Saturday, 27 February 2016

Review Star Jar - Progress

When I started this blog, I started keeping track of my reviews using origami wishing stars. I appreciate this isn't a hugely novel idea, and I borrowed it from Anna over at Enchanted by YA, but I loved it so much I was inspired to start my own (and they say imitation is the greatest form of flattery).
I'm a bit of a crafter among my many sidelines, so I have a ton of wishing stars. Aside from that, I'm a total fidget and usually find myself with piles of wishing stars or origami cranes while I'm proofreading or watching tv. My - somewhat optimistic - aim is to fill the light jar on the right, with the stars on the left, colour coded with the review of each book I've read; gold for five*, blue for four*, yellow for three*, green for two* and red for one*, with the bonus map star for any with a world map.
And I love world maps!
So, how am I doing? Well, after failing to reach my 2015 reading goal - but being a whole three books ahead on my 2016 goal at the moment - I've racked up 50 review stars and six map stars.

As for the quality of reads, double thumbs up! Of the 50 books I've read and rated - a strangely high amount starting with the letter S - I've only had a single book that I hated enough to give one* (Allegiant by Veronica Roth in case you were wondering), with four two*, 15 three*, 12 four* and a whopping 13 five*.

World maps have come courtesy of Queen Of The Tearling, Invasion Of The Tearling, Snow Like Ashes, Storm Siren, Six Of Crows and Starborn.

I've strangely enjoyed keeping my review jar. There's something quite satisfying about dropping a new star in when I finish a book! And after a few years in the reading wilderness before I started blogging, I'm so happy that I'm enjoying so many of the books I am reading. Does anybody else keep a star jar? What's your method of keeping track of your reads?

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Storm Siren

In a world at war, a slave girl’s lethal curse could become one kingdom’s weapon of salvation. If the curse - and the girl - can be controlled. As a slave in the war-weary kingdom of Faelen, seventeen-year-old Nym isn’t merely devoid of rights, her Elemental kind are only born male and always killed at birth - meaning, she shouldn’t even exist. Standing on the auction block beneath smoke-drenched mountains, Nym faces her fifteenth sell. But when her hood is removed and her storm-summoning killing curse revealed, Nym is snatched up by a court advisor and given a choice: be trained as the weapon Faelen needs to win the war, or be killed.

Choosing the former, Nym is unleashed into a world of politics, bizarre parties, and rumors of an evil more sinister than she’s being prepared to fight - not to mention the handsome trainer whose dark secrets lie behind a mysterious ability to calm every lightning strike she summons. But what if she doesn’t want to be the weapon they’ve all been waiting for?

I read Storm Siren way back in 2014 and was so traumatised that I cast it aside until the full series was out to spare myself the heartache of another punch in the feelings ending. Even back then I loved it, reading well into the early hours of the morning to devour it in one go despite having work the next day. In 2016, I love it even more. 

Mary Weber's writing is fantastic, weaving a world of warring kingdoms, magic and political machinations, with a hint of steampunk thrown in. There are thankfully no infodumps here, all the details are sewn through the story. I love authors who give their readers enough credit to put the pieces together themselves rather than grinding the pace to a halt for pages and pages of characters explaining everything like their name was Basil Exposition. I could picture every elaborate party, every stunning landscape and every burst of magic. Truly, this is a world to get lost in.

I adore Nym! This kind of book lives and dies on it's protagonist and Storm Siren doesn't disappoint. Nym is an emotional wreck after a lifetime of suffering the effects of a curse she can't control, guarded and prickly, but still with enough of a conscience to feel the weight of every life she takes, intentional or unintentional. The self-harming angle is sensitively done here, where Nym tattoos herself with tributes to her victims, and while this could easily come off as mawkish or exploitative, it's nicely handled. The "woe is me, I'm so lonely, cursed etc" got a little wearying, especially with the first person pov where there's no getting out of the protagonist's head, but it made a refreshing change for a heroine to ask why, to ask questions rather than just being led on a merry dance by characters she barely knows as happens in so many YA books. She is what lifts this book from a middle of the road YA fantasy to something special.

And speaking of refreshing changes, hold on to your hats. Nym is white, and love interest Eogan is black. I know, shocking right? Well no, not really. Because this is 2016. Unfortuantely, diversity is in short supply in YA, so I was pleasantly surprised to read an interracial romance, and even happier that the book mentions it in passing a few times without making a huge deal of it. Victory dance!

I've read a few moans about the love triangle on Goodreads, but honestly I didn't read it that way. Earth-shaper and fellow recruit to the war effort Colin was more of a friend to Nym than anything else, and while he tried his luck, it seemed more his flirtacious nature than insta-love. Maybe because I find Colin such a deeply unsexy name, I didn't see him as the third wheel. Eogan all the way! Admittedly his power was very convenient, and in such a large kingdom - one of many - it seemed a little hard to buy that he and Nym had met before, but that's just me being picky. I loved the scenes between him and Nym as he helped her take control of her power and her gradual thawing towards him.

The moral complexities usually swept under the rug are all present and correct, and given the weight they deserve. Nym isn't just blasting faceless, nameless bad guys like it's nothing, every action and inaction she takes is justified and addressed. Is she a villain for the lives she's taken? Is Adora a villain by forcing youngsters into taking up arms for their kingdom? Is Lord Myles a villain for being prepared to sell out Faelen's king in order to end a hundred year war? Nothing is black and white. Except Draewulf. He is a villain, the big bad of this trilogy, and he's one of the best (or worst depending on your pov) in ages! Despite not putting in an appearance until the final chapters, his shadow hangs heavy over the story, his threat and malevolence there even when he isn't.

That ending though!

I genuinely couldn't believe what I was reading! I read the last few pages about three or four times because I thought there's no way that just happened. There's cliffhangers, and then there's this! I was so traumatised I wouldn't read book two in the trilogy until I had my hands on book three. I've now got the full series so am going to be braving the rest over the coming weeks.

If I had to sum up this book in one word, it's epic. I absolutely loved it from start to finish. If you want YA fantasy with magic, swoonworthy love interests, awesome bad guys, lands far far away, epic wars and all wrapped up with one of the best heroines in my opinion ever to grace the pages of fantasy, for the love of books - read Storm Siren! 

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Sorcerer To The Crown

At his wit’s end, Zacharias Wythe, freed slave, eminently proficient magician, and Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers - one of the most respected organizations throughout all of Britain - ventures to the border of Fairyland to discover why England’s magical stocks are drying up.

But when his adventure brings him in contact with a most unusual comrade, a woman with immense power and an unfathomable gift, he sets on a path which will alter the nature of sorcery in all of Britain - and the world at large…

They say don't judge a book by it's cover, but that's literally what I do. I'll be honest, the only reason I picked this book up was the breathtakingly beautiful, glimmering gold cover. After I'd spent too much time admiring it, I felt I had to buy it for fear of looking stranger than I already did. After being introduced to fellow reader/blogger Jess by The Broke And The Bookish's secret santa, we decided to do a buddy read for motivation.

Magic collides with old English regency, and all the facets that brings. Once or twice I was quite shocked by the gender and race issues raised. Make no mistake, this is one of the most authentic representations of 19th century England that I've read in a while, and it doesn't shy away from the prejudices of the time. This is a world where women are shamed into hiding their magic at schools for girls and the lead character Zacharias faces daily prejudice because of the colour of his skin. Despite a few eyebrow raising moments, I loved the authenticity! There's a rich, real world setting with magical underlay. Talk of fairies and unicorns and dragons is casually thrown about alongside mentions of the Battle of Waterloo.

Sorcerer To The Crown is not an easy read, certainly more challenging than my usual YA fantasy and chilck-lit fare. Because it's so authentic, the writing style and dialogue can come across as a bit stilted at times. With the exception of Prunella, you struggle to get a sense of what the characters really feel behind their facade, but Zen Cho does an excellent job of letting you peer behind their masks. The characters were a bit hit and miss for me. Secondary protagonist Prunella is a joy to read! Mysteriously orphaned but in possession of powerful magic, she stows away with Zacharias to London to secure herself a future that doesn't involve playing maid in her stepmother's magic repressing school. She doesn't take no for an answer! This is very much a man's world, and I loved Prunella's determination to puruse her dreams. I wasn't as keen on her insistance on getting married to somebody/anybody to secure her position in high society, but again, this book doesn't shy away from the prejudices of old England. Zacharias is harder to like as a lead character, he feels a bit too uptight to gel with, and we only get flashes of the man beneath all the stiff upper lip. They're fleeting, but most welcome.

I struggled a little in the middle (thank you buddy read motivation!) where everything slowed down and seemed to get bogged down in details and unnecessary political scheming and backstabbing, but the actions and reveals in the last act are great pay off. Zen Cho is a great author, reminding me a little of Philippa Gregory but with a magical twist! Sorcerer To The Crown is an incredibly well written book, historical fiction meets fantasy. It can be a challenging read and I have to confess at times I wasn't really enjoying the book, but I'm glad I persevered to the end.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Top Ten Tuesday

(As always, a big thanks your to the fab bloggers over at The Broke and The Bookish for this weekly meme!)

This week on Top Ten Tuesday the topic is songs I wish were books. I love music as much as I love reading, so the only problem I had was narrowing it down to ten! I'm usually playing a movie in my head when I listen to a really good song, but these are the ones I'd love to read the story of.

The Killers - Mr Brightside
One of my favourite songs of all time, I'd love to read the story of Mr Brightside!

The Killers - Miss Atomic Bomb
Described as the companion song to the above, this book wouldn't be uplifting, but the video tells the story of love, loss, regret and heartbreak. Poor Mr Brightside!

Nerina Pallot - Sophia
Romance, pure and simple. Romeo and Juliet, but without the tragic ending. Nerina Pallot is one of my favourite singer/songwriters and this is a gorgeous song.

Nero - Into The Past
I'm obssessed with this song at the moment! It's hauntingly, chillingly beautiful. I see this as a fantasy-romance story, probably one that doesn't have a happy ending!

Sia - Fire Meet Gasoline
Another fantasy book, a real "me and you against the world"sort of story! Forget a love triangle, this one is all about the central pairing!

Kodaline - High Hopes
This video tells the story, but I'd love to read the book version! Spoiler alert; depressed Liam Cunningham goes to commit suicide when he meets a runaway bride. Helping her flee the man she's left at the altar, he takes her home and they fall in love. Happily ever after right? Well, no. The ex turns up and shoots them both.

Years and Years - King
This song just screams redemption and freedom, and the story of saving yourself from a poisonous place/person/situation that's holding you back. YA contemporary maybe?

Fall Out Boy - Young Volcanoes
Another of my favourites! I kind of see this as a best friends adventure/road trip story like Thelma and Louise.

Paloma Faith - New York
"Her name was New York, and she took his heart away from mine." It's just occurred to me that a lot of songs on my list fall into the category of tragic romance!

Death Cab For Cutie - You Are A Tourist
I think everyone feels like a stranger in their home town every now and then, so this book would be an Eat, Pray, Love sort of thing, a story all about alienation and adventure.

Sunday, 14 February 2016


All that Pearl knows can be encapsulated in one word: Seed. It is the isolated community that she was born into. It is the land that she sows and reaps. It is the center of her family and everything that means home. And it is all kept under the watchful eye of Papa S.

At fifteen years old, Pearl is finally old enough to be chosen as Papa S’s companion. She feels excitement... and surprising trepidation that she cannot explain. The arrival of a new family into the Seed community - particularly the teenage son, Ellis - only complicates the life and lifestyle that Pearl has depended upon as safe and constant. Ellis is compelling, charming, and worldly, and he seems to have a lot of answers to questions Pearl has never thought to ask. But as Pearl digs to the roots of the truth, only she can decide what she will allow to come to the surface. 

Wow. Just wow.
This is the kind of book I've been waiting for. I've read a lot of books lately that I enjoyed, three stars and the odd four star read. But it's been a while since I read a book I couldn't put down. The kind that I was almost late back to the office from my lunch break for because I lost track of time reading. The kind that I was so busy reading I welded rice to the bottom of a saucepan because I wasn't paying attention when I cooked dinner. I probably wouldn't have picked up this book were it not for the online book club UK YA in the rain, but I'm so glad it was our February pick!

The book kicks off with a frank description of Pearl's first period. She's comforted by a mother figure named Elizabeth who cleans her up, reassures her and puts her mind at rest. From there, things get sinister. And fast. There's a pervading sense of dread throughout the book, a dark underworld bubbling away beneath Seed's serene exterior that gets closer and closer to the surface. The first half of the book is a masterclass in dread and tension, told through Pearl's blinkered eyes. The second half, is epic! I couldn't stop reading! At first, Pearl is reluctant to believe newcomer Ellis' talk that something at Seed is amiss, but soon even she can't deny it. And when a shattering event rips the heart out of the community, things go to hell fast!

On the surface, the indoctrinated Pearl would seem like an unreliable narrator, with her blithe naviety and steadfast belief in all that she's been taught. But Lisa Heathfield does a fantastic job of weaving in little details that hint that all is not well at Seed. Even in the simple opening scenes of the group making dinner, there's something so off-kilter about the whole set up that you don't even need to get to the psychological torture and unfortunate "accidents" that befall the more vocal dissenters to know that this is a cult, pure and simple.

Pearl's story of her life as Seed is interspersed with haunting interludes from an abused, shattered mystery figure. At first, these cuts hang heavy over the book, the sense of foreboding they bring genuinely unsettling. Who is this person? Future Pearl? Her best friend Kate? Someone already dead? A mystery figure? By the time Pearl and Kate are entertaining the idea of escape, these cuts have got dark, and the whole book is so heavy with dread I wanted to shake it until it all fell out! All the cult cliches are here; mistrust of the outside world, rejection of modern conveniences, sexual abuse. The idea of the younger, particularly female members pushing against the confines of such a place with the emergence of their adulthood and sexuality isn't hugely original, but wow does Lisa Heathfield wring every drop of tension out of it! Their strangely charismatic leader, known only as Papa S at first, is genuinely creepy, more deserving of a nasty end than any character I've read recently! But even he ends the book as more than a stereotypical bad guy. He's misguided, and drunk on his own power, but by the end, he's a very real, if spectacularly screwed up, person.

That ending though!

This story doesn't really lend itself to a sequel, but I hope that there is one! I need it! It's not a pleasant read at times, and if you're looking for light and fluffy or fantasy escapism, this is not the book for you. But if you're looking for a tense, gripping, well written read then I wholeheartedly recommend that you pick up this book.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Air Awakens

 A library apprentice, a sorcerer prince, and an unbreakable magic bond...

The Solaris Empire is one conquest away from uniting the continent, and the rare elemental magic sleeping in seventeen-year-old library apprentice Vhalla Yarl could shift the tides of war.

Vhalla has always been taught to fear the Tower of Sorcerers, a mysterious magic society, and has been happy in her quiet world of books. But after she unknowingly saves the life of one of the most powerful sorcerers of them all - the Crown Prince Aldrik - she finds herself enticed into his world. Now she must decide her future: Embrace her sorcery and leave the life she’s known, or eradicate her magic and remain as she’s always been. And with powerful forces lurking in the shadows, Vhalla’s indecision could cost her more than she ever imagined.

I’ve been dying to get my hands on this book for a while after getting a glowing recommendation from one of my fellow bloggers on Twitter, and then stumbling across a review copy offer on YA Bound. Sure the book blurb above ticks every box in the YA clichés handbook, but for me that just means it contains all my favourite elements. Magic, check. Fantasy, check. Romance, check.

I loved the idea of four types of sorcerers based on the four elements. There’s a bit of backstory scattered through about the history of the realm and the magic within it, but this is kept tantalisingly brief for exploration in later books. Unlike some novels, I didn’t feel short changed or that important info had been missed out. There was enough for me to grasp the world and keep my interest without giving the game away too early.

The fantasy almost takes a back seat in this book to the romance, and whether or not you buy in to the story will probably depend on how much you believe the budding romance between Vhalla and Aldrick. And this is where the book started to lose me. At first, I wasn’t sure, Aldrick seemed more of a caricature than a character, too exaggerated and OTT to be believable. There’s being a bit of a roguish bastard, and then there’s being an emotionally, and in one case physically, abusive asshole. Let's just say that consent isn't high on his list of priorities in early chapters. Rather than let Vhalla decide for herself what to do with her magic, he takes it upon himself to shove her off a roof and make the call for her. I didn’t quite get on board with him, he was a bit too smug for my liking and his penchant for writing notes referring to himself as “the phantom in the dark” made me smirk.

I just couldn't stop thinking of Emo Kylo Ren (by the way, if you haven’t checked out that Twitter account yet, go take a look. It’s hilarious!). But after a few chapters he was easier to warm up to. There’s the obligatory love triangle, with added angle (love square?), but it’s much of a muchness since it’s pretty clear who the central pairing is here. I do wish Vhalla’s childhood friend Saleem hadn’t been beefed up to love interest, it was kind of unnecessary and I much preferred reading their genuine platonic friendship -  there really isn’t enough of that in YA! - but I loved that he was there to keep Vhalla’s feet on the ground.

And then there's the lead character Vhalla. She’s infuriating, like want to slap through the pages infuriating. I’m not expecting a library apprentice to be a balls to the wall action heroine right off the bat, but I don’t want to read her snivelling in a heap in the floor while the prince insults her, only to go crawling after him begging “my prince, my prince,” like he didn’t just treat her like shit. Barf! I at least want her to show a little self preservation. At one point she’s on trial, facing possible execution, and all she can worry about is that Aldrick might be mad at her because he won’t look at her. When she’s about to be tortured, all she thinks us how upsetting it will be for him to have to watch. Take it away Kristen Wiig!

Thankfully, this problem resolves itself and then some by the final act. If this Vhalla was the one I was reading about from the start, this book would be five stars all the way. The character development is brilliant, and I feel kind of mean for deducting a star because Vhalla starts off annoying, but sheltered doesn’t have to mean weak, just as strong doesn’t have to mean badass.

All in though, I really enjoyed Air Awakens, but I couldn't get away from the feeling that I've read this book before in various guises. It's well written, if not spectacularly orignial, and aside from my niggling character issues, it works perfectly as a teaser and set up for book two in the series; Fire Falling, which I’m hoping to get to sooner rather than later.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Stacking The Shelves #1

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course e-books!

This is the first time I've taken part in this meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews, even though I've been meaning to get to it forever! but it's been a good week for books, so what better time?

Assassin's Heart by Sarah Ahiers
I'm still waiting on this to arrive from Amazon, it feels like I've been waiting forever for this book!
The Sleeping Prince by Melinda Salisbury

I was so excited when this arrived I didn't even mind that I stepped on the parcel when I got home from work and almost went crashing through the glass door in the porch!
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Longbow Girl by Linda Davies
Plus a whole bunch of other lovely bookish goodies from my #TBTBSecretSanta!
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Bachman
I'm not sure what to expect for this one, it's this months pick at my book club. I'm already picturing Ove as Carl from the movie Up, which is making me both excited and already weepy to read the book!

Review books
Siren's Song by Mary Weber
Souls Entwined by Anne B Cole

Storm Siren and Siren's Fury by Mary Weber
for Empress Orchid and The Last Empress by Anchee Min
I've been approved for the final book in the trilogy on Netgalley (happy dance!), so I picked up a second hand copy of books one and two in the series from a friend in exchange for the stories of Chinese Empress Tzu Hsi. I loved Storm Siren, but wanted to leave book two until I had book three as well, because the first book's cliffhanger ending almost killed me!

What about you guys? How has your bookish week been?

6 Degrees: Harry Potter to Seraphina

This awesome meme was suggested by Jim of Teens On Moon Lane at this week's #ukyachat. The idea is to make a chain of six books anyway you like from a starting point.

First up is Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone -  I'm almost embarassed to admit that I hadn't read this until a few weeks ago as part of the #2016HPRead, and I've yet to read any other books in the series. Bad bookworm! - and I've ended up on Seraphina by Rachel Hartman.

Harry Potter boasts and awesome redhead chracter in Ron Weasley, just like Fire by Kristin Cashore.

Fire is a power wielded by Cal in Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard.

Red Queen has an especially beautiful cover, just like The Wrath And The Dawn by Renne Ahdieh.

The Wrath And The Dawn features a brave heroine who's handy with a bow and arrow, just like Longbow Girl by Linda Davies.

Longbow Girl is set is Wales, which has a dragon on its national flag. Dragons, or more specifically dragon-human shapeshifters, feature heavily in Seraphina by Rachel Hartman.

I've really enjoyed this meme! I found myself sat at work in quieter moments making bookish connections in my head. Be warned if you take part, it's more than a little addictive!

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #5 - The Sleeping Prince

Waiting on Wednesday ... where I increase my books to be read list despite my tbr pile already being tall enough to be a serious health and safety hazard. But still I do it, because my plan to somehow give up working and make a living reading hasn't yet come to fruition. Probably because my business plan of; Reading + ? = Profit, has one massive, question mark shaped flaw.

As always, thanks to Jill over at Breaking the Spine for this weekly meme.

My pick this week is The Sleeping Prince by Melinda Salisbury. I utterly adored her first book, The Sin Eater's Daughter, and I've read so many fantastic advanced reviews of the sequel that my excitement is at an all time high (my own ARC request didn't get approved, sob!). I've had the book on preorder and the delivery date is tomorrow, so my wait is almost at an end. For anyone who hasn't read The Sin Eater's Daughter, I wholeheartedly recommend it if you're a fan of slower burning YA fantasy with some epic world building and a flawed but lovable protagonist.

Ever since her brother Lief disappeared, Errin's life has gone from bad to worse. Not only must she care for her sick mother, she has to scrape together rent money by selling illegal herbal cures. But none of that compares to the threat of the vengeful Sleeping Prince whom the Queen just awoke from his enchanted sleep.

When her village is evacuated as part of the war against the Sleeping Prince, Errin is left desperate and homeless. The only person she can turn to is the mysterious Silas, a young man who buys deadly poisons from Errin, but won't reveal why he needs them. Silas promises to help her, but when he vanishes, Errin must journey across a kingdom on the brink of war to seek another way to save her mother and herself. But what she finds shatters everything she believed about her world, and with the Sleeping Prince drawing nearer, Errin must make a heartbreaking choice that could affect the whole kingdom.

There's only one way to react to book blurb like that, with a happy dance I like to call "The Carlton". 

This book sounds like it goes off with a whole new cast of characters and storyline, so I'm nervous and excited in equal measure to read it because I loved The Sin Eater's Daughter so much. I've also been warned to prepare myself for a few punches right in the feelings, so there's that to look forward to!

Anyone else excited for this book? Or if you've read it, what did you think? Please leave me a spoiler-free comment!

Monday, 1 February 2016

Deal Breakers

How were they supposed to know that one night would change everything?

Devyn has life all mapped out. She just needs to accomplish one more thing before graduating college and becoming a full-fledged adult - lose her virginity. And who better to assist her than her best friend, Riley? Riley is the self-proclaimed king of fling. His college years have been filled with meaningless hookups until the one night that ruined him for all other women. The one night he spends with his best friend, Devyn. Right before he screws it all up.

Now five years later, Riley is determined to atone for his mistakes and prove that he can be the man that Devyn deserves. Little does he know that Devyn’s been keeping a secret from him all these years. A big secret. Now he has to figure out how to win back the only girl he’s ever loved.

Disclaimer; I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Deal Breakers is an easy read, a simple story of boy meets girl. Ultimately, there’s not much more to the book than the central relationship between Devyn and Riley. Your enjoyment of the book will probably depend entirely on whether you buy them as a couple. Which I did. Both are walking clichés, the football-loving guy’s girl who doesn’t know how hot she is, with the kind of job that involves ‘pitching for a big account’. The womanising bad boy who’s just waiting to meet the right girl, in the meantime sleeping with anything that moves and behind horrendously insensitive to his current squeeze, their house guests and Devyn herself, not able to see what's right in front of him.

I got on board with the pair, they’re well written and make for a cute, believable couple. They have dynamite chemistry too, and the sex scenes certainly had me glancing around to make sure no one was reading over my shoulder!

I did feel for poor Jackson though! Devyn's new boyfriend and the token nice guy, he's a little hard done by by the plot, his presence is clearly meant to generate conflict, but it’s painfully obvious that he’s a non-entity, the whole angle of him and Dev seems pointless and ultimately comes off as cheap and a waste of time. It’s also resolved far too early, so there’s no drama in the last third or so of the book. I wasn't expecitng anything earth shattering, but even I was surprised at how quickly and cleanly everything was wrapped up.

Deal Breakers isn’t a challenging read, it’s easy to dip in and out of. It’s pretty clichéd, and the central conceit is the kind of plot point that would be revealed in about five minutes in real life, never mind five years, but I really enjoyed the book for what it was. I could have done without the cutesie kid-speak in the dialogue from Devyn’s son. We get it, he’s an adorable little tyke, I don’t want to read him asking for “choc-wat miwk”. Perhaps it's my aversion to small children, but barf! Overall though Deal Breakers was light, sexy read with plenty to keep me entertained. It's not ground breaking, it's not anything you haven't read before in some for or other, but kept me quiet for a plane ride to Vegas, and for that, it gets three stars.