Friday, 24 February 2017

Mini Reviews: Pretty Face by Lucy Parker

Hi everyone, Rachel and I have very similar tastes when it comes to reading, so much so that we're often reading the same books at the same time without realising it. So we thought it'd be a cool idea to share our reviews on books that we had both been reading recently. Rachel and I were big fans of Parker's first book Act Like it, so we'd thought we'd share our thoughts on her second book Pretty Face.

Pretty Face (London Celebrities #2) by Lucy Parker
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication date: February 20th 2017
Our ratings: stars (Jasprit) / 4.5 Stars (Rachel)
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | TBD | Kobo

 https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25644437-find-her
Highly acclaimed, award-winning author of Act Like It Lucy Parker returns readers to the London stage with laugh-out-loud wit and plenty of drama 

The play's the fling 

It's not actress Lily Lamprey's fault that she's all curves and has the kind of voice that can fog up a camera lens. She wants to prove where her real talents lie—and that's not on a casting couch, thank you. When she hears esteemed director Luc Savage is renovating a legendary West End theater for a lofty new production, she knows it could be her chance—if only Luc wasn't so dictatorial, so bad-tempered and so incredibly sexy.

Luc Savage has respect, integrity and experience. He also has it bad for Lily. He'd be willing to dismiss it as a midlife crisis, but this exasperating, irresistible woman is actually a very talented actress. Unfortunately, their romance is not only raising questions about Lily's suddenly rising career, it's threatening Luc's professional reputation. The course of true love never did run smooth. But if they're not careful, it could bring down the curtain on both their careers…
 

For some reason Pretty Face took me a while to get into, I blame the high that Act Like it left me in, nothing really could compare with Richard and Lainey’s relationship. However, despite the struggle with the initial start, once again Parker was able to win me over with her fantastic characters in Luc and Lily. Both Lily and Luc came from different backgrounds, so much so that I didn’t see them working together at all. Lily was a person who was completely overlooked, her role in show Knightsbridge didn’t have people flocking to hire her, but seriously though I knew beneath that assumptions that so many people had already made of her, there was serious talent and I was hoping that Luc would give her a try. Luc on the other hand was my sort of guy, he quickly lost his temper (which I loved, why do characters that get easily riled up or come to someone’s defence always come across as super-hot!). But also he wanted the best from his production, so once he’d finally been convinced of taking Lily on, I appreciated the confidence he exuded in Lily had and the extent that he would go to, to make Lily’s character the best. Really from Luc, Lily was able to become the best that she possibly could. Also with the time spent along the way, the miscommunications and difficult situations a really beautiful relationship was able to develop between Lily and Luc. For me once again Parker did an incredible job with the build-up of their relationship, the way they would both get torn up over things that happened really crushed me at times, but just went onto show how far both characters had come in their development and their feelings for one another. Alongside this great relationship that Parker gave us between Luc and Lily, there was once again an abundance of quirky secondary characters, which brought a great amount of delight and laughter to the story. Seriously though Parker really mixes up the romance, fun and tough scenes really well once again in Pretty Face. She was also once again able to win me over with a charming romance which I had my doubts about in the beginning. Pretty Face was another great follow up from Parker who is quickly becoming my go to author.





After reading and loving Act Like It, I was thrilled to get my hands on Pretty Face and it was everything I hoped for! Lucy Parker excels at writing witty, fun dialogue and banter, with British-isms like “snogging, kerfuffle, whinge, and arse-over-tits”; the last has to be my favorite, lol!
 

The relationship between Luc and Lily was sexy and fun, and full of emotion and chemistry!  Ms. Parker made Luc and Lily come to life, writing them with insecurities and faults, but each with a pureness of heart that made you love them even when they screwed up. I laughed, cried, (just a tear or two; don’t judge, I find I’m getting more emotional as the years go by!) and my heart welled with happiness when I finished.  I can’t wait for the next lovely Lucy Parker story!





 Connect with Lucy Parker:




Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Review: A Darkness Absolute by Kelley Armstrong

A Darkness Absolute (Casey Duncan #2) by Kelley Armstrong
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication date: February 7th 2017
My rating: 4.5 stars 
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | TBD | Kobo

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25644437-find-her
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.


My Thoughts:
I love the setting and premise of this series! If you’re a fan of a well-plotted mystery with plenty of suspense, twists and turns, and multi-dimensional characters, (thankfully without a self-destructive streak!) the Casey Duncan series is for you.   

Rockton is a refuge city for those on the run. A city off the grid and under the radar, perfect for any trying to escape a whole range of situations: a stalker, abusive partner, or punishment from a crime.  Applicants are vetted for violence risk, meaning someone who poses a threat to others will not be admitted. Well, that’s the theory, anyhow. In book one, City of the Lost, Casey and Eric found some exceptions that cost the town dearly.  Are there more to be uncovered?

Casey is very smart and insightful, considering the motivations of everyone she deals with, helping her manage the residents in Rockton, as well as track down a particularly clever killer.

I was on edge so many times sensing danger, worrying that something terrible would happen to Casey! Kelley Armstrong did a wonderful job setting the stage for one nail-biting tale! The crime was disturbing, because it’s so very similar to the horrifying things we hear in real life.

I love the romance between Eric and Casey!  They’re in the new stages, smitten, and at times vulnerable wondering just how much this relationship means to the other. 

Just when I think Diana (Highlight for spoiler): will somehow redeem herself, she’s back to her self-centered schemes, rationalizing by suggesting her decisions ended up benefiting Casey. I can’t stand this woman. I’m thankful that Casey really does have her number, even if she wishes she were wrong. (End of spoiler) Jen is just awful.  She was in book one and things haven’t changed. That’s how she goes about getting a job?!  

Just like the first book, the current mystery is solved, albeit in a chilling way, but I’d say the punishment fits the crime! I can’t wait for the next mystery!  If you haven’t read the first book, City of the Lost, I’d highly recommend starting with that one first. 

Therese Plummer, one of my all-time favorite narrators is fantastic, as usual.  She makes any book even better with her performance.
 


Monday, 20 February 2017

Review: Paris for One and Other Stories by Jojo Moyes

Paris for One and Other Stories by Jojo Moyes
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Publication Date: February 9th 2017
My rating: 4 stars.


Nell is twenty-six and has never been to Paris. She's never even been in a romantic weekend away - anywhere - before. Travelling abroad isn't really her thing. But when Nell's boyfriend fails to show up, she has the chance to prove to everyone - including herself - that she can be independent and intrepid. Alone in Paris, Nell finds a version of herself she never knew existed... In ten other stories, Jojo Moyes introduces us to more strong, relatable women in the midst of their everyday lives. In Honeymoon in Paris, featuring characters from her bestselling novel, The Girl You Left Behind, Liv and Sophie - though decades apart - both find that marriage is only the beginning of their love stories. In Crocodile Shoes, a businesswoman's blossoming confidence emerges from a fateful changing-room mix-up. And in both Love in the Afternoon and A Bird in the Hand, two couples dance around the trickiness of long-term marriage. In this irresistible collection, readers will be whisked from elegant perfume shops to taxis to five-star hotel rooms and beyond.

I’m typically not a short stories sort of reader, but when I heard about Paris for One and other stories by Jojo Moyes I knew I had to read it, Moyes just has a way of getting under your skin with her writing, so I couldn’t wait to dive right in. With this book featuring quite a few stories I thought with my review I would focus on a few of my favourites. 

Between the Tweets 
This story was totally unexpected; we have a well known actor who has come under intense scrutiny when a random lady pops out of nowhere accusing him of having an affair. Declan has a wife and kids, so is taken aback by these accusations, he gets somebody to look into who this lady could be especially as she claims to know details about him that only someone who has been intimate with can know about. I was all for discovering who this person could be and to be honest I was fully on Declan’s side, but the two big blows towards the end of the story completely took me by surprise. In the end I was left slightly gobsmacked, but also with a smile on my face with the way things ended up. 

A Bird in the Hand 
This story I really ended up enjoying, it was about two people who ended up finding a connection whilst working together. They’d tried to keep their relationship under wraps, more so because Beth was married. We’re not fully told the back story of Beth and Ben’s relationship, so I sort of appreciated the way that we’re given their story with their chance meeting at an event. Both are there with their respective partners, and the way they’re forced to interact with one another and reminisce of what could have been because of miscommunication was done beautifully. I’m not going to say how this short story ended, but although it wasn’t how I would have wanted it to, I was still left happy with it. Also this story really left me wanting a full story from these characters. 

Holdups
This story was an absolute delight to read. Alice finds herself caught up in a break-in at her place of work at the jewellers. Instead of being scared by the big guy looming over her, she finds herself connecting with the guy with the strange accent and tights on his head. This interaction between Alice and her captor was totally bizarre, but done really well! It was clear that this guy really didn’t want to be in this situation at all, Alice was so easily able to take so much information from him in a short amount of time and would a criminal really allow his hostage destroy a painting they didn’t like? Despite this story being kind of farfetched, I really liked it, Alice was such a funny character and the way things ended up I absolutely loved as I totally didn’t expect it at all! 

Honeymoon in Paris 
I was totally confused at when first reading this, as I thought the story of David and Liv had come to an abrupt end and we’d be thrown into the world of another couple straight away. To be honest I was kind of annoyed, as I needed to know what was happening with David and Liv; they were on their honeymoon and David’s work was clearly taking a priority over his honeymoon, I understood that it was a big deal for him, but you only went on your honeymoon once, so I totally felt for Liv. And then when we were just in the middle of their story we’re introduced to Edouard and Sophie, yes their story and what was going on with their lives were interesting enough but I wanted to go back to David and Liv, I needed to know what was going to happen to them, would David finally put his love for Liv before his love of work? But seriously it was kind of neat the way Moyes mingled these characters stories together, although at the beginning it didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, it was cleverly done. So much so that this book ended up being my absolute favourite from all of the stories!


Sunday, 19 February 2017

The Readers Den Weekly Wrap Up #4

Hi everyone, with Rachel and I's crazy work schedules, we miss sharing whats going on with us. We used to have a lot of fun with our Showcase Sunday posts, so thought we'd do something regular on the blog, where we share bookish news and life news in general as a weekly recap!

WHAT I READ/REVIEWED


Jasprit 
(Click on Book for Goodreads link).


A  bit of a mixed reading week for me again this week, I'm re-reading Paula Weston's Rephaim series with Ari from Reading After Midnight and honestly I'm loving the heck out of it. I've made a start on Haze already too! Paris for One was also a delight to read, some of the stories I wished I got more of. And F*ck Love was such a disappointment, I had such high hopes for this book, but not only did the story let me down, but also the narrator did too. 


Rachel:
 (Click on title for Goodreads link)


Loved A Darkness Absolute! Therese Plummer is one of my favorite narrators which made the story even better! Live to Tell by Lisa Gardner is a re-read by audio, another total recommend! Undecided was amazing! I couldn't put the book down! I thought I would love Win Some, Lose Some more, but it was still good.

BOOKS RECEIVED 

Jasprit 
(Click on Book for Goodreads link).

  
I've heard the best things about The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, so I can't wait to get stuck into it! And Love Story and Undeclared have been high on my wish list, so here's hoping they live up to my expectations :/


Rachel:
(Click on title for Goodreads link)


I'm currently reading Undeclared with Jasprit.  So far I don't like it as much as Undecided and I think most of that comes down to Kellan, Crosbie's best friend.  I thought he was a jerk in the first book, and it's taken a while for me to change my opinion.  We'll see how it all turns out.  The Skeletons of Scarborough House sounds like a fun mystery. A GRs friend reviewed and loved the story so I couldn't resist getting a copy. I love K.A. Tucker's writing so I'm looking forward to Until It Fades.



NEW TO MY TBR

Jasprit 
(Click on Book for Goodreads link).


None for me this week, which makes a change, hopefully this will give me the chance to catch up with all the books! 


Rachel:
(Click on Book for Goodreads link)


After reading Heidi @Rainy Day Ramblings review and finding out Luke Daniels narrates The Rising I requested a library audio copy. Just downloaded it on my phone yesterday.  Not looking forward to the cliffy, though.  Never Let You Go was another book I added because of a GRs friend's review.  I do love twists that surprise me so I requested a copy we'll see if I get it. I love Sandra Brown's books so even though there's no book description it went into the TBR.



WHAT WE'RE WATCHING

Jasprit 



I finally started The Flash this week, everyone I know has been harping on about it to me, I've only been able to watch five episodes this week and although its been a bit slow for me so far, everyone keeps saying it will only get better! And I'm also done with Season 2 of Ugly Betty, there's so much that I've forgotten since the first time I watched it, so it definitely has been a lot of fun!

Rachel:

I haven't been watching TV much, but when I do it's always Doc Martin. Yes, I realize I'm a broken record here, but I'm watching the series straight through and they're are several seasons! Plus, I'm usually reading instead, lol!



EVENTS OF THE WEEK

Jasprit:

Allie finally made a trip up north as she would say to see me, it was a lot of fun trying to find all the Vegan places that we could visit. My favourite places we ended up visiting were Stonebaked Pizza (I nearly finished my entire pizza) and Cocoa Amore where they had the best hot chocolates. We then ended the day watching Me Before You and scoffing all the chocolates!



Rachel:

It's been raining cats and dogs so going out has been tough.  

 Finally getting some sunshine:


I really had no motivation to go out, so other than work and reading, my husband and I made dinner for our extended family: BBQ'd Tri Tip, Mashed Potatoes with tons of cream, butter, and bacon, and Garlic Parmesan Roasted Carrots, a recipe I got from Pinterest.  The mashed potatoes were soooo good, but the carrots stole the show.  I know, really fattening, but sometimes you have to splurge! 

For a healthier dinner I did make this:


 I browned sliced chicken in a little butter, salt, pepper, and lemon juice first, set aside, and then
added tons of vegetables (onions, carrots, zucchini, mushrooms) for a stir fry. I used some butter, but kept it at a minimum by using soy sauce marinated with a good amount of minced ginger (love ginger!) and a little bit of lemon juice, salt and pepper. 


How was your week?

Friday, 17 February 2017

Review: Act Like it by Lucy Parker

Act Like it by Lucy Parker
Publisher: Harlequin Audio
Publication Date: May 31st 2016
My rating: 4.5 stars. 


This just in: romance takes center stage as West End theatre's Richard Troy steps out with none other than castmate Elaine Graham Richard Troy used to be the hottest actor in London, but the only thing firing up lately is his temper. We all love to love a bad boy, but Richard's antics have made him Enemy Number One, breaking the hearts of fans across the city. Have the tides turned? Has English rose Lainie Graham made him into a new man? Sources say the mismatched pair has been spotted at multiple events, arm in arm and hip to hip. From fits of jealousy to longing looks and heated whispers, onlookers are stunned by this blooming romance. Could the rumors be right? Could this unlikely romance be the real thing? Or are these gifted stage actors playing us all?

Act Like it was a book which completely took me by surprise, it was witty, full with snarky characters and before I knew it I was utterly hooked. Lainey finds herself in a “fake relationship” with co-star Richard; their show has taken a hit as of late with Richard being spotted kicking off in a restaurant one night. He’s known to be stroppy and have his way, so when Lainey’s boss suggests that stepping out as a couple will help in several ways, it’s not something Richard and Lainey imagined. Richard is the type of guy who looks out for himself, he didn’t even pay the slightest bit of attention to who Lainey was before, whereas Lainey is the opposite, I totally adored her, she was lively and bubbly. She had so much of her own stress to deal with but was one of the most considerate individuals I’d come across. But to make matters worse Lainey’s ex Will is also a cast member of their production. Lainey and Richard wanted to make themselves appear as much as a couple as possible, so that included keeping Will in the dark. I honestly had no idea whether their relationship would come across as believable or not, as at first Richard and Lainey came across as such opposites that I thought they would have a tough time getting along. Also Richard as I’d mentioned was quite set in his ways, I couldn’t see anything changing him. 

But the development of Richard and Lainey’s relationship was so much fun seeing enfold. I liked how the earlier awkwardness and forced closeness developed into something neither of them imagined. Parker did a grand job of slowly developing the relationship between Richard and Lainey; it was just the right amount of slow burn, with the incidents along the way chipping away at Richard’s hard exterior. Both had their own secrets and I’m glad as the story progressed they were slowly able to put that trust in each other. I adored the development of Richard’s character, how he went out of his way to making Lainey was looked after, although it was initially hard to imagine, Richard was a really softie at times, truly making my heart melt. 

Forced or faked relationships are always one of my favourite tropes and Parker really excelled in making the development of Richard and Lainey’s relationship a marvellous one. Both of their characters truly came a long way. What I also appreciated was the snark and humour littered throughout the story, although I wasn’t a huge fan of Billie Fulford-Brown’s narration (she made Richard come across as rather nasally), the jibes and banter that characters had with each other was my absolute favourite. I guess I didn’t expect Act Like it to be such a funny read, but I really enjoyed the dry sense of humour that some characters like Richard had. 

Act Like it was a book that I went into with not a lot of expectations, but one that I literally charmed the pants of me. I’m only knocking the half star off because I wasn’t a fan of the narrator at all. This minor complaint aside Act Like it was a wonderful read! I shall certainly be looking forward to devouring Parker’s future reads right up!

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...