Thursday, 23 March 2017

Review: Brighter than the Sun (KGI #11) by Maya Banks

Brighter Than the Sun (KGI, #11)Author: Maya Banks
Series: KGI #11
Publisher / Source: Netgalley / Jove Books
Release date: 7th March 2017
Pages: 384

Synopsis (Goodreads)

Searing action and passion ignite the latest KGI novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Darkest Before Dawn.

The Kelly Group International (KGI): A super-elite, top secret, family-run business.
Qualifications: High intelligence, rock-hard body, military background.
Mission: Hostage/kidnap victim recovery. Intelligence gathering.
Handling jobs the U.S. government can’t...


As the last unattached member of the Kelly clan, Joe is more than ready to risk life and limb on any mission he’s assigned to, but when it comes to love, he’ll keep his distance. He’s content to watch his brothers become thoroughly domesticated. 

Zoe’s had nothing but heartbreak in her life, and she’s determined to start over with a completely new identity, thanks to her college friend, Rusty Kelly. But it’s the gorgeous smile and tender words of Joe Kelly that begin to weaken her resolve to never risk her heart again. And Joe will have to put everything on the line to save Zoe, when secrets of her past resurface—and threaten to tear them apart…

Review: 2 out of 5 stars

I have been a fan of Maya Banks for as long as I can remember and the KGI series has always been one of my favourite romantic suspense series but this read nothing at all like the other books and unfortunately I was left quite disappointed.

With a new identity Zoe Kildare is on the run from her father and boyfriend for reasons I won’t mention to avoid spoilers, she is ready for a fresh start with the help of the Kelly family’s adopted daughter and sister, Rusty. Rusty has skills no one seems aware of and sets Zoe up with a new life and takes her back to the Kelly compound for refuge

Joe is the last single Kelly and is quite eager to stay that way until he sets eyes on Zoe, he sees that she is scared and needs protecting so takes it upon himself to be her saviour and asks her out on a date.

The relationship between Joe and Zoe progressed rapidly, I found that it was too much too soon and I didn’t quite get the connection. Zoe was broken and very down on herself and Joe was her knight in shining armour but he turned into an emotional mess.

What I did like about this book was the military aspects and interactions between the KGI teams, it’s nice to revisit past characters and their wives. This book had a more serious tone and the teasing between the brothers was noticeably absent.

I have never been a Rusty fan, I found her to be a bit of a pain in the past books but she was a real stand out in this book and I loved her page time; I couldn’t help but hope for more for her.

Everything was emphasized in this book, the emotion, the drama, suspense and angst and I found it all very frustrating! We don’t even get a glimpse of the bad guys, it was all very rushed and didn’t make sense at all. You have to suspend belief when reading this title because it was extremely far-fetched.

I thoroughly enjoyed the first few books in this series but the past few I didn’t enjoy at all; I think this might be a series that has run its course for me unfortunately.

Thank you to Berkley Books via Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this title.


Maya BanksAbout the author:

Maya Banks is the #1 New York Times, #1 USA Today and international bestselling author of over 50 novels. A wife and mother of three, she lives in Texas.

Books in order

#1 The Darkest Hour
#2 No Place to Run
#3 Hidden Away
#4 Whispers in the Dark
#5 Echoes at Dawn
#5.5 Softly at Sunrise
#6 Shades of Gray
#7 Forged in Steele
#8 After the Storm
#9 When Day Breaks
#10 Darkest Before Dawn

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Review: Proof of Lies by Diana Rodriguez Wallach

Proof of Lies by Diana Rodriguez WallachProof of Lies

Author: Diana Rodriguez Wallach
Series: Anastasia Phoenix
Pages: 400
Publisher / Source: Entangled Teen
Release date: 7th March 2017

Synopsis (Goodreads)

Some secrets are best kept hidden… 

Anastasia Phoenix has always been the odd girl out, whether moving from city to international city with her scientist parents or being the black belt who speaks four languages.

And most definitely as the orphan whose sister is missing, presumed dead.

She’s the only one who believes Keira is still alive, and when new evidence surfaces, Anastasia sets out to follow the trail—and lands in the middle of a massive conspiracy. Now she isn’t sure who she can trust. At her side is Marcus, the bad boy with a sexy accent who’s as secretive as she is. He may have followed her to Rome to help, but something about him seems too good to be true.

Nothing is as it appears, and when everything she’s ever known is revealed to be a lie, Anastasia has to believe in one impossibility.

She will find her sister.

Review: 4 out of 5 stars

Proof of Lies by Diana Rodriguez Wallach is the first book in the Anastasia Phoenix series and was a one day read for me, I couldn’t put it down! I always enjoy a good mystery / thriller and Proof of Lies was written very well.

Anastasia is the daughter of scientist parents who are constantly on the move, she speaks four languages and has a black belt in karate; when her parents announce that there will be yet another move she is extremely annoyed and upset but before this happens they tragically die in an accident leaving Anastasia living with her older sister Keira.

Things aren’t always easy for Keira and Anastasia and they do clash often but when Keira goes missing presumed dead, Anastasia will do anything she can to find her sole living relative, even if it means flying around the world to meet with questionable people to get her sister back; travelling with Anastasia is another Dresden corporation child – Marcus.

The plot of Proof of Lies is fast paced and action packed and I couldn’t quite guess who could and couldn’t be trusted! It really was a search for the truth throughout the whole book and many secrets were revealed. I was impressed by the world-building and I am excited to read the next book to see how it all plays out, especially with the exciting ending that we were left with.

We get a small amount of romance but it wasn’t at the forefront of the story, it also was a little bit of a letdown for me because of Anastasia’s hot and cold feelings; Marcus was great and understanding but I would like to see it further developed in the next instalment.

The secondary characters were each written well but I would like to get to know them more, especially Marcus who is still a bit of a mystery to me, we meet Anastasia’s closest friends but we also meet a few along her travels that I could never quite call friend or foe, as previously mentioned I never quite knew who could be trusted.

Proof of Lies was a thrilling read! It was mysterious, filled with interesting characters that progressed throughout the book and an exciting plot that left us with an ending where you need more.

I enjoyed Diana Rodrigues Wallach’s descriptive writing, exciting storyline and the build-up that she has left us with; I am excited to read Lies that Bind which has an anticipated 2018 release date.

Thank you to Entangled Teen via Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review Proof of Lies.



Diana Rodriguez WallachAbout the author: Diana Rodriguez Wallach is the author of the Anastasia Phoenix series, three YA spy thrillers set to debut beginning in March 2017 (Entangled Publishing). She is also the author of three award-winning young adult novels: Amor and Summer Secrets, Amigas and School Scandals, and Adios to All The Drama (Kensington Books); as well as a YA short-story collection based on the Narcissus myth, entitled Mirror, Mirror (Buzz Books, 2013).

In 2011, she published a highly regarded essay in Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories (HarperCollins). It was the only essay chosen from the anthology by Scholastic to be used in its classroom materials. Diana is featured in the anthology, Latina Authors and Their Muses (Twilight Times Books, 2015), and she is currently on staff as a featured blogger for Quirk Books.

In 2010 Diana was named one of the Top Ten New Latino Authors to Watch by LatinoStories.com, and she placed second in the International Latino Book Awards. She is an advisory board member for the Philly Spells Writing Center, and is an active advocate for inner-city public schools. She holds a B.S. in Journalism from Boston University, and currently lives in Philadelphia.

Visit Diana's website to learn all about her: dianarodriguezwallach.com

Diana is represented by Taylor Martindale Kean of Full Circle Literary.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Review: Hold my Breath by Ginger Scott

Hold My BreathHold my Breath

Author: Ginger Scott
Series: -
Publisher / Source: Self - Netgalley
Release date: 18th November 2016
Pages: 300

Synopsis (Goodreads)

Fractions of seconds can do lots of damage. One decision can ruin lives. A blink can be tragic. And loving a Hollister…can hurt like hell.

I would know.

They say the average person can hold their breath under water for two full minutes when pushed to the extremes. Will Hollister has been holding his for years. The oldest of two elite swimming brothers, Will was always a dominant force in the water. But in life, he preferred to let his younger brother Evan be the one to shine.

Evan got the girl, and Will…he got to bury all of the secrets. A brother’s burden, the weight of it all nearly left him to drown.

The daughter of two Olympians, my path was set the day my fingertips first touched water. My future was as crystal clear as the lane I dominated in the pool—swim hard, win big, love a Hollister.

My life with Evan burned bright. He gave me arms to come home to, and a smile that fooled the world into believing everything was perfect. But it was Will who pushed me. Will…who really knew me.

And when all of the pieces fell, it was Will who started to pick them up.

In the end, the only thing that matters are those few precious seconds—and what we decide to do while we still have them in our grasp.

Review: 4 out of 5 stars

What a wonderfully engrossing and complex story! I am a huge Ginger Scott fan and this book was thoroughly mesmerising.

Maddy, Evan and Will were childhood best friends; all of them great swimmers but it was Evan who was the golden child; the three of them pushed each other to be the best that they could but when tragedy struck friendships were broken and their lives were forever changed.

Will left for college and ended up on a path of self-destruction after his family’s accident; he made many mistakes, most publicised but after 4 years absence he returns to town ready to retrain and rebuild lost trust and his relationship with Maddy; he does this with the help of his uncle and also Maddy’s father who owns a swimming club which is on the brink of bankruptcy.

There were a lot of emotions felt whilst reading this book; my heart broke for the characters who were all affected in one way or another; there was lost trust, betrayal, forbidden romance and secrets that all made for a fast paced an engaging story.

I couldn’t help but hope for happiness for Maddy and Will. Maddy’s past with Evan haunts her and with the reappearance of Will her feelings are conflicted; seeing their friendship reignite and their slow road to trusting one another and to an eventual romance kept me on the edge of my seat.

I enjoyed all of the swimming scenes between Maddy and Will, they were competitive and wanted the best for each other but there was always something stopping them from fully letting themselves give in to their feelings; their past and secrets were holding them back. There was a lot of drama and Will had to take on a huge burden; he had been through so much and things weren’t getting easier for him, I felt like he was given too many problems in this book, there was a lot of pain and suffering.

I thoroughly enjoyed the connection between Maddy and Will, I enjoyed the forbidden aspect and despite there previously being someone else involved also the friends to lovers’ storyline.

Ginger Scott’s writing is truly wonderful, her characters are flawed but each well-developed and interesting; I was hooked from the very first page and wanted more at the end. My only reason for not rating this book higher was because there was just too much angst, my heart was breaking.

Thank you to the author via Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review Hold My Breath.


Ginger ScottAbout the author: Ginger Scott is an Amazon-bestselling and Goodreads Choice Award-nominated author of several young and new adult romances, including Waiting on the Sidelines, Going Long, Blindness, How We Deal With Gravity, This Is Falling, You and Everything After, The Girl I Was Before, Wild Reckless, Wicked Restless, In Your Dreams, The Hard Count and Hold My Breath.

A sucker for a good romance, Ginger’s other passion is sports, and she often blends the two in her stories. (She’s also a sucker for a hot quarterback, catcher, pitcher, point guard…the list goes on.) Ginger has been writing and editing for newspapers, magazines and blogs for pretty much ever. She has told the stories of Olympians, politicians, actors, scientists, cowboys, criminals and towns. For more on her and her work, visit her website at http://www.littlemisswrite.com.

When she's not writing, the odds are high that she's somewhere near a baseball diamond, either watching her son field pop flies like Bryce Harper or cheering on her favorite baseball team, the Arizona Diamondbacks. Ginger lives in Arizona and is married to her college sweetheart whom she met at ASU (fork 'em, Devils).


Monday, 23 January 2017

Review: The Reader by M.K Harkins

The ReaderThe Reader

Author: M.K Harkins
Series: -
Publisher / Source: Self - Netgalley
Release date: 17th August 2016
Pages: 260

Synopsis (Goodreads)

Hunted, shot, and without her memory, eighteen-year-old Ann Baker wakes in shallow water on a deserted Pacific Northwest island. She is soon approached by two young men claiming to be her friends. Something isn’t right, but when gunshots sound, Ann is left with little choice but to allow Devon and Archer to help her escape. Soon she finds herself in their North Bend mountain compound, where the higher evolved humans claim to be mind-readers. While Ann heals, she realizes they believe her to be one of the last and most powerful of all – The Lost One.

She’s welcomed by most with opened arms, but not everyone is happy about her arrival. A jealous adversary has plans for Ann, which spirals the entire Reader community into chaos. 

As lies, murder, and betrayal threaten to rip apart the once harmonious mountain dwellers, Ann is thrust into making a decision that could save or devastate not only The Readers, but all of mankind. But there’s just one glitch: by doing so it may require her to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Review: 4 out of 5 stars

I was quite fascinated by the premise of The Reader and thoroughly enjoyed the action, romance, mystery and overall storyline.

Our MC is 18 year old Ann Baker who wakes up on a deserted island with no recollection of why or how she arrived there; when she is approached by two guys claiming to know who she is she is initially wary but trusts them to get her to safety.

Devon and Archer take Ann to a compound where she meets a group claiming to be able read minds and believes that she is the most powerful of them all, The Lost One and destined to save a race of people.

I thoroughly enjoyed the uniqueness and the concept, the world-building was entertaining and not overly complex. The notion of higher evolved humans and their abilities was intriguing and seeing Ann have to decide who to trust with the war against The Readers and The Jacks kept things entertaining.
Ann was a great character, full of sass and sarcasm; she is selfless and strong. Devon and Archer were both interesting, a little evasive and complete opposites, we also meet Lucy who was a fabulous character and Suzie drove me crazy! Each of the characters played a pivotal role in the overall story and to be honest I couldn’t tell who could and couldn’t be trusted.

The plot moved at a solid pace; it was highly engrossing but there were a few parts where I felt there could have been further development; certain situations were resolved quite easily, I did enjoy the twists and turns that weren’t expected.

This book does have romance and it was one I thoroughly enjoyed, sweet and slow to burn.

Overall, if you are after an action packed, mysterious, thrilling and romantic read then The Reader will be perfect.

I received a copy of this title via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.



M.K. HarkinsAbout the author: MK has always been a voracious reader. After hitting a dry spell of reading material, she decided to write the kind of book she'd like to read. This resulted in the creation of her debut novel, Intentional. (Award for Best Sweet Romance - eFestival of Words- August 2014)

Unintentional, her second book, is based on the life of one of the characters in Intentional. Unintentional was written as a stand-alone book.

Breaking Braydon and Taking Tiffany have both been released. Available on Amazon.

The Reader is MK's latest project, released August 2016.

MK is currently working on Famous by Default and the follow up to The Reader - The Jack. (Due out 2017)

When she's not writing novels, she likes to spend her free time traveling the world, splashing in mud puddles (She lives in Seattle, what can she say?), watching movies and reading (!)

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Review: Infinity (The Infinity Division) by Jus Accardo

Infinity (The Infinity Division, #1)Infinity

Author: Jus Accardo
Series: The Infinity Division
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release date: 1st November 2016
Pages: 320
Amazon

Synopsis (Goodreads)

Nobody said being the daughter of an army general was easy. But when her dad sends a teenage subordinate to babysit her while he’s away… That’s taking it a step too far.

Cade, as beautiful as he is deadly, watches Kori with more than just interest. He looks at her like he knows her very soul. And when he saves her from a seemingly random attack, well, that’s when things get weird.

Turns out, Kori’s dad isn’t just an army general—he’s the head of a secret government project that has invented a way to travel between parallel dimensions. Dimensions where there are infinite Koris, infinite Cades…and apparently, on every other Earth, they’re madly in love.

Falling for a soldier is the last thing on Kori’s mind. Especially when she finds herself in a deadly crossfire, and someone from another Earth is hell-bent on revenge…

Review: 2 out of 5 stars

I am such a huge fan of Jus Accardo, I have loved all of her series to date so I was quite excited to read and review her latest title, Infinity which is the first book in the series, The Infinity Division.

Unfortunately, I didn’t completely love it. It took me a while to get through and just as long to warm up to the main character, she was a bit of a pain and not the most endearing personality that Jus Accardo has written.

Kori is rebellious teenager with an Army general overprotective father. After getting in trouble for a graffiti incident he sends in two soldiers to watch over her whilst he is away but these guys are unlike others that have watched over her previously and she soon discovers secrets about her family life and ends up on the run from someone wanting to kill her.

The storyline about a secret government project was creative but not unique and there is a lot of information yet to find out. Other characters we get to know are Noah, Cade and Dylan and to be honest they were quite bland and I didn’t fully connect with them. As this is the first book in the series I am really hoping things improve in the sequel.

The world building was more tell rather than show, the alternate universe was mentioned but we never quite go there so I am still eager to learn more or see Kori visit. Parallel dimensions have never been a favourite storyline of mine but my hopes were high.

We also have the villain of the book and this guy is missing more than a few screws! His purpose was all about revenge and the lengths he took were pretty crazy.

Another thing I couldn’t connect with was the romance, it felt like too much too soon and I honestly couldn’t see how it would work out so this is something else I’m eager to see further explored.

I couldn’t fault Jus Accardo’s writing style but the pacing was slow and a few scenes were over dramatized. It pains me to give this book a low rating but I do want to give this series a go as it does have potential.

Thank you to Entangled Teen via Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review Infinity.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Review: By Your Side by Kasie West

By Your SideBy Your Side

Author: Kasie West
Series: -
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release date: 31 January 2017
Pages: 352
Amazon

Synopsis (Goodreads)

In this irresistible story, Kasie West explores the timeless question of what to do when you fall for the person you least expect. Witty and romantic, this paperback original from a fan favorite is perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Morgan Matson.

When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

Review: 3 out of 5 stars

I instantly fell for the premise of this book, a girl and a guy locked in a library for a weekend, to me it wouldn’t exactly be a hardship so I was eager to see how this would play out and as we realise it isn’t at all as easy and drama free as what we’d like and we see the repercussions of this.

Our MC is Autumn Collins who has plans with her almost boyfriend Jeff and her friends to go to a bonfire and cabin for the weekend but her plans quickly change when she finds herself locked in the library with no way out and no signs of her friends returning for her. She soon discovers that she has company in the school bad boy, Dax Miller.

Dax has a bit of a reputation, he is a loner and is apparently a troublemaker and to be honest he was a bit of an ass in the initial stages despite Autumn’s best efforts to get him to open up. We learn a lot about Dax as the book progresses and soon begin to understand why he is the the way he is and I came to really like him as a character, he was sweet.

The romance is slow to burn but to be honest I couldn’t feel a connection in the early stages at all, it all sort of came on very suddenly. This may be because of Autumn’s loyalty to Jeff after an incident that happened but I couldn’t really feel their growing bond until the very end which is what let it down for me.

I always love Kasie West’s writing style, it is gripping and engaging and you can’t help but always want for more; I felt that By Your Side had a more serious tone than what her other books have. She dealt with the subject of anxiety realistically, I liked that Autumn’s issues weren’t brushed aside.

A small gripe that I had was the lack of resolution with Dax’s mother, it was a little open ended; I would have liked more closure. The incident with Jeff was also a little light-hearted, there were no repercussions for his actions.


All in all, I enjoyed By Your Side; interesting characters, a small amount of drama and a slow to burn romance.