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Jane's reviews

Divergent

Divergent - Veronica Roth Divergent by Veronica Roth

3 Stars

I have been listening to people talk about this book for forever, mostly good, very few negatives but just never had the time to pick it up and read. Once the movie was on track I didn’t want to ruin the film version by reading first so waited some more! I have to say it wouldn’t have made much difference to me if I’d read it before watching because the film is a fairly accurate adaptation of this book with only a few minor detail changes.

I enjoyed the book it hooked me and I am eager to read the next instalment, but I was also slightly disappointed with it. It had too many similarities to The Hunger Games and that frustrated me. No it didn’t have Districts, but it had Factions. It didn’t have the Games but it had Initiations and the main Faction we followed, Dauntless, was extremely violent and I often wonder what the fascination is of late with creating our main young female characters with extremely good killing skills. Is this really what we want our daughters to aspire to?

I wasn’t totally sold on this Faction thing, I’m not sure what purpose it serves or how people can be pigeon holed into one particular group, that isn’t human nature and it didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. Surely separating them like this would cause conflict rather than peace, maybe I’m just Divergent and that’s why I don’t get it!!

Peeta I mean Four was a character I liked, especially in the beginning in the training sessions, he was quietly confident, aloof, the strong silent type that appeals and his character was built well. It was fairly obvious from the onset who and what he was so there were no surprises when all was revealed later in the story.

Tris had a tendency to be annoying, she was quite judgemental and unhelpful, self-centred and irritating. I didn’t like her very much though she became more tolerable as the story moved along…a good kick in the face can have that humbling effect on people!!

As far as the world created is concerned, it was very insular, there wasn’t a full explanation of the war that resulted in this way of life, there was no explanation of what was outside of those walls and we are not told if there are any other colonies out there. Are we to believe that this little city is all that is left of the world and there are no other humans anywhere? It just felt a bit vague to me and left me with unanswered questions, perhaps I will get those answers in the next book, who knows!

Mentor (An Impossible Novella) (Impossible, #2.5)

Mentor (An Impossible Novella) (Impossible, #2.5) - Julia Sykes Mentor by Julia Sykes

5 Stars

A novella in the Impossible series, Mentor is a very dark story told mainly from Kathleen’s POV after she is kidnapped. The story has some very disturbing scenes of torture and abuse, both mental and physical, and is only suitable for readers over 18 years of age.

It’s difficult to imagine that when someone steals your freedom and keeps you in a room naked and blindfolded, that you can actually begin to need that person, but that is what happened here and by being inside Kathleen’s head it’s easy to understand why. Initially she was determined not to give him what he wanted, she didn’t want him to have the control over her that he clearly desired. As the time went on, I don’t know if it was days, weeks or even months, she slowly started to need more from him than just food and water. It went both ways, he needed things from her too and in an odd way I felt sorry for him and his inability to have normal emotions and connections with people. He is obviously damaged as a result of a difficult childhood and I couldn’t help but pity him.

I have enjoyed, that sounds wrong because of their content but I don’t know how else to word it, the whole of this series so far. Julia Sykes does a fantastic job at reeling the reader in and giving them an emotional ride. I’ve been left with something to think about at the end of each book long after I’ve finished reading, and this instalment is no different.

Copy supplied for review



Flawed Perfection (Beautifully Flawed)

Flawed Perfection - Cassandra Giovanni Flawed Perfection by Cassandra Giovanni

4.5 Stars

Growing up next door to brothers Adam and Bobby, it was no surprise that River built up a close bond with both. As they grew older the feelings they had for each other changed, her feelings towards Bobby as a friend were nothing like the deeper feelings she felt towards Adam. Bobby was the more competitive of the brothers, he loved sport and some may say he was his parent’s favourite. Adam certainly thought so, he was constantly disappointing them with his love of music and choice of career, where as they loved everything Bobby did. I can understand why Adam had trust issues and was unable to form any kind of meaningful relationship.

Because it involved brothers, and they were both great characters, this love triangle was quite emotional. There was no one to hate, and no one to pick as the better option and root for, it really was down to the characters to decide which way this was going to go and it was often sad to read… I loved it! The ending came out of left field and I was shocked beyond words, which only added to my enjoyment.

Flawed perfection is a character driven story following the lives of these three people, it isn’t action packed or adventure filled but it held my interest anyway. Cassandra is a talented writer and I’m sure I will be reading more of her books.

Copy supplied for review






Snow Bound (More than Magic, #2)

Snow Bound (More than Magic, #2) - Elizabeth Kirke


Snowbound Elizabeth Kirke

4 Stars

After five months apart from the group, Jen meets up with the gang for a fun skiing trip, but it soon turns troublesome when Jen’s human friend Shannon arrives to stay with them. Things are further complicated when TS smells another werewolf close by and they soon realise he has a human with him. The problem with involving humans is that they are not allowed to know about magic without permission. In an attempt to hide their abilities, cracks appear and mistakes are made. An argument ends with TS getting injured resulting in Thomas being weakened because of their bond, causing him to make a rash decision.

When I read the first book in this series the one thing I found interesting was the inclusion of a variety of ‘magical species’. It’s unusual to have so many all on the same side and I like that aspect of the book. The characters acted like teenagers, their personalities came across well, and there were some humorous moments while the group were trying to conceal their magic.

The writing and editing is on form though I think reducing some of the word count in the slower areas, and adding a little more action could improve the pacing. We are not left with a cliffhanger everything by the end is tied up well.

Copy supplied for review

A Match Made in Hell: 5 (The Dream Series)

A Match Made in Hell (Book 5 in The Dream Series) - Gladys Quintal A Match Made In Hell (The Dream Series #5) by Gladys Quintal

3 Stars

As further information comes to light about the curse, it is more important than ever to protect AJ. With the help of Seb Chloe and Moyra, Maria is chosen to keep both Cassie and her son safe, while Alexi still battles with his own demons over what he has done.

A Match Made in Hell is book 5 in The Dream Series and is a quick read. The story continues as AJ grows older and the path he must choose is getting closer. I felt this novella was more of an info dump than an action packed read. We were given details of Elizabeth’s motives, the way Maria was called as protector and about how AJ’s destiny is determined by the choices he makes by the time he is 18. I feel they were all essential details but kind of wish the book was full length and had a little more happen in it.

The writing was easy to read and flowed well, though I felt the end was very abrupt and left me turning the page expecting to find more, none was there and I wonder how many books will be in this series before we reach it’s conclusion.

Copy supplied for review


Skeletons of Birkbury

Skeletons of Birkbury - Diana J. Febry Skeletons of Birkbury by Diana J Febry

3.5 Stars

Skeletons of Birkbury is a murder mystery set in the Cotswolds and puts me in mind of Midsomer Murders or Inspector Morse. The scene is idyllic but the discovery of old bones in a field brings a drama to the usually peaceful village.

I’m not a huge fan of English ‘detective’ novels, they often feel tame next to their American counterparts and this was no different. The prose was overly descriptive, almost poetic and I found it irritating in parts. The story tended to drift off point and lose focus, leaving me to want to skip past the waffle and get to the relevant bits. I wasn’t particularly interested in the lives of Fiona and Peter, I wanted to know how and why this body appeared here and not that Peter had a miserable marriage.

My issues with this book are more to do with my taste than anything else. It isn’t a bad book it just wasn’t ‘gritty’ enough to keep me engaged throughout, but there are many readers out there who enjoy this style and I would recommend it to that audience.

Copy supplied for review

Nate Rocks the City (Nate Rocks, #4)

Nate Rocks the City (Nate Rocks, #4) - Karen Pokras Toz Nate Rocks The City by Karen Pokras Toz

5 Stars

Nathan Rockledge is a young boy who loves to draw and sees himself as a superhero. As he goes around his normal day he often finds his mind wandering, and his pencil moving as he sketches himself into adventures that make his life more exciting. This instalment of the ‘Nate Rocks Series’ sees Nate as he travels to New York City on a school trip and is the last book of the set.

Nate’s adventures include, saving one of Tommy’s family heirloom’s by attacking the burglars with a barrage of base balls. Saving a classmate from a deadly spider bite by catching it in his underwear, Ideal little boy humour! and using his Mums meatloaf sandwich to catch the ‘Birdinator’ at the zoo, Nate’s Mum is a terrible cook!

Nathan takes his inspiration from everyday events that happen around him and the stories are fantastic for encouraging the young to use their own imaginations. The characters are relatable for the target audience and the language used is suitable for the 8-12 years age group.

Copy supplied for review

Just Destiny

Just Destiny - Theresa Rizzo Just Destiny Theresa Rizzo

4.5 Stars

Jenny and Gabe had decided children weren’t in their future, she wasn’t interested in starting a family and he already had a son and daughter from a previous marriage. When Jenny finds out she is expecting, rather than tell Gabe she is already pregnant she tells him she has changed her mind and now wants to start trying for a baby. Gabe’s unenthusiastic reaction disappoints Jenny and she storms off in a temper leaving Gabe to follow. As he goes after her a car hits him and his injuries leave him fighting for his life.

Just Destiny is an emotional story covering a very controversial subject. Should a wife be allowed access to her husbands sperm and use it to create a baby after his death, without his consent? With modern day technology all kinds of things are possible but with this new knowledge a mountain of ethical and moral questions are raised, and who knows what the right answers are. Theresa did a fantastic job at giving the reader the opportunity to see all sides of the argument and make up their own mind about the issue.

Filled with secrets and untruths this novel drew out a variety of emotions in me and I switched sides numerous times before the end. Gabe’s uncle frustrated me, he should never have kept the secret, taking the choice about parenthood away from Gabe was cruel to say the least and I can’t understand why he did it. I didn’t agree with Jenny’s decision, I know she was hurting but I don’t think it was what Gabe would have wanted and I think it is quite frightening that a case like this could be brought to court.

Although a rather sad and depressing book I would highly recommend this to lovers of the likes of ‘My Sisters Keeper’, and suggest a box of tissues by your side as you read.

Copy supplied for review


Uncovering You

Uncovering You - Scarlett Edwards Uncovering You by Scarlett Edwards

3 Stars

After her third year of college Lily finds herself a summer internship and is offered a position that sounds too good to be true. Deciding to take a year out and earn some serious money that will enable her to pay off her student debt, she is devastated when after only two weeks on the job her contract is terminated. Lily is left jobless, homeless and in debt with nowhere to go.

I was a little confused at the beginning of the book. I’m not a reader who pays attention to headers so I had to keep going back to check the timeline. That was irritating! Once the story began it was easy to follow where we were, or maybe I learned to pay attention to the headers!

We are totally inside Lily’s messed up head, her world consists of a room, light and dark, and a collar around her neck restricting her freedom. Her confusion and her determination are what drive the story, and her memories are what feed the reader the pieces of information that build the picture of what is actually happening to her.

I didn’t like Lilly, I thought she was standoffish and unapproachable, but I still wouldn’t wish her situation on anyone. I was constantly hoping she would refuse to sign the contract, and in effect starve herself to death, which was quite a bizarre thought, but I really didn’t want this man to win by her signing the contract.

As I watched the percentage counter on my kindle approach the end I was becoming more anxious that the story didn’t seem to be coming to a conclusion. I was running out of words but still didn’t have my answers. When I got to the end, which wasn’t an OMG cliffhanger, I was really disappointed and felt kind of flat.

I chose to review this book after a quick scan of the blurb, it piqued my interest and I was curious. I think perhaps if I’d taken the time to check out the series as a whole and how it is going to be published, I wouldn’t have read the book. I like to read a story in its entirety, I don’t mind a series but the ones I go for don’t leave you hanging, each book finishes leaving me satisfied and wanting to read the next book, not because I’m left with unanswered questions, but because the book was so good and complete that I want to continue the journey. This series is to be published in sections at intervals of around 3 weeks, that isn’t the way I enjoy to read, if I did I would go on one of those sites where unpublished writers post stories online by the chapter as they’ve written it. I may wait until the whole series is published and read it altogether but I won’t be rushing out on April 20th for installment number two!

Copy supplied for review

Cover to Covers

Cover to Covers - Alexandrea Weis Cover to Covers by Alexandria Weis

3 Stars

Twice married Tyler, wasn’t the perfect man. A work-a-holic and a little indifferent to women’s feelings, he drifted through life using women for his physical needs only. Bumping into an old fling on a work trip, he began to re-evaluate his ways and realise that maybe the problem lay with him and not with the endless string of women he beds.

Monique had never been able to get over the fact that Tyler hadn’t followed her when she left college to return home and look after her ailing mother. As time passed she met and married a young doctor, but it was never a truly happy marriage and she always had Tyler in the back of her mind and dreams of what might have been.

Now 21 years later, Monique has made her living writing romance novels and the one thing all her male leads have in common is the fact that they have a strong resemblance to Tyler, but where her relationship with him ended, her books all have the classic HEA that she secretly wishes they had shared.

Cover to Covers is a really slow starter. Our leading male doesn’t have any attractive qualities, his lifestyle was creepy and his personality was not appealing. He clearly had no respect for women and the way he treated his ‘soon to be ex’ wife was appalling and set the tone for my feelings toward him from that point on.

I pitied Monique and the fact that she had been harbouring these feelings for the man for so long and that it didn’t take her long to go back to him. Sadly just when I thought she had come to her senses, realised her mistake, and left him again, she falls for his BS again.

Personally I’d have kicked his ass to the kerb 21 years ago and left it there! Some characters don’t deserve a HEA and I’m sure if we pick up this story two years down the line Monique will have realised she hasn’t got one either!

Not my favourite romance novel.

Copy supplied for review

Radiant Shadows

Radiant Shadows - Sarah Baethge Radiant Shadows: Beginnings (Parts 1-3) by Sarah Baethge

2.5 Stars

I have to say I found this book a little confusing. In part one the story is narrated by a human diplomat with the HVA (Human Vampire Alliance) which is an organization that exists to basically keep vampires inline (I think!). We are given a little history of vampires and how, although they drink blood, it is actually ‘life force’ they feed off and not the blood, therefore blood banks wouldn’t be an option for vampires. We have a rogue vampire who is consistent throughout the three parts named Randy, and I think his capture is the basis for the whole story. Unfortunately I couldn’t understand this book at all so I can’t be sure. I really tried though. Part two seems to be narrated by someone who might be dead, but again I am unsure.

I become totally frustrated with myself when I don’t grasp a book, I wonder if the plot is just poorly executed or if the problem is that my mind works in a totally opposite way to the author and I will never ‘get it’. It makes it difficult for me to rate works like this. I have myself a list of points to look at, eg character development, editing, originality etc and because I don’t know what’s going on, how can I even judge these things?

So, anyway, I decided to mark on what I can be sure of. The editing, needs work, there are some missing words and strange sentence structures. I didn’t enjoy or lose myself in the story. The characters, well I wasn’t sure who was who so I’m gonna say they were underdeveloped and I don’t think I’d recommend this book to a friend, although it would be interesting to see if they ‘get it’. As for everything else I look out for and use to form my rating value, I don’t know, so I’m giving the book the benefit of the doubt and handing it 2.5 stars. People really need to judge this book for themselves.

Copy supplied for review

Caprion's Wings (The Cat's Eye Chronicles Novella)

Complete Paintings - Michelangelo, Cecil & Sindona,  Enio Gould, Enio Sindona Caprion’s Wings by T L Shreffler

4 Stars

Caprion’s Wings is a ‘Cat’s Eye Chronicles’ Novella and gives us a fuller understanding about Harpies and their background. Harpies who fail to grow their wings by adulthood are outcasts in their society and Caprion is nearing that age. If his charts are correct, he has only one more chance to enter the singing chamber, connect with his star, and succeed. When he hears a strange voice ruining his chances once more, Caprion finds himself drawn to the hidden underground prison to find its source.

With the help of a young warrior named Talarin, Caprion manages to sneak into the prison unseen, once there he finds a young slave named Moss. Until then he hadn’t been aware that the prisoners the Harpy warriors used for training were only children, angry he frees her and she helps him search for the ‘voice’ with the promise that he will take her home.

I loved the lead characters, Caprion was sensitive and protective, and he was desperate to be able to fly and prove his worth, especially to his older brother Sumas who was embarrassed by Caprion’s failings. Moss was strong and determined, but I was unsure if I could trust her or not, and part of me wondered if she really wanted to help Caprion.

I enjoyed this book, as a companion to the series but I really missed some of the characters from the main story, I had been hoping to see a little of them here. As always Theresa’s writing is clean and fluid, providing the reader with a visual and action packed read.

Copy supplied for review as part of the tour

The Hunter, the Bear, and the Seventh Sister (World of Arcas)

The Hunter, the Bear, and the Seventh Sister  - B.I. Woolet The Hunter, the Bear, and the Seventh Sister (World of Arcas # 1) by B I Woolet

4 Stars

I received this book to review as part of the tour and while it was on my ‘to be read’ pile for a while, I often found myself skipping past it and moving to the next on my list, purely and simply because I was put off by the very long, child like title. The title does infact fit with the book perfectly, but the YA label does not so I have rated this book as a children’s novel and not a YA.

Thousands of years ago six kings, three from earth and three from Arcas, held sacred gems that when placed in special pillars opened passageways between the two worlds. When the earth filled with water the passageways had to be closed to save the people of Arcas. Gurges is now attempting to reopen them so he can travel to earth and steel weapons from the humans and rule Arcas himself, in order to do this he needs to connect a gem from Earth to a gem in Arcas. Earth stones can only be touched by humans, so it is Jackson’s task to remove all the gems from Earth to be sure the portals stay closed forever.

This is a very simply written story without much depth and is suitable for even very young children … if it is read to them, it isn’t that simply written!! For me it was just a little too young, and I found my mind wandering at times. Jackson wasn’t my favourite hero, he wasn’t as strong and fearless as the characters I normally enjoy reading about in fantasy/adventure novels, he often hid behind things or talked himself out of situations … better to be a live coward than a dead hero I suppose! But I just prefer larger than life characters with a bit of backbone and substance to them, Jackson was somewhat flat, and wimp like.

Most of the twists and turns in the story were predictable but I’m sure they were woven in well enough to keep younger readers in suspense and I would recommend this book to children from 6 years onwards.

Copy supplied for review

Once Upon a Love Story

Once Upon a Love Story - Beth D. Carter Once Upon a Love Story by Beth D Carter

3 Stars

A difficult childhood and poor education led Delilah into a life of stripping and dead end, weekend jobs. Not trusting any one, a relationship was the last thing on her mind when Caleb walked into the club that night. Three years after he lost his wife to cancer, Caleb goes to spend a few weeks in his friends Malibu beach house, meeting, and falling for a woman was not what he expected. With the chemistry between the pair undeniable they take tentative steps into an unknown future.

Once Upon A Love Story is an erotic romance that pushes two broken people together in an electrical way. It’s a bumpy journey highlighting both their insecurities, as they slowly learn to open up to each other. Caleb isn’t the experienced male with a string of women in his past oozing confidence, we usually get to read about, he is quiet reserved and has only had one lover, his dead wife. It was different to have the male lead being the ‘almost’ virginal partner.

Beth Carter has written some steamy scenes in this book and it is a fun but predictable quick read.

Copy supplied for review




Finding Kia (The Lost Girl Duology, #1)

Finding Kia (The Lost Girl Duology, #1) - Airicka Phoenix Finding Kia - The Beginning (The Lost Girl #1) by Airicka Phoenix

4 Stars

Airicka Phoenix is an author whose name I have seen floating around on social network but have never really looked into her work. A conversation last night piqued my interest so I decided to download one of her books and see what type of writer she is. I was pleasantly surprised so tonight I am downloading book 2 …. Mainly because it ended on one of those god awful cliffhangers that I hate so much!

Kia was an overly tall, dowdy, glasses wearing nerd, who blended into the background unnoticed, and liked it that way, but after accidentally saving Claudia DeLarenzo’s life, she is invited to one of Claudia’s infamous party’s and reluctantly agrees to go. Next Kia meets the boy of her dreams when he walks into the Taco joint she works in, but unfortunately she turns into the biggest clutz in the world and totally embarrasses herself, only to learn later that he is actually Adam, the brother of her best friend Nessie. It is no surprise that when the night of the party arrives she notices Adam is at the party too, but as it is a masquerade ball her face is hidden and he doesn’t know who she is.

The story continues with a kind of Cinderella theme where he is desperately trying to find the mysterious girl, but she thinks he would change his mind if he knew it was her. Though predictable and a tale we all know, I was still pulled in and read the book in one sitting. What can I say I’m a sucker for love!

I did enjoy this read, it was quirky and fun with lots of humour, and even the exaggerated clumsiness, the fact that Mr. Hottie just happened to be the brother of Kia’s best friend, and the chance meeting at the party, where Adam didn’t recognise the 6ft tall Kia, can all be forgiven, no matter how far fetched and groan worthy these facts were!

Airicka’s writing style was really fluid and easy to read, she is one of the few authors I have found with such comfortable writing, there were no awkward sentences or reason for pause. The whole thing including the dialogue flowed naturally and I am sure I will be working my way through all this authors works.



An Exceptional Twist  (Intertwined Hearts. #2) - Kimi Flores An exceptional Twist by Kimi Flores

4 Stars

All Stefan was interested in was a little fun while he was staying at his cousins house and even though Caleb had warned him not to be his usual self with Leah, he couldn’t keep away from her, she made him feel things he wasn’t used to feeling, and he didn’t like it one bit. Determined to get her out of his system he kept finding ways to spend time with her, but Leah wasn’t taking his crap and gave him a run for his money.

I always enjoy a good romance and when you throw in humour it’s all the more easy to read. Leah and Stefan definitely gave me a few laughs. Stefan’s uncontrollable and unwanted possessiveness amused me and Leah’s inner thoughts were often hilarious.

An Exceptional Twist is a busy story, it isn’t just a case of boy meets girl, they like each other but fight the urge for a while until they give in and end up living happily ever after. The journey is long and eventful with circumstances arising that leave serious doubt to their ability to have a future together.

One thing I regret is that I haven’t read book one in the series and wonder if perhaps I should have, and I probably will in the near future pick it up.

An enjoyable read.

Copy supplied for review