Thursday, 19 January 2017

RELEASE DAY: Cocky Soldier by Faleena Hopkins



Civilian life has proved more challenging than Jeremy expected when his time in the Marines ended. Even though he's moved back to Atlanta he's still a million miles away, and his brothers don't know how to reach him. When a caramel-eyed aspiring chef almost runs Jeremy and his dog over with her hot pink Prius, his life might have found the purpose he's been looking for. She's got her heart set on another man, so how can Meagan be his miracle, especially when she doesn't even like Jeremy? And what if that other man holds the key to Jeremy's sanity, what then? But then again, the Cocker men always did like a challenge

I didn’t want to wake up, but now that I’m running I feel better. Relieved. Ghosts are left behind me. Just me and my dog and the blissful silence of dawn. My home is in a quiet neighborhood, a deliberate choice. At this hour the streets are always empty. 
If I lived in a busy neighborhood I’d be tense from all the unexpected noises. 
I’d be searching for an oncoming fight that never comes anymore.
Silence is necessary to my sanity. 
But what I don’t need is a Prius so quiet I can’t hear it coming.
My eyes lock with the driver’s. She’s headed right for us. 
Adrenaline shoots into me like I’ve been punched.
I yank Aslan’s leash back. 
His paws struggle to run backwards, the fur around his neck stretched under his chain-collar. 
The girl’s hands dig into the steering wheel, turning to the right. 
Her car skids away just in time, so close that wind touches my face like a whisper from The Reaper. 
But she’s not so lucky. 
With that quick turn she over-corrected and I shout as she crashes right into the oak tree on the corner, the one diagonal from where Aslan and I stand. She wraps right around the damn thing like her car is made of tin.
Everything goes silent again. Except in my own fucked up head. Rifles explode as I race to the wreck. I know they’re not real, just a mirage from my memories I might never be able to shake. 
Put Jeremy Cocker on the front lines. 
He’s the quickest to react.
Jeremy was made to fight. 
He’s never scared. 
Yeah, right. I’m scared all the time, like everybody. 
I just ignore it. 
I make it to the crumpled hunk of metal and yank on the locked door handle, scanning her bloody face like a robot calculating data. The airbag is splattered liquid red and ballooned around her. I shout through the glass. “Hey! You alive?!” 
She doesn’t answer, eyes closed, lips parted. 
“Aslan, go there!” I shout and point him to the sidewalk. Pulling off my hoodie, I wrap the thick cotton around my right arm and slam my elbow through the driver’s side rear window, glass shattering. Reaching over shards of it I unlock the driver’s door and rush to yank it open and lift her out of the car. 
I’ve gotta call an ambulance. 
Cops, too. 
They’ll need a report. 
The car is totaled. 
Left my cell phone at home. Hell, I hardly use the thing, so of course I don’t have it with me. “Aslan, come!”
As we rush back, his leash dragging unmanned, I keep checking on her and repeating, “Hang in there. Don’t die on me,” but the sight of her bloody in my arms is jarring. I grit my teeth and shut the ghosts out. Jesus, how many times have I carried the wounded? 
Too many.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Love, Lies & Clones by Joynell Schultz

Title: Love, Lies & Clones
Author: Joynell Schultz
From: Amazon
Genre: Sci-fi (soft), suspense
Release Date: 
Challenges: Winter COYER 2016-2017
Links: Goodreads - Amazon 
Synopsis (from Goodreads): June’s deadly secret is she’s a clone, and if she tells anyone her father’s involvement, he’ll face the death penalty. After his suspicious disappearance, the police have failed to find him. During her frantic search, she’s surprised by an AWOL military man who insists her father's the key to finding his brother. Bullet's fly as they uncover more about the horrific experiments. Can June trust someone with her secret... and her heart?

Love, Lies & Clones had me from the first chapter. It's one of those books that has you intrigued and desperate to know more about what's going on. As the book progresses, more and more of the truth comes to light, but what I particularly liked was that there were more mysteries added as the story progressed, and sometimes even the answers to one of the earlier questions raised more questions in itself. 

The genre is actually quite hard to define. It's set in the near future, and there were significant scientific advancements in the field of cloning. The world was half recognisable and half futuristic, and I thought the blend worked really well. More than that though, I liked that the cloning itself, a major plot point, was more than just something scientific, the morals came into it as well. 

June was a strong lead character, determined to discover the truth, and find her father, but she also had a vulnerability that was needed in the role. I liked that she didn't quite have it all together because that made her more real...I know in her situation I would be just as useless! 

The male lead, Elliot, also had some complexities that made him more realistic, including  some strange almost stalkerish tendencies. At first, I wasn't too sure what to make of him, but as his own motivations became clear, he became more rounded, and much more likable. 

The interactions between Elliot and June were believable, with both of them interacting with a level of wariness. I absolutely loved the fact that June didn't just trust Elliot from the off, and made him work for it, it added something else to their story line. 

If you like suspense, with some science and a light love story, then I'd definitely recommend this one! 

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Shadow Embraced by Cheree Smith (#1 Haven)

Title: Shadow Embraced
Series: Haven (#1)
Author: Cheree Smith
From: Netgalley
Genre: UF/Paranormal
Release Date: 29th April 2013
Challenges: My TBR Meme (yes the December one, yes I'm late posting!), Winter COYER 2016-2017
Links: Goodreads - Amazon
Synopsis (from Goodreads): No escape. Those words haunt Scar's dreams. She thinks the creature that terrorises her while asleep isn't real, but when she's abducted and taken to a reform school meant to contain creatures too dangerous to function in society, she starts to wonder whether she isn't some monster. She turns to an underground fight club full of vampires, werewolves and witches established by the students to control her urges, and who is she kidding, she loves to fight. When fighters begin to disappear, turning Scar into the prime suspect, she must race to prove her innocence before her true nature is exposed. The only problem is that she's not entirely sure she's innocent.

This review is going to be short by necessity, mainly because I'm an idiot and read it ten days ago, but then put off reviewing for various reasons (none to do with the book itself!)  

This was an interesting take on vampires/dhamphirs, and I liked that. There wasn't much mixing with humans, which created an interesting dynamic, as well as some tension between the paranormal species. I liked the way that the world building worked,

What I couldn't work out all the time is if I was supposed to like Scar or not. In some ways she was a little too innocent for the life she was forced to leave, in others she seemed to lack a little bit of emotion about it. 

All in all this was a good read though, had me keeping turning the pages!

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Finding Kyler by Siobhan Davis (The Kennedy Boys #1)

Title: Finding Kyler
Series: The Kennedy Boys (#1)
Author: Siobhan Davis
From: Review Copy
Genre: Romance
Release Date: 9th January 2017
Challenges: 2017 New Release Challenge, Winter COYER 2016-2017
Links: Goodreads - Amazon 
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Two fractured hearts and a forbidden love they can’t deny. You shouldn’t want what you can’t have…Faye Donovan has lost everything. After her parent’s tragic death, she’s whisked away from her home in Ireland when an unknown uncle surfaces as her new guardian. Dropped smack-dab into the All-American dream, Faye should feel grateful. Except living with her wealthy uncle, his fashion-empire-owning wife, and their seven screwed-up sons is quickly turning into a nightmare—especially when certain inappropriate feelings arise. Kyler Kennedy makes her head hurt and her heart race, but he’s her cousin. He’s off limits. And he’s not exactly welcoming—Kyler is ignorant, moody, and downright cruel at times—but Faye sees behind the mask he wears, recognizing a kindred spirit. Kyler has sworn off girls, yet Faye gets under his skin. The more he pushes her away, the more he’s drawn to her, but acting on those feelings risks a crap-ton of prejudice, and any whiff of scandal could damage the precious Kennedy brand. Concealing their feelings seems like the only choice.But when everyone has something to hide, a secret is a very dangerous thing.

My immediate thoughts on finishing this book was that I desperately need more! I need to know what happens next. I read a series last month that was super addictive but a little bit wrong because of the relationship between the characters. Despite that I just couldn't put the series down. Well this book was the same (and I suspect the next two will be as well!) I didn't want to finish it, but at the same time couldn't put it down. 

The chemistry between Kyler and Faye was definitely there, even when he was being particularly broody and refusing to have anything to do with her. Kyler also had a few moments where he was really sweet and I bought into the two of them most at those points. 

I loved that Faye didn't just settle in to her new home automatically. She had challenges, and had to make new friends. Equally, her entire life didn't revolve around a guy, and that made it far more believable to me! 

One thing worth pointing out is that Davis included a "translation guide" at the end for the Irish turns of phrase...but I honestly didn't notice them much in the book itself (partly because I was too engrossed, and partly because as a Brit, I use several of them in my daily life). I thought this was a good touch. 

There was plenty of drama, scandal and excitement in Finding Kyler, and I can't wait for more in the series!