Me · Tags

A Bookish Wish (Twitter)

If you’ve been active on Twitter these past few days, and you’re a member of the book community, you’ll have probably noticed The #BookishWish hashtag floating about.

Now, what is this, you ask? It’s where bookworms compile a wish list of books that they’re wanting, and post them in the hashtag on Twitter. Then, if they’re lucky, a very generous fairy book mother, or father, will grant their wish! To give back, said bookworm might grant some other peoples wishes!

I absolutely love this hashtag, and think it really shows how wonderful and generous the book community is. Also, it has finally made me want to get around to sorting out my own books so that I can see what I can give. That is something I have needed to do for a while, but haven’t wanted to because I get really, really, really attached to my books. But knowing that they’ll be going to a book lover, like myself, who is going to enjoy them makes it that much easier.

I’ve also seen international readers having their wishes granted, which makes me so happy! As far as I know, a lot of the time, they miss out on physical copies due to stupidly expensive shipping. But the very clever fairy godmothers and godfathers have found a way around that – Book Depository! I also saw someone on Twitter (I can’t find their Tweet to credit them, but if I do I’ll edit this post!) suggest asking international readers if there is a local bookshop that they can purchase their wish from, which I thought was a really good idea.

I just think that this hashtag really shows who we are as a community, and has united a lot of us together. I know that I’ve met new people thanks to it! So, I just want to thank whoever started the wonderful idea, and bring attention to how amazing everyone is in our lovely community!

You can follow me on Twitter, if you like! – @BooksNBelle

-Books&Belle xx

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Reviews

Book Review: Amara’s Rose by Brianna Goux (Spoiler Free)

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Synopsis

The Key is a sacred object which allows its holder to open portals to other planets at will. Passed down through her family the Key marks Rose as the Gatekeeper for the planet of Amara and entrusts her with keeping it safe from harm.

This is a job she had always known to be laid-back—that is, until her mortal enemy attacks. Amidst a battle to protect her home, Rose disappears. Waking up on Earth she discovers the portals have stopped working and that she must team up with Earth’s Gatekeeper, Derek, to get back to Amara.

The clock is ticking as Rose’s friends on Amara try to determine where Rose went and how to bring her home, all the while fearing she may be lost forever.

As the struggle to return continues, something more sinister grows out of sight, and more than the lives of those on Amara are at stake.

Review

I really, really, really wanted to love this book. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for me. There were several things that I didn’t like, and I couldn’t bring myself to finish it. I tried multiple times, thinking that if I kept reading it would get better, but it didn’t. I pushed myself because the author is a young, indie author and I really wanted to be able to support that.

I found the writing really simplistic, and every little thing was explained to the reader, and a lot of the time that explanation was unnecessary and took my attention away from what was happening. I found some of the interactions between characters a little cringey, they just seemed unrealistic and a bit forced. I also feel that advertising it as a YA book is a mistake, a younger audience would most likely enjoy it more. The writing would be better for a developing mind and the plot would appeal to them more, in my opinion.

I also didn’t like the switching of POV from multiple different characters. For me, it made it hard to connect with any of the characters, which was disappointing, as one of the things that I love about reading is falling in love and getting attached to fictional characters who do not exist. I think that there needs to be more focus on the protagonist, and definitely some more character development.

Despite these negatives, I do feel that the plot does have potential, it just needs more work. This seems more like a first draft, it needs editing. That would be my advice to the author. I also think that Goux will one day be a very talented writer with practice! All you can do is keep writing.

Overall, I give this book 2 stars, simply because of the potential that the book and the author has if she continues to work on her story!

4-four-star

-Books&Belle xx

I’d like to thank Brianna Goux for sending me a copy of Amara’s Rose in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Reviews

Book Review: To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo (Spoiler Free!)

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Synopsis

Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?

Review

I read this book a while back now, and my lack of motivation to even open Blogger, or venture into the book community part of Twitter, has prevented me from reviewing it, or any other amazing book I’ve read in the past few months. However, I was suddenly inspired to blog today, so I am currently sat down with a “chill out” Spotify playlist on and getting something done, finally! Despite it being several months since I read To Kill A Kingdom, I can vividly remember how much I enjoyed it.

The story revolves around a Siren Princess named Lira, and a human Prince/Siren Hunter named Elian. I liked both of these characters, but I did find myself more attached to Lira, for some reason. I liked the character development that she went through and thought she was a really well written character. Lira is ruthless and has a pretty infamous reputation with princes, so I just found it interesting reading about a princess who has a dark side to her. Elian is amazing too, I just felt personally, that Lira had more depth to her, if that makes sense.

The plot is definitely rather dark, but not overdone. This was one of those books that I couldn’t put down, I just needed to know what was going to happen next. I can say it kept me on edge and is very suspenseful. The world that Christo has created is marvellous, the sirens have their own language, the Sea Queen is absolutely brutal, and the way the author describes the world really is something.

There’s a little bit of everything in this book. Romance, evil queens, siren hunters, familial relationships, friendship, well written characters and a thought out plot. I 100% recommend it!

Overall, I give this book 4.5 stars.

4-four-star

-Books&Belle xx

Blog Tours · Reviews

Blog Tour: A Review of Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody (Spoiler-Free!)

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Synopsis

Welcome to the City of Sin, where casino families reign, gangs infest the streets…
and secrets hide in every shadow.

Enne Salta was raised as a proper young lady, and no lady would willingly visit New Reynes, the so-called City of Sin. But when her mother goes missing, Enne must leave her finishing school—and her reputation—behind to follow her mother’s trail to the city where no one survives uncorrupted.

Frightened and alone, her only lead is a name: Levi Glaisyer. Unfortunately, Levi is not the gentleman she expected—he’s a street lord and a con man. Levi is also only one payment away from cleaning up a rapidly unraveling investment scam, so he doesn’t have time to investigate a woman leading a dangerous double life. Enne’s offer of compensation, however, could be the solution to all his problems.

Their search for clues leads them through glamorous casinos, illicit cabarets and into the clutches of a ruthless mafia donna. As Enne unearths an impossible secret about her past, Levi’s enemies catch up to them, ensnaring him in a vicious execution game where the players always lose. To save him, Enne will need to surrender herself to the city…

And she’ll need to play.

Review

WARNING: violence and pedophilia

I’ve been interested in this book ever since I first heard of it, so I jumped at the chance to be a stop on its blog tour. When I first discovered it, I was so intrigued. It seemed like it had a really unique plot, and I was not disappointed. I began reading this as soon as it arrived in the post (with a cute little badge, too!) and devoured it in a matter of days.

Like I said, I wasn’t disappointed with the plot. I loved reading about it, and thought it to be different to anything I had read before. There were a few plot holes and times where I wanted to know more, but there was no elaboration, but these weren’t a big deal and didn’t stop me from enjoying the book.

One of the main things I loved about this book was the representation. Enne’s missing mother was gender-fluid, and one of the main characters, Levi, was black and bisexual. He was also one of my favourite characters, he’s the type that puts on a tough front, but is caring and sweet underneath. Plus I found his relationship with Enne interesting. Although I could definitely see it coming, it was still nice to read about, and boy, was there some sexual tension! Enne wasn’t my favourite character, but I still liked her and can definitely appreciate her character development throughout the book.

I really love the authors writing style, too. I haven’t actually read her debut novel, Daughter of the Burning City (although it has been recommended, and I will get around to it) but if the writing is as good as it is in this book, I’m sure I’ll like it. The only thing that I did find a bit weird was the use of the word “mucking.” It wasn’t a nuisance for me personally, but it did leave me a bit confused.

Overall, I really enjoyed Ace of Shades and cannot wait for book 2! I give it 4 stars.

4-four-star

-Books&Belle xx

I’d like to thank Harper Collins for sending me a copy of Ace of Shades in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

 

Blog Tours · Reviews

Blog Tour: A Review of Nowhere Else But Here by Rachel Cotton (Spoiler-Free!)

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Synopsis

“He was reckless. He was exciting. He was Theo.
And he was a breath of fresh air in my otherwise extremely dull life”

What if the missing person is your missing piece?

Rose has always played by the rules – now it’s time to break them.

Life’s easier when you stay away from other people. Rose Valentine knows that. But some people are impossible to ignore. Take Theo Lockhart. He’s handsome, funny and beyond intriguing. He’s a mystery; one that Rose dreams of solving.

Then one night the mystery deepens. Theo turns up on Rose’s doorstep, desperate to hide out at her house. He’s keeping secrets, and Rose has a million questions. Not least – why did he choose to run to her?

If Rose lets him in, she’ll be going against everything she holds true. It’s reckless, risky – and definitely not in the rulebook. But Theo makes Rose long to break the rules After a whirlwind week of brat-pack movies, midnight snacks and non-stop chat, where do Rose and Theo go from here?

Review

So, the first thing that I want to say about this book is that I adore the cover. The image is so cute, and I think the style and colour of the font is lovely. It’s definitely one that looks good on my shelf! But as they say, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. This one, however, is as good as the front cover is. So maybe judging by the cover isn’t always inaccurate!

Before I go on, I want to mention that the author is still in school, so to have a book published at such a young age is an amazing achievement, and deserves a massive round of applause. Cotton’s writing style is nice and easy to read, and makes for a lovely story. There were points in the book that were very sweet, but it also dealt with more serious issues that perhaps deserve a little more attention, such as abusive family members.

The characters, Rose and Theo, were likeable. To be honest, Rose did annoy me at parts as she seemed a little immature (I’m not 100% sure of her age, however) but that does improve as the book progresses. Theo, on the other hand, I really liked. But I do wish we had got to know him more before he turns up at Roses’s house. Other than that, I think they were really well-written characters!

The plot was good to read too. I read this in sections, but I felt like I sped through it so fast! It was definitely a cute, quick read and I’m glad I read it. Overall, I think Nowhere Else But Here is definitely worth a read, and I can’t wait to see what else the author comes up with.

I give this book 4 stars.

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Can I also mention the cute socks that came with the book?! I love them.

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-Books&Belle xx

Collabs · Street Team

Street Team – Finding The Characters, An Author Post by Danika Stone

Finding the Characters

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Whenever I write a book, I begin with character. Plot comes later.

The original story I wrote – which included both the plots of Edge of Wild and The Dark Divide – circled around Louise Newman. She was the first character that appeared to me and her relationship with Rich was the lens through which I understood the story that eventually came. I couldn’t stop thinking about her, writing about her. It wasn’t until I started pre-writing that Rich’s voice appeared. And boy oh boy, did Rich ever want to be heard!

Pre-writing for me is a way to let myself find the “voice” of the people I’m writing about. Though the two voices were completely different, I fell in love with Louise and Rich right away. Their relationship became the beating heart of the first book (Edge of Wild) but it grew into so much MORE in the sequel (The Dark Divide). While I wrote their slow-burn romance, I found myself grinning at my computer screen. The connection was definitely my favorite aspect of writing. The Dark Divide let me explore the challenges of every relationship. It wasn’t just falling in love, it was staying in love.

Once I had the two main characters established, the plot followed. I knew Rich was a driven, struggling leader. His passion and focus were a great foil for Louise who appeared in my pre-writing as this centered negotiator, who had secrets of her own. When Edge of Wild hit shelves in 2016, I frequently got messages from readers who wanted to know MORE about Louise’s past and her abilities. The Dark Divide is exactly that: Lou’s story. And I can’t wait to share it with you!

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Reviews · Street Team

Street Team – A Review of The Dark Divide by D.K. Stone (Spoiler-Free!)

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Synopsis

Waterton is a town with dark secrets, and after a summer of murder and mayhem, American ex-pat, Rich Evans, knows exactly how far people will go to hide them. Jobless after the fiery destruction of the hotel he once managed, Rich is charged with arson. Only one person, local mechanic Louise “Lou” Newman, believes in his innocence. But even Lou’s love and support can’t dispel the darkness that’s spreading through the community. Dead animals appear on porches, strangers threaten the safety of the locals, and a fingerprint from the fire is linked to a decades-old murder.

The lonely border town has a new danger: a murderer willing to do anything to protect a web of secrets that links them to the arson.

As the risk of jail or death increases, Rich turns to Lou for guidance and she finds herself in an impossible position. Lou has her own secrets! Does she protect the border town where she grew up, or side with the man she loves… even if it means she can never tell him the truth about herself?

Review

So, I am a part of the street team for The Dark Divide, which I am very happy about as it is such a good book. I received it a while ago, but only got around to reading it in the past week because my TBR is never-ending. I read it over the space of three days, and I really liked it. I think Stone is a very talented writer. The plot kept me intrigued throughout, I liked most of the characters, and is everything that I love about a Thriller. Before I go into more detail, I want to mention that The Dark Divide is the sequel to Edge of Wild.

One of my favourite things about this book is the secrets. I love a good secret, and I love when it comes out even more. If you’re the same, then you’d most definitely enjoy this book. There were moments that I actually had to put the book down and take a moment to collect myself because all I could think was “what?!?” I don’t want to say too much about the plot, but i will say that if suspense is your thing, you’re going to like this one.

I think that Stone’s writing is brilliant. Not only are her descriptions so amazing that I have images of certain things in my head, but the way she writes characters is astounding. Her character development really is something. There are characters I love, and characters that I’d encourage to take a long walk off a short pier, and when an author can inspire emotions such as that in a reader, you know they’re something special.

I also want to mention the cover. I love it! It’s so simple, yet the trickles of blood down the side and at the front give it such an eery feeling. So good.

Overall, I really really really enjoyed the Dark Divide. I give it 5 stars!

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I’d like to thank Danika Stone for sending me a copy ofThe Dark Divine in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

 

 

Blog Tours · Reviews

Blog Tour: A Review of Turn A Blind Eye by Vicky Newham (Spoiler-Free!)

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Synopsis

A twisted killer has a deadly riddle for DI Maya Rahman to solve in this pulse-racing thriller, the first in an addictive new series set in East London.

A headmistress is found strangled in her East London school, her death the result of a brutal and ritualistic act of violence. Found at the scene is a single piece of card, written upon which is an ancient Buddhist precept:

I shall abstain from taking the ungiven.

At first, DI Maya Rahman can’t help but hope this is a tragic but isolated murder. Then, the second body is found.

Faced with a community steeped in secrets and prejudice, and with a serial killer on her hands, Maya must untangle the cryptic messages left at the crime scenes to solve the deadly riddle behind the murders – before the killer takes another victim.

Review

I was really happy to be a part of this blog tour, as the book looked right up my street. As soon as I received it, I began reading and only put it down a few times for food breaks and loo breaks. I devoured it. It’s one of those where I kept saying to myself, “just one more chapter. One more, and then I’ll put it down and get some of my essay done.” It is safe to say that I did not put it down, and I did not get any of my sociology essay done. Pity.

I always find it difficult to give my review on the plot of a book, as I keep my reviews spoiler-free, because spoilers suck. But when I’ve read a book that I enjoy as much as Turn A Blind Eye, I want to go into detail about every little thing, but I can’t. There are plot twists that left me shocked, the storyline is well thought out, and the characters are extremely well written.

The main character, DI Maya Rahman, was a character that I really liked. It was nice to read about a female detective, as I usually find myself reading Crime Thrillers with male leads, so this was a nice change. Maya Rahman is a strong character, and thats all I feel I can say without giving away parts of the plot. She works hard and is extremely deserving of her title as a detective. I liked her a lot, and I can’t wait to read more about her in book 2!

Overall, I really enjoyed Turn A Blind Eye, and thought it was an amazing debut. I can’t wait to read more from Newham in the future. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

4-four-star

-Books&Belle xx

Blog Tours

Blog Tour: A Review of Ill Will by Michael Stewart (Spoiler Free!)

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Synopsis

I am William Lee: brute; liar, and graveside thief. But you will know me by another name. Heathcliff has left Wuthering Heights, and is travelling across the moors to Liverpool in search of his past. Along the way, he saves Emily, the foul-mouthed daughter of a Highwayman, from a whipping, and the pair journey on together. Roaming from graveyard to graveyeard, making a living from Emily’s apparent ability to commune with the dead, the pair lie, cheat and scheme their way across the North of England. And towards the terrible misdeeds – and untold riches – that will one day send Heathcliff home to Wuthering Heights.

Review

Okay, so Wuthering Heights is one of my all time favourite books. Most definitely my favourite classic. So, when I heard of Ill Will, a book that is about what the mysterious Heathcliff got up to in his absence, I was really interested. We never actually find out what he did when he was gone, so I immediately knew I wanted to read Ill Will.

The plot is interesting enough, and I really do enjoy Stewart’s writing style. His descriptions in certain parts of the book are really lovely! However, my main problem was the swearing. Honestly, I just don’t see words such as the ‘C’ word and the ‘F’ word being used so much, it made it a little unrealistic to me. I really don’t mind swearing, either, but here? It just didn’t seem right to me.

For the characters, I think Emily was well written and very original. Heathcliff, however, I couldn’t see as… well… Heathcliff. I think that is my fault though, as everyone obviously has their own perceptions of characters when they read a book, and Stewart’s portrayal of Heathcliff just wasn’t how I imagined him to be.

I am glad that I read Ill Will, as I did enjoy it for the most part. The plot was engaging, the writing was unique and nice to read. The only downsides are the use of swear words where they’re perhaps not needed, and me not being able to see Stewart’s Heathcliff as Brontë’s Heathcliff.

Overall, I give this book three stars.

gold star

-Books&Belle xx

Reviews

Book Review: Hold My Hand by M.J. Ford (Spoiler-Free!)

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Synopsis

How long do you hunt for the missing?

A horrible vanishing act…

When a young Josie Masters sees a boy wearing a red football shirt, Dylan Jones, being taken by a clown at a carnival, she tries to alert the crowds. But it’s too late. Dylan has disappeared…

Thirty years later, Josie is working as a police officer in Bath. The remains of the body of a child have been found – complete with tatters of a torn red football shirt. Is it the boy she saw vanish in the clutches of the clown? Or is it someone else altogether?

And then another child disappears…

Review

I love a crime novel, and this one was great. I read it in several sittings over the space of a few says, and I really enjoyed it. It had all my favourite aspects of a crime novel, Mystery, great characters, interesting plot, and a good writing style.

Josie, or Jo as she likes to be called, was the protagonist. I really liked her. She seemed good at her job, didn’t take anyone’s cr*p, and follows her gut, even if everyone else is telling her to just let go. She was a really well-written character, and I found it very easy to connect with her. There were also some characters that I didn’t like so much. I won’t go into it too much as I don’t want to spoil anything, but they weren’t the best.

I found the plot to be really realistic and had no trouble believing that it was something that genuinely could happen. It was written at a nice pace, and definitely kept me interested throughout the whole book. Now. The Plot Twist. I was so so so shocked, and I really want to go into more detail but I can’t because this is spoiler-free, so all I am going to say is you will not be disappointed. With Thrillers, I do this thing where I try and predict the ending. Did not see this one coming, at all.

Ford is a talented writer, and I will definitely be looking out for any future work. Overall, I give this book 4.5 stars.

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I was on the Instagram Tour for this book, so make sure you check that out! 

-Books&Belle xx

I’d like to thank Harper Collins for sending me a copy of Hold My Hand in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.