Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Review - Iscariot by Tosca Lee




In Jesus, Judas believes he has found the One—a miracle-worker. The promised Messiah and future king of the Jews, destined to overthrow Roman rule. Galvanized, Judas joins the Nazarene’s followers, ready to enact the change he has waited for all his life.

But Judas’ vision of a nation free from Roman rule is crushed by the inexplicable actions of the Nazarene himself, who will not bow to social or religious convention—who seems in the end to even turn against his own people. At last, Judas must confront the fact that the master he loves is not the liberator he hoped for, but a man bent on a drastically different agenda.

Iscariot is the story of Judas—from his tumultuous childhood and tenuous entry into a career and family life as a devout Jew, to a man known to the world as the betrayer of Jesus. But even more, it is a singular and surprising view into the life of Jesus himself that forces us all to reexamine everything we thought we knew about the most famous—and infamous—religious icons in history.
 



https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25369192-shtum




Judas Iscariot is probably one of the most hated characters in Roman Catholicism. On the other hand, if not for his betrayal, our belief system may look very different today.... Such is the conflict with reading about the lead up to Jesus' crucifixion, and looking at it from a couple of perspectives. So go ahead, challenge my thoughts on Judas. A novel devoted to an interpretation of his story? Bring it! 

So... after finishing this novel, what were my thoughts? 

Thought provoking? Absolutely.

Inspiring? Sure

Challenging? 100%

Furthermore, I was surprised by the character of Jesus in this novel. For all of his miracles, compassion and touching emotion, there were moments when he appeared utterly mad and at others, someone in need of some serious depression medication. I certainly could relate to the ensuing doubts on the minds of those that observed this behavior and wondered if they were following a madman.

Trying not to spoil anything for any potential readers, Judas' 'betrayal' was quite believable, and it did make me wonder at the possibility of whether there were true elements to this story... after all, there were many that wanted to take Jesus down, and I wouldn't put it past these men to take advantage of someone like Judas to make this kind of plan happen. 

Judas' life story was very interesting and captivating. I don't really know if there is any fact interwoven with fiction as I am not sure how much information on the real Judas actually exists... but it was certainly was a sad story of someone who had a very hard life, and wandered through it looking for a place to belong and something to believe in. 

It is, of course quite clear, that there is no happy ending to this story. That being said, I found the ending a little vague compared to the rest of the novel, and wished there was more exploration of Judas' mind leading up to his impending death. I just felt like something substantial was lacking and I was left with a bit of a disastified feeling. But as with Havah, I enjoyed this novel well enough and looked forward to picking it up where I had last left off. 


Very easy 3 star rating, and though it may not seem like I was not wowed by this novel, rest assured that I thoroughly enjoyed it and will continue on to enjoy other novels by this same author.

Happy Reading!



Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Review - Havah by Tosca Lee




New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Tosca Lee shares the “passionate and riveting story of the Bible’s first woman and her remarkable journey after being cast from paradise” (Publishers Weekly, starred review).

Created, not born. Her name is Eve. Myth and legend shroud her in mystery. Now hear her story.

She knew this earth when it was perfect—as she was perfect, a creature without flaw. Created by God in a manner like no other, Eve lived in utter peace as the world’s first woman, until she made a choice, one mistake for which all of humanity would suffer. But what did it feel like to be the first person to sin and experience exile; to see innocence crumble so vividly; and to witness a new strange, darker world emerge in its place?

From paradise to exile, from immortality to the death of Adam, experience the epic dawn of mankind through the eyes and heart of Eve—the woman first known as Havah.
 









https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25369192-shtum



I love historical novels... and I don't mean pirates, westerns or civil wars. Ancient history though, gimme gimme gimme. Most of all, imaginative retellings, or interpretative fiction of biblical figures and times. I just love to eat those up.

So glad that I had the opportunity to read this novel by Tosca Lee, and also Iscariot which I will review soon also. My only regret here is that it took me so long to get to this book and discover such a talented author.

This is not the first biblical novel I have read, and I truly enjoy Tosca Lee's writing style. Rich and descriptive, both characters and the world around them was brought to life in my mind. From the beautiful world both Adam and Even inhabited, and their connection with all living things, to the temptation of the serpent and ensuing expulsion and chaos. The severed connection that they both suffered, not only from God, but all the animals that they loved and frolicked with literally saddened me. Some of the imagery painted in this book was gruesome and disturbing and adequately depicted the devastation of losing that connection.

Now Adam and Eve are out in the world, aware of their nakedness, ashamed, afraid, and trying to figure out their place in the strange cold, frightening world they are now in. This book explores their survival, their growing resentment and love for one another, the joy of having their children, and the anguish of looking on as some grew greedy and reckless. It was definitely different as their children grew up and began to look at each other with interest, formed couples, went on to have their own children. But how else would the world have populated when there was only one man and one woman? 

I found that the novel did drag on in areas, and felt a little repetitive at times. It also felt like the story was longer than it needed to be, but overall, I definitely enjoyed reading this novel and Lee's portrayal of not only these two characters, but also some of their children who had their own important roles and stories, not only in this book but the Bible as well. She offered some very interesting perspectives that really made me reflect.


I was very glad that I had Iscariot to read next and definitely plan on adding more of her novels to my list. Definitely recommend this author!

Happy Reading!


Thursday, July 27, 2017

What happens after? - By Portia Moore





It was never supposed to happen. 'We' never should have happened.

He and I... Our constantly crossing paths changed the unthinkable to the inevitable.
It was magical, exhilarating, and life defining... despicable, and it ruined everything.

It destroyed me.
It destroyed us.
He and I is what happened before.
And everything else is what happened after…










https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25394556-what-happens-after?ac=1&from_search=true




I was originally interested in this book from the book cover and the title. I really wanted to know what happened after, and after what? Once I started I really got excited and pulled in with the prologue, something about the words really spoke to me. However After the first few chapters I got really bored. The only reason I pushed through it was because someone told me "sometimes you just have to push through it" and so I did.



It felt like it took forever to read this book, I kept putting it down for a few days and then starting again. Between the dull storyline, the flipping back and forth between past/present and different characters, and the most annoying part... the editing mistakes!! Oh. My. Gosh. I just cant with the editing in this book! How is she cooking scalloped potatoes one minute and when they sit down to eat it, it has magically turned into mashed potatoes!?! This is the most frustrating thing for me. 


The going back and forth between past and present, and going from Gwen, to Lisa, to William so many times made it confusing at times. until I finished the entire book certain things didn't connect for me. I mean it took me reading almost the entire book to figure out that William was the same guy Gwen "stole" from her sister Gia!


What Lisa did at the end of the book made me mad, I just don't understand how she could walk away like that. Seeing how strong of a woman Gwen is, is very empowering. To be able to forgive and love so unconditionally after such heartbreak takes a strong woman.






This book is a 1 star review for me. I wouldn't recommend reading it.










Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Cellar, by Minette Walters

From the internationally bestselling, award-winning crime writer Minette Walters, The Cellar is a harrowing, compulsively readable novel about a family of African immigrants, the Songolis, and the dark secret they keep hidden in the depths of their seemingly respectable British home.

On the day Mr. and Mrs. Songoli’s young son fails to come home from school, fourteen-year-old Muna’s fortunes change for the better. Until then, her bedroom was a dank windowless cellar, her activities confined to cooking and cleaning. Over the years, she had grown used to being abused by the Songoli family—to being their slave.

Now that Scotland Yard has swarmed the Songoli house to investigate the disappearance of the son, Muna is given a real bedroom, real clothing, and treated, at least nominally, as a daughter. But her world remains confined. She is not allowed to go outside, doesn’t know how to read or write, and cannot speak English. At least that’s what the Songolis believe. Before long it becomes clear that young Muna is far cleverer—and her plans more terrifying—than the Songolis, or anyone else, can ever imagine.








https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25779048-the-cellar?ac=1&from_search=true




 So... I thought I would take a little break from reviewing romance books and throw myself into a mystery/thriller book, and I am very happy I did! This is my first Minette Walters book, and I can assure you it wont be my last! Minette Walters style of writing captured me from the very start, and she was able to draw me in with the picture she painted with her words.


The characters were also well delivered. Muna came across very smart, she always had quick answers to such important questions. She always knew how to cover her tracks, I guess observing everything all the those years while being held captive came in handy.


Yetunde (The "Mother") was the most awful character I've come across so far. She is so hateful, ignorant, and just an all around horrible person. The things she says and does makes me want to hurt her myself.


When it came to the two sons, Abiola & Olubayo, I thought the same thing of both... You are how you're raised. Seeing how their parents treat Muna made them feel it was okay to do the same. You don't find out much about Abiola, however the parts you do get made me have little to no sympathy for him. You get to know Olubayo throughout the book, which made me hate him that much more as the book progresses. I guess you cant blame the kids when they see their parents doing the same actions.


And finally Ebuka, the "father"... I had mixed feelings about him. At first I hated him just as much as the other characters, but I guess I'm a big softie because after seeing the way his wife spoke of/to him after his "accident" made me feel bad for him... but only slightly. Even the way he spoke to Muna in the last few chapters made my heart thaw towards him, but then again he really needed Muna so he said whatever he had to.






This book always kept me guessing, and wanting more. Especially the ending which leaves you with a poem... I mean poems are great and all but I wanted to know what was going to happen! Maybe that's just me being greedy. 4 star review from me, the poor ending is the only reason this book didn't get a higher rating from me. Its a must read if you like mystery/thriller type books and I look forward to reading more from Minette Walters in the future!







Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Review - The Devil's Prayer, by Luke Garcias





A nun commits suicide in front of thousands in Spain. In Australia, Siobhan Russo recognises that nun as her mother, Denise Russo, who disappeared six years ago.

In search of answers, Siobhan travels to the isolated convent where her mother once lived. Here she discovers Denise’s final confession, a book that details a heinous betrayal that left her crippled and mute, and Denise’s subsequent deal with the Devil to take revenge. In the desperate bargain Denise made with the Prince of Darkness, she wagered Siobhan’s soul.

As Siobhan discovers the fate of her soul, she learns that hidden within the pages of her mother’s confession is part of The Devil’s Prayer, an ancient text with the power to unleash apocalyptic horrors.

And now her mother’s enemies know Siobhan has it.

Can Siobhan escape an order of extremist monks determined to get the Prayer back? Can she save the world from its own destruction?

Explicit Content Warning: "The Devil’s Prayer" is a historical horror thriller that contains brutality, rape, sex, drug abuse and murder. Readers may find its content offensive and confronting.


 


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25369192-shtum







Two words

So Disappointing.

Another two words.

Info Dump.

All four words sum up this review. 

I stopped reading this at 53% because I could not adequately justify to myself to continue to waste another minute on this book. I just completely and utterly disliked it.

It wasn't because "it contains brutality, rape, sex, drug use and murder." It wasn't because I found "its content offensive or confronting".

It was simply because where it wasn't boring me to death with all kinds of information dumps, it was making me shake my head and laugh a little over how it lacked complete believability. I could not quite believe how Siobhan's mother committed some of her most heinous acts... the thought process as laid out in the book's pages just did not make sense to me and was very unrealistic. There was something lacking; that switch that turned and made her so cold and ruthless was absent... the pieces just didn't fit.

I read on hoping as the story developed it would get better.. but was disappointed to learn it was only getting worse. 

With over a thousand books in my 'to read' list... how could I continue to force myself to read even one more page... This book got a fair chance from me. It was time to stop the madness. I honestly don't understand the amount of raving reviews for this one.... I am at a loss.




A rare rating from me, and I don't like giving them out. Honesty is a bitch sometimes.







Monday, July 17, 2017

WE HAVE A WINNER!!!


Thank you to everyone who entered the Giveaway for Book 1 & 2 of the Spirtfire trilogy, by Nicole French!




The winner (randomly selected by rafflecopter) is....


DANIELLE LEMIEUX

Congratulations Danielle!  I am sure you are going to love these books!!  We will be in touch soon.



Thursday, July 13, 2017

Off Limits, By J.L. Paul

 OFF LIMITS!
What was I supposed to do?
I desperately wanted to take that summer art class – one that would count toward my college credits come fall.

But it was far from home and the only option I really had was to stay with Jackson, my stepbrother – the very stepbrother who detested me and my mother.

Surly and sullen, he was still the sexiest man I’d ever seen. He wasn’t thrilled to have me invade his home or his life.

Slowly, though, he warmed toward me. Was it because of the electricity that crackled between us? The irresistible pull we both felt? Or maybe it was the searing kiss we’d shared that night…
Whatever it was, he was teaching me things that I’d never learned in art class – things I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone.
What would our parents say?
 





https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23483595-off-limits?ac=1&from_search=true




I could've fallen in love with this book, but unfortunately I was left wanting more from this book. The characters chemistry was good at some points and then fell flat at others. It was a emotional rollercoaster... and not in a good way! When India (the main female character)  and Jackson (the main male character) had their moments together it was intriguing and pulled you in, then they would fight or just avoided their feelings and it got a little boring and frustrating.






I couldn't relate to the characters at all, there were a few times where Jackson would say or do something to push India away and she would just suck it up and get over it way to fast with sometimes no apology. She seemed kind of immature and a bit of a push over. And Jackson... what an asshole at times! You just cant say certain things to people, its just not okay. I don't understand how they ended up together in the end... I wouldn't have continued that relationship.





This book definitely had an interesting story line, however there could've been more to this book. It felt extremely rushed, especially the end. It was almost as if J.L. Paul just wanted to wrap up the book and be done with it. The fact it was so rushed and choppy killed the little romance there was. I'm not saying this is the worst book ever, but it failed to meet my expectations. I am disappointed so this gets a 2 star review from me.





Thursday, June 29, 2017

Big Rock, By Lauren Blakely

It's not just the motion of the ocean, ladies. It's definitely the SIZE of the boat too.

And I've got both firing on all cylinders. In fact, I have ALL the right assets. Looks, brains, my own money, and a big c*&k.

You might think I'm an a*&hole. I sound like one, don’t I? I'm hot as sin, rich as heaven, smart as hell and hung like a horse.

Guess what? You haven't heard my story before. Sure, I might be a playboy, like the NY gossip rags call me. But I’m the playboy who’s actually a great guy. Which makes me one of a kind.

The only trouble is, my dad needs me to cool it for a bit. With conservative investors in town wanting to buy his flagship Fifth Avenue jewelry store, he needs me not only to zip it up, but to look the part of the committed guy. Fine. I can do this for Dad. After all, I’ve got him to thank for the family jewels. So I ask my best friend and business partner to be my fiancĂ©e for the next week. Charlotte’s up for it. She has her own reasons for saying yes to wearing this big rock.

And pretty soon all this playing pretend in public leads to no pretending whatsoever in the bedroom, because she just can’t fake the kind of toe-curling, window-shattering orgasmic cries she makes as I take her to new heights between the sheets.

But I can’t seem to fake that I might be feeling something real for her.
What the fuck have I gotten myself into with this…big rock?






https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26252659-big-rock?ac=1&from_search=true



Another asshole/player type book intrigues me again... this time it falls short of impressing me. It starts off with a fake engagement between friends, all that just to impress a potential buyer for his dads company. Like other books fake love turns into real love, real fast.


Now there weren't as many sex scenes as you would think from seeing the cover of this book. At parts it was a little boring, seem to drag on for no reason. Even some of the dramatic parts, where you're thinking oh yeah! here comes the drama!, weren't even close to as good as you would expect them to be. I really wanted and expected more from this book, which was very disappointing. More details on their emotions while going through the drama would've helped. But I'm not sure much could make this book better.





I did really like how Lauren Blakely gave it a clean, concrete ending. I didn't want or need to know more about Charlotte or Spencer once I finished. This is a 2 star book for me, not really worth your time. I don't regret reading this book, but it definitely wasn't my favourite love story.








Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Author Spotlight - Nicole French


I am so excited to bring to you our very first Author Spotlight since our re-launch!!  Author Spotlights are one of my favourite features on the blog.  There's not much better than falling in love with a book and getting to pick the brain of your new favourite author!  Keep reading right to the end.  Nicole very generously has agreed to a giveaway for the first two books in the amazing Spitfire trilogy!

With that being said, I would love to introduce you to my new favourite author...




I was super excited to get to know more about Nicole and I hope that you are too!  So without further ado, I will get into the interview questions.


Where do you do most of your writing?



I write at home and in coffee shops. Cliche, I know. When at home, I'm usually parked on the couch, interrupting my husband's work with the occasional "WHAT ARE YOU DOING??" whenever I'm yelling at my characters. That's usually about the time he kicks me out to interrupt people at local cafes. 



Do you have anything you have to do or have while writing?


Caffeine--usually coffee, which my dude makes better than anyone else, or, if I'm writing for a good long while, a pot of earl grey tea. And a comfortable place to sit. For some reason I cannot write at a table. I have to be as sloth-like as possible.



Who is your favourite author?


I have many. If I want to feel like I just kicked some ass, I read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. If I want to learn stuff and stick with the characters for a nice long while, I reread all of Diana Gabaldon's work (also JAMIE). In terms of indie authors, Jodi Ellen Malpas is my spirit animal, and as for newer authors, I think Kennedy Ryan's work is pretty amazing. 



If the spitfire trilogy were to be made into a movie, who would be your ideal actor/actress for Brandon and Skylar?


Brandon is easy: Charlie Hunnam. I actually dreamed the meet-cute in Legally Yours before I wrote the book, and I had been watching too much Sons of Anarchy at the time, so in my head, Brandon looks like a hybrid between Hunnam and Paul Walker. 

Skylar is a harder nut--she is a total figment of my imagination, physically based on a girl I met when I was traveling in France several years ago. I haven't seen anyone who looks like her, but out of famous actresses...maybe Emma Stone? Yeah, I think that would work, partly because of the red hair and also because she has the right attitude. 



What were you like in high school?


That's an amazing question--definitely not one I've been asked. Hmmm...well, I'll tell you a story that was pretty much me in a nutshell: 

During my first year of high school, my friend and I were waiting after soccer practice for my parents to pick us up. We were all kitted out in our gear, shinguards and balls and everything. As in, it was really obvious what we had just been doing. Up comes this boy, whom I'll name Chad (since all hot fools from HS are named Chad in my head), and I get all of a flutter, because Chad is THE hottest boy in the ninth grade, and I have a HUGE crush on him. And he smiles in that way that only cute HS boys can do, and I'm all excited because Chad is about to talk to ME. "Hey," he says. "Hi," I say, grinning like a fool. And then he says, "So, do you guys play soccer?" And I look down at my shinguards, the ball, our bags full of soccer stuff, the grass stains smeared over our shorts and probably across my face. Then I look back at him and say, "No, dude, we just like to dress like this for freaking fun." 

Yeah, poor Chad did not become my boyfriend. But I also did not stop being a smart ass who sometimes puts her foot in her mouth, and that both served me well and kicked my ass in various ways throughout my adolescence.



When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?


A "potion-maker." An "author" (hey, I got that one!). An archaeologist. A nightclub singer. A concert pianist. A baseball player (like in A League of Their Own). A poet. 



How did you get into writing?


It is really hard for me to think of a time when I wasn't writing. When I was six years old I wrote my first story about a whaler who made friends with the whale he was chasing and started telling the world to stop whaling. We bound it with a cardboard cover and everything (in the shape of a whale). I was hooked.



Are you currently working on anything else?


Ooohhhh yeah. I have another series I've been sitting on for about a year now. It needs a lot of editing, but I'm hoping to put out the first book after I'm finished with the Spitfire Trilogy. It's the story of an NYU student and a local firefighter from Hell's Kitchen--sort of a "wrong side of the tracks" story. Readers can take a look at the first chapter (which is under the tentative title "Downtown Baby") on my website.



In your opinion was Legally Yours or Legally Mine better?


Legally Mine, I think. It's a little tighter, more polished, and I had a better editing team when I wrote it. But I also think it's just more interesting. The story itself is slightly more complex, and I think better character development happens. Plus...I like the steamy scenes better. They were really fun to write in this book. Especially the one in the pool.



Do you have a favourite quote from the Spitfire trilogy?


"He looked like he wanted to eat me. Good, I thought. Fair's fair." -- from Legally Mine



Was there anything left out of the trilogy that you originally had in it before it was edited?


Well, I'm still writing the third book, so we'll see. But there are definitely some scenes that were cut from the first two––snaps of Skylar with her friends at a local bar, a sex scene that just didn't quite work the way I thought it would, and several scenes with Brandon that were completely rewritten. His character is funny--he was hard to nail down for a while because the book isn't from his point of view at all, so it took a lot of iterations of "what would he do in this moment?" for me to get a feel for how he would talk and act. But once I did get a handle on him, he became clearer to me than everyone else, including Skylar, who's the narrator! 



Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?


Yep. See my silly story about the whale above. I won an award from the principal and everything!



What is something you are really good at that most people don’t know?

I'm a really good mimic of foreign and regional accents. When I was a kid, my parents had au pairs live with us from several different countries, and I used to spend a lot of time studying their accents and pretending to talk like them. It sort of snowballed from there as I traveled more and lived in different places around the country and the world.

I highly suggest picking up the Spitfire Trilogy! 

Book Number 2 - Legally Mine is being released tomorrow!!! 

Below we are going to give you a chance to win e-copies of both the first and second book!!









a Rafflecopter giveaway




Thursday, June 22, 2017

Love, By Lacey Weatherford

 Living happily ever after has always been part of the plan for Cami and Dylan, but when strange things begin happening around the Wilcock household, Cami simply believes she’s becoming forgetful.

However, when the incidents begin to escalate, both are left feeling vulnerable. Unable to figure out what’s going on, Dylan delves deeper into the mysterious happenings. But when the truth comes out, he finds himself faced with the biggest decision of his life—how far will he go to protect the one he loves?







https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18811265-love?ac=1&from_search=true




Okay Lacey Weatherford, why? Why did you do it again?! How do you know just how to make me fall apart? You make me fall madly in love with your words, and I love it!


This was by far my favourite book of the three. I laughed, I cried (pretty hard actually, I'm kind of ashamed) and just plain loved this book. So much drama and surprisingly is doesn't get boring. Even though this was book three I still enjoyed every moment. It was still exciting and amazing, I never knew what was coming next.


Lacey Weatherford is my favourite writer right now, to have me loving the third book to a series more then the first and second is shocking to me. She nailed throwing people off with her story line. I never expected the person to be behind all this drama and heartache to be the person it turned out to be.





Lacey Weatherford has Captured my heart with these three books, this is a must read 5 star series! I'm not sure how I feel about reading the fourth book (Smolder) which is based off of Russ' life. I usually stay away from books that stray from the original characters as they're not as good. But with Lacey being such a good writer I may have to give it a try, and any other books from her I can get my hands on!




Thank you Lacey Weatherford, Thank you!




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