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Friday, 22 April 2016

Dollar Signs by Manning Wolfe

Thank you to the author for sending me a signed copy of the book in return for an honest review.

Dollar Signs is the first book in a future series about Merit Bridges, an attorney and widowed mother in Austin, Texas. In the story Merit and her legal team take on a corporation with corrupt methods. With their lives threatened, the team race against the clock to win their case. 

My first impression was hugely positive. The book was of good quality and the front cover was intriguing. 


I knew from the start that I might find it hard to follow the story as it's not the genre I usually read, however I was pleasantly surprised. The author had obviously put a lot of effort into her writing. I think had this book been a little faster paced, I would have been sucked in more, but I certainly wasn't reluctant to carry on reading it.

I found the legal jargon and details a little too much as it made it harder for me, someone who has not trained in the law, to understand. Obviously, for someone who understands the terms and vocabulary, this would not be an issue. Perhaps if I read this genre more I'd have understood more, but I also believe this level of detail was unnecessary for the plot. 

I also found some areas of writing a little choppy - they made sense to read but didn't flow so well. As a primary school teacher who is constantly attempting to help her year fours improve their writing, I am possibly wearing my teachers hat here but I do believe flow is important! 

This definitely wasn't a badly written book. Authors improve with experience, and this is the authors first book, so I can appreciate that her style of writing will evolve.

Characters and story

Whilst Merit was an interesting character (with a back story and future potential) but I have to say I didn't connect with her or the other characters. I just couldn't work out what was 'bad ass' about her team, or why Merit kept saying 'coolio!'. Lots of the characters didn't seem to play a part in the larger plot.

The plot was interesting, although I generally find legal matters hard to follow. A lot of my lack of understanding probabl not only came from the legal genre but from the location - Texas. 

I have never been to the U.S. and Texas probably wouldn't be the first place if head. I'd like to go there, but it's a bit further down the list. Anyway, this is relevant because I feel some plot points, statements and jokes were ones that would only make sense to Americans or perhaps even only Texans. I also felt that at some points the book was getting dangerously close to being a pro- gun advert. I mean, everyone has their own opinions and they are allowed them, but I didn't think it was necessary. 


Overall I gave this book 3 stars on GoodReads, but it's probably closer to 3.5 stars. Easy to read but could have been more adventurous with the writing. Good plot line but not an addictive read.

Friday, 1 April 2016

March Wrap Up

Here we are, my reads from this March. I'm very impressed with myself, actually, as I read a lot and because 2 of those books have been gathering dust on my To Be Read shelf. The other 4 were all brand new releases, so we definitely got off the press! 

What did I think of these? Well...very good things!

Feverborn by Karen Marie Moning
GoodReads rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I was eagerly awaiting the release of this book, a continuation of the Fever series, but it actually took me a while to pick it up. I just wasn't in the mood. However, once I did pick it up I pliers through it quickly. If you haven't heard of the series, they are an urban fantasy series set in Dublin. The main character, Mac, is an American in her early twenties who flies to Ireland to try to investigate her elder sister's murder. This book is book 8 (I think) so to reveal the plot would be very spoilery. However, I was delighted by the appearance of a certain character, as I had imagined that happening many times, whilst daydreaming! I am still slightly frustrated by Mac's relationship with another couple of main characters, but I am hopeful these annoyances will either be plot points further along in the series or will get sorted soon! 

Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs
GoodReads rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Mercy Thompson books were the first ever Urban Fantasy I read. Or at least, books that I classified as such. I love Mercy's wit, bravery and attitude towards her life. I can't give much of this plot away, but I can say it's continuing Mercy's story in a world where werewolves and the fae are 'out of the closet'. War is brewing and Mercy is stuck in the middle.

I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
GoodReads rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I've wanted to read this book for a long time, but I've never really read memoirs before. I knew I'd want to read it without anynother books distracting me, but I'm rarely in a 'read an entire non-fiction book in one go' mood (I tend to dip in and out). So I'm very glad I made time for this! You can tell this is written by a young person, as the writing style is less established and polished. However, that almost makes it even more inspiring as it reminds you of how young Malala is and how English is not her first language. As a teacher, I found all the information about education and learning very interesting as well. Malala is very inspirational, and this book reminded me why learning is so vital.

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent 
GoodReads rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Based on real life events, this book tells the story of a woman in Iceland who is sentenced to be executed for her part in a murder. She is sent to live with a family whilst waiting for the date of her death to be finalised. I was surprised by this book - the emotions and attachment really creep up on the reader AND the characters in the story. It was really interesting to read something based on a true story, because obviously we can never truly know the motives and feelings behind crimes that happened so long ago. I would recommend this to both fiction and history fans!

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare
GoodReads rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I can still remember the day that I first picked up City of Bones. It was literally the day it arrived in my local Waterstones - with the original UK covers! I actually ended up giving the book away (after devouring it in one sitting) because I was so horrified with the well known plot twist. Luckily, I still picked up book two when it was released and LOVED it. I resisted picking up this book for as long as I could - I know the pain of waiting for the next book in a Cassandra Clare series and I was trying to reduce that a little bit! It didn't last though :P I read this book either sat in a chair looking out over a beautiful Cornish beach, or on the 5 hour train journey back from Cornwall to London, and the time flew! 

Seven Black Diamonds by Melissa Marr
GoodReads rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
It's been years now since I first read and fell in love with the Wicked Lovely series, and I've got to say I've yet to find a Melissa Marr series that I obsess over as much. I love those books! I really enjoyed this, but it didn't hit the same spot the WL books did. Perhaps it's because I was 16 when I read WL? I'll have to re read them and see if they have the same effect!

GoodReads Update: 27/100 read

2016 Reading Challenge:

A book and it's prequel - Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas (January) Assassin's Blade tbr soon!
A Book Written by a Celebrity - Gangsta Granny by David Walliams (January)
A Graphic Novel - River's of London: Body Work by Ben Aaronovitch (January)

A Book Set in Europe - My Sword Hand is Singing by Marcus Sedgwick (February)
A Book Set in the Summer - Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour (February)
A Book Based on a Fairytale - The October Daye Series by Seanan McGuire (February)
A Political Memoir - I am Malala (I think this counts!) by Malala Yousafzai (March)
A Book With a Blue Cover - Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare (March)
A Book Set on an Island - Feverborn by Karen Marie Moning (March)
A Book Published in 2016 - Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs (March)

2015 challenge continuation...

A Book I was Supposed to Read in School (I read all the books I was supposed to when I was a student in school - I've now read this as a teacher) - Gangsta Granny by David Walliams (January)
A Book Based on a True Story - Burial Rites by Hannah Kent (March)

Books from 2015 that I didn't read:
  • A classic Romance
  • A book that became a movie
  • A Pullitzer prize winner
  • Antonyms
  • Published in the year I was born
  • A book that made me cry
  • Originally in a different language
  • A book that was once a play
  • A banned book