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Category: Books I Love

I love to read, and when I read a book I love I write a review about it! Please bear in mind that I’m not a professional reviewer, neither is it the main purpose of this blog. I do not get paid for my reviews, neither can you bribe me into writing a positive review for a book I didn’t enjoy (then again, no one has tried to offer me cookies before…)

Review: Victor by Brianna West

“Lilly Hughes, pureblood witch and Guardian-in-training, has worked arduously the last three years to become the best Guardian in her class in hopes of securing a position on Lucas Easton’s team, the highest coveted position in the Guardians and the team her late mother was a member of. However, she suffers from a dangerously clumsy nature that threatens to make that dream just that, a dream.

Until she meets Victor, supervising angel to Lucas Easton’s team and active member on the Promiscus Guardian council. He’s an angel with a gentlemanly demeanor and incredible looks that immediately turns her bad luck for good. Or does he? His gentle nature is hiding a dark secret, a past that Lilly has been desperate to know since she was told of how her mother perished in a mission.

What is Victor’s connection to it? How can she control these subsurface desires for the one man who might hold the key to her future and the secret behind her mother’s death? Will it ultimately lead to tragedy?”

What I thought:

I took Victor with me on holiday because when has a steamy paranormal romance not gone well with holidays? Exactly.

(And yes, I’m beyond annoyed with myself that I forgot to take a picture of it on holiday, so if it doesn’t look sunny it’s because it’s not -.-)

I read Awakening earlier this year and knew this is the spin-off series. It works well as such, and offers a bit of extra background information. Some of the characters from the main series do make an appearance while others are mentioned, so if you’ve read Promiscus Guardians first you’ll recognise the names. I was worried (too late, naturally – I was on holiday by that point and pretty committed to reading it) that it might spoil a few things for the main series since I’ve only read the one book, but there wasn’t anything that could spoil the next books for me. It’s also not necessary to have read Promiscus Guardians first, so either way you’re good!

The main character, Lilly, was great fun to read and the plot was just as action-packed as in Awakening. Personally, I found it a little too cheesy and cliche. I prefer romances that develop slowly over time to people falling in love the moment they see one another. The latter always sounds more like lust rather than actual love to me and I can’t help but feel they’ll separate sooner or later.

I will read the rest of the spin-off series eventually but will focus on Promiscus Guardians first, just in case there are spoilers further down the line.


Have you read Victor? Get some cookies, drop me a comment and let’s get this book club going!

I don’t review books professionally. These reviews are mainly a small summary and my opinion on books I’ve loved, they are not intended to be anything more. All ‘reviews’ include a picture, title and name of author linking to the book’s Goodreads listing, the blurb from the back of the book and my non-professional verdict.

For all other book reviews, please take a look here.

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Review: Reflections by Briana Morgan

“‘Rama would trade almost anything for the chance to become someone else, even for a little while.’

In the small, rural town of Aldale, West Virginia, Ramachandra “Rama” Ganeshan wants nothing more than to avoid dressing rooms for the rest of her life. After a brutal assault destroys her confidence and self-esteem, she yearns to be someone else . . . someone pretty, popular, and loved—until multiple girls in town are found murdered.

After stumbling across her beautiful classmate’s body and a terrifyingly familiar face in the murderer, Rama encounters a group of shapeshifters who know more of the killings than they let on.

Only by earning the shapeshifters’ trust and becoming one of them will Rama be able to help serve justice.

But first, she must learn to love herself and confront her painful past—and find the courage to investigate the violence.”

What I thought:

I read Touch by Morgan earlier this year and was really excited to read more by her. Reflections  was so good, friends <3 This is how you self-publish, my fellow writers! Reflections has easily earned Morgan her place on my insta-buy list.

I instantly fell in love with Rama. She’s vulnerable and she’s been hurt badly, and I wanted to hold her and make her tea so. badly. It was hard to put down from the moment I started, and I really enjoyed the writing.

Vishnu, Brahma, Kali, Ganesha – whoever’s listening, I need help. I’ve never been so terrified of anything before. I know what needs to happen, but I’m not sure I can do it. Every time I try, my body freaks out. I have a meltdown. Help me, help me, help me.

The best part for me was Rama’s character development. Morgan writes insanely realistic characters, and the way Rama went from a shy girl who can’t stand to look at herself in the mirror to this beautiful unstoppable force of justice was wonderful <3

Like many young women, Rama has confidence issues. She hates to look at her reflection, she hates clothes shopping with her beautiful friend who looks stunning in everything, and she’s hurting so deeply she doesn’t know if she’ll ever have the strength to tell her parents what was done to her, because she’s scared they’ll blame her instead. I felt for her so hard, friends. I can’t remember the last time I felt this connected to a character <3 This book got to me.

He didn’t know how Javesh had hurt her.

If it were up to her, he’d never know. She couldn’t imagine what that would do to him, and she loved him far too much to put him through that kind of pain.

It made much more sense for her to struggle through it on her own, to keep her pain locked up and shut out the rest of the world. Maybe one day she’d get past it, but she’d never forget it. Never.

Reflections deals with the sensitive issue of rape, and how Rama, the victim, deals with it and with the impact on her life. She feels lost, and above all else she’s scared that no one will believe her or even blame her, so she doesn’t tell anyone. It’s a poignant read, and Rama’s transformation was inspiring to watch. If you’re struggling with this very issue yourself, read this book. It just might help. If you’re not struggling with this very issue yourself, read it anyway. Awareness and support are everything, friends.


Have you read Reflections? Get some cookies, drop me a comment and let’s get this book club going!

I don’t review books professionally. These reviews are mainly a small summary and my opinion on books I’ve loved, they are not intended to be anything more. All ‘reviews’ include a picture, title and name of author linking to the book’s Goodreads listing, the blurb from the back of the book and my non-professional verdict.

For all other book reviews, please take a look here.

Sign up for my newsletter for updates on my books and recommendations to help you grow as a writer:

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Review: The Dragon Sleeps by Ellen Read

“A Dragon statue. An ancient sword.

What treasure is worth killing for?

It’s 1927 in Victoria, Australia. A hedonistic time after the Great War
when young people knew they could enjoy life without the threat of war hanging over them. A time when women have more options opened to them.

There is a weekend house party at Thornton Park and Alexandra Thornton thinks it will be a good time to break the news to her father that she wants to be an antiques dealer, like him, her grandfather and great-grandfather before her.

Only a small number of people are invited. Amongst the guests are Zhang Huo,
the Chinese antiques dealer who, with his son, has brought a Ming dragon statue from China for Thomas Thornton.

Benedict Archer, who is manager of Thornton Antiques in Melbourne and who has
been secretly helping Alexandra learn more about her family business, is also invited. Alexandra asks Benedict and Edith Blackburn, her friend since childhood, to be with her when she approaches her father.

When Edith claims that Benedict is in love with her, Alexandra can’t believe it.
In all the time they’d been at Thornton Antiques together, he’d never said
a word. Now, Alexandra looks at him differently.
Can it be true?

Then a body found in the orchard and, before the weekend is over, a priceless artefact is stolen. Alexandra is determined to discover how these things are connected to the Ming dragon and the antiques her great-grandfather brought
with him from Hong Kong so many years ago.

What secret has remained hidden atThornton Park for the last eight years?”

What I thought:

The Dragon Sleeps was my first murder mystery in a long time! I used to read them all the time when I was younger, and then my paranoia won over and I had to stop because apparently everything scares me? In murder mysteries, anyway.

This book reminded me why I love this genre so much! It was the first of my four holiday reads, and it was so easy to get lost in it; perfect for my holiday!

Alexandra is the daughter of a rather wealthy antiques dealer. She’s an incredibly good person, but not to the extend that she can’t see any bad in people. She wants to see the good in everything, but she’s not naive. She’s also not content to stick to her current lifestyle of being waited on and doing nothing but attending social events: she wants to be an antiques dealer like her father and grandfather (and so on – you get the idea), and has been studying behind his back.

When the first body is found, she doesn’t cower in a corner and prays for everything to blow over. She takes an active part in helping the murders get solved, and knowingly puts herself in danger when she’s sure it’ll help solve the mystery.

If you don’t love her already, let me summarise: Alexandra isn’t some spoilt brat, but a brave, intelligent young woman who doesn’t care for social norms and would much rather work than sit around looking pretty all day. She has wealth (you should see that manor, friends!), but she doesn’t wish to hide behind it.

One of my favourite aspects was Alexandra’s relationship with Edith. It added some adorable banter and was used well to lighten up the mood when the murders upset the peace.

The plot developed well, and gave just enough new information when the last plot twist had sunk in. The more I read, the harder it was to put down and while I had my suspicions regarding the murderer’s identity, there was so much more going on. While I was mostly right, there were other motives and developments in the background, too, and it kept me turning the pages.

Thornton Park is on my list of fictional places to visit when I die and go to author/bookworm heaven (because it’s definitely the same place, or maybe I can hop from cloud to cloud?) (nobody burst my bubble, please). The gardens, the park, the animals cuddling to you… <3 Need. To. Go!

This has definitely made me want to read more mystery novels again. I’m looking forward to the sequel and can’t wait to see how the story develops next. If you don’t usually read much mystery, this could be a good starting novel for you because it’s not too heavy. If mystery is your thing and you fancy something more light-hearted, I recommend this, too! (And just so we understand each other – I’m only calling it light-hearted because it didn’t scare me witless! I appreciate that in my books!)


Have you read The Dragon Sleeps? Get some cookies, drop me a comment and let’s get this book club going!

I don’t review books professionally. These reviews are mainly a small summary and my opinion on books I’ve loved, they are not intended to be anything more. All ‘reviews’ include a picture, title and name of author linking to the book’s Goodreads listing, the blurb from the back of the book and my non-professional verdict.

For all other book reviews, please take a look here.

Sign up for my newsletter for updates on my books and recommendations to help you grow as a writer:

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WWW Wednesday 5th July 2017

This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. A similar meme, This Week in Books is hosted by Lipsyy Lost and Found.

Why not join in? Just answer the following three questions in a post and then put a link to that post in the comments over at Taking on a World of Words.

WWW Wednesday

Friends, I read so many books on holiday <3 Prepare yourselves!

I’m trying to catch up with all my reviews 😛 I’m not usually this far behind but then I don’t usually go on holiday. All being well everything will be reviewed on Goodreads by the beginning of next week.

This meme will be categorised together with my book reviews. All links will get you to the book’s Goodreads listing, as always 🙂

***

What I’m currently reading

The Caves of Steel

I bought this book over a year ago and it’s a classic, so I figured it was about time I got to it! This is my second read by Asimov and I think I enjoy this one even more… It’s really hard to put this down. I wasn’t sure whether I’d like the writing style because of how old it is, but it’s very easy to read and if anything its age makes it more incredible. The things Asimov envisioned! I’m really glad I picked this up now. It’s so good, friends <3 Even if I have no idea how to prounce Lije.

Blurb:

A millennium into the future two advancements have altered the course of human history: the colonization of the galaxy and the creation of the positronic brain. Isaac Asimov’s Robot novels chronicle the unlikely partnership between a New York City detective and a humanoid robot who must learn to work together. Like most people left behind on an over-populated Earth, New York City police detective Elijah Baley had little love for either the arrogant Spacers or their robotic companions. But when a prominent Spacer is murdered under mysterious circumstances, Baley is ordered to the Outer Worlds to help track down the killer. The relationship between Life and his Spacer superiors, who distrusted all Earthmen, was strained from the start. Then he learned that they had assigned him a partner: R. Daneel Olivaw. Worst of all was that the “R” stood for robot–and his positronic partner was made in the image and likeness of the murder victim!

***

What I recently finished reading

Norma Jean’s School of Witchery: Book 1: Jewel

Unfortunately this didn’t work for me. Jewel’s life was a little too perfect to be believable (perfect mum, perfect adoptive parents, perfect group of friends, perfect first day at a new school, all of the talent) and as a result I found it hard to connect with her. I hate reviewing books I didn’t enjoy but I hope I was helpful rather than discouraging. My review is up on Goodreads now if you’re interested.

Blurb:

Jewel has a problem. She’s in a witch school and can’t get the most basic spells to work. Her true magical talents must remain hidden. That might be hard to do with a killer on the loose. Murder, mayhem, and magic with a little romance along the way.

 

The Dragon Sleeps

This was the first of my five holiday reads (I told you we’d be here a while! 😛 ) and I really enjoyed it. I haven’t read mystery in a long time but I’m glad I picked this up.

My review is on my blog tomorrow and later today on Goodreads so I won’t say too much now, but if you’re a fan of light-hearted murder mysteries (I say light-hearted because it didn’t scare the wits out of me) then this is for you!

Blurb:

A Dragon statue. An ancient sword.

What treasure is worth killing for?

It’s 1927 in Victoria, Australia. A hedonistic time after the Great War
when young people knew they could enjoy life without the threat of war hanging over them. A time when women have more options opened to them.

There is a weekend house party at Thornton Park and Alexandra Thornton thinks it will be a good time to break the news to her father that she wants to be an antiques dealer, like him, her grandfather and great-grandfather before her.

Only a small number of people are invited. Amongst the guests are Zhang Huo,
the Chinese antiques dealer who, with his son, has brought a Ming dragon statue from China for Thomas Thornton.

Benedict Archer, who is manager of Thornton Antiques in Melbourne and who has
been secretly helping Alexandra learn more about her family business, is also invited. Alexandra asks Benedict and Edith Blackburn, her friend since childhood, to be with her when she approaches her father.

When Edith claims that Benedict is in love with her, Alexandra can’t believe it.
In all the time they’d been at Thornton Antiques together, he’d never said
a word. Now, Alexandra looks at him differently.
Can it be true?

Then a body found in the orchard and, before the weekend is over, a priceless artefact is stolen. Alexandra is determined to discover how these things are connected to the Ming dragon and the antiques her great-grandfather brought
with him from Hong Kong so many years ago.

What secret has remained hidden atThornton Park for the last eight years?

Reflections

I was really excited for my second holiday read, and I wasn’t disappointed. This was my second read by Morgan and again I’m amazed that she’s self-published. Take notes, writers! This is how you do it!

I loved Rama, and loved seeing her grow in every respect. This was character development done extremely well, friends <3 It was so easy to root for her, and I’m thrilled with how the book ended.

Blurb:

“Rama would trade almost anything for the chance to become someone else, even for a little while.”

In the small, rural town of Aldale, West Virginia, Ramachandra “Rama” Ganeshan wants nothing more than to avoid dressing rooms for the rest of her life. After a brutal assault destroys her confidence and self-esteem, she yearns to be someone else . . . someone pretty, popular, and loved—until multiple girls in town are found murdered.

After stumbling across her beautiful classmate’s body and a terrifyingly familiar face in the murderer, Rama encounters a group of shapeshifters who know more of the killings than they let on.

Only by earning the shapeshifters’ trust and becoming one of them will Rama be able to help serve justice.

But first, she must learn to love herself and confront her painful past—and find the courage to investigate the violence.

Victor

I really enjoyed Awakening so I had high hoped for Victor. It’s a spin-off series to the main series, and while I liked the book it didn’t work quite as well for me. Entirely my fault – I thought it was an erotic novella, when it was actually a novel and didn’t get steamy until the second half.

I’ll finish the Promiscus Guardians series first before I come back to the spin-off, partly because I don’t want to risk spoilers.

Blurb:

**A companion series to Promiscus Guardians series and standalone paranormal romance** 

Lilly Hughes, pureblood witch and Guardian-in-training, has worked arduously the last three years to become the best Guardian in her class in hopes of securing a position on Lucas Easton’s team, the highest coveted position in the Guardians and the team her late mother was a member of. However, she suffers from a dangerously clumsy nature that threatens to make that dream just that, a dream. 

Until she meets Victor, supervising angel to Lucas Easton’s team and active member on the Promiscus Guardian council. He’s an angel with a gentlemanly demeanor and incredible looks that immediately turns her bad luck for good. Or does he? His gentle nature is hiding a dark secret, a past that Lilly has been desperate to know since she was told of how her mother perished in a mission. 

What is Victor’s connection to it? How can she control these subsurface desires for the one man who might hold the key to her future and the secret behind her mother’s death? Will it ultimately lead to tragedy?

The Gateway

I’m afraid this is the second book in a short time that didn’t work for me :/ Reviewing books I didn’t like is so hard, because I don’t want to be discouraging. There was a lot of potential, but I think what it needed more than anything was an editor. The dialogue was unnatural and didn’t flow well, there was a lot of unnecessary information thrown in, and the scenes that should have packed a punch and/or were huge plot developments were summarised in short paragraphs, and therefore didn’t convey the excitement they should have done. It felt more like a first draft to me, and I don’t think it was ready to be published. A huge shame, too, because the idea was great!

Blurb:

On the morning of Monday March 3, 2059 in a laboratory located on the University of Chicago campus in Chicago, Illinois, world renowned physicist, 38-year-old Dr. Richard Caulman and his colleagues Dr. Lawrence Jones and Dr. Jonathan Reynolds are about to initiate the inaugural test of Dr. Caulman’s revolutionary dimensional gateway. Dr. Caulman believes that if his gateway works properly it will revolutionize the way people travel and eliminating the need for any kind of transportation..

Upon initiating the gateway, Dr. Reynolds realizes that they didn’t instruct the gateway to open in California, which was their intention. Unfortunately for Dr. Caulman, the gateway has opened on another planet located in another dimension.

Before Dr. Caulman is able to close the gateway, six humanoids accompanied by six creatures emerge from the other side. What do these humanoids and creatures have in store for the inhabitants of the Earth? Can Dr. Caulman stop whatever it is that they have planned? And will he also be able to protect his wife, Jennifer, and children, Richie and Beth, from the alien threat?

After the humanoids return and reveal their plans for the inhabitants of the Earth, will Dr. Caulman and the other government officials that become involved in defending the planet be able to kill the humanoids and save the planet? …

The Invisible Library

Phew, I made it to my final holiday read! 😀 I work in a library myself and love books (… duh.), so reading about librarians who have their own type of magic and travel to parallel worlds to collect rare books and kick butt was bliss. Also, there are dragons.

I won’t rush to read the sequel because it sounds like it features different characters altogether, and I’ve fallen in love with this now. I will get to it eventually, just not right now.

Blurb:

Irene must be at the top of her game or she’ll be off the case – permanently…

Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, which harvests fiction from different realities. And along with her enigmatic assistant Kai, she’s posted to an alternative London. Their mission – to retrieve a dangerous book. But when they arrive, it’s already been stolen. London’s underground factions seem prepared to fight to the very death to find her book.

Adding to the jeopardy, this world is chaos-infested – the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic. Irene’s new assistant is also hiding secrets of his own.

Soon, she’s up to her eyebrows in a heady mix of danger, clues and secret societies. Yet failure is not an option – the nature of reality itself is at stake.

***

What I think I’ll read next

Never Let Me Go

This isn’t one of my more recent purchases, but I’ve had my eye on it for a while. I kept reading the first paragraph in my library to see if I’d like it, and it just flows so well and drew me in immediately even though it’s not my usual genre. I’m getting through The Caves of Steel pretty quickly, so I’m hoping to start this early next week.

Blurb:

As children, Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy were students at Hailsham, an exclusive boarding school secluded in the English countryside. It was a place of mercurial cliques and mysterious rules where teachers were constantly reminding their charges of how special they were. Now, years later, Kathy is a young woman. Ruth and Tommy have reentered her life, and for the first time she is beginning to look back at their shared past and understand just what it is that makes them special—and how that gift will shape the rest of their time together.

I think there may be an ARC coming my way, though, so plans might change!

***

Have you read any of these and would like to chat about it? I look forward to hearing from you if you do – just leave a comment below and we can get this book club started!

Sign up for my newsletter for updates on my books and recommendations to help you grow as a writer:

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Review: The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett

“In The Light Fantastic only one individual can save the world from a disastrous collision. Unfortunately, the hero happens to be the singularly inept wizard Rincewind, who was last seen falling off the edge of the world…”

What I thought:

Why do I always have to struggle to review this series?? It’s not that I don’t take any notes, but it’s hard to do it justice. It’s mad, and there’s magic, and then it’s insane on top of mad, and the humour is rather delightful!

(…Can I go?)

I needed a feel-good read, and this was perfect!

It should be noted that the last time the two of them had seen the city it was burning quite fiercely, a fact which had a lot to do with Twoflower introducing the concept of fire insurance to a venial but ignorant populace. But devastating fires were a regular feature of Morporkian life and it had always been cheerfully and meticulously rebuilt, using the traditional local materials of tinder-dry wood and thatch water-proofed with tar.

The Light Fantastic made me smile on almost every page – I love love love the humour in these books! It’s exactly what I wanted, and I got through it in a matter of days. I know some of you read five books a week (it’s dark magic, right? RIGHT?) but my reading time is limited, so that I didn’t need one week for this one should tell you how quickly I got through it.

I did feel a little sad at the end when they parted ways. I knew that the same characters wouldn’t lead the entire series, but it still felt like something wonderful and truly magical had come to an end when Twoflower bought passage on that ship (or the ship itself, or the whole fleet, given how much he spent on it). I hope to see them pop up again here and there (there’s got to be room somewhere in 41 books, right?) but I’m also excited to see what else awaits in the Discworld <3

“Panic?” said Rincewind hopefully. He always held that panic was the best means of survival; back in the olden days, his theory went, people faced with hungry sabre-toothed tigers could be divided very simply into those who panicked and those who stood there saying ‘What a magnificent brute!’ and ‘Here, pussy.’

I’ll probably read Equal Rights when I’m back from my holiday. I’m a little behind on my goal to read ten Discworld novels this year (so far I’ve read one… *ahem*) so I’ve got to step it up a bit!


Have you read The Light Fantastic? What’s your favourite Discworld novel? Get some cookies, drop me a comment and let’s get this book club going!

I don’t review books professionally. These reviews are mainly a small summary and my opinion on books I’ve loved, they are not intended to be anything more. All ‘reviews’ include a picture, title and name of author linking to the book’s Goodreads listing, the blurb from the back of the book and my non-professional verdict.

For all other book reviews, please take a look here.

Sign up for my newsletter for updates on my books and recommendations to help you grow as a writer:

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Review: Becoming Lili by Julia Blake

“Never has an ugly duckling turned into such a beautiful swan…

An ugly duckling girl, Phyllis is bullied viciously at school and is unloved at home, a lonely teenager, longing for so much more from life …

Suddenly, a random encounter with a stranger, offers her a chance to have it all … if only she has the courage to change, to grasp the opportunity with both hands.

In the years that follow, as her dreams of attaining friends and beauty are realised, others join her on her journey to Becoming Lili. She realises, even when you seem to have everything, sometimes, the one thing you really want, is the one thing you just can’t have.

Becoming Lili is an epic, heart-warming tale of aspiration, friendship and love set against a backdrop of the vibrant 90’s, and is packed full of unforgettable characters you will instantly fall in love with.”

What I thought:

Unloved and unwanted by her own parents and bullied mercilessly at school, Phyllis’ only real comfort is her grandma. When her grandma passes away, she has no one left to love her. You’d have to be a cold monster not to feel at least a little protective of her! I just wanted to give her all of the hugs and make her all of the hot chocolate <3 I found it easy to connect with her, and was absolutely thrilled when she met Amy and prayed that their friendship would last!

Her transformation from Phyllis into Lili was inspiring and wonderful to follow. I didn’t expect it to happen so soon, but I loved seeing how she influenced her new friends in much the same way that one pretty mystery lady influenced her one fateful day in the supermarket. Seeing Lili have such a positive affect on her own friends was fantastic to see, and when Lindy reflected on that it felt like Lili’s story had come full circle. In fact, my favourite scene is at the end when Lili is in the supermarket and feels overcome by a deja vu she can’t explain. It was such an important moment in her life, and that Blake included it was a genius move!

“Boris is another one of Lili’s lame ducks,” continued Kevin.

“Lame ducks?” Martin frowned.

“Lili collects strays,” explained Kevin. “Boris, Lindy, You, Amy and myself, we’re all strays, misfits, broken biscuits in some way. Lili unites us all into something much more.”

Lili has suffered, and knows how horrible human beings can be to each other. Because of this she is the most caring and understanding girl who surrounds herself with others who need the same love she craved before she moved out from her parents’ home (who neither noticed nor cared, by the way).

Lili comes across as incredible believable, and her pain made it easy to root for her. While I questioned her judgement several times, like how quickly she trusted Conrad, I know it’s only because she desperately needed a friend to accept her for who she was, even when she didn’t know herself. The message is clear – it doesn’t matter where you come from or the circumstances under which you were raised; if you want to be a better person, it’s in your own power to turn yourself into anything you want. It might not be easy, but it’ll be so worthwhile! Oddly enough, it also made me want to get a make-over – make-up, hair, clothes, the whole lot. I’m not a girly girl, so when I say that’s odd… It’s odd, friends.

One thing that caught me off guard were the erotic scenes near the end. I wasn’t expecting that kind of plot, which makes this book unsuitable for younger audiences – which is a shame because I think it could have been really empowering to young girls struggling with their own confidence.

The one thing I struggled with was the omniscient POV. Narrators who know everything and switch easily between characters mid-paragraph confuse me too much, and it didn’t work for me here. I’m all for multiple POVs, but not several in one chapter, please.

If you’re looking for a book that’ll make you feel like you can do anything if you just set your mind to it no matter you’re background, I urge you to read this one!


Have you read Becoming Lili, or do you need more convincing? Get some cookies, drop me a comment and let’s get this book club going!

I don’t review books professionally. These reviews are mainly a small summary and my opinion on books I’ve loved, they are not intended to be anything more. All ‘reviews’ include a picture, title and name of author linking to the book’s Goodreads listing, the blurb from the back of the book and my non-professional verdict.

For all other book reviews, please take a look here.

Sign up for my newsletter for updates on my books and recommendations to help you grow as a writer:

Leave a Comment

WWW Wednesday 14th June 2017

This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. A similar meme, This Week in Books is hosted by Lipsyy Lost and Found.

Why not join in? Just answer the following three questions in a post and then put a link to that post in the comments over at Taking on a World of Words.

WWW Wednesday

I won’t have an update in two weeks because I’ll be on holiday (can’t say I’m sorry… 😛 ). Prepare for a monster update when I’m back! I’m planning on doing a lot of reading by the pool <3

This meme will be categorised together with my book reviews. All links will get you to the book’s Goodreads listing, as always 🙂

***

What I’m currently reading

Norma Jean’s School of Witchery: Book 1: Jewel

I was looking forward to this one but unfortunately it’s not quite living up to expectations for me. There are a few consistent issues with it which make it difficult for me to enjoy it, such as the lack of punctuation in speech and the run-on sentences. I’m just over 50% through it now and I haven’t seen any character development, but there’s still time. It’s a shorter book than expected, so I’m getting through it quickly and will finish it tomorrow.

Blurb:

Jewel has a problem. She’s in a witch school and can’t get the most basic spells to work. Her true magical talents must remain hidden. That might be hard to do with a killer on the loose. Murder, mayhem, and magic with a little romance along the way.

***

What I recently finished reading

Becoming Lili

I’m not going to go into too much detail now because my review will be up tomorrow (or you can find it now on Goodreads), but I enjoyed this one! It’s not my usual genre, but it was lovely to see Phyllis become Lili, and affect everyone else around her in such a positive way!

Blurb:

Never has an ugly duckling turned into such a beautiful swan…

An ugly duckling girl, Phyllis is bullied viciously at school and is unloved at home, a lonely teenager, longing for so much more from life …

Suddenly, a random encounter with a stranger, offers her a chance to have it all … if only she has the courage to change, to grasp the opportunity with both hands.

In the years that follow, as her dreams of attaining friends and beauty are realised, others join her on her journey to Becoming Lili. She realises, even when you seem to have everything, sometimes, the one thing you really want, is the one thing you just can’t have.

Becoming Lili is an epic, heart-warming tale of aspiration, friendship and love set against a backdrop of the vibrant 90’s, and is packed full of unforgettable characters you will instantly fall in love with.

The Light Fantastic

This was everything I wanted from a Discworld novel <3 It was a little sad to see things end and people go their separate ways, but I’m hoping some of them will make appearances in later books. I’m really looking forward to what else the Discworld has to offer!

Blurb:

‘What shall we do?’ said Twoflower.
‘Panic?’ said Rincewind hopefully. He always held that panic was the best means of survival.

As it moves towards a seemingly inevitable collision with a malevolent red star, the Discworld could do with a hero. What it doesn’t need is a singularly inept and cowardly wizard, still recovering from the trauma of falling off the edge of the world, or a well-meaning tourist and his luggage which has a mind (and legs) of its own. Which is a shame because that’s all there is…

***

What I think I’ll read next

The Dragon Sleeps

This is still my first planned holiday read! Once I’ve finished Norma Jean’s School of Witchery I’ll start this one, and I’m really looking forward to it now <3 I haven’t read a mystery novel in a while, and I’ve only heard good things!

Blurb:

A Dragon statue. An ancient sword.

What treasure is worth killing for?

It’s 1927 in Victoria, Australia. A hedonistic time after the Great War
when young people knew they could enjoy life without the threat of war hanging over them. A time when women have more options opened to them.

There is a weekend house party at Thornton Park and Alexandra Thornton thinks it will be a good time to break the news to her father that she wants to be an antiques dealer, like him, her grandfather and great-grandfather before her.

Only a small number of people are invited. Amongst the guests are Zhang Huo,
the Chinese antiques dealer who, with his son, has brought a Ming dragon statue from China for Thomas Thornton.

Benedict Archer, who is manager of Thornton Antiques in Melbourne and who has
been secretly helping Alexandra learn more about her family business, is also invited. Alexandra asks Benedict and Edith Blackburn, her friend since childhood, to be with her when she approaches her father.

When Edith claims that Benedict is in love with her, Alexandra can’t believe it.
In all the time they’d been at Thornton Antiques together, he’d never said
a word. Now, Alexandra looks at him differently.
Can it be true?

Then a body found in the orchard and, before the weekend is over, a priceless artefact is stolen. Alexandra is determined to discover how these things are connected to the Ming dragon and the antiques her great-grandfather brought
with him from Hong Kong so many years ago.

What secret has remained hidden atThornton Park for the last eight years?

Reflections

This is my second planned holiday read! I’ve been in love with Morgan’s books since I read Touch earlier this year, and am excited to read a full-length novel by her <3

Blurb:

“Rama would trade almost anything for the chance to become someone else, even for a little while.”

In the small, rural town of Aldale, West Virginia, Ramachandra “Rama” Ganeshan wants nothing more than to avoid dressing rooms for the rest of her life. After a brutal assault destroys her confidence and self-esteem, she yearns to be someone else . . . someone pretty, popular, and loved—until multiple girls in town are found murdered.

After stumbling across her beautiful classmate’s body and a terrifyingly familiar face in the murderer, Rama encounters a group of shapeshifters who know more of the killings than they let on.

Only by earning the shapeshifters’ trust and becoming one of them will Rama be able to help serve justice.

But first, she must learn to love herself and confront her painful past—and find the courage to investigate the violence.

***

Have you read any of these and would like to chat about it? I look forward to hearing from you if you do – just leave a comment below and we can get this book club started!

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Review: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir (An Ember in the Ashes #1)

“Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.”

What I thought:

Now this was a book I loved deeply end entirely! <3

An Ember in the Ashes follows two POVs: Laia, a slave, and Elias, a soldier. Laia is a scholar girl. Her people was enslaved by Elias’ people, the martials. Completely different in their upbringings and the things they’ve been taught, they were very similar in their desire to be free. I kept wondering how they’d meet, and when they finally did it was just as effortless as the rest of the book. It was so easy to root for both, and Tahir does a fabulous job developing her characters. I loved watching Laia and Elias as they figured out what they really wanted from life, how to get it, and find the courage to do what they believed in. So much love, friends <3

At the back of my mind, Darin’s voice grows fainter: Find something, Laia. Something that will save me. Hurry.

No, another, louder part of me says. Lay low. Don’t risk spying until you’re certain you won’t get caught.

Which voice do I listen to? The spy or the slave? The fighter or the coward? I thought the answers to such questions would be easy. That was before I learned what real fear was.

They weren’t the only great characters, either. Zak, Spiro Teluman, and Cain made for intriguing side characters, and the Commandant was a villain I loved to hate. I’m looking forward to seeing more of them (or the ones who live to see another book, anyway *wink wink*) in the sequel.

This was easy to love. Usually it takes me a few pages to get into a book, but this one I adored from the dedication page! I was constantly worried about what might happen next, which characters would make it to the end, and there were several points where I wasn’t sure how Laia and Elias would survive Book 1.

The background info was given naturally without being over-whelming, and as someone who loves lore and history in fiction I really enjoyed learning about the world.

“This life is not always what we think it will be,” Cain says. “You are an ember in the ashes, Elias Veturius. You will spark and burn, ravage and destroy. You cannot change it. You cannot stop it.”

I was worried there’d be a love triangle, but so far so very good! Laia is a young woman so naturally she felt attraction towards other people here and there, but generally she was too busy not dying to think about relationships, which was refreshing.

I’m dying to read the sequel, but I’m trying to be good and stick to my no-more-books-until-you’ve-read-everything-on-your-shelf rule. I might have to treat myself when I finished editing my book, though. It would make a fantastic reward.


Have you read An Ember in the Ashes, or do you need more convincing? Get some cookies, drop me a comment and let’s get this book club going!

I don’t review books professionally. These reviews are mainly a small summary and my opinion on books I’ve loved, they are not intended to be anything more. All ‘reviews’ include a picture, title and name of author linking to the book’s Goodreads listing, the blurb from the back of the book and my non-professional verdict.

For all other book reviews, please take a look here.

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Review: The King by Liz Meldon (Games We Play, #1)

“Not all vampire hunters dress in head-to-toe leather and sit on rooftops overlooking a gritty vampire-ridden city. Meet Delia Roberts. At twenty-six, she’s a mid-level hunter with the Harriswood League, and, despite her best efforts, isn’t scaling the hunter hierarchy anytime soon.

Months earlier, desperate to prove herself, Delia snuck into an exclusive vampire masquerade, only to wind up with a bite on her neck courtesy of clan leader and gorgeous vampire Claude Grimm. Fearful of the League’s punishment for succumbing to a bloodsucker’s charms, Delia does what she can to hide the bite and pretends the night never happened.

These days, however, Claude is determined to win her over, insisting the spark they felt that fateful night is worth pursuing. As Delia tries to ignore her steadily growing feelings for the enemy and fend off a mounting quarter-life crisis, vampire clan tensions worsen around the quiet city of Harriswood, bringing with them a danger unlike any the League has ever seen.

One that might change the course of history for good.”

What I thought:

This was one of my most anticipated reads this year. I already liked Meldon’s books, but this one, friends, has put her on my insta-buy list. I was looking for an intriguing urban paranormal fantasy with vampires and kickass heroines, and that’s precisely what The King is. I couldn’t have asked for more <3

I loved the characters, especially Delia and Claude. I already knew both from the prequel novella The Fool, but since novellas are short they didn’t get the time to shine that they had here. Delia is one of the most relatable characters I’ve read in a while. She tries to do the right thing when she isn’t being told half of the details herself, and makes a few bad decisions because of it, usually followed by regret. Who hasn’t been in that situation? She isn’t one of those heroines who just kinda gets lucky a lot, and guesses correctly most of the time. She’s real, and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing her struggle her way through life with the best intentions.

“Do you want me to take you home?” he asked, gently, like he was speaking to a lost child. Only she wasn’t a lost child. Just a somewhat broken adult, one who needed some time alone with a tub of ice cream, a bottle of wine, and trashy TV to nurse her bruises – on her body and on her ego.

I was actually amazed at how quickly I got through this. I wasn’t expecting a fast read since this isn’t a novella, but I flew through it all the same.

The King also had a villain I loved to hate – although, “villain” isn’t really the right word here, especially compared to the real bad guy. Kain was a twat, and added to Delia’s problems. He tries to do the right thing, too, and he believes in his cause, I just happen to disagree with him on everything 🙂

I don’t normally comment on this, but then it’s not usually worth a mention: The chapter titles were brilliant. My favourites include “CHAPTER 4: That Dream Where You’re Standing In Front of The Class Wearing No Pants…Yeah, That, But Worse”, “CHAPTER 5: I Like You, but You Suck at Your Job (Subtext)”, and “CHAPTER 11: We’re Bad at This.” :’)

If you’re looking for a fast-paced, believable paranormal erotic romance with a kick-ass heroine, you’ve found it! It’s not necessary to have read the prequel to enjoy this one, but I recommend you do anyway because there are some references to The Fool, and because it’ll give you a great introduction to the main characters. I’m waiting for the sequel The Queen now and can’t wait to get my hands on it <3


Have you read The King, or do you need more convincing? Get some cookies, drop me a comment and let’s get this book club going!

I don’t review books professionally. These reviews are mainly a small summary and my opinion on books I’ve loved, they are not intended to be anything more. All ‘reviews’ include a picture, title and name of author linking to the book’s Goodreads listing, the blurb from the back of the book and my non-professional verdict.

For all other book reviews, please take a look here.

Sign up for my newsletter for updates on my books and recommendations to help you grow as a writer:

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WWW Wednesday 31st May 2017

This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. A similar meme, This Week in Books is hosted by Lipsyy Lost and Found.

Why not join in? Just answer the following three questions in a post and then put a link to that post in the comments over at Taking on a World of Words.

WWW Wednesday

This meme will be categorised together with my book reviews. All links will get you to the book’s Goodreads listing, as always 🙂

***

What I’m currently reading

Becoming Lili

I’m enjoying Becoming Lili more than I thought I would. It’s quite far from my usual genre, and I admit I’m struggling with the omniscient POV, but I’m always excited to come back to it. Watching Phyllis turn into Lili and gain confidence is a joy! Oddly enough it’s also making me want to get a professional makeover, which is a first :’D I’m a third through it now and hope to have the review up on Goodreads before I go on holiday next month.

Blurb:

Never has an ugly duckling turned into such a beautiful swan…

An ugly duckling girl, Phyllis is bullied viciously at school and is unloved at home, a lonely teenager, longing for so much more from life …

Suddenly, a random encounter with a stranger, offers her a chance to have it all … if only she has the courage to change, to grasp the opportunity with both hands.

In the years that follow, as her dreams of attaining friends and beauty are realised, others join her on her journey to Becoming Lili. She realises, even when you seem to have everything, sometimes, the one thing you really want, is the one thing you just can’t have.

Becoming Lili is an epic, heart-warming tale of aspiration, friendship and love set against a backdrop of the vibrant 90’s, and is packed full of unforgettable characters you will instantly fall in love with.

The Light Fantastic

I wanted something light and mad that I could get lost in, so I decided to continue the Discworld series. I’m pretty sure I’ve read this one once before (Goodreads agrees, I’ve rated it four stars at some point) but I don’t remember it very well and I don’t want to skip any. I’m only on page 39 so far but I’m loving it <3 The plan is to alternate between this one and Becoming Lili, so today should be a Discworld day!

Blurb:

‘What shall we do?’ said Twoflower.
‘Panic?’ said Rincewind hopefully. He always held that panic was the best means of survival.

As it moves towards a seemingly inevitable collision with a malevolent red star, the Discworld could do with a hero. What it doesn’t need is a singularly inept and cowardly wizard, still recovering from the trauma of falling off the edge of the world, or a well-meaning tourist and his luggage which has a mind (and legs) of its own. Which is a shame because that’s all there is…

.***

What I recently finished reading

An Ember in the Ashes

I loved this so much <3 An Ember in the Ashes had everything I want from a fantasy book, and I’m eagerly anticipating A Torch Against the Night. So far I’ve been good and have stuck to my no-new-books-until-you’ve-read-everything-on-your-shelf-(physical-and-kindle) ban, but this is making it difficult.

My review should be on Goodreads later today 🙂

Blurb:

Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.
 
Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.
 
It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
 
But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.
 
There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

***

What I think I’ll read next

The Dragon Sleeps

I’m going on holiday for ten days in June, and this one’s coming with me <3 It looks like an excellent pool-side read, and it’s a genre I used to devour when I was younger, so I’m really looking forward to it!

Blurb:

A Dragon statue. An ancient sword.

What treasure is worth killing for?

It’s 1927 in Victoria, Australia. A hedonistic time after the Great War
when young people knew they could enjoy life without the threat of war hanging over them. A time when women have more options opened to them.

There is a weekend house party at Thornton Park and Alexandra Thornton thinks it will be a good time to break the news to her father that she wants to be an antiques dealer, like him, her grandfather and great-grandfather before her.

Only a small number of people are invited. Amongst the guests are Zhang Huo,
the Chinese antiques dealer who, with his son, has brought a Ming dragon statue from China for Thomas Thornton.

Benedict Archer, who is manager of Thornton Antiques in Melbourne and who has
been secretly helping Alexandra learn more about her family business, is also invited. Alexandra asks Benedict and Edith Blackburn, her friend since childhood, to be with her when she approaches her father.

When Edith claims that Benedict is in love with her, Alexandra can’t believe it.
In all the time they’d been at Thornton Antiques together, he’d never said
a word. Now, Alexandra looks at him differently.
Can it be true?

Then a body found in the orchard and, before the weekend is over, a priceless artefact is stolen. Alexandra is determined to discover how these things are connected to the Ming dragon and the antiques her great-grandfather brought
with him from Hong Kong so many years ago.

What secret has remained hidden atThornton Park for the last eight years?

***

Have you read any of these and would like to chat about it? I look forward to hearing from you if you do – just leave a comment below and we can get this book club started!

Sign up for my newsletter for updates on my books and recommendations to help you grow as a writer:

5 Comments