You’d be Mine by Erin Hahn (Book Review)

You’d Be Mine by Erin Hahn

Hmmm. This was a difficult book to rate. I stayed up all night reading it, so my first instinct was ‘great read, full marks!’ But then it occurred to me how many triggers this book, which is technically YA, would have for certain readers:

  • alcohol / substance abuse
  • suicide / dead parents
  • borderline cheating
  • insta-infatuation (although, in the author’s defence, the actual romance was slow burn)

So… if you can get passed all of those things, this is why I LOVED this dual POV romance. 

  1. Clay might be an alcohol-soaked mess, but he’s also endearing at times, sexy and intelligent. He might be defensive and emotionally closed off in the beginning, but he doesn’t stay that way…
  2. Annie is independent, driven to achieve her dreams despite personal tragedies and incredibly loyal. Although, arguably, Clay doesn’t always deserve her steadfast devotion…
  3. Whip smart dialogue.
  4. Lyrics…
  5. Well written secondary characters and plenty of humour to lift the darker moments.
  6. Best first line ever… “If I die, it’s Trina Hamilton’s fault.”
  7. This is a real PAGE-TURNER!!!!

Rating: 4.5 delicious cupcakes!!!!

Can’t-Wait Wednesday: Spin the Dawn

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss books you’re excited about that you have yet to read. Generally they’re books that have yet to be released. 

What am I waiting on this week?

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

What do you need to know about its author?

This is a debut author, whose project was snapped up by Knopf, in a 2 book deal. You go girl!

Okay, so what does the publisher’s synopsis say?

Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.

Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.

And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.

Why am I excited?

Mulan comparisons from early reviewers (love that movie!) and also, recommended for fans of Sarah J Maas? Ummm… yes please!

Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarry (Book Review)

Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarry

Jesse and Scarlett have been through a lot. Jesse’s warm, loving gran, who raised him after his flighty mother was murdered, lost her fight with cancer and is now residing inside an urn that lives atop the heater in his dilapidated trailer. In the huge mansion across the way from Jesse’s farmland, Scarlett’s forbidding dad is controlling and physically abusive, but her timid mum is insistent that this is all perfectly normal. Once, Jesse and Scarlet were the best of friends. Of course, they haven’t spoken in 3 years… Not since Jesse froze her out at the start of high school and began spreading rumours about her. 

Don’t worry about not liking or relating to these characters, you’ll like them just fine; I’m so glad this was written with a dual POV. You’d think Jesse would be at least a little unlikable, considering he did ignore Scarlett for 3 years, but he’s actually swoon worthy… You might also think you’d get frustrated that Scarlett doesn’t speaking out immediately about her abusive dad, especially with a vulnerable younger sister to consider, but that wasn’t my reaction at all. All I felt was empathy. The fact is, Katie McGarry might write baggage like nobody’s business, but her characters are so well drawn that you can’t help loving them despite their weaknesses – they might make silly choices, but you always end up thinking, “I probably would have done that too…” 

Finally, I loved the southern-gothic vibes of this story – from the magical realism in the cursed land, to the quiet horrors of abusive families, and the psychic, distantly-related cousin who lives amid endless woods and predicts fates. This setting, combined with a wickedly twisty plot and slow burn romance, make this a great YA contemporary that has a heavy dose of suspense. I found this a difficult read to put down and spent my entire Saturday reading it… I’m sort of hoping that Leo and Veronica get their own spin off story. (Hint, hint! Miss McGarry…)

Edition read: Hardback (January 2019)

Age recommendation: 14+

Triggers: physical and emotional abuse

Rating: 5 yummy cupcakes!!!!!

Novella Review: Prisoner of Night by J. R. Ward

Prisoner of Night by J. R. Ward

I like my books chunky, my characters fully fleshed out and a slow burn romance. So I’m not really a ‘novella’ reader. I am however, a huge fan of J. R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series… I therefore threw caution to the wind and loaded Prisoner of Night onto my Kindle.

Honestly, that probably wasn’t such a good idea. This book features the usual scarred hero and feisty heroine, but the romance angle just didn’t work for me. It was too rushed, too contrived.

The backstory was interesting though. The idea of vampire cults – whoa! There’s a twist in the Brotherhood’s world. Also, I found the bad guy’s henchmen really interesting in this one. They kind of reminded me of George R Martin’s unsullied… I sense there could be a cool storyline here for a future novel.

Verdict: Stick to her novels, which are FANTASTIC, unless you are a fan of novellas.

Backl15t Blitz Readathon

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This is a 2015-themed read-a-thon, hosted by Amy and Prima

My Blitz Goals:

  • Read everyday, even if that means plugging in headphones to listen to an audiobook.   I only had one book-free day…
  • Try to check and comment on other folks’ progress each day!  
  • Make my way through as many books as possible, preferably reading trilogies (to cut down on reviews) and books published in 2015 (but if not, that’s okay).
  • Concentrate on reading books that I already own.
  • Try to update this post with my progress each day.
  • 2,500 pages by the end of the read-a-thon.  I managed to read 2,607 pages!

Thursday 21st January:

Friday 22nd January:

Saturday 23rd January:

  • Pages read today – 157 pages of Angelfall by Susan Ee (May 2013).

Sunday 24th January:

  • Pages read today – 438 pages of World After by Susan Ee (November 2013) and 132 pages of The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas (September 2013).

Monday 25th January:

  • Pages read today – 220 pages of The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas (September 2013).

Tuesday 26th January:

Wednesday 27th January:

  • Pages read today – 298 pages of The End of Days by Susan Ee (May 2015).

Thursday 28th January:

  • One audiobook completed…

Friday 29th January:

  • Pages read today – 137 pages of The End of Days by Susan Ee (May 2015).

Saturday 30th January:

  • No reading completed…

Sunday 31st January:

  • Pages read today – 347 pages of Unmade by Amy Rose Capetta (January 2015).

Books Read:

Mailbox Monday: 25th January

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Welcome to Mailbox Monday!

Last week I read Angelfall and World After by Susan Ee and now I just have to know what happens in the final book of the trilogy, End of Days. This trilogy is just SO FREAKING GOOD! I can’t believe I waited so long to start reading it… I’m planning to do a review post soon.

And while I was in Waterstones, I also found a copy of Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon. I like the scrap-book look of the inside of the book and I can’t wait to start it!

Both books were published in 2015, so they’re  perfect for the 2015-themed Backli15t Readathon which I’m doing at the moment!

What are you reading right now? Did anything great land in your ‘mailbox’ this week?

Waiting on Wednesday: Down with the Shine by Kate Karyus Quinn

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“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases!

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This week’s pick: Down with the Shine by Kate Karyus Quinn.

Due out: 26th April 2016, from HarperCollins.

Publisher’s Synopsis:

Lennie always thought her uncles’ “important family legacy” was good old-fashioned bootlegging. Then she takes some of her uncles’ moonshine to Michaela Gordon’s annual house party, and finds out just how wrong she was.

At the party, Lennie has everyone make a wish before drinking the shine—it’s tradition. She toasts to wishes for bat wings, for balls of steel, for the party to go on forever. Lennie even makes a wish of her own: to bring back her best friend, Dylan, who was murdered six months ago.

The next morning gives Lennie a whole new understanding of the phrase be careful what you wish for—or in her case, be careful what wishes you grant. Because all those wishes Lennie raised a jar of shine to last night? They came true. Most of them came out bad. And once granted, a wish can’t be unmade. . . .

Why I’m Waiting:

Magic, moonshine and an out of control party = I want to read it right friggin’ now!!!!

I hope everyone’s having a good week. 🙂

Book Review: What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick

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For her entire life, Gwen has lived on a tiny island in New England. Her mum cleans other people’s houses and her dad runs a cafe in the summer months. And still, they barely scrape by. So each summer, Gwen and her cousin, Nico, find work. This year they’re both ‘on island’ – Gwen helping an eccentric octogenarian, Nico painting houses. Gwen’s looking forward to leaving the mistakes of the school year behind her, to a summer of beach-side bonfires and parties. 

And maybe everything would have been perfect – just as she’d hoped – if only Cassidy Somers wasn’t this year’s Yard Boy. Cass is from the mainland, he’s also rich, privileged and has superhuman abs – so he’s the very last person Gwen expected to see mowing the island’s lawns this summer. (He’s also the worst mistake Gwen has ever made…)

I liked that we learn about Cass and Gwen’s history through flashbacks, as this aspect of the novel works really well. One of Huntley Fitzpatrick’s strengths is that she writes heartwarming, everyday scenes and great characters, but without the sense of suspense and intrigue that this added to the novel, What I Thought Was True might have been a much slower read.

I will say that I might have enjoyed WITWT more if it was written with a dual-p.o.v., so I could peek inside of Cass’s head some… but surprisingly, that’s all the notes I have for WITWT. Cass was sweet, sexy and adorable – and I completely understand how Gwen manages to fall head-over-heels for him, despite their history!

Gwen’s life is full of interesting characters, who you’ll surely grow to love as the novel unfolds. Family-wise, there’s her mum, who reads Romance and maintains that “other people’s stories are theirs to tell”; her Portuguese grandfather, who fishes the bays (without a fishing license) and plays cards like a shark; her little brother, Em; Nico, who can bench-press his own body weight and likes to jump off bridges; and flatulent Fabio, who I’m pretty sure is my favourite fictional-dog EVER… Even her dad, who gives rather sketchy advice, won me over by the end of the book.

This is the story of a summer when everything Gwen thought she knew – about Seashell Island, her friends, her family and Cass – turned out to be wrong… It’s also about Gwen deciding that maybe, just maybe, that’s okay. That that’s life. You can expect humour, romance, a bit of philosophy and lobsters! #free-cooking-advice!

I really do appreciate that this was written as a stand-a-lone novel (because that’s how I like my romances, as one-book affairs), but I wouldn’t mind revisiting this community – maybe in a companion novel? *hint hint*

Trust Me, I’m Lying – Quotation Memes

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For Book Beginnings:

“I can’t say I have much personal experience with conscience. I wasn’t born with that particular cricket on my shoulder. But people who believe in conscience seem to think it has something to do with compassion. And it could, I suppose, if you tilt your head and squint at it in just the right light.” – p.1

For Friday 56:

“Despite my newfound and grudging respect for his skill, I’m still irritated about his spilling the beans to Valerie about the rat.” – p.56

Goodreads synopsis:

Julep Dupree tells lies. A lot of them. She’s a con artist, a master of disguise, and a sophomore at Chicago’s swanky St. Agatha High, where her father, an old-school grifter with a weakness for the ponies, sends her to so she can learn to mingle with the upper crust. For extra spending money Julep doesn’t rely on her dad—she runs petty scams for her classmates while dodging the dean of students and maintaining an A+ (okay, A-) average.

But when she comes home one day to a ransacked apartment and her father gone, Julep’s carefully laid plans for an expenses-paid golden ticket to Yale start to unravel. Even with help from St. Agatha’s resident Prince Charming, Tyler Richland, and her loyal hacker sidekick, Sam, Julep struggles to trace her dad’s trail of clues through a maze of creepy stalkers, hit attempts, family secrets, and worse, the threat of foster care. With everything she has at stake, Julep’s in way over her head . . . but that’s not going to stop her from using every trick in the book to find her dad before his mark finds her. Because that would be criminal.

I’ve just started this one, but I’m enjoying it so far.

What are you guys reading this weekend?

Book Review: Siege by Sarah Mussi

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This is a highly political, pulse-pounding, suspenseful, upsetting, I-can’t-sleep-don’t-make-me, YA Thriller. 

Siege is set in a futuristic, right-wing Britain – where austerity measures have segregated society. Now kids from poorer backgrounds can only access the most basic of high schools (known as Challenge Academies) and public facilities. 

Leah Jackson’s mum is depressed, so sixteen-year-old Lee has to look after her brother and her little sister. Somedays there’s nothing in fridge and no way to pay the electric bill and that’s just how life is. Then one Friday morning, Lee is late to school. She’s put in detention, missing assembly… And the shooting starts.

“Dear God, please don’t let them find me.” – 12:04pm

Siege is a gritty, violent and unrelenting tale. (There is blood. So much blood.) The story has substance though, it’s complex and well-plotted – there’s enough characters, action and intrigue here to support a 300 page YA book.

Why are kids shooting other kids? Why are the academy’s students trapped inside, on “Lock Down”, by electrified fences? Where are the police? Who will die next? What will Lee and the other students be willing to do in the coming hours, in order to simply survive? And why does she feel so guilty?

Not recommended for twelve-year-olds. In case you were wondering.