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Review: The Hidden Mountain by Heather Lyons

Recieved fromn InkSlingerPR

received from InkSlingerPR

Title: The Hidden Mountain
Series: The Collectors Society
Author: Heather Lyons
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 25 June 2015
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

After years spent in Wonderland, Alice Reeve learned the impossible was quite possible after all. She thought she left such fantastical realities behind when she finally returned to England.

Now Alice has become a member of the clandestine Collectors’ Society, and the impossible has found her again in the form of an elusive villain set on erasing entire worlds. As she and the rest of the Society race to bring this mysterious murderer to justice, the fight becomes painfully personal.

Lives are being lost. Loved ones are shattered or irrevocably altered. Each step closer Alice gets to the shadowy man she hunts, the more secrets she unravels, only to reveal chilling truths. If she wants to win this war and save millions of lives, Alice must once more embrace the impossible and make the unimaginable, imaginable.

Sometimes, the rabbit hole leads to terrifying places.

REVIEW 

I seriously cannot get enough of this series, while simultaneously needing it to end so I can be at peace 😉 Have you guys seen the TV series Once Upon A Time; my youngest daughter and I are a little obsessed with it, we sit on the sofa analysing the storylines and characters, matching them to the stories we love. The Collectors Society series has the same effect. As I am reading I am guessing which character comes from which book, where their stories originate from and how they fit into the current plot. I constantly pick apart the characters in order to unravel the plot twists before Heather makes the revelations. For me, Heather Lyons is a sorceress of re-imaginings.

Following the major cliffhanger at the end of The Hidden Library I cannot tell you how desperate I was for this book. Heather does a fantastic job of recapping the previous events to refresh the memory within the first few chapters. The action is high-octane all the way through while simultaneously pulling all the plot threads together.

As soon as one puzzle piece is solved another takes its place making the storyline equally tantalising and tormenting. There are constant revelations surrounding some of the major players within The Collectors Society; I have to say I am in utter awe of how Heather Lyon’s mind works, twisting the numerous tales into the narrative ingeniously.

I adore how the narrative showed clearly that no two readers will take away the same thing when they read the same book (you get what I mean RIGHT?)

I have to mention the beautiful vocabulary used within this series, it is a joy to read and adds to the imagery evoked.

With each book in this series I fall deeper in love with the characters especially Finn, Alice and Jace. This might be the only book I wouldn’t be opposed to them all being together LOL. Alice is an inspiration (I want to be her, and not just for both Finn and Jace) the madness is an added bonus.

There is a HUGE and very UNEXPECTED plot twist at the end of this book; it has completely thrown me for a loop. Seriously Heather, you are killing me here 😉

Review: Wicked White by Michelle A Valentine

Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: Wicked White
Series: Wicked White #1
Author: Michelle A Valentine
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 23 June 2015
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 3/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

After his mother dies, rock star Ace White—lead singer of the red-hot band Wicked White—is done with the celebrity game. The phony people, the meaningless one-night stands: he doesn’t want any of it anymore. Quitting in the middle of a sold-out tour, Ace sets out to find some place—any place—where he can be alone.

Aspiring singer Iris Easton’s life has never been easy. First, her mother walked out on her when she was a kid. Now she’s buried in debt, weeks after losing her beloved grandmother. When a mysterious and sexy new guy moves in next door, Iris can’t help but be drawn to his soulful gaze. She can tell there’s something from his past haunting him—something he’s not telling her.

Just as Ace starts falling for Iris, the media go on a worldwide hunt to find the missing rocker. Will true love conquer all, or will the truth be the very thing that tears the couple apart?

REVIEW 

I have to say it, Ace has to be the most romantic rock star there is. Come on, the guy quotes Shakespeare, that is seriously swoon worthy 😉 It is so nice to see a good guy rock star for a change as opposed to your standard douche m-ho.

The dual narrative between Iris and Ace aids the understanding of both characters and their relationship. Both have some deep-seated issues stemming from their upbringing. Iris is the product of a party girl, unwilling to give-up her ‘lifestyle’ to raise a child, Iris is raised in a trailer park by her grandmother. While Ace is the product of foster care, until he is ‘rescued’ at 13.

Ace has always dreamed of working in the music industry, writing songs as an outlet for his emotions since a young teen. However, the reality is a far cry from his fantasies. OK so the early years may have been living the stereotypical rocker lifestyle including indulging in groupies ( for shame Ace 😉 ) Although, Ace craves a deeper emotional connection and quickly realises he is worth far more than a notch on someone’s belt. See what I mean, you can’t help but love him. The nail in the coffin for Ace is when his foster-mother is seriously ill and he is prevented from seeing her.

Iris has always had ambitions to star on Broadway. Leaving behind her home for a shot at fame in NYC. Although, so far she hasn’t been successful. Returning home following her grandmothers death to try to save the trailer park she has inherited.

Now on the run from the media and his record company, Ace takes refuge in none other than Iris’s trailer park. The sparks fly instantly between them, and yet it’s as if they recognise the other part of themselves in each other. Resistance is futile 😉

The occasional media report is woven into the chapters holding all the plot threads together. Ace’s predicament with his record agency, highlights how controlling and manufactured the music industry can be.

Iris and Ace’s relationship develops quickly and deeply, they are so well suited that you can’t help but think their is a soul-mate element to their relationship. While this does strengthen the bonds between them, it also provides the tools to cause the most hurt. The use of music and the way in which both Iris and Ace view lyrics is exactly how I feel about music, enabling me to connect with the characters on a personal level.

Both Iris and Ace are very self-aware, which was refreshing but alas did not prevent the angst :( They may realise why they react in certain ways but they are unable to stop themselves from doing it. While they believe they are acting in the other persons best interest it does not lessen the heartache their actions cause. I did feel that Ace was his own worst enemy at times, acting selfishly by punishing both of them. SIGH.

I am looking forward to seeing what the future has in store for Iris and Ace, both personally and professionally.

Review: Diamonds and Deceit by Leila Rasheed

Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: Diamonds and Deceit
Series: At Somerton #2
Author: Leila Rasheed
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Publication Date: Jan 2014
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

The London Season of 1913 is in full swing, and Rose has never felt more out of place. She can’t help but feel like a servant dressed up in diamonds and silk. Then she meets Alexander Ross, a young Scottish duke. Rose has heard all sorts of gossip about Alexander, but he alone treats her as a friend. Rose should know better than to give her heart to a man with a reputation, but it may already be too late.

Meanwhile, Ada’s also feeling miserable. She should be happy – she’s engaged to a handsome man who shares her political passions and has promised to support her education. So why does she feel hollow inside? She knows that without this marriage, her family will be ruined, but it seems that in matters of love, the Averley’s can only follow their hearts…

REVIEW BY MALI 8:6

Diamonds and Deceit is based in the early 19th century and is about higher class families of England. The third person narrative helps you relate to each of the characters individually.

All the characters have some sort of connection with all the other families. Even though there are a range of characters, the two main characters are sisters, Rose and Ada. Each with a complicated story about love and tragedy. Rose starts her life as a maid but the big step of being adopted by an earl is a struggle for Rose. Her world is turned upside down and she is finding it harder and harder to fit in. Ada, on the other hand, who is the earl’s daughter, has the opposite feeling. She has everything she could ever want yet something is missing. Her character changes throughout the book as she goes from a strong respectful character to someone who is a bit scared and more wary than she started off being; her thoughts and feelings are exaggerated as the book goes on. Rose, however, has more simple emotions than most people can relate to. The two sisters go through similar things but both have different endings. That is one of the things that really intrigued me when reading Diamonds and Deceit.

As well as the two main characters there are many background characters that have an impact on the story lines. Each family/character has a different story which in the end join together providing an effective completion to the plot as a whole. I like how the story swaps from house to house, from the eyes of the rich to the eyes of the servants. However, even though this does make the storyline different to any I have read before, because you are often switching places, you can get confused about where you are and who is living here.

Although, that is only the first few chapters, once you get into the book you can start to understand where everything is and where they fit into the plot.

The descriptions of the settings in the book were very clever. At the beginning they give you an image of what the houses look like in the outside to an ordinary person walking down the street, but as the book goes alone it starts to show you what the things are like inside the beautiful Manor House. Very slowly the writer shows how lonely, dark and isolated the Manor can be which you wouldn’t be able to see from the outside. I think it is very clever how it is done and it really helps with the storyline build.

My favourite part of book has to be at the end were all the families come together, and how it all combines to make one big story, as I mentioned earlier, as well as how all the drama builds and is revealed at the end. The ending was, in parts, completely unpredictable. The unpredictability of the plot added to my enjoyment of Diamonds and Deceit overall.

My favourite characters were Georgiana and Rose because each one I could relate to. I really liked their storylines and how different they were to all the others. Even though Georgiana’s description wasn’t as in depth as the others, it meant that I could imagine her myself which I really liked. I couldn’t really do that to Rose’s character but I really liked her story and the outcome.

After reading Diamonds and Deceit I would love to read another one of Leila Rasheed’s books. However, to tell the truth, I would have liked to seen Georgiana’s story to end differently just because I think she deserved a better ending after everything she had been through. I would recommend this book to anybody over the age of 12 because anybody younger will understand the story or what the plot. I think I enjoyed Diamonds and Deceit because I enjoy history, so if someone likes history, I would definitely recommend this book.

Review: Dream of You by Jennifer L Armentrout

Received from InkSlingerPR

Received from InkSlingerPR

Title: Dream of You
Series: Wait for You #4.5
Author: Jennifer L Armentrout
Publisher: Evil Eye Concepts
Publication Date: 23 June 2015
Source: Bought
Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

Abby Erickson isn’t looking for a one-night stand, a relationship, or anything that involves any one-on-one time, but when she witnesses a shocking crime, she’s thrust into the hands of the sexiest man she’s ever seen – Colton Anders. His job is to protect her, but with every look, every touch, and every simmering kiss, she’s in danger of not only losing her life but her heart also.

REVIEW 

I completely love the Wait for You series, Dream of You has been on my wish-list from the very first mention, lol. I was curious about the inclusion of Reece’s (Fall With Me) older brother, Colton, also in law enforcement but in a detective capacity based in the city. To be honest, I was a little disappointed in Colton, don’t get me wrong, he is all kinds of swoon worthy and he is very honest, brutally honest. I would have liked him to show a little consideration to how his words can affect someone before just blurting them out. Some of the things he says while honest were unintentionally cutting. I think only someone with self-esteem issues could fully understand how I perceived Colton’s words.

Abby is a fantastic character and very relatable. She is a total book geek and fan-girl, the narrative is saturated with author and book references. I kept flicking to Goodreads to add more books to my wish-list :)   Although Abby has harboured a secret crush on Colton all through high school, she has always considered him out of her league. She has only ever had one boyfriend, marrying her high school sweetheart straight after graduation.  Tragedy has marred Abby’s past, losing both her parents and then her husband to car accidents. Understandably, while she has struggled with her grief, Abby has lost her sense of self. Being a ‘normal’ girl, Abby doesn’t confirm to the media’s ideal of body shape, etc. I could really relate to the way Abby thinks, her struggle with self-confidence and body image. I especially liked how Jennifer examined the romance character tropes showing how few protagonists struggle with this issue no matter the tragic circumstances they may have encountered.

The action and thriller elements in the plot maintain a fast pace throughout this novella. The inclusion of some of the other characters from the Wait for You series, provided a deep sense of connection to the series as a whole.

Dream of You is as equally thought provoking as it is swoon worthy.

Review: Arsenic for Tea by Robin Stevens

Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: Arsenic for Tea
Series: Wells and Wong #2
Author: Robin Stevens
Publisher: Corgi Childrens
Publication Date: Jan 2015
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

Schoolgirl detectives Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are at Daisy’s home, Fallingford, for the holidays. Daisy’s glamorous mother is throwing a tea party for Daisy’s birthday, and the whole family is invited, from eccentric Aunt Saskia to dashing Uncle Felix. But it soon becomes clear that this party isn’t really about Daisy at all. Naturally, Daisy is furious.

Then one of their party falls seriously, mysteriously ill—and everything points to poison.

With wild storms preventing anyone from leaving, or the police from arriving, Fallingford suddenly feels like a very dangerous place to be. Not a single person present is what they seem—and everyone has a secret or two. And when someone very close to Daisy looks suspicious, the Detective Society must do everything they can to reveal the truth… no matter the consequences.

REVIEW BY NIA 8:8

Arsenic for Tea is about two young girls called Hazel and Daisy Wong. They have spent many years at boarding school together and have grown to be budding detectives. Both girls are clever, friendly and get on well together. They complement each other well because one of them is very hyper and the other very serious. They both notice different things when working together which makes them a good team. Hazel’s family live in Hong Kong which means she goes back to Daisy’s house, in England, during the school holidays. Following a death of a fellow matron at Deepdean School where both girls helped local Inspector Priestly in solving the case. The girls did most of the detective work, although that would be unprofessional to record in the Inspector’s Report.

One school holiday there were some unusual happenings at Fallingford Manor. Daisy and Hazel have a new and rather suspicious governess for the holiday. Daisy’s birthday falls during the school break, so all of her family from across the world are coming to celebrate, including Daisy’s favourite uncle who just happens to be a detective. At the birthday tea there are murderous thought afoot and some intriguing family secrets are let out of the bag. Something untoward is in the tea, so when disaster strikes the girls (and their two friends) take it into their own hands to investigate the murder.

Arsenic for Tea started slowly allowing the reader to take in the setting and background story. As soon as the action started the book grew on me.

My favourite part of the book was when the case was falling into place, and all that remained was for the girls to do some secretive snooping to uncover the final clues. As you read the book you can try and solve the mystery yourself by picking up the clues scattered in the narrative. There was also a lot of suspense because people that you had formed a relationship with turned out to be prime suspects with an unknown past revealing another side to them.

The book was written in the third person from the view of Daisy’s best friend Hazel who narrates the story. I really enjoyed this because you were aware of details about the characters which you might not hear if the main character was telling the story. This is interesting because you get Hazel’s thoughts and feelings about the main events and you hear some things that Daisy might not appreciate being said.

The only thing that I disliked about the book was that it was slow at the beginning. Overall, it was an excellent book. I would definitely read a book by this author again. I would recommend these books to people that are older than nine because the murder isn’t gory but there is some romance. People that like mysteries and a bit of adventure would enjoy this book. I would rate Arsenic for Tea 4 stars out of 5 because I would have liked there to be a bit more action in it. However, the tension was held throughout the book. The author did this by keeping the most important clues until last, even then they made they mystery difficult to solve.