Tag Archives: Book review

Review: the Summer I turned Pretty, by Jenny han

I absolutely adore the way Jenny Han writes, and she has this awesome gift for re-creating what those awkward teen years feel like. Problem is, she does it too well and too realistically, and I always feel the compulsion to lick wounds that I thought had healed ages ago when I’m reading her stuff. Then I just smile, content in the knowledge that none of THAt will ever happen to me again, and settle in with the popcorn.

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The Summer I turned Pretty is written in a very similar vein to her other series, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, and I’m glad that I read them first because I went into this book with my hard-hat on, knowing damn well that Jenny Han likes to serve us a ‘Realistically Ever After’ instead of a HEA. Luckily for her, she knows how to frost these ugly truths (for e.g.: Boys lie, unattainable boys usually stay unattainable until they hit 21-ish, awesome best friends don’t exist for teenagers and good things only come to those who wait, wish and play the game like it’s chess etc etc) with lovely girlie things. Whether it’s a description of hair colour, a surge of sentiment or an idealistic summer home, Jenny H knows how to put the ‘Nawwww’ in ‘Girl’ (and yes there is one!) and true to form, she had me sucked in after the first few paragraphs. The way she describes return to her home away from home reminds me of how I felt when I was little, cracking open a Baby-Sitter’s Club Super Special, like the ones set in Sea City or Camp Mohawk, and made me pine for my own childhood days on Bucasia Beach. In Australia, summer homes are few and far between (and are usually tents in caravan parks NOT Victorian manors in cape Cod) but I was lucky enough to live in low-cost housing in a sleepy suburb where other people summered, so the things described are relatable to me. Only it wasn’t someone else’s mis-matched, second-hand bedroom built with old or thrift-store things that I was returning to, but the house I grew up in on a budget – and I love authors who find the romance in this stuff because it truly is there. In fact, Jenny Han’s books sort of are like the BSC, only with the annoying baby-sitting bits edited out.

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In TSITP, the author delivers yet another angst-ridden love-triangle, which I am proud to say that I will always gorge myself upon. It’s a story about a girl who has been summering with the same family her entire life, but focuses primarily on the heroine’s interest in the son’s of her mother’s best friend, Jeremiah and Conrad. She’s always had a crush on the cooler, distant brother Conrad, when it’s as clear as the nose on Barbara’s face that Jeremiah’s the one who would gladly reciprocate her feelings. Neither boy has ever shown much interest in her before, but this is the last summer that they’re likely to spend together thanks to college and other big changes that are on the horizon, and it just so happens to be the first summer in which Belly is not only hot, but her protective big brother will be going away, leaving her with only the sexy boy-buds for company.

It’s a fantastic premise (for me and anyone else who spells Girl with a ‘nawwww’ in it) but unfortunately for me, I felt like the author sort of hit my thumb a couple of times instead of the nail on the head. For starters, another guy is introduced and though he should have made for excellent jealousy-bait, he sort of ends up monopolising way more of the story than his character can command, and those bits got a bit boring, so my attention waned a lot there.

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Secondly, though I love the way Jenny Han writes LJ’s family into her other series, it doesn’t work the same way for me in this one. I feel pained for her real mother, and sad for her ‘pretend’ one, and completely lost as to what was going on with the adults mentioned, even though a huge chunk of the book is put aside for them. Then, when revelations come to light, they’re sort of reallllly depressing, so much so that you actually feel a chill coming on. Know when you have a great day planned at the beach- and then you feel the sunlight dim with an inevitable thunderstorm? Yeah, I had that feeling for a lot of this book and it sucked, ‘cos I wanted more suntan oil and nights on the boardwalk and smoochy’s and jealous outbursts. Nothing was playing out the way I’d hoped it would.

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Thirdly- I wasn’t a huge fan of Belly. Oh sure she was cute and sweet and sentimental and relatable, but she wasn’t adorable or distinctive like Lara Jean in TATBILB, and I’m wondering if this is because the character LJ was easier for the author to relate to, given the Korean background and all. In fact, she could be downright whiny, and said and did a lot of things that although absolutely conceivable for a teenage girl, were sort of like selling out to me. I always loved the way that LJ (yes I know I keep coming back to Cubby but she rocked)
always toyed with the idea of playing games, but never actually did. Belly’s sort of the opposite, and it really got under my skin. Frankly, if I was a guy, I wouldn’t be into her either.

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Now, if this is the point that the author was trying to make than I applaud her, and I really hope that Belly grows the hell up and gets her sassy on and soon, but until she does, I’m feeling a little disillusioned with her. I get why she has a major crush on Conrad, but so far, Jeremiah’s the one who’s sparkling for me and I really, really hope that some romantic time (SERIOUS romantic time not a whole bunch more of ‘almost’ moments) are given to each guy before the series conclusion- and I hope Belly earns them! I want to see all of the characters really evolve and get fascinating 🙂

Okay, I’m off to download the next one ‘cos I can’t help myself! And let’s pray that I get ‘this’ sort of moment by the end!

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Review: to All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. 5 Stars!

I started out reading this book with a knowing snicker that the author has wiped clear off my face. I admit it- I jumped to a conclusion and mentally mocked a book that’s probably going to be a novel that actually sticks with me forever.

What a beautiful, BEAUTIFUL story. Ahhh Jenny Han you have stolen my heart!

When I began this, two words came to mind: ‘Little Women’ and I will say that even now that I’ve finished, I do still suspect that the author may be a Louisa May Alcott fan because so much of the premise of ‘To all The Boys I’ve Loved Before’ is reminiscent of Little Women.

There are only three sisters in this one and they are Korean and modern, but they have a very similar bond those in the afore mentioned story and a few of the plot elements are the same: the boy next door they all fall in love with in their own way who ends up with the eldest sister, the brave, quirky middle child who is more Anne Shirley than Jan Brady, and the hot-headed, mischievous little sister manipulating the eldest ones and every situation behind the scenes. This kid is an absolute handful and if she were my sister well, I would have gone on a cupcake-baking strike for what she does in the beginning of this story. It’s not as bad as burning something precious in a fire, but it is akin to it by modern standards.

The sisters have a lovely bond but off the bat, I’m not the biggest fan of Margo. She’s just a bit bleh in the way that little Kitty is a bit overbearing. Margo is the oldest who has been the mother figure in the home since their biological mother died, and she’s leaving now to go to college in Scotland and leaving the middle sister in charge. Not only that, but she’s leaving the boyfriend behind too.

Look I don’t know if it’s possible to actually dole out spoilers with a book like this that everyone won’t see coming already, but Lara has always been in love with her big sister’s boyfriend and once the sister leaves well, you can imagine what notions occur to her.

It’s pretty predictable but I will say that that’s where the predictability ends.

Basically, Lara has written five love-letters in her life to silently farewell a boy once she’s over her crush on them, but instead of sending them to the boy, she’d held onto them. It’s cute and it’s something I have done so right off the bat, I feel like this character is a bit of a soul-mate of mine. But, shock and horror, those letters end up finding their way into the boys hands and though this probably could have been played out with a bit more mortification involved (come on! they wouldn’t all take it so well!) it sets up an exciting beginning to a story that DOES NOT FAIL TO DELIVER.

I love how this novel develops. The things that you think are unexpected are the things that you end up hoping for without realising that you’re hoping for them, and the things that happen that you see coming hit you square in the gut even though you see them coming. I once had a very nice reviewer use the word ‘Tummy Butterflies’ to describe one of my own novels and I have to say that I felt like I’d feasted on butterflies once I got into this. I just love love LOVE this heroine, and I love the male characters and Peter ohmigosh he’s my new underage sexy book boyfriend. he reminds me like a modern day take on Gilbert Blythe when he was young and clumsy with his ego.

This story is just beautiful and moving but never too shocking or too predictable. Some of the ‘touching’ moments between the sisters made me want to dry-retch a little but I have an incredibly sweet sister of my own so I can only imagine how wonderful it would be to be so tightly bonded. Unfortunately for me, there are seven years between my older sister and I, and sixteen between my eldest and me so we barely got to live together, let alone go through puberty together and I applaud the author for opting for sweet, rather than bitchy for the dynamic between all three of them.

This story isn’t over and I love that. I love how it ended, not a cliffhanger but with the promise of more, and I love reading a novel from a Korean girl’s point of view because it’s an absolute first for me. I loved the writing, the pacing, the surprises, the way it made me feel for her, the way it made me feel for everyone involved really, and I’ll be getting book 2 the second I can.

To All The Boys I’ve Loved before isn’t modern or risky, but it doesn’t infantalize teenagers either and I admire how a story can be so sweet and yet so current. Sex is mentioned a lot but never taken too far, there are a few cuss words involved that were used in the perfect way, and it forces you to care for people without shoving it down your throat.

Read if you love the old Judy Blume and Caroline B Cooney novels of the 70’s to 90’s, read if you’re a teen, read if you’re an adult- just read and have your heart stolen 🙂

Review- Broken World, Kate L.Mary

5 Stars for a Zombie novel 🙂

Look out mama, I’m trailer trash window shopping for my next book boyfriend!

I read this book in the space of four days which is saying a lot for me because I selfishly spend most of my time writing and have to scrape up time for anyone else’s stuff, and I have a new Dean Koontz paperback staring at me too so kudos to the author for getting me to resist that in favour of an e-book.

I picked up a copy of Broken World after chatting to the author in a writer’s group, and I’m so glad I did because this was a great story.

In the beginning, I was pretty much horrified by the line-up of main characters we had; two trailer trash criminals and a stripper and I had my hands ready to cover my eyes over what I assumed would be an incredibly gross rape scene and the longer the story went on without this happening, the more pleasantly surprised I became.

And the writer really does keep the surprises coming. Though this book stands apart from the other Zombie books I’ve read, I probably couldn’t call it exceptionally original because from what I can tell from other reviews, it has a lot in common with The Walking Dead. I don’t actually watch the show (my apologies to Zombie fans but it seems a bit slow and depressing to me from what I’ve heard from my zombie-obsessed husband) but Broken World is neither slow or depressing and that’s what I like in Zombie novels.And the writing is so fluid that I don’t think it matters what it is a lot like- because it’s not like the crappy ones at all and let’s face it, there are a lot of D-grade books in this genre but Broken World is A grade for me.

In the beginning you think everyone’s just getting sick from a virus and as the story progresses, I started to wonder if I’d actually picked up a post-apocalyptic read instead of a zombie novel and I really enjoyed this dynamic. There was plenty to fear, without adding man-eaters into the mix and the author builds the suspense so that by the time the dead start to rise, you’re incredibly nervous.

Most of the tension comes from within the group. Ahh Angus, I shivered every time you made your way onto the page with your gross little spittoon can and he reminded me a lot of Brad Pitt’s character in Kalifornia, which is one of those random, dark redneck movies that I just love. Angus and Axl aren’t quite that far gone but you don’t think they’re going to be redeemable or people of worth at all but surprisingly, as the tale moves on it’s the main character you lose respect for while Axl and Angus began to shine as leaders. This would be an incredibly clumsy mistake for a writer to make but you can tell that Kate L. Mary has done this purposefully to avoid cliches and it’s what I loved about the book the most.

And this brings me to Axl- woot! Talk about character development! This guys is the definition of ‘It’s Complicated’ and dang it but he was sexy as all hell by the end! Frustrating, but sexy.

There are cliche characters but I tell you what- there are plenty of cliche people and the people who would survive this sort of scenario would be that way- Rich and calculating, Smart and scared or weak and begging protection and I thought they all worked beautifully together.

The main character frustrated me a lot, probably because I am a mother and she is such a bad one, but he point of view was realistic and believable. The entire novel follows along that vein. No one is perfect or an action hero, but instead of them making really stupid mistakes that have you banging your head on the table with frustration, they’re prone to little lapses in focus that have catastrophic results and our heroine pays dearly for it. I’m looking forward to seeing how or if her character develops over the rest of the trilogy.

Can’t wait to read the second instalment in the series. If you’re a big fan of Zombie apocalypse novels then move this to the top of your list and if you’re just getting into the genre- likewise. The writing is fluid and clean and honest and the plot flows incredibly smoothly, the characters relatable, the plot feasible and I don’t know how she did it but this was a page turner without having to be packed full of action at every moment. Though it gets a bit steamy at one point and a little bit violent, it’s by no means excessively gory so I don’t see why it would be off-limits to anyone younger than say, fourteen.

Review: Waking The Merrow

Bloody Brilliant. Really VERY bloody and really very brilliant!

I can’t imagine anyone not liking this novel. It’s one of those things where I see a one star review and am truly shocked. I cannot think of a demographic this wouldn’t appeal to or anyone who I wouldn’t recommend this to. It’s as though Ms Rigney has opened a window and let in a much-needed gust of salty sea air into a shipwrecked genre.

Whatever you’re expecting from a book with a mermaid tail on the cover well, this isn’t it and thank goodness. Waking The Merrow is ugly, hard, gruesome laugh out loud hilarious and full of action. And I don’t throw around the word ‘hilarious’ lightly. You usually have to be a stand-up comedian in ranks with Russell Brand or Chris Rock to actually solicit a giggle out of me but I was actually highlighting jokes in this one rather jealously 🙂

This is a very unique story in which the heroine is an overweight drunken and resentful mother and the mermaid is a bitch from hell with absolutely no conscience. I loved the main character immediately and was cheering for her to triumph, and it’s been awhile since I felt a character resonate so realistically with me and even longer since I’ve disliked a bad guy quite so much and so it was all very cathartic. As a mother of three it was nice to pop open the top button and hiss and boo at a villain while drinking a beer from me swinging egg chair while ignoring the kids and feeling totally okay with it because I COULD be worse and still likeable 🙂 In fact, imagine if The Little Mermaid was from Ursuala’s point of view BEFORE she went batshit crazy- versus the dark-haired version of herself she creates. You end up with two very vindictive alpha-females duking it out for the right to not be a stereotype 🙂

Heather Rigney is a wonderfully expressive writer who manages to address an incredibly cliche subject and leave said chiches in her wake. The world she paints with words would not be beautiful if not for her striking and highly original prose but she truly creates a setting that is both dark yet colourful and exciting. If you’re a fan of Dean Koontz then steer your amazon trolley this way because you’re in for a lot of evil snickering and plenty of dramatic tension backed up with creative articulation. Honestly it was just so good- it’s revived my love of reading after a pretty serious book hangover.

Recommend to all!

Book 1 of a complete series FREE today!

Book #1 in this COMPLETE series is Free today!

Book #1 The Marked Ones FREE today!

Book #1 The Marked Ones FREE today!

US- http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DQOM8G6

‘This book was AMAZING. I normally don’t write reviews, but this series deserves a rave review from me. Love triangles, mermaids, a powerful, captivating (sometimes exasperating) protagonist….what more do you need?? The main men are so hot you want to melt and the supporting characters are just as lovely and capture your heart. S.K. Munt outdid herself with this series and The Marked Ones is just the tip of the iceberg…dive in and enjoy ‘
-Malika Kirksey

‘I was aware before reading this adult mermaid book that many readers were fans of this series because of the sexy scenes and hunky heroes throughout. But truth be told, although those scenes will make your Kindle smoke, my favorite part of this book was the dialogue.’-Emm Cole

‘This reviewer is left the feeling that this novel is merely a knock-up and there are greater things to come from S.K. Munt. She is an up and coming author that fans of this genre would do well to keep an eye on.’
-Howard Parsons

‘The author has a knack for painting a picture with words that allows your imagination to take you into the story. This is a must read!’
-Amazon Customer

‘The author does a wonderful job of pulling the reader in and keeping them there to the very end.’
-Rebecca D

Review: The Short Life Of Sparrows Emm Cole FANFREAKINGtastic!


Move to the top of your TBR

This book will take you outside of yourself and make the world fall away. I’ve had many pretty things to say about Emm Cole’s other two novels but The Short Life Of Sparrows is more of an experience than a story. I usually like to share amusing gif’s with my bigger reviews but for this one, I’m going to paste imagery which recreates the haunting beauty this novel inspired within my imagination. I even felt more romantic, reading this, like the life between the pages could be transferred to my own existence and make it more.

There is nothing generic about this novel. Every character, every scene, every plot twist is utterly unique and following the adventure felt like having one of those really good stretches after having sat in the same position for so long, turning page after page of cliches before finding something that makes you shiver deliciously. It’s seductive, whimsical, gripping and oh so beautiful that it will make you ache.

As an author I must admit that I’m green with jealousy over Emm’s incredible use of descriptive language. She just has a way of painting a picture with a magic brush that the rest of us could never wield with such understated, creative elegance. And I assume that this would have been a very easy task for her with a storyline so unlike any other! She’s taken such a stock-standard subject, like witches, and put this fantastical spin on it so that you end up feeling like she’s gone out on a mythology branch of her own creation and I suppose that it exactly what she’s done.

The village where the novel is set is like no other. This story is dark, very dark at times and then ethereally light at others and yet the setting is just so damn unique that it offers yet another level for the imagination to roll about on. Imagine if Tim Burton and Dr Suess painted a canvas together- that’s what I saw in the Seer’s village, where the witches have the ability to change their houses and affect their environment to suit their needs, provided they don’t mind offering a sacrifice in return.

It’s just so creative! There’s this magical atmosphere to it which is almost consistently touched by foreboding and then you have these two sects of people existing separately, but in close proximity to one another and safeguarding the human race which they have completely detached themselves from. The seer’s are the witches, and the Nightbloods are their, well I’ll use ‘mates’ for lack of a better word because although their lives are woven together by unbreakable threads, they can never be cinched tightly enough to become one. Both sects must make use of their magical gifts, but if they get too close, all hell breaks loose. And when an ‘Ordinary’ (human) comes to live amongst these eccentric people, the s*** really does hit the cauldron and a whole lot of mysteries suddenly unfurl to stage a very romantic and often painful romance.

TSLOS is sexy and haunting. Exciting and yet homey and every single character is captivating, especially the three main characters. I love the fact that the heroine Call isn’t some Mary-Jane, she’s sassy and bitter and quick to lose her temper, and the two male protagonists (Okay so one’s a sexy-ass antagonist. Woot! Go the bad boys!) are so real that they practically peel themselves off the page.

5 stars are not enough! Read this if you’re in to Paranormal romance, Fantasy romance, Fantasy, Romance, Dark Fantasy or you know- Books. Move this to the top of your TBR and watch this lady very closely because she’s going to open minds and rock worlds 🙂

FREE Dark fantasy today for Kindle


FREE Kindle download on Amazon.com this weekend only!

This epic dark fantasy romance set at a travelling circus, full of demons!

US link http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00O3QE7LA
AU Link https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B00O3QE7LA

*Warning contains mature content not suitable for those under 18*

Excerpt from The Harlequin Doll

‘Thank you for agreeing to meet with me, Jarrah. I know these are quite unconventional circumstances and so I appreciate the trouble you have gone through already, and the trouble you obviously intend to take on, if we can come to an arrangement today.’
His brother’s voice was even when he answered: ‘Being asked to visit a beautiful woman in such a romantic place is no trouble at all, your highness.’
There was a breathy laugh then. ‘I see that my memory of your countenance has not been exaggerated in my mind by time.’ She sighed. ‘But I must say, I am surprised that you are the one the village has selected to represent them. I was certain that you would have been married off some time ago…’
‘Unfortunately for me, too many women suspected the exact same thing,’ Jarrah answered winsomely, ‘so I stood back and decided to let them pick a bride on my behalf.’
Archer snorted, thinking he’d give his entire quiver of arrows just to be close enough to see the thagarni’s response to THAT.
‘And how has that gone?’ there was amusement in the queen’s voice.
‘Well, It’s been four years since I came of age and they’re still squabbling about it…’ a low, male laugh. ‘But it’s an argument I’d be delighted to see you join- and win.’
The queen sigh was more than a little audible. ‘Oh dear… you haven’t changed a bit, have you?’
‘Not true, your highness,’ Jarrah said, ‘I’ve gotten much taller.’
Archer couldn’t help but grin. His brother was an ass, but at least he had the confidence to be utterly himself regardless of where he was.
‘So I see.’ There was a faint rustling noise. ‘And have you grown in other ways, Jarrah Garibaldis? Are you kind? Are you patient? Are you honest and righteous?’
‘If I answer no to the honest and righteous ones, will that admission make them so?’
‘No,’ the queen said. ‘But I will respect you more for it.’
‘Then no- I can be quite dishonest and I have been known to scheme… but I believe that I am kind and considering that I have refrained from marrying until I could set eyes on you again, I suppose I am also patient.’
Oh brother…THDpromo2