Tuesday, 21 October 2014

{Review} The Murder Complex by Lindsey Cummings

18802989Posted by Donna
Release Date: June 10th, 2014
Finished Date: October 7th, 2014
Publishers: Greenwillow Books
Genre: YA, Dystopia
Source: For Review
Format: eARC
Pages: 400
An action-packed, blood-soaked, futuristic debut thriller set in a world where the murder rate is higher than the birthrate. For fans of Moira Young’s Dust Lands series, La Femme Nikita, and the movie Hanna.

Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision.

The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is—although he doesn’t know it—one of the MC’s programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family?

Action-packed, blood-soaked, and chilling, this is a dark and compelling debut novel by Lindsay Cummings.

The Review: The Murder Complex is a frightening and brutal story, one that’s full of danger and hidden secrets and overall, it did fall a little short but was still worth a read.

Meadow lives in a world which is ruled with an iron fist and one that isn’t safe. She’s grown up with her father teaching self-defence but also how to kill someone, because somewhere down the line Meadow will have to kill in order to take her place in society and get a job so she can support her family. But when Meadow meets Zephyr; a boy who she connects with, she starts to realize there is more to this world she lives in and soon she’s questioning everything she has been taught to believe.

Ever since I first heard about Lindsey Cummings' novel The Murder Complex I knew I wanted to read it. I love a good dystopian story and this sounded right up my street and Lindsey did an awesome job gripping me to the story. I found it intriguing and very brutal. I instantly liked Meadow and Zephyr and was pleasantly surprised to find the story told from alternative points of view. I always love being able to get both characters points of view and thought Lindsey did an awesome job defining each character and making them both stand out. I also enjoyed the pacing of the story. Each chapter brought something new but also like you on mini cliff-hangers leaving you dying to know what was coming next. There’s a few shocking twists to the story, some I liked and some I found a little unrealistic but could appreciate the approach the author was taking.

As much as I enjoyed the story, what stopped me from enjoying it to its full potential was the lack of details and reflection time. It’s a very driven plot and while that’s not a bad thing, it did mean this left out the added details of getting to really know the characters or understanding the world that little bit more.  I didn’t hate the story because at times I was completely gripped but again, the lack of information/reflection time/details stopped me enjoying the story fully.

Overall, The Murder Complex wasn’t a favourite but it wasn’t bad either. I’m undecided right now if I would read the sequel, I’m not sure if I was invested enough but I’m certainly glad I read the story and I know a lot of you will love it.

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

Monday, 20 October 2014

{Review} Rowdy (Marked Men #5) by Jay Crownover

Posted by Donna
Release Date: October 23rd, 2014
Finished Date: October 1st, 2014
Publishers: Harper UK
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: For Review
Format: eARC
Pages: 416
After the only girl he ever loved told him he would never be enough, Rowdy St. James knocked the Texas dust off his boots and decided he was going to do everything in his power to live up to his nickname. Life was all about a good time, good friends and never taking much too seriously. Rowdy learned his lesson early on, when you care that much about anything it can destroy you, and he never wants to risk feeling like that again. Only now he has a new coworker, a ghost from the past who’s making him question every lesson he ever learned.

Salem Cruz grew up in a house with too many rules, too many regulations, and no fun allowed. That never worked for her so she left it all behind as soon as she could, but she never forgot the sweet, blue-eyed boy next door who’d been in love with her little sister. Fate and good intentions from an old friend have placed her right in Rowdy’s path and she’s determined to show him he picked the wrong sister all those years ago. A mission that is going along perfectly until the one person that ties them together shows up and could very well tear them back.

The Review: I’m always excited for another Marked Men story by author Jay Crownover and even more excited to finally get Rowdy’s story like I know many of you are. Well, look no further because the times finally here and what a great read it was.

Salem Cruz has always lived her life under strict rules handed out her Pastor father. She was never the daughter she was supposed to be and always a disappointment to her family. When she decided to leave town when she became of age, she didn’t look back but she always remembered the one person she could be herself around, Rowland. Now making a name for herself and doing well, Salem still doesn’t settle in one place, but when an opportunity comes knocking for her to reconnect herself with Rowland, now going by the name Rowdy, she decides it’s time to see if the connection they once has is still there.

Rowdy St James has had a life where everyone has left him. His mother, his ex-girlfriend and even the one girl he had a deep connection left their small hometown and didn’t look back. Refusing to get close to anyone else again, Rowdy has put up walls that no-one can break. That is until Salem Cruz storms back into his life openly admitting that he’s one of the reasons she’s now working at Marked. Can Salem and Rowdy overcome their issues before they destroy the own happiness?

What another great addition to the Marked Men series! Rowdy and Salem didn’t disappoint. I have to say, I was a little worried to start with because the first 20% of the story was very similar to Nash’s. I didn’t want to read the same story twice but with different characters, but thankfully the story changed in a good direction that wasn’t at all like Nash’s – panic over!

Anyway, Rowdy has always had a strong presence in the other guy’s stories but I’ve never felt as though I really got to know him. This is why I was so excited to read his story and I really liked what I saw. Deep down he’s a very loving and genuine person. He doesn’t do anything by halves and is really passionate about his work and the special people who are in his life – like the rest of the Marked Men gang. I was really compelled by his and Salem’s past because it was actually a pretty sad one, but it’s their connection to one another that keeps them going. It’s a beautiful relationship trying to overcome some hard times. And Salem was an awesome character to get to know.

What I enjoy about this series so much though is the friendships and how much the characters love on another. I love the progression with the other characters and the sneak peeks into their lives so we don’t forget about them. But most of all, I love the bond they have with each other. They’d do anything for each other and it’s really touching to read.

So in all Rowdy’s story was definitely a good one and I cannot wait for Asa’s and Royal’s story now – I have very high hope for them two! And I really enjoyed Buddy reading this with Emma from Never Judge a Book by it's Cover.

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

Sunday, 19 October 2014

{Review} To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

15749186Posted by Donna
Release Date: August 7th, 2014
Finished Date: September 17th, 2014
Publishers: Scholastic
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Source: Bought
Format: Paperback
Pages: 400
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed.

But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister's ex-boyfriend, Josh. 

As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

The Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a delightfully sweet read – one that captures your heart and leaves you wanting more!

As a way to move on from her previous loves, Lara-Jean writes letters to them. She writes things she would never say to their faces and she writes from her heart. When she finishes the letters, she address's them and keeps them stored in an old hatbox her mother gave her before she passed away. Lara-Jean never expected her letters to ever be read but suddenly they disappear and the loves from her past know everything she has wrote - they've somehow received her letters.....

I loved Jenny Han's summer series so when I heard she was writing a new book, I couldn't wait to read it. It did take me a while to get to To All the Boys I've Loved Before but it was definitely worth the wait because I had a fantastic time buddy reading this with Kate.

When I started the story I wasn't sure I was going to like it. Lara-Jean comes across very young during the first few chapters and it instantly put me off. I didn't enjoy her calling her parents Daddy and Mommy when she's 15/16 years old. But I'm glad I stuck with the story because it quickly changed. Once Lara-Jean's sister Margot leaves for Scotland, I quickly saw a change in Lara-Jean. She becomes more confident and tries to stand on her own two feet rather than letting Margot do everything for her. She realizes she has to look after her workaholic father and her younger sister and with Margot leaving, it gave Lara-Jean the room for growth and I think it was exactly what she needed as a character.

When Lara's letters get sent and the some of the boys start approaching her, I was mortified for her. If I was in her situation I would have hidden under a rock but I thought Lara-Jean handled it really well or the best she could. While trying to hide her true feelings for Josh - her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Lara-Jean turns to Peter for help and it's a win-win situation for both of them if they pretend to be dating - even though Peter received a letter from Lara-Jean too. Their relationship is completely platonic and I liked that. Their friendship/relationship really kept me guessing throughout because although this is kind of a love triangle story, the relationship with Peter is a really slow burning one. It's not clear that something with him will ever happen. It's through Peter's actions that you slowly start to notice a change and my heart completely started to warm towards him. But then I liked Josh too - he was sweet and a little bit blind to what was going on around him, but I'm firmly TEAM PETER!

I cannot wait for the sequel. I'm nervous about the blurb which looks like another boy from Lara-Jean's past will make an appearance and I'm kind of guessing to who it is. But it makes me wonder what will happened between her and Peter. These two are so right for each other and I'm hoping they see it soon too.

In all, To All the Boys I've Loved Before was an absolute pleasure to read and I'll look forward to re-reading it in the future.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

{Review} Alfie in the Garden by Debi Gliori

22929619Posted by Donna
Release Date:  October 9th, 2014
Finished Date: September 29th, 2014
Publishers: Bloomsbury
Genre: Children's Picture Book
Ages: 3-6 years 
Source: For Review
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 24
Alfie Rabbit is helping his mummy in the garden. His world turns from real to imagined, as a gatefold spread is opened. Now he's in the jungle! He's a lion on the prowl, an elephant spraying water from his trunk, and a little bird flying home to his nest . . . to have a nap with Mummy! A delightful book for toddlers, celebrating their irrepressible imagination, with exquisite illustrations featuring all sorts of garden - and jungle! - creatures.

The Review: Alfie in the Garden is a sweet tale about a little rabbit called Alfie who is helping his Mummy in the garden, but along the way his imagination gets the better of him and soon he finds himself in many different situations from being in a jungle, to being a lion and even a bird. He also makes it rain from his imaginary elephant trunk which is so much fun. 

I've never read anything by Deb Gliori before so I wasn't sure what to expect heading to this story with my daughter, but what we found was a pleasant surprise. Alfie in the Garden is an enjoyable tale and his big imagination makes the story quite an adventure. The illustrations complement the story very well. They are bright, vibrant and very detailed. My daughter had quite a bit of fun pointing out all the animals and she loved the extended page that very much added to Alfie's adventure. 

In all, Alfie in the Garden is a fun adventure packed with a lot of other animals to keep your little one entertained! 

3.5 flowers! 

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

Friday, 17 October 2014

{Review} Dark Deceit (Dark Series #1) by Lauren Dawes

17605428Posted by Melanie 
Release Date: September 25th, 2014
Finished Date: October 8th, 2014
Publishers: Momentum
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal
Source: For Review
Format: eBook
Pages: 384
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US 

The time of the Aesir gods is over. Now they live amongst the humans in their bustling modern cities. Their brutal dominion over the gods and humans may have ended, but their actions have not been forgotten.

Korvain is feared like no other. His ruthlessness and cold heart are legendary, but when he is given the task of killing one of the most fabled goddesses of all time, he is left with an undeniable desire to make her his own. Failure in his task means only one thing: death. Will he follow his orders, or will he follow his heart? 

Bryn’s whole world crumbled when she left Odin’s service to protect the other Valkyries. Now living with the humans, she is the only thing standing between them and total destruction. But her beliefs are about to be shaken to the core when she meets Korvain—a volatile, completely irresistible Mare who threatens to take away more than just her innocence.

The Review: Dark Deceit was a great start to the ‘Dark Series’ and I really liked it.
To give a bit of the lowdown of the story, it goes like this…. Bryn was Odin’s lead Valkyrie, the first in fact and someone has hired Korvain – an assassin - to kill her thinking that by taking her out, Odin’s death will become possible and that is what the person who has hired Korvain is ultimately after. Korvain is someone who shouldn’t exist, his kind being wiped out by the Aesir gods, so he has no problem taking this request on BUT when he makes contact with Bryn, he finds himself putting the deed off as he becomes enamoured with her and is left conflicted, should he kill her? Or kiss her?
Bryn had left Odin’s side over a century ago and along with her Valkyrie sisters has made her home on earth amongst the humans. She is unaware of the threat to her life but very intrigued by the new bouncer she has hired, for some reason, she is drawn to him and he makes her feel things she has never felt before…. But can she trust him?
When someone starts picking of her Valkyrie sisters though, she is left with no choice but to trust him – not just with her life but her heart too.
So, I really enjoyed this story and I liked the author’s use of Norse mythology. A lot of the characters are recognisable from that mythology and I’m sure most of you know about Valkyrie. I liked how the Valkyrie are portrayed her and I like how they tie to Odin in a more emotional way than that which I usually read. Bryn of course, is the leader so it makes sense that the story be based around her and what better way to bring some hotness to the story than sending Korvain to her doorstep. I loved that Korvain had been sent to kill her and gets blindsided by meeting her, it created a good scenario and for a good while you’re left wondering if he will actually go through with it. They are a great match though, he has the mysterious, dangerous, alpha hotness about him and she’s a strong, beautiful woman who needs a man like that to compliment her, it’s clear from the get go that these two have chemistry and you can really route for them to become something to each other. I like how Korvain uses his abilities to spend time with Bryn, that adds to the seductive feel and really the fact that these two should be enemies amps that up as well.
The actual story that didn’t involve the romance was quite violent and brutal. Someone is killing the Valkyries and we get to be there for all of that through the murderers pov, I won’t spoil it for you but you will probably guess who the villain will be, but saying that…. Nothing is straight forward. The story is told from multiple pov and introduces us to people in Korvain’s life as well as the Valkyrie on Bryn’s side. With Korvain being an assassin, he obviously answers to someone so there will be consequences if he doesn’t go through with his task and could have devastating effects for him. The action in this was great, the pacing just as good and I’d say that this is just a peek into what potential this series has and I definitely like what I read so will be back for more.

4.5 Stars!

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

Thursday, 16 October 2014

{Review} The Queen of Zombie Hearts ((White Rabbit Chronicles #3) by Gena Showalter

20579287Posted by Donna
Release Date: September 30th, 2014
Finished Date: October 14th, 2014
Publishers: Harlequin Teen 
Genre: YA, Paranormal, Romance
Source: Gifted
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 464
I have a plan. 

We'll either destroy them for good, or they'll destroy us. 

Either way, only one of us is walking away. 

In the stunning conclusion to the wildly popular White Rabbit Chronicles, Alice "Ali" Bell thinks the worst is behind her. She's ready to take the next step with boyfriend Cole Holland, the leader of the zombie slayers…until Anima Industries, the agency controlling the zombies, launches a sneak attack, killing four of her friends. It's then she realizes that humans can be more dangerous than monsters…and the worst has only begun. 

As the surviving slayers prepare for war, Ali discovers she, too, can control the zombies…and she isn't the girl she thought she was. She's connected to the woman responsible for killing—and turning—Cole's mother. How can their relationship endure? As secrets come to light, and more slayers are taken or killed, Ali will fight harder than ever to bring down Anima—even sacrificing her own life for those she loves.

The Review: I’m a sobbing mess. A. COMPLETE. MESS. But what a way to end the series! 

 Alice and Cole have been through thick and thin and just when they’re starting to slip back into the routines of their hectic lives, destruction comes crashing down on them and it’s all because of Anima Industries – the company who try to control the Zombie’s – because they want Ali. When four of her friends are killed by Anima’s hands, Ali is more determined than ever to put an end to their company, but no matter how many times her and the slayers get a head, Anima are always there to bring them back down. But when Ali starts being able to control the Zombie’s and having more gifts than the other slayers, she realizes there are secrets hidden deep within her past. Can Ali save everyone she loves before Anima destroys everything? 

I’ve been eagerly awaiting the release of The Queen of Zombie Hearts and as soon as it landed on my door step, I knew it was the perfect time to re-read the first two books so I could refresh on what I knew I'd properly forgotten over the last two years. And what a great decision that was because it made me enjoy this book even more. I honestly didn’t know what to expect when I headed into this instalment. I was nervous, scared, excited, hopeful, every emotion that I could possibly feel, I was feeling because I just didn’t know how this series would end. It’s a riveting and engaging story. There isn’t a dull moment. There’s more than enough twists to the story that keep you on your toes. It’s funny and has a ton of laugh-out-loud moments but it also break your heart – yep, emotional! Get the tissues ready! 

Ali and Cole are phenomenal characters. I love the relationship they have. It’s intense and full of sparks. It’s beautiful and dangerous and sweet, it’s everything. They’re one feisty couple, never willing to give up on not just their relationship, but in everything in their life. They love fiercely with everything they have. 

I felt as though Ali never really caught a break during this instalment. One thing after another was thrown at her and each time a new situation arrived, it seemed to be worse than the next. But no matter what, she pushes try and deals with what she has. She finds out some shocking things about herself too, but again, she pushes through. I’ve really enjoyed Ali’s journey, no matter the hardships and she’s definitely not an unforgettable character. 

The secondary characters are second to none. They made this series so enjoyable to read. I loved all the slayers and non-slayers in the end. Some took time to warm up to but still, so worth it in the end. And it really broke my heart to see some of them leave this story so early. I wasn’t prepared for it – especially for one character. I won’t say who. But it’s the reason I cried so much! It broke my heart to see but more so for the other person involved and how it would affect them too. Even though I’m devastated, I’m glad it didn’t feel forced into the story line - it felt very real. 

In all, The Queen of Zombie Hearts is a heart-pounding and exciting finale to this series. It’s a sad feeling letting these character go, but I’m glad it went out with such a bang and I believe Gena Showalter did an awesome job with it. I highly recommend you read this series!

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

{Feature} Waiting on Wednesday (#90)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. 
Jess's WoW
The Fill-In Boyfriend
by Kasie West
Release Date: May 5th, 2015

When Gia Montgomery's boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she has to think fast. After all, she'd been telling her friends about him for months now. This was supposed to be the night she proved he existed. So when she sees a cute guy waiting to pick up his sister, she enlists his help. The task is simple: be her fill-in boyfriend— two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. After that, she can win back the real Bradley.

The problem is that days after prom, it's not the real Bradley she's thinking about, but the stand-in. The one whose name she doesn't even know. But tracking him down doesn't mean they're done faking a relationship. Gia owes him a favor and his sister intends to see that he collects: his ex-girlfriend's graduation party — three hours, zero commitment, a few white lies.

Just when Gia begins to wonder if she could turn her fake boyfriend into a real one, Bradley comes waltzing back into her life, exposing her lie, and threatening to destroy her friendships and her new-found relationship.
Jess's thoughts: Sounds like my kinda book! I love the idea of it, and I hope it fulfills all my expectations of it! Roll on May 15th!

Donna's WoW
by Colleen Hoover
Release Date: March 10th, 2015

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover, a new novel about risking everything for love—and finding your heart somewhere between the truth and lies. 

Auburn Reed has her entire life mapped out. Her goals are in sight and there’s no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a risk and puts her heart in control, only to discover Owen is keeping major secrets from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.

The last thing Owen wants is to lose Auburn, but he can’t seem to convince her that truth is sometimes as subjective as art. All he would have to do to save their relationship is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin…
Donna's thoughts: I need a new Colleen Hoover story in my life. March feels too far away!

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