Unrivaled by Alyson Noel

unrivaled

Goodreads Synopsis

Layla Harrison wants to leave her beach-bum days for digs behind a reporter’s desk. Aster Amirpour wants to scream at the next casting director who tells her “we need ethnic but not your kind of ethnic.” Tommy Phillips dreams of buying a twelve-string guitar and using it to shred his way back into his famous absentee dad’s life.

But Madison Brooks took destiny and made it her bitch a long time ago.

She’s Hollywood’s hottest starlet, and the things she did to become the name on everyone’s lips are merely a stain on the pavement, ground beneath her Louboutin heel.

That is, until Layla, Aster, and Tommy find themselves with a VIP invite to the glamorous and gritty world of Los Angeles’s nightlife and lured into a high-stakes competition where Madison Brooks is the target. Just as their hopes begin to gleam like stars through the California smog, Madison Brooks goes missing. . . . And all of their hopes are blacked out in the haze of their lies.

Unrivaled is #1 New York Times bestselling author Alyson Noël’s first book in a thrilling suspense trilogy about how our most desperate dreams can become our darkest nightmares.

Details

Title: Unrivaled (Beautiful Idols #1)

Author: Alyson Noel

ISBN: 0062324527 (ISBN13: 9780062324528)

Published: May 10th 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books

Pages: 420

Genre: Mystery, Romance,  Young Adult, Contemporary

Source: Own Copy

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

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My Thoughts

Fun beach read!

Unrivaled is the first novel in the Beautiful Idols trilogy by Alyson Noel. The novel focuses on three people vying to win Ira Redman’s Unrivaled Nightlife promo competition. Ira owns several Hollywood nightclubs and the competitors score points based on how many celebrities they can bring into Ira’s clubs and how famous those celebrities are.

Layla dreams of becoming a journalist but currently runs a celebrity blog called Beautiful Idols.

Aster feels stifled by her wealthy but conservative Persian parents and aspires to become an actress.

Tommy has just moved to Hollywood from Oklahoma and dreams of becoming a famous guitarist and showing up his father who doesn’t even know he exists.

Madison Brooks is a star actress and worth the highest amount of points in Ira’s competition. As the novel progresses it becomes clear that there are dark secrets in Madison’s past. Madison’s story is where the mystery comes into play.

Unrivaled is a really fun read, perfect to take with you to the beach. 

There is quite a lot of character development and back story throughout the beginning and middle of the novel and a bit of a slow buildup before all the action starts to take place. This is something I enjoy but I think some mystery fans might find it a little bit too slow for them.

I also loved that the chapters are all named after songs. I found that fit in really well with the Hollywood setting of this novel.

There is quite a lot of character development and back story throughout the beginning and middle of the novel and a bit of a slow buildup before all the action starts to take place. This is something I enjoy but I think some mystery fans might find it a little bit too slow for them. The action starts to heat up towards the end of the novel, just in time to leave you dying to know what happens after the crazy cliffhanger. I’ll definitely need to check out the next book in the series to find out!

 

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It Was Only Ever You by Kate Kerrigan

youDescription

Set, like Maeve Binchy’s early bestsellers, in late 1950s Ireland and New York, this is the story of three women and the charismatic man with whom their lives are interwoven.

Patrick Murphy has charm to burn and a singing voice to die for. Many people will recognise his talent. Many women will love him. Rose, the sweetheart he leaves behind in Ireland, can never forget him and will move heaven and earth to find him again, long after he has married another woman. Ava, the heiress with no self-confidence except on the dance floor, falls under his spell. And tough Sheila Klein, orphaned by the Holocaust and hungry for success as a music manager, she will be ruthless in her determination to unlock his extraordinary star quality.

But in the end, Patrick Murphy’s heart belongs to only one of them. Which one will it be?

Details 

Title: It Was Only Ever You

Author: Kate Kerrigan

Published: October 6th 2016 by Head of Zeus

AISN: B01AATYCBS

Genre: Romance, Historical Fiction (1950s)

Format:  Paperback

Pages: 389

Source: Review copy from publisher

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

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My Thoughts

It Was Only Ever You is my first introduction to Kate Kerrigan, but before I even picked up the book I knew that I had been missing out! With comparisons to the great Maeve Binchy and high praise from romance stalwarts, Marian Keyes, Cecelia Ahern, and my good friend, Tess Woods, I knew this would be a great book. And I certainly wasn’t disappointed.

The novel is set in County Mayo and New York in the 1950s and told from multiple points of view. Patrick leaves his sweetheart, Rose, the beautiful doctor’s daughter, behind in Ireland to emigrate to New York and make it big as a rock star. In New York, he meets Ava, a wealthy but shy girl, except for when she is on the dance floor. Holocaust survivor, Sheila, manages to talk her way into becoming Patrick’s manager, despite being on the run from the mob.

I loved the way this story was told. I can definitely see some similarities to Maeve Binchy’s heartfelt romance style Kerrigan captured the mood of old-school Ireland and the 1950s rock and roll scene of New York perfectly. I particularly enjoyed the scene where Sheila watches Bill Haley and his CometsBill Haley and his Comets in one of their earliest performances, especially as Rock Around the Clock was my grandmother’s favourite song!

The Devil You Know by Terry Tyler: Book Review @TerryTyler4

devil

Description

Every serial killer is someone’s friend, spouse, lover or child….

Young women are being murdered in the Lincolnshire town of Lyndford, where five people fear someone close to them might be the monster the police are searching for.

One of them is right.

Juliet sees an expert’s profile of the average serial killer and realises that her abusive husband, Paul, ticks ALL the boxes.

Everyone likes Pru’s new boyfriend—except her teenage daughter, Maisie.  Is she the only one who can see through Gary’s friendly façade?

Jake fancies Tamsin.  Tamsin loves Jake.  But then her love turns to suspicion…

Steve is worried.  Is his childhood friend, Dan, just being his usual, misogynistic self, or has a new friend’s influence taken him down a more sinister path?
Dorothy’s beloved son, Orlando, is keeping a secret from her, and a chilling discovery forces her to confront her worst fears.

THE DEVIL YOU KNOW is a twist-rich, character-driven psychological drama/thriller that will keep you guessing until the very end!

Details 

Title: The Devil You Know

Author: Terry Tyler

Published: October 3rd, 2016 by the author

AISN: B01LXQISIY

Genre: Mystery, Psychological Drama

Format:  Kindle

Pages: 340

Source: Review copy from author

My Rating: 5/5 Stars!

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My Thoughts

It’s no secret that I’m a huge Terry Tyler fan, and The Devil You Know is one of my favourites so far! It’s a psychological drama, which is a completely different genre from her other novels, and I very much admire how effortless she made it look to master a new style. I also loved the multiple points of view, which is a technique this author has perfected. I always love piecing the story together from different characters. I feel like you get the full story that way, not just one or maybe two character’s perspective.

The Devil You Know is told from the viewpoint of five different characters who each suspect that somebody they know could be the Lyndford Strangler serial killer. As the story progresses each character becomes more and more convinced that their suspicions are correct as the murders become more frequent and people continue to behave suspiciously.

I was definitely surprised when the true Lyndford Strangler was revealed and, in true Terry Tyler style, I never saw the big surprise coming in a million years. I love that even though I know this author is an expert at sneaky plot twists that I’ve never been able to figure it out until the very end yet!

The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight #bookreview

Fast paced thriller with a complex teen heroine. outliers

The Outliers began with such an interesting concept. Kimberly McCreight wrote that she became interested in the highly emotional frequency that her daughter and many of her female friends often operate on. This is often seen as a flaw in character, but the idea that perhaps it’s actually a great strength led the author to explore this concept in The Outliers.

I really enjoyed this aspect of the novel. A lot of people would say that I’m far too sensitive and emotional, but I have recently begun to see some of the benefits this can bring. I often look back to times where people or situations made me feel uncomfortable and more often than not hindsight tells me that I should have listened to what my gut instinct was telling me!

The main character, 16 year old Wiley, suffers from extreme anxiety and agoraphobia which has gotten much worse since her mother passed away in a recent car accident. Even though her relationship with her best friend, Cassie, has been on the rocks lately when she goes missing Wiley knows that she has to help her.

Wiley and Cassie’s boyfriend, Jasper, decide to drive across the country to rescue Cassie when they start receiving text messages from her asking for help. I have to admit that it is a little bit unbelievable that Wiley was able to leave the house so easily, but you never know how strong you can be until you’re in the middle of an emergency.

There are so many plot twists to Wiley and Jasper’s trip to rescue Cassie that I probably shouldn’t get too much into this part of the novel to avoid spoilers. It’s incredibly fast-paced and expect to have everything that you thought was going on turned on its head at least a couple of times.  I’m definitely hanging out to read the second installment of the series after the huge plot twist at the end!!

Description

It all starts with a text: Please, Wylie, I need your help.

Wylie hasn’t heard from Cassie in over a week, not since their last fight. But that doesn’t matter. Cassie’s in trouble, so Wylie decides to do what she has done so many times before: save her best friend from herself.

This time it’s different, though. Instead of telling Wylie where she is, Cassie sends cryptic clues. And instead of having Wylie come by herself, Jasper shows up saying Cassie sent him to help. Trusting the guy who sent Cassie off the rails doesn’t feel right, but Wylie has no choice: she has to ignore her gut instinct and go with him.

But figuring out where Cassie is goes from difficult to dangerous, fast. As Wylie and Jasper head farther and farther north into the dense woods of Maine, Wylie struggles to control her growing sense that something is really wrong. What isn’t Cassie telling them? And could finding her be only the beginning?

Details

Title: The Outliers (The Outliers #1)

Author: Kimberley McCreight

ISBN: 0062359096 (ISBN13: 9780062359094)

Published:  May 3rd 2016 by HarperCollins
Genre:   Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller
Pages: Paperback 468
Source: Review copy from publisher (HarperCollins Australia)

My Rating: 4/5 stars

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Conjuror #bookreview

conjurorI have to admit that I am a massive Doctor Who, Torchwood, and Captain Jack Harkness fan, so I was a little bit geeked out to have the opportunity to read John Barrowman’s latest novel written in collaboration with his sister, Carole E. Barrowman.

There were a lot of features that I loved about this novel. First of all, there was a really great mix of diverse characters. Considering that Conjuror’s target audience is mostly teenagers, it made me smile to find a bad ass female Indian policewoman, an African American teenager, and LGBT characters all in the one book like it was no big deal.

Secondly, combining magic, mystery, art, and music into the same book is a pretty interesting concept and not something you come across every day.

I did feel as though I had missed out on some of the general background of the characters, especially the twins, although I have recently discovered that they appear in the Hollow Earth series also, so that’s probably why I felt their stories just jumped right in.

I would recommend Conjuror to fans of YA fantasy. It was an enjoyable and quick read, with some really interesting and diverse characters and concepts. I will definitely be hanging out to read the second installment because I’m dying to find out what happens next!

Description

Sixteen-year-old twins Matt and Em Calder are Animare: they can bring art to life, and travel in time through paintings. They work for Orion—the Animare MI5—protecting the secrecy of their order and investigating crimes committed by their own kind. It’s dangerous work. But when they are sent to Edinburgh to find a teenage boy who can alter reality with his music, they are drawn into something more dangerous still. For this boy, Remy, is the Conjurer’s Son. And he carries something that could change humanity forever.

Details

Title: Conjuror (Orion Chronicles #1)

Author: John and Carole E. Barrowman

ISBN: 9781781856376

Published:  April 21st 2016 by Head of Zeus
Genre:  Science Fiction, Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction Fantasy
Pages: 320
Source: Review copy from publisher (HarperCollins Australia)

My Rating: 3.5/5 stars

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Love at First Flight by Tess Woods Print Launch!

Last year I absolutely raved about Love at First Flight when I read the e-book version. Since then Love at First Flight has been racking up even more rave reviews, including an AusRom Today Reader’s Choice Award and will be available in a beautiful paperback edition in Australian stores on Monday, July 25th,2016!!

Congratulations Tess, I adore Love at First Flight just as much as I did when I first read it and the paperback edition is just beautiful!!

Here is my original review:

Title: Love at First Flight                                                  28933774

Author: Tess Woods

ISBN: 1460705416

Published:  E-Book: April 1st 2015 by HarperCollins Australia, Paperback: July 25th 2016

Genre:  Romance, Chick Lit

Pages: 336

Source: Publisher: HarperCollins Australia

My Rating: 5/5 stars

Description:

Looking back on it now, I can see it was instant. The second we locked eyes. Boom. Just like that. The me I had spent a lifetime perfecting began its disintegration from that moment. And despite the carnage it brought to all our lives, I still don’t regret it.

What would you risk to be with the love of your life? And what if your soul mate is the one who will destroy you?

Mel is living the dream. She’s a successful GP, married to a charming anaesthetist and raising a beautiful family in their plush home in Perth. But when she boards a flight to Melbourne, she meets Matt and her picture perfect Stepford life unravels as she falls in love for the first time ever.

What begins as a flirty conversation between strangers quickly develops into a hot and obsessive affair with disastrous consequences neither Mel nor Matt could have ever seen coming. Mel’s dream life turns into her worst nightmare.

Love at First Flight will take everything you believe about what true love is and spin it on its head.

My Thoughts:

Love at First Flight is the thought provoking debut novel of Australian author, Tess Woods. To an outsider, Mel appears to have the perfect life. She has a successful career as a doctor, an attractive husband, two kids, and a beautiful house near the beach in Perth. But when she crosses paths with a handsome stranger on the way to Melbourne for a girly weekend with her best friend, she embarks on an obsessive affair which has the potential to ruin her perfect life.

I’m not normally a big fan of instant love stories, however, Love at First Flight is much more than a typical ‘girl meets boy, there is some barrier keeping them from being together, but it all works at in the end’ kind of love story. The author explores the relationships and consequences of Mel’s affair in a way that allowed me to understand each and every character’s perspective.

I particularly enjoyed the fact that Love at First Flight was a uniquely Australian novel without being too over the top about it. The description of Perth made me remind myself that I need to add Perth onto my list of places that I need to visit and the author clearly loves our hometown of Melbourne just as much as I do. I’m looking forward to reading Tess Woods’ next novel already!

About the author

Tess Woods is a physiotherapist who lives in Perth, Australia with one husband, two children, one dog and one cat who rules over all of them. When Tess isn’t working or being a personal assistant to her kids, she enjoys reading and all kinds of grannyish pleasures like knitting, baking, drinking tea, watching Downton Abbey and tending to the veggie patch. You can learn more about Tess on her website http://www.tesswoods.com.au or you can connect with her at Tess Woods Author on Facebook or Twitter.

#Review: Broken Sky by L.A. Weatherly

Broken Sky is the first book of the Broken trilogy, set in a dystopian America that is brokenskyreminiscent of the 1940s. The book has a very noir feeling to it, the technology, dress and entertainment in this world are true to the 1940s war-time genre, but the world in Broken Sky has a lot of differences. In this world nuclear war has been banned after WWII and disputes between countries are settled by pilots who are known as Peacefighters. America has been split into sections, with the leader of the Central States running his country based on Astrology.

In the Broken Sky world having the wrong star sign can be fatal. Basically, everybody in the Central States has their Astrology charts done and if there is anything in their stars that could mean trouble they are labelled ‘Discordant’ and sent to concentration camps very similar to Nazi Germany. The evil leader of the Central States is looking to increase his power of course. I really enjoyed the comparisons between Discordants and Jews and how well it highlighted the inhumanity of the Holocaust and punishing a group of people simply for the circumstances of their birth.

The main character, Amity, is a Peacefighter for the Western Seaboard which once used to be part of the USA. Amity is a brilliant YA heroine. She’s tough but fair and is one of the best Peacefighters for the Western Seaboard. She has to battle deception, betrayal, and corruption to protect herself and her family.

Broken Sky is also written from the point of view of Kay who is an astrologist in the Central States. She doesn’t believe in Astrology in the slightest but she is skilled at reading people and telling them what they want to hear. During the novel she manages to work her way up to becoming the top Astrologer for the Central States, so we learn a lot about the evilly enigmatic Central States leader through her.

Broken Sky is perfect for all the dystopian lovers out there. There is plenty of action, adventure, deception, romance, and betrayal. The world is just similar enough to 1940s America to be familiar, but the Astrology spin added a refreshing point of difference. I was a bit disappointed there wasn’t much about my own star sign though. Hopefully somebody in the next book is an Aquarian! This is the kind of YA novel that can be enjoyed by all ages, with just the right amount of romance to add to the story. And make sure you’re sitting somewhere you will be able to hold onto your seats for the crazy twist at the end! I can not wait to read the sequel now…

Corrected to add that there is an Aquarian character and just as I suspected they are on the Discordant list!

Description

Welcome to a ‘perfect’ world.

Where war is illegal, where harmony rules.

And where your date of birth marks your destiny.

But nothing is perfect.

And in a world this broken, who can Amity trust?

From the bestselling author of the Angel trilogy comes Broken Sky – an exhilarating epic set in a daring and distorted echo of 1940s America and first in a new trilogy.

Details

Title: Broken Sky

Author: L.A. Weatherly

ISBN: 9781409572022

Published:  March 1st 2016 by Usborne
Genre: Dystopia, Science Fiction, Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 500
Source: Review copy from publisher (HarperCollins Australia)

My Rating: 4/5 stars

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