24 May 2017

738 Days // The Drama May Have Gone A Bit OTT At The End But Looking Back I Loved The Book

 738 Days
738 Days – Stacey Kade
Published: 7th June 2016
Source: Bought
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, New Adult
My Rating:
At fifteen, Amanda Grace was abducted on her way home from school. 738 days later, she escaped. Her 20/20 interview is what everyone remembers—Amanda describing the room where she was kept, the torn poster of TV heartthrob Chase Henry on the wall. It reminded her of home and gave her the strength to keep fighting.

Now, years later, Amanda is struggling to live normally. Her friends have gone on to college, while she battles PTSD. She’s not getting any better, and she fears that if something doesn’t change soon she never will.

Six years ago, Chase Henry defied astronomical odds, won a coveted role on a new TV show, and was elevated to super-stardom. With it, came drugs, alcohol, arrests, and crazy spending sprees. Now he's sober and a Hollywood pariah, washed up at twenty-four.

To revamp his image, Chase’s publicist comes up with a plan: surprise Amanda Grace with the chance to meet her hero, followed by a visit to the set of Chase’s new movie. The meeting is a disaster, but out of mutual desperation, Amanda and Chase strike a deal. What starts as a simple arrangement, though, rapidly becomes more complicated when they realize they need each other in more ways than one. But when the past resurfaces in a new threat, will they stand together or fall apart?
I have been wanting to read 738 Days ever since I first heard about it when I saw Ashley’s review on Nose Graze and when I saw Ksenia review it earlier this year I just knew I needed to read it too. I treated myself to a copy and although I’m not a huge fan of celebrities in books (I find it hard to find them believable and they definitely aren’t relatable) but I decided to give this one a shot as I was interested to see how Amanda’s struggle to recover from her captivity would happen. Would it be handled well and what struggles would she face that you wouldn’t expect?

I actually really enjoyed this book. I did end up dropping half a star as it did get crazy dramatic there at the end but I enjoyed myself reading. I mean, I read it so quickly I didn’t want to put this book down. Addictive reading is a sign of an enjoyable read and honestly, sometimes all I want is a bit of a light entertainment, not a book which blows away all expectations. This is definitely the first one.

So what worked about this book? Mainly the characters. I mean, I was concerned that this would delve into a whole world of angst as Amanda is suffering from PTSD after her kidnapping. I mean, I wanted her struggle to overcome experience to be genuine and so a certain level of angst was inevitable but I didn’t want it to feel wallow-y. I wanted it to feel like Amanda accepted her fight and although she had bad days she was trying to get herself to a level of normal she could be happy with. Anyway, my point was it wasn’t as angsty as some might have made instead Amanda was this amazingly fragile character who had amazing strength, it just took her time to recognise it. And Chase could easily have been a vapid celebrity in it only for his benefit, and he was some of those things, but he was also this really great guy who realised when he made mistakes and did try to do better. I can respect that.

There was plenty of character growth happening as well. With our MCs but also with secondary characters as well. I loved Amanda’s sisters in this they were so utterly charming in their own ways, especially with how they were with her. They were her sisters so sometimes they acted like dicks and I loved it. I really enjoyed seeing Amanda come in herself more and learning to recognise her own strength. She went through a terrible ordeal, she can’t deny that, but she learns to not let it completely define her. It changed who she is but it doesn’t mean she always has to be that girl. And Chase learns a lot about forgiving himself and his own actions.

The thing is, the romance kind of takes over at times and you forget at all these great developments happening to the characters because it is a crazy sauce romance. I loved that when I was reading, I love crazy over the top happenings, I can’t help it, but I think that is what sticks in your mind immediately after reading.

I won't go into all the ways it went wrong. Like I said it could have toned the drama down and I could see one plot point right from the start which was going to come back and bite Chase in the arse but despite those flaws, it was a good book. I was concerned Amanda's recovery was going to be all down to the love of a good man which would be awful and a slap in the face of any survivor of violence and sexual violence so I’m glad that didn't happen. Instead, the arrival of Chase in her life was a trigger for Amanda to try something different. I think it was the whole having an outsider there instead of a family which did it. Sure, the romance plays a big role in this but thank God Chase didn't solve all her problems otherwise I would have had to stop reading.

Have you read this book? What did you think? Good level of character development and story or did the romance take over?

22 May 2017

A Darkness Absolute // A Brilliant Sequel From An Author Who Always Delivers

Published: 28th February 2017
Source: Gift
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
My Rating:
The follow-up to #1 NYT bestseller Kelley Armstrong’s acclaimed City of the Lost, Rockton town detective Casey Duncan makes a terrible—and dangerous—discovery in the woods outside of town.

When experienced homicide detective Casey Duncan first moved to the secret town of Rockton, she expected a safe haven for people like her, people running from their past misdeeds and past lives. She knew living in Rockton meant living off-the-grid completely: no cell phones, no Internet, no mail, very little electricity, and no way of getting in or out without the town council’s approval. What she didn’t expect is that Rockton comes with its own set of secrets and dangers.

Now, in A Darkness Absolute, Casey and her fellow Rockton sheriff’s deputy Will chase a cabin-fevered resident into the woods, where they are stranded in a blizzard. Taking shelter in a cave, they discover a former resident who’s been held captive for over a year. When the bodies of two other women turn up, Casey and her colleagues must find out if it’s an outsider behind the killings or if the answer is more complicated than that...before another victim goes missing.

Casey Duncan returns in another heart-racing thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong.
You know how I posted some reviews which had been lurking in my drafts for six months the other day? Well, now I’ve got one which I have been intending to write ever since I finished the book. I read City of the Lost last year and loved it. And I told you about how I loved it in my Borrowed Books post and I fully intended to review the sequel too…. and then somehow didn’t. I decided to remedy this because I want to review my favourite books on here and this was a favourite (also, seeing Kaja reading the first book reminded me I still haven’t reviewed this… bad Becky). I will be relying on my memory on this and my Goodreads review but I think I can remember all the salient details.

First of all, I absolutely loved this book. I was a little hesitant going in but once I got into the flow of the book I loved it. There was little doubt about that, though. Kelley Armstrong may be an author I first read last year but she has become a firm favourite of mine and her books always deliver.

It was great to return to the town of Rockton and see how Casey has managed to integrate herself within the community now she has stayed. A lot of things happened in the first book and given that it’s an off the grid town relying upon the mysterious council to provide for their needs nd a place where the community must fill all the holes in labour needs meant it was interesting seeing how they managed to cope after the reveal of the first book. I really liked seeing how Casey was being accepted in town. It was great reading about it all and just seeing this community and how they work, especially as this time they were looking at both the past and the present. I loved glimpses on how the town came about and about what happens when folks leave. All of it just worked for me.

I also loved that Casey and Eric's relationship is as strong as ever despite both of them not having had long-term relationships before. It was interesting seeing them navigate the unknown together. They were initially influenced by others and the expectations that others have for relationships but it was great that when there were moments that in other books would have forced them apart and created conflict they instead spoke about stuff. Like actually used their words. You do not know how often I shout that at a book, it’s insane. I loved that they were both able to speak to one another about things. Their relationship will not be plain sailing but I enjoyed reading about it.

The reason the book didn't get 5 stars from me may be petty but it was simply the mystery of this book wasn't as strong as the first. It felt like Casey's path to find out who was to blame was very convoluted and I noticed that fact. It wasn't enough to bring my enjoyment down but that did niggle at me. I get it was difficult for them to investigate with the weather being against them and trying to not create doubts within a community which lean towards volatility but I feel like it was a not seeing the forest for the trees kind of situation. Basically, they went all round the Wrekin and it was unnecessary.

The mystery may not have been as strong this time around but I continue to want to see more from the Casey Duncan series. I still have many questions about Rockton and the people there and I also wanted to know more about this mysterious council and the hostiles. There is plenty more to explore and I for one cannot wait.

Anyone else let reviews linger in their drafts for far too long? And had anyone else read and loved this series so far? Any similar recs because I feel like Armstrong is in a genre of her own at times and that makes her original but girl needs some good recs now and again.

21 May 2017

Sunday Summary // 21.05.2017

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I am writing this after recovering from a hangover. I was out Friday night and I danced the night away to a Robbie Williams cover band. It was a fun night but I was feeling it the next morning. I’m writing this far later than I normally would so please don’t judge me for any mistakes.

I forgot to take photos of my present for the woman leaving at work (my bad) but I had a blue theme for her leaving as we were blue to see her go. And she had a Ferrero Rocher chocolate bouquet. I was very impressed with my gift buying this time around. It’s not easy finding stuff for folks. It does mean we are now drowning in work as she left Friday but that’s okay. We will (hopefully) manage to catch up. One woman, who has recently gone on maternity leave, brought in her new baby as well so she could see the woman who was leaving as she had been so excited to see the new baby. He is two weeks old and is so tiny and cute and she looked so good considering it was only two weeks since she had him. They were both well and they came into to say goodbye so it was really nice to see everyone together.

This week has been a very slow blogging week. I am behind on comments and blog reading and blog writing so I apologise if you’ve noticed a slight absence. I plan to spend Sunday doing some catch up so you might see a lot of me popping up.

What I’ve Been Reading

Captive Prince8 Prince's Gambit9 Kings RisingBlacktie Optional3136651623650493
I had a binge read over the weekend of the Captive Prince trilogy. It was an amazing read, so very addictive and I loved it. I recognise that there are some flaws and I have a few things to say about the ending but as a whole I loved it. I finished my buddy read of Dark Days Pact, what was that ending guys? Like, really? And then I’ve had some romance reading with the insanely fun Black Tie Optional which had a fake relationship and I loved it. I then followed up with another fake relationship book in the form of Isn’t She Lovely.

New To Me

Queen of BloodDumplin'Good GirlEverseaTaken by the CowboyStealing Mr RightSugar Daddy
Yeah… I’ve got no excuse. I bought a lot of books. I can’t think of a reason I just saw a lot of books I wanted to read. I’m excited to read them, though. Or, reread as the case may be for Sugar Daddy.
GodblindHouse of Secrets
I’ve gotten two new books on Netgalley as well. I am so excited for both they sound so interesting. I was a bit rash requesting Godblind but it does sound good. And there’s a new Sarra Manning book! I need to read that ASAP!

So, I had a fun week with as little drama as I could and now I will spend the day in my pyjamas blogging/reading/binge-watching Kimmy Schmidt. How has your week been? Anyone read any good books lately?