Category Archives: Book Review

The Player and the Pixie by L.H. Cosway & Penny Reid

Overview
The Player and the Pixie (Rugby, #2) by L.H. Cosway

Title: The Player and the Pixie
Author: L.H. Cosway & Penny Reid
Series: Rugby #2
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romanceSport
Dates read: 25th – 28th January 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: SmartyPants Romance
Year: 2016
5th sentence, 74th page: And far too pitiful, aggrandizing, and introspective.

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Synopsis

How can someone so smokin’ hot be so bad in bed? I mean, Sean Cassidy is absolute rubbish. RUBBISH. He is the epitome of walking, talking false advertising and I want a refund! Plus he’s an arsehold. So… what is wrong with me that I can’t stop thinking about him?

THE PIXIE

Lucy Fitzpatrick doesn’t like rugby.
As the little sister of Ireland’s most infamous rugby player, Lucy can’t seem to escape the championship-sized shadow cast by her brother, or her mother’s frequent attempts to micromanage her future. Her rainbow hair is as free-spirited as her quest for inner peace, yet overbearing expectations keep bringing her down. And when she’s down, her compulsive little problem lands her in seriously big trouble.

THE PLAYER

Sean Cassidy is a cold-hearted brute… or so he’s been told. Frequently. By everyone.
His blonde locks, baby blues, and rock hard body make ladies the world over drool with desire. As the rugby world’s second most infamous player, he should be basking in his success. But Sea has never been content settling for second place, and his frequent confrontations with Lucy’s big brother leave him cold. And when he’s cold, his compulsive little problem lands him in the lap of Lucy Fitzpatrick.

THE PLAN

Sean has a problem only Lucy can solve. Lucy has a problem only Sean can fix. The solution seems obvious: you scratch my back, and I’ll bail you out of jail. But when their business arrangement unexpectedly leaves Sean scorching hot and Lucy on the precipice of inner peace, can they convince the world – and Lucy’s big brother in particular – that this is the real deal?

Either way, both the Player and the Pixie are about to teach each other some pretty monumental lessons about family, life, but most importantly, love.

Thoughts

As with everything that involves Penny Reid, I was hooked from the very first moment of this story. The fact that it also introduced a new author to my happy little brain whilst taking me into this fun new world… it just made me much, much happier. I love that both Sean and Lucy appear to be a little mainstream… but end up being completely, totally and utterly unique, with some very fun little compulsions…

This may be the first romance that I’ve ever read which features a man who isn’t good in bed. The fact that he’s a player, sexy and just ridiculously well known for all of his conquests… well, it just made everything so much better. I love that Sean has absolutely no idea what he’s doing and ends up being the more vulnerable and kind of sappy one out of the couple. Which, you would think, would make him a bit of a less dreamy lead character. But, somehow it doesn’t. There is still something ridiculously drool worthy and dreamy about the character that still continues to pull you in.

The other aspect of this story that was a whole new experience for me was the fact that this tale features a kleptomaniac. Again, it’s a feature in a character that I’ve never come across. One that worked beautifully and gave Lucy a whole heap of new vulnerabilities that left me smiling. It also highlights how unhealthy some relationships with family members can be – and how we can struggle to manage them. I know that I have my own compulsions when I’m struggling, so it was lovely to read about someone who was kind of worse than me.

I pretty much inhaled this book. Actually, my partner tried to talk to me a few times whilst reading this, and I’m not entirely sure that he got any kind of response out of me. It’s just that good. You fall in love with Lucy and Sean from the beginning. You feel all of their emotions. And you just… enjoy the whole journey. From the very beginning to the very ending.

<- The Hooker and the HermitThe Cad and the Co-Ed ->

Image source: Goodreads

Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper

Overview
Over Sea, Under Stone | Book by Susan Cooper | Official Publisher Page |  Simon & Schuster

Title: Over Sea, Under Stone
Author: Susan Cooper
Series: Dark is Rising #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Adventure, Camelot, Fantasy, Young adult
Dates read: 27th – 28th January 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: McElderry Books
Year: 1965
5th sentence, 74th page: But they seemed to go for the books, and I can’t vouch for those.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

All through time the two great forces of Light and Dark have battled for control of the world. Now, after centuries of balance, the Dark is summoning its terrifying forces to rise once more – and three children find themselves caught in the conflict.

Simon, Jane, and Barney, on holiday in Cornwall, discover an ancient map that leads to a grail: a vital weapon for the Light’s fight against evil. The search for the grail becomes their quest, and they risk their lives in a race against sinister human beings who serve the dreadful power of the Dark.

Thoughts

I bought the box set of Dark is Rising ages ago. Partly because it was on sale, but I also have a tv series based on this series and I’ve heard good things about it. But then, because the covers of my versions aren’t the most attention-grabbing, I kind of kept forgetting about them. And wow, am I kind of regretting that fact. This book was wonderful and intense and seriously, wonderfully enjoyable. Most definitely a great start to a series. One that I plan on reading more of in the (hopefully) near future.

In the past year I’ve started to find and enjoy some Camelot stories. I don’t know a lot about Arthurian lore, not anything that isn’t seriously mainstream. But it’s definitely something that I’m beginning to enjoy more and more. A theme and base that is used beautifully in this story. The whole tale is about the search for the Grail. And I’m getting some serious King Arthur vibes from Simon. There was also that nice little crumb at the end of the story about Merlin which I’m really looking forward to unpacking…

From the moment you open this book, you are pulled into this great adventure. As a child, I might have even tried to solve the little riddles and clues that are riddled throughout the novel. But, as an adult, it was just a lot of fun to be pulled along on this adventure. This unexpected journey that takes you all over the countryside pulling you into a story that you won’t forget anytime soon. One that had me smiling and gleefully turning to the next page again and again throughout.

This is a fantastic, wonderful and very, very enjoyable adventure story. One that has introduced me to a whole new world that I can’t wait to sink further and further into. I love that although the battle is over in this story, you can feel all the hints and horrors of the war to come. And now I can’t wait for the next mystery to be revealed!

<- More Susan CooperThe Dark is Rising ->

Image source: Simon & Schuster

Kissing Tolstoy by Penny Reid

Overview
Kissing Tolstoy (Dear Professor, #1) by Penny Reid

Title: Kissing Tolstoy
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Dear Professor #1
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves:  Contemporary, Contemporary romanceRomance
Dates read: 25th January 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: SmartyPants Romance
Year: 2014
5th sentence, 74th page: I couldn’t bring myself to look at him again, so I directed a short wave at the room.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

What do you do when you discover that your super-hot blind date from months ago is now your super-hot Russian Lit professor?

You overthink everything and pray for a swift end to your misery, of course!

Thoughts

I fell stupid, crazy in love with this novel. Like, completely, totally and utterly head over heels for it. Not only was it fun and brilliant. But, as with every one of Reid’s books, the characters were a little quirky and impossible not to love. Particularly Anna with her slightly zany and very unique outlook on life. And Luca? Oh my goodness! Completely drool worthy! (Nobody look at my book… there are drool stains through the pages).

Every time I read a story that features academia, I kind of want to return to that world. Although, this is a perfect way in which to return without having all of the crap that actually comes alongside a life in the area. It’s a great window into a world that is seriously intense and complex. One that is fascinating and intriguing. The fact that it’s the setting for this book, and series, but not really a feature of it left me thinking of all of those wonderful positives. Whilst not dwelling on any of the negatives.

This is one of those stories in which things seem to go wrong, one thing after the other. That no matter what Anna tries to do, she’s drawn into Luca’s orbit and just isn’t quite sure how she got there. But, she wants to stay. It’s got that fate kind of feel to it that makes you think that those who are meant to be together will be, even if they’re not quite sure how to go about it. Which, honestly is the kind of thing that I love in a good romance – that feeling of inevitability that lends itself to a happily ever after.

All in all this was a fantastic, fun and impossible to put down book. I completely fell in love with it and don’t know that it is one that I will forget anytime soon. I most definitely can’t wait to sink my literary teeth into Dear Galileo now!!!

<- More Penny ReidKissing Galileo ->

Image source: Goodreads

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Overview
Red, White & Royal Blue: A Novel eBook: McQuiston, Casey: Amazon.com.au:  Kindle Store

Title: Red, White & Royal Blue
Author: Casey McQuiston
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romance, LGBTQI
Dates read: 9th – 24th January 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Year: 2019
5th sentence, 74th page: Shaan almost called in the sniffer dogs.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

What happens when America’s First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?

When his mother became President of the United States, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius – his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There’s only one problem: Alex has a beef with an actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex / Henry altercation, U.S. / British relations take a turn for the worse

Heads of family and state and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: Stage a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instagrammable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the presidential campaign and upend two nations. It raises the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through?

Thoughts

I bought this on an impulse because one of the book bloggers I love to follow had it on their reviews last year and said it was awesome. And you know what? They weren’t wrong! This book is amazing and wonderful. Unforgettable and left me feeling super happy, calm and complete. The kind of book that I will most definitely read again and again as the years go by.

I love that not only is this novel a romance, but it’s also a coming-of-age story. In a pretty major way. The whole time throughout this story, Alex is not only falling in love with Henry, but he’s also having to figure out his own identity and nonsense. That’s not exactly an easy feat. Making this an even mor amazing and impossible to forget story. Or at least, that’s what it was like for me – I love how Alex is constantly having new revelations and realisations throughout.

Reading this novel coming out of the shenanigans of what has been happening in America felt… time worthy. It felt poignant and perfectly timed. And, although I still know next to nothing about American politics, it did help to give me a little insight into some of the horrors that the poor Americans have been dealing with. Or at least, that’s how it felt. It highlighted the horrors, but also did so in a optimistic and somewhat positive manner.

All in all, I absolutely loved this novel. I can’t wait until McQuiston’s next book, One Last Stand comes out and takes it place on my shelves. There is something optimistic and brutally honest about McQuiston’s writing that draws you in completely from the beginning. It is impossible not to feel connected to both Alex and Henry as they try and negotiate their very public lives. And, just generally, leaves you feeling light, hopeful and believing in true love as you turn that final page.

<- One Last StopMore Casey McQuiston ->

Image source: Amazon

One Bite with a Stranger by Christine Warren

Overview
One Bite With A Stranger (The Others, #1) by Christine Warren

Title: One Bite with a Stranger
Author: Christine Warren
Series: The Others #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal romance, Vampires, WerewolvesWitches
Dates read: 22nd – 23rd January 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperback
Year: 2003
5th sentence, 74th page: He’d killed her.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

In New York Times bestselling author Christine Warren’s seductive world of The Others, passion sizzles and danger is just around the corner…

When Regina’s friends insist on setting her up on a “Fantasy Fix” to help her get over her cheating ex, she dreams up some kinky out-of-this-world encounters that they could never II possibly II bring to life. But the next thing Regina knows, her friends have got her laced into a shiny black corset, tight leather pants, and a sexy pair of stilettos. It’s time for some downtown vampire-fantasy fun…

ONE BITE WITH A STRANGER

The Vampire Ball in Manhattan’s East Village isn’t really Dmitri Vidame’s idea of a good time, but as a member of the Council that governs The Others, he has to keep an eye on all the young vamps who prey on the pretenders. After he feasts his dark eyes on fiery Regina at the bar, he knows that he must have her. But for the first time Dmitri meets a woman who is more than a match for his indomitable will. And he may be the fantasy Regina hoped for… until she – and her feisty friends – discover her sexy new lover’s bloodsucking secret…

Thoughts

I was surprised how much I enjoyed this brilliantly, wonderfully lustful book. I knew that I’d like it. But I didn’t quite realise how much. So much so that I basically didn’t put it down until I had read it cover to cover… there was just something about the story that completely swept me away from the very first, wonderful moment.

The collection of women in this story kind of reminded me of the women in the Knitting in the City series. Reggie and her friends get together, drink wine and talk a lot of wonderful nonsense. The fact that they do the “Fantasy Fix” just made it all that much better. Alright, so I wouldn’t want to do a Fantasy Fix myself. But the idea of having girlfriends who will hook you up with whatever amazing fantasy you want… mmm… that’s kind of delicious.

There is something incredibly, wonderfully titillating about reading the more erotic / lustful books like this. It may not be the kind of thing that I’m into myself, but it’s definitely thoroughly enjoyable reading about it! I always feel a little uncomfortable about the level of bossiness that some of these stories begin with, particularly in the case of Dmitri in his first encounter with Reggie… but then, the story begins to unfold. The characters get a little more flesh on them, and suddenly that discomfort is just… gone. And things feel sweet and a little delicious all over again.

The novella Any Witch Way She Can got me interested in this series. But this novel has most certainly got me hooked on it. I can’t wait until I can find a copy of Big Bad Wolf and sink further into the intriguing, and very toe curling world of The Others

<- More Christine WarrenBig Bad Wolf ->

Image source: Goodreads

The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl

Overview
Book Reviews for The Magic Finger By Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake | Toppsta

Title: The Magic Finger
Author: Roald Dahl
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Children’s, Easy reading
Dates read: 23rd January 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Puffin Books
Year: 1966
5th sentence, 74th page: And where his arm had been, he had a pair of duck’s wings instead!

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

Suddenly a sort of flash comes out of me, like something electric. It jumps out and touches the person who has made me cross…

Thoughts

This story had me giggling and laughing out loud. Frequently. Probably because it is a book that features a young girl with a “magic finger” who manages to teach people a lesson and deliver karmic justice. Definitely the kind of book that left me smiling and giggling. And a great way to take a short break from all of the more responsible stuff that I have on my to do list.

As someone who isn’t a huge fan of hunting, I kind of like that the karmic comeuppance in this story is based around hunting. The fact that characters are changed to stop them from hunting and so that they understand what it feels like to be hunted… it is just all that much better. Alright, I don’t know if I think that this kind of poetic justice is great, but I still think that it was wonderfully written.

This is a fun, light and easy read. One that I seriously, thoroughly enjoyed. And look forward to picking up again in the future. It was the perfect way to escape the realities of adulthood for a little while, and find a light story to fill my mind with for just a little while…

<- Kiss KissMatilda ->

Image source: Toppsta

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

Overview
James and the Giant Peach (Colour Edition) by Roald Dahl - Penguin Books  Australia

Title: James and the Giant Peach
Author: Roald Dahl
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Children’s, Easy reading
Dates read: 22nd – 23rd January 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Puffin Books
Year: 1961
5th sentence, 74th page: ‘Balderdash!’

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

Bigger and bigger grew the peach, bigger and bigger and bigger.

Thoughts

There is something fun and enjoyable about rereading a beloved childhood book. And finding out that it’s actually just as good as you remember it being! That was most definitely the case with this. In fact, I actually made myself a bit of a pillow fort in my loungeroom before I even cracked the spine of this book. Just to help me highlight that wonderful nostalgic feeling all over again.

James and the Giant Peach is one of those stories that is wonderfully written and reminds you that there is always a better ending, just around the corner. If you have the guts to go looking. Alright, we don’t all have a giant peach that will take us to fresh new pastures, but there’s still that general feeling that anything is possible, peach notwithstanding.

This novel also reminds us that friends can come in all shapes and sizes. That it doesn’t matter what we look like, or how we’re made. We can all be friends and find friendship in the weirdest of places. Although, that could just be me putting that idea onto the book – after all, it’s something I believe wholeheartedly.

I loved this novel as a kid, and I loved it as an adult. The only real difference I found in reading this as an adult was the realisation that the peach actually kills James’ horrible aunts. Didn’t quite pick up on the horribleness of their death as a child… which is probably a good thing if you stop and think about it.

<- The GremlinsKiss Kiss ->

Image source: Penguin Books Australia

Blood Challenge by Eileen Wilks

Overview
Blood Challenge (World of the Lupi, #7) by Eileen Wilks

Title: Blood Challenge
Author: Eileen Wilks
Series: World of the Lupi #7
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Animagus, Paranormal romance, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 1st – 22nd January 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: I usually don’t, but patterning’s potentially a -“

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

Lily Yu and Rule Turner’s engagement announcement is stirring up ugly passions in the Humans First camp. There’s hate mail. Death threats. Lily’s car is vandalized.

But professionally, things are running smoothly… until a lupus in Tennessee goes on a killing spree. Then Rule’s brother, Benedict, catches a lovely intruder – twice. The first time, she’s sneaking around the home of the leader of Humans First. The second time, she’s sneaking around Nokolai Clanhome.

It may not be possible to deal with the rapidly escalating situation the way Lily always has: through the law. Especially when she’s pulled off the case due to an alleged conflict of interest. Lily’s loyalties will be stretched to the breaking point when she discovers that the deaths in Tennessee were only the opening skirmish in an all-our war.

Thoughts

I had this on my TBR pile late last year. There is something about the World of the Lupi books that are brilliant, and always make me want to reach out for them. Plus, I read Human Error just before Christmas, which gave me that yearning yet again. It did take longer to get through than many of the other books of this size tend to do… but it was still thoroughly, beautifully enjoyable. I just tend to forget that these books are long, complex and filled with small writing.

The fact that Benedict gets a second chosen was kind of given away in Human Error, so that pleasant surprise was very quickly taken away from me. But, getting to know Arjenie a bit better as the insanity of this storyline unfolded was brilliant and fun. Particularly when the “getting to know” was taking place alongside all of the insanity of a very complex plot that just seems to keep getting more and more complex. It’s one of the reasons that I don’t just breeze through these books, but become completely absorbed in them. They’re beautifully, wonderfully intricate and, often, confusing!

The major conspiracies and backstory in this series has slowly been ramping up. And now, getting to the 7th book in the series, it is getting seriously, ridiculously intense. The characters are still brilliant, and the emotions that you feel alongside them are wonderful. But there is so much more going on with the battle that the lupi face now. It meant that once I got about a quarter of the way into this book, I was sunk. And couldn’t stop reaching for it, even when I needed to be productive.

I loved this book. And now I need to wait until I’ve finished a few books before sinking my teeth into Death Magic. Now that the plot is thickening with the characters and conspiracies throughout this story, I can’t wait to see what insane shenanigans are going to happen next. Plus, Cynna has had her baby, Benedict also has a chosen, and everyone is just thoroughly loveable and impossible to forget…

<- Blood MagicDeath Magic ->

Image source: Goodreads

Otherhood by William Sutcliffe

Overview
Otherhood: William Sutcliffe: Bloomsbury Publishing

Title: Otherhood
Author: William Sutcliffe
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Book to Film, Contemporary, Family
Dates read: 5th – 22nd January 2021
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Year: 2008
5th sentence, 74th page: He didn’t like the way she’d been able to say these things without allowing him any response.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

First published as Whatever Makes You Happy, the hilarious and touching novel about mothers and their adult sons that’s now a Netflix original movie starring Felicity Huffman, Angela Bassett and Patricia Arquette.

Three sons. Three mums. One week.

Matt, Daniel and Paul were childhood friends. Now in their thirties, they’ve lost touch and have only one thing in common: their mothers. Little do they know that, having spent a cardless Mother’s Day discussing how their emotionally dysfunctional offspring should be settling down, Carol, Gillian and Helen have decided to pay their wayward sons a visit. On the same day, they turn up on their sons’ doorsteps, uninvited and unannounced. Their plan is to re-establish the mother-son bond by moving in for one week. Just a week. Surely that’s not a lot to ask…

Thoughts

I love the movie on Netflix that is based on this book. It’s a great look at women’s relationships, motherhood and the relationships that you grow up with. I still enjoyed this book. But it wasn’t quite as wonderfully thought out and created as the movie. I just felt like Sutcliffe tried really hard to write wonderful mother characters, but mostly it came off as someone who doesn’t necessarily want his mother around either.

Overall, I did enjoy this story. But, honestly, I think that the movie is what helped bump up my star rating for this. Although I thought this novel was about the experiences of motherhood (or otherhood as it gets known), it felt more like grown men not loving the interactions and nagging of their mothers. Don’t get me wrong, I sometimes find my own mother a chore (who doesn’t), but I also examine why and don’t think that it’s a huge imposition to have her around. This whole novel kind of read as though that’s what mothers are when you are older – a bit of a pain and a bit of an imposition.

This was a fun novel. But I really don’t know what to write about it. I think that the point of view of the mother would have been better written by someone who has experienced motherhood. I found it kind of hard to connect with the sons because of their extreme dismissiveness and the callous way in which they seemed to treat their mothers. Whilst I enjoyed the storylines while reading the tale, I found it incredibly difficult to feel that connection that I was expecting. Particularly when I loved the movie so much…

<- More William SutcliffeMore Family ->

Image source: Bloomsbury

The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me by Roald Dahl

Overview
The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me by Roald Dahl - Penguin Books Australia

Title: The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me
Author: Roald Dahl
Rating Out of 5: 3 (On the fence about this one)
My Bookshelves: Children’s, Easy reading
Dates read: 22nd January 2021
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Puffin Books
Year: 1985
5th sentence, 74th page: ‘On my next visit to The Grubber, I was standing across the road gazing at the wonderful old building when suddenly an enormous bathtub came sailing out through one of the second-floor windows and crashed right on to the middle of the road!

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

‘My jewels! Somebody’s stolen my jewels!’

Thoughts

What a fun, light and easy children’s book to sink your teeth into. I may not have really enjoyed it as an adult, but I can imagine that as a child, I would have absolutely adored it.

This is the kind of nonsensical story that I enjoy sinking my teeth into, and just generally having a good giggle at. Even if it wasn’t quite as fun as some of the other Roald Dahl stories I’ve been reading lately.

The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me is a fun little children’s book that is accompanied by some wonderful illustrations. All light, happy and enjoyable.

<- George’s Marvelous MedicineGoing Solo ->

Image source: Penguin Books Australia