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.

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-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.

 

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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.

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-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.

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-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.

 

Harry Potter · Me

International Women’s Day – Books With Strong Female Characters

It’s 8th March, meaning it is International Women’s Day! In honour of this day, I decided to compile a list of books that feature my favourite strong, female characters. So, without further a do…

Harry Potter

Judging Books By Their Covers

Harry Potter is just full of strong female characters! Luna Lovegood, Minerva McGonagall, Molly Weasley, Lily Potter, Nymphandora Tonks, Ginny Weasley, and my personal favourite, Hermione Granger. The women in Harry Potter are amazing. Even the female villains, like Bellatrix Lestrange are strong. It’s an amazing series, but the amount of strong women make it even better.

The ACOTAR Series

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The protagonist, Feyre, is just one of the powerful women in this book. There’s also Mor, Amren, Nessa, Elain, and countless others. One of the things that I love so much about this series is how strong and fearless the women are.

Pride and Prejudice

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Pride and Prejudice is my favourite classic novel. It’s actually the one I chose to write about in my NEA for my English A Level. Care to guess what my NEA is on? Feminism. Once I had chosen that topic, I knew Pride and Prejudice would be the book I used. Elizabeth Bennett is one of my favourite fictional characters because of her strength and determination to do as she wants, not what is expected of her.

Nemesis

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I think Min is wonderful. She is certainly a woman who deserves to be mentioned in this post. She’s strong, brave, flawed, and just an amazing character. I’m so excited to read more about her in the sequel to Nemesis. Not long now!

I Am Thunder

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I read I Am Thunder in 2017, and it was definitely one of my favourite reads of the year. Muzna faces so much and still comes out a good person. I couldn’t not feature her on this list.

Children of Blood and Bone

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Children of Blood and Bone is full of powerful women! Even if they’re not the main characters, we know they’re there. Zélie’s Mother and Mama Agba, for example. The two I really wanted to mention, however, were Zélie and Amari. Their character development throughout the book is outstanding. I just love it so much.

There are so so so many more that I could mention, but then this post would be way too long. Who are your favourite strong female characters in books?

-Books&Belle xx

Blog Tours · Reviews

Blog Tour: A Review of Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (Spoiler-Free!) #NowWeRise

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Synopsis

Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut, perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Sabaa Tahir.

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.

Review

“You crushed us to build your monarchy on the backs of our blood and bone. Your mistake wasnt keeping us alive. It was thinking we’d never fight back!”

This book was one of my most anticipated releases of 2018, so I was so happy when I got the email saying that a proof was on its way to me! The first thing that I want to say is that it did not disappoint. There was so much that I loved about it, that it is honestly difficult to put it into words. The world that Adeyemi has created is wonderful, and I thank the heavens for her brilliant, creative mind.

There has been so much hype surrounding this book, and I can say that, without a doubt, it deserves it. The switches in point of views of the different characters allows the reader to know whats going on inside the characters heads, making it even more interesting. Adeyemi’s writing style is another thing I liked about Children of Blood and Bone. It was sophisticated, and the pace of the plot was just perfect. By the time it got to the action-packed parts, I had connected with certain characters, and couldn’t stop reading as I had to know what happened next!

My favourite character was Zélie. I’m sure plenty of other people will share this opinion! She was strong, selfless, protective, loyal, and my favourite thing, flawed. No person is flawless, so I always find it hard to connect with a character who is written as a perfect person. Zélie was stubborn, reckless and a few times she spoke up when it would’ve been in her best interests to stay quiet. Her inability to stay quiet, however, was what makes her my favourite character. She knows that there might be unfortunate consequences to some of the things she does and says, but she still speaks out against what she thinks is wrong, because she knows that it is the right thing to do.

Amari was also a great character. Her character development is really something. She truly earns her nickname, The Leoponaire. The situation that she was in was truly difficult, and the choices she makes in the book really show the type of person that she is. I thought all of the characters were written really well, but Zélie and Amari in particular, were outstanding.

The plot! Gosh, what can I say about the plot? There is so much that I want to write about, but I can’t, because this is a spoiler-free review. I’m just going to say that the storyline does not disappoint at all, and leave it at that.

I grew up having so many amazing fictional characters to look up to. Hermione Granger, Ginny Weasley, most of the Disney Princesses, Katniss Everdeen. The fact that little girls are going to have characters like Zélie and Amari added to this list makes me so happy, as does knowing that young black girls are going to have better representation in literature.

Overall, I LOVED Children of Blood and Bone, and I am so extremely excited for the sequel. I give it 5 out of 5 stars!

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I’d like to thank My Kinda Book for sending me a copy of Children of Blood and Bone in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Also, there is a quiz to find out which clan you belong to! Take it, and let me know which you are. I’m a Tider!

COBB Quiz UK

Blog Tours · Reviews

Blog Tour: A Review of Mask Beneath Her Face by Rafael Chandler (Spoiler Free!)

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Synopsis

During the 1980s, slashers terrorized America. With machetes and masks, these unstoppable killers stalked college campuses, quiet suburbs, and lakeside cabins.

Thirty years ago, Bobbi Metzger survived a massacre at her 16th birthday party. She spent decades putting her life back together.

Tonight, Bobbi will face a new killer: a high-tech slasher hell-bent on opening the doorway to an abyss of unimaginable horror.

How long can Bobbi survive this nightmare? What will she do to protect the people she loves? How much blood is she willing to spill?

If you love 80’s slasher flicks like Friday the 13 th or Sleepaway Camp, this book’s for you!

Warning: This book contains extreme gore and violence. Not for the faint of heart!

Add to Goodreads

Review

It has been so long since I’ve read a Horror. I genuinely can not recall what the last one was! Mask Beneath Her Face has certainly been the book to get me back into them. It had me on the edge of my seat at times, wondering what the hell was going to happen.

Chandler’s writing was good. It kept me interested throughout the whole book, and the characters are well written and unique. I think that the pace was a little slow at times, but other than this, the writing and the plot was very enjoyable.

Like the warning said, there is a lot of violence in this book, so if thats something that you don’t cope with well, I’d give it a miss. However, if that sort of thing doesn’t bother you, I definitely recommend it! If you’re also a fan of Horror/Slasher films, you’ll love this. It’s gory and descriptive, but not overly so, in my opinion.

Although the characters were well written, and there were some very interesting back stories, I didn’t find myself connecting with any of them as much as I had hoped that I would. Obviously I cared what happened to them, but not to the extent that I had to keep reading to know what happens.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. It has definitely got me back into reading Horror. I give it 4 stars.

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About The Author

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Rafael Chandler writes novels (Hexcommunicated, The Astounding Antagonists), video games (SOCOM 4, Rainbow Six: Lockdown, MAG), and tabletop role-playing games (Teratic Tome, Lusus Naturae). He’s a metalhead, a kaijuphile, and a gorehound.

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Giveaway: Enter for your chance to win a print copy of Mask Beneath Her Face or 1 of 5 digital copies

Tour organised by:

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-Books&Belle xx