Tag Archives: swoony boys

Flame in the Mist, by Renee Ahdieh

16 Mar

36348675Format: e-ARC, 400 pages

Publisher: Hachette Australia

Published: 16 May 2016

ISBN: 9781473657977

Genre: Teens & YA

Back cover blurb: From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Wrath and the Dawn, comes a sweeping, action-packed YA adventure set against the backdrop of Feudal Japan.

Mariko has always known that being a woman means she’s not in control of her own fate. But Mariko is the daughter of a prominent samurai and a cunning alchemist in her own right, and she refuses to be ignored. When she is ambushed by a group of bandits known as the Black Clan enroute to a political marriage to Minamoto Raiden – the emperor’s son – Mariko realises she has two choices: she can wait to be rescued… or she can take matters into her own hands, hunt down the clan and find the person who wants her dead.

Disguising herself as a peasant boy, Mariko infiltrates the Black Clan’s hideout and befriends their leader, the rebel ronin Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, Okami. Ranmaru and Okami warm to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity. But as Mariko gets closer to the Black Clan, she uncovers a dark history of secrets that will force her to question everything she’s ever known.

My review: Firstly, I loved that this was set in feudal Japan. Ninjas! Throwing stars! Tea ceremonies! Add to that a kickass heroine, swoony boys, and magical powers, and you have a great read. I agree with other reviewers who found the names a bit tricky to keep track of, especially since some characters had multiple names, but other than that I really enjoyed this and look forward to reading the sequel. This was my first Renee Ahdieh book and I will certainly be reading her other works now.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 4/5

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The Masked Truth, by Kelley Armstrong

16 Mar

25727687Format: e-ARC, 352 pages

Publisher: Hachette Australia

Published: 13 October, 2015

ISBN: 9780349002231

Genre: Teens & YA, Action & Adventure

Back cover blurb: They want her dead – but this time, she won’t hide.

A few months ago, Riley Vasquez was caught up in a horrific murder. Now everyone around her thinks she’s a hero. Riley isn’t so sure.

Meanwhile British army brat Max Cross is suffering under the shadow of a life-altering diagnosis he doesn’t dare reveal.

The last thing either of them wants is to spend a weekend away at a therapy camp alongside five other teens with ‘issues’. But that’s exactly where they are when three masked men burst in to take the group hostage.

The building has no windows. The exits are sealed shut. Their phones are gone. And their captors are on a killing spree.

Riley and Max know that if they can’t get out, they’ll be next. They’ll have to work together – but first they’ll have to trust each other with their deepest secrets.

My review: I put off reading this one for ages, and now I’m finished, I think I’ll stick to this author’s paranormal series. This just didn’t grip me like a thriller should. The characters were good, and top marks should go to Armstrong for showing the complexities of mental illness, but I guessed the twist and it just seemed so unlikely it made me groan. I did like Max and Riley, though, and would have cheered had the second half of the book been a romance rather than an episode of Scooby Doo.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 2/5

 

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Seven Ways We Lie, by Riley Redgate

21 Jan

26240663Format: e-ARC, 343 pages

Publisher: Abrams Kids/Amulet Books

Published: 8 March, 2016

ISBN: 9781419719448

Genre: Children’s Fiction, Teens & YA

Back cover blurb: Seven students. Seven (deadly) sins. One secret.

Paloma High School is ordinary by anyone’s standards. It’s got the same cliques, the same prejudices, the same suspect cafeteria food. And like every high school, every student has something to hide—from Kat, the thespian who conceals her trust issues onstage, to Valentine, the neurotic genius who’s planted the seed of a school scandal.

When that scandal bubbles over, and rumors of a teacher-student affair surface, everyone starts hunting for someone to blame. For the seven unlikely allies at the heart of it all, the collision of their seven ordinary-seeming lives results in extraordinary change.

My review: This took me ages to get around to, but once I started I wondered why I had been putting it off. It seems quite fitting that a high school should be the setting for a book about the seven deadly sins, and although you could assign one sin to each of the seven main characters, in fact they were not so one-dimensional. I have totally known a few envious Claires in my time (and been her), so even though she was the worst-behaved character she rang very true. Matt, allegedly the sloth, was actually lovely, and his scenes with his little brother were the best. Olivia was more misunderstood than the “lust” label would indicate, and I loved the way she owned her sexuality.

The parents in this are generally absent, which annoys me as a parent myself. I expected Juniper’s to put their foot down, but what happened with them surprised me. I must add that a teacher at my high school married a senior after she graduated, not long before I started there, so I can understand how a young teacher must find it difficult when they are not much older than their students. The way the teacher and student met in this story made it not seem creepy, which I appreciated.

Overall, I enjoyed the story and found it hard to put down once I’d started. I’m looking forward to reading Redgate’s subsequent work.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 4/5

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Eye Candy, by by Tijan, Tara Sivec, J. Daniels, Helena Hunting, and Bella Jewel

14 Jan

35265623Format: e-ARC, 660 pages

Publisher: Swerve

Published: 5 September, 2017

ISBN: 9781250148230

Genre: Romance

Back cover blurb: A frightfully good time! Dive into these Halloween novellas from bestselling authors Tijan, J. Daniels, Helena Hunting, Bella Jewel and Tara Sivec. Featuring stories set in the worlds of their popular series.

My review: I didn’t much like the Tijan story, which was the first thing I’ve read by her, but the rest of this anthology was solid and very enjoyable. The best story by far was Helena Hunting’s, and I’m keen to read more with these characters. I think I’ll also have to check out the other writers in the collection, too, whom I haven’t read before.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 4/5

 

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When Dimple Met Rishi, by Sandhya Menon

29 Jul

32934117Format: e-ARC, 320 pages

Publisher: Hachette Australia

Published: May 30, 2017

ISBN: 9781473667402

Genre: Teens & YA

Back cover blurb: Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

My review: I read this in a day and thought it was a delight. I loved the fact Dimple was a modern girl and Rishi supported the old traditions – the story wouldn’t have worked if Rishi hadn’t been willing to keep trying to win her over, and that meant it also didn’t fall into the old instalove trap. I think my Indian friends would totally relate. The minor characters didn’t interest me as much, but I liked Rishi’s brother a lot. This book is geeky and swoony and fun. Highly recommended.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 4/5

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The Ones Who Got Away, by Roni Loren (sneak peek)

12 Apr

Format: e-ARC, sneak peek of first three chapters

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

To Be Published: January 2, 2018

ISBN: 9781492651406

Genre: Romance

Back cover blurb: A fresh new contemporary romance from New York Times and USA Today bestseller Roni Loren that will rock your world.

Twelve years ago, tragedy struck the senior class of Long Acre High School. Only a small number of students survived, a group the media dubbed as The Ones Who Got Away.

Now, web designer Liv Arias, along with the rest of the survivors, have returned to the small Texas town to tell their stories for a documentary. Which means Liv seeing former star-athlete and old flame Finn Dorsey. A lot happened between them that night and Liv is ready to end their decade-long riff and move on. But when her attempt at closure turns into a steamy kiss, moving on proves much more difficult than either of them thought…

Liv’s words cut off as Finn got closer. The man approaching was nothing like the boy she’d known. The bulky football muscles had streamlined into a harder, leaner package. The smooth face was now dusted with scruff, and the look in his deep green eyes held no trace of boyish innocence. A thousand things were in those eyes. A thousand things welled up in Liv.

My review: *** This review is for a sneak peek of the first three chapters, which were provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

Oh, this is sooo good! I haven’t read a Roni Loren book before but I’ve been aware of her work and her writing advice, so when I saw the unique premise in the blurb I knew I had to have it. Even from just the sneak peek I can get a good sense of the characters and what they have been through as survivors of a school shooting. Twelve years later they’ve returned to film a documentary, and the chemistry between Liv and her secret love, Finn, doesn’t appear to have diminished, although she has blamed him for what happened to her that day. He’s a bit of a man of mystery as an adult, and – this goes without saying – super hot. Just this taster was not enough and I cannot wait to read the rest of the story. Is it January yet?

My rating: 5/5

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Frostblood, by Elly Blake

22 Feb

31134210Format: e-ARC, 304 pages

Publisher: Hachette Australia/Hodder & Stoughton

Published: January 10, 2017

ISBN: 9781473635173

Genre: Teens & YA

Back cover blurb: The first in a page-turning young adult fantasy series perfect for fans of Victoria Aveyard’s RED QUEEN and Sarah J. Maas’s THRONE OF GLASS series.

In a land governed by the cruel Frostblood ruling class, seventeen-year-old Ruby is a Fireblood who has spent most of her life hiding her ability to manipulate heat and light – until the day the soldiers come to raid her village and kill her mother. Ruby vows revenge on the tyrannous Frost King responsible for the massacre of her people.

But Ruby’s powers are unpredictable…and so are the feelings she has for Arcus, the scarred, mysterious Frostblood warrior who shares her goal to kill the Frost King, albeit for his own reasons. When Ruby is captured by the Frost King’s men, she’s taken right into the heart of the enemy. Now she only has one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who took everything from her – and in doing so, she must unleash the powers she’s spent her whole life withholding.

FROSTBLOOD is set in world where flame and ice are mortal enemies – but together create a power that could change everything.

My review: That beautiful cover was the first thing that made me want to read this book, and coupled with the blurb I knew it would be right up my alley. I wasn’t disappointed, and couldn’t put it down once I started reading. Ruby is a wonderful heroine, the only Fireblood left in a world of ice manipulators. She is imprisoned more than once, but fights on until it almost appears all is lost.

Her initial rescuers, an elderly monk and a mysterious soldier with a covered face, train her to fight and use her powers to destroy the evil Frostblood throne, and although they start out full of animosity for each other, I loved the way Arcus and Ruby came to love each other. His secret was fairly obvious for me early on, but that never detracted from the story or the big reveal at the end. I only wish we had seen Brother Thistle again to make sure he was okay. The second book can’t some soon enough for me.

This is a fantastic debut and I look forward to reading more from Elly Blake.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 5/5

5cupcakes

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The Hating Game, by Sally Thorne

14 Jan

Format: e-ARC, 363 pages

Publisher: Hachette Australia

Published: August 9, 2016

ISBN: 9780349414256

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

Back cover blurb: NEMESIS (n)

1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome
2) A person’s undoing
3) Joshua Templeman
Lucy Hutton has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She prides herself on being loved by everyone at work – except for imposing, impeccably attired Joshua Templeman.
Trapped in a shared office, they’ve become entrenched in an addictive, never-ending game of one-upmanship. There’s the Staring Game, The Mirror Game, The HR Game. Lucy can’t let Joshua beat her at anything – especially when a huge promotion is on offer.
If Lucy wins, she’ll be Joshua’s boss. If she loses, she’ll resign. So why is she questioning herself? Maybe she doesn’t hate him. And just maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game . . .

My review: The Hating Game is one of those books from which you resent real life taking you away. Many times I had to put it down to go and do RL stuff, only to find myself muttering “Joshua Templeman…” I loved the snarky banter, and the swoons were many. Nothing came as a surprise, as I was paying attention and could see where things were going, but I loved it all nonetheless. I think Sally Thorne is about to become my latest auto-buy author. When I started this I was unaware she was someone who had been recommended to me often by friends in an online writing community, so I shouldn’t have been surprised that it was fantastic. I highly recommend, and will be keeping a keen eye out for Thorne’s next project.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 5/5

5cupcakes

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Rock Wedding (Rock Kiss #4), by Nalini Singh

10 Nov

30832928Format: e-ARC, 248 pages

Publisher: TKA Distribution

Published: July 19, 2016

ISBN: 9781942356370

Genre: Romance

Back cover blurb: New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh continues her Rock Kiss series with a hot, sweet, emotional contemporary romance about love and forgiveness…

After a lifetime of longing for a real family, Sarah Smith thought she’d finally found her home with rock star Abe Bellamy, even if she knew Abe didn’t love her the way she loved him. But their brief relationship, filled with tragedy and heartache, nearly destroyed her. Alone, emotions in turmoil, and already shaky self-esteem shattered, Sarah struggles to pick up the pieces in the wake of their divorce.

Abe knows he’s to blame for the end of his marriage. Caught in a web of painful memories, he pushed away the best thing in his life – the sexy, smart woman he adores – breaking them both in the process. Then fate throws him a second chance to get things right, to prove to Sarah that she means everything to him. Abe desperately wants that second chance at love…even if he knows he doesn’t deserve it.

But can he convince Sarah – now strong and independent without him – to risk her wounded heart one more time?

My review: This book should be called Rock Weddings because there are several in this book, making it a nice way to see out the members of Schoolboy Choir. Abe and his ex-wife, Sarah, are perfect for each other and their story is perhaps one of the better ones of the series. I didn’t think I’d like Abe, given his drug history and the way he is depicted at the start of this book, but he really made an effort to turn his life around. I have to admit I waited a long time for the other shoe to drop, but there was no sudden twist, and that’s probably why I can’t give this another cupcake. However, it was great to see all the other couples and know they all got their HEAs. I believe Nalini Singh plans to write some spinoffs about Gabriel’s brothers, so I look forward to that.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 4/5

4cupcakes

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The Sun Is Also A Star, by Nicola Yoon

8 Nov

29863451Format: e-ARC, 348 pages

Publisher: Corgi Children’s

Published: November 3, 2016

ISBN: 9780552574242

Genre: Teens & YA

Back cover blurb: Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

My review: The cover of this book is string art which strikingly and beautifully spells out the title. It is also a great metaphor for the story, in which the protagonists – Natasha, a Jamaican-born American girl about to be deported, and Daniel, a Korean boy on his way to get a haircut for the Yale interview he doesn’t want – are just two of the lives affected by their chance meeting. Interspersed with their POVs are snippets of some of the lives they touch during the course of their day together, from the suicidal security guard, to a grieving motorist, to the cheating lawyer and his mistress. Although Natasha and Daniel don’t know it, they profoundly change all these people just from their brief encounters, showing that like the string art, we are all connected to each other and decisions we make affect other people we may not even know.

Of course, this book is about an instant connection, which may sound like instalove but really isn’t that bad. It’s more like Daniel, a poet, is infatuated with Natasha and he wins over her scientific, sceptical mind during the course of the day as he tries to convince her to love him back. Even though they separate to attend appointments, they still manage to find each other in crowded New York when coincidences draw them back together. It may sound far-fetched, but the story rang so true to me, and would be another book by this author that I could see as a feature film. I liked Daniel a lot more than Natasha, mainly because he’s so sweet and swoony, and she’s a bit prickly and doesn’t even tell her parents when there’s a possibility they may not be deported that night. But my main hatred is saved for Fitzgerald. I could have throttled him.

The prose is beautiful and the feels are many. Nicola Yoon has done it again. Fantastic.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 5/5

5cupcakes

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