Monday, 29 February 2016

Monthly Roundup - February


This is something I've decided to do this year, to keep track of what I've read along the way, and to encourage me to blog more often. It'll also allow me to link to the reviews I do on Reading Lark.

As I predicted, I didn't get as much reading done in February as in January, there was a lot going on in these parts, but I still managed to read some fabulous books. Some I've reviewed, some I haven't, but I enjoyed all of them. February is also my birthday month, so I got some money and vouchers to spend on books. I spent some of it at the launch I talk about below. I'm still not organised to keep track of my purchases and review copies in this post. Maybe next month!


Books Read:






Reviews on Nicole Has Read:


Escaping Mr Right by Avril Tremayne

You Don't Know Me by Mandy Lee

What I Saw by Beck Nicholas

Reviews published on Reading Lark:


Firstlife by Gena Showalter

My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Non-Review posts:


Waiting on Wednesday - What I Saw

Giveaway - The Mortal Instruments

Off the blog:

I started a Facebook page where I can share my reviews from both blogs, as well as articles and interesting things I come across. If you'd like to like my page, you can find it here.

I went to the joint launch for My Sister Rosa and Summer Skin, both of which are amazing Australian YA novels with wonderfully complex characters dealing with difficult, although very different, situations. The books were launched by the lovely Ellie Marney and both Kirsty Eager and Justine Larbalestier spoke brilliantly about their books and the research that went into them. Essentially it was a discussion about sex and psychopaths and it was a very entertaining evening.

Here are some photos:











Coming up:

There will be more reviews next month, and I'll be doing more non-review features on Reading Lark which I'll share here in the monthly round up. I'm also very excited about the YA Squad 2016 hosted by Penguin Teen Australia. I'm looking forward to meeting the authors I haven't met already and getting my hands on their fabulous new books.

I'll also be attempting the #AusYAChallenge on Instagram. Here's the list:


Question:

What was your favourite read in February?









What I Saw by Beck Nicholas


Title: What I Saw
Author: Beck Nicholas
Publisher: Harlequin Teen Australia
Date of Publication: March 1st 2016
Source: Review copy courtesy of the publisher

Blurb:

One punch will shatter a town. But is anyone ready for the consequences of telling the truth? A stunning new YA novel about the complicated romance between a girl with everything on the line and a boy with nothing to lose following a king hit incident that leaves the high school golden boy in a coma, from the author of FAKE.

Review:


One punch, one witness, one weekend and everything will change. 

Callie is the darling of the school. On her way to a university scholarship, she can't rock the boat, and she doesn't want to. When she sees the punch that brings down the captain of the school football team, and who threw it, she knows she should tell the truth, but the truth could cost her everything.

Rhett is the town bad boy. No one has any trouble believing that he threw the punch, after all, he has form. He knows he's innocent, but is there any point in fighting when no one will believe him anyway?

The 48 hours that follow are filled with tension. Callie is getting pressured by both sides. Rhett's sister encourages him to charm Callie, make her feel for him so that she'll tell the truth. Callie's family are stressing how much she needs to stay on the straight and narrow if she's to keep her scholarship.

I found myself devouring this almost in one sitting, needing to know what Callie would choose to do, whether her developing romance with Rhett was genuine, or just a ploy to have her stand up for him. The book deals with one punch attacks, which are a major issue in Australia at the moment, but also social class, slut shaming and corruption.

The characters are well drawn and the story compelling. The only negative for me was that it didn't have a strong sense of place. It could have been set anywhere. I understand the reasoning for this, but I like my Australian books to feel Australian.

A great read, well worth picking up and checking out. 


Tuesday, 23 February 2016

You Don't Know Me by Mandy Lee - Blog Tour and Giveaway


YDKM BANNER

you don't know me cover
Title: You Don't Know Me (You Don't Know Me, #1)

Author: Mandy Lee
Genre: Erotic Romance
Release Date: June 19, 2015
Source: Review copy courtesy of the author



Synopsis:

Maya Scotton, a young artist with a severe case of painter’s block, is in need of money. When she takes on an office job at a construction company, she finds herself firmly in the sights of the owner, Daniel Foster - a dangerously attractive man with a dark past and particular tastes in bed.

Although she tries to resist him, Maya soon finds herself embroiled in a steamy relationship with Dan. And while he slowly encourages her to paint again, she begins to peel back his layers. At last, when she believes that she's finally come to understand his ways, he has one final secret to reveal … and it's a secret that threatens to blow them apart. You Don’t Know Me, an erotic romance, is the first book in a trilogy. Book Two will be published in February 2016.


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Purchase your copy today!


Review:

When Maya takes an admin job in a big construction firm, her best friend Lucy jokes that she's going to bag herself a millionaire. Maya scoffs at the idea, but no sooner has she turned on her computer than she seems to have attracted the attention of her very handsome, and very rich, boss, Dan Foster. Things get very steamy, very quickly and soon Dan is introducing  Maya to BDSM. Maya doesn't like relinquishing control, but Dan demands total submission and soon she finds herself enjoying it. While things seem to be going well, Dan has a tendency to blow hot and cold. Is he the love of Maya's life, or another terrible mistake?

You Don't Know Me is a really well written romance with a feisty female lead who I really liked. Many of the erotic romances I've read can be summed up as a series of sex scenes with minimal story in between. This is not the case here, where the story line is actually very good and would hold up even without the erotic elements. Maya, Lucy and Dan are well developed characters and there are various subplots which keep the action going outside of the bedroom.

What I didn't like quite as much was the way that Dan 's domination of Maya was portrayed. There were several cases where Maya wasn't sure she wanted to do something, Dan talked her into it with promises of stopping when she used her safe word, but the general feeling that I took away from it was "I know better than you what you'll like so just do it and you'll see." That's a particular bugbear of mine, and to me it read like Maya was being coerced. The fact that she ultimately enjoyed them is, for me, beside the point. That's a personal issue, and not all readers will feel that way.

The ending managed to surprise me, which is not something that happens often. I saw some of it coming, but was still surprised at how it played out. I'm really interested to see where things go in the next instalments.


If I gave half ratings, then this would be a 3.5. If erotic fiction is your thing, you could do a lot worse.





About The Author
Mandy


Mandy was born and raised in Leicester, in the United Kingdom. She went to university in Scotland, lived in London for a few years, and then returned to her home town where she now lives with her extended family and a mad labrador. Mandy worked full-time as a teacher until Christmas 2015 when she took a leap of faith and gave up the job. She now devotes most of her time to writing. She's been writing since she was thirteen, but it wasn't until she developed an obsession with reading erotic romance that she finally found her genre. You Don't Know Me is her first erotic romance. The sequel, True Colours, will be published on 22 March 2016. The final instalment in the trilogy will be finished by Christmas 2016.
   
Between the Sheets is hosting a giveaway, the link to which is below. Nicole Has Read... is not responsible for hosting the giveaway, choosing the winner or distributing the prize. See the terms and conditions for eligibility and entry conditions.

Giveaway
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Thursday, 18 February 2016

Escaping Mr Right by Avril Tremayne

Title: Escaping Mr Right
Author: Avril Tremayne
Publisher: Random Romance
Date of Publication: January 17th 2016
Source: Review copy courtesy of the publisher



Blurb:


Sometimes Mr Right is Mr Wrong, and Mr Wrong is definitely Mr Right . . . 
Television reporter Chloe Masters is a woman of cool control . . . except when Casanova rugby league player Nick Savage is around. Then cool control goes out the window. Her boyfriend, Marcus, is everything she ever wanted - but it's getting harder to deny her body's reaction to Nick . . .
Nick Savage has been head-over-heels since he first laid eyes on Chloe - just a moment too late to stop her connecting with his team mate, Marcus. But when the goalposts shift and he and Chloe are thrown together on a week away, Nick dares her to get physical in whatever way she wants - with a kiss, a punch or anything in between. And if Chloe claims to feel nothing, he'll leave her alone for good.
How can Chloe say no to a week of mindless passion with the man she hasn't been able to get out of her head?
Trouble is, a lot can go wrong (or right) in a week . . . 


Review:


This is , I believe, the second book in this world. You can see my review of the first, Wanting Mr Wrong, over on Reading Lark. While the first book focused on Evie and Jack, this follows journalist Chloe, one of Evie's best friends, and Nick Savage, rugby player and best friend of Chloe's boyfriend Marcus. Chloe and Marcus have been together for a year, but their relationship isn't exactly passionate. She finds Nick infuriating and frustrating and downright dangerous, but still, there's something about him. Chloe isn't thrilled when a news story forces her to spend a week with Nick in the Philippines, but she can't deny her attraction to him. If she gives in to what she wants, then her carefully constructed sense of control might crumble, or she just might find Mr Right.

There were a couple of things I really liked about this book. I enjoyed the story as a whole of course, but the first thing I particularly liked was the way the author handled the issue of consent. It goes both ways in this novel. Nick requires Chloe to give explicit consent, and he gives it to her as well, telling her she can be as be as rough with him as she likes. Which brings me to the second thing I really liked. In so many romance novels, the physical relationship is driven by the male, but in this case, Chloe is the aggressor, for want of a better term. I found this really refreshing. The power dynamic is quite even.

The chemistry between Nick and Chloe is sizzling hot, and this is no slow burn. These characters give in to their desires quite early in the piece. 

You don't need to have read Wanting Mr Wrong before Escaping Mr Right, but knowing who the characters are and the relationships between them does help.

I was really hoping for things to work out between Chloe and Nick, with their matching sets of baggage. It's not all light and fluffy, in fact there's very little light and fluffy, there are some big issues at play in the story, and they're handled really well.

Personally, I'm hoping Drew will get an outing in his own book soon!


Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Giveaway - Shadowhunters by Cassandra Clare




With the launch of the Shadowhunters TV series, screening in Australia on Netflix, The Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices series have been re-released with these gorgeous covers. Whether you love or hate the TV adaptation, you have to admit that these covers are absolutely gorgeous. 

I know I need them in my life, and you can have them in yours thanks to the lovely people at Walker Books who are giving away sets of these amazing new editions across several blogs this month.

The entry form is below. Good luck!