Review: Secrets on the Sand (Barefoot Bay Billionaires 1) by Roxanne St Claire

Own the book: Yes
Source: Amazon
Format: Kindle E-book
Price: Free
Date Read: 23rd June 2014

Secrets on the Sand is most definitely a real-life fairy tale romance kind of book and I loved it. Read as a form of escape-ism from a very long working week, I found I got to know the flawed but loveable characters and feel for them. Mandy, the maid and Zeke the billionaire who knew each other in school in totally opposite roles as cheerleader and nerd, find themselves falling in love. With twists and turns, secrets and misunderstandings and a heart-wrenching climax to the tale, it was a great read and one I would heartily recommend.

 

Rating: ♥♥♥

Review: Genkaku Picasso Vol. 2 by Usamaru Furuya

Own the book: No
Source: Library
Format: Paperback
Price: N/A
Date Read: 22nd June 2014

Read my review for Genkaku Picasso Vol. 1 here.

As in Volume 1, Volume 2 is once again centered around the main characters of Hikari ‘Picasso’ Hamura, a budding artist, and his angel best friend Chiaki Yamamoto, both of whom are school-aged teens. They are joined by some of the people helped by Picasso and Chiaki from the first book, now friends of Picasso. I liked the continuation and inclusion of more characters, especially since they had been helped by Picasso and Chiaki and were then in a position to help others.

I enjoyed the second volume of stories even more than the first, mainly because it faced a lot of even more challenging topics; bullying, gender identification and finding the courage to follow your dreams and work hard to make them come true. Difficult topics for any book, but ones which I think were covered well – from my perspective at least.

I look forward to reading Volume 3!

 

Rating: ♥♥♥

Review: Winters Heat (Titan Book 1) by Cristin Harber

Own the book: Yes
Source: Amazon
Format: Kindle E-book
Price: Free
Date Read: 20th June 2014

I adore romantic suspense books and this, as (apparently) #1 in Amazon’s Romanic Suspense section really ticked all the boxes for me. There was a hunky leading man and a strong but loveable and likeable leading lady. There was family, action, cliff hangers, surprise and some hot action between the leading characters. Perfect!

The story follows the two characters Mia Kensington and Colby Winters. Mia is a military psychologist whose patient told her about a disc with top secret information on it, information important to national security. On her trek to find this disc, Mia is rescued by Colby Winters, an elite member of the Titan group on a mission to recover (you guessed it) the same secret disc as Mia. On the run from Colombian baddies, the two go cross-country trying to evade but, even when Colby stashes Mia as his own house – the safest place he can think of – danger still comes calling.

This is the first book in the Titan series and I hope the others will be just as good – I hope to read more when my ‘to be read’ pile gets a lot shorter!

 

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Review: Genkaku Picasso Vol. 1 by Usamaru Furuya

Own the book: No
Source: Library
Format: Paperback
Price: N/A
Date Read: 13th June 2014

This is the first of a three-volume set by the author Usamaru Furuya, centred around the main character Hikari ‘Picasso’ Hamura, a budding artist, and his best friend Chiaki Yamamoto, both of whom are school-aged teens. Given the age difference between myself and the characters I did wonder if this was a little young for me but found that the problems faced by the characters were still fitting and applied to me.

The volumes are split into chapters, each of which focuses on a character, their problem and the solution to their woe. In the first chapter, Picasso and Chiaki are involved in an accident – one which proves fatal to Chiaki who then becomes an angel-like being, helping Picasso with his new problem. He rots. You see, he should have died too but thanks to the prayers of Chiaki he was saved to help others. This he does by drawing what is in a troubled person’s heart and solving that problem with Chiaki (and sometimes others) assistance. An interesting idea and one I haven’t seen before! In the first volume this includes problems and misunderstandings from childhood, bullying and more. I really enjoyed this book and would certainly encourage others to try it – I especially enjoyed the images of the troubled hearts – they were amazing and so detailed. Each one told a detailed and somewhat intricate story.

Like Alice in the Country of Hearts, this is a Japanese styled visual novel, reading from right to left across the page and from the back to the front of the book. After a few pages you get into the swing of things and stop thinking about it. After reading I looked up the translation of ‘Genkaku’ and found that it could mean rigid or severe – fitting for Picasso’s character.

So yes, if you’re looking for something different to read please give this a try.

 

Rating: ♥♥♥

Review: Alice in the Country of Hearts – My Fanatic Rabbit Vol.1

Own the book: No
Source: Library
Format: Paperback
Price: N/A
Date Read: 12th June 2014

Alice in the Country of Hearts is a Japanese re-take of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland novel. It is a visual novel – a manga (from my understanding of the word) type book. It is made up much like a comic book with lots of illustrations and few words, although at 190 pages a few more than a normal comic. This was my first time reading a book of this sort and I really enjoyed it. I loved the pictures and found them extremely expressive. Being Japanese based, there were many expressions – such as twitch/piku, twinge/kyu and shock/gan – alongside the spoken text parts which took a while to get used to but which expressed movement and emotion far more than expected of a 2D page. I also found the way of reading the book to be confusing – it is based on the Japanese reading style, moving from right to left across the page rather than left to right. The book also started from the back, rather than the front!

When I started reading, I did feel that I started in the middle of the story, and having done my research it looks like this book is an offshoot of another series. It didn’t stop me from enjoying this story though. The main character ‘Alice Liddell’ is an Outsider, brought into a strange world by Peter White. She comes to live with the Hatter Mafia at Hatter Mansion with Blood DuPre, his 2nd in command Elliot Marsh and the guards Dum and Dee. Alice goes between many emotions and seems to be slightly clueless and unstable… but the book was interesting so I will certainly try another and see what happens next.

Rating: ♥♥♥

Event Review: Online Romance Festival 2014

This weekend has been home to the first fully online Romance Festival and what a hit it’s been. Through a range of social media including Facebook and Twitter, fans and writers of romance fiction have been able to get ‘up close and personal’ with their favourite authors, ask the questions they’ve been itching to ask and get tips and hints from the experts… All from the comfort of their own home!

Unfortunately – due to work and social commitments – I had to miss the majority of Saturday’s delights, although I have certainly enjoyed reading the fan and author discussions today (Sunday). The Paranormal Romance’ discussion with Gena Showalter and other authors, along with the ‘Men of Romance’ chat were very interesting and thought-provoking – give them a read!

I found the use of Facebook for the discussions (I didn’t get over to Twitter – sorry!) to be difficult to get my head round at the beginning but intriguing to use at the end. It was a completely different medium to anything I had tried before in getting that kind of information / discussion across. I liked the instant-ness of it all but found Facebook itself made things different – nothing was in date/time order!

My thanks go out to all the amazing people that have been involved in this fantastic undertaking and the authors and publishers etc that gave their time to answer our questions. Here’s hoping for Romance Festival 15!

Event: Online Romance Festival 2014

A must for book lovers, this weekend ( 7th and 8th of June ) sees the first fully online Romance Festival and I am beyond excited!

From the comfort of your own home (or in this age, wherever you happen to be with access to the internet) you will be able to join some amazing authors and professionals for Twitter Q&A’s, hints and tips for budding authors, giveaways and so much more.

Romance Festival 14 have a fantastic line-up planned with well-known authors like Carole Matthews, Jill Mansell and Gena Showalter (squee!) to name just a very few.

romancefestival_red_final

 

You can register for this free event through Eventbrite HERE – be quick though, you don’t have long!

Romance Festival 14 is on Facebook and Twitter and you can find their blog HERE.