Thursday, 7 September 2017

Book Review | The Witness by Nora Roberts

The WitnessThe Witness by Nora Roberts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

You know how they say some books need to be read at a certain time? Well The Witness came along at exactly the right time for. Last week was the week from Hell and the bright ray of sunshiny awesomeness was listening to this audio book, (end of the week snuggles with Maggie was also a winner). But enough tangents - on to the review!

Elizabeth Fitch's short-lived teenage rebellion began with L'Oreal Pure Black, a pair of scissors, and a fake ID. It ended in blood...

Fairly ominous I know, but we're setting the scene. Elizabeth is a Mary Sue, not necessarily by her own choice, but more because of her mother, and we'll get to her later. But when Elizabeth finally lets go and acts like a teenager her life is changed forever. I use 'Mary Sue' as a descriptor basically because usually someone who is like that can be annoying or whiny and generally, not liked. But for me, I found Elizabeth funny, intelligent and I liked her as a character. I was rooting for her as she moved towards the almost inevitable conclusion of someone who is hiding from the Russian Mafia in a Witsec safe house, (look at me go - 5 seasons of In Plain Sight and I'm an expert!!).

Fast forward 12 years and we are introduced to Abigail Lowery and Bert her multi-lingual guard dog. She has made a home for herself in a small town in the Ozarks. Seemingly content with her quiet life, enter Brooks Gleason, the local police chief and home town hottie.

I loved the dynamic between Abigail and Brooks, both as characters themselves and their unfolding love story. Brooks is everything you'd expect from a small town police chief. He's just the right combination of confident in getting his own way, cheeky, alpha, stubborn, hotboy with a side of 'I need to help you'. He's well loved within the town and his own family. Which as the story progresses, gives Abigail an insight into what her life could be if she opens up.

Abigail is understandably resourceful. She's had to look after herself for the last 12 years. She doesn't know how to deal with Brooks, or the feelings that she's having as a result. Which leads to some funny conversations and situations. I don't think her IQ is ever mentioned in numbers, but considering Elizabeth was pre-med at age 16 she's smart and I really enjoyed seeing her open up to the possibilities Brooks is offering her.

As I got to know them more, I enjoyed the give and take, Roberts hasn't written Brooks as an Alphadouche, he knows when to push. But he also knows when to sit back and let thinks unfold.

It isn't a huge point in the grand scheme of the story, but I felt like her mother was filler almost, she's there as the catalyst to Elizabeth's character development and story, but beyond that we never know her as anything other than Dr. Bitch Mom. The suspense part of the story is always in the back of your mind, but it isn't central to the story - Abigail and Brooks are and I really enjoyed that. Special mention for Bert, because I'm always down when there's a dog in the storyline.

I thoroughly enjoyed this start to finish, the story was great and I enjoyed the narration, Julia Whelan is a new to me narrator and she did a great job with accents and varying her voice. This is definitely a book that I'll be adding to my collection of feel good reread options.

View all my reviews

Until next time, happy reading.


Monday, 29 May 2017

Book Review | Black Panther Vol. 1, A nation under our feet by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Brian Stelfreeze

Black Panther #1Black Panther #1 by Ta-Nehisi Coates
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For me this was a great introduction to the Black Panther universe. I don't read a lot of superhero graphic novels, so I was unfamiliar with T'Challa and the nation of Wakanda until I saw his portrayal in Captain America: Civil War.

Other people have commented that this is a different Black Panther than previously seen, I of course can't comment on that. What I can say is that I liked that the discord, was coming from within Wakanda - I don't think any nation is without its struggles and this makes where Coates is taking this story line a believable one. As for the illustrations and colouring - I think it is beautifully done.

I'm looking forward to delving into Black Panthers story further.

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Until next time, happy reading :)


Saturday, 29 April 2017

Read-a-thon | Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon

So it's that wonderful time in April again - Dewey's 24 hour readathon is upon us, (I worked out I've missed the last three!!).  I know that I won't be reading for the full 24 hours, I always like to try but I know it's not going to happen. I do have a nice selection of books on my TBR.  I have a couple of titles that I need to read for an upcoming book club focused on stories set in the Mallee. Everyman's Rules for Scientific Living by Carrie Tiffany and Mallee Sky by Kerry McGinnis.  I'm also listening to The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan, which will be perfect for tomorrow SARG Paws Along The Murray fundraising walk.  I love heading down to the walk every year, they do amazing things with rescue animals and it is where I found Maggie, or she found me :)

I have a couple of volumes of graphic novels to read, (The Walking Dead and Saga) and like most readathons I'm sure my TBR will change as the day progresses. With just over four hours until it's kick off time in Australia, (10pm EST), snacks are ready, I'm relatively well rested - but more importantly - I'm excited to start reading!  Let me know if you're participating in the comments below, what are you planning to read?!

I'll be updating my progress on the blog, Instagram and Twitter, you can find me at both as @cataluna6

Until next time, happy reading :)


Monday, 10 October 2016

Book Review | When You Give a Duke a Diamond by Shana Galen

When You Give a Duke a Diamond (Jewels of the Ton, #1)When You Give a Duke a Diamond by Shana Galen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I started listening to this a month ago, but after the first disc I didn't continue, it wasn't really holding my interest. But I thought I'd give it another go. And I have to say, I really think I would've enjoyed this more if I had read a physical copy. For me the narration, (accents and pronunciation), were frustrating at times and pulled me out of the story a little. It was little things, 'calm' pronounced as 'colm' and some the narrator dropped her accents part way through dialog.

For me the other thing was that I didn't love the characters, William, the 6th Duke of Pelham, (our 'hero'), was an insufferable arse. He was really shitty to Juliet, the Duchess of Dalliance, (our heroine), he slut shames, talks about her unfavorably in public and private. Juliet has secrets of her own, which add a slight twist to the story, but if she'd come clean a lot of miscommunication would've been avoided.

Putting that aside, there were still parts of this I enjoyed, when I forgot he was a dick and once Juliet had unfrozen his frosty exterior I liked them together. They complemented one and other, but I still don't know how she could just forgiven him for his behaviour. But then, love makes you do the whacky! By far my favourite thing about this was the Countess of Sinclair, she was awesome and it was such a shame she was in it for so little of the story. She was the perfect combination of snarky mother hen that had no problem calling Pelham on his bullshit.

I would like to continue with the series, I enjoyed the writing style, it was more the narration and the characters that were the downer for me in this book. In the next book I'm hoping for more Countess of Sin and Fitzhugh, (one of the Dukes friends - minor character in this book and I'm guessing he will end up with one of the other ladies). I'm also assuming this will be a trilogy as there are three diamonds (Juliet, Fallon and Lily).

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Until, next time, happy reading :)


Friday, 7 October 2016

Book Review | HOT SEAL Rescue by Lynn Raye Harris

HOT SEAL Rescue (HOT SEAL Team #3)HOT SEAL Rescue by Lynn Raye Harris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

We are back in the action again! Cody, one of the HOT teams SEAL operators is kidnapped by a mysterious woman in Vegas. Curious, he lets her take him. They team up but things don't go exactly to plan, cut to a few weeks later and Miranda and Cody have to work together again with HOT and Ian Black to bring down Victor Conti. There's lots of action as they head overseas, this time to Jorwani. Some of my favourite characters from previous HOT books make an appearance, (Lucky, Victoria, Mendez, Black to name a couple). When reading series like this I enjoy it when the author gives you updates on past characters/couples. It really cements together the idea of HOT as a family. I love how the guys rib each other all the time. As always, this was a fast paced satisfying read. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series.

ARC provided in exchange for an honest review.

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Have you read any of the HOT series?  I'm a huge fan of romantic suspense and I'm loving the spin off series as well, if you've read them, let me know your favourite one. Do you have any other romantic suspense series you love?  Let me know in the comments below.

Until next time, happy reading :)


Banned Books Week 2016 | Virtual Read Outs

As I mentioned in my previous post, I wanted to do some virtual read outs sharing some of the diverse books that have been banned and/or challenged.  I've picked books I'm familiar with, that I've read or on my very long list of books to read!  As usual - things didn't go quite to plan, so I'm still adding read outs I've filmed.  But they will eventually all be linked in this post/on my booktube channel.

I'll keep adding to this list as I upload more read outs.  So what is your favourite banned book?

Let me know if you've participated in this years Banned Books weeks, feel free to link your posts or virtual read out in the comments so I can check them out.

Until next time, happy reading :)


Monday, 26 September 2016

Banned Books Week | September 25 - October 1

Yesterday marked the start of Banned Books Week, this year we are celebrating diversity.  In Australia, there aren't too many books that still actually banned or heavily restricted.  The ones that I know off the top of my head are American Psycho by Brett Easton Ellis; Final Exit by Derek Humphry; The Peaceful Pill Handbook by Philip Nitschke and Fiona Stewart, (these are available although you have to be over 18 to borrow them).  And as far as I know The Anarchists Cookbook is the only one that is still banned in Australia.

I guess because I work in a public library we don't see books challenged like they would be in schools.  Although we do get complaints about covers occasionally, (last Friday was the first complaint I had received in a long time - a couple of Lawrence Block's 'hard case' books were questioned about content, and not about the covers, which I found interesting.  Before that a kids yoga book was apparently going to be instrumental in the downfall of society.  Personally, I don't get the reasoning behind book censorship, with maybe the exception of The Anarchists Cookbook (the less people who know how to make bombs the better).  For me, if you don't like a book, don't read it, but don't try to stop me from reading it.

This week I want to share some virtual readouts of books via my Booktube channel.  I'm already a little behind as I'm still waiting for books to arrive, but I would like to kick things off with The Color Purple by Alice Walker.  To make it easier to find I plan on having all of my readouts in a separate post and that way you can check out the different books I've chosen to share.

I also plan on listening to Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan - if it arrives in time, if not I will have it for next week instead.  I know that there is a  #bannedbooksathon happening and while I'm not officially participating, I will be checking out the hashtag on Twitter and Instagram.  I also have a couple of graphic novels to read, (volume 5 & 6 of Saga), and some picture books that have been banned or challenged.

What about you?  Let me know how you plan on participating in Banned Books Week?

Until next time, happy reading :)


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