Review: Impulse

impulseImpulse by Vanessa Garden

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Source: eARC courtesy of publisher

Please note this is a review of the second book of Submerged Sun and there may be spoilers in respect to the first book, Captivate (my blurb)

You know that feeling when you see the sequel of a book you’ve read being published? Yes, almost always an excitement and then you’d automatically purchase (in this case, a request on NetGalley) the book before you realised that you really weren’t that keen on book 1. Oops! It was unfortunate that I wasn’t quite that keen on Captivate but I didn’t hate it plus I was somewhat curious about Miranda’s return to Marin so I gave Impulse a go.

There’s definitely no denying it now, Miranda is really really really annoying. Her tendency to think the best of some people or her naivety or blindness, whatever you want to call it, has really got to me this time. More than it was with Captivate because with Lauren around, this happened again and again and again… I would very much like to get my hands around Lauren’s throat, pick her up and bash her against the wall then I may shake Miranda a bit to get some sense into her. Or have I fallen into the author’s trap…? Is there some convoluted twist to be revealed later on? Am I reading too much into this… who knows!

Setting aside all the annoyance, I actually enjoyed the story. There were a number of unexpected twists which are always great in books and a couple of new characters which I’m very curious about. The romance wasn’t bad though I cringed a bit at some soppy-ness. I still, however, adore Marko and Robbie.

Impulse and I aren’t the best fit but I do know that some people love it so if you loved the first book, you would probably love this one too. If you were like me, you will find Miranda exasperating.

Thank you, Harlequin Books Australia for copy of eARC via NetGalley

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Review: Emblaze

emblazeEmblaze by Jessica Shirvington
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Source: paperback copy won via giveaway

Please note this is a review of the third book of The Violet Eden Chapters and there may be spoilers in respect to earlier books, Embrace & Enticed.

Wow, the prologue took me by surprise and reduced me to a sobbing mess. I just cannot imagine being her shoes. It was utterly heartbreaking –especially since I’m a mother myself which then brings me to my inability to sympathise with Violet & her anger. I know the reasons for her anger but I just can’t understand it.

The stakes have gone up considerably and Phoenix will do everything to get what he wants. Or at least, that’s what it seems like. Phoenix is another character whom I found confusing. I guess Violet found him a bit confusing too though she still has hopes for his humanity.

I didn’t really feel the presence of Lincoln in this book though he IS present. And had stepped up to the mark too –especially in his leadership which I liked. The tension between Lincoln & Violet has also ratcheted up though both are doing their best to ignore it. Don’t worry though, there is at least one scene which is swoon-worthy!

The best bits in this instalment for me is the prologue and the last chapter. Man, Jessica Shirvington certainly knows how to end a book! In Emblaze, Violet if faced with many choices –on which many lives & destinies depend upon. It was full of twist upon twist and was set ablaze with action. The most action-packed instalment so far and I’m loving it. I’ll be jumping on book 4 as soon as I can get a copy!

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Review: Eden

edenEden by Candice Fox
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Source: paperback copy courtesy of publisher

Please note this is a review of the second book of Archer & Bennett and there may be spoilers in respect to the first book, Hades.

I didn’t know this book was a sequel when I first picked it up. Thankfully, I had thought to look it up first on Goodreads. I tracked down Hades and was absolutely blown away –such an amazing debut! Happily, I then had Eden ready to go and jumped right on it.

I’ve heard that Eden Archer is basically a female version of Dexter. I’ve not read Dexter though I’ve seen parts of the series so I think, this concepts works quite well in describing her. What an amazingly complex character –so damaged yet so aware of it! She also kicks some serious ass so what can I do but fall in love with her.

The story is told from 3 perspectives: Eden’s, Frank Bennett’s (Eden’s partner), and the infamous Hades Archer (Eden’s ‘father’). Despite the multiple POVs, it was quite easy to differentiate which POV you’re reading and as the story took place in a wide ranging situations, I’d appreciate the many point of views as it really gives the story the depth it requires. I really love that we get to read Hades’ background and how parts of this novel took place in a different time.

Whilst I expected the ending (that character is an intelligent one & I expected her to connect the dots), it still did NOT stop my heart from missing a beat as it skipped in excitement for the next instalment. What an utterly brilliant end!! Both Hades and Eden were un-put-down-able and I just cannot wait for more Archer & Bennett.

Thank you, Random House Australia via The Reading Room for copy of book

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Review: The Girl in the Photograph

the girl in the photographThe Girl in the Photograph by Kate Riordan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Source: eARC courtesy of publisher via NetGalley

Right from the get go, the atmosphere is set –somber in tone, with the feeling that something awful is about to happen. This feeling practically haunted me throughout the reads. I didn’t like this feeling but at the same time, I did! I never like reading something where I knew something bad, really bad, is going to happen. I’m one of those who like getting the bad stuff done first thing so it was a bit of a torture and yet… it kept me guessing and that’s what pulled me through the whole of this novel.

The story is told from 2 perspectives: Alice in the 1930’s and Elizabeth in the 1890’s. At the beginning, I was very concerned about Alice; her naivety and innocence were pointers for something ‘bad’ to happen. It’s not that bad by today’s standard but back then, absolutely shameful. Her journey from then on only serves to make her stronger and I delight in her journey to maturity though sad that she was still trapped in her circumstance.

With Elizabeth, I sensed straightaway that something was off with her. She was up and down and was never herself. Something has gone terribly wrong in her world and with the doom & gloom that was so far foretold from Alice’s point of view, I feared for Elizabeth. In the end, this is one very sad story… one that is only recently being brought to society’s awareness as being a very real medical concern yet still is a stigma to some women.

The Girl in the Photograph is a haunting tale of 2 women separated by the ages yet each found trapped by society’s dictates in different yet similar ways. It is a tale full of heartache yet from the barren outlook, there is a shoot of courage and in the end, hope. If you are a fan of Kate Morton, I would highly recommend this book to you & watch this space, Kate Riordan may just be your new favourite author!

Thanks to Penguin Books Australia via NetGalley for copy of eARC

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Random Reads (February 2015)

Thanks to i’m loving books for hosting this meme.

I was very good and read by January’s Random Read!  Check my review of Golden Lies, here

For February, I’ve drawn a Classic.  This looks like a toughie!

caleb williamsCaleb Williams by William Godwin

When honest young Caleb Williams comes to work as a secretary for Squire Falkland, he soon begins to suspect that his new master is hiding a secret. As he digs deeper into Falkland’s past and finally unearths the horrible truth, the results of his curiosity prove calamitous when—even though Caleb has loyally sworn never to disclose what he has discovered—the Squire enacts a cruel revenge. A tale of gripping suspense and psychological power, William Godwin’s novel creates a searing depiction of the intolerable persecution meted out to a good man in pursuit of justice and equality. Written to expose the political oppression and corrupt hierarchies its author saw in the world around him, Caleb Williams makes a radical call to end the tyrannical misuses of power.

Review: Golden Lies

golden liesGolden Lies by Barbara Freethy
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Source: own ebook

Contemporary romance is not one of my staple diet so I don’t even know why I have this on my tbr… One of my strange moods, I’d say. However, since I drew this for January Random Reads, I stuck to my guns and read it.

It was fairly easy to read. The prologue was certainly intriguing and I do like the pairings. I felt like I was reading a type of soapie though… family drama, old secrets unearthed, unlikely lovers, etc etc etc. There wasn’t anything in particular that is grabby but it was a fair mindless read –perfect for middle of the night breastfeeds.

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Blog Tour: Whispers from the Dead ~a Review




Please note this is a review of the second book of Serenity’s Plain Secrets and I will try to avoid any major spoilers in relation to book 1 and you can also check my review on Lamb to the Slaughter, here.

I have really enjoyed Lamb to the Slaughter when I participated in that blog tour so I jumped onto this blog tour with no hesitation. Crime / mystery reads are within my comfort zone so this was a pretty breezy read though without enough difference in setting for me to enjoy. I found that I really like Hopkins’ use of Amish communities as setting of her stories –she tries to help the readers explore the Amish world by a character questionings and another’s explanation.

Serenity Adams puts up a tough front and though she is brave, she is haunted by her past –of her thoughts of failures. However, she’s not about to let these stop her from doing her job but rather pushed harder to make sure she will achieve what she sets out to do. And I just love the romantic suspense between her and Daniel.

Whispers from the Dead isn’t a great whodunit. It was pretty obvious who the bad guy was but what makes it an interesting read (aside from the setting) is the how and the interconnectivity between incidents and people. It was an overall good read for me.

As an aside note, I found it confusing of why one wears a ‘toboggan’! And why it was written like a jacket of some sort! Thanks to Google, I found that it’s a brand of clothing… I think that’s why? I’m either just clueless or it’s not a brand that’s widely known, especially in Australia?

I received ebook via Amazon as kindle file so I’m kind of assuming that this was a final copy. I was a little surprised by a handful misspelling throughout the book. I hope this will be fixed.

Whispers_FC_BTWhispers from the Dead by Karen Ann Hopkins
Series: Serenity’s Plain Secrets Book #2

Some Amish communities aren’t so cozy.

Whispers From The Dead is the powerful and thrilling sequel to Lamb to the Slaughter, in the Amish mystery series, Serenity’s Plain Secrets.

Sheriff Serenity Adams and Daniel Bachman are once again partnered up in a criminal investigation, when they travel to a northern Amish settlement that has been riddled by arsons for the past two decades. Serenity quickly discovers that there is much more going on than just barns being set on fire in the touristy community, and that the new group of Amish has their own secrets to hide. She begins to unravel an extensive criminal underworld that threatens to destroy everything that the simple people of Poplar Springs hold dear and once again puts her own life in jeopardy.

And even though Serenity tries desperately to avoid it, things begin heating up between her and Daniel, making her wonder if true love and happiness are really within her grasp.

LtS CoverLamb to the Slaughter by Karen Ann Hopkins
Series: Serenity’s Plain Secrets Book #1

Lamb to the Slaughter is a story about the intertwining lives of three unlikely people in an Indiana Amish Community and the devastating results when a rebellious teenage girl is found shot to death in a corn field during the harvest.

Serenity Adams is the newly elected young sheriff in the country town of Blood Rock and besides dealing with the threatening behavior of her predecessor, she now has a dead Amish girl on her plate.  At first glance, the case seems obvious.  The poor girl was probably accidently shot during hunting season, but when the elders of the Amish community and even the girl’s parents react with uncaring subdued behavior, Serenity becomes suspicious.  As she delves deeper into the secretive community that she grew up beside, she discovers a gruesome crime from the past that may very well be related to the Amish girl’s shooting.

Serenity enlists the help of the handsome bad-boy building contractor, Daniel Bachman, who left the Amish when he was nineteen and has his own dark reasons to help the spunky sheriff solve the crime that the family and friends who shunned him are trying desperately to cover up.  Serenity’s persistence leads her to a stunning discovery that not only threatens to destroy her blossoming romance with Daniel, but may even take her life in the end.

Karen Ann Hopkins

About Karen Ann Hopkins

A native of New York State, Karen Ann Hopkins now lives with her family on a farm in northern Kentucky, where her neighbors in all directions are members of a strict Amish community. Her unique perspective became the inspiration for the story of star-crossed lovers Rose and Noah. When she’s not homeschooling her kids, giving riding lessons or tending to a menagerie of horses, goats, peacocks, chickens, ducks, rabbits, dogs and cats, she is dreaming up her next romantic novel.

Find Karen Ann Hopkins:  Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Tour Giveaway:

An exciting prize package for this tour, so make sure to follow along for more chance to win every day!  What’s up for grabs:

  • • 5 e-copies of Lamb to the Slaughter, Book 1 of Serenity’s Plain Secrets
  • • 5 e-copies of Whispers from the Dead, Book 2 of Serenity’s Plain Secrets
  • • A traditional Amish style hand stitched wall hanging/lap quilt
Please enter via the Rafflecopter form. Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.

Tour Schedule:

Monday, January 19th – Her Book Thoughts
Tuesday, January 20th – Curling Up With A Good Book
Wednesday, January 21st – So Bookalicious
Thursday, January 22nd – Bewitched Bookworms
Friday, January 23rd – Lose Time Reading & Books i View

Monday, January 26th – Unabridged Bookshelf
Tuesday, January 27h – Andi’s Book Reviews
Wednesday, January 28th – Little Miss Drama Queen
Thursday, January 29th – Tien’s Blurb
Friday, January 30th Christy Howell Books

Monday, February 2nd – Actin’ Up with Books & Page Turners Blog
Tuesday, February 3rd – Once Upon A Twilight
Wednesday, February 4th – JeanzBookReadNReview
Thursday, February 5th Bittersweet Enchantment
Friday, February 6th Books i View