29 Apr 2017

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Book Review / The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J Maas ***Contains Spoilers***

***Contains Spoilers***
I will be posting a non-spoiler series review soon

The Assassin and the Pirate Lord
On a remote island in a tropical sea, Celaena Sardothien, feared assassin, has come for retribution. She’s been sent by the Assassin’s Guild to collect on a debt they are owed by the Lord of the Pirates. But when Celaena learns that the agreed payment is not in money, but in slaves, her mission suddenly changes—and she will risk everything to right the wrong she’s been sent to bring about. 


The Assassin and the Healer
Meet the Assassin: beautiful, defiant, destined for greatness. Celaena Sardothien has challenged her master. Now she must pay the price. Her journey to the Red Desert will be an arduous one, but it may change the fate of her cursed world forever...

The Assassin and the Desert
The Silent Assassins of the Red Desert aren’t much for conversation, and Celaena Sardothien wouldn’t have it any other way. She’s not there to chatter, she’s there to hone her craft as the world’s most feared killer for hire. When the quiet is shattered by forces who want to destroy the Silent Assassins, Celaena must find a way to stop them, or she’ll be lucky to leave the desert alive.

The Assassin and the Underworld
When the King of the Assassins gives Celaena Sardothien a special assignment that will help fight slavery in the kingdom, she jumps at the chance to strike a blow against an evil practice. The misson is a dark and deadly affair which takes Celaena from the rooftops of the city to the bottom of the sewer--and she doesn't like what she finds there.

The Assassin and the Empire
Celaena Sardothien is the assassin with everything: a place to call her own, the love of handsome Sam, and, best of all, freedom. Yet, she won’t be truly free until she is far away from her old master, Arobynn Hamel; Celaena must take one last daring assignment that will liberate her forever. But having it all, means you have a lot to lose . . .

Published:    4th March 2014
Publisher:  Bloomsbury
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Books 0.1 to 0.5, Throne of Glass
Source:  Owned Copy


*** Contains Spoilers***


MY REVIEW



The Assassin and the Pirate Lord
Now this one was my favourite of the whole lot of novellas purely because of the interactions between Celaena and the Pirate Lord.  They are both so fiery and cunning it was interesting to see how they played the circumstances that surrounded them.   What also made this great was seeing Celaena as she met with the Pirate Lord, discover what she did and what she did about it. 

The Assassin and the Healer
Being honest this was a bit slow going for me.  I did enjoy meeting Ylena and finding out more of her story (and see how she might be connected to more books in the Throne of Glass series possibly) but felt that there was not a lot of twists and turns like I usually like to read in this series.  I did, however, like to see Celaena and how she befriended Ylena and helped her on her way.


The Assassin and the Desert
I really enjoyed this one.  You have Celaena who has been sent to the Red Desert as punishment for her betrayal to her Master from what she did in The Assassin and the Pirate Lord, probably thinking that she will fail and never come back but she rises to the occasion and goes above and beyond in this novella. Things aren't always what they seem in this one and I loved that!

The Assassin and the Underworld
This one was a bit slow for me but I did like the twists and turns of the story.  Celaena gets sent out on a job with Sam and things aren't what they seem.  Who should they trust and is their assignment all what it seems to be?  It appears not.  Someone has double crossed them.  For me, this one just seems like a 'lead in' to the next novella.

The Assassin and the Empire
As I had predicted when finishing the fourth novella above this one certainly does tell the story of how Celaena ends up in Endovier and explained how Sam died to a certain degree.  There are a lot of open-ended questions in this one but the story certainly gives more than enough hints to let you come to your own conclusion.





Continue reading Book Review / The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J Maas ***Contains Spoilers***

25 Apr 2017

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Book Review / Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas ***Contains Spoilers***

***Contains Spoilers***
I will be posting a non-spoiler series review soon once I have finished reading The Assassins Blade

KINGDOMS WILL COLLIDE.

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius as war looms on the horizon. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those who don't.

With her heart sworn to the warrior-prince by her side, and her fealty pledged to the people she is determined to save, Aelin will delve into the depths of her power to protect those she loves. But as monsters emerge from the horrors of the past, and dark forces become poised to claim her world, the only chance for salvation will lie in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

In this breathtaking fifth installment of the New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series, Aelin will have to choose what—and who—to sacrifice if she's to keep the world of Erilea from breaking apart.


Published:     6th September 2016
Publisher:  Bloomsbury
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 5, Throne of Glass
Source:  Owned Copy


***Contains Spoilers***


MY REVIEW

Just when I thought the books in this series don't get any longer, this one was the longest yet at 693 pages long.  Like with Queen of Shadows, this one took a little while to get through but I just couldn't put it down!  In this book we certainly learn a lot of secrets and there are certainly a lot more treacherous people in the midst trying to stop Aelin from doing what she needs to!

As with Queen of Shadows, you get a lot more of that wonderful character interaction going on and you can certainly feel the history between certain characters between Aelin, Rowan, Manon and so on...  Although I really enjoyed this story, in this one the only part that I wasn't particularly fond of was at certain parts when Aelin was headstrong in doing something without consultation and seemingly thinking things through, almost selfishly at some points.  I found that a little annoying but with that we had a great balancing character in Rowan who does a great job most of the time reeling her in.  With this book more than the others I got a great sense of 'pairing up' with the characters also.  You have Aelin and Rowan, which we already knew about but then you have a few others one of which was very surprising indeed - Dorian and Manon!!!  That is going to be very interesting to follow in the next instalment (that I just found out about and am so excited for!!!).

What I loved the most was the last part of this book where you have all these different things happening according to plan but then you have a few unplanned things happen but unbeknown to most of the characters Aelin had organised behind their back should something bad happen.  That was very interesting to read and makes me wonder what else does she have planned.  We also find out a few more secrets in this story, but I felt just enough to keep you hooked in.  Still I believe there is so much more to learn (and certainly reading the book description for book 5 in the series (I believe coming out in September this year) there are more things to learn...







Continue reading Book Review / Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas ***Contains Spoilers***

23 Apr 2017

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Book Review / Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas ***Contains Spoilers***

***Contains Spoilers***
I will post a non-spoiler series review once I have finished reading the series.

The queen has returned.

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past…

She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.

The fourth volume in the New York Times bestselling series continues Celaena’s epic journey and builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.


Published:     1st September 2015
Publisher:  Bloomsbury
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 4, Throne of Glass
Source:  Owned Copy


***Contains Spoilers***

 MY REVIEW

I just can't stop reading this series!  This book was certainly more of a challenge for me being all of 648 pages long, which is longer than what I usually read.  How can I possibly sum up all of the things I loved about this series, this book in particular in just a single review?  Let's see what I can do...

If it wasn't possible to love the character interaction more in this series so far this book has certainly pushed that limit further.  With each book in this series the characters get more and more used to each other and you can tell the history between them with the way they interact with each other; sometimes laughing, sometimes angry and sometimes both at the same time!  Celaena/Aelin's personality I love the most. She is so sassy and fiery but at the same time she shows such compassion and love to the characters she loves it just shows how great she will be Queen of Terrasen.

You then have the world-building.  In this book more than the others before I felt I got to see more and more of what was around, especially the different types of people in different parts of this world.  I especially loved following Manon, the Ironteeth witch who, like Celaena, has such fire I am surprised that anyone wants to try and cross her path but equally you see her have compassion for those who truly deserve it especially with the introduction of a new character called Elide.  I have a feeling that we are going to be seeing more and more of this character as the series goes on.

Lastly, there is the plot line.  Although this book was a monster of a book to read at no point was I bored or confused.  Every aspect of this story had its own place some descriptive, some adding to the suspense of what was to come with the added joy of a few twists and turns around the corner as well!

I know I must say this after ever review in this series but honestly I can't wait to get onto the next one!





Continue reading Book Review / Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas ***Contains Spoilers***

21 Apr 2017

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Book Review / Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas ***Contains Spoilers***

***Contains Spoilers***
I will be posting a non-spoiler series review when I have finished reading the series.

Celaena has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak―but at an unspeakable cost. Now, she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth . . . a truth about her heritage that could change her life―and her future―forever. Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. Will Celaena find the strength to not only fight her inner demons, but to take on the evil that is about to be unleashed?

The bestselling series that has captured readers all over the world reaches new heights in this sequel to the New York Times best-selling Crown of Midnight. Packed with heart-pounding action, fierce new characters, and swoon-worthy romance, this third book will enthrall readers from start to finish.




Published:     2nd September 2014
Publisher:  Bloomsbury
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 3, Throne of Glass
Source:  Owned


***Contains Spoilers***
MY REVIEW

I am really loving this series!  I can't believe it has taken me so long to get to it!    This one was far longer than the first two at over 565 pages.  It was a challenge to read!  It was also one of those that I just could not put down and I managed to read it over two days (over a lot of hours I will point out!) but it was well worth it!

This book was a bit different to the first two in this series.  You still have the three 'main characters' Celaena, the Price and the Captain of the Guard but this time they are not together.  You have Celaena who is travelling to another land on a job for the King (or so things seem to start with), the Prince and Captain of the Guard are back at the Castle but face some very hard and different choices.

What made this book great for me was the revelations that we find out all of which I really wasn't expecting.  There were a lot of twists and turns, which I loved!

We also follow the story of groups of witches battling it out to find out who will become the leader and when a certain group does they need to do a certain job for the King, but we don't find that out yet.   This part of the story intrigued me and gave me the feeling that we will be seeing a lot more of this part of the story in the next book, but that's just a feeling...

Continue reading Book Review / Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas ***Contains Spoilers***

19 Apr 2017

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Book Review / Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas ***Contains Spoilers***

 ***Contains Spoilers*** 
I will be posting a spoiler free series review once I have finished reading the series :-)

"A line that should never be crossed is about to be breached.

It puts this entire castle in jeopardy—and the life of your friend."


From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena's world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie... and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.


Published:     27th August 2013
Publisher:  Bloomsbury
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 2, Throne of Glass
Source:  Owned






 ***Contains Spoilers***
MY REVIEW

I just could not put this book down.  Even though it was the second time I have read this, it has been a while and a lot of the story I had long forgotten.  Of course, we are still following Celaena who is now the King's Champion and has been given her first tasks.  The King has a list of people he believes are against him.  Celaena's job is to hunt them down and kill them.  It was very interesting to see Celaena learn of these tasks and the choices she made when seeing them through.  

Of course you still have the love aspect of this story, which I was very much looking forward to seeing more of but the most interesting aspect of this story is when Celaena finds out more about the castle and we see a little more about the history of the world and those who have come before.  For me, that was the best part of this story.  To find out more about that means that I could greater understand what was happening in the present, although I do get the feeling there is so much more to learn...  There are definitely a few twists and turns in this story, a lot of them I have to be honest and say that I was not expecting at all!  

I just can't wait to move onto the next book, which I have not read at all yet... :-)

Continue reading Book Review / Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas ***Contains Spoilers***

15 Apr 2017

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Book Review / Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

"Nothing is a coincidence. Everything has a purpose. You were meant to come to this castle, just as you were meant to be an assassin."

When magic has gone from the world, and a vicious king rules from his throne of glass, an assassin comes to the castle. She does not come to kill, but to win her freedom. If she can defeat twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition to find the greatest assassin in the land, she will become the King's Champion and be released from prison.

Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her.

And a princess from a foreign land will become the one thing Celaena never thought she'd have again: a friend.

But something evil dwells in the castle—and it's there to kill. When her competitors start dying, horribly, one by one, Celaena's fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival—and a desperate quest to root out the source of the evil before it destroys her world.


Published:     7th May 2013
Publisher:  Bloomsbury
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 1, Throne of Glass
Source:  Owned Copy



MY REVIEW

Now that a lot more of the series is out and I now own all of those I thought it would be a good time to catch up with this series.  This series has been one of my most anticipated series for a very long time, in fact probably since the first book came out in 2013!  The last time I through this series I got as far as Crown of Midnight, but only because that was the latest one out at the time!

I loved this the first time I read it and if it is possible I loved this even more the second time around!  What I loved the most was the love triangle type situation going on between Celaena, the Prince and the Captain of the Guard.  I liked how there was a lot of will they won't they with all characters, it was very hard to guess who Celaena would end up with.  I have to say that I believe she made the right choice! 

I really can't wait to read more of this series and see what comes next!  I have a feeling that there are a lot of secrets and a lot more aspects to this world and characters to discover and that makes me really excited to continue... :-)



Continue reading Book Review / Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

7 Apr 2017

Blog Tour Author Feature / The Reunion by Roisin Meaney

It's September 2015 and sisters Caroline and Eleanor Plunkett receive invitations to their twenty year school reunion. But for both, the invitation takes them back to a time they'd rather forget ...

For Caroline, it's a reminder of a night she's never told anyone about - and the traumatic consequences she had to face on her own.

While for Eleanor, who has spent the past fourteen years trying to get over the death of her young daughter, the school reunion is a stark reminder of life before grief.

As the reunion approaches, both sisters face choices and decisions about their lives. Caroline, a successful knitwear designer living in England must choose between love and honesty. Eleanor, who long ago removed herself from the restaurant she started with her husband, must finally make a decision to choose the man she married and the son she has forgotten for so long.




Charity Begins at Home

I’m not certain when it started: all I can say for sure is that I’ve been doing it for a long time. I’ve never tried to hide it, everyone knows. Most of my friends treat it as a quaint character trait, something harmless, even a bit amusing – but maybe a little embarrassing too. They’ve long since learnt to accept that I do it, but they wouldn’t be caught dead joining me.
I’m talking about spending a few bob in charity shops. I can’t pass one without going in and having a rummage – and I’m spoilt for choice in Limerick, which boasts several excellent ones. The notion that you might chance on the perfect top/dress/skirt/bag for a fraction of its original price is intoxicating. It’s the not knowing that I love, the flicking through rails or searching shelves with literally no idea what I might find that keeps me going back, just in case. I think of it as lucky dip shopping.
Mind you, I have my standards. The item in question must be in good nick: if not brand new, with original tags still hanging off it – yes, they crop up occasionally – then at least looking as good as new. I wouldn’t consider anything stained or torn or missing crucial buttons, anything that looks like it was washed at the wrong temperature, or not washed enough. Pre-loved as opposed to just pre-owned; that’s what I’m after when I go hunting.

And labels are important, in the sense that I won’t buy something like a Penney’s top second-hand, not because I have anything against Penney’s, or similar low-priced stores, but because I can easily afford new stuff in Penney’s, and new is always nicer than nearly-new.
Despite my standards, the low prices can sometimes seduce me to rash decisions. Over the years I’ve bought my share of disasters, things that seemed like such a bargain in the shop – a Jesire dress for a tenner! – but that do nothing for me when I try them on again in the cold light of home. I might wear them once, if at all, before they end up back in the charity shop. These mistakes don’t bother me unduly: I’m only down a few bob, I’ve still done my bit for charity – and the shop might manage to sell them again in a week’s time.
A few years ago I took my love of charity shops to a new level, and volunteered to do a weekly shift in my local Oxfam. I got such a kick out of it: I loved meeting the customers, many of whom dropped in regularly, most of whom were happy to chat as they browsed; and I had such a laugh with the other volunteers at the tea breaks – with no salaries to earn, there was no pressure, no workplace competitiveness, and a wonderfully relaxed air about the place.
Of course, the other big benefit of working there was getting first choice of everything that came in. I was lucky enough to be the only size ten among the Friday morning volunteers, so I had nobody to fight with when a gem appeared in my size.
It was a great way to pass a few hours, and a lovely diversion from the writing. Ultimately I had to give it up when deadlines approached and time became tight, but I paid tribute to charity shops everywhere when I worked one into a subsequent book (after first having assured all of my ex-colleagues that nobody was based on any of them!)
I can’t understand some people’s disdain, or dislike, of the idea of recycling goods in the name of charity. For me it’s a win-all-round situation – the donor finds a home for her cast-offs, the customer gets a bargain, the shop makes a sale and the charity benefits. Who cares if someone owned it first? If it fits, and it suits you, and the price is right, so what if you’re the second person to love it?
And now you’ll have to excuse me – there’s a rather nice Abercrombie and Fitch top (seven euro) in need of a little rinse…




Continue reading Blog Tour Author Feature / The Reunion by Roisin Meaney

5 Apr 2017

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Series Review / Slammed by Colleen Hoover



Following the unexpected death of her father, 18-year-old Layken is forced to be the rock for both her mother and younger brother. Outwardly, she appears resilient and tenacious, but inwardly, she's losing hope.

Enter Will Cooper: The attractive, 21-year-old new neighbor with an intriguing passion for slam poetry and a unique sense of humor. Within days of their introduction, Will and Layken form an intense emotional connection, leaving Layken with a renewed sense of hope.

Not long after an intense, heart-stopping first date, they are slammed to the core when a shocking revelation forces their new relationship to a sudden halt. Daily interactions become impossibly painful as they struggle to find a balance between the feelings that pull them together, and the secret that keeps them apart.


Published:     2012
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Books 1, 2 & 3, Slammed
Source:  Owned Copies



MY REVIEW

What I loved about this series...  After reading one or two of Colleen Hoover's books before I have now made it my mission to read all of her books.  They are so addicting and easy to read, how can you not!!  You have got a real mix of emotions in this series but what stood out to me as my favourite parts would have to be these...  Firstly, you have Will and Layken - how they meet, interact and how they have a will they won't they relationship (my favourite kind to read about).  You also have the individual stores of Will and Layken; Will is the sold carer for his little brother with his parents having died and Layken having moved to the neighbourhood after her father's death.  You also have one or two surprise twists and turns along the way that I won't spoil for you in this review but a few of them I was expecting and a couple that were a complete surprise.  Loved it!   


What I didn't like about this series...   Now, I loved reading Slammed and Point of Retreat (books 1 and 2) but when it comes to book 3 I have to be honest and say that I couldn't finish it.  I got to about 50 pages in and, honestly speaking, got bored.  It was a lot of flash backs to things that I already knew about and had read about before in the previous two books.  I didn't want This Girl to ruin what I had loved about the first two books so I decided not to read it.  I think this is one that I might pick up later on this year or later on sometime in the future and read independent of the first two to see what I think of it then.  To me, from what I read it just seemed repetitive. 




Continue reading Series Review / Slammed by Colleen Hoover

2 Apr 2017

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Series Review / Balefire Series by Cate Tiernan


After seventeen-year-old Thais Allard loses her widowed father in a tragic car accident, she is forced to leave the only home she's ever known to live with a total stranger in New Orleans. New Orleans greets Thais with many secrets and mysteries, but none as unbelievable as the moment she comes face to face with the impossible — an identical twin, Clio.

Thais soon learns that she and the twin she never knew come from a family of witches, that she possesses astonishing powers, and that she, along with Clio, has a key role in Balefire, the coven she was born into.
Fiery Clio is less than thrilled to have to share the spotlight, but the twins must learn to combine their powers in order to complete a rite that will transform their lives and the coven forever.





Published:     2005-2010
Publisher:  Speak
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Books 1 to 4 - Balefire Series
Source: Owned Copy




MY REVIEW

What I liked about this series...  This book has been on my bookshelf for years.  Its always been one that I say I will pick up one day but never got around to it.  So, now I decided to get on with it and read it!  Cate Tiernan's Sweep series is one of my favourite series of all times, so I was very excited to be reading another series by her.  What I loved about this series was the history.  You have Thais and Clio who discover that they are twins and that there's a lot more to their family history than meets the eye.  They are witches, which is my favourite kind of 'supernatural' story to pick up.  You have goodies and baddies throughout and it was fun to try and figure out who was who. 

What I didn't like about this series...   Although I did enjoy reading this series, there were one or two things that bothered me.  Firstly, you have a massive case of insta-love/lust going on.  Both Clio and Thais seem to fall head over heels in a matter of seconds and I found that very unrealistic.  Mix that with a really weird love triangle that got me confused for part of the book, I didn't really get on with that side of the story.  Without giving too much away, I also found the ending to be very confusing.  You have a particular character I thought would bring a massive explosion type of story line to the story but it never really happened, or certainly didn't appear to for me. 




Continue reading Series Review / Balefire Series by Cate Tiernan

31 Mar 2017

Blog Tour Author Interview / Growing up with Conference


Make General Conference fun year-round!

From the creators of the blog Sweetly Made Just for You comes a new book filled with fun and creative ways to get your family excited for general conference, including crafts, recipes, FHE ideas, and more!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW


1.  If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why?
I look up to Gerald Lund, because he is a fantastic writer. I would also like to work with Josi Kilpack because my sisters and I met her at a Deseret Book blogger event and she was enthusiastic, down to earth, and shared interesting ideas about being an author.

2.  What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write?
My sisters are “stay at home” moms and worked on the book from home. Personally, I work at an elementary school as a Reading Intervention Specialist, so usually my writing occurred at night, after the kids went to bed! There were also occasions where I woke up in the middle of the night and came up with ideas. I have a notebook next to my bed and write the ideas quickly before I forget!

3.  What is the hardest part of the writing for you?
The hardest part of writing was the editing, which was a long and difficult process. The best part was writing with my sisters!

4.  When and why did you first start writing?
My sisters and I grew up writing short stories as children. In fact, we wrote a weekly family newspaper and passed it around to the family to read!! I used my writing skills at BYU when there were many papers to write. As an adult, I worked for a resume company and would use a lot of my writing skills to critique resumes. I’ve always enjoyed writing and like to share my ideas with others. My sisters and I also have a goal to someday write a children’s book!

5.  How did you come up with the idea for your book?
My sisters and I are raising children, and constantly share ideas with each other. One of our priorities as parents is to teach our children the gospel. So, we started collaborating our ideas of ways to make general conference and family home evening more exciting in our homes. We have also talked about writing a book about holidays and birthday parties, because this is another avenue that we get really creative! Actually, I had a dream about the book, which got me thinking about writing a book to tell others about all our ideas. I spoke with my sisters and we decided to get started on the project!

6.  Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now?
YES! I read every night. In fact, I can’t go to sleep until I have read. Right now, I am reading “The Orphan Keeper” by Camron Wright. Fantastic book!!

7.  Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?
Have patience, work hard, and persevere. Dreams do come true!



Continue reading Blog Tour Author Interview / Growing up with Conference

27 Mar 2017

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Book Review / Before the Rains by Dinah Jefferies


A romantic, heart-wrenching tale of love against the odds from the Number One Sunday Times bestselling author
 
1930, Rajputana, India. Since her husband's death, 28-year-old photojournalist Eliza's only companion has been her camera. When the British Government send her to an Indian princely state to photograph the royal family, she's determined to make a name for herself.

But when Eliza arrives at the palace she meets Jay, the Prince's handsome, brooding brother. While Eliza awakens Jay to the poverty of his people, he awakens her to the injustices of British rule.

Soon Jay and Eliza find they have more in common than they think. But their families - and society - think otherwise. Eventually they will have to make a choice between doing what's expected, or following their hearts. . .


Published:     23rd February 2017
Publisher:  Penguin
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher






MY REVIEW

This book took me completely by surprise.  I picked up this one firstly (and honestly) it was the cover that drew me in.  That gorgeous blue and the Indian backdrop; it just intrigued me.  Bright coloured covers always draw me in; sometimes for the better but not always!  Its been a little while since I had read a historical fiction book and I felt now was a good time to pick another one up (I am a very seasonal reader and tend to pick up more complicated, historic, thriller like books in the autumn and winter months and reading more lighter, mostly romantic, reads in the spring and summer.

What I loved about this book.  I could talk for a very long time about this but just to name a few...  Firstly, the romance side of it.  There's a bit of a will they wont' they situation going on between Jay and Eliza.  You then have each of their backgrounds, both completely different but linked for some reason that I won't spoil right now in this review.  I liked that twist in the story; a twist that I was not expecting at all!  I also liked the fact that despite it being 1930 when women were supposed to be seen and not heard, Eliza was not one of those women.  She was different and it was very interesting to watch her struggle to get along with the many people that she came across.  Along with the above, you also have the history and the ways of the people in 1930s India.  Some very interesting and some very disturbing things that I learnt and I very much hope do not still go on today in real life.

This book just swept me away.  I enjoyed every last word and will definitely be picking up more by this author. 

Continue reading Book Review / Before the Rains by Dinah Jefferies

19 Mar 2017

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Series Review / Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling


Harry Potter's life is miserable. His parents are dead and he's stuck with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he's a wizard. A mysterious visitor rescues him from his relatives and takes him to his new home, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

After a lifetime of bottling up his magical powers, Harry finally feels like a normal kid. But even within the Wizarding community, he is special. He is the boy who lived: the only person to have ever survived a killing curse inflicted by the evil Lord Voldemort, who launched a brutal takeover of the Wizarding world, only to vanish after failing to kill Harry.

Though Harry's first year at Hogwarts is the best of his life, not everything is perfect. There is a dangerous secret object hidden within the castle walls, and Harry believes it's his responsibility to prevent it from falling into evil hands. But doing so will bring him into contact with forces more terrifying than he ever could have imagined.

Full of sympathetic characters, wildly imaginative situations, and countless exciting details, the first installment in the series assembles an unforgettable magical world and sets the stage for many high-stakes adventures to come.


Published:     7th March 2017
Publisher:  Bloomsbury
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Books 1 to 7, Harry Potter



MY REVIEW

One of my New Year resolutions this year was to re-read Harry Potter.  The last time I read the Harry Potter books was back when they first came out; purchasing them as soon as they came out and then reading them instantly, so its been a while.  I decided this time that I would listen to them on audio book, mainly because Stephen Fry (who is amazing) is the narrator and because I thought it would be interesting to read it in a different way to what I had read it before, so I can see whether I still enjoy the experience just in a different way of reading it.

As you can see I have given these books and the experience a massive 5 stars.  I absolutely loved it!  I started listening to it at the beginning of January and literally just finished it a day ago.  It has taken me a while, bearing in mind I only listen to audio books to and from my journey to work but I have looked forward to listening to these books.  Not once did I lose my place or think that it was getting boring.  Apart from obviously enjoying following Harry, Ron and Hermione I especially enjoyed the characters of Snape and Dumbledore.

In conjunction with listening to the audio books, I also watched the movies.  When I had finished watching one audio book I then watched the movie.  I hadn't realised how many bits were missing from the movie!  There are so many different scenes - some that I think were important and some that were just 'filler scenes' but still added to the actually story - that were missing.  If you have watched and love the Harry Potter movies but have not yet read the books you should, there's so much more you can learn from the books than with the movies.

Finally, one of my most favourite things about the audio books has to be the narrator, Stephen Fry.  I think he is an amazing chap anyway but his voice with these books just fitted together like a completed jigsaw puzzle.  Boy's voices and girl's voices, he can do both very well.  There were times when I had completely forgotten that it was Stephen Fry narrating because the voices were that good! 




Continue reading Series Review / Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling

16 Mar 2017

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Blog Tour Book Review / Every Little Thing by Samantha Young

The quiet town of Hartwell is the perfect place to get away from it all – and find what you never knew you needed . . .

Bailey Hartwell has many reasons to feel content – her successful business, a close circle of friends and her steady boyfriend . . . even if their romance feels staid after ten years without a serious commitment. The only challenge in her life comes in the form of sexy businessman Vaughn Tremaine. She thinks the ex-New Yorker acts superior and that he considers her a small-town nobody. But when Bailey’s blindsided by a betrayal, she’s shocked to discover Vaughn is actually a decent guy.

Vaughn admires Bailey’s free spirit, independence and loyalty. As his passion for her has grown, his antagonism toward her has only worsened. Every little thing Bailey does seduces him. But when Vaughn’s painful emotional past makes him walk away in fear he will hurt her, it opens an old wound in Bailey, and she uncharacteristically retreats.

Once Vaughn begins to realise he's made the biggest mistake of his life, he has no choice but to fight like he's never fought before to convince Bailey that the love they've found together only comes around once in a lifetime . . .

Published:     7th March 2017
Publisher:  Piatkus
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 2, Hart's Boardwalk
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher



MY REVIEW 

One of the best things about finding a book that you loved reading is to discover that there is a book 2!  I was so excited when I found out this even existed I knew I had to read it straight away.  You have all the same characters that were in the first book with a few added extras.  In book 1 we followed the story of Jessica who was new and we saw her journey.  This time we follow Bailey who has lived on Hart's Boardwalk her entire life.  

If I was asked to pick one thing that I liked the most about this book I don't think that I can.  There are so many aspects of this story that made it great for me.  You have Vaughn who Bailey has a love hate relationship with.  You then have the dispute between Bailey and her family and the Devlins who want to take over her business.  Along with that you have many other little things that all make up a great story.  Added to that you have the return of Bailey's sister who is not a character I particularly liked in this story but it was very entertaining to read!  

If you haven't picked up this series yet, you need to!  I will say that this is more on the romance side and does contain a few 'sexy times', but even if this is not your thing do give it a go as this story is so much more than that.



 
Continue reading Blog Tour Book Review / Every Little Thing by Samantha Young

14 Mar 2017

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Book Review / Stargazing for Beginners Jenny McLachlan

Science geek Meg is left to look after her little sister for ten days after her free-spirited mum leaves suddenly to follow up yet another of her Big Important Causes. But while Meg may understand how the universe was formed, baby Elsa is a complete mystery to her.

And Mum’s disappearance has come at the worst time: Meg is desperate to win a competition to get the chance to visit NASA headquarters, but to do this she has to beat close rival Ed. Can Meg pull off this double life of caring for Elsa and following her own dreams? She’ll need a miracle of cosmic proportions …

Fans fell in love with the warmth, wit, romance and fierce friendships in Flirty Dancing, Love Bomb, Sunkissed and Star Struck, and Stargazing for Beginners has all that and galaxies more. This is the best kind of real-life fiction – with big themes and irresistible characters, it goes straight to your heart.




Published:     6th April 2017
Publisher:  Bloomsbury
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher




MY REVIEW

Now, I have a few things to say about this one.  Firstly, I will say that the writing in this book is really good and I will definately be reading more from this author.  I liked her style and the way that she dealt with a very difficult situation.  Next, to put it bluntly this book made me very angry.  I think this is more because I am reading this book from an older person perspective (i'm 35) rather than a younger adult reading this.  If I had read this book ten or twenty years ago I think I would have loved it and took the story at face value.  Reading this book now, the actions of Meg's mother and grandfather just makes me angry.  How could a mother just up and leave her children to fend for themselves and not even seem bothered about it?  How could a grandfather be so flippant about the fact that his daughter has left his grandchildren to fend for themselves.  Not only that but he lets them live on their own with no supervision or help.  That just makes me angry at those characters and is the main reason I kept reading because I wanted to make sure they were ok.  

Angriness aside, I did really enjoy following Meg at school and seeing how she gets in with trying to win the competition to visit NASA headquarters.  I really was rooting for her.  

I had so many conflicting emotions with this book.  I did enjoy reading it but the subject matter made me very angry and made this uncomfortable reading for me.    
Continue reading Book Review / Stargazing for Beginners Jenny McLachlan

10 Mar 2017

Blog Tour / The Hell of It All by Bob Kroll

About the book: Retired detective T.J. Peterson is working the table scraps that his former partner, Danny Little, sometimes throws his way. One of them has Peterson hearing from a snitch about a body buried 30 years ago, the same time a drug kingpin went MIA. Peterson is also ducking an ex-con with a grudge, a hitman who likes playing jack-in-the-box with a 12 gauge. Then a former lover re-enters Peterson’s life and begs him to find her daughter, an addict who knows too much about the local drug trade for her own safety. The search for the girl and the truth about the 30-year-old corpse takes Peterson down into the hell of it all, deep into the underworld of crack houses, contract killing, money laundering, and crooked professionals doubling down on their investments of black money.

About the author: Bob Kroll has been a professional writer for more than 35 years. His work includes books, stage plays, radio dramas, TV documentaries, and historical docu-dramas for museums. The Hell of It All is the second novel in a projected trilogy featuring T.J. Peterson. Kroll lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Visit Bob Kroll’s website to learn more about him.

Available: March 14.

EXERPT

Chapter One (cont’d)
Continued from March 9 on Do Some Damage

You think I’m an errand boy?” Peterson said. “You thought wrong. You’re holding both ends of the same stick. Wrong word whispered in the wrong place, and someone opens you like a Ziploc. You’re no undercover hero. You’re a goddamn snitch!”
Turtle’s mouth moved, but no words came out.
So what’s your bargaining chip?” Peterson pressed. “Otherwise I’m out of here, and your name gets scratched off the list. And you know what that means — you get no calls, no favours, and no insurance when the time comes and you need a good word for whatever charge comes your way. And if that’s not enough, try this on for size: The nice-guy call to child services about your old lady, the call Danny was going to make, it doesn’t happen.”
Turtle swallowed his first few words, then tried again. “I overhear things, bits and pieces. I take what I get, you understand? I don’t ask questions.”
What are you not asking questions about?”
About rag asses jumping drug deals, you hear what I’m saying? Wearing masks and shit. Heavy duty. They’re muscling hand to hand. Strictly petty cash. Pissing off a lot of people.”
Like who?”
Like Sammy O.”
You brought me out here to talk about Sammy O pissed off at someone ripping off drug dealers? You got to be kidding, right?” Peterson knew Sammy O as a six-foot overweight slob who swaggered around the north end. Sammy and his boys casing the neighbourhood meant bad news for anyone getting in their way.
There’s a body too.”
What body?”
Buried in Laurie Park, like thirty years ago.”
Whose body?”
They didn’t say.”
Who didn’t say?”
That’s something I ain’t giving right now.”
And when are you giving it?”
After you find the body, and I get what I want.”
Where in the park?”
In the campground.”
It must be forty acres under six inches of snow. You got a campsite number?”
Turtle shook his head.
We’re talking holes again, Turtle. The last time, you had us digging holes like we were gophers.”
The last time was on someone else’s say-so,” Turtle said. “This one I heard myself. And what are you griping about? The last time, you found the body.”
But not where you said it was.”
You never knew Jonah was missing. It was my heads-up that got the cops looking for Jonah. Same thing with what’s buried in the park. So I put something on the table, and now it’s your turn to put something up.”
For rag asses and a thirty-year-old body buried someplace you don’t know.”
A campsite.”
But you don’t know the number. There could be thirty, forty, maybe a hundred campsites in the park. You want us to dig up every one on your say-so?”


Excerpt to be continued on March 12 on Books, Life & Everything

Excerpted from The Hell of It All by Bob Kroll. © 2017 by Bob Kroll. All rights reserved. Published by ECW Press Ltd. www.ecwpress.com


Continue reading Blog Tour / The Hell of It All by Bob Kroll

7 Mar 2017

Month in Review / February 2017

February was a very interesting reading month for me.  February was the month where I had a few review copies of books provided by publishers that I needed to get read (and wanted to read, of course...).  For all of you who have followed me for a while now, you know what book I am going to say was my favourite of the month....   Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks!  I was a little nervous going into this one as it is one that I had not read before and I hoped that I would love it and I did.  Nicholas Sparks never fails to win me over with his writing, every time!!!  

Top marks for the month also have to go to The One, The Breakdown and The Witchfinder's Sister.  The One was really different to what I have read before and I just could not put it down.  The Breakdown was an emotional roller coaster with a lot of twists and turns, definitely kept me on my toes!  Finally there was The Witchfinder's Sister, which is historical fiction but loosely based on an actual real life person from the past.  I found this fascinating both because of what but also from the fact that I have actually visited a lot of the places mentioned in the book!

There were two that I didn't really warm to this month.  Eyes Like Mine took me a while to get into and I just found the whole story a bit confusing.  My Sister's Bones was an only an ok read for me also. 

BOOKS READ   




BOOKS PURCHASED/RECEIVED FOR REVIEW


THE BUTCHER'S HOOK (Bought)
Georgian London. Summer 1763.

Anne Jaccob is coming of age, the daughter of a wealthy merchant. When she is taken advantage of by her tutor — a great friend of her father’s — and is set up to marry a squeamish snob named Simeon Onions, she begins to realize just how powerless she is in Georgian society. Anne is watchful, cunning, and bored.

Her saviour appears in the form of Fub, the butcher’s boy. Their romance is both a great spur and an excitement. Anne knows she is doomed to a loveless marriage to Onions and she is determined to escape with Fub and be his mistress. But will Fub ultimately be her salvation or damnation? And how far will she go to get what she wants



THE BOOK OF BERA (Received for Review)
The Book of Bera is a Viking adventure fantasy novel which follows the saga of Bera, a young Viking woman who is struggling to control her invisible twin spirit and develop her inherited gift of Sight.

On a long winter night, Bera is left to defend her stark village alone, and in the ensuing battle, her dear childhood friend, Bjorn, is killed. When soon after her father weds her to the chieftain of a rival clan, Bera realises the unthinkable: his second-in-command is responsible for her friend’s death. Though she must now learn how to be a wife and a stepmother to a hostile boy, Bera vows her revenge and sets off on a path to grow in power and hone her skills in the rough, macho clan into which she has been sold.

As her gifts continue to grow, her visions of looming disaster become more and more ominous until she has to make the ultimate choice: Will she choose revenge? Or will she succeed in leading her people to safety before it’s too late?



ECHOES IN DEATH (Received for Review)
This chilling new suspense novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author J.D. Robb is the perfect entry point into the compelling In Death police procedural series featuring Lieutenant Eve Dallas.

As NY Lt. Eve Dallas and her billionaire husband Roarke are driving home, a young woman—dazed, naked, and bloody—suddenly stumbles out in front of their car. Roarke slams on the brakes and Eve springs into action.

Daphne Strazza is rushed to the ER, but it’s too late for her husband Dr. Anthony Strazza. A brilliant orthopedic surgeon, he now lies dead amid the wreckage of his obsessively organized town house, his three safes opened and emptied. Daphne would be a valuable witness, but in her terror and shock the only description of the perp she can offer is repeatedly calling him “the devil”...

While it emerges that Dr. Strazza was cold, controlling, and widely disliked, this is one case where the evidence doesn’t point to the spouse. So Eve and her team must get started on the legwork, interviewing everyone from dinner-party guests to professional colleagues to caterers, in a desperate race to answer some crucial questions:

What does the devil look like? And where will he show up next?


BOURBON CREAMS AND TATTERED DREAMS (Received for Review)
Frank Rossi promised Matty the world. The Cockney Canary would become a world famous movie star. As his wife, she would be one half of a power couple, feted and adored by all. But the Wall Street crash puts paid to that and as Frank becomes more violent and unstable, Matty knows she must escape and so she flees at dead of night.

Once home in Bermondsey, she goes into hiding and starts desperately looking for work. But only the hated biscuit factory, Peek Frean's, is hiring. Then, as a secret from her past comes back to hurt her, Matty learns that Frank is on the move, determined to find her and get her back.






Continue reading Month in Review / February 2017