Unscripted by Lisa Swallow

UnscriptedWow, it’s been a while since I posted a review. Life’s been pretty hectic recently. A couple of weeks ago, I visited a close friend of mine in the US (she emigrated last year) which was a lovely break, if a little far to go for a long weekend!

Today’s review is a lovely, easy read romance by Lisa Swallow. It’s the first novel I’ve read by Lisa. I picked up a sample from Instafreebie and the premise and Lisa’s writing grabbed my attention so I preordered the full novel.

The book follows Tate Daniels, Hollywood superstar and Myf (Myfanwy) Roberts, a struggling Welsh-born actress. Myf and Tate met six years ago when they were both studying acting in London, but despite their smoking hot chemistry, Tate was a player and Myf wasn’t willing to be the next instrument he fiddled with for a few days before tossing her aside.

The two went their separate ways, but six years later, when Myf is jilted on her wedding day (when her best friend finds the groom and the best man in an, ahem, compromising position), she takes an ill-fated trip to Vegas where she and Tate meet once more.

I really enjoyed this novel. The chapters flowed into one another very nicely and the characters are well-rounded and fully developed. Myf was great. I loved the realness (is that even a word….) of her. She makes mistakes, and she owns them. She’s contradictory at times, but unapologetic for it.

Tate gives a good impression of the devil-may-care playboy, but Lisa shows us his vulnerable side which makes you root for him to get the girl.

Tate and Myf’s story continues in Spotlight which is out later this year, a release I’m very much looking forward to.

Last Breath by Robert Bryndza

Last Breath

I’ve had Last Breath on pre-order for ages. Unfortunately, when it finally dropped onto my kindle two weeks ago, I had a few other books upon which promises had been made, and so I had to leave it for a while. And boy, was that like an itch you were desperate to scratch. Every time I opened my kindle, there it was, beckoning me to ‘Go on, open it’.

I resisted (somehow) and yesterday, on a plane to the USA to visit a friend, I began to read.

Last Breath sees the return of Detective Chief Inspector Erika Foster. Erika is still cooling her heels pushing paperwork when a call comes in about a girl found in a dumpster. Erika happens to be with Peterson at the time he receives the call so, of course, our intrepid detective can’t help poking her nose in (one of the many, many things I love about Erika).

But…I digress…Erika begins to dig, even though it is not her case, and she finds another murder committed a few months before which appears to have been carried out by the same killer. In order to be considered for the case, Erika has to eat some serious humble pie, but she does it in true Erika style (Have I mentioned I love Erika Foster?)

My Thoughts

My goodness me, Robert Bryndza, you’ve only gone and done it again! Last Breath is a thrilling rollercoaster of a ride that will strap you in, send you spinning, and won’t let go until you’ve turned the last page.

It’s an intricate piece of storytelling, beautifully structured with all the twists and turns of a classic.

Erika is back with all the dogged determination and insubordination that I’ve come to love her for. There are times (many of them) where I actually cringe at the things she says and how she rails against authority. She’d be an absolute nightmare to manage. But what her superiors can’t deny is the results she achieves.

If I had a mother, father, sister, brother, lover or friend go missing, I’d want Erika on the case. The woman is a force of nature.

Bring on Book 5!

The Girl Before by JP Delaney

The Girl Before

I really wanted to read this novel, especially with all the hype surrounding it, but at £6.99 was a little rich for my blood (I’ll only push the boat out that far for an ebook from my very favourite authors. As I’d never read a novel by JP Delaney before, I didn’t want to take the risk.

But then a BookBub email came into my inbox. Excellent! It had been reduced to 99p. I grabbed it (and told a bunch of my friends to grab it too), before it went up in price.

And of course, it shot straight to the top of my TBR pile.

The novel is told in a THEN and NOW style. Then, is about Emma, a young woman who has met an untimely death and Now, following Jane, a woman who rents the same house Emma lived in three years before.

The house has very strict rules, applied by the architect and owner, Edward Monkford. As the story progresses, Jane becomes obsessed with the house and its secrets as her past becomes intertwined with Emma’s.

My Thoughts

I finished The Girl Before a few days ago but left it until now to write my review, because I wanted to reflect. It didn’t blow me away, as I’d expected. I found the storytelling from Emma’s perspective a little strange, especially as the author chose not to use quotation marks for speech, making it hard to follow when someone was actually speaking versus having internal dialogue. I know why the author did it—to differentiate between the voices of the two women, especially as there does end up being some repetition—but all the same, I didn’t get on with that style.

There are some good twists and turns, and I loved the vivid description of the house which is central to the story, but I was looking for more punch, more tension, more drama, and I’m afraid The Girl Before didn’t deliver on the hype surrounding it. This is something I’m finding more and more. Certain books seem to attract huge attention (I’m thinking Girl on the Train and Gone Girl here), and yet don’t quite deliver on the promises that hype makes. I began to wonder if the term ‘Girl’ was the problem (joke), but having read Robert Bryndza’s The Girl in the Ice, which is a superb novel, I know that not to be true.

The book is being made into a movie, directed by Ron Howard, who is superb, and thinking about how the story unfolds, I think this is one of those that may translate better to screen than reading the written word.

 

The Chosen by J. R. Ward

The Chosen

Xcor, leader of the Band of Bastards has been captured by the Black Dagger Brotherhood for treason against The King, Wrath, son of Wrath.

After a lifetime of hardship and abuse, Xcor accepts his death sentence, his only regret the loss of The Chosen, Layla, a female who was never his to begin with.

Only Layla, The Chosen, knows the truth that will save Xcor’s life, but can she risk everything she holds dear for the male she loves?

My Review

I admit to being rather disappointed with the last BDB novel, The Beast, although from fellow fans I’ve spoken to, that novel certainly polarised opinions, and I get the sense that The Chosen will suffer the same fate.

However, for me, I LOVED it. I have been waiting for what seems like a lifetime, virtually frothing at the mouth to get my hands on Xcor and Layla’s long awaited story – and it didn’t disappoint. Full of angst, regret, revenge, love, sorrow and loss, The Chosen really put my feelings through the wringer – without apology. Xcor’s backstory broke my heart and I was praying for him to catch a break, although with a death sentence for almost killing The King hanging over him, I couldn’t see a way for him to survive.

Layla really comes into her own in this novel. She risks everything, and by everything, I mean EVERYTHING for the man she loves, but more than that, she leaves her Chosen status well and truly behind her. And I loved it. There’s a specific scene with Tohr (no spoilers), where I actually found myself cheering her on. What a woman!

Now Qhuinn…don’t get me started on him. I wanted to reach into this novel and give that male a good shake, and let him feel the sharp edge of my tongue. He makes a lot of judgemental errors in this book, and I was most certainly NOT on his side.

And now for the things I didn’t like. For me, there are still too many other threads. I’d have loved this book to be about the main foursome (Xcor, Layla, Qhuinn and Blay), but several other threads took the attention away from the main story. Of course, there has to be some set up for the next novel (which we now know to be Assail’s), but I sometimes long for the BDB novels of old where the other threads were kept to a minimum.

Still, that’s a minor gripe, and apart from Lover Awakened (Z’s story – ahhh Z, my love, my life), this is probably my favourite, mainly because of Xcor.

I await Book 15 with interest.

 

Guest post by Winning Ace author Tracie Delaney #WhenDreamsComeTrue @Tracie_Delaney

Guest post by Winning Ace author Tracie Delaney #WhenDreamsComeTrue @Tracie_Delaney

The lovely Jo Robertson over at My Chestnut Reading Tree was kind enough to host me on her blog where I talk about my upcoming novel, Winning Ace and share a couple of teasers. My thanks go to Jo for hosting me.

mychestnutreadingtree

In another of my occasional series #WhenDreamsComeTrue I have a guest post from Tracie Delaney who is about to publish her debut novel! I first met Tracie at a Blogger/Author get together, organised by the lovely Kim Nash, in Birmingham about a year ago. Since then I have been waiting patiently for the news that her first book is on its way! And now it is!

Guest post…

Getting Winning Ace to market has been such an exciting journey. When I pressed the ‘publish now’ button on Amazon, iBooks, Nook and Kobo, I have to say I felt a mixture of pure elation—I did it!—to terror—Oh My Goodness. People might find my book and read it!

I’ve always had a love affair with books, from a very young age. When I was in my early twenties, I wrote about fifty thousand words of a novel (and in those days I…

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The Prince’s Game by Lexi C Fox

The Prince's Game

Well, you know what they say about buses….in my case it’s reviews. This Sunday brings not one, but two reviews and my second, is The Prince’s Game by Lexi C. Foss.

Evan Mershano is a billionaire hotel owner who’s looking for a wife and mother to his heir. So he does what every billionaire does – he goes on a game show! Riiiggghhhtttt.

Except, it isn’t quite as straightforward as that. Because Evan doesn’t want a wife, and he certainly doesn’t want children, but unfortunately, there’s a tiny problem. If Evan wants to keep his fortune, he doesn’t have a choice.

Sarah Summers finds herself on the show thanks to a prank by her identical twin sister, Abby (who I would have absolutely killed if she’d done to me what she does to Sarah).

Evan and Sarah hit it off, and when Evan reveals to Sarah that if she refuses his proposal at the end of the show (which extracts him from his marital responsibilities), then he will fund her ambitions to start her own marketing firm.

My Review

Anyone following my blog knows that I love to read a wide variety of genre’s. Sometimes, I want the dark, gritty underworld that crime thrillers bring, sometimes I want to be swept away into a fantasy world, and sometimes, I want something exactly like this book. The Prince’s Game is such an easy read. The pages simply fly by and before you know it, you’ve reached the end.

I adored Evan and Sarah. Yes the premise of finding your match on a game show is very ‘The Batchelor’, but the twist that Evan isn’t there of his own volition gives this light romance a nice bit of conflict and tension.

Sarah is a brilliant character. Witty, charming, believable, I’d definitely go for a night on the town with her – it would be a night you wouldn’t forget.

Evan is hot, sure, but he’s also a really nice guy and I liked how the author showed that. She let us see his vulnerability and his inner turmoil at having to play out this stupid game, but he does it with grace, even though some of the contestants would challenge my nan’s patience (and she was a very patient woman!)

There’s also a secondary storyline threading through; that of Rachel (Sarah’s best friend) and Will (Evan’s cousin) which is the subject of the second book in the series and one I am very much looking forward to.

I would definitely recommend this book for a light easy read with likeable characters and a satisfactory ending.

With thanks to the author for an advance copy of The Prince’s Game.

 

Defaced by Marissa Farrar

Defaced

Hi all. Happy Sunday! I must admit, my reading and, therefore reviewing, has had to take a bit of a backseat recently as I get ready for the release of my own book next month. However, I have managed to squeeze in a couple of books, one of which is Defaced by Marissa Farrar. This book has been on my TBR for too long so I’m thrilled I finally found the time to read.

Defaced is a pretty dark novel in parts, and it’s billed a such, although through its heart is a love story.

Monster, a child with a facial deformity, is hidden away by his criminal father. He’s never seen the outside world and so when his father dies and Monster inherits his father’s considerable (and criminal) business interests, Monster is suddenly thrust into a world he knows little about, despite his father’s ‘teachings’.

Lily, a laser therapist, has her own demons to contend with. Apart from her work, Lily keeps herself to herself. One night, her whole life is thrown into turmoil when Lily is kidnapped and taken to Monster. She’s given an impossible task – to fix him, make him acceptable in front of his business associates.

But what will happen to Lily if she fails?

My Review

I’ve put off writing this review because I wasn’t sure how to phrase the way this book made me feel. Lily’s kidnap scene is graphic, current and very scary. Marissa Farrar certainly doesn’t soft-soap it for a romance audience. However, once at Monster’s estate, I found it much less dark and much more sad.

I did enjoy the interspersed chapters where we get to travel back in time, to when Monster was a child, and we are shown just how awful his life was, which helps us understand the man he is today.

Lily accepts her fate to remain Monster’s ‘prisoner’ until he is fixed pretty quickly. I could understand this because it’s made clear there is nowhere to go, but where I struggled a little more was how quickly she succumbed to him as a person. We, the reader, could absolutely empathise, because we saw his journey, but Lily did not have that luxury. I would have liked to see her hold out longer than she did, especially as she has her own problems to contend with.

Overall, I liked this book and I will probably download the others to see how Monster’s story progresses, but I’d have liked to see a little more grit and a little less acquiescence from Lily when it came to her fragile heart.