Tag Archives: #romance

Outback Secrets (Bunyip Bay #5) by Rachael Johns -a review

outback secretsOutback Secrets (Bunyip Bay #5) by Rachael Johns

Keeping secrets comes naturally to him … but will it ruin his chance at love?

Liam Castle knows the secrets of everyone in Bunyip Bay. As the owner of the pub, he’s heard it all – from marriage proposals and farming disasters to family rifts and everything in between. The locals love to confide in him, but no one knows he’s hiding a tragic past.

And he wants to keep it that way.

Agricultural pilot Henrietta Forward lives for her job, choosing work over romance. But when an incident in the air brings Henri home to Bunyip Bay earlier than planned, she finds herself questioning everything she believes about herself.

But Henri’s secret isn’t her only problem.

Her mother will stop at nothing to have her settled down back in the Bay, and while Henri had always known domesticity wasn’t the life for her, now she wonders what her future holds. So when Liam – always the first to lend a hand to those in need – agrees to play along with Henri’s scheme to ward off her mother, she has mixed feelings. What happens when a pretend romance starts to feel like the real thing?

Will Henri’s demons and Liam’s traumatic past prove too great a barrier to love?

Published 27 October 2021|  Publisher: Harlequin Australia  |  RRP: AUD$29.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

While I don’t read many rural romances, I do have a penchant for them. Outback Ghost (book 3 of Bunyip Bay) was my one of my first reads of this genre and I enjoyed it very much that I bought Outback Dreams (book 1). This is one of the rare times that I have read out of order but you know, I didn’t know any better back then. The only one in the series I skipped is book 4 because it’s a trope I absolutely cannot stand but I can’t help myself with this most recent instalment; I had to get back to Bunyip Bay.

Fans of the series will be familiar with Liam Castle, the enigmatic pub owner, and his story has been a long time coming! Of course, earlier on, I’d have put him with another Bunyip Bay character but it’s not to be and while I’m a little bit put out, Henrietta Forward easily becomes a new favourite character.

A lot of the times, I nit-picked certain details that aren’t quite pertinent to the story but it frustrates me a lot of the time that author mentioned it in passing but didn’t follow through. In Outback Secrets though, as soon as I thought of the question, it was resolved. My OCD-self appreciates this so very very much.

My favourite romance trope is BFF to lover but fake-dating is my second and I just love how Rachael Johns weaved that through Outback Secrets; and pssst, that’s not the only secret in town! Oh, it is also set around Christmas time so if you’re after a Christmas feel good read, pick this one!

My thanks to Harlequin Australia for ecopy of book via NetGalley in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

Find author on:  goodreads  |  websitefacebook  |  instagram  |  twitter

Dance of a Burning Sea (Mousai #2) by E.J. Mellow -a review

dance of a burning seaDance of a Burning Sea (Mousai #2) by E.J. Mellow

From award-winning author E. J. Mellow comes the thrilling second installment in the Mousai series, featuring a powerful sorceress who finds her loyalties tested by a ruthless pirate lord.

Within the world of Aadilor, there is a hidden place called the Thief Kingdom, where both magic and pleasure abound. There, the Mousai, a trio of deadly sorceresses bound by oath and blood, use their powers to protect the kingdom’s treasures.

Niya Bassette brings the potent gift of dance to the Mousai, but behind her tempting twirls, she carries a heavy secret—that the infamous pirate lord, Alōs Ezra, has been threatening to exploit for years. Now banished from the Thief Kingdom for smuggling, Alōs resurfaces in Niya’s life with a plot to hold her hostage, leveraging what he knows to extort a pardon from the Thief King.

But Niya makes her own deal with Alōs to guard her secret and guarantee her freedom—yet in doing so binds herself aboard his pirate ship, where she must navigate deadly waters, a bloodthirsty crew, and her own traitorous heart. Soon, a simmering attraction between her and Alōs threatens their delicate truce and makes for a tumultuous ride on the open seas. Far from her kingdom, Niya is entangled in a dangerous dance indeed.

Welcome to the world of Aadilor, where dark deeds can mask noble hearts and the most alluring of sways often ends with a burn. Care for a spin?

Published 19 October 2021|  Publisher: Montlake  |  RRP: AUD$22.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s   |  QBD

My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

Pirates!! One of the most romanticised swashbuckling hero characterisation and yet, I also can’t help myself but swoon over a broody handsome pirate. I love a good piratical romance especially one imbued with a good dose of magic just like this novel is. Dance of a Burning Sea is a novel of secrets, betrayals, love, and forgiveness.

I enjoyed the first book of this trilogy, Song of the Forever Rains, which was Larkyra’s (youngest of the sisters) story and am curious about the rest of sisters. I am more curious about Arabessa but that’ll be the third & last book. While I am intrigued by Alōs Ezra, the pirate lord, I wasn’t particularly keen on Niya. Perhaps it’s because she will be one of those people I try to avoid IRL. She says it as she sees it plus she’s also a very angry character and I started to really enjoy the story.. I struggle quite a bit with angry protagonists so the first 30% of the book was a drag to me; a lot happen in this first third of the story so at least, Niya started to develop as a character. At the end of the book, she has matured so much to be unrecognisable… almost.

Dance of a Burning Sea is a hefty sequel (511 pages!!) and while I enjoyed this fantastical world, I found the romance to drag a bit (or maybe I’m just impatient) and I rather expect a big twist in the end which didn’t happen (like whatever twists throughout the book weren’t enough! lol) so I was a little disappointed. The romance ended up quite sweetly, however, so I am happy. Now, I absolutely cannot wait to get to Arabessa’s story!

My thanks to Montlake for ecopy of book via NetGalley in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

Find her on:  goodreads  |  websitefacebook  |  instagram  |  twitter

Grace and Glory by Jennifer L. Armentrout -a review

grace and gloryGrace and Glory (The Harbinger #3) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Danger, betrayal, and enticing forbidden love clash in book three of No.1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Harbinger trilogy!

Danger, betrayal, and enticing forbidden love clash in book three of No.1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Harbinger trilogy!

Trinity Marrow has lost the battle and her beloved Protector. Even with both demons and Wardens on her side, Trin may not win the war against the Harbinger.

Bringing Lucifer back to the world to fight the Harbinger is probably a really, really bad idea, but they’re out of options — and the world’s ultimate fallen angel is the only being powerful enough to impact the outcome.

As Trin and Zayne form a new and more dangerous bond and Lucifer unleashes Hell on earth, the apocalypse looms and the world teeters on the end of forever. Win or lose, one thing is certain — nothing will ever be the same.

Published 7 July 2021|  Publisher: Harlequin Australia  |  RRP: AUD$19.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

This is a review of book 3 in the trilogy, you can find review of book 1, here, and book 2, here.

The one thing I loved about reading this trilogy books back to back is that each sequel picks up right after the previous book so it kind of feels like reading 1 BIG long book. If I had to wait a year in between books, I think I may have struggled trying to pick up the threads again. On another note, that means the end of Trinity & Zayne story arc and who knows whether author will return to this universe though I think there is a potential story there… or two.

I picked up Grace and Glory immediately after I finished Rage and Ruin because I couldn’t handle waiting another moment after that ending. And before I know it, I’ve read 100+ pages and it’s hours past my bedtime but I just couldn’t put it down without knowing what happens to Zayne! Well, actually I was a bit annoyed that it dragged that long to get to the point but I guess it’s worth the fight 😉

This maybe only a me thing because I’m going to complain about the many sex scenes…? I think one or two would be great but after that, I feel a little overboard and a waste of pages because I just want to get on with the story. Or maybe I’m just getting a little old and cynical or possibly because my life and world isn’t about to end (well, at least, not as immediately threatened as theirs), I don’t feel the same urgency or need as them. In any case, I kind of skim through on some parts because I just wanted to get to the end game. There were many lovey dovey moments in this book so if you’re looking for a romantic read, you’d love it, but to me, it just slows the pacing of plot right down.

While I found Trinity annoying, I liked how author has given her a particular disability which author has. It is a good way to learn what it is about, how she works through that, and especially sweet that Zayne is so considerate when interacting with her.

I’m still not a fan on the angel paranomal reads but I do love this gargoyle shifter factor! I’d consider reading any spin-off but I’m not going back to read about Layla & Roth because hey, I already know that ending. I do love the ending of this novel though especially the big twist on Peanut! Man, I think he’s possibly the best character in this trilogy. I think author’s terribly good at mind boggling twists; I found them cleverly placed in the story.

Overall, The Harbinger trilogy is an easy entertaining read (especially in this lockdown season!). It’s got me turning pages as plot unfolds in unexpected twists and turns, laughing at the 80’s references and getting teary at different points.

My thanks to Harlequin Australia for this paperback copy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

Find author on:  goodreads  |  website  |  facebook   |  twitter  | instagram

The City of Zirdai by Maria V. Snyder -a review

the city of zirdaiThe City of Zirdai (Archives of the Invisible Sword #2) by Maria V. Snyder

It’s suicide, Shyla. You’re the prize they want.’

Through her courage and tenacity, Shyla Sun-Kissed has awoken the power of The Eyes of Tamburah. But this feat only marks the beginning of the challenges that the magical order, the Invisible Sword, faces to free the underground city of Zirdai.

Though they have allies among the monks and splinter cells inside the city, Shyla knows the Invisible Sword doesn’t have the strength to win. With the group fracturing due to the strain of losses from their latest ordeal, thinly veiled suspicions and endless disagreements, it’s up to Shyla to forge a new united order.

When both the draconian Water Prince and brutal Heliacal Priestess learn of Shyla’s new powers, life becomes even more complicated as they will stop at nothing to capture Shyla and take the magic of The Eyes for themselves. Hunted at every turn and unable to hide, Shyla and the Invisible Sword must use every resource at their command – and unearth new ones – in their race to save the city from destruction. But their enemies always seem to be one step ahead. And the cost to win the battle may be more than Shyla would ever be willing to pay…

Published 2 June 2021|  Publisher: Harlequin Australia  |  RRP: AUD$19.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

The very long awaited sequel to The Eyes of Tamburah is finally here! In this instalment, Shyla is safely ensconced with some people who believed in her and wanted to make changes in the city, as she does. People are suffering and it is time to shake up those in power; problem is they are hidden away and very poor in resources. And it seems, there is also a mole…

I loved the strong female protagonists written by this author. They are all always such empowering and inspiring characters; definitely kick-ass ones! Shyla grew to be such a one in this novel. The romance is always so lovely with male protagonists who are protective but totally supportive of her having to fight her own battles.

What really got me in this novel is the big twist in the middle of it. I mean, I don’t know who feel betrayed most, Shyla or ME! Indeed, Maria V. Snyder lives up to her villainous author reputation. My heart hasn’t recovered yet even as the ending offers such beautiful healing. There’s something else in the air though… book 3 is coming and as this particular issue appears settled in this book, I’m not quite sure what will be in book 3 but I’m excited for it.

My thanks to Harlequin Australia for ecopy of book via NetGalley in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

Find author on:  goodreads  |  website  |  instagramfacebook

Love, In Theory by Elodie Cheesman -a review

love in theoryLove, In Theory by Elodie Cheesman

Elodie Cheesman’s joyous debut is a modern take on the age-old decision between following your head or your heart in the search for love.

There’s an algorithm for everything else, so why not love?

When 24-year-old lawyer Romy learns that she is at her ‘optimal stopping point’ (the mathematically designated point at which one should select the next ‘best person’ who comes along in order to have the best chance at happily ever after), she knows it’s time to get serious about her love life.

Ruthlessly rational, with a belief in data over destiny, Romy knows that reliability and consistency are dependable options, while passion and lust are transitory and only bring pain and disillusionment.

That’s why sensible Hans the engineer is the right choice, as opposed to graphic designer James who exhibits the kind of behaviour that has got her into trouble before. Isn’t he?

Published 25 May 2021|  Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

This book is an unsolicited review copy and honestly, it isn’t a book that I’d pick up on my own steam. The cover is pretty cute but not particularly eye-grabbing so I reckon I’d walk by without noticing much. However, the premise of an algorithm for finding love rather tickled. It’s not particularly unique as I’m sure I’ve seen other books with similar premise but I was happy enough to give this book a chance.

It seems to me that pretending to be the person everyone wants you to be is easier than grappling with the messiness underneath.

Romy is an easy protagonist to sympathise with… She’s young, single but a tad lonely, has pretty good friends and loving parents. She seems like she’s pretty much got it all but when you dig deeper, she’s got issues as we all do. Her workplace (despite the prestige etc) isn’t all it claims to be. Her love life is practically non-existent and with 2 awful relationships behind her, she’s very unsure on how to find Mr Right. And she especially is very unsure on how to find whether Mr Right is right inside as well as outside.

“…,there’s a big gap between our private thoughts and intentions and public words and actions. I think that’s what intimacy is — learning the landscape of that divide. It’s not insuperable, and sometimes it’s worth putting in the effort to understand another person.”

As Romy looks to her friends and family for advices, she had to make her own decision on what exactly is the right thing for her. And as she stumbles through a relationship, a break-up, work conflicts, she continues to have blinders on when readers are shouting from the very first chapter who Mr Right is. It was really quite a frustrating read but…

“…As we get older and have more experiences, we learn which label to use for which experience, even though the physical response is the same. But humans aren’t always great at distinguishing between feelings.”

I can totally relate to this last bit. Romy was slow but she got there, ladies & gentlemen. Overall, Love, In Theory was a very relaxing read even if it nearly crossed the line of my pet peeve (love triangle). Luckily, it didn’t quite get there so I managed to finish without too much angst. The algorithm theory went way over my head but that doesn’t really worry me because you & I know, love doesn’t work that way anyway ;p

My thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for this paperback copy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

Find author on:  goodreads  |  website  |  twitter  |  instagram |  facebook

Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto -a review

dial a for auntiesDial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto

‘ARE YOU…DEAD?’
OH MY GOD. I THINK HE IS.
When Meddy Chan accidentally kills her blind date, she turns to her aunties for help. Their meddling set her up on the date so they kind of owe her.

WELL, THAT DIDN’T QUITE GO TO PLAN.
Although hiding this goddamn dead body is going to be harder than they thought especially when her family’s wedding business has THE biggest wedding of the year happening right now.

IT’S PRETTY BAD TIMING REALLY.
It turns out the wedding venue just happens to be managed by Meddy’s ex, aka the one who got away. It’s the worst time to see him again, or…is it? Can Meddy finally find love and make her overbearing family happy?

Published 5 May 2021|  Publisher: Harlequin Australia  |  RRP: AUD$29.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (3 / 5 stars)

One of my most anticipated release of this year and I was so excited to receive it in the mail. My reasoning being is that author is Indonesian and so am I. With protagonist being Indonesian growing up & educated in America, I reckon I could empathise with her a lot and perhaps see quite a bit of myself in her. Only trouble is chick lit isn’t my preferred type of reads… but hey! There’s a mystery spin with a dead body involved; this could totally be fine…

Aaaanddd… it wasn’t. Unfortunately, this book really isn’t one for me which makes me soo soo sad. Even as I can see the appeal for other readers, I basically cringed my way through the whole book. I did manage to finish by reading really really fast through all the embarrassment [I think this shows just how so very Asian I am!] Meddy experienced. I guess the book is a lot funny but of a slapstick-esque nature and I’m just not a big fan of that. If this is your thing though, I’d highly recommend this book.

I loved Meddy as a character and her family especially the mother-daughter relationship. I enjoyed all the familiar things like Indonesian naming conventions, the language barriers between Meddy & her mum & aunts, and Meddy’s struggle of who she is with her family & others (especially with non-Indonesians).

While I like Nathan as the romantic interest, I wasn’t that convinced about this relationship at all. I feel that the funny things with her aunt completely overrode this side of thing and I just didn’t feel any joy for this pairing.

This was just another clash between my expectations and what the book actually delivers. I can see some of my girlfriends loving it but my taste in book is quite different from them so this is also a matter of personal preference. I am, however, looking forward to author’s upcoming MG fantasy novel which suits me to a tee.

My thanks to Harlequin Australia for this paperback copy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

Find author on:  goodreads  |  website  |  twitter  |  instagramfacebook

Review: The Codebreakers by Alli Sinclair

The Codebreakers by Alli Sinclair

They will dedicate their lives to their country, but no one will ever know…

A compelling story about tenacity and friendship, inspired by the real codebreaking women of Australia’s top-secret Central Bureau in WWII. For readers who love Judy Nunn and Kate Quinn.

1943, Brisbane: The war continues to devastate and the battle for the Pacific threatens Australian shores. For Ellie O’Sullivan, helping the war effort means utilising her engineering skills for Qantas as they evacuate civilians and deliver supplies to armed forces overseas. Her exceptional logic and integrity attract the attention of Central Bureau – an intelligence organisation working with England’s Bletchley Park codebreakers. But joining Central Bureau means signing a lifetime secrecy contract. Breaking it is treason.

With her country’s freedom at risk, Ellie works with a group of elite women who enter a world of volatile secrets; deciphering enemy communications to change the course of the war. Working under immense pressure, they form a close bond – yet there could be a traitor in their midst. Can the women uncover the culprit before it’s too late?

As Ellie struggles with the magnitude of the promise she’s made to her country, a wedge grows between her and those she holds dear. When the man she loves asks questions she’s forbidden to answer, how will she prevent the double life she’s leading from unravelling?

Published 3 March 2021 |  Publisher: Harlequin Australia  |  RRP: AUD$29.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (5 / 5 stars)

464 pages and I read it in a single sitting. Well, practically a single sitting. I had to break to prep for dinner and be “present” at family dinner but other than that, I was basically not “present”. I met Alli for coffee when her last book, The Cinema at Starlight Creek (you should read this one too!), she was doing lots of researching for this book and I was so excited to hear about female Australian codebreakers! I’ve read a bit on Bletchley Park & some women codebreakers (also watched & loved that Netflix series, The Bletchley Circle) so this was a most anticipated release for me and I LOVED it!

‘So we cling to hope and stars?’

‘With all our might.’

There were just many things I loved about this novel. From a most inspiring protagonist to a swoony romance to the realisation of just how many women in the past have fought (and most, in silence) for us to be where we are today (and we are not done!).

The men suffer in silence, never ones to talk about the tragedies they’ve suffered. We women try to hold everyone up with our strength, until our knees shake and our arms threaten to drop the heavy load. But we do it. We carry everyone who needs support. We help the world right itself and nurture those who need it most. Women are incredible creatures; don’t you ever forget it. So, if you have the chance to do something you want, take it and don’t be apologetic. Women spend too much time bowing to society’s expectations instead of allowing ourselves to be who we truly are.

Set in 1940s Queensland, in the height of World War II and its immediate aftermath, we follow Elanora O’Sullivan as she served to end a war she did not believe in, found & lost friends and love, struggled to find her place in the world as a woman who knows she’s as good as the men around her.

The Codebreakers is a fictional tale inspired by just such intelligent, strong, and courageous women and such an empowering story! It’s ticked so many boxes and filled up my heart meter to the max. I cannot wait to see what Alli’s next book will be.

Thanks to Harlequin Australia for copy of book in exchange of honest review

About the author

Alli Sinclair, an adventurer at heart, has won multiple awards for her writing. She is Australian and has lived in Argentina, Peru and Canada, and has climbed some of the world’s highest mountains, worked as a tour guide in South and Central America and has travelled the globe. She enjoys immersing herself in exotic destinations, cultures and languages but Australia has always been close to Alli’s heart. Alli hosts retreats for writers and presents writing workshops around Australia, as well as working in film on international projects. She’s a volunteer role model with Books in Homes and is an ambassador for the Fiji Book Drive. Alli’s books explore history, culture, love and grief, and relationships between family, friends and lovers. She captures the romance and thrill of discovering old and new worlds, and loves taking readers on a journey of discovery.

Find author on:  goodreads  |  website  |  twitter  |  facebook  |  instagram

Blog Tour: Helix by Mary Ting -a Review + Giveaway

Helix (International Sensory Assassin Network #2) by Mary Ting
Published by: Vesuvian Books
Publication date: September 10th 2019
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Alliances are forming. The resistance is growing. Everything is about to change.

With her memory still fragmented, Ava returns to the International Sensory Assassin Network (ISAN) to find the twin sister she never knew she had.

But as Ava hunts for information, she finds herself tangled in a web of yet more lies and conspiracy. The Helix serum may not be required to access her superpowers, and the number of male assassins—previously considered too volatile to tolerate Helix—is growing in every territory.

The more Ava uncovers, the more of a threat she becomes to ISAN. Her only salvation may be to join the rebels—if she isn’t killed first.

Add to Goodreads / Purchase

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

This review is in relation to book 2 in the series so while I will steer away from spoilers for this book, there would be spoiler of book 1 (unavoidable if I want to be coherent in this review, sorry!)

I have been aware of this author, Mary Ting, for a while but haven’t really been compelled to pick up her books until now. I guess I was just in the right mood for a dystopian novel with a kick ass heroine or two or maybe hundreds. I expected lots of subterfuge, action, and a bit of romance to spice it up.

Helix, being book 2, picks up right after book 1 or even roughly around the same time. The big difference is that in this book, we have dual perspectives: Rhett’s in addition to Ava’s. It is very logical & useful telling of the story seeing the way the plot developed in this book but it was also so very good to hear Rhett’s voice (mostly anyway – I’ll explain the ‘mostly’ later). We have a much wider worldview in this book and therefore, a number of more complex twists.

What I enjoyed most in this books are the girls and their friendships. Okay, there are some who are just very cold but then I wonder if there’ll be other factors unveiled in subsequent series. Anyway, Ava & her friends are intelligent, independent, and courageous ladies. I really liked the way they care for each other and also, in resolving conflicts (it’s not all violent!).

Even if I was excited to have Rhett’s pov (the books begins with his), I later found that he’s just too needy! Or maybe the better phrasing is that he’s too hung up on Ava. I got rather frustrated with him so I didn’t find his character as well developed as Ava’s. In addition, this does make the novel to be quite heavy handed with the romance. I think because I wasn’t expecting it to be so heavy in the romance department (there wasn’t that much romance in book 1), I was finding it really corny. I was actually laughing at a ‘very romantic’ speech and errr… that wasn’t good lol. So, okay, I may be a tad cynical but you yourself may Love it 😉

Helix was a very quick read mostly due to just how action-packed it was. If you love lots of romance with sparks flying off the page, you’d love this sequel to ISAN.

My thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for having me on this tour and  copy of ebook in exchange of honest review

GIVEAWAY

Follow below Rafflecopter link to enter for a $25 Amazon gift card (ends Sept-22)

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About the author

International Bestselling, Award-Winning Author Mary Ting writes soulful, spellbinding stories that excite the imagination and captivate readers all over the world. Her books run a wide range of genres and her storytelling talents have won her a devoted legion of fans and garnered critical praise.

Becoming an author happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she had in high school. After realizing she wanted to become a full-time author, Mary retired from teaching after twenty years. She also had the privilege of touring with the Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children’s chapter book: No Bullies Allowed.

Mary resides in Southern California with her husband, two children, and two little dogs, Mochi and Mocha. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry.

Find Mary on:  Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Bookbub

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Review: All Fall Down by Ellie Marney

All Fall Down (Circus Hearts #2) by Ellie Marney

A ringmaster’s daughter and a bearded lady’s son join forces to stop a saboteur…

Nineteen-year-old Fleur Klatsch is loyal to her trapeze team and her ringmaster father, dedicated to the circus, and tough on everyone around her. After a series of accidents at Klatsch’s Karnival, Fleur is left holding the ball: she’s running the carnival, trying to stop a saboteur, and taking care of her dad. She doesn’t need anyone’s help, least of all Eugenia Deloren’s son, Marco, who’s been trying to break out of show life since the moment he was born into it. All Marco needs to do is get Klatsch’s back on its feet so he can leave. But after one fateful kiss with Fleur, will he really want to? And will Fleur and Marco figure out who’s trying to kill the show before someone kills them…

Dark YA romance, with a criminal twist – Circus Hearts: Step. Right. Up.

Published 1 October 2018 |  Publisher: Bearded Lady Press  |  RRP: AUD$4.99 (ebook only)

Buy Links: Amazon AU | A&R  | B&N Nook | iBooks  |  kobo  | Mondadori | !ndigo 

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

Personally, I don’t like it with series which has different MCs for each serial book. I think mostly because sometimes, it portrays the earlier character that you love in an unlikable light. Or sometimes, like the case here, because the protagonist in this book was so very much UNlikable in the first book. I truly wondered if I was going to be pulling my hair out reading this book.

I’m glad to say that there was no hair-pulling head-banging moments at all. I loved how Fleur recognised her mistake (and we’ve all made stupid mistakes at one point or another) and didn’t run away. And when push comes to shove, she pulled out all the stops to make sure things happen.

Once upon a time, Marco and Fleur were inseparable until the day Marco left to find a steady home-life. He returned to help when Fleur’s dad was injured in a sabotage incident. While Fleur is still angry at him for leaving, she recognise that he’s making her feel everything she’s never felt for any boys before. But will she risk all for someone who’ll be leaving her again soon?

I liked the mystery better in this one as there is actually one. I think my problem with this series is that the books are just too short! I’d love a couple extra more twists in these stories. I am very much looking forward to book 3!! I was disappointed that Ren was mostly missing in this instalment but can’t wait to read about her next.

All Fall Down is a story of redemption; of trust and loyalty. The characters in this book is a little bit older (19+) so again I’d say this borders on New Adult though there is limited sexual content (lots of smooching, peeps, relax!). Sometimes, I find New Adult books to be too much so if you’re looking for a clean-ish sort of New Adult book, I’d highly recommend this one.

Thanks to the author, Ellie Marney, for copy of book in exchange of honest review. 

About the author

Ellie Marney is a teacher and YA author of the Every series (Every BreathEvery WordEvery Move), a highly-awarded crime trilogy for Young Adults – in 2015, Every Breath was named by the Australian Library Information Association as one of the top ten most-borrowed YA books in Australian libraries. Ellie has helped spearhead a collaborative group of literary sector professionals under the banner ‘#LoveOzYA’ to advocate for and promote Australian YA literature. She is one of the contributors to Begin End Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology, and she hosts a book club – ‘#LoveOzYAbookclub’ – online. She is an Ambassador for the Stella Prize Schools Program, and is a regular speaker at schools, events and festivals. In 2017, Ellie released No Limits, a companion novel to the series – her latest novel is White Night.

Ellie was born in Brisbane, and has lived in Indonesia, Singapore and India. Now she writes, teaches, talks about YA literature, and gardens when she can, while living in a country idyll (actually a very messy wooden house on ten acres with a dog and lots of chickens) near Castlemaine, in north-central Victoria. Her partner and four sons still love her, even though she often forgets things and lets the housework go.

Find Ellie on:  goodreads  |  website  | twitter  |  facebook  | instagram | pinterest

Review: All the Little Bones by Ellie Marney

All the Little Bones (Circus Hearts #1) by Ellie Marney

A teenage trapeze artist and an apprentice strongman on the run from a terrible crime…

Seventeen-year-old Sorsha Neary’s life is changed in one night when she defends herself behind the vans of her family circus troupe. Now Sorsha and apprentice strongman Colm Mackay are travelling south, to evade the fallout and escape the long arm of the law. All they have in their favour is talent, an old promise, and slim acquaintance with the crew members and performers of their new home, Klatsch’s Karnival. But the question for Sorsha and Colm isn’t if the police will catch up with them, but when…

Dark YA romance, with a criminal twist – Circus Hearts: Step. Right. Up.

Published 1 September 2018 |  Publisher: Bearded Lady Press  |  RRP: AUD$4.99 (ebook only)

Buy Links: Amazon AU | A&R  | B&N Nook | iBooks  |  kobo  | Mondadori | !ndigo 

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

*laughs* I don’t know why I think this was a fantasy novel! Well, the cover is sooo pretty and it’s shelved as fantasy on Goodreads. I didn’t bother looking into it further because I’ve been wanting to read Ellie Marney’s books but yet… too many books too little time, as always. Suffice to say when the chance came up, I grabbed it.

I may have a tiny tad bit disappointed that there wasn’t that particular [fantasy] magic but circus has always held a special magical place in my heart so this turned out to be a special sort of read especially when I came across words in my native tongue (Bahasa Indonesia)! *oh how my heart sings* (and pssst, I found out today, this particular character’s story is coming in book 3, squee!!)

All the Little Bones opened with Sorsha and Colm on the run. Something awful has happened and Sorsha is struggling to come to terms with it all. Strongman Colm has been a rock but Sorsha knows this is something she must face herself. At the beginning, Sorsha is at her most vulnerable but as time passes, her strength returned and was such an amazing character. And Colm… *dreamy sighs* I’ve never really had a crush on the strongman in any circus fiction but boy, this one ticks all the boxes 😉

There wasn’t a great big mystery on what’s happened to Sorsha and I guess the only twist in the book is what bring the matter to head. After that, things seem to snowball and I found the ending to be rather rushed. I didn’t expect Sorsha’s story to end in this book, tbh, I expected it to go for 3 books long. I loved Sorsha and didn’t really want to say goodbye this early.

I also kept expecting some sort of name of the place and/or town they were in. Descriptions of the areas etc but it was a bit sparse and I found a bit sketchy that it all felt rather unreal. I felt the romance, all right, but I could not get a feel of the setting very well. I do love the showtime though. I feel that the excitement and magic of the show came through very clearly. And I had a lot of fun imagining the costumes etc 😉

All the Little Bones is a very pretty book with a lot of feels. If you love YA romance (or even New Adult, as I feel this book borders on NA), you’d love this magical romance!

Thanks to the author, Ellie Marney, for copy of book in exchange of honest review. 

About the author

Ellie Marney is a teacher and YA author of the Every series (Every BreathEvery WordEvery Move), a highly-awarded crime trilogy for Young Adults – in 2015, Every Breath was named by the Australian Library Information Association as one of the top ten most-borrowed YA books in Australian libraries. Ellie has helped spearhead a collaborative group of literary sector professionals under the banner ‘#LoveOzYA’ to advocate for and promote Australian YA literature. She is one of the contributors to Begin End Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology, and she hosts a book club – ‘#LoveOzYAbookclub’ – online. She is an Ambassador for the Stella Prize Schools Program, and is a regular speaker at schools, events and festivals. In 2017, Ellie released No Limits, a companion novel to the series – her latest novel is White Night.

Ellie was born in Brisbane, and has lived in Indonesia, Singapore and India. Now she writes, teaches, talks about YA literature, and gardens when she can, while living in a country idyll (actually a very messy wooden house on ten acres with a dog and lots of chickens) near Castlemaine, in north-central Victoria. Her partner and four sons still love her, even though she often forgets things and lets the housework go.

Find Ellie on:  goodreads  |  website  | twitter  |  facebook  | instagram | pinterest