Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Books I've Read So Far In 2015 #TTT

 
June 30: Top Ten Books I've Read So Far In 2015

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. It is a chance for everyone to share lists and get to know fellow bloggers.

I am keen to see everyone’s lists this week, to be honest there have been very few five star amazing reads for me this year, the books listed below have been the most memorable (in no particular order).

*****

** The Stars Never Rise by Rachel Vincent (review still to come) - Goodreads
** Burn, Rephaim #4 by Paula Weston (review still to come) - Goodreads
** Eternal, Shadow Falls After Dark #2 by C.C. Hunter - Goodreads

The Stars Never Rise (Untitled Series, #1) Burn (The Rephaim, #4) Eternal (Shadow Falls: After Dark, #2)

** End of Days (Penryn & the End of Days #3) by Susan Ee - Goodreads
** Conspiracy Girl by Sarah Alderson - Goodreads
** A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas - Goodreads

End of Days (Penryn and the End of Days, #3) Conspiracy Girl A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1)

** Refuge (Relentless #2) by Karen Lynch - Goodreads
** Under Different Stars (Kricket #1) by Amy A Bartol - Goodreads
** Cold Burn of Magic (Black Blade #1) by Jennifer Estep - Goodreads
** The Return by Jennifer L. Armentrout - Goodreads

Refuge (Relentless #2) Under Different Stars (Kricket, #1) Cold Burn of Magic (Black Blade #1) The Return (Titan, #1) 

What is your TTT?

Friday, 26 June 2015

Discussion: Young Adult book gripes/annoyances - what are your thoughts??


Young Adult book gripes

I was chatting with a friend recently about ‘my perfect YA novel’ and what I’d include and exclude in a book should ever I decide to draft one which to be completely honest would never happen because I don’t hold that talent. I have to admit my exclusion list was pretty extensive! There seems to be a lot of things I don’t like despite YA being my genre of choice – same plot, same characters just with a new setting etc.. seems to be a common theme these days.

I’ve shared a few below and would love to know your thoughts?

Love triangles

I think this point would be at the top of almost everyone’s list, it has been done to death unfortunately, I’m not a huge hater of love triangles if it is done right but to be honest, they rarely are and someone is always bound to end up hurt. It also always seems to be the girl who gets two guys, I read a heap of young adult novels and I have never read about two girls wanting the same guy?

I’m not sure if this will be a new trend (I’m hoping not) but JLA’s Dark Elements series even has us, the reader voting to select who the MC Layla will end up with in the last book Every Last Breath, it’s a baffling concept to me because you would think from book one a decision would have been plotted and obvious and made by the author and not us.

A few love triangles I whine about – Edward & Jacob (Team Jacob), Peeta & Gale (Team Gale), Dmitri & Adrian (Team Dmitri), Aiden & Seth (Team Aiden), Lucas and Derek {Team Derek); do you notice I most always get it wrong.

An MC has ‘special’ abilities but has no idea what is going on.

I have read quite a few books where the MC has no idea that they are ‘special’ or of another kind or species, I mean they know that there is something going on, for example in a book I read recently the MC could burn things with her hands but she couldn’t ask anyone, including her secretive controlling parents about it, wouldn’t you stop and panic just a little bit and worry about why you’re burning things just by thinking about it – it’s very obvious something is going on. Clueless! It seems to be something that is all too common and the main character is always shocked but adjusts seemingly well into their new role of whatever it is they are.



Absolutely Perfect characterizations

Some characters aren’t realistic at all, they are drop dead gorgeous or unnaturally handsome with model like good look with fabulous violet eyes or some other strange colour plus on top of that they have perfect senses, are amazing athletes, fighters, academics, influencers etc… the list is endless how perfect some of these characters are and I don’t mind if they have a few positive attributes but to be perfect at everything is a little far-fetched. There are some very crafty ways to defy and subscribe to common beauty ideals.




Covers - Disembodied girls or close-ups of body parts on book covers

A little off topic because it’s not within the book but I find it annoying when I see a girl's body part - an eye, portion of her face or a semi-obscured picture of her in a gorgeous dress or it is a darkened silhouette, it’s quite rare we’ll see a completely ‘normal’ human.
  
Why can a book not stand alone?

Does that make sense? I mean why do we need an endless number of series, sure a book at time needs to be carried out but some stories that start as stand-alone, end up as a duology – trilogy etc etc etc. It’s terribly annoying and I must admit by the time the sequel has usually been released, unless I have loved it, is an author I adore and it has been memorable I won’t pick it up. I would love each book to tell its own story.

Orphans? Parents/guardians etc..

Why do a majority of characters have no parents present or they have left them or a deceased? I love reading books that have a strong family dynamic, where there are boundaries and realistic themes but it seems to be lacking in YA.

What are your thoughts on this subject?? Are there any gripes that annoy you in the YA genre?


Disclaimer – A majority of the YA books I read have these annoyances but I still find myself completely drawn to them. Sometimes it can be overlooked if it is done well at other times they may end up on my DNF shelf.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Review: Eternal (Shadow Falls After Dark #2) by C.C. Hunter

Eternal (Shadow Falls: After Dark, #2)Eternal

Author: C.C. Hunter
Series: Shadow Falls After Dark #2
Pages: 386
Publisher: St Martins Griffin
Release date: 28th October 2014

SynopsisAll her life, Della's secret powers have made her feel separated from her human family. Now, she's where she belongs, at Shadow Falls. With the help of her best friends Kylie and Miranda, she’ll try to prove herself in the paranormal world as an investigator—all the while trying to figure out her own heart. Should she chose Chase, a powerful vampire with whom she shares a special bond? Or Steve, the hot shapeshifter whose kisses make her weak in the knees? When a person with dark connection to her past shows up, it’ll help her decide which guy to choose–and make her question everything she knows about herself. 

From bestselling author C.C. Hunter comes Eternal—a must-read for fans of the Shadow Falls series—and the sequel to Reborn.

Review: 4 out of 5 stars

Eternal is the second book in the Shadow Falls spin-off series, Shadow Falls After Dark and begins where the first book, Reborn left off. I read the most recent novella before reading this book so there were a few spoilers I was anticipating but I was still quite surprised by it all.

I love the mix of paranormals we get in this series, vampires, witches, shape-shifters, fae etc. The mystery element is always done well and the characters are wonderful!

Storyline – I don’t want to give too much away to avoid spoilers from the first book but Della is trying to prove herself as an FRU investigator. When a case comes up and sees her working alongside powerful vampire Chase she is reluctant but also eager to prove herself. I loved the way she handled herself, we see her confidence grow as she works the case and understands more about her abilities as well as about the ghost whispering.

Characters – Della is such a kick butt snarky character, I wasn’t her biggest fan in the first series because she never seemed to let anyone in but we are seeing more vulnerability nowthat she has her own series and I am really enjoying her wit, sass and complete devotion to those that she is closest to – my heart breaks for the relationship she has lost with her family. I love the friendship that she shares with Kylie and Miranda and the respect she shows for Burnett and Holiday. Chase I really liked, I didn’t trust his evasiveness but I did enjoy his interactions with Della. We don’t get to see much of Steve in this book unfortunately.

Romance - I was so nervous going into this book because there has been a lot of Chase hating but I was more peeved at Steve and with love-triangles being a huge YA gripe of mine this is where I was let down with this book. The Shadow Falls series followed the same formulaic story with Kylie, Lucas and Derek so I am surprised that C.C Hunter recycled this same storyline; I don’t feel it was necessary. I liked Della with Steve in the first book but now that we know more about Chase I am thinking I prefer her with him.

Writing – A few things were repetitive but otherwise C.C. Hunters writing is engaging and holds my attention, I fly through these books; the dialogue, humour and the banter always keeps me amused and flipping the pages. We were left with a cliff-hanger ending though and it was a bit of a shocker.

Overall – Family, relationship, ghost and bonding drama! Eternal was highly entertaining.

Up next – The next book in the series is Unspoken which is due to be released by St Martin’s Griffin on the 27th October 2015. This book will definitely be a pre-order, I can’t wait!



C.C. HunterAbout the author: C.C. Hunter grew up in Alabama, where she caught lightning bugs, ran barefoot, and regularly rescued potential princes, in the form of Alabama bullfrogs, from her brothers. Today, she's still fascinated with lightning bugs, mostly wears shoes, but has turned her focus to rescuing mammals. She now lives in Texas with her four rescued cats, one dog, and a prince of a husband, who for the record, is so not a frog. When she's not writing, she's reading, spending time with her family, or is shooting things-with a camera, not a gun.

C.C. Hunter is a pseudonym. Her real name is Christie Craig and she also writes humorous romantic suspense romance novels for Grand Central. www.christie-craig.com

C.C. would love to hear from you. Because of deadlines, it may take her a day or so to get back with you, but she will reply. cc@cchunterbooks.com
 

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Waiting on Wednesday - Dark Heart of Magic by Jennifer Estep and Unspoken by C.C. Hunter

 
Hi everyone!! thank-you so much for stopping by today.

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine which spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

I have two WoW’s for this week - Dark Heart of Magic by Jennifer Estep and Unspoken by C.C. Hunter

Dark Heart of Magic (Black Blade, #2)
 Author: Jennifer Estep
Series: Black Blade
Amazon pre-order
Publisher: Kensington
Release date: 27th October 2015


Synopsis. (Goodreads)

Something Wicked This Way Comes...

As a thief, I stick to the shadows as much as possible. But when the head of the Sinclair Family picks me to compete in the Tournament of Blades, there's no escaping the spotlight—or the danger.

Even though he's my competition, Devon Sinclair thinks I have the best shot at winning what's supposed to be a friendly contest. But when the competitors start having mysterious "accidents," it looks like someone will do anything to win—no matter who they hurt.

As if I didn't have enough to worry about, mobster Victor Draconi is plotting against Devon and the rest of my friends, and someone's going around Cloudburst Falls murdering monsters. One thing's for sure. Sometimes, humans can be more monstrous than anything else...
 

Unspoken: Shadow Falls: After Dark
 Author: C.C. Hunter
Series: Shadow Falls After Dark
Amazon pre-order
Publisher: St Martin’s Griffin
Release date: 


Synopsis. (Goodreads)

Not available as yet J it is going to be amazing!!

Monday, 22 June 2015

Review: Loving Dallas (Neon Dreams #2) by Caisey Quinn

Loving Dallas (Neon Dreams, #2)Loving Dallas

Author: Caisey Quinn
Series: Neon Dreams #2
Pages: 360
Publisher: William Morrow
Release date: 16th June 2015

Synopsis – In the second novel in bestselling author Caisey Quinn’s Neon Dreams series, a country rock band and its members embark on the rocky road to fame and find love along the way.

Dallas Lark is so close to achieving his dream of making it big in country music that he can taste it. Arriving in Nashville after signing with sexy, successful manager Mandy Lantram, his life goes from tragedy and turmoil to one lucky break after another—except it isn’t really luck because Dallas has sacrificed everything for his career, leaving behind his band, sister, best friend, and high school sweetheart, Robyn, in the pursuit of fame.

Robyn Breeland is a successful marketing coordinator and promotions specialist for a thriving liquor distributor out of Texas. She loves every aspect of her job: coming up with new ideas, traveling, hosting promotional parties and exclusive events—until it brings her face-to-face with the man who broke her heart, prompting her to erect a steel cage around it.

When their paths collide and they’re forced to work together, Dallas and Robyn realize that the old spark they thought they’d extinguished might still be a burning flame.

Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Loving Dallas is the second book in the Neon Dreams series and begins right where Leaving Amarillo left off. It is Robyn Breeland and Dallas Walker Lark’s story, a couple who have a history and a strong connection and are both embarking on a journey of self-discovery and acceptance.

Dallas is now in Nashville after signing with Mandy Lantram and is the opening act for big name Jase Wade, times could be tough on him – he is without his band-mates and he has now come face to face with his high school sweetheart Robyn and old sparks reignite. We are given small snippets of their shared past in the first book but it was only touched on so I was more than eager to see them reconnect and to find out why they had drifted apart.

I enjoyed both of our MC’s, Dallas was a bit of a mystery in the first book but he was driven and determined which we also see in Loving Dallas. Robyn was a strong-willed sweetheart; she is a marketing executive for the sponsor of the tour and is also motivated to achieve her goals. The chemistry between them was off the charts and the smexy moments were written well.

Second chance romance is one of my favourite storylines, and this was done well but it also came with the miscommunication and angst which at times did become frustrating, resolving their issues wasn’t without drama.

The writing is entertaining, I felt Casey Quinn wrote the musical references and band details well, I found these parts to be interesting; the struggles they faced felt quite genuine. Some of the dialogue came across as a little cheesy at times but I was able to overlook this to enjoy the overall story. 

What I enjoyed about the first book was the band dynamic but it was missing in Loving Dallas, Gavin and Dyxie were noticeably absent but we do have their book up next which I’m really excited about.

Thank you to William Morrow via Edelweiss for the opportunity to read and review Loving Dallas.

  

Caisey QuinnAbout the author

Romance Writer fueled by coffee, music, and love. Bestselling author of the Kylie Ryans series. 

I love hearing from readers and other writers, and those freaky hybrids like myself! You can email me at caiseyquinn @ gmail (dot) com or follow me on Twitter @CaiseyQuinn. You can find me on Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/AuthorCaisey..




Leaving Amarillo (Neon Dreams, #1) Loving Dallas (Neon Dreams, #2)

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Review: Spellbinder (Shadows Fall) by C.C Hunter

Spellbinder (A Shadow Falls Novella)
Author: C.C. Hunter

Series: Shadow Falls
Publisher: St Martin’s Griffin
Source: Netgalley
Release date: 30th June 2015

Synopsis. (Goodreads) When magic, romance and family secrets collide, the result is spellbinding!

Miranda Kane has always felt like a screw up–at least when it comes to her ability to wield magic. Her only sanctuary is Shadow Falls camp, where she’s learning to harness her powers as a witch. But thanks to her shapeshifter boyfriend who called it quits and ran off to Paris, both her heart and powers feel broken. 

When she unexpectedly lands a top spot in a spell casting competition in France, she flies out with her best friends Kylie and Della. But her trip takes her straight into the heart of a dangerous supernatural mystery–and a heated romance. What Miranda doesn’t expect is for her investigation to unleash shocking revelations…about herself, her family, and her arch enemy. Now Miranda must step up and show everyone that she’s a witch to be reckoned with….before it’s too late.


Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Contains possible spoilers

I don’t tend to read novella’s at all but I am a huge fan of the Shadow Falls series by C.C. Hunter so I was more than eager to read Miranda’s story.

Miranda Kane is Della and Kylie’s witchy roommate; she’s quirky and fun and still trying to hone her ability to wield magic. I had no idea that Perry and Miranda had broken up! I absolutely loved them as a couple so this was surprising and I really need to play catch-up on the book I missed.

Spellbinder kicks off with a bang and was go go go as we see Miranda entered in a spell casting competition, not her greatest strength and something that is surely going to disappoint her mother if she doesn’t do well. We get some wonderful revelations about her family, mystery and a sweet romance.

C.C Hunter’s writing is entertaining, I enjoyed the Paris setting and the well-developed characters - the friendship they share is wonderful, I love the snark and the banter; it’s always written well.

Spellbinder is another great addition to the Shadow Falls series - a must read!


C.C. Hunter
About the author: C.C. Hunter grew up in Alabama, where she caught lightning bugs, ran barefoot, and regularly rescued potential princes, in the form of Alabama bullfrogs, from her brothers. Today, she's still fascinated with lightning bugs, mostly wears shoes, but has turned her focus to rescuing mammals. She now lives in Texas with her four rescued cats, one dog, and a prince of a husband, who for the record, is so not a frog. When she's not writing, she's reading, spending time with her family, or is shooting things-with a camera, not a gun.

C.C. Hunter is a pseudonym. Her real name is Christie Craig and she also writes humorous romantic suspense romance novels for Grand Central. www.christie-craig.com

C.C. would love to hear from you. Because of deadlines, it may take her a day or so to get back with you, but she will reply. cc@cchunterbooks.com



Books in order: Born at Midnight – Turned at Dark – Awake at Dawn – Taken at Dusk – Whispers at Moonrise – Chosen at Nightfall – Saved at Sunrise – Reborn – Unbreakable – Eternal – Spellbinder.