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readingunderthewillowtree

Reading Under the Willow Tree

Environmental Science student, book reader, big dreamer, Sailing/Kayak/Surf instructor, Film buff, Adventurer, Girl.

Currently reading

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Tammy Falkner
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REVIEW: Mistwalker

Mistwalker - Saundra Mitchell

Sometimes a book comes along that is just made for you a book that you understand because it gets you and you get it.  Mistwalker was that book for me.  It is about a girl who loves her family and loves the sea.  I could very easily be that girl.

 

I love the ocean.  It is as much a part of me as my blood and bones are.  I grew up on the water, I played in it, earned my money on it and taught others how to harness it.  I understand its beauty and am fearful of its strength.  It is not hard for me to relate to this book and it was not hard for me to fall in love with it.

 

I really liked this book.  It wasn’t just that I related to it, it was the way it was written, the subtleness of its messages, the honest characters.  It was a combination of many good things strung together to create something really great.

 

The story itself was brilliant and was something I was not expecting.  The blurb and the cover suggested that this book was going to feature a windswept romances bursting full of angst and passion.  But the reality was a different story.  There is no romance here, no star crossed lovers.  It is a story about a girl trying to atone for her mistakes and a man looking to escape from his.  I had built myself up for the big romance (I was in one of those moods) but was not disappointed when it didn’t appear.  I liked that it was absent and that this books wasn’t full of teenage drama.

 

The writing was great.  Saundra Mitchell writes beautifully her writing it descriptive and poetic.  The atmosphere she creates is eerie and interesting.  She handed the supernatural element outstandingly well and it all fit in with the rest of the plot perfectly.  Getting lost in this book was extremely easy.

 

The characters were well rounded and likeable.  Willa is not a bubbly, friendly teen.  She can come across a little cold but it is clear she cares greatly about many things.  She made a stupid mistake that had tragic consequences but she doesn’t wallow in self-pity.   She would do anything for her family and friends but it no dependant on them.  One of the things I really loved about her was that she didn’t need a boy in her life.  She wasn’t all smitten and obsessive over a guy which made a nice change.

Grey is completely the opposite of Willa.  His personality is bigger, he is charming and funny but does have a temper on him and is prone to boats of self-pity.  Like Willa he has made a mistake and has been paying for it for many years.  He isn’t perfect (neither of them is) and despite his best effort Willa is never really taken with him.

 

Mistwalker is special to me for many reasons and I think I was always destined to love it.  This book will not have the same effect on everyone but it is still a beautiful story that is beautifully written.

REVIEW: You're Not Safe

You're Not Safe - Mary Burton

You’re not safe was a fairly good thriller that kept me interested but was a tad to long for me. 

 

The plot itself was good and it kept me guessing.  I thought I had it all figured out because some of the red herrings were pretty obvious but in the end Burton managed to surprise me with the reveal of the killer.  Most murder mysteries, thriller romances I read suffer from a few inconsistences and You’re Not Safe was no exception.  There were a few plot holes which had me questioning some things but for the most part it was ok.

 

My main problem with this book was its length.  It really started to drag in the middle and there was quite a lot of unneeded information thrown in.  I found a few of the characters povs to be pointless, for example the first victim’s brother has a couple of pages devoted to him.  His pov doesn’t appear again in the whole book and it just served no purpose at all and interrupted the flow of the story.  One thing I did like about this book was that the romance was secondary to the plot.  It was in the background and was nicely done.

 

All in all the writing was good and the idea great.  I liked the killer’s motive and style it was a little bit different which I appreciated.  The characters were also good despite having awful names.  Tec and Greer were likeable even though they were anti-social.  They were a little moody and blunt but I kind of liked that about them.  They also didn’t go around doing stupid things (normally female characters seem to throw themselves into dangerous situations in books like these).  They didn’t fall in love at first sight either which is always a plus.

 

You’re Not Safe is not perfect, there are holes to be picked in it if you want to by fussy but overall it is an enjoyable and entertaining thriller romance that ticks all the boxes.

REVIEW: Aiding the Enemy

Aiding the Enemy - Julie Rowe

For this review and more visit <a href="http://thelittleblogofgeek.blogspot.co.uk/">my blog</a>

 

 

I like war romances. The thought of two people finding love in a time of fear and danger really appeals to me so I was quite looking forward to reading this novella. Aiding the Enemy had an interesting premise and it was interesting enough but I couldn’t help feeling that there was wasted potential here.

This book is a short, fluffy romance that lacked some depth but for the most part it was fine and as a novella it ticked all the boxes. My problem with this book was that it could have been so much more. I would have really loved this as a full length historical romance novel, I think it is really what the story deserved. The fact that it is a story about a German Doctor and an English nurse who fall in love is enough to justify a longer length. On top of that there were so many other elements that really needed a little more space. It all felt a little condensed and rushed. A lot is pushed aside to get the romance in and a lot of the romance is underdeveloped to get the plot in. The romance also felt a little forced (again due to the length) and I failed to feel the chemistry between the characters.

The writing was of a good standard. Rowe has done a nice job with the descriptions and atmosphere of the story. She made the war time hospital sound horrific and some bits are definitely not for the faint hearted. The characters were alright. I liked both Rose and Herman but I didn’t love them. I found their voices to similar and I struggled to notice any cultural differences between them.

Aiding the Enemy is an entertaining enough novella that kept me interested but it had the potential to be a lot more.


<b>The publisher provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review</b>

Lady Northam's Wicked Surrender - Vivienne Westlake Review to come.
Just What He Wanted -

This review may contain a few spoilers.


For this review and more visit href="http://readingunderthewillowtree.blogspot.co.uk/">my blog

So far I have quite enjoyed the Helen Kay Dimon books I have read and so was expecting quite a lot from Just What he Wanted, it delivered a sweet romance but I did have a few more problems with it than I thought I would.

My first problem was a strange one. I really like romance books and I read a lot of them but most of them have a little more to offer. Just What he Wanted is just a romance between two people, nothing more and nothing less and that was a bit of an issue for me. I wanted a little more depth, a little more interest but all I got was cute romance.

The writing and world building was strong and I had no issue following the storyline or envisioning what was happening. The dialogue was a little bit all over the place and didn’t seem to flow at all. None of the characters seemed capable of keeping to the point and all the conversations, especially between Travis and Andie were disjointed and random. One second they were talking about one thing the next it was something else. I couldn’t keep up and I found it really distracting.

The characters were ok. Andie had a little too many body hang ups for me and I kind of wanted to tell her to snap out of it. Her issues about personal safety also bothered me, she takes a job in a cabin/motel in the middle of no-where and then is suspicious of everyone who comes along. If she was that worried that she needed several guns, and was willing to pull them out and threaten people, she should have gotten a different job.

Travis was sweet but his constant pushing of Andie was annoying. At one point he brings up her body image issues in the middle of a party and brings it up so loudly that every single person hears him. If I was Andie I would have been mortified. He also is a bit of a hypocrite, he pushes Andie all the time but when she pushes him he gets angry and walks away.

The romance and story was sweet but I would have liked just a little more structure and storyline.


The publisher provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
Perfect Ruin (Internment Chronicles, #1) - Lauren DeStefano

This review may contain a few spoilers.

For this review and more visit my blog


Perfect Ruin was one of my most anticipated books of the year and not just because it looked interesting, but because of who wrote it. Lauren DeStefano is famous for writing The Chemical Garden series and Perfect Ruin is her first venture outside of that world. It is always interesting to see what an author produces after their big series is over. For the most part Perfect Ruin was a good start to the Internment series but there were a few problems.

Firstly, I really loved the idea. I loved the concept that there was this world in the sky with people walking around, living their lives seemingly peacefully. There was a lot of originality to be found here and there was a lot of potential for this book to be exciting…but that is kind of where the issues were to be found. The story was good but there could have been a lot more going on. Everything moved at a relatively slow pace and not all that much happened. The last quarter was a lot more interesting than the rest but it still wasn’t explosive or nail biting. It could have really done with a bit more action or intrigue just to make things a little more interesting.

The writing was strong and I really enjoyed the world building. I could picture Internment and I really liked it. DeStefano really has built an original and interesting world that come across to me as beautiful even if the people in it were not.

The characters were also interesting but suffered from the same issues as the plot. Morgan is perfectly likeable and easy to get on with but she is not interesting enough. She is an ordinary girl which I liked but there was no real personality or charm to her. Her best friend Pen is a lot more interesting but she is unstable and erratic and is not always painted in the best light. Basil, Morgans betrothed, was likable as well, he was sweet and charming but again lacked a little in personality.

Perfect Ruin is a great idea and it has been well written but it was a little bland. Still, it is an enjoyable opening to a new series and a good, fresh start for Lauren DeStefano after The Chemical Garden.



The publisher provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
Gifts of Honor: Starting from ScratchHero's Homecoming  - Stacy Gail,  Rebecca Crowley This review may contain a few spoilers.


For this review and more visit my blog

Gifts of Honor is a two story anthology featuring Starting by Scratch by Stacy Gail and Hero’s Homecoming by Rebecca Crowley. Both are set at Christmas time and both are about military men.

The problem with anthologies, especially when there are only two stories involved is that they both have to be the same standard or half the book is just not as good as the other. That was the big problem with this book. One of the stories was great, the other annoyed and frustrated me.

Starting by Scratch by Stacy Gail was a lovely, sweet little story that I really enjoyed. It had a lot of depth and I found it really emotional in parts. Luce and Sully’s story was not an easy one. After an argument at Christmas Sully deploys for another tour abroad despite promising Luce that he would not be going again. Luce feels betrayed because he didn’t even talk to her about it and he just left. Whilst abroad he is injured and despite remembering everything from his life before he cannot remember he wife and divorces her quickly, leaving her even more heartbroken.

Their story back to each other was a hard one and I found it difficult not to blame Sully for everything but it wasn’t his fault that he lost his memory. The characters were great and the story built slowly towards a satisfying and sweet ending.

I did not enjoy Hero’s Homecoming as much. The writing was good and there was nothing wrong with the structure of the story but the main character annoyed me. Chris and Beth get caught up in a whirl wind romance before he deploys for his next tour of duty. They stay in contact and one day Beth gets an email saying that Chris wants to end their relationship leaving her heartbroken. A few months later she gets a phone call from him asking for help as he is stranded at the airport. When she gets there she finds him scarred and blind but still cannot let go of the fact he dumped her.

My issue with this book was Beth. I get that he hurt her feelings, nobody likes to be dumped, but her actions towards him really got under my skin and irritated me. She came across as heartless and selfish. Chris has lost his job, sight, independence and all she goes on about is her hurt feelings, she even slaps him after she realizes what has happened to him which in my opinion was really low. She cannot understand why he dumped her and assumes it can only be because she isn’t interesting/pretty/sexy enough not because his life had blown up in his face and he is suffering from bad post-traumatic stress (which she instantly assumes makes him a psycho and dangerous.) she is so self-involved that at one point she hears him stumbling around at night and instead of assuming that he is blind and in a place he doesn’t know and might be trying to get to the bathroom or kitchen, she assumes that he is faking being blind and is trying to rob her. I just didn’t like her at all and she ruined what was a great premise for a story.

Starting from Scratch is worth getting this anthology and I am sure many will enjoy Hero’s Homecoming but it wasn’t for me.


The publisher provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
How to Tame a Wild Fireman (The Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel #4) - Jennifer Bernard

This review may contain a few spoilers.


For this review and more visit my blog


This is the second book I have read in the Bachelor Fireman of San Gabriel series and so far I have liked both of them. How to Tame a Wild Fireman was not as good as the previous book I read but I still really enjoyed it.

I really liked the small town setting in this book and the way it tackled wild fires. Like the previous book I read the action fire fighting scenes were awesome and exciting. Jennifer Bernard is really good at delivering that aspect of her books and I would have loved to have seen more scenes like that in this book. The writing and world building were also strong and I had no problems getting involved in this book at all.

The characters were not as strong and I failed to relate to Lara at all. I found her really annoying and she came across as really selfish. She rarely thought of others around her or how her actions affected them which I struggled with. I also thought she was extremely hypocritical she loses her temper at people for a number of reasons then turns around and does exactly the same thing.

Patrick was completely different and I really liked him. I thought he was charming and caring even when he didn’t want to be. He always did the right thing and was thoughtful. I hated the way Lara treated him in the beginning because he really didn’t deserve it after everything that had happened to him.

The romance was sweet but I couldn’t quite connect to it. I loved the build-up to the love scene but then struggled to feel anything when it actually happened. It felt like strangers there was no intimacy, kissing or feeling between them and it left me cold.

Despite some issues I still really enjoyed this book and would read more of this series in the future.



The publisher provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
Cruel Beauty - Rosamund Hodge


This review may contain a few spoilers.


For this review and more visit my blog


I was really looking forward to Cruel Beauty, it sounded amazing and it was one of my most anticipated titles of the year. I dived into this as soon as I got my e-galley but I soon realised that this book was not at all what I was expecting which was a good thing in some parts and not a good thing in others. There were some amazing things about this book but there were also some bits that disappointed me and in the end Cruel Beauty was not as brilliant as I hoped it would be.

I will start with the amazing bits. The writing in this book was glorious I found it lyrical and spell bounding. It was really nice to come across such beautiful writing in a YA books. It was not just the writing but the world building and descriptions that impressed. The inside of the Ignifex’s spooky and wonderful house really came alive for me it was so well created and written and I just got lost in all the beautiful details.

I found the idea really interesting there was lots of mythology and I found it really intriguing. I would have liked it to have been a little more like Beauty and the Beast but I still liked the journey this book took me on. It was brave and daring and I really liked the plot and construction it was original and at times clever.

But there were problems with this book mainly steaming from the main character Nyx. Cruel Beauty is a book where ever character is flawed and I quite like that because it mirrors life but at times Nyx was also annoying. She was like a broken record and always thought the same things. She mentioned her (also annoying) sister all the time, I felt like I didn’t go a page without her being mentioned. The character herself is barely in it but she consumes a lot of space. Nyx lacked personality, she was hell bent on revenge and bubbling over with hate but there was nothing to her at all.

The romance and Nyx in the romance was also an issue. There is a love triangle in this book between Nyx, Ignifex and prisoner Shade. It is not a love triangle that you would expect and in some ways it could not be classed as a love triangle at all but it was still there and Nyx was still ridiculous when it came to the two men. Her attraction to Ignifex was a slow builder and I didn’t mind it but she was kissing Shade and talking about ‘love’ on her first night in the house. It was annoying. I cannot say much more about the romance without giving major plot twists away so I will leave it there.

Ignifex was a stronger character he was a lot more interesting and came across better than Nyx. I liked him more and understood him but there could have been more to him. A majority of this book features only Ignifex and Nyx and it really needed them to be more interesting. It was a shame that the impact of the beautiful and creative writing and plot was tarnished by dull and annoying characters.

Cruel Beauty is an atmospheric and at times beautiful book with gorgeous writing but irritating characters and romance. I think it is a book that many YA fans will love and I think it will do very well but I wanted a little more from it. I would happily read more from this author as her writing was the stand out aspect of this book.



The publisher provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
Wait for You  - J. Lynn I am really struggling with this one so am giving up for now. Reasons to come soon.
Dream Nights with the CEO - Kathy Lyons

This review may contain a few spoilers.


For this review and more visit my blog

I hate not finishing books it really bugs me to leave things unfinished. I am a little OCD and not finishing a book is something I struggle to tolerate. But, there are always exceptions and Dream Nights with the CEO was one of them. I got to the mid-way point of this book and had to stop.

So why couldn’t I finish? At first I thought this was a standard contemporary romance and I quite enjoyed the first few chapters but then things took a turn for the bizarre and whatever I had liked about this book disappeared.

Firstly, there were loads of and loads of dream segments. Normally I don’t mind a few pages here and there of characters dreams but there were huge blocks of it in this. The big problem with the dreams is that it was where the characters seemed to build most of their attraction/chemistry which didn’t work. It didn’t help that they were also stopping flying runaway trains and being chased by blobs yet still found the time to get naked with each other. Add some strange ghosts into the mix and things became really quite strange. I lost interest in this when the characters (who had been avoiding being overly friendly with each other) woke up naked in bed together away a night of acting out their dreams without realizing it. It was such a cheat and I hated that the characters first intimate moments happened with neither of them remembering it.

What didn’t help this book were the boring characters. They were two of the least interesting people I have come across in a book. Neither Megan nor Wyatt had any personality or charm. I was not interested in them or this book at all.



The publisher provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
Destiny's Surrender - Beverly Jenkins


For this review and more visit my blog


Destiny’s Surrender was an enjoyable historical romance that I found really entertaining despite a few small problems.

The biggest issue with this book is that it does nothing new in the genre. I felt like it was a little too predictable and it wasn’t hard to see how this was all going to end. I still enjoyed it despite that because it is a story line I have not read in a while and because I liked the tone of the authors writing. I thought Beverly Jenkins world building was strong and I had no problem getting lost in these pages and despite knowing what was coming I found this hard to put down.

I really enjoyed the characters. Billie was a great character and there was little I disliked about her. She was a great mother and was brave and smart. I liked Drew a little less and at first struggled with him but he soon grew on me.

The romance was sweet but most of the chemistry was developed before this book began which was a shame.

Destiny’s Surrender wasn’t perfect but I really did enjoy it and though it was a good historical romance.


The publisher provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
The Damsel and the Daggerman (Blud, #2.5) - Delilah S. Dawson Review to come.
Eat Play Lust - Tawna Fenske

For this review and more visit my blog

Eat, Play, Lust was a sweet little novella that I really enjoyed. Despite its length it managed to pack a lot in and I really have to congratulate Tawna Fenske for not just writing a quick romance but for filling it out and making it real.

What I really liked about Eat, Play, Lust was that it had a really good attitude towards food. The main character has had weigh problems in the past and although she is at a healthy and happy weight now she still has a lot of insecurities about food that is not helped by her mother. During this book she learns that all food is good in moderating and that you cannot feel bad all the time just because you ate something you shouldn’t.

I really enjoyed the characters. Cami was really sweet and was struggling under the pressure of all her weight issues. Paul was charming and understanding and determined not to give up on Cami. The romance was sweet but moved a little too fast (as is often the problem with novellas) but I enjoyed it.
Eat, Play, Lust is a short, sweet novella which I liked.


The publisher provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
The Bone Season - Samantha Shannon




For this review and more visit my blog


I am always wary when starting a book that has a lot of hype around it. Generally the books can never live up to the high expectations I have unfairly set for them and I am often disappointed. Luckily The Bone Season proved to me that some books are worth the hype and despite all the nerves I had going into it I really enjoyed it.

Generally speaking The Bone Season does nothing new. I have seen stories like this before and I am sure I will see stories like this again. What I really loved about this book, and what made me interested in it despite it being yet another dystopian was the thing that so many other reviewers hated, the detail. Samantha Shannon took great care to deliver her impressive and complex world onto the page, for some people it will be too much but I loved it. All the detail, all the information just built a better world for me to disappear into and get lost in. I agree with many that this was a long book and there were parts (especially towards the end) that were not needed and were dragged out a little too far. It felt as though the author couldn’t quite bring herself to end it so things got a little messy and out of hand in the last chapter or so but that is my only real complaint.

Samantha Shannon also managed to create a great atmosphere for this book. I found it violent and brutal in parts. There were some great action sequences, some awesome moments of suspense and one romantic scene that made my knees wobble.

The characters were good. Paige was impressively strong and always willing to fight. It was nice to have a female character that wasn’t prone to bouts of self-pity and are distracted by pretty boys. The one little bit of romance came on suddenly and was not a factor for a majority of the book. She didn’t have all that much to be cheerful about so she wasn’t the most ‘fun’ person in the world but she was complex and had a load of smarts and courage.

Warden was also amazing (read: smouldering) and I have quite the thing for him. He could very well end up on my book boyfriend list in the future but isn’t quite there yet. There is nothing bad about Warden, he had a good heart and was willing to sacrifice everything to go against his own. I liked the way he subtly taught Paige what she needed to know, how he was always encouraging her without being condescending or annoying. He waits her for to accept him, waits for her to feel something for him and she takes her time so he clearly has the patience of a saint.

I thought The Bone Season left things is an interesting place. It wrapped most things up nicely and completely the main story but also made me go ‘Nooooooooooooo’ when things didn’t end the way I was hoping. The door is left firmly open for the next book in the series and I really cannot wait to read it. The Bone Season is an impressive debut which I really, really loved.



The publisher provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
Rule  - Jay Crownover


This review may contain a few spoilers.


For this review and more visit my blog


When I think of New Adult a book like Rule generally comes to mind. I expect romance, chemistry and buckets of angst. I expect to be taken on a journey that sometimes hurts and I expect to find it a little too overwhelming. All of that I got with Rule. It was good, I liked it, but there were some things that annoyed me.

Rule is one of those books where barriers seem to pop up everywhere for the main characters. The parents were an issue, the exes were an issue, the past, the siblings, the friends, themselves, everything was an issue. Normally this annoys me but I felt like the author kept a lid on in it and the drama never went too far.

The writing was good and I felt the story had great pace. I was never bored and I found it easy to get through. But there was something missing for me some spark and I think that had something to do with the characters.

I do not think I have ever been as conflicted over a character as I am with Rule. I liked him but he seemed to go out of his way to do annoying things. Most of it I could deal with, he was under a lot of strain after losing his brother, his family is falling apart and I did feel terrible about the way his mother treated him. I understood his anger, I understood his reasons for doing some of the things he did but when it came to Shaw I understood nothing about him. He honestly could be a royal prat where she was concerned. Most of it I could handle but there was one thing that really annoyed me.

Shaw is being stalked by an ex-boyfriend, not just stalked, threatened. He has even gotten physical with her. Rule knows this so he sets about to protect his girlfriend. He picks her up from work, gets her mace, helps her handle the situation but when the going gets a little tough in their relationship he completely and utterly deserts her. No picking her up from work. No phone calls. No nothing. And then something terrible happens. I am not saying that she couldn’t look after herself, that he had to protect her it’s just that it didn’t even cross his mind that she was in danger, he was so busy throwing a pity party that he just forgot about it and he never seemed particularly sorry about it either. If I loved someone, even if I broke up with them I would still care especially if I knew they were in danger. He just left her and she paid for it and I really hated him for forgetting her so easily. He had messed things up before that so many times that I really wasn’t sure why Shaw got back with him.

Shaw was another issue. I quite liked her, I thought she could be strong and independent. I liked how she stood up for herself where most people were concerned but with Rule she just seemed to wither and constantly doubt herself. By the end of the book she was doing stuff that was completely out of characters and I didn’t really understand why. She had spent most the book proving to Rule that despite their differences they belonged together but by the end she had changed herself to be more his type of person which is fine if she did it because she wanted it but I wasn’t sure she did.

I know I sound like I am moaning a lot and maybe that is not fair because I did enjoy this book. The chemistry between the characters was great and there were some awesome secondary characters as well. The writing was strong and there are plenty of good places for this series to go so I will be checking out more of it in the future.



The publisher provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review