Friday, 10 June 2016

Review: Wanderlost by Jen Malone

WanderlostWanderlost

Author: Jen Malone
Pages: 352
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Edelweiss
Release date: 31st May 2016

Synopsis (Goodreads) Not all those who wander are lost, but Aubree Sadler most definitely is on this novel’s whirlwind trip through Europe.

Aubree can’t think of a better place to be than in perfectly boring Ohio, and she’s ready for a relaxing summer. But when her older sister, Elizabeth, gets into real trouble, Aubree is talked into taking over Elizabeth’s summer job, leading a group of senior citizens on a bus tour through Europe.

Aubree doesn’t even make it to the first stop in Amsterdam before their perfect plan unravels, leaving her with no phone, no carefully prepared binder full of helpful facts, and an unexpected guest: the tour company owner’s son, Sam. Considering she’s pretending to be Elizabeth, she absolutely shouldn’t fall for him, but she can’t help it, especially with the most romantic European cities as the backdrop for their love story.

But her relationship with Sam is threatening to ruin her relationship with her sister, and she feels like she’s letting both of them down. Aubree knows this trip may show her who she really is—she just hopes she likes where she ends up.

Review : 3.5 out of 5 stars

Wanderlost by Jen Malone is a light-hearted, sweet and entertaining YA Contemporary.

Our MC is seventeen year-old Aubree, a recent high school graduate who has been put in a challenging position by her sister Elizabeth to be a European tour guide to seniors. It sounds easy enough but Aubree needs to impersonate her sister during this time.

Aubree was a sweet yet naïve and timid character; she has been sheltered so was quite clueless when it came to taking on a challenge so out of her comfort zone and things weren’t so easy for her along the way but I loved how she developed through the course of the book.

We get a sweet romance between Aubree and Sam but with lies involved and Aubree acting as Elizabeth things weren’t always easy but the drama wasn't dragged out or over the top, it was dealt with maturely. Their dialogue was quite sweet and I liked their connection; Sam was an absolute sweetheart, I adored his character.

The storyline was interesting but it could be slow in parts which made it drag on. I would have liked more from the ending, maybe a snippet of what was to come for Aubree and Sam. Also, without giving away spoilers I felt the conflict within this book wasn’t followed up with a satisfying resolution, I expected more. I also found it a little far-fetched but it was entertaining none the less.

The European setting and the vivid details that we were given gave me a huge case of wanderlust! and the seniors on tour were all really great, there were a few laugh out loud moments that I really enjoyed and I quite liked the authors writing style.

Overall, Wanderlost was a quick, enjoyable and easy read. Thank you to HarperTeen via Edelweiss for the opportunity to read and review this title.



Jen MaloneAbout the author: Jen Malone writes books for tweens and teens. Her debut middle grade novel At Your Service (Simon & Schuster) published in 2014. Next up is the co-written series You're Invited (S&S, 2015 and 2016) and three young adult titles with HarperCollins, beginning with Map To The Stars (Summer 2015). Jen is the Author-in-Residence at a middle school outside Boston and has presented workshops at SCBWI conferences, the Baltimore Book Festival, Girl Scouts of America Adult Learning symposium, the Princeton Children's Book Festival, the Writer's Loft, Savvy Authors, and others. She also teaches creative writing to tweens at popular library and school workshops.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Over the Line (On the Run #2) by Lisa Desrochers

Over the Line (On the Run, #2)Over the Line

Author: Lisa Desrochers
Series: On the Run
Pages: 220
Source: Netgalley
Release date: 19th April 2016

Synopis (Goodreads): The USA Today bestselling author of Outside the Lines once again explores love on the edge in an explosive new romance about obsession, betrayal, and a killer attraction.

Lee Delgado never planned on falling in love with the irresistible Oliver Savoca, son of a Chicago crime lord. Considering that their families are rivals, she knew it could never work. And now that both their fathers have been nabbed on racketeering charges, any real chance at a future with the man she loves has been shot to hell. But a greater blow is yet to come. 

Not only does Lee learn that a contract is out on her life, she has reason to believe that Oliver is behind the devastating betrayal. Now she’s working closely—very closely—with Federal Agent Sean Callahan to help bring her man down. But however she’s come to feel about Callahan, Lee is still deeply, hopelessly, unabashedly in love with Oliver.

Where that fearless love takes Lee next is beyond her control—but the risk is worth every beat of her heart.

Review: 3 out of 5 stars

I am a huge fan of Lisa Desrochers A LIttle Too Far series so when I saw this book on Netgalley I instantly requested it not realising that it was the second book in the series (oops); but I never at any stage found it confusing or hard to follow.

Lee Delgado and her siblings had to move from Chicago to Port St. Mary, Florida and enter the Witsec program when their mafia father was put in jail. Always looking over their shoulders knowing there is a contract on their heads they lay low and have only each other to trust.

When Oliver Savoca, also the son of a Chicago crime lord locates Lee after months of searching; her whole life is about to become undone because her family have no idea that she had a relationship with her enemy during her time in college and after betraying his trust she believes that he has come for revenge.

The Delgado and Savoca families are rivals in the Chicago underground scene, a life that they have all grown up with and are struggling to adapt to life away from crime.

Lee was an interesting character, she is strong, intelligent and resourceful; there were a number of secrets that she was hiding from her family that I felt could have been dealt with differently but I understood her predicament also. I liked Oliver but I don’t feel like we got to see much of them as a couple; it all progressed very quickly without learning to trust one another again, he did seem to show her how much he cared in his actions but I still couldn’t tell whether or not he could be trusted.

I liked each of the Delgado siblings, they all seem to struggle with their new personas but I feel more so Lee because of the role she played in putting her father in jail. I am really curious about Grant; I am looking forward to reading his book and learning more about him.

We also have an additional love interest, Wes Buchanan who is an officer in charge of looking after the Delgado family; I don’t feel the added romance/angst between him and Lee was needed, she treated him pretty crappy. It seemed like he was added in for additional drama.

This wasn’t an action packed novel; there were flashbacks to the past and discussions of the future, it worked well but I would have loved a bit more edge of your seats ‘mafia’ moments. I thought the steamy moments and the characters interactions were all written well as was the POV’s from both Lee and Oliver.

The ending was satisfying but very rushed and predictable; I am looking forward to reading the next book in the On the Run series.

Thank you to Intermix via Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review Over the Line.

Monday, 6 June 2016

Review: Defending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally

Defending TaylorDefending Taylor

Author: Mianda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks
Pages: 304
Publisher: Sourcefire Books
Release date: 5th July 2016
Source: Netgalley

Synopsis (Goodreads) – Captain of the soccer team, president of the Debate Club, contender for valedictorian: Taylor’s always pushed herself to be perfect. After all, that’s what is expected of a senator’s daughter. But one impulsive decision—one lie to cover for her boyfriend—and Taylor’s kicked out of private school. Everything she’s worked so hard for is gone, and now she’s starting over at Hundred Oaks High.

Soccer has always been Taylor’s escape from the pressures of school and family, but it’s hard to fit in and play on a team that used to be her rival. The only person who seems to understand all that she’s going through is her older brother’s best friend, Ezra. Taylor’s had a crush on him for as long as she can remember. But it’s hard to trust after having been betrayed. Will Taylor repeat her past mistakes or can she score a fresh start?

Review: 3½ out of 5 stars

I am a huge Miranda Kenneally fan and devour her books the moment I download them, they are true to life realistic and her characters are wonderful.

Our MC is Taylor, the perfectly imperfect character who I adored from the first page. With a Senator father, siblings in Ivy League colleges and the perfect mother she is expected to be the picture-perfect daughter but when she is expelled from her boarding school everything from her college prospects, relationships with not only her boyfriend but also her family and also her love of soccer and captaining the team is no longer and she is forced to pretty much start over with a tarnished record.

Taylor has made some pretty big mistakes but I liked the way she dealt with or tried to deal with them, she was far from perfect but the way she was treated was terrible! I was mad at her parents on so many occasions for her, her only saving grace seemed to be her brother’s best friend Ezra who she had a crush on from a young age but due to a misunderstanding they had drifted apart.

Ezra was such a great love interest, I liked his back-story and his interactions with Taylor, they complimented each other well and understood each other’s needs perfectly. Their relationship was sweet and genuine but wasn’t without drama but it was dealt with maturely.

This book is about self-discovery, with high profile families came high expectations; it wasn’t easy for Taylor or Ezra but I liked how they were able to work things out for themselves for their futures rather than cave to their parents’ wishes.

We have an interesting cast of side characters, I especially liked Oliver but other than him I can’t say I was a huge fan of the others, especially Taylor’s new soccer captain Nicole, she was horrible!

I can’t fault Miranda Kenneally’s effortless writing, it flows well and is a quick and easy read; her characters are wonderful and her storylines engaging. I am looking forward to reading more books in this series.

Thank you to Sourcefire Books via Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review Defending Taylor.



Miranda KenneallyAbout the author: Growing up in Tennessee, Miranda Kenneally dreamed of becoming an Atlanta Brave, a country singer (cliché!), or a UN interpreter. Instead she writes, and works for the State Department in Washington, D.C., where George W. Bush once used her shoulder as an armrest. Miranda loves Twitter, Star Trek and her husband.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Review: Gifted Thief (Highland Magic #1) by Helen Harper

Gifted Thief by Helen   Harper
Gifted Thief

Author: Helen Harper
Series: Highland Magic
Pages: 348
Publisher: Createspace
Release date: 29th January 2016
Source: Amazon

Synopsis (Goodreads) Orphan. Runaway. Thief.


Since the moment I was ripped from my mother's womb, I've been an outcast amongst my own kind. The Sidhe might possess magical Gifts, unbelievable wealth and unfathomable power but I don't want a thing to do with them. I ran away from their lands in the Highlands of Scotland when I was eleven years old and I've never looked back. I don't need a Clan. I've got my own family of highly skilled thieves who mean more to me than any Sidhe ever could.



Unfortunately for me, the playboy heir to the Moncrieffe Clan has something I desperately need. To get it back, I'm going to have to plunge myself back into that world, no matter what the consequences may be. I suppose it's just as well I have sense of humour. I think I'm going to need it.

Review: 3 ½ out of 5 stars

I stumbled on Gifted Thief whilst browsing through Amazon, I have never read anything prior by Helen Harper but everything has ticked my boxes so far, except the romance but I am hoping that improves as the series progresses.

Our MC is Integrity, a Sidhe who fled the highlands of Scotland and a life of hell when she was eleven years old. She has lived as a human and has abandoned her heritage and former life to become a skilled thief. Unfortunately, when a job goes wrong Integrity is forced to deal with her past and involve herself with the Sidhe in order to save her friends.

Integrity is the sort of character I adore! Witty, strong and fiercely independent; she looks after herself without needing to rely on anyone. She has a close group of friends, Speck, Brochan, Lexie and Taylor that she considers her family and who also have her back. She wasn’t a fighter, she abhors violence but she seemed to be able to talk her way out of any situation, she was treated terribly by many but she always stood strong, I also found her jokes really amusing and lightened the storyline.

Byron Moncrieff has a reputation as a player, he is well respected amongst the Sidhe but he holds a lot back. Integrity has had a crush on him for some time but I found him to be a bit sly initially; as the book progressed I liked him a little more but I still can’t fully trust his motives especially since he is the reason Integrity is now having to play nice with people that despise her existence,

The world building was done well but I would have like further clarification on the clans, clanless and humans and how they each live side by side peacefully; the setting was also lacking in imagery for me. The plot flowed at a decent pace; I enjoyed Integrity’s family backstory, she is the last member of the Adair clan; her father wiping out everyone and more or less erasing them from the history books but as Integrity finds out there is more to the story than what people are letting on,  there is deceit, mystery and some pretty huge secrets being kept; there is also magical gifts and a prophecy that we are yet to learn more about.

The romance or possibility of a romance was a letdown, there was chemistry between Integrity and Byron but she fell between the sheets so willy nilly with his friend which didn’t make sense, it was a sex scene that I feel was included just so that it was there.  I’m not quite sure if they will end up together, especially since Byron is meant to be with someone else for family reasons but I hope if they do it is done tastefully.

I can’t fail to mention Bob the Genie who is now with Integrity until she makes her three wishes; he is hilarious! I love his page time.

Gifted Thief is a nice start to the Highland Magic series, it is an Urban Fantasy that ticked most boxes for me but could have done with a little more editing, there were a number of mistakes but nothing that couldn’t be overlooked. I’m looking forward to learning more about Clan Adair and the fascinating characters in the next book, Honour Bound.



Helen   HarperAbout the author: Scottish native Helen Harper is the author of the hugely popular Blood Destiny series, as well as the gritty urban fantasy Bo Blackman books and the romantic Olympiana novels. A self-confessed cat lady with an over-active imagination, she spends her time lost in fantastical worlds filled with kickass heroines, intricate legends and lots and lots of dangerous excitement.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Review: Bright Blaze of Magic by Jennifer Estep

Bright Blaze of Magic (Black Blade, #3)Bright Blaze of Magic

Author: Jennifer Estep
Series: Black Blade
Pages: 368
Publisher: Kensington
Release date: 26th April 2016
Source: Netgalley

Synopsis: The characters are as fantastic as Estep fans have come to expect." – RT Book Reviews

Bad Things Always Come In Threes…

As a thief, I'm good at three things: hiding in the shadows, getting in and out unseen, and uncovering secrets. I put these skills to work for the Sinclair Family, one of the magical mobs that run the tourist town of Cloudburst Falls. 

Everyone knows Victor Draconi wants to take over all the other Families--and kill every last Sinclair. What they don't know is that I'm on to him, and no way will I let the man who murdered my mom get away with hurting all the other people I care about. Especially when I've got places to break into, stuff to steal, and Devon Sinclair fighting right by my side… 

"An adventurous ride you will never want to get off." --#1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout on Cold Burn of Magic

Review: 5 out of 5 stars

Bright Blaze of Magic is the final instalment in the Black Blade trilogy and was a riveting, engrossing addition to what has been a wonderful series.

These books need to be read in order, the events that take place and the build-up are all pivotal in getting to this point. In this instalment we see Claudia Sinclair, the head of the family working with her son Devon, the family bruiser, Felix and Lila Merriweather as well as Draconi’s daughter Deah to attempt to foil Victor’s plan in taking over Cloudburst Falls and eliminating all families in order to lead. A lot has happened to get to this point and the action and thrills kept it all extremely entertaining.

Lila continues to be a fantastic heroine, she doesn’t sit on the sidelines, she is in on all the plotting, planning and the action; she is resourceful, skilful yet still sweet and has fit into the Sinclair family beautifully, I admired her character. Devon was the sweetest; I loved his interactions with Lila and his loyalty to his whole family. All of the secondary characters played an important role in this book; I didn’t fully trust Deah in the last instalment so I was pleasantly surprised by how everything worked out with her.

The romance in this series has been drama free and is slow to build, it isn’t at the forefront of the story but it is sweet and enjoyable.

We are finally given the much needed answers about Lila’s mother and Victor’s purpose. The magical world Estep has created is complex and filled with a variety of unusual paranormal creatures which I have really appreciated and her writing continues to hold me captivated, she surprises me with enthralling plot twists and developments, just as I think the families could take a breather something would always pop up. The battle scenes were brutal and filled with surprises and I liked the good vs evil elements.

Bright Blaze of Magic is a thrilling, action-packed and satisfying conclusion to the Black Blades trilogy.


Thank you to Kensington via Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review Bright Blaze of Magic.


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About the author: Jennifer Estep is a New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author, prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea.

ELEMENTAL ASSASSIN SERIES
Jennifer writes the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series. 

The books focus on Gin Blanco, an assassin codenamed the Spider who can control the elements of Ice and Stone. When she’s not busy killing people and righting wrongs, Gin runs a barbecue restaurant called the Pork Pit in the fictional Southern metropolis of Ashland. The city is also home to giants, dwarves, vampires, and elementals – Air, Fire, Ice, and Stone.

BLACK BLADE YOUNG ADULT URBAN FANTASY SERIES
Jennifer is also the author of the Black Blade young adult urban fantasy series. 

The series focuses on Lila Merriweather, a 17-year-old thief who lives in Cloudburst Falls, West Virginia, a town dubbed “the most magical place in America.” Tourists come from around the world to tour all the magic-themed shops and attractions, as well as see monsters like tree trolls, copper crushers, and more in their natural habitats.

Lila does her best to stay off the grid and avoid the Families — or mobs — who control the town. But when she saves a member of the powerful Sinclair Family, Lila finds herself caught in the middle of a brewing war between the Sinclairs and the Draconis, the most powerful Family in town. 

MYTHOS ACADEMY YOUNG ADULT URBAN FANTASY SERIES
Jennifer is also the author of the Mythos Academy young adult urban fantasy series. 

The books focus on Gwen Frost, a 17-year-old Gypsy girl who has the gift of psychometry, or the ability to know an object’s history just by touching it. After a serious freak-out with her magic, Gwen is shipped off to Mythos Academy, a school for the descendants of ancient warriors like Spartans, Valkyries, Amazons, and more.

BIGTIME PARANORMAL ROMANCE SERIES
Jennifer is also the author of the Bigtime paranormal romance series. 

The Bigtime books feature sexy superheroes, evil ubervillains, and smart, sassy gals looking for love.

VISIT JENNIFER'S WEBSITE
Excerpts, free short stories, and more information on Jennifer's books can be found at http://www.jenniferestep.com.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Review: The Outliers by Kimberley McCreight

The OutliersThe Outliers

Author: Kimberley McCreight
Series: The Outliers #1
Pages: 352
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Edelweiss
Release date: 3rd May 2016

Synopsis (Goodreads) It all starts with a text: Please, Wylie, I need your help. Wylie hasn’t heard from Cassie in over a week, not since their last fight. But that doesn’t matter. Cassie’s in trouble, so Wylie decides to do what she has done so many times before: save her best friend from herself.

This time it’s different, though. Instead of telling Wylie where she is, Cassie sends cryptic clues. And instead of having Wylie come by herself, Jasper shows up saying Cassie sent him to help. Trusting the guy who sent Cassie off the rails doesn’t feel right, but Wylie has no choice but to ignore her gut instinct and go with him.

But figuring out where Cassie is goes from difficult to dangerous, fast. As Wylie and Jasper head farther and farther north into the dense woods of Maine, Wylie struggles to control her growing sense that something is really wrong. What isn’t Cassie telling them? And could finding her be only the beginning?

In this breakneck tale, New York Times bestselling author Kimberly McCreight brilliantly chronicles a fateful journey that begins with a single decision—and ends up changing everything. 

Review: 3 out of 5 stars

I have to admit, I do enjoy a good YA mystery so The Outliers sounded right up my alley but by the end I was still a bit baffled by it all – I’m not even sure this review is going to make sense because my thoughts are still all over the place.

Sixteen year old Wylie lives in Boston with her father and brother Gideon, since the death of her mother four months prior her anxiety has spiked and she has become agoraphobic, not leaving the house or keeping in touch with her friends.

When her former best friend Cassie goes missing and she receives a text ‘Please, Wylie, I need your help’ it’s enough to get her out of the house despite not having contact with her for quite some time or knowing where her current head space was. Helping Wylie solve the cryptic messages that she is receiving is Jasper, the guy Wylie blames for sending Cassie over the edge.

Wylie and Jasper more or less end up on a road trip in the middle of nowhere to find Cassie but things get crazier and crazier as they progress, to be honest I had no idea what was going on or who could be trusted. It baffled me why Wylie would just jump up and seek out Cassie with her current problems without notifying someone, especially her over-protective father who she knew would end up in a panic.

The mystery and suspense about what had happened to Cassie kept me reading along but there were a number of times where I almost gave up. There were a few revelations towards the end and it went from being what I thought was a thriller, mystery and then did a genre jump and I’m not quite sure that I am completely satisfied with how it all came together.

The plot seemed to be a mix of random events and unlikely situations and the ending was left open but I’m pretty certain I’ll be reading the sequel just to see what happens.

The Outliers certainly takes you on a mysterious thrill ride; it is well written but did leave me very confused by the end, despite the confusion it was still an addictive read needing to know what on earth was going on.

Thank you to HarperTeen via Edelweiss for the opportunity to read and review The Outliers by Kimberley McCreight.



Kimberly McCreightAbout the author: Kimberly McCreight is the New York Times bestselling author of Reconstructing Amelia, which was nominated for an Edgar, Anthony and Alex award. She attended Vassar College and graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two daughters. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter and at kimberlymccreight.com