Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Review: Seven Black Diamonds by Melissa Marr

Seven Black Diamonds by Melissa MarrSeven Black Diamonds

Author: Melissa Marr
Series: Seven Black Diamonds #1
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release date: 01/03/2016
Pages: 400

Synopsis (Goodreads)

Lilywhite Abernathy is a criminal. Her father’s “unconventional” business has meant a life of tightly held secrets, concealed weaponry, and a strict code. But Lily’s crime isn’t being the daughter of a powerful mob boss. Her guilt lies in the other half of her DNA—the part that can coax ancient rumors from stones and summon fire with a thought. Lily is part fae, which is a crime in her world.

From the time before she was born, a war has been raging between humanity and fae. The Queen of Blood and Rage, ruler of both the Seelie and Unseelie courts, wants to avenge the tragic death of her heir—a death that was the fault of reckless humans.

Lily’s father has shielded her from the repercussions of her ancestry…until she is sent to the prestigious St. Columba’s school, straight into the arms of the Black Diamonds.

Mysterious, glamorous, and bound together in their mission but constantly at odds, Zephyr, Creed, Will, Roan, Violet, and Alkamy are a Sleeper cell of fae, planted in the human world to help destroy it from within. With covers as rock stars and celebrity children, the Black Diamonds carry out the queen’s war against humanity. And unbeknownst to Lilywhite, she’s been chosen to join them.

Now more than ever, Lily’s heritage puts her in peril, and even the romantic attention of the fae singer Creed Morrison isn’t enough to keep Lily from wanting to run back to the safer world of organized crime.

Melissa Marr returns to faery in a dramatic story of the precarious space between two worlds and the people who must thrive there.

Review: 3 ½ out of 5 stars

I have a bit of an obsession when it comes to series about the fae so I was pretty excited to read Seven Black Diamonds by Melissa Marr, and despite finding it confusing and with too many POV’s it was enjoyable none the less and I am excited to read the next book.

Our main character is Lilywhite Abernathy, the daughter of a notorious fae crime boss, she lives a privileged life and is being groomed to take over but what is not known to others is that half of her DNA is fae, a crime in her world.

Lily is oblivious about her ties to faery but ends up tangled in a world of danger, politics and intrigue as she is sent by her father to the prestigious St. Columba’s school, straight into the arms of the Black Diamonds, their purpose is to carry out the queen’s war against humanity.

There was so much to love about this book, but Lily really shone! She was quick witted, intelligent, at times bratty but also dedicated. There are many side characters, the Queen of Blood and Rage is appropriately named, she kills with no regret and no compassion. She has a son Rhys who I thought was great and a daughter named Eilidh who plays a pivotal role in the overall story. I enjoyed the vast array of characters.

I enjoyed the complex world-building, Seven Black Diamonds is filled with a great blend of mystery, danger and scheming. I did find the number of POV’s confusing initially but as each personality shone through I became more interested in getting to know them individually.

The romance wasn’t at the forefront of the story but it was there between Lily and Creed, it was slow to build (my favourite) and I can’t wait to see it progress.

I love the unique and creative fantasy world that Marr has created, the world-building is strong and I can imagine will only get better. The pacing was consistent and was filled with a blend of action, romance, mystery and scheming to keep me entertained throughout; there was never a dull moment.

Thank you to HarperTeen via Edelweiss for the opportunity to read and review Seven Black Diamonds.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Review: Run the Risk by Allison Van Diepen

Run the RiskRun the Risk

Author: Allison Van Diepen
Release date: 11/04/17
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 288

Synopsis: (Goodreads)

Grace has done her best to move on since her ex-boyfriend, Mateo, chose gang life over her. But even though years have passed, she hasn’t forgotten him—especially since she’s seen her younger brother, Alex, drawn to a life on the streets. She can’t bear to think of Alex making the same mistakes as Mateo, but she feels him slipping away.

So when Mateo suddenly resurfaces, insisting he’s left gang life behind him, Grace sees an opportunity. Maybe he could be the one to reach Alex and pull him away from the edge. She tells herself she’s only talking to Mateo again because of Alex, but her feelings quickly return. Can she ever trust Mateo again? And is saving her brother worth risking a broken heart? With everyone she loves in danger, Grace must decide how much to sacrifice before it’s too late.

Review: 3 ½ out of 5 stars

Run the Risk is the third book in the On the Edge series by Allison Van Diepen and is Grace and Mateo’s story. It is a companion novel to On the Edge and Light of Day, all books are set in the same world but can be read as a standalone.

I like the premise of this series; we have action, danger, mystery, intrigue and romance – a nice blend of everything I find myself enjoying.

Grace’s story started off to be quite interesting, her mother has died, her father is absent for weeks at a time and her fifteen year-old brother Alex is slowly on his way to being recruited by a dangerous gang he is also the reason she is was unable to pursue her college studies in childcare. Grace is now studying online, volunteers at a childcare centre and works at the local cinema, it is here where she reconnects with her first boyfriend Mateo who chose gang life over her when he starts working in security.

Grace never really got over Mateo so she is leery when he resurfaces in her life but she also sees it as an opportunity to help her brother. Mateo’s life has been filled with danger but he’d never forgotten Grace, he was more than eager to help her with Alex but we soon find out there is a reason why he so willingly agreed.

To be honest, I wasn’t completely wowed by the romance between Grace and Mateo; I know they shared a past but their present felt forced, she was bribing him and he went along with all of her demands; I unfortunately couldn’t see their attraction, it seemed to be a relationship of convenience.

I did enjoy the gang and crime information, I found these scenes to be informative and thrilling; this was my favourite aspect of this book.

The side characters were interesting, I have always been intrigued by X. Alex was a bit of an ass in the initial stages and I didn’t like how Grace needed to play mum with her dad always absent, she had taken on such a huge role at nineteen years of age – this didn’t sit well with me.

The slam poetry was a welcomed addition but I felt that it was thrown in with no real purpose; it didn’t (to me) fit in with the overall storyline despite it being enjoyable.

If you are a fan of Simone Elkeles or Katie McGarry then I think that you will enjoy this series. It is well written with a wonderful premise; I hope to read more in this series.

Thank you to HarperTeen via Edelweiss for the opportunity to read and review Run the Risk.

Allison van DiepenAbout the author

Allison van Diepen is the author of many teen novels, including Takedown, Street Pharm, Snitch, Raven, The Oracle of Dating, The Oracle Rebounds, and The Vampire Stalker. Her novels have been named ALA Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers and New York City Public Library Books for the Teen Age. 

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Review: All in Pieces by Suzanne Young

All in PiecesAll in Pieces

Author: Suzanne Young
Release date: 8/11/2016
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 259

Synopsis (Goodreads)

“Anger-management issues.”

That’s how they classified Savannah Sutton after she stuck a pencil in her ex-boyfriend’s hand because he mocked her little brother, Evan, for being disabled. That’s why they sent her to Brooks Academy—an alternative high school that’s used as a temporary detention center.

The days at Brooks are miserable, but at home, life is far more bleak. Savvy’s struggling to take care of her brother since her mom left years ago, and her alcoholic dad can’t be bothered. Life with Evan is a constant challenge, but he’s also the most important person in the world to Savvy.

Then there’s Cameron, a new student at Brooks with issues of his own, a guy from a perfect family that Savvy thought only existed on TV. Cameron seems determined to break through every one of the walls Savvy’s built around herself—except if she lets herself trust him, it could make everything she’s worked so hard for fall apart in an instant.

And with her aunt seeking custody of her brother and her ex-boyfriend seeking revenge, Savvy’s fighting to hold all the pieces together. But she’s not sure how much tighter she can be pulled before she breaks completely.

Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars

This book was all sorts of wonderful and drew me in from the very beginning.

Savannah ‘Savvy’ Sutton is the sort of character you just want to hug, she has an alcoholic father, a mother that left them years prior and she is taking care of her special needs brother. She was such a strong and sassy character that you can’t help but adore.

When Savvy sticks a pencil in her ex-boyfriends hand she is sent to Brooks Academy, a miserable place used as a detention centre. Her life is hard but she has a great little brother, some wonderful friends and has caught the attention of the new guy Cameron but it doesn’t make her home life and dealing with her father any easier especially when he is so willing and eager to hand over custody of her brother to her aunt.

Cameron was fabulous, I adored him and loved the way he broke down Savvy’s walls and introduced her to a really lovely family life, his life wasn’t without drama but his problems were very different to Savvy’s. I adored their interactions and the bond that they came to share.

Suzanne Young wrote about a lot of tough subjects in this book – alcoholism, illness, family breakdown and anger issues. It was believable and dealt with in a realistic way. Her writing is gripping.

All in Pieces does have a morose feel to it because of the heavy issues discussed but it was enjoyable none the less.

Thank you to Edelweiss and Simon Pulse for the review copy.

Suzanne YoungAbout the author: 

Suzanne Young is the New York Times bestselling author of The Program, The Treatment, and several other novels. She currently lives in Tempe, Arizona where she teaches high school English and obsesses about books. Learn more about Suzanne at www.suzanne-young.blogspot.com

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).