Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Review - The Four Legendary Kingdoms by Matthew Reilly

The Four Legendary Kingdoms: A Jack West Jr Novel 4The Four Legendary Kingdoms: A Jack West Jr Novel 4 by Matthew Reilly
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Hardcover430 pages
Published October 18th 2016 by Macmillan Australia (first published October 8th 2016)
Source: Own Copy

'There are sixteen contestants, but only one will survive.

The last thing Jack West Jr remembers is arriving for a meeting at a top-secret military base with his family in tow.

Now he awakes to find himself in a hellish scenario. Jack has been selected to take part in the Games, a series of deadly challenges designed to fulfil an ancient ritual. If he chooses not to compete, both he and his daughter will be killed.

With the fate of the Earth at stake, Jack will have to traverse diabolical mazes, fight ruthless assassins and face unimaginable horrors that will test him to the limit.

In the process, he will discover the mysterious and powerful group of individuals behind it all: the four legendary kingdoms.'

My Thoughts:
So if you've read anything by Matthew Reilly before, especially the first three books in the Jack West Jr series, you'd have an idea that you were in for another wild, action filled ride with this one. And, yes, you would be 100% correct!

This instalment in the Jack West Jr series was definitely, hands down, my favourite one so far. I literally could not put it down and spent so many nights forcing myself to stop reading because my eyes were closing and losing focus. I haven't felt so invested and excited while reading a book like I did with this one in quite a while.

This book is your typical Reilly with non-stop, totally unbelievable action from the beginning all the way to the very end.

I really liked how human Jack West Jr was in this book. He got injured and felt tired like a regular person and wasn't always the absolute best at everything. Due to his intelligence and determination though, plus a bit of Reilly's typical over-the-top, cliffhanger moments, Jack managed once again to come out on top.

I also loved the historical aspects of this book and I thought they were inter-woven into the story so well again just as they were in the first three instalments.

There is no argument that Matthew Reilly is my favourite action/adventure author and I cannot wait for the next instalment in this series to be released.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Book Spotlight - Split Second by Kelli J. Miller

Biographies and Memoirs
Date Published: April 4, 2017

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When does the American Dream turn into a trap?
What does it mean to succeed?
What really gives meaning to our lives?
 Kelli Miller never had to worry about it – she had it all: a family, a career, a sprawling home, even an executive title.  She thought she’d escaped her Midwestern roots and was sailing towards a golden future.  Then, in a pivotal moment, confronted with the shadow of death, she found herself suddenly awake to the grim reality:  the dream had consumed her life, and left her lost and alone.

In Split Second, Kelli tells the story of how she set herself free, and recommitted herself to the most important pieces of her life:  family, community, and a new openness to experience.  It is the story of one woman’s journey to find out what really matters and where her happiness ultimately lay.

About the Author

Kelli Miller is a business executive specializing in Information Technology.  Her career includes thirty years working for some of the largest, most successful companies in America.  Kelli recently returned to her roots, farming her family’s farm with her husband, while continuing her technology career with a local mid-size manufacturing firm. Kelli is the mother of three. She loves to travel, hike and spend time in the simplicity and raw beauty of nature. 

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Saturday, June 17, 2017

Review - Talk of The Town by Rachael Johns

Talk Of The TownTalk Of The Town by Rachael Johns
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Kindle Edition416 pages
Published May 1st 2017 by MIRA
Source: Netgalley

'Lawson Cooper-Jones has two priorities in life – his son, Ned, and the survival of the dairy farm that has been in his family for generations. Despite the best efforts of the town matchmakers and the determined pursuit of local girl Adeline Walsh, Lawson’s heart belongs still, and only, to his late wife.
But when a flat tyre strands Lawson and Ned in nearby Rose Hill, he’s surprised to find a woman living alone in the old general store of the deserted town. Ned immediately forms a bond with the beautiful stranger called Meg, and Lawson is surprised to find himself captivated by her too.
Although shy at first, Meg starts to open up to him about the haunting secrets of her new home and, with Lawson unable to get her out of his head, they agree to investigate the history of the old building together. Soon they find their friendship has bloomed into something more.
But when meddling Adeline makes it her mission to uncover the truth about the newcomer and her real identity is revealed, Lawson and Meg’s budding romance comes crashing down. Can they both learn to forgive in order to claim a future for their damaged hearts?
A moving story of secrets, love and new beginnings from bestselling author Rachael Johns.'
My Thoughts:
Talk of The Town is an Aussie romance that contains just the right amount of drama, twists & turns, sadness and of course happiness in the end.

It also contains a slight paranormal aspect that I found intriguing and I would have loved this part to have been explored a little bit more within the story.

Overall I liked the main character Meg, but every now and then I did get slightly annoyed with how she took so long to say certain things about what she was thinking or feeling. I know this was to build suspense and give the story more to stand on but I felt that with this character her secrecy became a bit much after a while and every so often I'd find myself wanting to just shake her with frustration.

The plot itself was a believable enough story and it definitely kept me engaged until the end. I really like how Rachael Johns has the ability to write a romance novel without it being too ultra-sappy with enough interesting back story in addition to the romance angle going on. In my opinion this makes her stories a lot more relatable.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Promo Blitz - Dragonhunters by Garon Whited

Date Published: April 2017

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You don't become a hero for the money. The money's nice, sure, but you become a hero because something inside compels you, drives you to it. Defending people from monsters simply doesn't pay well enough to make it a good career move.

As for hunting dragons... well, the money is usually good, but the job really bites.

A group of five professional heroes goes into the lair of the dragon. Who will win?

Spoiler: The dragon.

But it turns out killing a hero sometimes does nothing more than make him even more determined.

Sometimes, heroes are never more dangerous than when they're dead!

About the Author

Garon Whited was born in Wichita, Kansas in 1969 or 1970; the original birth certificate is suspiciously unavailable and other records do not agree. After following his parents around the South for several years, he finally caught up to them and settled somewhere in Texarkana. Garon attended Texarkana College, the University of Fayetteville, and Texas A&M. While he was in college, he studied physics, math, robotics, religion, philosophy, psychology, and of course, girls.  Sadly, his grades were excellent in all but one of those categories. He is presently single.

He has also written novels and various short stories and shows no signs of stopping. Having fought zombie dolphins, quasi-corporeal spirits, and brain-sucking mole rats, he is uniquely qualified to write fantastic fiction. His first book, “Nightlord: Sunset,” features a human physics teacher who is turned into a vampire against his will and proceeds to go on fantastical adventures.

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Review - The Art of Keeping Secrets by Rachael Johns

The Art of Keeping SecretsThe Art of Keeping Secrets by Rachael Johns
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Ebook, 464 pages
Published September 19th 2016 by Harlequin MIRA
Source: Netgalley

'Little secrets grow up to be big lies…

They’ve been best friends since their sons started high school together, and Felicity, Emma and Neve share everything … or so they thought.

But Flick’s seemingly perfect marriage hides a shocking secret which, with one word, threatens to destroy her and her family’s happiness. Emma is in denial about a potential custody battle, her financial constraints, the exhaustion she can’t seem to shake off and the inappropriate feelings she has for her boss. And single mum Neve is harbouring a secret of her own; a secret that might forever damage her close-knit relationship with her son.

When the tight hold they have each kept on their secrets for years begins to slip, they must face the truth. Even if that truth has the power to hurt the ones they love, and each other.

Perhaps some secrets weren’t made to be kept.

My Thoughts:
Rachael Johns is fast becoming one of my favourite Aussie female authors.

The Art of Keeping Secrets had me totally engaged from the start and I really enjoyed how each chapter was broken up to focus on one character at a time while still managing to meld all of the story together as one.

I loved all three of the main characters, Felicity, Emma and Neve and thought they were all portrayed in such a realistic manner. I felt like I could relate to them all in some way or another.

I also really liked that although there were snippets of romance in this book here and there, it wasn't the main focus and there were so many other meaningful and engaging parts to the story line. This book literally had me going through a variety of emotions ranging from sadness one minute, to anger the next and then seriously happy.

Rachael Johns is definitely one author I get excited about reading now and I would highly recommend this book as her best one yet in my opinion.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Review - The Bride Wore Size 12 by Meg Cabot

The Bride Wore Size 12 (Heather Wells, #5)The Bride Wore Size 12 by Meg Cabot
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Ebook, 392 pages
Published September 24th 2013 by William Morrow Paperbacks
Source: Publisher for review

'Heather Wells is used to having her cake and eating it too, but this time her cake just might be cooked. Her wedding cake, that is.

With her upcoming nuptials to PI Cooper Cartwright only weeks away, Heather's already stressed. And when a pretty junior turns up dead, Heather's sure things can't get worse—until every student in the dorm where she works is a possible suspect, and Heather's long-lost mother shows up.

Heather has no time for a tearful mother and bride reunion. She has a wedding to pull off and a murder to solve. Instead of wedding bells, she might be hearing wedding bullets, but she's determined to bring the bad guys to justice if it's the last thing she does . . . and this time, it just might be.'

My Thoughts:
This was my first ever Meg Cabot novel and unfortunately it just missed the mark for me. I was constantly left wanting more, and not in a good way. There just weren't enough plot twists or action to keep my full attention.

Maybe I would have enjoyed it better if I'd started reading from the first in the series and seen how the characters developed along the way because even though they were all realistic enough, none of them seemed to have much depth and Heather seemed to be a bit over the top sometimes in my opinion. Cooper was probably the most interesting character of them all so it would have been nice to see a bit more of him in the story, but everyone else seemed a little bland.

I can't help but compare Heather to one of my favourite female characters, Stephanie Plum from the Janet Evanovich novels and she doesn't even come close to being as interesting.

One bonus was that I didn't guess the ending so that is one thing that always makes me happy but unfortunately the whole story seemed a little fluffy for me and lacked enough substance to make me want to read the earlier books in the series.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Review - Plant Craft: 30 Projects that Add Natural Style to Your Home by Caitlin Atkinson

Plant Craft: 30 Projects that Add Natural Style to Your HomePlant Craft: 30 Projects that Add Natural Style to Your Home by Caitlin Atkinson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
256 pages
Published October 5th 2016 by Timber Press
Source: Netgalley for review

'Not everyone has a garden—but with only a handful of materials and a little bit of time, everyone can bring the beauty of nature into their home. Plant Craft features projects inspired by the natural world and made out of live plants, cut flowers, foraged branches, and more. You’ll learn how to create a colorful floral mural, an elegant table centerpiece, a serene underwater sculpture, a whimsical mobile, and more. The step-by-step instructions are clear, easy to follow, and fully illustrated with color photographs, and the projects vary in difficulty. Given the right care, they all have the potential to grace a home for a long time.'

My Thoughts:
I found this to be such a beautiful and inspiring book. It has easy to follow instructions and really makes you want to get some more greenery around the home or to make as gifts to family and friends.

There is loads of information at the start covering things such as the best materials to use, the best types of plants, lighting, temperature, containers, general care and maintenance plus common problems.

All of the projects give extensive instructions along with their materials and tools list plus alternative suggestions. Lots of pictures accompany each step of the building and assembly process with the ideal watering, light, temperature and maintenance applicable to each project as well.

There really are some great ideas in this book ranging from those that are quite easy and don't require too many materials, to those that are a little bit more complex and time consuming depending on your preference.

Overall this would make a great coffee table book as well as a lovely gift for anyone who is a bit crafty and loves plants or do-it-yourself projects.

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