Book Review: The Awakening by Stuart Meczes

I haven’t read a YA novel in a while and so when I saw this ebook of The Awakening by Stuart Meczes, I couldn’t wait to give it a go. I find YA books quick and easy to read with really great stories. This ebook is the first part of an urban fantasy series called The Hasea Chronicles. The second and third instalments are The Veil Corruption and Without A Heartbeat.

                 The Awakening by Stuart Meczes

Book Description

Alexander Eden is one unhappy teenager. A geeky, social pariah, he’s the victim of constant bullying at school. His home life isn’t much better with a stepfather who resents him and a half brother who is better than him at everything.

But that all changes the day the mysterious and beautiful Gabriella De Luca walks into his life. Everyone wants to know her, to be with her. But she is interested in Alex.
Because Alex is different.

Soon afterwards he is thrown into a world he never thought possible. A world where he and others like him are the last line of defence. A world where an ancient unspeakable evil lurks.
Evil which seeks to consume him.

DILECTI SURGEMUS – SOCII POLLEMUS
(Chosen we rise – Allied we prevail) 

The Awakening by Stuart Meczes
I have never read a fantasy series that has taken my breath away like The Awakening did with me. I have been totally hooked on this series, and as I write this I am halfway through the second instalment – The Veil Corruption. But I had to stop to write this review on The Awakening!
Stuart Meczes has created a brilliant concept of another world called Pandemonium which has endured an ‘endless war’ for centuries combining it with our world where a group called The Chosen protect our world from the evil that is trying to get across. 
The main character Alex Eden starts the story off by being a normal teenager that gets cruelly picked on at school and is subsequently a geeky loner. His life is the same everyday, trying to avoid getting picked on by the school bully. One day his life changes when a new student called Gabriella De Luca shows up in his class. From here on she helps him discover the real Alex and helps him through his ‘Awakening’. 
It is very rare for me to love absolutely everything about a book, but this is definitely one of them. It gives you the story of a journey for a young man, through love, loss and survival. 
I have given The Awakening by Stuart Meczes 5 out of 5 stars.
Rachel xx
Disclaimer: I was given this ebook to read and review free of charge. All views and opinions expressed are my own. Book cover image and book cover description taken from Tomoson.com.

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Book Review: Green Beans and Summer Dreams by Catherine Ferguson

As soon as I saw the title of this book Green Beans and Summer Dreams by Catherine Ferguson, I knew I would love to read it. With Green Beans in the title I knew it would involve gardening of some sort, and I wasn’t wrong. 
I requested to read this book from NetGalley, due to the title only, before I even read the description. I am so glad I was successful. Due to it being an ebook, I’m afraid you will have to make do with another picture of my trusty Kindle! It is getting quite a few shots in these days.
        
Book Description

When Izzy Fraser’s long-term boyfriend walks out on her, she’s left in a bit of a pickle. Yes, she has the house of her dreams, but she now has a crippling mortgage to pay on her own.


So she takes matters into her own hands and, having always been a keen gardener, decides to set up Izzy’s Organics, delivering crates of fresh fruit and vegetables to local villagers.

Along the way she meets all sorts of characters, including the very handsome Erik and the very Grumpy Dan. But can Izzy sort the wheat from the chaff? And will her new business sow the seeds of change that she wants? 

The main character in this book is Izzy Fraser, she gets dumped by her cheating boyfriend and has to start making money to pay the mortgage on her gorgeous little house that she inherited from her Aunt. Izzy knows nothing about growing vegetables but she is very determined to start her own vegetable delivery box business, and somehow make her land pay for itself. 
Along the way Izzy has the help of her best friends Anna and Jess and the attention of Erik and Dan. There are lots of other characters in this book as well that you will grow to love. 
A beautifully written perfect summer holiday read that will leave you laughing and cringing in places for poor Izzy.
I have given Green Beans and Summer Dreams by Catherine Ferguson 5 out of 5 stars.
Publication date 19th May 2015
Rachel xx

Disclaimer: I received this ebook free of charge in exchange for a honest review. All opinions and views expressed are my own. Book cover image and Book Description taken from NetGalley .com for purpose of this review only.


 *I am a part of the Amazon Affiliate scheme so if you click on a link to Amazon and buy, I will receive a little bit back, so thanks if you do

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Book Review: Too Many Cooks by Dana Bate

The lovely people at Netgalley and The Little Brown Book Group UK have let me read a proof ebook copy of Too Many Cooks by Dana Bate. It combines two of my favourite things, reading and cooking. Prepare to never look at a cookbook in the same way again!
                

Book Description

Kelly Madigan seems to have it all: a fabulous boyfriend, a supportive – if eccentric – family, and a flourishing career as a cookbook ghostwriter. But after finding a letter from her recently-deceased mother, criticising her stable but unexciting life, Kelly knows she needs to make a change. When a mysterious new writing opportunity in London presents itself, she jumps at the chance to get away from it all. 

Enter Natasha Spencer – Oscar-winning actress and health nut, not to mention a total nightmare. She’s working on a new cookbook and has asked for Kelly’s help. What Kelly didn’t factor in was meeting Natasha’s dishy MP husband, Hugh Ballantine.
I absolutely loved reading this book, it tingled my taste buds and made me drool with all the lovely recipes especially the banana bread one. Some of which the author has included at the back of the book as an extra little snippet which is fab!
Before I read this book, I never realised what hard work goes into being a cookbook ghostwriter. The main character Kelly has to redo the same recipe over and over again for Natasha Spencer her boss day after day to get the recipe correct. As a reader this gave me sympathy for Kelly and made me dislike the character of Natasha from the start, who gave Kelly very little information to go on, yet expected food miracles from her. Although I don’t condone the actions of Kelly with Natasha’s husband Hugh. There was a little bit of me that was rooting for them in this twisted affair. 
The only thing I would change about this great read is that I would loved to have seen Kelly’s dad included more into the story line. He is such a funny character and we don’t hear too much about him and his eccentric ways. 
A perfect light-hearted, funny romantic read for the summer, very enjoyable.
I have given Too Many Cooks by Dana Bate 4 out of 5 stars.
Publication date 4th June 2015 by Little Brown Book Group UK
Rachel xx

Disclaimer: I received this ebook free of charge in exchange for a honest review. All views and opinions expressed are my own. Book cover image and book description taken from Netgalley.com for purpose of this review only.

Book Review: The Bones of You by Debbie Howells

I requested to read an ebook copy of The Bones of You by Debbie Howells from Netgalley for one of my Bank Holiday reads. My initial thoughts of the cover image shown further below was that I am going to be in for a deep, dark, mystery, psychological thriller type of a book. I was not disappointed, and if you decide to read it neither would you.                                             
Book Description

When Kate receives a phone call with news that Rosie Anderson is missing, she’s stunned and disturbed. Rosie is eighteen, the same age as Kate’s daughter, and a beautiful, quiet, and kind young woman. Though the locals are optimistic—girls like Rosie don’t get into real trouble—Kate’s sense of foreboding is confirmed when Rosie is found fatally beaten and stabbed.
Who would kill the perfect daughter, from the perfect family? Yet the more Kate entwines herself with the Andersons—graceful mother Jo, renowned journalist father Neal, watchful younger sister Delphine—the more she is convinced that not everything is as it seems. Anonymous notes arrive, urging Kate to unravel the tangled threads of Rosie’s life and death, though she has no idea where they will lead.
Weaving flashbacks from Rosie’s perspective into a tautly plotted narrative, The Bones of You is a gripping, haunting novel of sacrifices and lies, desperation and love.
The book starts of with a rather creepy intro from Rosie, telling us that she is looking at the movie of her life. This suggests that she is dying and her life is flashing before her eyes. We hear Rosie’s side of the story throughout the book, and get to know her character this way.
Rosie’s mother Jo calls Kate to tell her that her daughter is missing. Kate and Jo don’t really know each other very much, but through the disappearance of Rosie and then the finding of her body, Kate becomes Jo’s rock. Jo’s marriage crumbles through the book, and she becomes a depressed pill taking alcoholic. Kate is with her every step of the way trying to make sense of what is happening while watching her own daughter Grace go off to university and her husband Angus heading up to York for work. 
I didn’t particularly like the character of Kate in the beginning, she seemed to be a bit of an interferring busy body, but as the book goes on I can see why. I am not quite sure I like the parts of Rosie telling her story from the grave either. This narative can be a bit confusing. 
I do like the author’s style of writing designed to tease the reader, drawing you in, thinking yes I know what happened, then throwing another spanner in the works changing your line of thinking. This keeps the reader very much engaged with the story.
This book is a good read for anyone looking for a mystery suspense who dunnit novel. 
I have given The Bones of You by Debbie Howells 3 out of 5 stars. 
Expected publication date 30th June 2015 by Kensington Books
Rachel xx

Disclaimer: I received this ebook free of charge in exchange for an hoenst review. All views and opinions expressed are my own. Book cover image and Book Description taken from NetGalley.com for purpose of this review only.

Book Review: Asylum by Isobel Blackthorn

I was given the chance to read and review Asylum by Isobel Blackthorn by Net Galley. My initial thoughts were that the cover seemed a little bland, but I always go by the saying, ‘Never judge a book by it’s cover’. I did like the thought of reading a very strong character driven book, and this is what the book is.
                   

Book Description and Cover Image

‘Seeking asylum from the wreckage of her life, Yvette Grimm arrives in Australia on a holiday visa. She applies for permanent residency with no hope of success. Resisting advice that she marry to stay in the country, Yvette invests her hopes in a palm-reader’s prophecy that she will meet the father of her children before she’s thirty.
She’s twenty-nine.

Set in the excoriating heat of an endless Perth summer, against the backdrop of asylum seekers locked in detention, Asylum is a gripping tale of loss and belonging that is dark, absurd and hilarious by turns’ 

The story starts off with Yvette Grimm finding herself back in her childhood bedroom at her mother’s Leah’s house in Australia. She is on a holiday visa at the moment, but Leah has sent off her permanent residency forms. Yvette had to leave her old life in Malta. As you read through the book, you discover what Yvette’s life was like with her boyfriend Carlos through little snippets, and why she had to leave. I love this little quote. The author uses a fantastic style of writing throughout, to the point and very clear.
‘Yvette was seeking refuge from the wreckage of her life’
Yvette’s mother tells her that she must get married to stay in Australia, but Yvette is a sort of a hopeless romantic and believes that you marry for love not convenience. 
The story follows Yvette through her struggles of belonging no-where. Yvette takes you to a cockroach infested flat, to a cute little house to singing in a choir and a life changing event. It was a beautiful journey that the author took me on. Laughing in places, crying the next.
I loved the character of Yvette, she never let anything get her down, she was always expecting the worst, and this made her a much stronger person. I didn’t like her mum Leah, she seemed very cold towards Yvette, and always going on about her sister Debbie, which made Yvette feel alone at times.
I think the main idea of the book is to inform you about the difficulties that people have in gaining residencies. Even though Yvette’s mum and sister live in Australia it doesn’t make her a definite case to live their permanently, just because she stayed with her dad in England when her mother and sister moved back when they were children. I find the topic on political asylum quite fascinating and this book does question that. 
I would love to read other books with a similar topic to this one, it was a fascinating read. I would recommend to anyone looking for a strong female character lead.
I gave Asylum by Isobel Blackthorn 4 out of 5 stars.
Rachel xx
*Disclaimer: I was given this ebook to review free of charge. All views and opinions expressed are my own. Book cover image and  book description taken from NetGalley.com for purpose of this review.

Book Review: Rooted and Four Other Disturbing Stories

I was given an ebook copy of Rooted and Four Other Disturbing Stories by Shane Hall to read and review for my blog. A word of warning is that the short stories are not for the faint hearted!  
Product Description

“Inside are five brief and unsettling stories based on the dark, unknown corners of humanity and beyond. Five paranormal terrors await, from an impossible video rental store run by a smiling teenage girl, to the corners of reality where humans are locked away, and even to a sunny parking lot where a person who looks just like you is walking closer and closer”
My first thoughts were that the cover is very haunting and disturbing. Perfect for letting us know what type of book it’s going to be. 
I read the book in only an hour, I didn’t know the stories were going to be that short, but it was a very good scary hour. The stories are very well written, nuggets of pure gold in the horror/psychological universe. I re-read a couple of them after I finished to make sure I captured the whole picture of the story.
The first story Vivian’s Video is just plain weird, I really loved it! Next up comes How to Satisfy the Keymaker, this was my least favourite and one of the shortest. Then came John Adams Two. This one was the best, imagine meeting yourself in the car park? What would you do? The last two stories are called A Friend in the Depths and Rooted. 
I love that the stories are original. They show great talent from a new author, and I can’t wait to read more from Shane Hall. It’s a short book that I will read again one day when I am looking for a quick scare. Perfect for quick reading under the covers before bedtime, a note to parents, not suitable for children.
I have given Rooted and Four Other Disturbing Stories 5 out of 5 stars.
Rachel xx

*Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for a honest review. All views and opinion’s expressed are my own.