to keep the hurt—and Nick—out. But he can't walk away. Not when she's the only one who's ever made him wish for forever . . .


  Donna's thoughts: I just finished Fall with Me and I really can't wait for the next book in the series now.

Melanie's WoW

23848072The Warrior Vampire (Last True Vampire #2)
by Katy Baxter 
Release Date: October 27th, 2015

The vampire was built for sin, every inch of him tight and bulky with corded muscle. A killer, that much was apparent, and she couldn't help but wonder if his appetite for violence would rival his appetites for other...things.

A WOMAN SEDUCED

Naya Morales is no ordinary mortal. Born with a shaman's power, she has devoted her life to tracking down stolen magic—and punishing those who take it. But one fateful night, she follows the alluring call of a sensual magic that is too glorious to be true—and finds herself face to face with a stunningly handsome thief who is too magnificent to resist...

A VAMPIRE ENSLAVED

From the moment he sees her, Ronan knows Naya is his mate. Driven by a deep, almost mystical connection, he aches for her body, hungers for her blood, and swears their souls are anchored together. Naya refuses to believe the words of a vampire—or risk the wrath of her tribe. But when she tries to make Ronan her prisoner, neither chains of silver nor fires of hell can help her escape the truth: she is the one who's been captured...


Melanie's thoughts:
Another sequel to add to my list, the first really impressed me so I'll be watching out for this one.

<What's your "waiting on" pick this week?
Want to participate? 
Grab the logo, post your own WoW entry on your blog, and leave your link at Breaking the Spine. 
Happy Reading!

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

{Review} Forbidden (Luna Lake #1) by Cathy Clamp

23168819Posted by Melanie
Release Date: August 18th, 2015
Finished Date: August 25th, 2015
Publishers: Tor Books
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: For Review
Format: eBook
Pages: 352
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / The Book Depo

USA Today bestselling author Cathy Clamp reboots the Sazi universe in Forbidden, a tightly-paced, high-tension urban fantasy thriller.

Ten years have passed since the war that destroyed the Sazi Council and inflicted a horrible "cure" on thousands of Sazi, robbing them of their ability to shapeshift.

Luna Lake, isolated in Washington State, started as a refugee camp for Sazi orphans. Now it's a small town and those refugees are young adults, chafing at the limits set by their still-fearful guardians.

There's reason to fear: Sazi children are being kidnapped. Claire, a red wolf shifter, is sent to investigate. Held prisoner by the Snakes during childhood, Claire is distrusted by those who call Luna Lake home.

Before the war, Alek was part of a wolf pack in Chicago. In Luna Lake he was adopted by a parliament of Owls, defying Sazi tradition. The kidnappings are a painful reminder that his little sister disappeared a decade ago.

When Claire and Alek meet, sparks fly—but the desperate race to find the missing children forces them to set aside their mutual attraction and focus on the future of their people.


The Review: Forbidden is the first book in the Luna Lake series that has ties to the authors other series and I thought it was an intriguing start.
We begin the story with a car journey that brings Claire – a wolf shifter – to Luna Lake. She is there undercover because the local children are going missing and she immediately senses that something is wrong, a sense of danger and urgency she can’t quite put her finger on. Before they reach the town, they are hurled off the road by an unseen force with immense power…. Could this be what is taking the kids? At the same time, a series of events brings Alek – another wolf shifter – to the road where the wreckage is…. And he feels the same danger, urgency and unseen power that Claire did and ends up in the crosshairs. Thankfully he is able to save Claire…. Just… and a bond is formed.
As Claire heals, she stays with a foster family headed by Owls who take everyone in and love them, it’s their kids that are missing and Claire vows to find them. It’s no surprise that Claire ruffles a few feathers by sticking her nose in, something is seriously wrong in Luna Lake and when she finds herself as omega of the place, she finds out just how messed up the place is….. it has one advantage though… it allows her to snoop around, work with Alek and find out what is really going on.
So, I enjoyed this book quite a bit. I liked the set-up of Luna Lake and why it was established – it should have been a good place, it was meant to be but as always… it never lives up to expectations. I like that a lot of the ‘Sazi’ kids were taken in, regardless of who they shifted into and there was a definite sense of family throughout where everyone looked out for one another and helped without question. It was still a change for Claire and really different from what she was used to at home. I thought she dealt with everything really well, she showed a maturity in how she handled herself but also gumption on how she asserted herself. She was likable and relatable which helped her fit straight in with her hosts. I’m really curious about her background and what happened to her when she was younger. Romance came by way of Alek, they shared an immediate chemistry and bond which intensifies over the course of the story. I’m glad that the romance didn’t take over the actual story but it was a nice balm to what was happening. Now I have to say that I like my wolves to have soul mate bonds, you can more or less guarantee that these will find a mate for life but this bond confused me – there’s a one sided bond where one loves the other but the other doesn’t necessarily have to love their mate back or be with them, plus that non bonded mate can bond with another and fall in love with that person or you can get the double bonding where they both love each other and make a commitment. Now that one sided bond is not a happy one for me, I want loyalty, I want chemistry I want my two main characters to be bonded, in love, having lots of sexytime and hopefully babies….. but that is not happening here and I’m not happy!
The actual story was great and I really enjoyed it! It had an air of mystery that followed you right through the book; why are the kids going missing? Who is taking them? Why are they being taken? They are the first things that come to mind but then when we actually spend some time in the community you can feel that something isn’t right there, something is being hidden and it’s sinister. It’s clear that some people in power know more than they’re letting on and that is the worst kind of foe to go up against because Claire is put in danger time and time again. She risks everything to find out what is going on, she’s abused, she’s shunned, she’s bullied…. But she is determined and it seems like she and Alek are the only ones that aren’t affected by the weirdness of Luna Lake. Along with the mystery, there is plenty of danger, violence aplenty, seedy secrets, misdirection…. But also some sexytime to offset the drama. By the end, the world is opened up even more, we find out exactly who Claire is and what she’s up to and a hint at a possible future for her. I would read a sequel but I wished I had been familiar with the authors other series before I read this so I knew what had happened in their world beforehand.

3.5 flowers!

Thank you to Tor Books for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review. 
 

Monday, 31 August 2015

{Review} Tempting the Best Man (Gamble Brothers #1) by J. Lynn

23842260Posted by Donna
Release Date: April 28th, 2014
Finished Date: August 16th, 2015
Publishers: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: NA, Contemporary, Romance
Source: For Review
Format: Paperback
Pages: 172
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / The Book Depo

Madison Daniels has worshipped her brother's best friend since they were kids. Everyone thinks she and Chase Gamble would make the perfect couple, but there are two major flaws in their logic. 1) Chase has sworn off relationships of any kind, and 2) after blurring the line between friends and lovers for one night four years ago, they can't stop bickering.

Forced together for her brother's wedding getaway, Chase and Madison decide to call a truce for the happy couple. Except all bets are off when they're forced to shack up in a tacky 70's honeymoon suite and survive a multitude of "accidents" as the family tries to prove their "spark" can be used than for more than fighting. That is, if they don't strangle each other first...

The Review: Tempting the Best Man is the first book in the Gamble Brothers series by J.Lynn and it definitely started out with a bang! 

Madison Daniel’s has always been in love with her brother’s best friend since they were kids. And even though Chase Gamble has never shown any interest in her other than just friends – except for that one night four years ago, Madison still can’t help love him. But when they’re forced together at Madison’s brother’s wedding, they finally give into temptation once more. 

This is such a fab read I wish it was longer. By the time I’d read Tempting the Best Man I was seriously left wanting more. More pages, more Madison and Chase and definitely more adult stories by J. Lynn. 

I really enjoyed the plot of the story. I loved that the whole story takes place in a vineyard where all the family is staying too. It definitely made this story fun to read and I loved being able to get to know all the family all at once. Madison and Chase’s story while not completely unique – it’s a story I’ve read a few times before but J.Lynn adds her own spin to it and well it’s J.Lynn, you all know how much I love her work.

Madison and Chase were such great characters to get to know – they’re relationship is steamy and hot and I’m surprised they ever agreed on anything because they were both so damn stubborn. The banter back and forth was highly entertaining. I had quite a few laughs while reading this book and, the rest of the Gamble brothers….hello boys! Yes, I’m seriously looking forward to getting to know them better! 

In all, another fabulous read by one of my favourite authors and I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for the rest in the series.


Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review.
 

Friday, 28 August 2015

{Review} HEX: Saxton Academy Series by Mackenzie McGuire

25514079Posted by Melanie
Release Date: June 20th, 2015
Finished Date: August 17th, 2015
Publishers: Self Published
Genre: YA, Paranormal, Romance
Source: For Review
Format: eBook
Pages: 201
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US 
I’m Reece.
A month ago I died along with my two best friends in a car crash. Obviously, my death didn't last long.
Since then, I hear voices and the nightmares – don’t even get me started.
I just wanted to be normal. That meant leaving my lux L.A. life for the gothic, and icy, Saxton Academy in the mountains of Vermont. Away from the tabloids, I had a plan to get my life together. But that just isn't possible.
Thanks to hotties Eli McKinnon and Carden McDowell I discovered my life is a lie. They want to help me reach my potential.
I just want to be a regular girl.
But darkness is coming, and if I want to stay alive, I may not have a choice.

The Review: HEX is the first book in the Saxton Academy Series and we have something a little spooky on our hands.
Reece was an interesting character from the start; having survived a car crash that killed her two best friends Reece had survivors’ guilt and believed that she should have died too. She has started hearing voices and having nightmares, her mental health is taking a battering so when it’s suggested that she start afresh at an exclusive boarding school –she goes along with it, thinking it’s probably for the best.
When she arrives at Saxton Academy she gets off to a bumpy start but can’t help feel drawn to a couple of young men who also attend the school – Eli & Carden – they have a couple of secrets up their sleeves and have some startling revelations for Reece. Reece however wants nothing to do with what they’re up to, she wants to study and just be normal…. But life has other plans especially when the target is placed on her.
Hex was a good read, it had a good premise and plenty of spooky goings on to keep me interested, as I mentioned; Reece was a likable character that you can connect to straight away. Her circumstances were sad and you really felt the emotion of what she had been through and what was going on in her head, it was very believable of someone in her situation.
The other characters were good too – Eli, Carden and Tuesday – but could have done with a bit more depth to them, Reece definitely stole the show in that department. I mentioned that she feels connected to the boys, like they’re meant to be in her life and one turns into a romantic connection of the instalove variety and whilst that was okay, I’m always left wanting more from the relationship. I definitely would have liked more sexual tension and interaction between them before they take the plunge.
I liked the premise I always like the witch angle and find it’s really underused now, I love to read about the rituals and how they do them, I love the incantations and how they use ingredients etc. All great stuff! I also like what Reece brought to table and that by completing the three she can amplify all of their powers giving the feeling that this triangle will be something special. It was very much a getting to know you and your world first book that was filled with more mystery than anything else but that always held my attention and I was really curious about what was happening. I liked how her friends tried to make contact, the magic that surrounds her and her new friends and how they used it. I felt the danger was very understated until right near the end and with the exception of a couple of scares - it was over before it had begun. I also didn’t really get a good feel for the enemy, who was it exactly, why are they choosing her, what is the goal? Because the motive we did get, seemed a bit lame but never the less, I would read a sequel.
3.5 Stars!
Thank you to Mackenzie McGuire for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

{Review} Shifter: City of Wolves by Avery Burch

26041426Posted by Melanie
Release Date: August 3rd, 2015
Finished Date: August 17th, 2015
Publishers: Self Published
Genre: Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Source: For Review
Format: eBook
Pages: 301
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US 
 
She's an elite.
He's a wolf and an outcast.
Their forbidden passion will move worlds.

Everyone knows wolves love with a dangerous passion. They lock on a woman and never let her go. From the moment they imprint on her, they will kill for her, and die for her.

Lyla is more than rich. She's one of The Elite, a paranormal class that rules society with an iron fist. She arrives in Manhattan to begin training as an enforcer.

Zac is an orphan, an outcast, and a shifter. Turning into a wolf is an unforgivable crime in the elite regime. Enforcers hunt down and kill anyone who can shift.

When Zac and Lyla meet, they know love is hopeless, but their powerful attraction is simply too great. Fighting to overcome the ruthlessness of their society, Zac and Lyla learn that true love can overcome any obstacle, but not without dire consequences.

Shifter: City of Wolves, is a paranormal romance that features passionate romance, intensely real emotion, supernatural powers, and forbidden shifter love. It contains mature themes.

The Review: I really enjoyed this book but I found the second half better than the first. In the first half it was quite slow, we get all of the character and world building which of course is good but the second half is when it all kicks off and we get lots of action which the story really needed at that point. I thought that the premise was good and gave a believable theory about this dystopian world, what had happened to the population and why they were grouped the way they were. As always with stories like this and where one group of people holds power over others; we get the feel that those considered beneath the Elites aren’t so much the animals/savages as those who hold the power are and those who dream of more. I can’t say I liked the Elite side of the coin, they are stuck up socialite types who frown upon people, flaunt their wealth and grasp at anything to gain power. Living behind gated communities as if they are kings of the castle, they aren’t nice people at all and they enjoy the segregation between themselves and everyone else. Oswald especially is a loathsome individual, I have to say the author did a really good job of having written a truly dastardly man with sadistic tendencies – I don’t think I’ve hated a villain so much in a long time and I really wanted to see him and his sidekick Lex die…. Simple as that. I also could not stand her mother, she was nothing sort of a bitch and a hypocrite – who in their right mind would make their daughter marry their Uncle? It made me really uncomfortable and sick to my stomach especially when he tried to ‘join her’ in bed *shudder*.
The story also revolves around a love that shouldn’t exist, forbidden if you will because Lyla is an Elite whereas Zac is a shifter. If you aren’t into instalove then I’m afraid this book is not for you because it is love at first sight. We have Lyla who is really innocent and na├»ve in the beginning, but she comes into her own and starts to see things as they really are throughout the story -which does make her more endearing. I really felt for her because of her situation, she was just trapped and Zac represented everything she couldn’t have but wanted. I thought they both shared that innocence but Zac was a bit more worldly thanks to his ‘father’ and knew how cruel life could be but all of that sense flies out of the window for both of them when the hormones kick in and he risks everything for love.
I wasn’t really a fan of the instalove in this, yes I get the fated mates principal but I would have liked them to have gotten to know each other more in depth before they took their relationship anywhere… they seemed to turn from virginity to nympho in one go and I’m sorry but the sex scenes were cringeworthy, some of the dialogue used had me rolling my eyes and cringing. Plus, they had sexytime at the most inopportune moments, for instance – right after Zac was practically at deaths door and they are trying to escape a burning building, in the corridor of a hotel…because they wouldn’t make it the few feet to the room ?? but saying that, it was the only thing I really had a problem with throughout the book.
Most of the action kicks off towards the end but it was worth the wait, it was fab! We had full on urban warfare, rioting, slaughter and insurgency. Innocent people dying at the hands of a megalomaniac who just didn’t know when to back down, even right up until the end the stubborn SOB was still finding ways to hurt people and I would have loved to have killed him myself! So to sum everything up – it was really good read, well written for the most part, a series that although it has teething problems, I could get behind it and it has the potential to be great so I would definitely read a sequel.
 
Thank you to Avery Burch for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

{Feature} Waiting on Wednesday (#125)

 
"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. 
Donna's WoW
25197119Built (Saints of Denver #1)
by Jay Crownover
Release Date: January 5th, 2016


From the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men books comes an electrifying new spin-off series,Saints of Denver, featuring all the characters fans have been dying to read about.

Sayer Cole and Zeb Fuller couldn’t be more different. She’s country club and fine-dining, he’s cell-block and sawdust. Sayer spends her days in litigation, while Zeb spends his working with his hands. She’s French silk, he’s all denim and flannel.

Zeb’s wanted the stunning blonde since the moment he laid eyes on her. It doesn't matter how many smooth moves he makes, the reserved lawyer seems determinedly oblivious to his interest—either that or she doesn't return it. Sayer is certain the rough, hard, hot-as-hell Zeb could never want someone as closed off and restrained as she is, which is a shame because something tells her he might be the guy to finally melt her icy exterior.

But just as things start to heat up, Zeb is blindsided by a life altering moment from his past. He needs Sayer’s professional help to right a wrong and to save more than himself. He can’t risk what’s at stake just because his attraction to Sayer feels all consuming. But as these opposites dig in for the fight of their lives, battling together to save a family, the steam created when fire and ice collide can no longer be ignored.


  Donna's thoughts: Another book by Jay? YES PLEASE!

Melanie's WoW
25263755Wicked Edge (Realm Enforcers #2)
by Rebecca Zanetti
Release Date: November 10th, 2015

“Zanetti gives paranormal a sexy MC twist!”—New York Times bestselling author Joanna Wylde

If you love the Dark Protectors, these wicked hot Realm Enforcers are for you!
Daire Dunne is more than ready to take a quick break from his duties as a Coven Nine Enforcer. When he spots a sexy blonde across a Titan’s of Fire party, it’s not long before she’s on the back of his Harley on the fast track to his apartment. Unfortunately, one overheated kiss in, the woman drugs Daire and steals valuable files that can’t fall into enemy hands. The second he comes to, the hunt is on...

Now that Cee Cee has the information to take down an enemy that destroyed her family, she can implement her perfect plan for revenge. Nothing will stop her, not even a shockingly sexy enforcer barging into her life. Not even the spectacular, fire-branding sex engulfing them. But if Daire ever figures out who her family really is, all bets are off...


Melanie's thoughts:
I loved book one and just know that I will love the sequel also.

<What's your "waiting on" pick this week?
Want to participate? 
Grab the logo, post your own WoW entry on your blog, and leave your link at Breaking the Spine. 
Happy Reading!