Category Archives: Book Review

Say Everything by Langley Gray

Overview
Say Everything by Langley Gray - online free at Epub

Title: Say Everything
Author: Langley Gray
Series: The Socialites #4
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Chic lit, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 26th May – 20th June 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Langley Gray
Year: 2021
5th sentence, 74th page: He’s funny, laid back, intelligent, and a great listener.

Synopsis

WILL A MISTAKEN IDENTITY LEAD TO LOVE?

Iris Mortimer, heir to a shipping empire, is a new ex-pat in Hong Kong. She agrees to a blind date only because, well, she’s bored and maybe a tiny bit lonely. When Bryan Harris arrives, she’s pleasantly surprised – he’s not the stuffy white-collar type she anticipated.

Both new to the city, the two embark on an exploration of all the best tourist spots. She’s recovering from a past relationship, he’s focused on his research, so no pressure – right?

What neither realizes is that there has been a serious mistake in identity, both were meant to meet other people with the same name. When their true selves are accidentally revealed, Bryan realizes he can’t be with Iris. But by now, she’s fallen for him.

Will their mutual love of 80’s rom coms help keep them together?

Find out as Iris Says Everything to get him back.

Thoughts

This is one of those series and authors that I only just, very recently found. And im completely hooked. Say Everything is a great finish to this quartet. And whilst Iris and Bryan aren’t my favourite couple of the series… they’re still completely adorable.

I love the whole fate / serendipity feeling of the Meet Cute in this novel. I mean, the likelihood of two people meeting up and accidentally mistaking them for one another… its honestly kind of ridiculous. Which made it THAT much more adorable and fun. Then off on a fun whirlwind… one that I really wasn’t expecting if I’m being honest.

I’m always a fan of a story that features a scientist in the lead… I spent years working in the field, so I feel a kind of kinship. The connection that this never fails to make for me just left me smiling harder and harder as the story unfolded. Particularly as Bryan shares his strong opinions on marine issues… my Facebook is filled with likeminded people, and it definitely helped me to connect even more.

I’m not going to lie, whilst this wasn’t my all time favourite of The Socialites novels (that honour falls to The Flyaway Bride), I did love the ending. That final ditch effort to make things work bought a tear or ten to my eye. And I had the pleasure of finishing this book with a gigantic smile on my face.

<- The Peak of LoveMore Langley Gray ->

Image source: epub.pub

NightDrake by Lara Adrian

Overview
Image result for the mammoth book of paranormal romance 2 book cover

Title: NightDrake
Author: Lara Adrian
In: The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance 2 (Trisha Telep)
Rating Out of 5: 3.5 (Liked this)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal romance
Dates read: 20th June 2021
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: I had to admit, if only to myself, I was eager to be rid of it.

Synopsis

Nisha is a mercenary cargo shifter, one who is known for being cold hearted. But her latest cargo could just about change everything.

Thoughts

This story was… alright. I enjoyed it in the end because I liked the twist and felt like it was kind of cute, but I also wasn’t incredibly head over heels for it. I mean, it was just an easy and fun short story that I enjoyed. But probably wouldn’t read again.

At first, I really didn’t enjoy this story at all – the lead character struck me as incredibly racist (against paranormal beings), and it was almost hard to feel connected to her with such prejudice. As the story unfolded, this began to make a little more sense and made me feel less uncomfortable and annoyed. But, still, starting off a story where you can’t feel connected to the lead? That is why I found this story just enjoyable, not lovely.

All in all, I did like the relationship in this story and I did, overall enjoy it. It may not have been my favourite tale of all time, but it was one that I wouldn’t throw away either. Lara Adrian may not have made it to my wishlist, but she also hasn’t made my hate list.

<- Fragile MagicThe Sons of Ra ->

Image source: Amazon

The Iron Hunt by Marjorie M. Liu

Overview
The Iron Hunt (Hunter Kiss, #1) by Marjorie M. Liu

Title: The Iron Hunt
Author: Marjorie M. Liu
Series: Hunter Kiss #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasy, Demons, Paranormal fantasy, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 22nd May – 19th June 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Ace Fantasy
Year: 2008
5th sentence, 74th page: For the first time in my life, I did not care.

Synopsis

Silver smoke winds around my torso, peeling away from my ribs and back, stealing the dark mist covering my hands and lower extremities…tattoos dissolving into demon flesh, coalescing into small dark bodies. My boys. The only friends I have in this world. Demons.

I am a demon hunter. I am a demon. I am Hunter Kiss.

By day, her tattoos are her armor. By night, they unwind from her body to take on forms of their own–demons of the flesh, turned into flesh. This is the only family demon hunter Maxine Kiss has ever known. It’s the only way to live, and the very way she’ll die. For one day her demons will abandon her for her daughter to assure their own survival–leaving Maxine helpless against her enemies.

But such is the way of Earth’s last protector–the only one standing between humanity and the demons breaking out from behind the prison veil. It is a life lacking in love, reveling in death, until one moment–and one man– changes everything…

Thoughts

I’ve been hanging to fully get into this series since I read the first Hunter Kiss novella. But, for whatever reasons I’ve been putting it off. But, now I’m definitely going to keep diving into this series. There’s the whole intrigue of the end of the world going on. And a question of heart. A question of loyalty. There’s just a whole lot of wow going on.

I like that Maxine is the first if the hunter women to actually stop and put down roots. They’re still unconventional. But they are roots, nonetheless. It creates a wonderful, sweet and nice world that she is able to rely on. And, since this whole series seems like its going to revolve around the idea that maxine is special and last… it just adds that extra layer of mystery.

I really loved the feeling of mystery and world building that Liu was able to create. I know from some of the other works I’ve read by her that she tends towards a darker style of story. I know that my heart strings are going to be plucked drastically throughout this series.

The boys that surround marine are also adorable. I’m sure that finding demons adorable is a bit odd… but nevertheless, I still find them wonderful. And im not sure if I’m excited for Darkness Calls for the continuation of the storyline… or getting to spend more time with Maxine’s “boys”

<- Hunter KissDarkness Calls ->

Image source: Goodreads

Neanderthal Seeks (Extra) Yarns by Penny Reid

Overview
Neanderthal Seeks (Extra) Yarns by Penny Reid

Title: Neanderthal Seeks (Extra) Yarns
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Knitting in the City #8
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Chic lit, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 14th – 17th June 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: SmartyPants Romance
Year: 2018
5th sentence, 74th page: “I just hate this.”

Synopsis

There are three things you should know about this book

1) It contains deleted scenes,
2) It contains bonus scenes,
3) Almost all the characters know how to knit.

If you find yourself missing y our favourite knitting group, this volume contains a comprehensive collection of all the bonus scenes, deleted scenes, and short stories available for the Knitting in the City series.

Janie & Quinn’s deleted (love) scene from ‘Neanderthal Seeks Human’ as well as ‘Neanderthal and Human seek Baby’ parts 1&2 are included. You can also read four deleted scenes from Elizabeth & Nico’s book, or an original, exclusive short story about Sandra & Alex. Ashley & Drew have two deleted scenes and two bonus scenes, and readers will get a chance to read never before shared content from Fiona & Greg, Marie & Matt, and Dan & Kat’s novels.

Thoughts

Surprisingly, this is the first Knitting in the City book that I wouldn’t give 5 stars. I mean, I still loved it and seriously enjoyed it. But compared to the other novels… it just didn’t hit me in the same happy place.

I think mostly this didn’t get me all spine tingly happy like the other novels is that I felt like there was amazing closure at the end of each romance. So, where I normally want to dive straight into the next one… I didn’t feel quite as strongly about getting extra closure. Particularly with the ending of Marriage of Inconvenience… that epilogue tied everything up perfectly.

There were some amazingly good standouts in this collection. Neanderthal Seeks Baby was very cute. Particularly since I read this when pregnant. So was Scenes from the Hallway with Dan and Kat… although not quite as good as Janie and Quinn expecting. But, probably my favourite of all… Sandra and Alex’s extra stories. I get so much mileage out of these characters.

Although I ranked this lower than the other books in the Knitting in the City series… I still seriously enjoyed it. And, honestly? If I need a fix of these wonderful women but don’t have the time to read the big novels… this will be a perfect go to.

<- Marriage of InconvenienceMore Penny Reid ->

Image source: Goodreads

Marriage of Inconvenience by Penny Reid

Overview
Marriage of Inconvenience by Penny Reid

Title: Marriage of Inconvenience
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Knitting in the City #7
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Chic lit, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 11th – 14th June 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: SmartyPants Romance
Year: 2018
5th sentence, 74th page: Sandra’s suggestion that I do sexy research distracted me.

Synopsis

There are three things you should know about Kat Tanner

(aka Kathleen Tyson… and yes, she is that Kathleen Tyson):
1) She’s determined to make good decisions
2) She must get married ASAP, and
3) She knows how to knit.

Determined to live a quiet life, Kat Tanner changed her identity years ago and eschewed her family’s legacy. But now, Kat’s silver spoon past has finally caught up with her, and so have her youthful mistakes. To avoid imminent disaster, she must marry immediately: it is essential that the person she chooses have no romantic feelings for her whatsoever and be completely trustworthy.

Fortunately, she knows exactly who to ask. Dan O’Malley checks all the boxes. Except, what happens when Dan O’Malley isn’t as indifferent – or as trustworthy – as she thought?

Thoughts

Kat and Dan have been on the edge of the Knitting in the City stories from very early on. So it was kind of fitting that they were also the last couple to round everything out. Their story was longer than the others. Not just in the pre-book build up. But also just in general length of story. And it was most definitely fitting…

This story was a good reminder that communication is ridiculously important. I mean, most of Kat and Dan’s issues come from them making assumptions and just NOT COMMUNICATING. If they weren’t so damn cute, it’d be fracking frustrating. Luckily, they quickly realise not to be so dense and actually figure out that sharing thoughts is important to a relationship.

I love how Reid touched upon schizophrenia in this story. The fear when it’s in your family, how people perceive it. And, in the case of this story, how it can be used against a person. I felt like Penny perfectly highlighted the judgement that comes along with such a diagnosis and honestly, how terrifying it can be.

I loved everything about Kat and Dan. I also loved how the epilogue rounded out their story. Actually, not just theirs, but all of the women I’ve fallen in love with throughout this tale. It was a happily ever after. But one that highlighted that even after the happy ending… there’s still a whole lot of happy to be lived.

<- Dating-ishNeanderthal Seeks (Extra) Yarns ->

Image source: Goodreads

Fragile Magic by Sharon Ashwood

Overview
Image result for the mammoth book of paranormal romance 2 book cover

Title: Fragile Magic
Author: Sharon Ashwood
In: The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance 2 (Trisha Telep)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Gargoyles, Paranormal romance
Dates read: 11th June 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: No!

Synopsis

Selina finds herself the unwitting rescuer of a gargoyle. But, as she meets the steamy new vet and her ancestry is revealed… things go from steamy to hectic.

Thoughts

I really enjoyed this short story. After all, it features a gargoyle as a pet. I mean, there’s romance and fey and werewolves. But for me, the selling point is the fact that she decides to adopt a gargoyle as a pet!!! I mean… how awesome is that?!?!

I love how Selina is constantly at war with herself and trying to figure out what to do with her life. We all have warring sides of ourselves, and it’s always difficult to balance them. It was nice the way that Selina was able to do this by the end of the story.

I loved the extra twist of having a werewolf transformation in the middle of a vet. It added a nice layer of excitement and spice. I mean, the romance was also good. But mostly it was the other aspects of this story that I loved. And Gary the Gargoyle.

<- The Sin-Eater’s PromiseNightDrake ->

Image source: Amazon

Dating-ish by Penny Reid

Overview
Dating-ish (Knitting in the City, #6) by Penny Reid

Title: Dating-ish
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Knitting in the City #6
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Chic lit, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 10th June 2021
Pace:  Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: SmartyPants Romance
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: He was also shirtless and barefoot, wearing red loose-fitting pants that resembled a billowy sarong.

Synopsis

There are three things you should know about Marie Harris

1) She’s fed up with online dating,
2) She’s so fed up, she’s willing to forego the annoyance and consider more creative alternatives, and
3) She knows how to knit.

After the most bizarre first date in the history of dates, Marie is looking for an alternative to men. With the help of her friends, she quickly identifies a few possibilities: Need a cuddle? Use a professional cuddler. Need affirmation? Get yourself a life coach. Need an orgasm? Try orgasm meditation!

Why does she need the hassle of a romantic partner when she can meet all her needs with paid services? But then her irritating date resurfaces. And he’s not at all the person she thought he was. And he suggests a different – and crazier – solution to her dilemma…

Thoughts

I was so hoping that Matt would make an appearance in one of the romances when he was introduced in Happily Ever Ninja. There is something adorably geeky and off kilter about him that left me wishing / hoping for more. The fact that he then gets partnered with Marie? It’s enough to leave a girl grinning and dancing around like a fool.

You don’t really get much of Marie in many of the Knitting in the City stories until Happily Ever Ninja. She’s there, and she’s paetly responsible for the fiasco at Janie’s hens party… but thats about it. It, of course, made me more intrigued to meet her.

This is a great friend’s to lovers story. I love that even when trying to pinpoint their moment of falling, neither can. For some of the characters in this universe, love is an instantaneous thing. I love that for Marie and Matt it is the creation of friendship that slowly leads them to where the want and need to be. After all, some of the greatest loves are built on a foundation of friendship…

Just like every other Penny Reid book, I absolutely loved this. I sunk into the pages of this story from the beginning and couldn’t wait to see how the latest romance would blossom. It left me smiling and grinning. Plus, I had a nice note on which to end a long day… one that sent me to my dreams with a smile on my face.

<- Happily Ever NinjaMarriage of Inconvenience ->

Image source: Goodreads

A Southern Girl’s Guide to Plant-Based Eating by Cametria Hill

Overview
A Southern Girl's Guide to Plant-Based Eating: Recipes from the Vegan Soul  that Won't Make You Broke by Cametria Hill

Title: A Southern Girl’s Guide to Plant-Based Eating
Author: Cametria Hill
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Cookbook
Dates read: 23rd May – 10th June 2021
Pace: Slow
Format: Cookbook
Publisher: Sanctuary Publishers
Year: 2018
5th sentence, 74th page: Remove from heat.

Synopsis

Discover how to put Southern soul into plant-based cooking!

A Southern Girl’s Guide to Plant-Based Eating: Recipes from The Vegan Soul That Won’t Make You Go Broke will help guide your transition to plant-based eating and vegan living through dozens of Southern-infused recipes that will satisfy your soul.

You’ll find cooking tips, the low-down on food alternatives, a jumpstart week of meals for those new to plant-based eating, recipes for kitchen aces, tips for eating out, and much, much more!

If you want to learn how to cook like grandma & ‘nem vegan style, then Cametria’s got your back!

Thoughts

This is my first cookbook review, so im honestly not sure how it should go… I mean, I haven’t really tried any of the recipes, ao i can’t tell you how good they are. And I feel like I should cook them ALL to write a review. But then I realise that that would take a LOT of time and I probably won’t WANT to cook every single recipe…

The part of this cookbook that I love the most though, is the fact that it doesn’t just read like a recipe book. The first third is, in fact prose. Hill writes about her own journey to veganism. She writes about what vegan versus a plant-based diet is. And just generally introduces you to this world in a way that is incredibly approachable.

As a vegetarian, this is the perfect book to add to my shelves. And I can’t wait to try out the vegan aioli recipe… that just looks delicious!!! I also want to try and eat vegan as much as practical, either the eventual goal to go 100% vegan. And I honestly think this will become a bit of a bible for me. Not only is it filled with recipes, but also flavour tips and good substitutions.

I’m so glad that I spent the money on this cookbook. And, as my first cookbook to review, I think this was a fantastic start… although, now I just want to eat all of the recipes, without actually taking the time to cook them…

<- More Cametria HillMore cookbooks ->

Image source: Goodreads

Happily Ever Ninja by Penny Reid

Overview
Happily Ever Ninja (Knitting in the City, #5) by Penny Reid

Title: Happily Ever Ninja
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Knitting in the City #5
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Chic lit, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 8th – 10th June 2021
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel,
Publisher: SmartyPants Romance
Year: 2016
5th sentence, 74th page: Dear wife: I promise to do all I can to get you to stay.

Synopsis

There are three things you should know about Fiona Archer

I would tell you what they are, but then I’d have to kill you.

But I can tell you that Fiona’s husband, the always irrepressible and often cantankerous Greg Archer, is desperately in love with his wife. Yet as the years pass, Greg has begun to suspect that Fiona is a ninja. A ninja mom. A ninja wife. A ninja friend. After fourteen years of marriage, Greg is trying not to panic. Because Fiona’s talent for blending in is starting to resemble fading away.

But when unexpected events mean Fiona must take center stage to keep her family safe, her response stuns everyone Greg most of all. It seems like Greg’s wish has come true…

Expect… not.

Thoughts

I always love a good tale / contemporary romance about a married couple. That meet-cute / falling in love story is all well and good (and in the case of Fiona and Greg you can get that in Ninja at First Sight). But it’s the stories about the long haul and KEEPING the relationship going that I really love.

Of the Knitting in the City relationships, it’s definitely Fiona and Greg that I feel most attached to… I’ve been with my husband for 10 years and we fell in love at 18. And let me tell you, it takes WORK to keep the romance and relationship alive. Reid obviously understands that and shows just how true love can be. Even when you’re contemplating putting a chokehold on your significant other…

Ever since Fiona stabbed someone with a knitting needle in the first book, I’ve been intrigued by her ninja skills. The display of them in this novel is fantastic. And, humorous in many ways. Which, really is what I expect from Penny Reid. After all, she deals with off kilter leads, but she does it in such a light / wonderful / humorous way.

I’ve seen a lot on the Penny Reid Facebook page about Greg and Fiona. And now I completely understand all of the hype. It is very well deserved and left me with a huge grin on my face. I’m almost sad this story is over now…

<- Ninja at First SightDating-ish ->

Image source: Goodreads

The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay

Overview
The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay | 9781611854831 | Booktopia

Title: The Far Field
Author: Madhuri Vijay
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Historical fiction
Dates read: 16th May – 10th June 2021
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Grove Press UK
Year: 2019
5th sentence, 74th page: And so, just like that, my days were barren again.

Synopsis

In the wake of her mother’s death, Shalini, a privileged and restless young woman from Bangalore, sets out for a remote village in Kashmir. Certain that the loss of her mother is somehow connected to the decade-old disappearance of Bashir Ahmed, a charming Kashmiri salesman who frequented her childhood home, she is determined to confront him. But upon her arrival, Shalini is brought face to face with Kashmir’s politics, as well as the tangled history of the local family that takes her in. When life in the village turns volatile and old hatreds threaten to erupt into violence, Shalini finds herself forced to make a series of choices that could hold dangerous repercussions for the very people she has come to love.

Thoughts

This is one of those books that I know I’ll be returning to. Multiple times. With gusto. I loved the writing and the way that Vijay pulls you in from the very beginning. But I also know pretty much nothing about the history, politics and culture that take centre stage in this culture. So the whole experience of The Far Field was an education.

It’s not often that from the first sentence you are irreversibly drawn in and intrigued by the politics and such. There was just something about the opening line that made me sit up and pay attention. And I don’t physically fix my posture out of intrigue with books. Ever really.

I always love a good story with a flawed and growing protagonist. The voice of Shalini ticked all of my boxes. She’s on a fairly intense journey and you most definitely feel for her even as you kind of get frustrated with some of her choices. I particularly enjoyed how relatable she was, even though I’m from a starkly different background – it was still possible to feel connected.

All in all, as much as I loved the story and the message and everything about the book. It was the tone and style of writing that made me fall in love. I couldn’t take my eyes off Vijay’s words. She has such a talent and I would be intrigued to read more.

<- More Madhuri VijayMore historical fiction ->

Image source: Booktopia