Book Review: Unbalanced by Courtney Shepard

Unbalanced

Synopsis

Asha is fire.Unbalanced

Every generation four sisters with power over earth, air, fire, and water are born to fight against a fanatical, secret faith. The Order exists only to sacrifice the sisters for their power. With each success their strength and control grows. They have never failed, for their rule depends on it.

The sisters, separated at birth, are unaware of what hunts them…but they are coming.
A handsome stranger discovers Asha in hiding, and swears allegiance to her cause. She falls for him; though he is not who he says he is. Betrayed and imprisoned inside the Order, Asha is without her power for the first time in her life.

As the war heats up haunting secrets and true motivations are revealed, but the sisters must unite and override their instincts and trust the untrustworthy if they are to fight their terrifying destiny.

Review

99c71-3-5-star

 

20171228_145618.jpg‘Unbalanced’ is a fast paced urban fantasy novel, which includes a whole lot of action, magical powers and a bit of romance thrown in just for fun. If follows the story of four sisters as they begin to discover who they really are and there place in this world.The book itself included everything I expected too, with multiple characters, a couple of bad sort of good guys and the real bad guys.

Not going to lie the first thing I thought of when I read the blurb was Avatar: The Last Air-bender, the book itself definitely holds up in it’s own right though with no pesky thought intrusion of the fire nation!

I loved the idea of this book and how it was able to suck me in straight away, although it did drip feed most of the information pertaining to the girls at no point was I confused as to what was happening. I will admit to being confused at points as to who the POV was for the chapter, especially when the boys started getting involved. Character development wasn’t as much as I would of liked, but as this is the first book in the series and with being a lot of different characters it was to be expected. The book did contain a fair amount of action, none of which was overly surprising. I will definitely be checking out the next book as I feel this is one that could be full of potential.

Thank You to NetGalley and the publishers for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 3.5/5

Would I read again: No

Would I Recommend: Yes

Would I read another book from this author: Yes 

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Book Review: Belle by Sarah Price

Belle: An Amish Retelling of Beauty and the Beast.

SynopsisBelle: An Amish Retelling of Beauty and the Beast (An Amish Fairytale #1)

To most townsfolk, he’s known simply as The Beast. Annabelle Beiler has little interest in gossip, but she’s heard about Adam Herschberger’s scars and his gruff, solitary ways. Though he sounds like a character from one of Belle’s treasured books, the man is real and, it turns out, just as unreasonable as the rumors claim. When a buggy accident wipes out the last of her daed‘s money, forcing him to sell their farm, Adam buys it. Then he offers Belle a deal–marry him, and her family can keep their home.

Everyone is shocked by Belle’s decision, but she’s determined to be a good fraa, cleaning Adam’s rundown house and tending the overgrown garden. Breaking through her new husband’s icy reserve will be another matter. Belle’s courage and strength are abundant, but it will take true faith to guide Adam back to the heart of his Amish community–and to the loving marriage they both deserve.

Review

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This was the first book I had read from this author and I was really excited to see an Amish twist on Beauty and the Beast. The book started of relatively slow, with a fair amount of repetitiveness in the way Belle experienced the world and to be honest just not that much going on in general. She also had way to much optimism with pretty much everything bring her joy or some other form of small happiness. Not that this isn’t good I’m not quite a gremlin that wants to see just bad things happen to the characters, quite the opposite in fact, in this case I just felt it was a tad overdone.

However once Adam comes into the picture, not only does the pace of the book pick up a lot more interesting things start to happen. It was great to read Adam’s character development as well as how they begin to build their life together. I also thought the way that the author tackles the aspect of ‘the beast’ was really well done as well as a great portrayal of how people can be prone to treat each other when somebody is different. I also loved the incorporation of other languages as the characters are speaking to give it just that bit more of an authentic feel.

Though the book was pretty well researched I would of liked to see a few more Amish facts and one or two more ‘surprises’.  However I really did enjoy reading through the novel and although predictable it was exactly what I wanted to be reading at that moment.

Thank You to NetGalley and the publishers for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 3.5/5

Would I read again: Yes

Would I Recommend: Yes

Would I read another book from this author: Yes

Quick Fire Reviews

Hi everyone, so I am officially back from my hiatus, I was back at work last week but have been quietly lurking in the shadows catching up on people’s blogs, I’m nowhere near done but I’m getting there! Now the last month I haven’t actually read all that much but I do have a lot of half written reviews so I thought I would combine them into a few shorter reviews.

Unexpected – Jenny Frame

Goodreads Synopsis:Unexpected

Self-made business owner Dale McGuire has always enjoyed two things in life: women and fast cars. Now in her mid thirties, she’s restless and can’t work out why. Then one day a ten-year-old boy turns up, claiming to be her son, and her simple ordered world turns upside down.

Rebecca Harper bears the emotional scars of her father’s crimes, and now she has two rules: never let anyone get too close, and never admit weakness. Thanks to an anonymous egg donor, infertility didn’t stop her from having her son Jake. Now pregnant for a second time, she’s horrified when Jake brings home the woman he believes is his other mother.

When distrust turns to understanding and passion, can Dale and Rebecca, two women bound by fate, make a family neither expected?

Review:

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I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started this one, I knew it probably wouldn’t be too light-hearted but I was also worried it would become a tad predictable. Luckily I was pleasantly as the book managed to keep my interest as well as sucking me into the lives of Dale and Rebecca, I was more than a little bit emotionally invested by the end. However saying that it was still just a little bit predictable for my liking.

The Queen of Wishful Thinking – Millie Johnson

Goodreads Synopsis:The Queen of Wishful Thinking

When Lewis Harley has a health scare in his early forties, he takes it as a wake-up call. So he and his wife Charlotte leave behind life in the fast lane and Lewis opens the antique shop he has dreamed of. Bonnie Brookland was brought up in the antiques trade and now works for the man who bought out her father’s business, but she isn’t happy there. So when she walks into Lew’s shop, she knows this is the place for her.

As Bonnie and Lew start to work together, they soon realise that there is more to their relationship than either thought. But Bonnie is trapped in an unhappy marriage, and Lew and Charlotte have more problems than they care to admit. Each has secrets in their past which are about to be uncovered. Can they find the happiness they both deserve?

Review:

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This was another I wasn’t too sure what to expect, it is my first Millie Johnson book and I kinda went into it thinking it would be a straight forward romance kinda book. I was more than pleasantly surprised when I found myself hooked into yes a romantic kinda book but also one with a ridiculous amount of twists and turns that led me to finish it up in one sitting, no regrets! This is definitely an author I will be looking out for in the future.

The Boyfriend Shop – Meredith Schorr

Goodreads Synopsis:The Boyfriend Swap

Is Christmas really the most wonderful time of the year? New Yorkers Robyn Lane and Sidney Bellows aren’t so sure.

Robyn has always dated struggling creative types. For once, her parents would love her to bring someone with health insurance and a 401(k) to their Chrismukkah celebration. Her actor boyfriend doesn’t qualify. While across town, Sidney’s professional life already belongs to her parents. She’s an attorney at her father’s law firm and she works tirelessly to keep her love life private. If she brings her lawyer boyfriend to their annual Christmas extravaganza, her parents will have the wedding planned by New Year’s Eve.

A mutual friend playfully suggests they trade boyfriends for the holidays. The women share a laugh, but after copious amounts of wine, decide The Boyfriend Swap could be the perfect solution. This way, Robyn can show off her stable attorney boyfriend and Sidney’s high-society family will take no interest in her flakey actor beau.

It’s a brilliant plan—in theory. In practice—not so much. When Will turns out to be the boy-next-door Robyn crushed on hard throughout her teenage years, and Sidney’s family fawns all over Perry like he’s an Oscar-winner rather than a D-list wannabe, one thing is certain: The Boyfriend Swap might just change their lives forever.

Review:

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I’m not sure why but I had a really hard time getting into this book, it was enjoyable, funny and the characters definitely grew on me but I don’t think I believed enough in the idea that two people could swap their boyfriends over a holiday season for me to be able to really connect with it. I would really like to try another of the authors books though as I did really enjoy the writing style.

 

The Good Sister – Jess Ryder

“As a sign of her important domestic status, the Viking wife carried the household keys on a chain, which was attached to her tunic. Some argue that the phallic shape symbolised the woman’s control of her husband’s manhood.”

Goodreads Synopsis:

Two sisters. One secret… A lie that could destroy them both.The Good Sister

When her father dies, Josie is devastated to uncover he led a secret life: another house, another family and a half-sister called Valentina.

Both with red hair and icy blue eyes, Josie and Valentina could be mistaken for twins. But the similarities end there…

Josie – Sweet, reserved, jealous, thief.
Valentina – Care-free, confident, dangerous, liar.

Two sisters. One survivor.

A nail-bitingly tense and unputdownable read that will keep you turning pages into the night. Perfect for fans of Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train and Sister Sister.

Review:

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Before I started this book I hadn’t really read any psychological thrillers for awhile my reading list had definitely incorporated a lot more happy kinda romance reads lately so I wasn’t sure how quickly I would be able to get into this book.

The plot starts relatively quickly we are introduced to the girls father and while this introduction doesn’t really give anything away it does bring to the forefront a couple of issues or mysteries I guess that aren’t hinted at in the blurb. While the story doesn’t always keep up this fast paced narrative it does just enough to keep you interested throughout with a few twists and turns that I didn’t see coming (though potentially if I had been looking out for them more I would of). The book really explodes at the end making for a satisfying if not a tad disturbing climax.

The POV of the books switch between our two main characters Josie and Valentina, I did find it a tad irritating initially that it never specified which sister’s views you were seeing things from however I don’t think the book could probably of been written without this. They both seem to be given the roles of both the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ sister rather quickly and this more or less set the tone for future events. Out of the two I did prefer Josie for most of the book but dam does she make some stupid decisions, at points it was hard to follow her reasoning before her actions which just made her that little bit less relatable. Valentina while I didn’t agree with her actions either I could kinda see more as to why she was doing things. The main thing I loved about this book and what kind of set it apart in terms of uniqueness was the Viking fact at the start of each chapter. Not only were these interesting but they did in part relate to what was coming next and I found I was left wanting to know more. I will admit after reading this I did go straight back to another fluffy romance so it didn’t quite recapture my love of this genre but it’s still one worth checking out.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 3.5/5

Would I read again: No

Would I Recommend: Yes

Would I read another book from this author: Yes

 

Forget Me Not – Em Shotwell

“Guy McCallister had eyes like a dream, a voice like a song, and a butt like a ripe apricot”

Goodreads Synopsis:

Maybe falling for the good guy, isn’t so bad.Forget Me Not (Blackbird Series Novella)

When Rex Somersby’s family matchmaker sets him up with the famous Evelyn Cadeau, he can’t believe his luck. Evelyn is the woman with the perfect Gift—the woman every man wants—while Rex’s own magical ability leaves much to be desired. He travels from Missouri to meet his dream girl in her rural Mississippi home, where Evelyn makes it clear that winning her heart won’t be an easy task. Good thing farm-boy Rex has never been afraid of a little hard work.

Evelyn Cadeau is used to getting her way. As the woman with the most powerful Gift, she knows she can have her pick of anyone she wants. And who she wants is slick, handsome, and off-limits Guy McCallister—not gawky, buttoned-up Rex Somersby. Yet, after an arranged date with Rex takes a dramatic turn, leading to a bottle of wine and sneaking to the creek for a late night skinny dip, she realizes there may be more to by-the-rules Rex than meets the eye.

Just as the young couple start to think their family’s tradition of matchmaking isn’t quite so backward, Rex is drafted to Vietnam. With war threatening to tear them apart, will love be able to save them? Or will it take a bit of magic?

Review:

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Initially when I started this book I didn’t realise that that it was a Novella from the Blackbird series. I’m not sure why it’s right there on the cover of the book but anyway I can safely say after finishing this book I am more than keen to read Blackbird Summer.

The story follows Evelyn and Rex from their first meeting to the start of their very own love story. The plot itself is rather straight forward, from the blurb you can tell more or less what’s going to happen throughout the book but it’s enjoyable nonetheless. The book is very easy to read and sort of sucks you in as you go. While it does have quite a light fluffy feel to it, it touches on a lot of harder hitting issues, particularly with the Vietnam War which does get to show another side the characters.

Both of the main characters were well developed though I’ll admit to liking Rex a little bit more than I did Evelyn, one of the main reasons for this was that I felt Rex was a lot more likely to turn around and surprise you (which he did) a lot more than Evelyn. The secondary characters all of which seemed to have there own little stories were well incorporated and it definitely gave of the sense that you would want to know more about them.  One thing that I did adore about this book was the magic system the author had in place, the idea of everyone having their own unique skill or magic made it all the more interesting for me especially as  some of the powers I would not of been able to think up myself. If your looking for a short easy read I would highly recommend to check it out.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

Would I read again: Maybe

Would I Recommend: Yes

Would I read another book from this author: Yes

Books that leave you in Tears take Two

Okay so I really wasn’t feeling the discussion post I had originally scheduled to write today, but as I was still in the mood to write something I thought I would revisit on of my favourite previous posts which you may have gleamed from the title was ‘Books that leave you in tears’. Now one of the reasons this was my favourite post was one, cause I got to think back about all the gut wrenching, tear inducing, hot mess kinda reads (a lot of which I remembered the moment I posted the post) and two because I got to hear so many suggestions of more awesome books that would most likely leave me in an unapproachable state. (I will post some of these at the bottom). Now I definitely haven’t got round to all of the ones I wanted to, as is life, but I have read a few more recently which I would like to include now, so without further ado I present Books that leave you in tears take two!

Number 5

Noughts and Crosses – Malorie Blackman

The first time I set eyes on this book was when I had just started high school and it was aNoughts & Crosses (Noughts & Crosses, #1) prescribed reading book for English. I vaguely remember hearing about it before than but in all honesty I had no idea what it was about. It was only after I had finished amid a pile of tissues that I really started to contemplate all of the messages within the book (and their are a few). I have read it multiple times since as well as the rest of the books in the series and it never fails to make me cry! For those who have not read this it follows the story of Sephy and Callum as they try to navigate a world in which skin colour is the deciding factor in just how well your life is going to turn out. They face prejudice, distrust and terrorist activity when all they really want to be is together. It’s a hard hitting story and if you haven’t read it it’s one I would highly recommend.

Number 4

Handle with Care – Jodi Picoult

Handle with CareOkay so a books that make you cry list for me will probably always include at least one Jodi Picoult book. A few years back I went through a big Jodi Picoult phase and read most if not all of her books. Although she is not an author I can read all the times and her books aren’t actually ones I can read multiple times they do always seemed to end in tears. Handle with Care is a story that follows Willow, a five year old girl born with a sever case brittle bone disease and her family as they embark on a law suit that will change their lives. Now without giving too much away, I don’t actually like this book all that much, and the simple reason for that was the ending. If you have read the book you will know what I’m talking about, but in my opinion it was unnecessary.  But it is still definitely one that will leave you teary eyed when you do get to the end.

Number 3

Me Before You – Jojo Moyes

So this I hadn’t read when I wrote my first post, it was one I was pretty sure that would Me Before You (Me Before You, #1)make me cry (I had heard already basically what it was about and what happened) but I had never got around to actually reading it. After I posted the first Leave you in tears, it didn’t take me long to get around to it and if your interested you can read the review here. Me Before you follows the story of Will and Louisa as they face impossible choices in adverse conditions. It is in essence a love story after life doesn’t go as planned and the choices that we face after that. Even knowing the ending to this it had me bawling just as much as if I didn’t. I was hoping it would soften the blow but no such luck, now I just need to work myself up to seeing the movie!

Number 2

Something Beautiful – Amanda Gernentz Hanson

Something BeautifulThis is another I have since posing the first post and if I had would of definitely been included on the initial list! From memory this is one I got accepted for on NetGalley and I’m so glad I did. The story follows the lives of Cordelia and Declan as they navigate from children to adults. It’s told from both past and present perspective as well as from the differing POV. Now what makes this story unique is that it deals with a myriad of different issues while still keeping the story believable. These include depression, self harm, teen pregnancy and the main theme of the book which revolves around fluid sexuality. Now this book left me with both happy and sad tears and an ending which I just didn’t see coming. If you want to check out the review you can read it here.

Number 1

P.S I love you – Cecelia Ahern

Now at number one it had to be P.S I love you, I was actually kicking myself for not including this last time as it’s another book that left me with both happy and sad tears, okay mostly sad but still. Not only that it left me a wreck pretty much the entire book! If you don’t already know it follows the story of Holly as she deals with the grief and aftermath of her husband Gerry’s death, unknown to her however Gerry has provided a little extra assistance in the form of 12 letters which are to be opened each month. Each of the letters ends in P.S I love you hence the title. So theoretically when you read the blurb of this book it basically tells you she is going to be left alone pretty much immediately but I just was not prepared as to how much it would hit me. Although I do love this book from memory I have only read it twice, the second years after the first so I had forgotten a lot of the finer detail. I also still haven’t manage to bring myself to watch the film haha. Either way I’m going to leave it here as my number 1.

So as promised I’m going to leave some of the suggestions from last post down below of more tear inducing novels, but if you have anymore let me know! (Happy tears count too!)

A Monster Calls19063The Light Between OceansWe Were LiarsSuzanne's Diary for NicholasEleanorMagonia (Magonia, #1)The Buddha in the AtticLily and the OctopusA Thousand Boy Kisses

 

Book Review: A Thousand Rooms by Helen Jones

“Heaven – it’s harder to get to than you think.”

Goodreads Synopsis:

You don’t wake up expecting to die… A Thousand Rooms

Katie is thirty-two, single, and used to work in advertising. She’s also dead. A lost soul hitching rides with the dying, trying to find her way to… wherever she’s supposed to be.

And whoever she’s supposed to be with.

Heaven, it seems, has a thousand rooms. What will it take to find hers?

Review:

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Okay so first things first this review will probably have more spoilers then I am intending as I have found it really hard to write this review without including any so be warned.

The story didn’t start of exactly how I imagined, yes Katie was dead pretty much straight away but I didn’t really expect her to hang around much after that, from the title I kind of assumed she would be catapulted on to the next life where she would have to spend the next several chapters exploring, finding her place, accepting her death and what not. Katie however was in no rush to move on and unfortunately left with no instructions/guidance on what to do next leaving her in a sort of limbo land. Now in general I don’t have any problem with that, in fact I love it when I’m completely surprised by a book, and Katie coming to terms with what has happened is done well although she does tend to materialize back into the same few places. My problem started to occur the longer Katie stayed in the Limbo world of her and after awhile it just became boring. Yes there was a few instances of her nearly moving on, finding a different part of heaven before being unceremoniously kicked out again but to be honest it wasn’t enough to hold my attention for a prolonged period of time. A one point I generally nearly threw my Kindle across the room after I was so sure she had finally made it and was suddenly kicked back out. This was about 50 percent in.

However the last 50 percent had me hooked and built on all the aspects I had liked about the first half of the book. I guess this also might of had something to do with adding another ‘main character’ if you will as well as giving a lot of explanations as to how things worked, what would be happening next etc… I also like the idea of there being one person/soulmate for you and no matter what you will always be connected. Not even the insta-love annoyed me, they were soulmates after all! It also added in some reunions and a general happier tone to the entire book which made it easier to read and I managed to finish it shortly after. Overall I liked how the book tackled the issue of Katie’s death, and general life processes, e.g death/birth and grief, I especially liked the use of colors and energy surrounding individuals. I would of liked a bit more to happen throughout the book but it still wasn’t exactly a difficult read.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy in exchange for a honest review.

Rating: 3/5

Would I read again: No

Would I Recommend: Yes

Would I read another book from this author: Yes