This Just In… ARC in August Update!

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In mid July I announced that I was joining  Read.Sleep.Repeat. in their 3rd annual ARC in August Book Challenge with the lofty goal of bringing my NetGalley account to 100% by reading and reviewing the five books waiting for me. I am proud to report that last night I posted the last review on the fabulous book Cloudwish! Of the five books, there were a couple of duds, but there were also two Elite Award winners! If you’re looking for a great romanic comedy, check out Miss Wrong and Mr Right or a Young Adult with depth and heart try Cloudwish!

Now I have to admit that I did not complete one of the books as I really wasn’t enjoying it, but I left a review with NetGalley similar to the one on my blog stating what I did like about the book and of course why I didn’t complete it. Also, my account is sitting at 88% now since I added another book. Hey, I’m an addict, what can I say?

A great big thank you to Read.Sleep.Repeat. for the inspiration!

Here are the reviews from ARC in August with their wing ratings (You can click on the book covers for author info and more!:


awakeScarlett is like every other almost sixteen year old, except for one thing. She remembers nothing before the age of four? (Yes, I meant to put that question mark there. You’ll see why in a bit.) Noah is the drop dead gorgeous new kid in school and is nothing like your typical teen. Vegetarian, no junk food, no TV, and not sex-crazed. Naturally, it’s love at first sight. When Scarlett suffers a head injury her memories begin to return in dreams forcing her to question everything about her life. I really liked the premise of this story. Religious cults, family secrets, teenage love… who wouldn’t? The problem was there is no real meat to the story (maybe it’s because Noah doesn’t eat it, IDK).

The book opens with Noah entering his new class. Scarlett is assigned the position of “tour guide” and it’s obsession, I mean love, at first sight. Actually, this part isn’t all that far fetched. At fifteen, if the gorgeous new boy walks in, sits next to you, and shows an interest, you’re going to be gaga. Noah wants to get to know the girl so he starts with “Tell me something about yourself”. Now you’d expect her to answer with telling him about something she’s interested in, a hobby maybe, or maybe about her family, where she’s grown up. But no, her answer is “I remember nothing before the age of four”? Why is that weird? Many people don’t remember that far back. It’s not that unusual. And even if it was, really? That’s what your entire life amounts to? Any way, this all comes out in the first 2% of the book (I checked) and that sums up the entire first half of the story. You could literally skip to the middle of the book and not miss much. Teenage love/obsession, why can’t I remember, are my parents lying, boy has secret.

Problem two: Your daughter is being searched for by a religious cult who wants to sacrifice her. You know the isolated, hippy-styled life that they lead. You move around trying to escape them, but no red flags raise when the time of the ‘four year cycle’ is about to occur, a new boy enters her life, and the family is about as earthy-crunchy as you can get? I would have met this family and run for the hills without looking back. Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against hippies, but given the history here, I think the parents would have been a bit more situationally aware.

Ok, my rant is over. Look, I finished the book, therefore, I didn’t hate it. I actually somewhat enjoyed it. It definitely picked up after the first half with more character development and more suspense. I just think it could have been much better. It’s proof positive that you can have a great idea for a book, but it won’t write itself.

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

2.5 wings


miss wrong

Elite Award   ********Elite Award Winner*********

After ditching her fiance at the altar at the age of nineteen, Natalie Love finds herself fifteen years later still single, but with a hot yoga instructor boyfriend, great friends, and a perfect career as the manager of a successful London theatre. But when her ex-fiance shows up to open a new theatre across the street and the famous heartthrob American actor, Ryan Harrison, takes notice of her, Natalie can’t help but start questioning what could have been and what might be. It’s a story of a woman who, in almost losing everything that matters to her, finds contentment in being herself. A wonderful message.

Will someone please get this book in the hands of a Hollywood director?! Or better yet, to Broadway! Miss Wrong and Mr Right is pure romantic comedic genius with a touch of real life drama. A perfect balance!

The main character, Natalie, faces a series of comedic train wrecks that we can all relate to. I don’t often laugh while reading books, but I have to admit that I embarrassed myself laughing out loud in public and then cracking up to the point of tears while reading last night. The characters feel so real that I couldn’t help but be emotionally invested in the story. I found myself gasping at times followed by laughter realising the ridiculousness that life brings us at times.

Bryndza creates a cast that you will recognise from your own life and you’ll love them for all of their little imperfections. From Natalie with her frizzy hair and clutzy mishaps, to Sharon and her loud and crazy family; from Nicky and her over the top personality, to Gran Anouska and her born-before-her-time worldly advice, you will love this book from the opening act to the final curtain call. A definite standing ovation!

A perfect summer beach read, winter in front of the fireplace read, spring at the park read, and autumn under the oak tree read!

A special thank you to Robert Bryndza and NetGalley for offering me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion!

5 wings


time to run

A Time to Run is a nail-biting thriller that will keep you turning pages ‘til the wee hours of morning!

Sammi needs to blow some steam after an argument with her boyfriend and a girl’s night out on the town is just what she needs. But when she ignores her instincts and gets into the bartender’s car alone, her fun night quickly turns into a nightmare. What Don doesn’t know is that Sammi is a cop and she won’t go down without a fight.

J.M. Peace not only uses her experience as a police officer to authentically write the police work in her debut novel, she also finds the voice of the victim, the grief stricken boyfriend, and gruesome killer. Sammi uses her training as a police officer to keep her wits about her when most people would panic. She is the ultimate hero even as a victim. With that being said, this is not an unrealistic character. We’ve all read books and seen movies where the hero in the story pulls off ridiculous feats. Not the case here. Sammi is simply what we all would hope to be in life threatening circumstances.

I also enjoyed the fact that this is an authentic Aussie book with an authentic Aussie voice. Who better to write a crime novel based in Australia than an Australian cop?!

The only complaint that I had with this book was the ending. I felt that there was a conclusion to the story and a follow-up, but in between the two, was a chapter of recap police work that I felt took away from the climax.

The ending of the book leaves us hanging a bit. According to the author’s website there will be a sequel. Count me in!

A special thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia and NetGalley for offering me an ARC of A Time to Run in exchange for my honest review.

4 wings


broken grace On an icy winter’s day in southwest Michigan, Grace Abbot wakes up as the survivor of a car crash. But she’s left with a traumatic brain injury and a terrifying reality: she can’t remember anything.

Left in the care of her sister, Grace returns to the family’s secluded old farmhouse to recover—but within an hour of her return, the police arrive. Grace’s boyfriend has been murdered. Without any memory, Grace has no alibi.

With suspicion weighing heavily on her and flashes of memory returning, Grace searches for clues to her past. But with every glimpse, her anxiety grows. There is something about the house, her family, her childhood…perhaps the accident isn’t the only reason she can’t remember. Are the dark recesses of her mind hiding something even more sinister and terrifying than she could ever imagine?

Is someone willing to kill again to hide the truth?

Review: I tried really hard to finish this book, but gave up less than half way through, so I can’t give it a true review.  I enjoyed the descriptive language and the premise of the story was very interesting, however, I found it to be anticlimactic and felt no connection to the characters.

I feel that Diskin has the potential to be a decent writer, just chose the wrong genre.

(Description from NetGalley)


cloudwish

Elite Award **********Elite Award Winner!**********

Cloudwish is a treasure!

The life as a teenager is rarely simple, however Van Uok’s might be a little more complicated than most. Her parents came to Australia as asylum seekers from Vietnam and are determined for her to achieve a life that they didn’t have an opportunity to. Her dedication and hard work earn her a scholarship at a prestigious private high school where it’s impossible for a girl from her neighbourhood to fit in. But when a creative writing assignment dares her to wish for something extraordinary, her lonely life opens to a new world of opportunities filled with courage, friendship, and love.

Cloudwish is the deepest, most meaningful, and inspiring Young Adult book that I’ve read: parent/child relationships strained by cultural differences, the clash of poor vs privilege, coming of age, first love, parental approval and depression. Wood’s writing is beautiful and the lives of the characters and their interactions are realistic creating an instant bond with the reader.

The relationship between Van Uok and Billy is the classic Romeo and Juliet unapproved love without the tragedy. It was wonderful to see how their two very different lives challenged them to grow individually and learn to be their own person separate from the pressure of  parents and friends. I also enjoyed the dynamic between Van Uok and her parents. Wood does an amazing job communicating the challenges of their cultural differences and Van Uok’s mourning the loss of  being able to be the child in the relationship.

Van Uok is a “real life” hero that inspires the reader to aim high and be yourself. A wonderful read from beginning to end!

Note: Cloudwish is a realistically written story about the life of 17 year olds and contains explicit language and some sexual content that may not be desirable for younger teens.

A special thank you to Pan Macmillan Australia for an ARC of Cloudwish in exchange for my honest review.

5 wings

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