Monday, 26 May 2014

Take Me On by Katie McGarry

Synopsis
Champion kickboxer Haley swore she'd never set foot in the ring again after one tragic night. But then the guy she can't stop thinking about accepts a mixed martial arts fight in her honor. Suddenly, Haley has to train West Young. All attitude, West is everything Haley promised herself she'd stay away from. Yet he won't last five seconds in the ring without her help.

West is keeping a big secret from Haley. About who he really is. But helping him fighting for her is a shot at redemption. Especially since it' s his fault her family is falling apart. He can't change the past, but maybe he can change Haley's future.


Hayley and West have agreed to keep their relationship strictly in the ring. But as an unexpected bond forms between them and attraction mocks their best intentions, they'll face their darkest fears and discover love is worth fighting for.


Review
I have heard a lot of good things about the first 3 books in the pushing the limit series in the ‘booktube’ community, so requested this book as soon as it appeared on Netgalley, and was lucky enough to be accepted.

This book, although part of a series, can be read as a standalone as each book follows a different set of characters. I think reading at least the third book 'Crash Into You' would have added more to my understanding of the early parts of the book, specifically the accident that causes Rachel to be in hospital, however this is all explained in time and does not confuse or detract from the enjoyment of the book.

This book is told from the viewpoints of both protagonists, West and Haley. The writing is distinct and wonderfully describes their feelings and personalities. West seems a bit of a rebel in his life before he meets Haley, and once he does he quickly becomes fiercely protective of Haley. On the other hand you also see his insecure side, especially when it comes to his family, constantly feeling like a failure.
Haley is strong on the outside, trying to make the most of life after being dealt a crap hand in recent times. She has a lot on her shoulders and all things considered she deals with everything very well, though this means she seems guarded at times.
You can really see how well these characters are suited for each other, and how they both need each other in their lives. It is a great relationship to read.

The ending for me was perfect; it wrapped the story up really well and gave a fairly lengthy conclusion to the story, while still leaving your imagination running at the end. I really liked this, as I often find myself wanting more information out of the conclusion of books.

This is a great book and I have made sure to add the rest of the series to my ever-growing ‘To Be Read’ pile.
  



Released on 27th May 2014

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Published by: Harlequin (UK) Limited


Gratefully received from the Publisher for review.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Thirteen Weddings by Paige Toon

Synopsis
Last year, Bronte left Sydney for a wedding in England, where she met newly single Alex. After a night of passion they parted ways, and Bronte returned to Australia.
Now working on a picture desk for a magazine in London, Bronte is about to meet her new colleague, who turns out to be all too familiar. Although awkward at first, as Alex is now engaged to the girl he was on a break from when they met, they soon become friends.
But as the two get closer, and the wedding day looms, it is clear that Alex and Bronte have unfinished business…






Review
I have loved Paige Toon's books ever since I read 'Lucy in the Sky' many many years ago. She writes so beautifully, you are wrapped up in her stories from beginning to end.

Bronte has a lot going on in her life. She has a busy job, where she has just discovered she has to work with someone she fell pretty hard for, despite only  spending one night together. She also has a weekend job assisting a wedding photographer, where she meets lots of friends, old and new.

The dynamics between Bronte and her friends was fantastic. The were all so warm and welcoming, there wasn't one that I wouldn't want as a friend of my own. Bridget especially I though was a great friend to Bea.

I absolutely loved the theme of this book. I loved weddings, and am interested in photography so really enjoyed that aspect too. The scene with the  amateur photographer Uncle at one of the weddings really made me laugh out loud to myself, cue a strange look from my boyfriend.

Throughout this book I was constantly second guessing which way Bea would turn in her life. For the most part, I wasn't keen on Alex, I thought he was very selfish, I know he was confused about his feelings, but he failed to see how his actions were tang a toll on Bronte.


This book has all the magic of Paige's previous books and deals with tough issues, both during Bronte's present life and her past. This is woven in with some light hearted fun. Also included in the book are the sneak peeks into the lives of characters from past novels, which are as charming as ever. This is definitely a book you need to pick up, but then what else is to be expected of one of my favourite authors?




Released on 22nd May 2014

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Published by: Simon and Schuster UK


Gratefully received from the Publisher for review.

Monday, 19 May 2014

The Broken by Tamar Cohen

Synopsis
Best friends tell you everything; about their kitchen renovation; about their little girl’s schooling. How one of them is leaving the other for a younger model.

Best friends don’t tell lies. They don’t take up residence on your couch for weeks. They don’t call lawyers. They don’t make you choose sides.


Best friends don’t keep secrets about their past. They don't put you in danger.


Best friends don’t always stay best friends.





Review
The Broken is the first book I have read by Tamar Cohen, though a couple of her other books are on my wish list. The blurb for this book intrigued me, it didn’t give too much away, so I couldn’t wait to delve in.

The two main protagonists, Jason and Hannah are best friends with Sasha and her husband Dan. Dan wants to break up with Sasha, and, though Jason and Hannah would rather stay neutral this becomes harder and harder as the battle between Sasha and Dan goes on. I think all the characters were well written and believable.

The situations Hannah is faced with are relatable, and you can see how hard she is finding it, holding her tongue when she doesn’t agree with her best friend Sasha, who is an easy villain with her put downs on Hannah’s daughter Lily as well as Hannah herself. I really liked Jason, on the whole he stayed more level headed than Hannah, which I liked, as seeing it from an outside perspective really made me want to scream at Hannah and how na├»ve she was being.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. However, although it is easy to read and at times I couldn’t put it down, I found that in places, it seems to drag a little bit, however the ending was very satisfying and last chapter was absolutely mind blowing!



Released on 22nd May 2014

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Published by: Random House UK, Transworld Publishers

Gratefully received from the Publisher for review.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Looking For Alex by Marion Dillon

Synopsis
It’s the summer of 1977. Beth and Alex did everything together. Until the day seventeen-year-old Alex ran away from home. A missing persons report has been filed, but Beth knows that there must be more to Alex’s disappearance. So she follows Alex, to punk-era London, determined to bring her best friend back home.
But the Alex she finds living in a Camden squat isn’t the same Alex. And memories of those weeks in London haunt her to this day; falling for Fitz, her first love; tasting a new kind of freedom, and the fateful day that her parents finally tracked them down and took her away.
Alex knew then that Beth had betrayed her trust, and disappeared once more, severing their friendship for good. And now, years later, it’s time for forgotten secrets to be shared once and for all. Because after all this time, Beth’s never given up on finding Alex…



Review

This book sounded really intriguing, so was really happy when I was accepted on Netgalley.

This book flits between two times, the present day and then the 70's, when Alex went missing from her hometown. I think the present day bits to start with were a bit dull, but picked up as the story went on. Whereas I found the parts set in the 70’s really interesting and vibrant the whole way through the book. I thought the setting of the book was really good and really well set, it was easy to imagine what it was like in the squat.

I really liked a lot of the characters from the past Jenny and Michael were delightful, I would love to know them in real life. I also really liked Celia, I didn't think for a second she was jealous of Alex, protective over what she knew about Pete. Of course I hated Pete from the outset.
Regarding the main characters, I liked both Alex and Beth, but I wanted to knock their heads together at times. Of course, looking in from the outside this is easier said than done.

Overall, I enjoyed this book, but found it quite a slow read during the present time period. However, as mentioned above, the vibrancy of the parts set in the past more than make up for this. I will definitely be checking out Marian’s books in the future.



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Published by: Carina UK

Gratefully received from the Publisher for review.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Who is Tom Ditto? by Danny Wallace

Synopsis
Gone Girl meets Nick Hornby with a dash of The IT Crowd on the side. One of the smartest, funniest, wittiest novels of the year.

We join the action just as our ‘hero’ Tom, (early thirties, reads the ‘news’ on the radio) finds out that his girlfriend has NOT left him.


Tom,


I have not left you. But I am gone.

Please carry on as normal.
Love always,

Hayley


Has Hayley gone or hasn’t she? Is she coming back? If she has gone, but is coming back, when is she coming back? And what is he supposed to bloody do in the meantime? 


And what if she’s never coming back??


Trying to work out what’s happening to his confusing life, Tom tries to track Hayley down. In doing so, he stumbles across a strange and eccentric group of people with an irregular and highly-addictive hobby. 


Next, he’s being followed, but he’s not sure by whom. And then he also almost loses his job at the radio station in the now infamous ‘Jam Nazi’ episode, which of course, you know about.


Above all, Tom is trying to work out who everyone is. 


Because who is Hayley? Who is this new girl following him around the supermarket?


And who, for that matter, is TOM DITTO?


Review

I have tried to read almost all of Danny Wallace’s books, and have failed every time, despite loving the concept of both his debut fiction novel, and his non-fiction books. I have no idea why this is, I like the writing style and his humour, but every time I can’t seem to keep myself interested for the whole book. However, I thought I would give this one a go, and I don’t regret it for a second.

Tom is instantly a likeable character, heartbroken over the disappearance of his girlfriend, which soon turns into frustration and anger as he discovers more and more about why she left. Along his journey to discover why Hayley left he meets a group of people, who do something he find bizarre, but one particular member of the group, Pia, becomes a great ally in his time of need.  Pia is absolutely wonderful, a little crazy, but in a good way, and the exact type of person Tom needed to help deal with his issues. 


I also really liked the whole radio team. Pippy was funny because of her constant hash-tagging everything, Leslie with his constant ranting, the whole team was a great dynamic.


I really enjoyed the whole book, heart-warming, funny and a bit bizarre. I was really surprised by the ending, there were hints about it, but I was of the opinion that the obvious would happen, and it didn't, which was really great. I must now dust off all my other Danny Wallace books and get onto reading them!



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Published by: Random House UK, Ebury Publishing

Gratefully received from the Publisher for review.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Torn Away by Jennifer Brown

Synopsis
Born and raised in the Midwest, Jersey Cameron knows all about tornadoes. Or so she thinks. When her town is devastated by a twister, Jersey survives -- but loses her mother, her young sister, and her home. As she struggles to overcome her grief, she's sent to live with her only surviving relatives: first her biological father, then her estranged grandparents.

In an unfamiliar place, Jersey faces a reality she's never considered before -- one in which her mother wasn't perfect, and neither were her grandparents, but they all loved her just the same. Together, they create a new definition of family. And that's something no tornado can touch.





Review
Initially when I read the synopsis for this book it sounded interesting but didn’t jump out to me like another one of Jennifer Brown’s books I read earlier this year ‘The Hate List’. However I really enjoyed ‘The Hate List’, so I was sure I would enjoy this one too, and I wasn’t disappointed, this one is just as good.

This book is hard hitting. Jennifer Brown writes about the devastation incredibly well. Not only do you see the physical damage to buildings and property in the aftermath of the tornado, but you feel the pain that everyone is going through, especially Jersey, as she comes to the realisation that she has lost everything and everyone that are most important to her.

I really feel for Jersey, after the tornado hits, she is let down badly by a lot of people. Her biological father, and his family are absolutely terrible, other than her aunt, who is Jersey's only ally, and I really enjoyed their scenes together. I wish the whole book was a little bit longer, more time with the grandparents perhaps, as that part of the book seemed to go very quickly.

Overall, this book was a really good read, I read it in one sitting and it's definitely on my pile of books to be read again and again!



Released on 29th May 2014

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Published by: Little, Brown Books

Gratefully received from the Publisher for review.
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