Saturday, 29 December 2012

Review - Bared To You by Sylvia Day

Bared to You (Crossfire, #1)Bared to You by Sylvia Day
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - 2 days

Blurb From Goodreads


Gideon Cross came into my life like lightning in the darkness…

He was beautiful and brilliant, jagged and white-hot. I was drawn to him as I’d never been to anything or anyone in my life. I craved his touch like a drug, even knowing it would weaken me. I was flawed and damaged, and he opened those cracks in me so easily…

Gideon knew. He had demons of his own. And we would become the mirrors that reflected each other’s most private wounds…and desires.The bonds of his love transformed me, even as i prayed that the torment of our pasts didn't tear us apart...

My Review

For lovers of 50 shades of grey you will love this book, even more maybe. Gideon Cross is the billionaire heart throb in this book and Eva is our main character. They accidentally bump into each other and after a "chance" meeting the attraction kicks off and Gideon pursues Eva. Both of them have a dysfunctional background that they try to work through whilst having a functional relationship. Women, insecurities and other factors come into play as they try to establish some boundaries and what they can and won't accept.

I really liked this story, the characters have more depth and the story is really engaging once you get by all the sex (of which there is a lot!). The sex scenes are very graphic and descriptive and in some ways despite there not being bondage it is more carnal than 50 shades and more sex content (I would say).

What I liked about this authors style is the characters are more real, for example Gideon comes away with a line that is very crude, borderline offensive and Eva calls him on it. She also doesn't accept everything he says or does and like real life women challenges him on things, I loved that and it was certainly one of the things missing from 50.

I mention 50 shades a lot as there are a lot of similarities between the two, apart from the most obvious ones ie rich guy, insecure, dodgy background - the way they meet (the second time), the previous love interest hanging around etc. I found it was well written considering a lot of the content is sexual but the story among it is very good and I loved reading how they deal with the obstacles from their past and how their relationship develops. 4/5 for me and I will be reading the second book to find out what happens next.

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Thursday, 27 December 2012

Review - Foreign Fruit by Jojo Moyes

Foreign FruitForeign Fruit by Jojo Moyes
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - 5 days

Blurb From Amazon

When a group of bohemians take over an Art Deco house in the 1950s seaside town of Merham, Lottie Swift and Celia Holden are as drawn to its temptations as the rest of the town is appalled. They set in place a chain of events which will have longstanding and tragic consequences for all.

My Review

The book starts off with Lottie Swift and Celia Holden, set in a small town in the 1950s. Lottie lives with Celia's family and is treated as Celia's sister although the whole town still see her "for what she is". The girls do everything together until Celia leaves for London and meets the man of her dreams. When she returns home Guys presence threatens everything Lottie holds dear.

The story flips forward 50 years to Daisy, life was perfect until her partner decides he can't handle life with a baby and walks out on them and their business. Daisy pulls herself together to work on the Art Deco house in the small town Lottie and Celia resided in, that caused so much controversy, and soon the past and present catch up.

I found this story really slow to get started with a big build up on the main characters, Lottie and Celia. Just when it finally got going we flipped to present day when I really wanted to keep going with the girls. The story with Daisy starts up really quickly though and I enjoyed reading how she dealt with her partners departure. The story is really well written and Jojo Moyes does really well to link the two together. I would have liked to have seen the book be a bit thicker to be honest and get more clarification on Celia and what happened than what was given, although they say a great author always leaves the audience wanting more and I do love her books so I guess it is a win win. I was a bit disappointed with how the book ended but this is a personal preference as the people who have also read it seemed to really enjoy it. 3/5 for me and I will continue working my way through her books.

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Friday, 21 December 2012

ARC - Deadlands by Lily Herne

DeadlandsDeadlands by Lily Herne
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - 4 days

Blurb From Goodreads

Ten years after Cape Town was destroyed in the War with the living dead, zombies ramble free in Cape Town's suburbs (known as the Deadlands), and the remaining living are either in fenced in on farms or in urban shantytowns.

The living are watched over by the mysteriously robed Guardians, a race of humanoid figures who appeared at the end of the War and who keep the living dead at bay, albeit for a steep price. Every year the Guardians stage a human Lottery and select five aspiring teenagers to be whisked out of the enclave for a secret purpose. To be one of the chosen five is a highly sought after and prestigious accolade.

No one (yet) knows why it is that the Guardians prize teenage bodies so highly, how they control the zombies or what they look like under the robes that cover their bodies..


My Review

Ten years have passed since the war against the zombies happened and the Guardians appeared. They keep the undead away whilst the living are fenced in and safe or living on farms or Urban shantytowns (the book takes place in Cape Town (South Africa). But protection doesn't come free and every year the Guardians have a human Lottery and take 5 teenagers for reasons unknown to the people left behind. Where do they go and what happens to the teenagers and how do the Guardians control the zombies?

The main character of the story is a seventeen year old girl, Lele. She is a lively teenager who is unhappy with many aspects of her life, let alone the zombies and Guardians. Her step mother is a believer that the coming of the zombies made everything better (as is the teaching at Lele's new school). Lele sounds finds out she is not alone in her thinking and after hearing about the Mall Rats she wants to know more.

There is a lot to this book and the zombies don't really come into play until after 100 odd pages. The book is definitely Young Adult and covers the teenage angst issues,despite there being zombies and people dying, they play a huge part in the story. Lele's struggles to fit in, her budding interest in boys, heartache at losing her gran, relationship issues with her step mother etc.

It picked up for me when the Mall Rats came into play and you start to get a bit more background on how things came to pass. Lele finds out as slowly as the reader, the background, and I found myself getting really frustrated as she would ask the questions you the reader would but more often than not gets brushed off or a half answer. There is a twist with the zombies that you don't see coming and it is interesting to see them in a different light.

From the zombie aspect I was disappointed as I wanted a lot more zombie but as this is the first book in the series I think a lot of ground work has been covered to build the story. There are a lot of unanswered questions too however the second book is out October 2013 and I will certainly be getting is as I need to find out the answers to the questions.

The chapters are very short (we know by now how I love this) so you can dip in and out and the book as and when. The author also has a great way of ending each chapter in a way you can't put it down and you want to know what she means and what happens next. A good introduction to a new series, well written and flows well, 3/5 for me. This book is out to buy on April the 18th 2013, both paperback and ebook for £6.99. Thank you so much to Newbooks for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Thursday, 20 December 2012

December's pre-loved giveaway winner is............

Elizabeth Yeates. The winner has been contacted, responded and the book dispatched, I think this is the fastest sent out prize ever. Thank you to everyone who entered, I hope you all have a fabulous Christmas and wonderful new year.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Review - Dead Sexy by Kathy Lette

Dead Sexy: A NovelDead Sexy: A Novel by Kathy Lette
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Blurb From Goodreads

Why do men like intelligent women? Because opposites attract.

That's what shy London music teacher Shelly Green thinks when she meets hunky, boisterous American, Kit Kincaide...on their wedding day. Thrown together on the reality show Desperate and Dateless, they were predicted to be the perfect match--physically, emotionally, and intellectually. Proving their compatibility on at least one score (in the backseat of a limo), there appears to be some hope for this manufactured marriage...until their honeymoon on the tropical island of Reunion, where Shelly realizes that men and women have slightly different takes on the meaning of commitment. For Shelly it means love, kids, and happily ever afters. But for Kit it's a meaningful one-night stand. Or is it? What exactly is her husband trying to hide?

Will Shelly discover the truth about Kit? Will she find romance in spite of a civil war, a natural disaster, and a crew of dubious television lowlifes? Do she and Kit have a chance for a real marriage in the hyped-up, surreal world of reality TV?

Love may be blind.

But marriage is a real eye-opener.


My review

Oh My! Two people brought together in marriage via a television dating show, says it all really. Normally I would love this kind of book. The people don't meet until just before the wedding, they share a limo, some bottles of champagne and exchange some info. The computer has matched them up on the information they provided and if they get married and go on the honeymoon (all being filmed of course) and stay together for at least a year they get more cash incentives as well as other bonuses. What follows is utter mayhem as the two attempt to get to know each other and find out how much they didn't know and don't like about the other.

Shelly and Kit are worlds apart, she is a teacher and seemingly a plain Jane whilst he is buff, beautiful and too good to be true. As the story unravels though it becomes more ridiculous and unbelievable, things going from silly to down right outrageous.

Shelly's character becomes very unlikeable as she comes across as pathetic, begging for Kit's attention, believing or forgiving everything he says and does all in aid of attention. She comes across as a very weak female who is at the mercy of her wants of her body and has left her brain, and self respect, at home with her job. Kit flips from being a nice lovely sweet talking guy to an insensitive moron who expects women to fall at his feet, although with Shelly's behaviour you can't really blame him too much.

Some of it I laughed at, cringed at or rolled my eyes and sighed at it. It was just far too silly for me and the annoyance at Shelly being painted so pathetically really put me off it. Two quotes I must share with you from the book that may sum up what I am trying to say better than I am doing are

"Every time i see you a smoke-alarm goes off in my boxer shorts." and

"Hell, it was so magical, she wouldn't have been surprised to learn that Gandalf was behind it." Cringe, funny, embarrassing to name just a few words this book conjurers up. I have read Kathy Lette before and really enjoyed her, not sure what happened this time but this book wasn't for me, 2/5 this time.




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Friday, 14 December 2012

November's Pre-loved Giveaway Competition - UPDATE

The prize from November's pre-loved giveaway has not been claimed. I have given the winner over a week to claim the prize, this being December I realize people are very busy. I have now picked another winner, Claire Deakin, the new winner has been notified.

Thanks again to everyone who entered and remember Decembers competition is open for just under a week. The prize is a perfect condition book, a zombie story for Christmas.

http://www.alwaysreading.net/2012/12/decembers-giveaway-is-i-am-scrooge.html

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Review - Caught by Harlan Coben

CaughtCaught by Harlan Coben
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - 1.5 days

Blurb From Goodreads

Reporter Wendy Tynes is making a name for herself, bringing down sexual offenders on nationally-televised sting operations. But when social worker Dan Mercer walks into her trap, and is tied to the disappearance of a seventeen-year-old New Jersey girl, the shocking consequences will have Wendy doubting her instincts about the motives of the people around her.

My Review

This book starts off fairly quick. There is a sting, set up by a reporter to bust a paedophile and it is all recorded and broad casted on tv. The case falls through and the reporter needs to sink her teeth into something else. Soon she stumbles on something that she will uncover, even if it ruins her life, or worse kills her.

The story splits into two main stories, the accused paedophile and the disappearance of a young respectable girl. There is a lot of twists in the story and after a bit of digging Wendy, the reporter, finds some coincidences between Dan and his old college friends and something that may explain recent going ons.

Some of the book was quite well paced, interesting and I was dying to find out what happened to the missing girl. I felt the disappearance dominated the first part of the story but quickly it was dealt with and another part focused on, only for it to be brought back up later. I didn't like this approach although I did like some of the other situations that arose after. To be honest I swayed between a 2 and 3 star rating and would have liked to have given a 2.5. Some of it was drawn out and didn't seem relevant, things that had dragged where then solved really quickly and moved onto something else. Whilst I like to have answers to everything in my books I don't like it convenient like that. So it says a 3/5 there but I would say 2.5 - I do enjoy this author but prefer the others I have read.

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Monday, 10 December 2012

ARC - All Fall Down by Louise Voss & Mark Edwards

All Fall DownAll Fall Down by Louise Voss & Mark Edwards
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - 2 days

Blurb from Goodreads

Two years on from uncovering a terrifying conspiracy of rogue scientists, all Kate Maddox wants is to lead a normal life with her partner Paul and son Jack. But then a face from the past turns up, bringing chilling news.
A devastating new strain of the virus that killed Kate’s parents is loose in L.A. – and when a bomb rips through a hotel killing many top scientists, it becomes clear someone will do anything to stop a cure being found.
While Paul goes on the hunt for answers, Kate finds herself in a secret laboratory in the heart of California, desperately seeking a way to stop the contagion. But time is running out and soon it will be too late to save their loved ones, themselves, and the world…

My Review

Kate Maddox is a virologist and the world is about to need her. Terrorists have released a new strain of virus that spreads and kills quicker that its predecessor ever did. The terrorists means business and bomb a convention with top scientists and a specific target or two amoung them to stop any chance of a cure. Kate has to make a choice, to help the world and leave her family behind or stay with them and watch it collapse and die slowly. Time is running out and Kate finds herself targeted, under pressure and in a life threatening situations.

I really enjoyed this story from the start and it kicks off fairly swiftly with patient zero. We then are introduced to Kate and the story really goes from there when she is addressed to come and help deal with the situation. Paul is her boyfriend and plays a big part in the story too however he branches off searching out people relating to his brothers death. The story also breaks off into the terrorists and the main characters from there, building up a picture of how they work and why they are doing what they do. It sounds like a lot to take in but actually it isn't, they all slot into their parts and the story links in very quickly to each other.

The chapters are really short, which as you know I love, so as the story flips between them you can follow it easily and dip in and out as you have to. To be honest I could have read it in one sitting had time permitted. It has a great pace to it, really good story and you don't have to be virus savy or have a high IQ to follow the scientist viral stuff. There is some sex in the book but not a huge focus and you can skip by if without missing anything from the story. The idea behind what drives the terrorists is really interesting too and I enjoyed having a wee read up on that and learning something new from that side (sorry to be vague but I hate spoilers).

Even as you approach the big conclusion there are still more surprises and action to come. This is my first time reading these authors and it won't be my last. Kate Maddox has made an appearance in at least one previous book (I believe this would be the 3rd joint effort) and this can be read, as I did, as a stand alone. I will seek out their previous books as I did like the style of writing and quick pace, 4/5 for me.

Thanks so much to HarperCollins for sending me this ARC. You can get your own copy when this book comes out on the 14th of February 2013 (or you can get the ebook from Amazon.co.uk from the 20th of December 2012).



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Saturday, 8 December 2012

Review - The Casual Vacancy by J.K Rowling

The Casual VacancyThe Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - 3 days

Blurb From Goodreads

A BIG NOVEL ABOUT A SMALL TOWN ...

When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock.

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty fa├žade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils ... Pagford is not what it first seems.

And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?

My review

This is a whopping huge hardback, 503 pages long. The first thing I would say is go into this reading it as a new author rather than this is the Harry Potter writer as the content and writing couldn't be further apart. The story is based around a small town, Pagford, and follows the lives of many of the residents. Barry Fairbrother dies suddenly and the town is in shock, however his death leaves open a seat on the parish council and soon filling that becomes the main focus. The small town is ripped apart by this one event as the battle for the seat begins.

For me this story could have been two, one concentrating on the younger main characters and that of the adults and their interest in the council seat. There is a lot of swearing throughout and a number of issues covered including angst, secrets, emotions, violence, self harm, betrayal and underage sex to mention a few.

At some points I felt some of the issues could have been left out but were included to show this is an adult themed book and a far cry from her previous Harry Potter books. There also was more characters than at times I could keep up with (although once your in a few hundred pages you get a better feel for them). Because there is so many, I feel that the focus on some of them and their issues where brushed over or only briefly touched on. Had the book just been classed as a novel or some of the characters cut there could have been more substance given to others and made more of an impact on the reader and story.

That said I did enjoy the unraveling of the towns secrets and petty goings on, especially in the aftermath of the death of a young man. I can't say I loved any of the characters but I did like Krystal and would have loved to have had more focus on her. Despite having a foul mouth, loose moral and low self esteem with a bad attitude, her character had depth although only really shown when dealing with her younger sibling.

I felt the book was fairly slow going for a good part of it, the start kicks off quick with a death which is the catalyst for most of the following story, however come the end few chapters it went into overdrive and I didn't want to put the book down. The turnabout of events is rather shocking, especially as the book had been fairly paced throughout. If you enjoy small town scandal and don't mind cursing, underage sex and teenage angst you will enjoy this story. 3/5 for me, I would read J.K. Rowling again, I loved Harry Potter and although this is a different level altogether I still enjoyed the writing and story.

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Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Review - Please Let It Stop by Jacqueline Gold

Please Let It Stop: The True Story of My Abused ChildhoodPlease Let It Stop: The True Story of My Abused Childhood by Jacqueline Gold
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - 3 days

Blurb From Goodreads

Please Let It Stop is a gripping and ultimately inspiring memoir of suffering and determination, of obstacles and inner battles. Jacqueline Gold was abused by her stepfather for many years, but one day she summoned the courage to ask him to stop. Jacqueline went on to become chief executive of British sex shop chain Ann Summers, but the journey was far from easy. In this, her no-holds-barred autobiography, Jacqueline describes her abused childhood, her tumultuous struggles to find love and conquer depression, and the heartbreak of undergoing IVF. Told with remarkable honesty, her story is a testament to one woman’s ability to overcome the darkest of times.

My Review

Going by the title and front cover you would assume this book is going to be focused mostly or wholly on abuse. This is not the case, Jacqueline Gold does indeed discuss her abuse that happened to her at the hands of her stepfather but it isn't one of these books that give you gory details or focus huge parts of the writing on the negative, the opposite actually.

The book is an autobiography, it takes us on the journey of Jacqueline's life, from early beginnings to how she became a wealthy and powerful business woman in the company most, if not all, of us have heard of. The book gives you an insight into the respectable business Ann Summers actually is and how it came to be so successful as well as the obstacles and prejudices people have against it. All of which I found fascinating however it was the strength of character she shows, all of the knocks she has taken and yet she refuses to become a victim and seems to pick herself up every time she is knocked down.

I also found it shocking how people have behaved and treated Gold purely because of who she is and her wealth. It is a sad day to learn so many scammers are out there, not to mention unprofessional people who clearly have no work ethics. This book is very positive and I feel a lot of people could take something from it and feel empowered. There are so many issues addressed in this book that everyone can relate to. Whilst it is how the author dealt with each of these issues and not a self help for other people, I still think the reader can take something from this book. 4/5 for me, very well written and I thought it was a great read.

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Monday, 3 December 2012

December's giveaway is I Am Scrooge, A Zombie Story For Christmas by Adam Roberts

This book is in perfect condition and could be given as a gift (just in time for Christmas). I will run this competition until the 20th of December so if your a UK resident you should have it before Christmas. Outside of the UK I am sure it will arrive later, although sometimes it has arrived fairly quickly.



As always you can leave a comment on this post for an additional entry or use the link below, fill in the form, to enter the competition.

Click here to enter the competition

Saturday, 1 December 2012

November's Pre Loved Giveaway winner is............

Alfredo Arraiza (our first Spanish winner) - the winner has been notified. If the winner has not claimed their prize within 48 hour another winner will be chosen.

Thanks to everyone who took part and keep your eyes peeled for Decembers giveaway.

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