Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Addicted To You by Krista and Becca Ritchie - REVIEW

Addicted to You (Addicted, #1)  Goodreads  Amazon   Twitter   Tumblr   Website

She’s addicted to sex. He’s addicted to booze…the only way out is rock bottom.

No one would suspect shy Lily Calloway’s biggest secret. While everyone is dancing at college bars, Lily stays in the bathroom. To get laid. Her compulsion leads her to one-night stands, steamy hookups and events she shamefully regrets. The only person who knows her secret happens to have one of his own.

Loren Hale’s best friend is his bottle of bourbon. Lily comes at a close second. For three years, they’ve pretended to be in a real relationship, hiding their addictions from their families. They’ve mastered the art of concealing flasks and random guys that filter in and out of their apartment.

But as they sink beneath the weight of their addictions, they cling harder to their destructive relationship and wonder if a life together, for real, is better than a lie. Strangers and family begin to infiltrate their guarded lives, and with new challenges, they realize they may not just be addicted to alcohol and sex.

Their real vice may be each other. 

Review ahead! 

Saturday, 14 June 2014

City of Heavenly Fire Character Analysis + Giveaway!

City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6)
This is kind of a long post, bear with me. Or you could go right to the bottom for the giveaway I guess ;)

I will say the recommended reading order in my personal opinion though. I would say it should be read (this is how I read it): City of Bones, Ashes, Glass, Clockwork Angel, Prince, Princess, CO Fallen Angels, Lost Souls and then Heavenly Fire. Others also recommend publishing order but personally I wouldn't appreciate moving from 2012 to the 1800s and back again.

I went into this book with the mindset "expect the unexpected" and Cassandra Clare definitely delivered. This book is the culmination of 7 years building the Shadowhunter world and I commend Cassandra Clare for it.

Whilst I'm not going to go in depth in terms of the plot, due to this being the last book in the series I am going to go into depth with the character analysis due to all these characters having grown up from City of Bones until now.

I know there were some people that found themselves disappointed by this, but for myself, it was the book that cemented the fact that I can trust Clare's writing skills. There's a healthy dose of angst, terror and setting up of the next chapter of the Shadowhunter Chronicles.

Having read the book I have to say a lot of Clare's snippets were extremely misleading and released to cause undue stress. If she ever decides to quit writing, she'd probably be the best saleswoman ever.

Okay, so as there's no formal review (maybe next month) let's get on with the character analysis!

  • Clary - I personally don't feel like this was Clary's story. I noticed more about the other characters and I'm not sure whether she really had an opportunity to grow. She did heroic things, but I'm not sure what made them any better than her actions in City of Glass. It has already been shown that Clary is perfectly happy to kill anyone that she thinks/is correct about being a threat to her and her loved ones. I like that she was fully confident in her role as a daughter, friend, Shadowhunter and lastly girlfriend.
  • Jace - It's so easy to forget that Jace is just a 17 year old boy. Then he packs certain items to other realms and you're like "oh yeah." But seriously, with the whole Heavenly Fire thing and the Council/Clave refusing to acknowledge his very important point of view it's easy to sympathize with Jace. Similarly to Clary, it's shown that Jace has become more comfortable in who he is and where he fits in in life and most importantly what he can show to other people. My favourite thing about Jace is definitely that no matter what's going on he's known his place is with Alec and Isabelle as their sibling.
  • Alec- Alec was amazing in this book. It is amazing what heartbreak can do to some people and to Alec it made him the warrior he was always meant to be. As the Shadowhunters say "Sed lex, dura lex" Alec took this to heart in this book and was unforgiving and if I'm honest, to me, it brought out the best of Alec. He's a fierce warrior - as all Shadowhunters should be - but normally his role is looking out for Jace or Isabelle because no one decided to teach his siblings not to fight recklessly. We see the beginnings of this Alec at the end of COLS when Clary notices that it's him that is using the bow and arrow but in this book it's no longer a weapon. It's an extension of Alec himself. Alec is able to learn who he is and wants to be as a man regardless of his romantic life
    In a snippet released we had a lovely quote about Alec (said to Jace) coming to terms with where he fits in in his family: "You needed me. So I realized that there was one person who didn’t assume you were better than me. You."
  • Isabelle - Isabelle didn't seem to be herself to me in this book. I understand that with so many characters it is hard to go into depth with each character as much as the readers would like. While I prefer Character X, someone could wish Character Y got more page time so I'm willing to forgive authors for whichever mix they think is best, even if it is the last book in the series. From the little we do see of Isabelle she's full of emotion and therefore life. She starts the book angry. She's angry at her parents. She's angry her brother is dead. She's angry at Sebastian for killing Max. She's angry at Sebastian for being alive. She's angry at Sebastian for trying to take her other brother away from her. She's angry at her parents for being partially responsible for the entire situation. And then after she begins to either let go of this anger or realising that it cannot be at the forefront of her mind she becomes sad. She's sad her brother is dead. She's sad her boyfriend can never really be with her because he's a Downworlder and they can't have kids anyway.
    A lot of fans were worried that Isabelle would become an Iron Sister or something equally drastic so I'm happy that she got at the very least a chance at a happy ending. (I don't know if you can tell, but I love Isabelle)
  • Simon - I hope I'm not spoiling anything when I say Simon started and ended the series in the same way. That is to say he started as Clary's best friend willing to follow her anyway through anything and finished like that as well. Simon really became a man in this book. He was in charge of his own destiny and it was a nice fit for him. Previously he only survived because he had the Mark of Cain and obviously that came with it's own side effects that he was unable to control. I liked him and Jace coming to a place of like and mutual respect with each other.
  • Magnus - The man can keep secrets. It may be his biggest flaw. An unwillingness to share secrets about himself actually caused a couple of problems in the books but he's entertainment so I'll keep him around. I think in this book Magnus became more open and was more willing to put himself out there regardless of what happened.
  • Sebastian/Jonathan - He's insane. Somehow it works, obviously I have to actively root against him because he's causing actual harm to characters that I like more than him but he has a certain charm that almost makes me wish I was on his side. Jonathan was a sweet guy though, somehow showing people what they're missing can hurt more than just letting them get on with their lives.
  • Emma - Whilst I appreciated Clare setting up the next "phase" of the Shadowhunters Chronicles I'd have preferred it if she had spent more time on the main six characters. However Emma proved to be an interesting heroine. She's strong and knows what she wants. We see how she becomes parabatai with Julian and honestly, it was dumb. She really should've thought it through more but we'll deal with the consequences of that in The Dark Artifices.
Recommend to: Fans of the Shadowhunter Chronicles, 12-17 year olds, people appreciative of a story coming together with a satisfying ending
Rating: 4 stars

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Thursday, 5 June 2014

The Bitches of Brooklyn by Rosemary Harris - REVIEW

The Bitches of Brooklyn      Goodreads                     Amazon
Four friends from Brooklyn await the arrival of a fifth at a Cape Cod bungalow where they spend an all-girls weekend every summer. But this time the fifth woman doesn't show. Instead she sends a note that reads - "I've run off with one of your men."

Fast, funny and filled with Harris' trademark snappy dialog and quirky characters forced to reevaluate their friendships, their marriages and their memories.
By the author of Agatha and Anthony nominated PUSHING UP DAISIES and the Dirty Business mystery series

Review ahead

This book has its good and bad qualities. A good quality is that there are females with a strong friendship that aren't all backstab-by with each other. 

I feel like this book was supposed to have distinct characters but every time a character was mentioned without being there, I had to actively remember who they were and who they were supposed to be married to. Perhaps there were too many named characters, or I momentarily forgot how to keep track of everyone

In terms of the plot, there was a lot of moving from one location to another and I wasn't always sure where the women were meant to be. The "main" plot sort of goes around in circles with the women going from defending their husbands/significant others to be sure that they would never leave or that Abby would never be with them and it's relatively tedious.

This was a quick read, yet I cannot decide whether fleshing it out would have made it a better read or a worse one. There was no main point of view in this book, and whilst I'm not saying that's necessary in books, I think it would have been easier to remember who each of the characters were if they all had distinct voices. It feels more like Harris is telling me that the women have varied and established personalities rather than showing me. I would have loved to have a narrative that was motherly and instinctively know it was character A, followed by a narrative that was more brash that I would instinctively know was character B etc.  

Recommend to: fans of quick reads

Rating: 3 stars

GUEST POST - Matt Cain Author of Shot Through The Heart


My Los Angeles

I first went to Los Angeles in 2002 when I was making arts and entertainment programmes for ITV. Straight away I fell in love with the place – and my new love affair came as a complete surprise.

Before I’d left for LA loads of people had told me it was a soulless city and everyone who lived there was superficial. But what struck me first of all was something nobody had ever mentioned – just how beautiful it is. The beaches are gorgeous and as you look out to the horizon you can see dolphins jumping through the waves of the Pacific. Many of the streets are lined with palm trees that shimmer in the light breeze, the dramatic desert is just next door, and if you drive up into the hills you can see stunning views over the whole city. And, of course, the sun is always shining – that much I had been expecting. It was all quite overwhelming for a boy from Bolton.

On top of all that, I discovered that the restaurants and diners are amazing and offer all kinds of food that staff don’t mind you adapting to suit your own tastes. The shopping is great – much cheaper than Britain and you’re always served by people who seem happy to help. On practically every street you pass the house of a major international star – and, if you’re lucky, you might even bump into them in person. And all this takes place against the backdrop of the Hollywood sign sparkling out at you from the sunlit hills.

But, best of all, everywhere you look in LA you see hot men – on the streets, in bars, running through Laurel Canyon, working out on Muscle Beach and beaming at you with their perfect smiles from the windows of their cars. I don’t think I’ve ever seen as many handsome men in one place and all of them seem to come with amazing bodies as standard. No wonder they call it la-la-land. And not only that but everyone I met in LA seemed to love Brits. Very quickly I understood why so many of our biggest stars, from Robbie Williams to the Beckhams, have spent time living there.

Over the next few years I was sent back to LA to shoot several more programmes for ITV. And, as I got to know the place better, I realized it simply isn’t true that all the people who live there are superficial. Alright, loads of them do spend ages making sure they look good but so many of them are also into self-help and self-improvement, whether that’s rhapsodizing about a new therapist they’re seeing or telling you all about their discovery of Buddhism. And I think that’s what made the most impact on me about LA – the hope, the optimism, the fact that anything seems possible. You’re never too old to reinvent yourself or start again and no-one will ever write you off as a lost cause.

Of course, LA isn’t all perfect. Over the years I’ve met plenty of people there who tell you whatever you want to hear and just gush over you without ever backing it up with concrete action. I’ve always been lucky enough to have a job to do each time I’ve been there and I remember thinking once that it must be a tough place to live if you’re a struggling actor or writer or director and can’t get a break. Back in Britain, I once interviewed Michael Caine when I worked for Channel 4 News and he told me that when he lived in LA he really missed the cycle of the seasons. As someone who grew up in the rainy and usually grey North West of England, I can’t imagine ever feeling the same way. But I do remember one time I was there filming with the actor Ian McKellen and he took me to a school for underprivileged children in the desperately run-down area of Koreatown where he was involved with a charity project. It was a side of the city I’d never seen before and it suddenly struck me that LA wasn’t all sunshine and smiles.

But despite this, my overwhelming memories of the place have always remained positive – and I think that’s why I decided to set my debut novel Shot Through the Heart there. I started to write the book years after my first visit to LA when I was feeling miserable and unhappy with my life in London. My career wasn’t going the way I wanted it to, I’d received a romantic rejection from a friend I’d totally fallen in love with and my mum had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. When I sat down to write I just wanted to escape. And it seemed like the logical thing to do to escape to LA.

Shot Through the Heart has just been published by Pan Macmillan. It’s a romantic comedy about a Hollywood actress who falls in love with a paparazzi photographer. The pap’s a Brit who loves LA so many of his impressions of the city are my own. Although I’ve tried not to lose sight of the dark side I’ve sometimes glimpsed through the sunshine.

I hope you enjoy reading the book. And, if you still haven’t been to LA, I hope it persuades you to consider it the next time you can afford a dream holiday!


My Review for Matt's book can be seen here

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Locks by Sarah J Pepper - COVER REVEAL

About the book:  Gunned down by the hottest killer in the history of the Badass Archives wasn’t exactly Rapunzel’s end-game. But when her reputable extraction skills fail, she uses unorthodox methods to gain her freedom from the Mercenary, whose icy blue eyes have serious panty-dropping capabilities. Even though most girls wouldn’t fall for their would-be assassin, Rapunzel isn’t like most dames. Her major girl-boner for the Mercenary is so pathetically intense it verges on cliché.

Regardless, Rapunzel’s hands are tied. Love chooses its victims, not the other way around. She isn’t the stereotypical Damsel in Distress. Her Bad-Boy Prince Charming is a renowned mercenary, and her “Happy Ending” plays out like a bad movie. However, she is determined to find her freedom—love be damned—and she’ll do it in a fabulous pair of heels.

About the author: Sarah J Pepper specialize in dark, paranormal romance – think “happy ever after” but with a twisted, dark chocolate center. Real-life romance isn't only filled with hugs, kisses, bunnies, and rainbows. True-love can be more thoroughly described in times of darkness and tribulation. It’s in those harsh moments where you see what a person is truly capable of – both the good and bad. Sometimes prince-charming isn't always on time, and the glass slipper is a little snug. However, it doesn't mean Charming is not Mr. Right, and who says every shoe is the perfect fit?

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