Unspeakable: A Deadly Secrets Novel. ARC Book Review.

Title: Unspeakable – A Deadly Secrets Novel

Author: Elisabeth Naughton

Published: Montlake Romance

Year: 2018

“At what should have been one of the tensest moments of his life, Rusty laughed. And for the first time, he was glad he wasn’t alone.”

Unspeakable

‘All his siblings have moved on from their troubling pasts, but Rusty McClane can’t leave his behind. Not even when his freedom is in jeopardy. Legal investigator Harper Blake can sense a bad boy. She’s drawn to them—like she is to her mysterious and brooding new client. The police believe that Rusty is involved with the case of a missing underage girl. Harper’s job is to find evidence to defend him. But is her sexy suspect a predator…or something else? If Rusty is guilty of anything, it’s of stirring something primitive in Harper. The closer they get, the harder it is to believe the worst of him. But in an underworld filled with sex trafficking, kidnapping, and murder, Harper will need to be cautious about whom she trusts. Because Rusty isn’t the only one with secrets.’

Fast-paced, raunchy as hell sex scenes and deep dark twisty shit that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Love, love, loved this book! Only took me a day to read it, I went to bed early just so I could keep reading and I stayed up until 3 AM to finish it. The drama, the romance, the sex, the emotions, all written so well I felt like I was living through it myself.   I really felt the connection between Rusty and Harper, their relationship was so similar to my own with my partner so I really related to what they were going through, falling in love and learning to trust, not only each other, but trust that they deserved the happiness they were finally feeling after both having such a rough past.

I can see why Elisabeth is a best-selling author, her writing flows, she creates suspense and keeps you wanting more. She writes with confidence and doesn’t shy away from sex, she puts a fire in your belly you can’t put out. This book was also quite humorous and had a great family aspect where you feel warm and comforted knowing there are good people and good families out there. I absolutely loved how everything tied together in the end, very clever storytelling. Elisabeth shows she can create a relationship as well as connect her readers with her characters, which is no small feat for an author. TO make you want to care, to make you invested in a characters outcome, even if they’re not the main character. I was just as concerned for some of the supporting roles as I was for Rusty and Harper.

Those who love Nora Roberts and Jackie Collins will absolutely adore Elisabeth Naughton, I for one can’t wait to read more!

Rating out of 10: 10

Unspeakable will be available in November 2018. You can pre-order it here: Unspeakable

 

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Kindle Vs. Hardcopy.

Ah the age old question, Kindle E-copy or proper hardcopy/paperback? For so long I said “no way will I ever get a Kindle, I can’t cheat on my books like that!”, it genuinely felt like I’d be betraying my books and that I’d be contributing to the loss of bookstores and public libraries. So what changed my mind? Well it was a series of novellas written by Kylie Chan, she only released them on Amazon as e-copies and I absolutely could not miss out on reading them just because I was being stubborn. I did a lot of research so I could weigh the pros and cons of e-books over real books. My partner ended up buying me a Kindle Paperwhite for my birthday and I haven’t been parted from it since. I found the paperwhite model to be perfect for me and didn’t cost an arm and a leg. The Kindle Unlimited feature is by far the best bang for you buck I’ve ever encountered. $14 per month for hundred of thousands of titles? Hell yeah! Everyday there are specials from all genres where books will only cost you $1.49, you’ll never get that anywhere else except for perhaps a thrift shop or garage sale. And you can store endless amounts of books on there too. Oh and did I mention you can get the Kindle app on your Smartphone? Everything you buy on your Kindle automatically syncs to your app so no matter what, you can bring multiple books with you everywhere and for someone like me who likes to read 4 or 5 books at once, this is a lifesaver. I used to take a huge book bag to work with the 3-5 books I was currently reading, it was so heavy, but it was necessary because I never knew what I was going to feel like reading, with a Kindle that is never something you have to worry about. And I know what you’re thinking, but Jen, what about real books and book stores? I still read real books, I still go to my public library and borrow regularly and the few bookstores that are left, I still go to when I have the money (which unfortunately isn’t as often as I would like). Nothing compares to the feeling and the smell of a new or borrowed book so that is not something I’ll ever give up for good. Also the cover artwork on most of the novels I read are absolutely stunning and unfortunately the Kindle Paperwhite is only black and white so you don’t get the full effect of a beautiful fantasy novel cover, they still look great as you’ll see below but not quite the same as the hardcopy. Sometimes if a book on Amazon is cheap enough I will buy it for my Kindle and buy a hardcopy to keep too. I should probably start receiving commission from Amazon with the amount of Kindle’s I’ve convinced people to buy, none of them have regretted it either, promise!

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Look how clear the image is! The brightness is only half way up too.

I nearly forgot to mention possibly the best feature of the Paperwhite, it has a MULTIPLE MONTH BATTERY LIFE. I use my Kindle everyday usually for 2-3 hours, and I never turn it off. I’ve had it for a year and a half and I swear I’ve only charged it maybe 4 times. It has a backlight that you can dim or increase to suit you, finally I can read my book in bed and not keep my partner and puppy awake! You can also easily skip forward and back in the book and highlight passages/quotes you want to post or keep. You can purchase all different covers to protect your Kindle, it makes it a little bit bulkier but at least you have piece of mind that it’s safe no matter what.

Another amazing feature Kindle’s have is Goodreads. Goodreads is a magical place where you can connect with other likeminded readers and share your thoughts and opinions and reviews. I love the world of books Goodreads opened up for me, I love the people I’ve become friends with through writing reviews and I love that they have regular competitions and giveaways along with interviews with authors! It connects us all in a way real books just can’t, unless you’re in a book club, which lets face it, are more of an online thing now anyway! I must be part of 10 different book clubs right now, all of them online. Without my Kindle I don’t think I would have even thought to start this blog. Posting reviews to Goodreads was what got me interested in writing even more for myself. Okay so you’re probably wondering if I’m getting paid to write this by Amazon because of how much praise I’m giving, I assure you, I’m definitely not! I genuinely believe this piece of technology is a must have for avid readers. So what are you waiting for? A magical world awaits!

You can buy your very own Kindle Paperwhite here: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Or at JB HIFI here: JB HIFI Kindle Paperwhite

 

Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy Book Two)

Title: Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy book two)

Author: Deborah Harkness

Published: Headline Publishing Group

Year: 2012

“It began with a discovery of witches…”

Shadow of Night

Historian Diana Bishop, descended from a line of powerful witches, and long-lived vampire Matthew Clairmont have broken the laws dividing creatures. When Diana discovered a significant alchemical manuscript, she sparked a struggle in which she became bound to Matthew. Now the fragile coexistence of witches, daemons, vampires and humans is dangerously threatened. Seeking safety, Diana and Matthew travel back in time to London, 1590. But they soon realise that the past may not provide a haven…

OK so it took me a little over a year to read the whole book. It’s a big book. It’s a slow book. It has a lot of content and characters and if you’ve read the first one and thought there was a lot of tedious conversations and a lot of history you’ll find it hard to believe there is even more in this one. Now you probably think i hated the book, but i didn’t! I just really struggled to stay focused on it. It isn’t a book you can just pick up one afternoon and read the whole thing. There’s a lot going on and a lot to process so i found myself getting overwhelmed quite regularly and had to put it down and pick it up either a couple of days or even a couple of months later, hence it taking me so long to complete it.

Matthew and Diana travel back in time to Elizabethan London and Diana learns a lot more about Matthew straight off the bat. ‘”Just who are you, Matthew?” I hadn’t thought to ask him before we departed.’ This sentence really sums up A LOT about their relationship. Diana realising she has been a bit reckless and learnt virtually nothing about the man she is now magically tied to, not that it changes the way she feels about him.  We are introduced to new characters, members of the School of Night which include Christopher Marlowe (who is a Daemon who goes by the name Kit), Walter Raleigh, Thomas Harriet, George Chapman and more. The historian that Diana is can barely contain her excitement and disbelief that Matthew not only know these people but is friend to them as well! I enjoyed the name dropping in the beginning but they didn’t end up adding much to the story/plot which was disappointing. I’m really glad Deborah didn’t write everything in Elizabethan English, it would have grown tedious quickly. I found it very clever of her to explain how much Diana was struggling with it, that was enough reference for me. Gallowglass, Matthews brother, became my favourite character virtually as soon as he was introduced mostly because of his relationship with Diana that blossoms so naturally.

The reason they traveled back in time finally comes back into the picture, they need to find a witch professor to teach Diana her magic. They find one and it goes about as well as you’d expect (not well at all) and now Diana may be in even more danger. So now they have to leave and go somewhere safer and find someone else to teach her, they end up travelling to Sept Tours and the Village of Saint-Lucien and we’re introduced to Matthew’s vampire father, Phillippe, who i adore instantly. Not all of Matthew’s family that we meet are as likable, some i downright hated.

Diana learning her magic, how to weave the strands of time and discovering she has a fire-drake were all interesting points in the story. There were a few twists and unexpected turns, more travelling to different places like Prague and discovering all the different things Matthew was involved in. I’ve read a lot of other reviews for this book and most disliked the ending, i myself found it was well suited and made me curious to what would come in the final book. Part of the ending also made me quite emotional, Diana went through so much in this book which you don’t really full take in at the time, so when she is finally reunited with loved ones you can’t help but feel for her. Speaking of the end of the book, there is a list of all the characters (because there are so, so many) and descriptions of them so if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed like i was, flip to the back of the book and you’ll find your way back on track. I wish i had known about the list when i first read it!

Book two didn’t grab me like the first did, i’m glad i persisted and finished it though because book three is just stunning so i’ll be posting a review for that very soon.

Rating out of 10: 6

You can find book two here: Shadow of Night

 

 

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy Book One). Book Review.

Title: A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy Book One)

Author: Deborah Harkness

Year: 2011

Published: Viking Penguin

‘Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries and she is the only creature who can break its spell.’

Discovery of Witches

This book, this series, has everything you could possibly want in a story. Love, history, libraries, witchcraft, adventure, time travel and more. If you love tales the likes of Harry Potter or Twilight you will enjoy this read, especially as it’s a more adult version of those stories. I absolutely adore book one, I’ve read it three times now and it just gets better and better each time. Deborah writes so well, she makes you feel and she makes you connect to the characters on a level no other author has done to me before. Okay now in saying that i did also have some issues, mostly with one vampire in particular, our male lead, Matthew Clairmont who is an attractive professor of biochemistry and neuroscience. He spends far too much time bossing Diana around, growling at her and everyone else (he is a generally mopey character as he’s been alive a long time and has had quite a depressing past). He controls her, essentially, and she just lets him so that’s a bit of a problem for me because come on, she is a scholar, she’s a freaking witch! And she’s letting a vampire tell her what to do? It’s just a bit unrealistic to me.

The other issue i had was the book is a little bit too long and too much time is spent on arbitrary things like what Diana is eating for instance. I feel a good 200 pages could have probably been cut, especially since this is the first book in a series. Too many adjectives used, i mean do we really need 5 different ways to describe the taste of a cup of tea or wine? Not really. I understand it’s a way to help you be in the moment but you can do that with a sentence.

Diana is such a powerful character in the beginning and i love her family, her Aunt and Aunt’s partner are so eccentric, so loving and funny. They all care so much for each other and are fiercely protective, especially when meeting Matthew. Witches and Vampires aren’t supposed to fall in love and be together, the congregation won’t allow it so when Diana brings one “home” to her Aunt you can bet she wasn’t too impressed. What i wish hadn’t changed was Diana’s independence, falling in love doesn’t have to mean giving up yourself which is exactly what she does. This is a journey of self-discovery for her and yet she is more enamoured with discovering the dark secrets Matthew has than being in awe of the magic she possesses.

There is a scene in the story that really got under my skin and i think you’ll know exactly which when you read it, it was heart stopping and had me wondering if there would even be a happy ending. One thing Deborah writes really well is the romance and “sex scenes”, she gives you a sense of true desire while keeping it relatively PG (these scenes reminded me a bit of Twilight actually).

This book got so many mixed reviews, a lot of negative ones too, which i think is because this is not an easy read, and the people who gave it negative reviews probably thought it was. There is so much depth, both in characters and in the rich history. Deborah has clearly done her research and managed to seamlessly incorporate true history into fiction, a feat few authors accomplish. All i can say to those who start this book and struggle, don’t give up too soon, it is so worth getting through it, especially to get to the third and final book which is an absolute masterpiece.

Rating out of 10: 8.5

You can find book one here: A Discovery of Witches

You can find book two here: Shadow of Night (book two) 

I’ll be putting up a review for Book Two shortly.

 

 

Stalking Jack the Ripper. Book Review.

Title: Stalking Jack the Ripper

Author: Kerri Maniscalco

Published: James Patterson Books

Year: 2016

“He murdered women in cold blood. He terrorised an entire city. He taunted those of us who hunted him down. But despite all these horrors, in the end, i could not deny it…I was the girl who loved The Ripper.”

Stalking Jack the Ripper.jpg

I am the girl who loves Jack the Ripper. I studied him in school when we were given the option in English to choose any topic to write about, i chose him. I got an A plus for the assignment in which i included the postmortems of the victims and pictures of the murders, but i also received a concerned comment from the teacher who thought my interest went a little bit too far. I didn’t care. I’ve loved all things horror since i was 8 years old and watched my first horror movie with my best friend, Benjamin. Since then i have always had a deep interest in serial killers, especially real ones.

I connected to Audrey Rose instantly, if any character were written specifically for me, it’s this one. I absolutely adore Kerri’s writing and as a long time fan of James Patterson, buying this book was a no-brainer. It took me so long to find, all my local bookshops were sold out of their stock, i ended up having to order it online, i mean yes i could have bought the Kindle version but HAVE YOU SEEN HOW GORGEOUS THE COVER ART IS? Sorry for the caps but seriously, IT’S BEAUTIFUL. So i had to have the proper copy. One of my favourite things about this gorgeous novel is how accurate it was and how she included sketches throughout the book on how the postmortems were conducted. She also created sketches of what the notebooks the students used would have looked like and images of the actual letters left by Jack the Ripper in 1888. Incredible.

sketch from JTR

I imagine sketches like these could make some queasy, i myself found them an excellent addition to the story and really helped put me into the mind of Audrey and Thomas. 

So a little about the story…

Audrey Rose is a student of forensic medicine, taught by her Uncle, she is also a lady, a lord’s daughter in the year 1888 in London. Her life as a student has been forbidden and as such is kept secret from the strict father. Another student by the name of Thomas, is her counterpart and also her love interest. The moment she lay eyes on him the attraction was there and vice versa, though she will let nothing get in the way of her studies. Her Uncle allows her to attend school under him however she must dress as a boy and behave as such so no one knows otherwise, only Thomas knows who she really is. A string of savage corpses keep showing up and the students are to examine them which drags Audrey and Thomas into an investigation of a serial killer. They must be careful, smart and cunning, just like the killer. 

There are so many twists and turns in this story, i love how Kerri keeps a sense of humour throughout even though some events are so gruesome that you can’t help but get goosebumps! I truly did not expect the way the story ended. The connection between Audrey and Thomas and also Audrey’s connection to her brother really had me intrigued. I also want to thank Kerri for keeping true to the events of the past. I’ve read many books and seen all the movies regarding Jack the Ripper, I’ve also downloaded the postmortems which are available to all online nowadays, and the accuracy of all the tiny details is immaculate and the way she was able to manipulate those details to suit the fictional aspects of the story is truly what makes this book shine. It took me all of 5 hours to finish this book, i spent my day off reading it and only put it down to make a cup of tea! I can absolutely see why it is a New York Times Bestseller. I urge you to grab a copy as soon as you finish reading this, you will not regret it!

Rating out of 10: 11

You can find copies here: Stalking Jack the Ripper

Dance Upon the Air. Book Review.

Title: Dance Upon the Air (Three Sisters Island Trilogy Book One)

Author: Nora Roberts

Published: Piatkus

Year: 2001

‘Sometimes it takes a stranger to unlock your heart…’

Dance Upon the Air

Easily in my top 5 books of all time, the pages and cover of my copy are so worn because I’ve read it at least 15 times. I read this book when I want to feel inspired, when I’m feeling like I’m not the strong woman I know I am and when I need a dose of magic from my fellow sisters. Nora Roberts is my favourite author of all time. I own just about all of her books. I love the way she writes, I love what she writes about, I particularly love her trilogies, especially when they’re centred around magic. Nora uses the same formula for most of her books, but rather than becoming lackluster and predictable, they continue to shine and thrive.

‘She had died so she could live…’

Our first main character goes by the name of Nell Channing, though that wasn’t always the case. Nell is creating a new life for herself, she’s travelled many miles and felt a magnetic pull to Three Sisters Island, a quiet, peaceful place perfect for new beginnings. I love following Nell’s journey, I love the way she thinks and feels and acts. I felt a kinship to this character from the get go, almost as if we were actually sisters. Nell stumbles across a book store-café and gets the job of cook there. She meets a handsome young cop by the name of Zack Todd. The Todd’s have lived on Three Sisters for many generations. Though on edge due to his profession, Nell can’t deny the sparks between them and cautiously explores her feelings for him. Nell discovers that the island suffers from a terrible curse, one that can only be broken by the descendants of the Three Sisters, the witches who settled on the island back in 1692. With the help of two other strong, gifted women, Nell must find the power within to save her new home, her new love and herself.

We’re joining Nell in her journey but we also have some extremely strong and interesting supporting characters, people you immediately love and care for. I cannot praise this story enough, it has everything you could possibly want in it, magic, romance, suspense, not to mention some adult scenes… You will fly through this book, you will devour it hungrily as if you’ve been starved for your whole life not knowing that this story is what you needed to satiate your hunger. As soon as you’ve finished I guarantee you’ll be picking up book two, Heaven and Earth, immediately.

You can find book one of the Three Sisters Island Trilogy here: Dance Upon the Air

Rating out of 10: 11!

2018 Reading List

My goal for 2018 is to read 100 books, doubling my amount from 2017. To hold myself accountable i thought i’d post my read-so-far list here. I’ll also add links to those I’ve posted reviews for so far! I’m a little behind on my goal, i have about 5 books i’m reading right now, i can’t help but switch between books sometimes. You’ll notice a recurring theme of authors, once i find an author i love i try to read everything they’ve ever produced. I’d love to hear about what everyone else has been reading, feel free to leave your list in the comments!

  1. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao
  2. Golden Age (Shifting Tides Book One) by James Maxwell
  3. Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Manisalco
  4. Hunting Price Dracula by Kerri Manisalco
  5. Year One by Nora Roberts
  6. Cargo by Jessica Au
  7. Silver Road (Shifting Tides Book Two) by James Maxwell
  8. The Liar by Nora Roberts
  9. Designer by Marius Gabriel
  10. Fired up, Frantic and Freaked out by Laura VanArendank
  11. Copper Chain (Shifting Tides Book Three) by James Maxwell
  12. Don’t Tell by Karen Rose
  13. Iron Will (Shifting Tides Book Four) by James Maxwell
  14. Society of Wishes by Elise Kova Society of Wishes. Book Review.
  15. Mademoiselle Chanel by C.W. Gartner
  16. What Happened by Hilary Clinton
  17. Earth is Hiring by Peta Jean Kelly
  18. The $1000 Project by Canna Campbell
  19. Air Awakens (Book One of Air Awakens Series) by Elise Kova
  20. Fire Falling (Book Two of Air Awakens Series) by Elise Kova
  21. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (12th re-read) by J.K.Rowling
  22. Earth’s End (Book Three of Air Awakens Series) by Elise Kova
  23. Water’s Wrath (Book Four of Air Awakens Series) by Elise Kova
  24. Crystal Crowned (Book Five of Air Awakens Series) by Elise Kova
  25. The Devil’s Disciple by Glenn Meade The Devil’s Disciple Book Review
  26. Throne of Glass (Book One) by Sarah J. Mass
  27. Crown of Midnight (Book Two) by Sarah J. Mass
  28. The Witches of Blackbrook by Tish Thawer The Witches of Blackbrook (Book One of Series). Book Review.
  29. What Manner of Love is This? by Dani Daniels What Manner of Love is This? Book Review.
  30. Empress Orchid by Anchee Min