Clover Cottage – Christie Barlow

Welcome back everyone, I feel like my schedule is starting to normalise a little and get under control which is awesome. Especially because today we’re returning to Love Heart Lane.

Although the blurb gives a sense that Rory and Allie will get a happily ever after with the phrase “the place that will always bring them back to each other”; for a lot of this book I didn’t think that was going to happen. I got so caught up in the emotions that they were both experiencing in the moment that I forgot this is a romance.

We know romances always end up with a happily ever after. Yet Christie’s writing had me so involved and felt so life like that I totally forgot about it! In real life happily ever after’s don’t always happen. So it made sense that maybe it wasn’t going to happen this time either.

It’s not that common that a writer can get me so involved in a romance story that I forget it’s a book and not someone’s real life. Or am I just comparing that to Married at First Sight? (Yes, I watch it coz my partner loves it and its currently mid-way through the series.)

Either way. The troubles that Rory and Allie go through are so normal. Career changes, the progression of a relationship, living situations, family issues etc. Every couple will have gone through one of more of the issues which makes it so relatable. In a way it made me feel better about the times my partner and I have disagreements (so, like every weekend?) because every couple has those moments.

I loved getting caught up in the moment and being with them as they worked out their next steps while learning more about themselves and growing as people. They each had a valuable lesson to learn and they both learnt it and moved forwards with it. It was so amazing to read.

The only thing I didn’t really like about it was that it felt like there was one thing too many that they had to work through as a couple. When I got to it, I was like “I could see the set up for this, but really? ANOTHER thing for them to figure out?” It just felt like it was a tad too much and made me drop out of the story for a moment.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Friday I’ll be reviewing Shatterglass by Tamora Pierce. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Christie Barlow is the international bestselling author of A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother, The Misadventures of a Playground Mother, Kitty’s Countryside Dream, Lizzie’s Christmas Escape, Evie’s Year of Taking Chances, The Cosy Canal Boat Dream, A Home at Honeysuckle Farm, Love Heart Lane and Foxglove Farm. Her writing career came as somewhat a surprise when she decided to write a book to teach her children a valuable life lesson and show them that they are capable of achieving their dreams. The book she wrote to prove a point is now a #1 bestseller in the UK, USA, Canada & Australia.

Christie is an ambassador for @ZuriProject raising money/awareness and engaging with impoverished people in Uganda through organisations to improve their well-being.

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Cold Temptation – Zoe Ashwood

Welcome back everyone, I have a bonus review for you, courtesy of Zoe Ashwood!

I’ve been looking forward to reading this since Zoe announced this world was turning into a series. And I want to lead with the fact that I’m already looking forward to the final instalment. Not that I’m sure when that’s coming out… Hopefully later this yr!

I loved the way the Mika and Kol were fighting their attraction yet fighting to be together as well. Like Cold Attraction, we come in after the initial romantic feelings begin, and get the story after that. In this case we begin at the funeral of the previous King of Rendu.

Unlike the previous book, the drama doesn’t come from external forces and the human need to know more. This time it comes purely from Mika and her desire to know more about the animals of Rendu while also proving to be incredibly unlucky.

I mean, who else falls down a glacier, goes walking in a blizzard and gets sick?

Those trails and tribulations put a lot of pressure on them and their relationship. Following both of them as they learn about the other customs, world, dangers, weaknesses, strengths and their place in each other’s lives was so enjoyable.

I know whenever I read one of Zoe’s book’s I’m in for a quick, fun, action packed romance that’s a little different to her previous books. It feels like with every book she writes she does something a little bit different.

The only thing I was really surprised about was the epilogue. The first book had the epilogue months after from Adriana’s point of view. Having this one be from Hanna’s point of view was quite a surprise. Yet it’s what’s driving my excitement about the final book. So I kinda get why Zoe decided to change her pace for the epilogue this time.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Monday I’ll be reviewing Clover Cottage by Christie Barlow.

The Eternal Banquet – Jennifer Macaire

Welcome back everyone, we’re up to the last book in the series and I can’t believe I’m finally done with the series!

Those little things that frustrated me in the last book were all corrected in this book while Ashley, Alexander and Plexis found their way through the rest of their lives.

The focus of this book is on their travels home from the land of the Eaters of the Dead. There were several revelations that, for the first time in this series, made me think about something philosophical. Normally I’ve found this series to be a great relaxation read rather than a reflective and learning kind of book.

The moment that hit me was when they were leaving Carthage for Rome. If you read the book, you’ll know what I mean with that moment. I was left wondering if maybe she was always meant to travel back in time to ensure that history played out exactly as it was meant to. Maybe every time traveller that got stuck back in time had a vital role to play in the history of the world and the Institute of Time let them make changes while also keeping up the reputation of wiping them from the Earth to discourage too much control.

As much as I loved the story, the style of the writing felt a touch off at a few points. Even the last couple of chapters felt a little bit rushed. Yet I can’t see how the ending would have been satisfying any other way.

Given the difference in the whole story compared to history, I can see why we needed the wrap up of what happened to Ashley’s children and where she ended up. I’m not sure if the main reason I didn’t like this was because I didn’t want the story to end, or because there really was something missing.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week that last instalment of The Circle Opens quartet will be reviewed. After that, I’ll be starting a new set of series to replace this one.

Game Changer – Lasairiona E. McMaster

Welcome back everyone, after finishing the Lisa Miller series earlier in the year I’m now starting the AJ Williams series. The same events, but from AJ’s perspective.

I was wondering how much this series could offer me as I’ve read a couple of books that were written after another book but from another character’s perspective. Normally I find these books quite repetitive and boring.

Somehow, Lasairionas writing makes it work. I think having most of the book focus on AJ’s thoughts or his interactions with people when Lisa wasn’t there made it work. Instead of rehashing what’s already been said from Lisa’s perspective, we get an insight into AJ’s mind, bipolar and all.

We also get an insight into AJ’s relationships with others. Especially Jeremey.

I’m honestly not sure how accurate AJ’s thoughts are of bipolar, never having suffered it myself, but I hope it’s as accurate as possible. Reading his thoughts go backwards and forwards, questioning, the self-doubt. It made him more relatable and it made me wonder about what I know is to come in future books.

Some of the major incidents in this book gave me a whole different view of what happened. Some of the things that happened, when explained from Lisa’s perspective left me confused. Meaning when I got to read what happened to AJ it made total sense. It also gave me a lot more empathy for him than I had when reading Lisa’s book.

I can’t wait until I get to read what happens next and how AJ handles it himself.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Monday I’ll be reviewing The New Guy by Kathryn Freeman. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Lasairiona McMaster grew up dreaming of an exciting life abroad, and, after graduating from Queens University, Belfast, that is exactly what she did – with her then-boyfriend, now husband of almost ten years. Having recently repatriated to Northern Ireland after a decade abroad spanned over two countries (seven and a half years in America and eighteen months in India), she now finds herself ‘home’, with itchy feet and dreams of her next expatriation. With a penchant for both travelling, and writing, she started a blog during her first relocation to Houston, Texas and, since repatriating to Northern Ireland, has decided to do as everyone has been telling her to do for years, and finally pen a book (or two) and get published while she tries to adjust to the people and place she left ten years ago, where nothing looks the same as it did when she left.

Cold Fire – Tamora Pierce

Welcome back everyone, continuing on with Tamora Pierce’s book’s I’m up to Daja.

I’ve always had a soft spot for Daja because she was ostracised and banished from her culture yet rose above that to make something of herself in a way that goes against her culture’s traditions and beliefs. By staying true to herself and her magic.

What more could you ask of anyone?

The fact that Daja finds not one, but two students with vastly different personalities, skill sets and desires for their lives was great. She finds herself navigating not only the magical world in an unknown city and country, but she also needs to navigate the political and aristocratic marriage mart scenes.

Some of my favourite moments in this book involve Oakborn, the wood master mage, and Potcracker, the cook master mage. Some of Daja’s interactions with them are amusing, even after the 10th or more read of them. How often can you say that about books?

Growing up, I thought Daja was having a bit of a romance situation going on. However, looking back now I can see that it was never going to be a romance. But 16-year-old me didn’t know enough about romance to know this. And I was idealistic that maybe one of them would get lucky.

Whenever I go back to re-read this book I look forward to the balance of humour and action that is woven brilliantly throughout the book.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; tomorrow I’ll be reviewing Game Changer by Lasairiona E. McMaster.

Magic Unleashed – Devri Walls

Welcome back everyone, from a fantasy romance heavily steeped in Greek mythology we’re moving on to a review that is entirely fantasy. Including a whole new world.

This is the first book in a series (there are only 2 books?) about a world that is parallel to our own. There are doorways that connect the two, except these have been cursed to open at random times and there’s no set time the door will be open for. This makes it super hard for anyone to move between the two worlds.

Given all the fantasy creatures like werewolves, dragons, vampires, elves, faeries etc are all in this alternate world and many of them aren’t that friendly that’s probably a good thing! Except the only people capable to enforcing laws in this world are Venators. Bred from humans and modified to be especially invulnerable to the supernatural (for example, a werewolf bite won’t turn them).

Due to their bloodlust and hatred of all things supernatural they got banished from Eon back to Earth. I think, a few hundred years later we get to follow the first two Venators to enter Eon and their struggles as they come to grips with their new lives, roles, powers and their own moral conscience.

Reading the blurb and checking it out on Goodreads I was a little unsure about this because it sounded like it would be a YA novel. After chatting to Dave, he assured me it was closer to a New Adult read than YA, so I agreed to read it. And I’m glad I did.

Contrary to what Goodreads suggests, the writing style to me screams New Adult. The focus is on the world building, one’s conscience, politics and espionage. Those silly niggly things I don’t like about YA novels wasn’t evident in this book at all. The two Venators (both 19) are aware that they don’t know everything, they seek advice and they learn from their mistakes. Something most YA seem to miss out on.

The first couple of chapters were a little boring, but they are necessary to set the scene and the Venators personalities. Once Tate join’s them though, everything changes. It becomes full of action, so full that the whole 416 pages only spans like 3 days. There’s so much depth to each character, the locations, the sights and the politics that it’s impossible to be bored.

By the time you get towards the end you feel like you’re exhausted from all the adrenaline pumping through your body. Every description had me on edge and feeling like I was there right with the characters, experiencing both physically and emotionally what they were going through.

And then I was suckered in by people’s motives so much that when the book ended on a short chapter from one of the side characters where you get a hint of those motives. All I could think was “No! Why is he thinking that? What does that mean? What is he? What’s he mean to this world? Why did you have to end like THAT?!”

Suffice it to say, I’m going to need to get the second book to find out what happens coz I need more.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Friday I’ll be reviewing Cold Fire by Tamora Pierce. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Devri Walls is a US and international bestselling author. Having released five novels to date, she specialises in all things fantasy and paranormal. She is best known for her uncanny world-building skills and her intricate stroylines, and her ability to present this all in an easy-to-digest voice.

Now gearing up for her first national release, Devri is excited to introduce her sixth novel, book one in the Venators series. She loves to engage with her loyal following through social media and online sessions she organises for her readers.

Devri lives in Meridian, Idaho with her husband and two kids. When not writing she can be found teaching voice lessons, reading, cooking or binge watching whatever show catches her fancy.

Breath of Passion – Lisa Kessler

Welcome back everyone, we’re into week 2 (second month) of the Muse Chronicles and the third book.

To recap, by the time this book recap’s we’re probably a yr on from the start of the first book, 2-3 months on from the previous books main timeframe, one Muse down with two paired up with their Guardians.

I was confused for a little bit about how Reed’s talents were going to be useful as Erica’s Guardian. But as the story developed, showing us more of each of their lives, the shift in the Order of the Titans etc it made sense.

At first, I wasn’t sure if I liked the shift that was going on. Yet, as I got further into the story, I found myself enjoying that the series had more to it than the predictable. By changing up the pace, the enemy and the focus of the book (slightly) it felt like I got a deeper sense of their overall story in a way that’s much more relatable.

I don’t expect every aspect of a paranormal romance to be relatable, yet I love it when elements are brought in that are super relatable. Or at the very least, more normal, more human. However, an element that I found similar to Sherrilyn Kenyon’s style is introducing future characters in each book.

At least, I’m guessing that this is the case. It seems odd to give side characters names that the main characters then focus in on if that’s not going to be the case. So, I’m guessing the girls have found two more Guardian’s by the end of this book. And I will add, I haven’t started the next book yet so I have no idea if this prediction will come true!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, the next couple of months will follow a similar flow to this past month as there’s still a few books to go in each of these series. Once they are done, I’ll just flow into a new series to replace it. Maybe one day I’ll be done? Who knows!

Altered Carbon – Intro

Genres: Sci-Fi

A few years ago, a new sci-fi, steampunk series was released on Netflix; Altered Carbon. As soon as I saw the trailer, I knew it was one I wanted to see, so when it finally dropped, I binged it over a single weekend. The following month I was able to keep reliving each episode as my work friends worked their way through the series and I was able to talk about it with them.

We dissected each episode from the choice of actors, the cinematics, the way it was shown and what they could have done differently to make it better. When I started my book blog a couple months later, these same friends suggested I do a comparison of the book to the Netflix adaptation.

Before Christmas I saw the announcement that Season 2 would be dropping in Quarter 1 of 2020 so I realised I needed to get a move on with my comparison of Season 1 if I wanted to keep up. Especially since there are only 3 books!

To help with this I asked for a Secret Santa to give me a copy of Altered Carbon, and I was lucky enough to get it! Yay!

Unfortunately, I’d signed up for so many book tours in January and February I knew I couldn’t get to it until March. So even though Season 2 dropped a week ago I’ll be reviewing Season 1 with the first book over the next 10 weeks. Then I’ll go straight into Season 2 over the following 8 weeks.

Whether you’re a fan of the books or the show, come back every week on a Wednesday to see how the show and the book are the same or different, and who did it better. Feel free to disagree or even point out anything I’ve missed coz I’m only human and I may see or interpret things differently to you.

Come back in a week for my comparison of the first episode of Season 1!

You can also keep track of each episode and book over on my Altered Carbon page.

Image credit: Fanbolt

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From Thailand with Love – Camilla Isley

Welcome back everyone, after having to force myself to finish the last book I read I had a great time jumping into the fifth book in the First Comes Love series. Of which I read and reviewed the 4th book, To the Stars and Back last year.

Within 2 pages I fell in love with Winter and the antics she was getting up to. By the time I finished reading the first day (can’t remember how many chapters that was…) I knew I was going to love this book. How could I not when I found myself laughing so much in such a short period of time?

As I got further and further into the story, I loved Winter more and more. She’s so sassy, confident and focussed against all odds. How could I not love it? Even some of her plotting had me cracking up coz it’s exactly what I’d do in her position.

Logan’s side also had me chuckling. Yet once they’re out on their expedition and the exciting stuff happens, I found myself loving him as well. I don’t want to ruin the book by talking about how exciting this is. But I’d like to compare it to Indiana Jones, maybe a bit of the Mummy in there too.

I flew through this book and didn’t even care that my partner wanted to watch a YouTube video and the next morning stay in bed rather than be with me while we were at a hotel celebrating our 8-year anniversary. Why? Coz it meant I got to read some more!

After finishing this book, I made the decision that I needed to read the rest of the series and went and bought the collection of the first three books. Sometime in the future you’ll see those reviews. I’m just not sure when that’ll happen just yet.

If you love romance, humour and action/drama in your stories then you need to go and buy this and read it RIGHT NOW. Each book in the series is a standalone. There is a minor detail in this book that would slightly (not really since it’s a romance) ruin the 4th book. But otherwise you don’t need to worry about reading them in order.

Just go and get this and read it now! GO!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Wednesday I’ll be introducing a new series of posts and on Friday I’ll be reviewing Breathe of Passion by Lisa Kessler. Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.

Author Bio

Camilla is an engineer turned writer after she quit her job to follow her husband on an adventure abroad.

She’s a cat lover, coffee addict, and shoe hoarder. Besides writing, she loves reading—duh!—cooking, watching bad TV, and going to the movies—popcorn, please. She’s a bit of a foodie, nothing too serious. A keen traveler, Camilla knows mosquitoes play a role in the ecosystem, and she doesn’t want to starve all those frog princes out there, but she could really live without them.

You can check out Camilla on her various social media accounts including BookBub and Pinterest.

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