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.

 

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

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

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

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-Books&Belle xx

Blog Tours

Blog Tour: My Sweet Friend by H.A. Leuschel (Excerpt!)

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Synopsis:

A stand-alone novella from the author of Manipulated Lives

A perfect friend … or a perfect impostor?

Alexa is an energetic and charismatic professional and the new member of a
Parisian PR company where she quickly befriends her colleagues Rosie and Jack.
She brings a much-needed breath of fresh air into the office and ambitiously
throws herself into her new job and friendships.

But is Alexa all she claims to be?

As her life intertwines with Rosie and Jack’s, they must all decide what separates
truth from fiction. Will the stories that unfold unite or divide them? Can first impressions ever be trusted?

In this original novella, H.A. Leuschel evokes the powerful hold of appearances
and what a person is prepared to do to keep up the facade. If you like thought-
provoking and compelling reads with intriguing characters, My Sweet Friend is for
you.

Excerpt:

I was brushing my teeth the next morning when Alexa called, crying over another nasty phone call from her ex. I was running late as it was but was unable to stop her barrage of insults against a man I didn’t even know the name of.
‘He’s driving me absolutely insane. I’ve really had enough,’ I heard her shout, the heels of her shoes clicking on the pavement. She was clearly on her way to work while I was only slipping my feet into my shoes. It had been her second frantic call that morning.
‘Listen. Alexa, calm down. I understand you’re upset but I’ll be late if you don’t stop.’
‘I’m there for you when you need me but when I’m the one in need for once, you fob me off. Great, really nice, thanks.’ She hung up, leaving me in an angry sweat. I was her polar opposite – organized and calm – but lately I felt out of kilter myself. I’d missed out on seeing my mum because, for one reason or another, Alexa managed to ambush my
attention.
When I eventually rushed through the office door, Alexa was looking up at me indifferently, in deep conversation with Jack, who tapped his watch with pursed lips and raised eyebrows. I lowered my eyes, my stomach heaving with repressed fury. Alexa had crawled under my skin yet I couldn’t pinpoint exactly why and how it had all come about.
I hid in the ladies’ toilets, panic rising to my throat, and utterly lost for words. I realised that if it had been Alexa running off, I’d have made sure I was giving her moral support, coaxing her back to work. Where was she now that I needed her? Was I getting hysterical, losing the plot?

About the Author

HA Leuschel
Helene Andrea Leuschel grew up in Belgium where she gained a Licentiate
in Journalism &Communication, which led to a career in radio and
television in Brussels, London and Edinburgh. She now lives with her
husband and two children in Portugal and recently acquired a Master of
Philosophy with the OU, deepening her passion for the study of the mind.
When she is not writing, Helene works as a freelance journalist and
teaches Yoga.

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www.heleneleuschel.com

Buy it here

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-Books&Belle xx