Saturday, 11 March 2017

Book Review: New York Nights by C.J. Duggan

New York Nights
Author: C.J. Duggan 
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Release date: February 2017
Pages: 279 pages
R.R.P: $17.99
The streets of New York- where dreams are made and hearts are mended.

Sarah Williams is a spirited, independent Aussie who has always dreamed of New York City. So when a job opportunity arises to become an au pair for a successful businessman in the heart of Manhattan, Sarah jumps at the chance to follow her dreams.

What she didn't bet on was a beautiful newborn and a distant, abrasive man whose eyes hold a million anguished secrets. Determined to care for his daughter and face the challenges of the impossible Ben Worthington, Sarah was always prepared to follow her heart; she just wasn't prepared to lose it to a complicated man like Ben.

My review
Thoughts on the book: New York Nights is the second stand alone novel in the Heart of the City series by C.J. Duggan, the first novel being Paris Lights. In New York Nights we meet Sarah Williams, Ben Worthington and his adorable daughter Grace and it all takes place in the amazing, beautiful New York City. The opening paragraph:
Let's get one thing clear. Being an au pair is nothing like being in the Sound of Music. To start with, I'm certainly not a nun... there's no Handsome Captain von Trapp and three defiantly no cheoreographed frolicking.) 
Let's us all know that this story is going to be hilarious and full of laughs and it certainly didn't disappoint. The amount of times my husband and kids looked at me because I was laughing out loud at something that was happening at the book is too many to count. Sarah just seems to find herself in hilarious situations all the time although I think a lot of people can relate to her. I know I could a little when I was reading about those first couple of days and weeks with baby Grace, as I expect most new mums can. There is a plot twist that will really through you and appreciate and fall deeply in love with Ben once you learn about it too. 

The funny thing was while reading New York Nights all I could think about when reading about Sarah was that my sister was an Au pair overseas and has been a nanny here in Australia so when I imagined Sarah I thought of my sister. It made it slightly hilarious when there were the very awkward hilarious bits but also cringeworthy when the sexy time seems came. So whatever you do don't relate the characters with someone you know in situations like this, especially romance books.

New York Nights was a solid book that sits well with Paris Lights and I can't wait to read book 3 London Bound.

Rating: 4/5

Book Review: Paris Lights by C.J. Duggan

Paris Lights 
Author: C.J. Duggan 
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Release date: December 2016
Pages: 291 pages
R.R.P: $17.99
Just when you think the world is your oyster, you end up with food poisoning...

Twenty-five-year old Claire Shorten had looked forward to spending a romantic weekend in Paris for as long as she could remember, and now it was here- three blissful days of strolling through cobbled streets arm-in-arm with her beloved, eating copious amounts of baked goods and soaking up the culture through each and every pore of her body. Well, at least, that was how she'd pictured it...

Even after her boyfriend dumps her rather unceremoniously in the most romantic place on earth, Claire is determined not to give up on her dream altogether-with or without her boyfriend. She finds herself a job in the kitchen of a small hotel; Michelin-starred it most certainly is not, but somehow Claire makes a place for herself amidst the dirty dishes and the foreign misfits who run the place.

When the restaurant attracts the attention of the enigmatic- and slightly terrifying- tycoon Louis Delarue, and Claire manages to survive his high-powered business luncheon from hell, she knows that she can survive anything, surely. But all bets are off when Louis makes a game-changing decisions: he's coming back for a second course...
My review
Thoughts on the book:   Paris Lights tells the story of Claire Shortan,a young twenty-five year old woman who comes to Paris for  hat she believes it a romantic weekend away with her boyfriend. They arrive at The Effiel Tower, one of the main attractions Claire has been looking forward to, only for her boyfriend to turn around and unceremoniously dump her. Left to wander back to the motel alone and pack, the next day when it's time to leave Claire decided that she is having none of it and refuses to go back with her ex-boyfriend. Instead she luckily gets a room at the hotel where they are staying, on the highest floor no less, and starts doing a little work in the kitchen for the hotel. Little does she know a big time celebrity is also looking at staying at the hotel and doing it up, but Claire makes a total fool of herself in front of him and it seems all is lost or is it?

For some reason Paris Lights sat on my TBR pile for a very long time. I don't know why exactly as I knew it would be a fairly quick read and that I would really enjoy it but obviously other books came along that I just had to read or I had to read some for blog tours. One of those books for a blog tour was the second book in the Heart of City Novels New York Nights (Paris Lights is the first book in the Heart of City novels). Once I had read it I immediately picked up Paris Lights and read it and of course, once again, I was reminded why I shouldn't leave books so long on my TBR for so long. 

Paris Lights was an amazing story of personal growth for our main character Claire. She finally took control of her life and did things she never really thought she was capable of with out her boyfriend by her side. Throughout the book I found myself really rooting for Claire to do well and not back down from the challenges that she was having to face including the unexpected dumping by her boyfriend to the love/hate relationship she had with Louis. Paris Lights isn't your typical love story and I think that's what makes it a fantastic book. Although the when I got to the end I wanted more, more of the relationship that was blossoming between Claire and Louis and more of the amazing supporting characters that are throughout the book. I wish I could stay at the Hotel Trocadero.

Rating: 4/5

Friday, 10 March 2017

Book Review: Violent Ends by Shaun David Hutchinson (editor)

Violent Ends
Author: Various authors 
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Pages: 384 pages
Publication date: 1/11/16
R.R.P: $17.99
It took only twenty-two minutes for Kirby Matheson to exit his car, march into school grounds, Exeter the gymnasium, and open fire, killing six and injuring five others. But this isn't about recounting the one unforgettable day. This is about Kirby and how one boy- who had friends, enjoyed reading, played saxophone in the band, and had never been in trouble before- became a monster capable of entering his school with a loaded gun and firing on his classmates. 
Each chapter is told from a different victim's viewpoint, giving insight into who Kirby was and who he'd become. Some are sweet, some are dark; some are seemingly unrelated, about fights or first kisses or late nig parties. This is a book of perspectives- with one character and one event drawing them all together- from the minds of some of YA's most recognisable names.

My review
Thoughts on the book: Violent Ends tells the story of Kirby Matheson, a boy who one day walks into his school and starts shooting, killing six and injuring a further five. We get different perspectives of who Kirby was as a person and how other people perceived him which was fantastic. I loved reading about all the recollections of Kirby but the one thing that I really, really wanted from the book and I didn't get was Kirby's Point of View. We know what he was like when he was little and how a lot of people found him interesting but never told him, or were in love with him or obsessed with him and thought he might love them back. I wanted to know why he walked into the school and whether he deliberately picked those certain people to shoot that he did or whether it was a case of the first people he saw. It just really irked me that I will never know why he did it. If it had had his Point of View Violent Ends would have got a 5 star review because I think then the book would have been complete.

I absolutely adore books written with each chapter by a different author and Violent Ends was no different. With books with multiple authors you get different perspectives of what is happening and if you don't like one person small part that they have written in the book that's ok because there are plenty more to follow that you will enjoy. Each chapter is therefore really unique, as is the whole bookend you know that a lot of hard work has gone into these books because all of the authors have to work together to make sure that the story makes sense and that they are all writing certain characters the exact same way. I really give my hat off to all the authors and the editors of books like Violent Ends who make it work so well together and produce a fantastic collection of basically short stories.

Rating: 4/5

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Sorry for not posting

Hi everyone,
Just thought I would write a quick blog post to let everyone know what I have been up to and why I haven't done many posts lately. Unfortunately we have had a few things happen in our household with one of my boys suffering some burns from spilling his hot dinner all over his leg to the whole family suffering gastro. It was the worst as one person would have it and then a day would go by and we would think we would be in the clear and then the next person would get it. Presently I'm the on,y person who hasn't had it yet so fingers crossed it doesn't happen.
On the plus side I have been getting a little reading done and have been making a dint in my TBR pile as I haven't had any new books come in. Anyway that's about all for now. Onto my reading and reviewing. I have posted two new reviews today so check them out and more will follow soon.


Book Review: No Virgin by Anne Cassidy

No Virgin
Author: Anne Cassidy
Publisher: Bonnier
Publication date: 3/01/2017
Pages: 183 pages
R.R.P: $16.99
My name is Stacey Woods and I was raped. Stacey is the victim of a terrible sexual attack. She does not feel able to go to the police, or talk to her best friend, Patrice. Patrice, outraged, when she cannot persuade her to go to the police, encourages Stacey to write everything down. This is Stacey's story.

My review
Thoughts on the book: I was first introduced to Anne Cassidy when I read Moth Girls last year so when the opportunity came up to read and review another one of her books of course I jumped at the chance. No Virgin tells the story of Stacey Woods, a young girl who has a fight with her best friend and her mum and sister and goes and stays at her dads houses for a break. The next day on the way to school she meets a nice young guy from a private school close by that invites her to stay with him. Everything seems to be going great guns until suddenly it's not. What started out as making out between Stacey and Harry quickly turns into something else when Harry's older brother arrives on the scene. I won't go into too much more detail as I want you to read this book for yourself but I will say what follows is one of the worst things that can happen to any girl.

I really am struggling to put into words how strongly I feel about this book being read by everyone. It really shows that if you don't report what happens, even if you think that it's your fault when clearly it never is in the case of rape,  that the same person might do it to someone else. Also that reaching out to someone, anyone is one of the best ways to start to come to terms with what is going on.  No Virgin is such a powerful book and one I believe should be handed to every rape victim to say that they aren't alone in this and it has happened to others as well and what they are feeling is what other people have felt as well. That they are not alone. 

Rating: 5/5

Friday, 10 February 2017

Book Review: The Four Legendary Kingdoms by Matthew Reilly

The Four Legendary Kingdoms
Author: Matthew Reilly
Publisher: Pan MacMillan Australia
Published: October 2016
R.R.P: $42.99 hardcover
A ruthless kidnapping
Jack West Jr and his family are living happily on their remote farm...

...when Jack is brutally kidnapped and he awakes in an underground cell to find a masked attacker with a Kimye charging at him.

The great games
Jack, it seems, has been chosen- along with a dozen other elite soldiers- to complete in a series of deadly challenges designed to fulfil an ancient ritual.

With the fate of the Earth at stake, he will have to traverse diabolical mazes, fight cruel assassins and face unimaginable horrors that will test him like he has never been tested before.

To Hell and back
In the process, he will discover the mysterious and powerful group of individuals behind it all: the four legendary kingdoms.

He might a,so discover that he is not the only hero in this place...

My review
I squealed with delight when I opened one of my emails from Pan MacMillian that gave me the opportunity to review The Four Legendary Kingdoms. I just love Matthew Reilly's Jack West Jr series. My youngest sister actually got me hooked on the books way back in 2009. This was right before The Five Greatest Warriors came out, when I was pregnant with my daughter and was bed bound for the last four months, so it's been a long time between books and I had forgotten what had happened previously, as I've read so many books since. So I did a quick flip through of the previous books and got all caught up and patiently waited for my copy to arrive. The excitement I displayed when I recieved it made my husband laugh and upon telling my sister that I had it, made her very jealous. I sneakily took some snap chats while reading to tease her of what was happening, as I had recieved it before it came out.

Of course Matthew Reilly did not let us down and The Four Legendary Kingdoms was brilliant and the best book in the series so far because of one character, a new character to me... Shane Schofield, call sign: Scarecrow. I must admit I have never read the Scarecrow series by Matthew Reilly. I have them sitting in my bookshelf to read but I have just never gotten around to them, which means that I have never really met Scarecrow before. But I certainly know him now and can't wait to devour the books in his serious. As with all of the other books in the series, The Four Legendary Kingdoms has so much action packed adventure and shocks, twists and turns throughout. There were so many moments throughout where I was yelling at the book and cursing the author saying that no you can't do that to that character or it can't end like that. Of course I never wanted it to end but unfortunately it did and I can't wait for more books in the series.


Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Book Review: We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan

We Come Apart
Authors: Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan
Publisher: Bloomsbury 
Release date: March 2017
R.R.P: $17.99
Jess would never have looked twice at Nicu if her friends hadn't left her in the lurch. Nicu is all big eyes and ill-fitting clothes, eager as a puppy, even when they're picking up litter in the park for community service. He's so not her type. Appearances matter to Jess. She's got a lot to hide.

Nicu thinks Jess is beautiful. His dad brought Nicu and his mum here for a better life, but now all they talk about it going back home to find Nicu a wife. The last thing Nicu wants is to get married. But his dad's fists are th most powerful force in Nicu's life, and in the end, he'll have to do what his dad wants.

As Nicu and Jess get closer, their secrets come to the surface like bruises. The only safe place they have is with each other. But they can't be together forever and stay safe- can they?

My review
Thoughts on the book: We Come Apart tells the story of renowned shoplifter Jess and Romanian import Nicu, who after both getting caught for the third time shoplifting, must take part in the reparation scheme where they will do community service and attend classes to help them be better citizens. Here is where Nicu and Jess meet and eventually a friendship forms. Both have serious troubles in their lives that they are also trying to deal with and through this new formed friendship they both learn to let someone else into their lives who will truly know them. We Come Apart is a co-written book b Sarah Crossan and Brisn Conaghan and is told in verse form by our two main characters Jess and Nicu.

We Come Apart was a surprising read for me. I don't normally read books told entirely in verse and I think from memory this is only my second book in verse. I thought it would be quite difficult to get the gist of the story being as its not as long and there aren't full sentences or chapters but amazingly I felt that there was so much more depth to the story with less. I could really feel the emotions of how the characters were feeling and get pictures inside my heads of what I though the characters and settings were with little to know words. It was really amazing and I think I might have to try more books in verse.

I found the story very easy to follow until the end where sometimes the points of view would be put into one verse instead of there normal seperate ones which confused me a little. But I loved watching Jess's and Nicu's friendship blossom and how Jess and Nicu change throughout the book, not to mention how fascinating it was to see how the author put in about how hard it is for someone from a different country to fit into their new one. When I was at school we actually had a new student one day from Romania and of course we all thought he was a little weird because he didn't speak English very well and dressed weird. But come the end of our schooling he we just like any of the rest of us and was one of the most popular people at our school. I now know through this book how he might have felt during that initial period and it makes me sad that we weren't as friendly and accepting of him as we should have been.

Last thing before I wrap this all up though is that ending. The last 100 pages or so are so terrifying yet thrilling at the same time. I felt so hurt and angry for what happens to Jess and Nicu and the sacrifice that one of them makes in the end for the other is truly heartbreaking, I just wanted more. I think We Come Apart is a very powerful read that will leave you thinking about how you treat people.

Rating: 4/5