Friday, 30 January 2015

Book review: The Girl On The Train - Paula Hawkins

To everyone else in this carriage I must look normal; I’m doing exactly what they do: commuting to work, making appointments, ticking things off lists.

Just goes to show.

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and every evening. Every day she passes the same Victorian terraces, stops at the same signal, and sees the same couple, breakfasting on their roof terrace. Jason and Jess seem so happy together.

Then one day Rachel sees something she shouldn't have seen, and soon after, Jess disappears. Suddenly Rachel is chasing the truth and unable to trust anyone. Not even herself.

Tense, taut, twisty and surprising . . . The Girl on the Train creeps right under your skin and stays there.

My opinion.
At first I really struggled with this book. I didn't understand the characters and I found their behavior and actions annoying.

And then all of a sudden, without seeing it coming, I was on this thrilling roller coaster of mystery, confusion and fear and I couldn't put the book down. I had to know, had to find out.
Rachel is an incredible main character and seeing the mystery unfold through her perspective is thrilling, sometimes frustrating and very interesting.
You will be thinking about Jess, Tom and Rachel long after you finished reading this book. The Girl On The Train is amazingly "dark and twisty" and a very enjoyable read.
No train journey will ever be the same.


Monday, 26 January 2015

Cover reveal: Tied Up In Love - Amelia Thorne

‘We’re from KMW. Do exactly as you’re told and you won’t get hurt...'

Being grabbed off the street, blind folded, tied up and thrown into a van was not what Izzy expected to happen when she stepped out the door that morning. But when an accidental kidnapping at the hands of the sexy Ethan Chase and his 'Kidnap My Wife' sexual fantasy business leads to just that, Izzy seizes the chance to turn her misfortune into a brilliant new job opportunity…

Since then, life has been one big tangle of new client meetings, fake kidnapping pick-ups, and handling the temperamental, but drop dead gorgeous 'bad boy' Mr Chase. But, as liberating as being tied up in Ethan's life is, Izzy knows the time is fast approaching when she must make some decisions and take charge of her future. The only question is: will Ethan allow himself to be a part of it?

Amelia's first novel: Beneath The Moon And The Stars.
Click the cover to find out more.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Book review: A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1) - George R.R. Martin

Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun. 

As Warden of the north, Lord Eddard Stark counts it a curse when King Robert bestows on him the office of the Hand. His honour weighs him down at court where a true man does what he will, not what he must ...and a dead enemy is a thing of beauty. 

The old gods have no power in the south, Stark's family is split and there is treachery at court. Worse, the vengeance-mad heir of the deposed Dragon King has grown to maturity in exile in the Free Cities. He claims the Iron Throne. 

My opinion.
What an incredibly, brilliant book. Wow. How do I even put this into words?
The writing is incredibly detailed, the story engaging. You can't put this book down. There's so much happening at such a short amount of time... By focusing on a few main characters and switching between them by using the different chapters to focus on one of them, George R.R. Martin gives an incredibly detailed play by play of all that is happening. War, murder, conspiracy, family,...
It only takes a chapter to completely transport you to this new, exciting, dangerous and scandalous world, and for a few hundred pages, that world will be the only thing that exists. Pure magic.


Book review: Mr. Perfect - Joanna Davies


Mari Wyn Roberts is 35, works for a TV company in Cardiff and just can't keep a relationship going for more than two years. She wants her Mr Perfect but after nearly 20 years of dating she's starting to worry that her ideal man doesn't exist. Worst of all, what if one of the 'duds' she was so happy to bin over the years was her 'perfect man' all along? 
On the other side of the city, Owen, also 35, is looking for love on his terms. There must be a girl out there that's single, intelligent and doesn't want to mother or stifle him? 

My opinion.
This book wasn't at all what I expected it to be. Sometimes that's a good thing... sometimes it's not. It's hard to put my finger on it, but it just didn't really "do it" for me.
Mari and Owen had a colourful dating history and I really liked that Joanna Davies took us on their journey from teenager to 30-somethings. Some of those dating stories were funny and entertaining, others were a bit boring.
Although I liked both teenage Mari and Owen (both of them were very easy to relate to, in a way), I ended up seeing Mari as pretty shallow.
Mr. Perfect has some fun moments but is not really memorable. It didn't "move me", unfortunately.


Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Book review: Mr. Kiss and Tell (Veronica Mars #2) - Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham


In the second book in the New York Times bestselling mystery series, Veronica Mars is back with a case that will expose the hidden workings of one of Neptune’s most murderous locations.

The Neptune Grand has always been the seaside town’s ritziest hotel, despite the shady dealings and high-profile scandals that seem to follow its elite guests. When a woman claims that she was brutally assaulted in one of its rooms and left for dead by a staff member, the owners know that they have a potential powder keg on their hands. They turn to Veronica to disprove—or prove—the woman's story.

The case is a complicated mix of hard facts, mysterious occurrences, and uncooperative witnesses. The hotel refuses to turn over its reservation list and the victim won’t divulge who she was meeting that night. Add in the facts that the attack happened months ago, the victim’s memory is fuzzy, and there are holes in the hotel’s surveillance system, and Veronica has a convoluted mess on her hands. As she works to fill in the missing pieces, it becomes clear that someone is lying—but who? And why?

My opinion.
"It's everything you would expect from a Veronica Mars case. It has so many unexpected twists and turns, but more importantly: it has Veronica Mars. I mean, how fantastic is she? (...) there really was no awkward transition from page to screen", is what I wrote after reading the first VMars book, The Thousand Dollar Tan Line and every word of it is true for Mr. Kiss and Tell as well. I think I might like Mr. Kiss and Tell better - didn't expect that was even a possibility.
I had my fingers crossed for more Logan Echolls in book II, and Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham delivered beautifully. Just like Veronica, I have difficulty at times getting used to this "grown up Logan", but I'm still TEAM LOGAN all the way. They seem to fit better than ever and I can't wait to see what the future holds for them (so yes, I am expecting a third novel, Rob).
Not only do we get to see some brilliant Mars-detective work, we also see the wonderful Mac in action. Add some public humiliation for the Sheriff's department and Lamb and we've got a winner!
The case Veronica is working on seems to have more questions than answers, but Veronica doesn't let go. She feels responsible for the victim and she's not planning on stopping before the perp is behind bars. It's an incredibly thrilling case with a lot of loose ends, an elusive perp and a victim who's full of surprises herself, again set in Neptune where the class -war and corruption are the daily reality. But will there be a change soon?  


Find out how I liked the book (series) in comparison to the tv-series and movie here.

Monday, 19 January 2015

TV-show & movie: Veronica Mars

Click the cover for the book review.

I'm a huge Veronica Mars fan. There, I said it. I was incredibly sad when the show ended, ecstatic when the movie came out and now oh-so-relieved that this book didn't disappoint.
It's everything you would expect from a Veronica Mars case. It has so many unexpected twists and turns, but more importantly: it has Veronica Mars. I mean, how fantastic is she? Maybe Kristen Bell gives the on-screen Veronica that little extra "va va voom", but there really was no awkward transition from page to screen.
The story kicks off right where the movie left off. Veronica is back in Neptune at Mars Investigations. And let's face it, that's where we love her the most. She's clever, determined and a little reckless (as usual, right?), with Mac, Wallace, Logan and of course Keith loyally by her side. 
I can't tell you enough how amazingly happy I am to have another chapter in the "Veronica Mars story". Hopefully Rob writes many more of these.
Absolutely brilliant!

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Book Tour: Surviving The Rachel - Aven Ellis GUEST POST

Click here for my review

THE BLURB. Life after college graduation is not at all what twenty-one-year-old Bree Logan expected. Unable to find a professional communications job, dumped by the guy who was THE ONE, and stuck with a pricey city apartment she can’t afford, Bree ends up moving back home with her parents in the suburbs and working as a cocktail waitress at a posh Chicago hotel.
In a desperate attempt to get a fresh start, Bree goes to a hip salon and requests that the first available stylist chop off her long dark hair. Alarmed when the stylist suggests “The Rachel,” after the famous haircut from the show Friends, Bree is hesitant, but decides to go for it when she is assured it will be a “fresh, modern adaptation” of the infamous 90’s cut. Unfortunately for Bree, it turns out to be exactly the same cut, but with horrific heavy bangs added to it. Hideous doesn’t even begin to describe it.
Bree is convinced nothing will ever go right when she meets neighbor Jack Chelten, a twenty-five-year-old German translator. Not that Bree is looking to date anyone, but there’s something quirky and intriguing about his freckle-splashed face and blue eyes. And suddenly Bree finds herself seeking out different opportunities and challenges . . . as well as the boy next door.

In her new adult life, Bree learns that sometimes you have to go through crises to get to where you need to be. And if you can survive The Rachel, you can survive anything, right?

Read more about Aven's other books here

GUEST POST by Aven Ellis

Writing with Scent

I love nothing more than bringing the scent of a story alive for a reader. I want you to see my characters and their setting, but I also want you to be present in their moment in a sensory way, too. So how do I make that come alive in my writing?
By using scented candles as part of my writing process.
In my latest release, Surviving the Rachel, there are three major seasons captured in the book: late summer, autumn, and winter.
Some very important scenes in Jack and Bree’s relationship take place in her family’s garden. Since it’s late summer, I imagined herbal scents filling the air, like rosemary. So when writing the beginning of the book, I chose an herbal candle. The one I had (Tuscan Herbs) is gone, but I think this one would be perfect: Orla Kiely Bluebell & Rosemary. Floral and herbal, the scent of summer in the night.
The next part of the book is set in autumn. And Jack and Bree have several chapters that feature autumn in the Midwest. This season is filled with crisp air, colorful leaves, and in Jack and Bree’s case, a trip to an apple orchard. So for this section of the book, I used Leaves by White Barn (Bath & Body Works.) Same candle that Wendy at Book Scents chose as her “Read With Scent” selection for this book, LOL!  Leaves is the essence of this season, with a crisp apple scent.  Perfect when writing all these gorgeous outdoor scenes!
Finally, the last part of the book and the HEA ending take place in winter. Another Bath & Body Works candle was chosen for this one:  Winter. Embracing like fresh snow and with the scent of pine, I could mentally feel the chill and snowflakes falling as it burned on my desk.
So yes, candles help me create the scenes you read about in Surviving the Rachel. And if you have read Surviving the Rachel, what candles would you add to help take you to the places in the book?

Thank you so much, Aven, for stopping by today and congratulations again on this fabulous book! [To read my review, click here] One of my favourite candles is the apple-cinnamon one. That, for me, is the ultimate "Christmas smell".