Thursday, 23 April 2015

Review: My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publication Date: 10th February
My rating: 4 stars 

Aysel and Roman are practically strangers, but they've been drawn into an unthinkable partnership. In a month's time, they plan to commit suicide - together. Aysel knows why she wants to die: being the daughter of a murderer doesn't equal normal, well-adjusted teenager. But she can't figure out why handsome, popular Roman wants to end it all....and why he's even more determined than she is. With the deadline getting closer, something starts to grow between Aysel and Roman - a feeling she never thought she would experience. It seems there might be something to live for, after all - but is Aysel in so deep she can't turn back?

My Heart and Other Black Holes had been receiving various forms of praise from my blogging friends and readers I had been following. If you know me by mow you would know I love a good emotional read from time to time, one that has you sobbing your eyes out and is constantly on your mind days or even months later. So I was all prepared to be overcome with feels when I picked up this book. I even had my good friend Allie read this book with me, just in case it became too much for me. I don’t know if I was disappointed that the book didn’t end up evoking a strong emotional reaction within me as much as I was hoping, it was a beautiful read never the less, but not as hard hitting as I expected.

Aysel has had enough of life, after everything that happened with her dad, everyone just assumes the same is going to happen to her, Aysel is even starting to believe this for herself and she so doesn’t want to go there. Aysel is just passing her time until she stumbles across the perfect partner Roman, he also is done with life, they both agree on April 7th as the day that they will finally end it, Aysel and Roman have no way back now, but just to spend the days leading up to it the way they can, however no one expected that these six weeks would change everything especially not Aysel.

Warga dealt with the issue of depression really well in My Heart and Other Black Holes. She properly got into the minds of Aysel and was able to give us all the thoughts and feelings of a girl going through one of the hardest periods of her life. It was harder for Aysel as she didn’t really have anyone there for her. She had isolated herself from her friends after the stuff with her dad went down and didn’t feel as if she belonged to her mum’s family. She had also got to the point where she couldn’t be bothered to make the effort in class either, but as soon as Roman made an appearance in her life, everything didn’t change immediately, they started planning the ending straight away, but I liked how Warga incorporated little glimpses of hope along the way. They weren’t even things that could make the biggest change or make you stop and think about things, but they were things like a small smile from Roman, a last time visit to the fair or even going to the zoo which sort of snowballed in making Aysel want to live. Like I said it wasn’t a change that was immediate, especially the way Aysel’s feelings had become the past few years you can’t just expect to pull anyone out of that. But Warga worked in these small glimmers in really eloquently, some I didn’t even realise were happening, others had me grinning from ear to ear, because the more time I got to spend with Roman and Aysel the more I wanted them to live too, they had so much to experience, so much to offer the world that they hadn’t given the chance and to be honest I don’t think I could have dealt with another character I’d become hugely fond of dying (not after the last book I’d read). So as the day came nearer and nearer, I started hoping, that one of these characters would be enough to bring the other back from the brink. The last few days leading up to it really felt like an anxious time for me, I would at some point feel as if these characters could be possibly swayed and consider giving another shot at life, but then at times these feelings could be quickly smothered by a character reminding us why they had met in the first place and I would go to feeling all anxious all over.

I’m not going to say how things do turn out (you’re just going to have to read this book to find out for yourself). But let me say Warga wrote an incredibly beautiful story in My Heart and Other Black Holes. (Highlight to view spoiler) my only complaint was the blurting of I Love you just after 6 weeks, I don’t know if it was just me not realising they had progressed that far in their relationship. But that aside, I loved how Warga gave us Aysel’s and Roman’s relationship, there was so much I learnt about these two characters and was able to take away from their story. When they say time always seems to fly by when you’re having a good time, this I feel could be said about Roman and Aysel, although they hadn’t got to know each other with the best intention, the bringing together of these two characters was everything that they needed.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Mini-Review: Night Broken by Patricia Briggs

Night Broken (Mercy Thompson #8) by Patricia Briggs
Narrated by: Lorelei King
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Length: 10 Hours 5 Minutes
Audiobook Publication date: March 11th 2014
My rating: 4.5 stars

An unexpected phone call heralds a new challenge for Mercy. Her mate Adam’s ex-wife is in trouble, on the run from her new boyfriend. Adam isn’t the kind of man to turn away a person in need—and Mercy knows it. But with Christy holed up in Adam’s house, Mercy can’t shake the feeling that something about the situation isn’t right.

Soon, her suspicions are confirmed when she learns that Christy has the farthest thing from good intentions. She wants Adam back and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen, including turning Adam’s pack against Mercy.

Mercy isn’t about to step down without a fight, but there’s a more dangerous threat circling. Christy’s ex is more than a bad man—in fact, he may not be human at all. As the bodies start piling up, Mercy must put her personal troubles aside to face a creature with the power to tear her whole world apart.

My Thoughts:
As usual with the Mercy Thompson series, I was glued to the pages. I detested Christy (Adam's ex-wife and master manipulator) and I dreaded her bit in the story. The saving grace was that Adam staunchly supported Mercy, and they were a united front. I do wonder why the heck he let Christy answer his phone so many times, though! The action and plot were fast paced and distracted me from Christy enough to enjoy the story. Mercy shined the whole way through, but I wouldn't have minded if she was a tad more petty and mean to the ex-bitch, but that would've given power to Christy's attempts to undermine Mercy's standing with both Adam and the pack. I marvel at Mercy's people skills and ability to think things through. Love that she's a total badass, too!

This series is just pure awesomesauce, and Lorelei King’s narration completely enhances the experience! A total recommend!

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Mini-review: Watch the Sky by Kirsten Hubbard

Watch the Sky by Kirsten Hubbard
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: April 7th 2015
My rating: 3 stars 

The signs are everywhere, Jory's stepfather, Caleb, says.Red leaves in the springtime. Pages torn from a library book. All the fish in the aquarium facing the same way. A cracked egg with twin yolks. Everywhere and anywhere. And because of them Jory's life is far from ordinary. He must follow a very specific set of rules: don't trust anyone outside the family, have your works at the ready just in case, and always, always watch out for the signs. The end is coming, and they must be prepared. School is Jory's only escape from Caleb's tight grasp, and with the help of new friends Jory begins to explore a world beyond his family's farm. As Jory's friendships grow, Caleb notifies Jory's mother and siblings that the time has come for final preparations. They begin an exhausting schedule digging a mysterious tunnel in anticipation of the disaster. But as the hold gets deeper, so does the family's doubt about whether Caleb's prophecy is true. When the stark reality of his stepfather's plans becomes clear, Jory must choose between living his own life or following Caleb, shutting his eyes to the bright world he's just begun to see.

I’m normally not one to read middle grade books, but Hubbard’s book I had previously read was full with beautiful writing, and I knew that I’d want to experience something similar again, also who could resist this gorgeous cover?

Watch the Sky was a lot different to what I was expecting it to be, but the main character Jory really impressed me. He had lived a sheltered little life with his family, told to always question things, keep to himself and keep quiet about his family (his family had taken a girl who was wondering around in their garden and they hadn’t told anyone about it). So when his family finally decides that Jory should go to school instead of being home schooled I was happy as I wanted Jory to be able to experience life instead of living under the control of his step father. It did take a while for Jory to trust kids at school, his step dad had really drilled the idea of questioning everything into him, that Jory had a hard time letting people get close to him. But I adored Alice Brooks-Diaz and her attempts to bring Jory out of his shell; she really was such a sweet girl.

Watch the Sky was once again a beautifully written story from Hubbard that I was able to fly through the beautiful passages. And of course this book consisted of three characters that really made this book for me, two of them actually underwent tremendous growth and I’m glad that this other character was there to support them through it. My only complaint is there was this one character in the story who I really hated, hated because he seemed to believe he knew everything and encouraged others to believe his farfetched ideas too. Some of the things he did with no remorse too made me hate him even more. But this character aside, Watch the Sky was a beautiful read, a lot different to what I was expecting, but wonderful never the less.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Blog Tour: 99 Days by Katie Cotugno

Hi everyone today I'm pleased to share my review of 99 Days by Katie Cotugno as part of the Fantastic Flying Bookclub Blog Tour. I was a huge fan of Cotugno's debut read How to Love, so couldn't wait to see what Katie had in store for us with her latest book. Before I share my review with you, here's a bit about the book.

Publisher: Balzer + Bray 
Publication Date: April 21st 2015
My rating: 4.5 stars 
Day 1: Julia Donnelly eggs my house my first night back in Star Lake, and that’s how I know everyone still remembers everything—how I destroyed my relationship with Patrick the night everything happened with his brother, Gabe. How I wrecked their whole family. Now I’m serving out my summer like a jail sentence: Just ninety-nine days till I can leave for college, and be done. Day 4: A nasty note on my windshield makes it clear Julia isn’t finished. I’m expecting a fight when someone taps me on the shoulder, but it’s just Gabe, home from college and actually happy to see me. “For what it’s worth, Molly Barlow,” he says, “I’m really glad you’re back.” Day 12: Gabe got me to come to this party, and I’m actually having fun. I think he’s about to kiss me—and that’s when I see Patrick. My Patrick, who’s supposed to be clear across the country. My Patrick, who’s never going to forgive me. 
Goodreads | Amazon The Book Depository

99 Days was a book I found myself immediately caught up with, usually when a character finds their back against the wall, I always find myself rooting for them to pick themselves up and fight back. Molly Barlow made a big mistake and yes it ended up ruining one of the best relationships she had with the Donnelly’s, but this doesn’t mean she was the only one to blame, there were two people that made the mistake, but Molly was the only one who ended up dealing with the backlash and this aspect I didn’t like at all. So when Molly did come back after her time being isolated I wanted all the bad stuff to stop and to find out what really went down.

Normally when two brothers are involved, I typically tend to stay away from reads such as these, but honestly Gabe and Patrick couldn’t be any more different (and does anyone else have a weak spot for certain characters names?, well Patrick is at the top of my list, I don’t know why I’ve always associated it with a hot Irish guys and when certain Patrick’s come along with stormy grey eyes I’m a gonner.) Anyways I digress, I honestly thought I knew who was right for Molly, when Molly was just dropped by everyone and returned, Gabe was the one who really took interest and actually encouraged her to stop moping inside and tried to make Molly believe that she wasn’t the only one to blame. But then over the course of the book when Patrick starts opening up a bit more I was a 100% team Patrick, this guy could just turn me to mush with his straight to the heart lines, he was a person who when he was being honest about his feelings I just fell for him even more. But then there was parts when we got more of Patrick’s and Molly’s back story that made me all mad that I kind of liked it when Gabe stepped in and told Molly what she needed to hear. I had a see-saw sort of relationship with both Gabe and Patrick, as I ended up liking them both so much at times, that even if you asked me now I don’t think I could choose between them. But with the way things ended, I sort of have an idea in my head of how things could end up later down the line and with whom (I actually wish that this would happen).

I know this sort of story featuring two brothers wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea, especially with some of the things that happen part way through. But especially for me I think Cotugno did a brilliant job with this book, I love my books which keep me hooked from the very first page and with the amount of books I go through these guys, it’s kind of hard to do that. Also I never had an inkling about how things could turn out or who Molly would choose, so the way things ended up completely took me by surprise! I think the way the story was told was one of my favourite aspects too, there’s 99 days left until Molly leaves for college, so we’re given the story as a sort of a countdown until Molly can leave, but in between the 99 days we’re given snippets into Molly’s time when she was living back at home and before everything hit the fan. And these aspects I hugely appreciated, as these scenes did give a lot of insights into why certain people were acting the way they were, but also I loved getting to know these characters in the past a little bit more.

99 Days was a book which ended up surprising me in a lot of ways, I’m quite steadfast in what I do and don’t like in a book, but this time around things which would have probably grated on me, I found I didn’t mind at all. Cotugno’s writing may have contributed significantly to this, as it was so easy to find myself caught up in the story because of her gorgeous writing (my kindle overfull with highlighted quotes is proof of this). Cotugno really did impress me with her debut read How to Love two years ago and now she has impressed me yet again with 99 Days. I can safely say Cotugno will be an author whose future books I will immensely look forward to getting my hands on.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Review: Envy by Sandra Brown

Envy by Sandra Brown
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: August 27th 2013
My rating:  5 stars 
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

Sandra Brown, the #1 New York Times bestselling author, keeps readers turning pages with an explosive tale of a long-ago crime and the victim's plan for revenge...When New York publisher Maris Matherly Reed receives a tantalizing manuscript from someone identified only as P.M.E., its blockbuster potential-and perhaps something else-compels her to meet its author. On an eerie, ruined cotton plantation on a remote Georgia island she finds Parker Evans, a man concealing his identity and his past. Maris is drawn into his tale of two young friends and a deadly betrayal ... and to Parker himself. But there's something especially chilling about this novel, its possible connection to Maris's own life, and the real-life character who uses her, or anyone, to get what he wants.

My Thoughts:
To all outward appearances Maris Matherly-Reed leads a charmed life and has everything.  Books have been her passion every since she can remember, and she’s the sole heir to the well respected Matherly Publishing.  She’s totally immersed in the literary world and has a lot of power.  Maris also snagged publishing’s most eligible bachelor, Noah Reed, the author of her favorite book.  She was halfway in love with him even before laying eyes on him just because of his words. But seeing how gorgeous and charismatic he was, and the fact that he wanted her after breaking so many hearts was the icing on the cake.  While marrying Noah seemed like a dream come true, things seem a little off to her now.

Her doubts in regards to Noah get put on the back burner when a story from the “slush” pile catches Maris’ eye.  She reads it and is hooked, but realizes the rest of the book is not there. Neither is the writer’s contact info, only the initials: P.M.E.  Envy, as the prologue is called, recounts a day of celebration that goes horribly wrong and Maris desperately wants to know what happened.  She feels compelled to search for the mysterious P.M.E. not knowing the secrets and past she’s about to uncover.  

Envy was a real page turner with twists and connections at every corner. The villain was a master plotter, evil to the core; a narcissistic creep! After getting away with so much this person overestimated their cleverness and underestimated the intelligence of others; “pride comes before a fall” and I was eagerly looking forward to that fulfillment! It was sweet watching him/her get some of their own medicine because most of the book I wanted to reach into the pages and smack this person silly!

I adored Maris! She was sweet, pure-hearted and looked for the best in people or a situation, but wasn’t stupid enough to fall for bullshit when someone is trying to spoon feed it to her.

Our hero was unrefined and crass; a dirty talker who liked to shock, but one who had a vulnerable soft heart.  He had an intense pull on Maris, and she affects him far more than he expected.  Add in the steamy, sultry southern setting, and you have a recipe for a smoldering romance.  

Envy was another score for Sandra Brown, and as usual with her books I was glued to the pages! I usually end up putting aside everything else so I can finish and find out how it all turns out.  I think one of the best features of a Sandra Brown story is the fact that the bad guy usually gets a much deserved payback, one that is cleverly delivered.  Envy was no exception and I was grinning in satisfaction when this villain got their comeuppance! If you love mysteries with a hot romance or romantic suspense and haven’t picked up a Sandra Brown novel, you are definitely missing out.

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