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DarkMessenger
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      19.07.2014 17:23
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      • "Never a dull moment."
      • "Gradually building tension."

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      • "Kiera could be irritating at times."

      A great Romance novel filled with tension

      ''''I threw my arms around his neck and, for just a moment, let myself believe that it was months ago, and we were just two friends giving one another a moments comfort. But...we weren''''t. Our friendship had inflamed into passion, and, once ignited, that burn was impossible to turn back down.''''

      Plot

      For nearly two years, Kiera''''s boyfriend Denny has been everything she''''s ever wanted. He''''s tender, loving, and completely devoted to her. Everything seems perfect when they head off for their dream life together in a new city; Kiera at a top University, and Denny at his dream job.

      But when Denny''''s new job forces him to spend time away from Kiera, she''''s left feeling hurt, lonely and confused. Feeling in need of comfort, Kiera turns to their new roommate,a local rockstar named Kellan Kyle. At first he''''s just a good friend, helping her through a tough time, but as Kiera''''s loneliness grows, so do her feelings for Kellan. One night changes everything between them, and it''''s clear that things can never go back to how they were before.

      My thoughts

      I''''d heard a lot about this book through friends on Goodreads, and saw a lot of different reviews, mostly positive, although there were some negatives too. I decided that this sounded like just the kind of book I love to read, so I decided to get myself a copy for my Kindle.
      The first thing I noticed was how long the book is; at nearly 400 pages,it''''s quite a bit longer than a lot of the Romance books I read. However, the story was written well, and it didn''''t feel like a chore to get through all of the pages. In fact, I think that the length of the book helped to create tension between the characters, which definitely made the story more interesting and more believable.

      I really felt sorry for Denny, as he''''s always put Kiera first before himself, and the one time that he doesn''''t, he feels really guilty and is determined to make it up to her. However, this makes Kiera feel unwanted and pushes her into the arms of Kellan, who''''s more than willing to oblige. But it''''s clear how bad Kellan feels for betraying Denny, as Denny helped him through a tough time and is one of his closest friends. Of course, Kiera is left feeling confused, having feelings for two men and not knowing who to choose. She knows that she''''ll have to hurt one of them in order to choose, so she''''s left with a difficult decision.
      I really enjoyed this book and thought that the building tension between the three main characters was great. Although I loved the story, at times I found myself getting frustrated with Kiera as most of the story was centered around her inability to choose between Denny or Kellan. After a while she started to get on my nerves and I found myself wanting to shout, ''''Just choose someone!'''', at her. I really liked the ending and wasn''''t expecting what happened, but the gradually building tension lead up to an explosive ending, and finally, Kiera has to make a choice.

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      02.03.2014 11:30
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      A great dystopian book, ideal for Hunger Games fans

      'As I followed degraded streets the sky turned to black in shadowy degrees, as though God had pulled a dark cloak above my head, except I knew that it was impossible because this world was Godless. It had to be.'

      ---Plot---

      In a world full of beautiful clones, Mina Hart is Blemished. Her genes aren't perfect, which makes them useless. In this world, being Blemished takes away your rights to an education, a normal life, and even to have a child.

      Mina has a dark and dangerous secret that she's never shared with anybody until now. Angela is the first real friend that she's had, and she feels like she can trust her straight away. However, that friendship is put to the test when Mina meets Daniel, Angela's adoptive brother.

      Mina finds herself drawn to Daniel's mysterious power and his impulsive nature. Then there's Sebastian, a gorgeous clone that Mina is forbidden to even talk to. But something keeps drawing her to him, and she will suffer consequences for her rebellion.

      ---My thoughts---

      I read this book for a group read through December and was provided with a copy of the book by the Author. Although this was for the group read, I'd been interested in reading this before, as I'd read a novella by the same Author and enjoyed her work.

      This book is set in a frightening Dystopian world in the near future. Britain has been taken over by the Genetic Enhancement Ministry, who are obsessed with perfection. Anybody with faulty genes were declared Blemished, and as such were banned from having children. People with perfect genes were chosen to have perfect children, cloned from perfect DNA. The GEM children are considered superior over the Blemished children, and they have access to education and wealth. The Blemished only learn how to serve the GEM's.

      What made this book so real to me, is the fact that elements of this could very well happen in the future. We know that it's possible to clone genes now, so this book really gave me something to think about. Of course, cloning people to keep society perfect is ridiculous, as human beings aren't meant to be perfect. Having flaws is what makes us human, so for me, the clones in this story are not human at all.

      Mina has a hard enough life already, being Blemished. She lost her mother when she was young, and has grown up only knowing her father. Blemished girls are expected to wear a uniform, and cover their hair with a headscarf around GEM's, as well as keeping their head down and not drawing attention to themselves. This is made all the more difficult for Mina, as she has a power that must be kept secret at all costs. If she is discovered, it could not only mean death for her, but also her father and friends.

      As if this wasn't enough, there are boys on the scene too. Blemished girls are forbidden to look at boys, so it's bad enough that she starts to develop feelings for Daniel, who is also Blemished, but Sebastian, a GEM, is another matter altogether.

      I really enjoyed this story and thought that it had everything to keep me entertained. It was fast paced and exciting and had me turning the pages frantically to see what happens to Mina and her friends. There were shocks and revelations that I wasn't expecting at all, which definitely made the story even more enjoyable. Just as you think they're safe from harm, something else comes bursting into the story and puts them in danger again.

      If I had to say that there was anything wrong with this book, it would be that I didn't get to know the characters as well as I would have liked. While I enjoy a fast paced story, this didn't seem to leave enough time for the characters to develop in my opinion. However, I loved the story, and definitely want to read the next in the series.

      ---The Author---

      Sarah Dalton grew up in the countryside of Derbyshire and developed an active imagination. She has been an avid reader for most of her life and has taken inspiration from the stories she read as a child, and the novels she devoured as an adult.The Blemished is Sarah's first full-length novel, and is the first in a series. There's also a spin off series from The Blemished, which focuses on some of the minor characters.

      ---Series Info---

      Book One - The Blemished
      Book Two - The Vanished
      Book Three - The Unleashed

      ---Book Info---

      Kindle Edition ASIN - B008UP8C52
      Kindle Edition price from Amazon - £2.99*

      Paperback Edition ISBN13 - 978-1492700203
      Paperback Edition price from Amazon - New from £6.79 - £9.60*

      *Price correct at time of posting

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      25.02.2014 17:14
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      Interesting idea, could have been better.

      'His hot eyes gazed down at her face and she took a second to marvel at her good fortune. She'd fantasized about this moment for five long years. He'd been a mirage, a dream, a symbol of the only treasure she ever wanted to find at the end of the rainbow.'

      ---Plot---

      Five years ago, Jenna played a part in the break-up of Grant McNeil's marriage, and subsequently caused a rift between him and his family. Feeling guilty, she agrees to help Grant's sister Kate, Jenna's best friend, by trying to persuade him to attend his father's seventy-fifth birthday party.

      When Jenna shows up at his door, wearing next to nothing, in the middle of a blizzard, Grant invites her inside without hesitation. He's immediately drawn to her, but it's not long until he suspects her of trickery. However, he has no idea of the true reason for her unexpected visit.

      ---My thoughts---

      I saw this book on NetGalley and thought that it sounded interesting, and judging from the cover and the name of the book, I thought it was going to be Christmas themed. However, the book is actually set in October and has no relation to Christmas at all. I wanted to read this as part of a Christmas book challenge, and luckily as the cover has snow on it, it still counted towards the challenge.

      I can't really say I enjoyed this book. Whilst it kept me entertained and I wasn't bored while I was reading it, it didn't really draw me into the story. I found the characters to be far too shallow and they didn't appear to have any personality, so I couldn't connect with them at all. I knew this book was a novella before I started reading it, and I never expect an in-depth story from novellas, as of course they're too short to really build up a story. However, I have read novellas with well built stories and characters, so this one was somewhat of a disappointment for me.

      For me, the romance aspect of this book was far too quick. While Jenna points out that she's known Grant for five years, really she doesn't know him at all, as they've never actually met. In fact, she's only seen him once in her life and she didn't talk to him. So here we have two characters who are pretty much strangers, and they're all over each other instantly. While this book is a novella, so any romance does need to move quickly, there could have been more build up and more substance to the story before this happened.
      I found Grant to be incredibly full of himself and irritating. You have to ask yourself what kind of a person would ignore their family for five years after they pointed out that his wife was cheating. It doesn't seem to be grounds for ignoring his family at all, yet he sees it as his family interfering and chooses to have no contact with them.

      Overall, I think this book could have been better. The concept was a good one, but I felt it could have been executed in a better way. If you like short, erotic stories, then don't let this review put you off, as this could be the book for you. I was just looking for something with more substance.

      ---The Author---

      Since winning a writing competition with her entry 'Night Magic', Carly Carson has published a novel, two novellas and three short stories. I haven't read any other books by Carly Carson, but it would be interesting to read one of her longer books to see if I enjoy them any more than this one.

      ---Book Info---

      Kindle Edition ASIN - B006FD0LZK
      Kindle Edition price from Amazon - £0.77*

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      23.02.2014 12:55
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      Amazing trilogy, great for all ages.

      'It's as if in an instant, a painted window shatters, revealing the ugly world behind it. Laughter changes to screams, blood stains pastel stones, real smoke darkens the special effect stuff made for television.'

      ---Plot---

      Katniss Everdeen has survived two Hunger Games, even though her home has been destroyed. Taken in by District 13 rebels, Katniss and her family are safe, for now.

      District 13 has come out of the shadows, and have been plotting a revolution against the Capitol. Katniss has been a part of this revolution for a long time, without knowing it, and now it's time for her to play her part.

      Katniss must put aside her personal feelings, and become the Mockingjay, in order to save lives and change the course of the future. The success of the rebellion depends on Katniss' willingness to be a pawn in the rebellion.

      ---My thoughts---

      So this is the third and final part of The Hunger Games trilogy, and I've loved every part of the whole trilogy. The first two books involved Katniss fighting in different Hunger Games, so I'm glad that this one didn't involve a Hunger Games, as it could have ended up feeling repetitive. Although she is no longer a tribute in the Hunger Games, Katniss is in so much more danger than she was before.

      Everything depends on Katniss in this book, and you can tell that at times she really feels the pressure. She puts on a brave face for the rest of the world, because as the Mockingjay, she is the symbol of hope for the rebels, and to show weakness could dampen morale. But deep inside, Katniss is terrified, knowing that Peeta is being held captive by the Capitol; not knowing what they are doing to him weighs on her mind day after day. She also has her conflicting feelings for Peeta and Gale to contend with, as well as fearing for the safety of her family, should the rebellion fail.

      I really enjoyed this book, and combined with the first two books, the whole story was amazing. There were a lot of ups and downs; there was tragedy, laughter, hope, despair, and everything in between in this book. There were parts that made me laugh in this book, but there were obviously parts that were sad too. The story is very fast paced, so there isn't a lot of time to dwell on fallen characters, much as the characters themselves don't have time to dwell on fallen friends, as they must continue to fight, despite losing friends along the way.

      These books have fast become one of my favourite trilogies. They are full of action, emotion, hope, and fear, and will keep you hooked long into the night. Although I always prefer the books to their film counterparts, I'm looking forward to seeing how film will bring this book to life.

      ---The Author---

      Suzanne Collins is an American Author who has been writing for children's television shows since 1991. She has worked on several Nickelodeon shows, including Clarissa Explains it All, and The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo. Although Suzanne is more commonly known for The Hunger Games series, she has also written a number of children's books, including the Underland Chronicles series.

      ---Book Info---

      Kindle Edition ASIN - B006NXICT4
      Kindle Edition price from Amazon - £2.84*
      Paperback Edition ISBN13 - 978-1407109374
      Paperback Edition price from Amazon - New and Used from £0.01 - £3.50*

      *Prices correct at time of posting

      ---The Hunger Games trilogy info---


      Book 1 - The Hunger Games
      Book 2 - Catching Fire
      Book 3 - Mockingjay

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      20.02.2014 21:56
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      Definitely made up for the first book!

      'I've learned during my time with Andrew that being spontaneous and breaking free from the mold is often a good thing. After all, we wouldn't be together today if I myself didn't have some firsthand experience with being spontaneous.'

      ---Plot---

      Five months ago, Camryn Bennett met Andrew Parrish on a Greyhound bus. Now they're engaged, and that's not the only special event coming up. The couple couldn't be happier as they look forward to their future together, until tragedy strikes, and it changes them both.

      Andrew is trying to move past it, and he thinks Camryn is doing the same until he discovers that she's hiding her pain and attempting to numb it in dangerous ways. Andrew is determined that their love can survive anything, so he decides to take Camryn on a new journey to rediscover themselves.

      ---My thoughts---

      I read The Edge of Never a few months ago, and while I enjoyed it there were parts that seemed to drag along. I'm not sure why, but sometimes I found it hard to get into. However, it's sequel impressed me. I saw this on NetGalley and thought I'd request it to read, thinking that I'll see if I enjoy this one more. I was also eager to see where Camryn and Andrew's life would lead them next. I definitely wasn't disappointed by this book, as I enjoyed it a lot more than the first one and finished it in a few days.

      One of the things that I enjoyed the most about this book is the alternating points of view. Although the first book was like that too, I felt like I really got to know Camryn and Andrew better in this book, as they attempt to move through a hard time together. Seeing through both of their eyes is interesting, as we can immediately see how certain events affect them. There are always similarities between how they each see things, but there are also differences. For me this makes the story more realistic, as although they are soul mates with a lot in common, they are also separate people with their own thoughts and feelings.

      It doesn't seem fair that they should have to pull through another tragedy, but I loved seeing them supporting each other through it, despite the pain they were both in. Andrew is wonderful and attentive to Camryn's needs throughout the book, always putting her first as he has done before. Overall, their relationship is wonderful; the way they tease each other and make fun of each other is great; they're always playful and laughing together, even through hard times.

      For me, the ending of this book was perfect. I won't say anything more about it as it will ruin the whole story for anyone that hasn't read it. I also won't say anything more about the first book, as you really need to read that one before you read this. So although there were parts of the first book that I didn't enjoy so much, you should definitely go out and buy it, as combined with it's sequel the story is fantastic.

      ---The Author---

      J.A. Redmerski is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling Author that lives in North Little Rock, Arkansas. She is a lover of television and books that push boundaries. J.A. has nine distinct works, including The Darkwoods Trilogy, the In the Company of Killers series and Dirty Eden, a standalone novel. She has also written Song of the Fireflies which is due to be published in 2014.

      ---Book Info---

      Kindle Edition ASIN - B00CR42N3E
      Kindle Edition price from Amazon - £1.99*

      Paperback Edition ISBN13 - 978-0007536191
      Paperback Edition price from Amazon - New and used from £2.54 - £3.50*

      *Prices correct at time of posting

      ---The Edge of Never series info---

      Book 1 - The Edge of Never
      Book 2 - The Edge of Always

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      17.02.2014 16:51
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      Not bad, but could certainly have been better.

      'I've trained myself to self-medicate with sex for so long that stopping seems so unfeasible, like trying to brake a high-speed train before it crashes into a cement wall. So I'll crash. I'll splinter and break. But it'll feel damn good going two hundred miles an hour beforehand.'

      ---Plot---

      Lily Calloway and Loren Hale have been enabling each other's addictions for years. By living together and pretending that they're a couple, they keep their addictions hidden from their families.
      No one would suspect that Lily is a sex addict. Her addiction leads her to more one-night stands than she can remember, and steamy hookups that she often regrets. Loren is the only one that knows Lily's secret. But he has one of his own; he's an alcoholic, and he can't go more than a few hours without a drink.

      As their addictions become more and more dangerous, they desperately hold onto their messed up relationship and wonder if a real life together is better than a lie. As strangers and family members begin to break down their lies, they realise that they may also be addicted to each other.

      ---My thoughts---

      I saw this book on NetGalley and decided to request it as it sounded interesting. I'd not read a book about two people battling through two different addictions and enabling each other to continue. The premise of the book sounded good, so when I was accepted to read a copy, I started reading it a few weeks later.

      Whilst the idea of the book was good, I think it could have been executed in a better way. The basis for a great story was there, but it didn't seem to really go anywhere for me. Not enough really happened in the plot to make this a great book, and for me it was just entertaining and nothing special.

      I liked the idea of Lily and Loren's fake relationship, as the only book I've read with that kind of set up only spanned over the Christmas holiday, not over three years. So this was an enjoyable aspect for me, as it was an interesting set up, and it was really only a matter of time before they realised that they wanted to be together for real.

      One of the things that bothered me, is how easily Lily manages to find a man to have sex with in a club. I know that sort of thing does happen in clubs, but I found it hard to believe that with just a look at the first man that catches her eye, Lily is able to lure him to the bathrooms. It just seemed unrealistic to me that it would be so quick and simple for her to find somebody with exactly the same thing on their mind.

      There were some interesting plot points, shocks and revelations that kept this story interesting, but it just didn't grab me as I expected it would. The plot seemed to move quite slowly in places and it really didn't feel like much happened until the end of the story. So for me, while the story was entertaining, I can only give it three stars.

      ---The Authors---

      Krista and Becca Ritchie are twin sisters that write New Adult Books together. The Addicted series is the only series they have written so far, but they have also written a few standalone novels, such as Hothouse Flower and Kiss the Sky.

      ---Book Info---

      Kindle Edition ASIN - B00DE5EBZ8
      Kindle Edition price from Amazon - £1.88*

      Paperback Edition ISBN13 - 978-0989339216
      Paperback Edition price from Amazon - New from £5.63 - £5.92*

      *Prices correct at time of posting

      ---The Addicted Series Info---

      Book 1 - Addicted to You
      Book 1.5 - Ricochet
      Book 2 - Addicted For Now
      Book 2.5 - Thrive
      Book 3 - Addicted After All

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      12.02.2014 13:02
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      Possibly even better than the first book!

      'The bird, the pin, the song, the berries, the watch, the cracker, the dress that burst into flames. I am the Mockingjay. The one that survived despite the Capitol's plans. The symbol of the rebellion.'

      ---Plot---

      Against all odds, and against the plans of the Capitol, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark survived The Hunger Games. However, their actions in the games may have helped start a rebellion, and the Capitol wants revenge.

      As the whole nation tunes in to watch Katniss and Peeta, the stakes are higher than ever. If they cannot convince the Capitol of their love for each other, the consequences will be unimaginable.

      ---My thoughts---

      I started reading this as soon as I finished the first book. I loved everything about the first book; the world that Suzanne Collins created for Katniss to live in, the drama of the games, the emotions that Katniss felt throughout the entire book. I can safely say that the second book lived up to my expectations.

      I'd already seen the film before reading this, so I mostly knew what to expect. But, as with the first book, it was so much more interesting to read about the familiar events from the film, as it really gave a deep insight into Katniss' character and the conflicted emotions that she's feeling. In the first book, Katniss' goal was simply to make it out of the games and come home to her mother and sister, but now that she's formed a bond with Peeta, she must now protect him as well as herself.

      She knows that the Capitol is angry with how she performed in The Hunger Games, and she knows that they have the power to not only hurt her and Peeta, but also her family, and her best friend Gale. The stakes are higher than they were before; she has more people to think about, and she knows that protecting them could mean sacrificing herself.

      I thought that the plot in this book was amazing, and when it all came together at the end, I thought it was possibly even better than the first book. There were mysteries throughout the book, things that Katniss was confused about, that were all cleared up at the end, and I thought that the way the plot was executed was great.

      I'm in the middle of reading the final book in the trilogy, Mockingjay, at the moment, which is even more exciting for me. The first half of the Mockingjay film isn't due to be released until November, so the plot in the third book is completely new to me. Although I haven't yet finished the whole trilogy, I highly recommend it to all lovers of Fantasy and Dystopian novels

      ---The Author---

      Suzanne Collins is an American Author who has been writing for children's television shows since 1991. She has worked on several Nickelodeon shows, including Clarissa Explains it All, and The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo. Although Suzanne is more commonly known for The Hunger Games series, she has also written a number of children's books, including the Underland Chronicles series.

      ---Book Info---

      Kindle Edition ASIN - B006NXI58M
      Kindle Edition price from Amazon - £2.84*

      Paperback Edition ISBN13 - 978-1407109367
      Paperback Edition price from Amazon - New and Used from £0.01 - £3.50*

      ---The Hunger Games Series Info---

      Book 1 - The Hunger Games
      Book 2 - Catching Fire
      Book 3 - Mockingjay

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      09.02.2014 19:39
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      A gentle toner that's great value for money

      I got this Simple Facial Toner as part of a gift set for Christmas. The gift set contained this Toner, a Cleansing Lotion, a Light Moisturiser, and a small gift bag. I hadn't used the toner before, and wasn't entirely sure what it was for when I first received it, but I love Simple products and was eager to try something new.

      ---Packaging---

      The bottle is made from green see-through plastic, which I like, as it's easy to see how much product is left. As usual with Simple, the packaging clearly states that the product contains vitamins and skin-loving ingredients, and also that it's 100% alcohol free.

      ---Using the Product---

      The instructions on the back of the bottle say that for best results you should apply a generous amount to cotton wool and wipe in gentle upward movements over your skin. It's best to use a cotton wool pad for this, as the product is quite runny and the pad will absorb the liquid better than normal cotton wool.

      As the product is runny, you do end up using quite a bit each time you use it. The instructions say to use a generous amount, and really you don't have a lot of choice, as it pours very freely from the bottle. That being said, this isn't really a downside, as you do get great results when the product is used generously.

      The first few times I used this product, I noticed that the pad was quite dirty afterwards. This surprised me, as I wash my face every day, and while I know I have oily skin, I didn't expect that much dirt to come off. Since I've been using this, the pads don't come up as dirty as they used to, which is definitely a sign that the product is working it's magic.

      As with the Cleansing Lotion, it's recommended to use this twice a day; once in the morning, and once in the evening. Of course, if you only want to use it once a day, and make the bottle last longer, it's up to you, but it's really best to use it twice a day. I use this after the Cleansing Lotion and it just helps to make my skin feel squeaky clean, which is especially nice just before bed.

      You're also supposed to follow the lotion and the toner with the moisturiser that was provided in the gift set. It's always a good idea to moisturise a lot during the winter anyway, especially if you have dry skin. I always moisturise after cleansing and scrubbing my face, as a lot of products can dry out my skin. I haven't noticed any dry skin from the toner yet, but as I always moisturise, I haven't really given it a chance to dry my skin out!

      ---Results---

      Since I've been using this, combined with the Cleansing Lotion, I have noticed that my skin is a lot clearer. Judging by the dirt that comes off onto the cotton wool, this product does clean the skin very well. I haven't used it by itself yet, but as it always manages to find dirt, even after I've used the lotion, it must have different cleaning agents to the lotion, so I would definitely recommend using them together.

      ---Scent---

      Simple products don't contain any perfume, which makes them great for sensitive skin. The only smell I notice from this product is a slightly soapy and very clean scent.

      ---Ingredients---

      The main ingredients in this toner are Chamomile, Witch Hazel and Allantion, which are all known to care for skin. The product also contains Pro-Vitamins B3 and B5, which according to the product bottle, are great for skin.

      ---Price---

      As I got this product in a gift set, I wasn't aware of the price until I researched it for myself. I only have about a quarter of the bottle left at the moment, but I have been using it nearly every day since Christmas, so I think it's well worth the money. It usually sells for £3-£4, and can be bought from several shops, including Superdrug, Boots, Savers, and various Supermarkets.

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      08.02.2014 21:27
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      A book that lives up to it's hype!

      'What must it be like, I wonder,to live in a world where food appears at the press of a button? How would I spend the hours I now commit to combing the woods for sustenance if it were so easy to come by? What do they do all day, these people in the Capitol, besides decorating their bodies and waiting around for a new shipment of tributes to roll in and die for their entertainment?'

      ---Plot---

      Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen lives in a frightening Dystopian world. Twelve Districts surround the Capitol, and the Capitol controls everything in the Districts. Ever since the failed uprising of the Districts, one boy and one girl from each is chosen to compete in The Hunger Games, a live TV show in which only one can survive.

      When Katniss' sister is chosen for District 12, Katniss steps forward to take her place. She knows that the chances of her safe return are slim, but Katniss is used to surviving.

      ---My thoughts---

      I bought myself a copy of this a long time ago, after seeing everyone going mad for The Hunger Games books, as well as the film. I hadn't heard of it at this point, so I didn't go to see the film in the cinema with everyone else. I loved the film, and I knew I had to get around to reading the first book. I received book two and three for Christmas, and this gave me the push to finally get stuck in.

      From the start, I loved this book so much more than the film, which always happens to me. In the film, we see how difficult life is for Katniss, living in District 12, where the people are downtrodden, and food is hard to come by. But it's only in the book that we really get to see all sides of Katniss, seeing into her thoughts, about the games, about Peeta Mellark, and even about her best friend Gale.

      Seeing into her thoughts like this, made me love and respect Katniss even more. We know that she's had to be tough ever since her father died, and the responsibility of taking care of her sister and mother fell onto her shoulders. She's never cared much for her appearance, as that is the least important thing in District 12, with finding her next meal the priority.

      But just before the games start, the tributes must be prepared for all their public appearances, and in a strange way, this seemed to give Katniss a brief respite from being tough. The tributes are given stylists, and while Katniss doesn't enjoy being waxed and plucked, when it comes to putting on her dress, it's clear that she can't believe her eyes. She's never worn something so beautiful before, so for just a brief moment, she could just enjoy being a woman for once.

      Katniss is full of conflicted thoughts and feelings, and it was great to get to know each side of her. There were times when everything was clearly becoming too much for her, but the thought of her little sister waiting for her at home, always gave her the little bit of strength she needed to carry on.

      This book was quite simply amazing. It was full of action, suspense, tension, and even a bit of romance. If you've already seen the film, a lot of the twists and turns won't shock you, as the film kept mostly to the same plot as the book. However, there were a few changes that I noticed, so if you've seen the film and not read the book, they'll still be plenty of surprises in store for you.

      ---The Author---

      Suzanne Collins is an American Author who has been writing for children's television shows since 1991. She has worked on several Nickelodeon shows, including Clarissa Explains it All, and The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo. Although Suzanne is more commonly known for The Hunger Games series, she has also written a number of children's books, including the Underland Chronicles series.

      ---Book Info---

      Kindle Edition ASIN - B0083JCCX8
      Kindle Edition price from Amazon - £2.87*

      Paperback Edition ISBN13 - 978-1407139791
      Paperback Edition price from Amazon - New from £2.97 - £3.85*

      Hardback Edition ISBN13 - 978-0545405775
      Hardback Edition price from Amazon - New and Used from £8.09 - £10.90*

      *Prices correct at time of posting

      ---The Hunger Games Series Info---


      Book 1 - The Hunger Games
      Book 2 - Catching Fire
      Book 3 - Mockingjay

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      06.02.2014 14:17
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      Highly recommended for spot-prone and sensitive skin.

      I received this Simple Kind to Skin Lotion as part of a gift set at Christmas. The set contains the lotion, a bottle of toner, a light moisturiser, and a small cosmetics bag. I love Simple products, so this was a great gift for me, and gave me an opportunity to try some products that I haven't tried before.

      ---Packaging---

      There really isn't much to say about the packaging, as Simple products always have the same white bottle, green lid, and clear labeling. I've always thought that the packaging fits well with the image of the brand; the products themselves are simple and non-perfumed, and the packaging is simple and plain.

      ---Using the Product---

      This cleansing lotion is supposed to be used by squeezing some onto a cotton pad and rubbing it gently over your face. I haven't tried using this as a standard cleanser with water, but I don't think it would work as well with water. It's best to just stick to the recommended method with this. I first tried using it with a piece of cotton wool pleat, as I didn't have any cotton pads, and it didn't work well at all. The cotton wool fell apart, so it's really best to invest in some cotton wool pads. You can find a big pack of these in Poundland, and they'll last you a long time.

      The consistency of the lotion is very thick, and a little goes a long way. It does come out in one big blob, so I like to fold the cotton pad to evenly distribute the lotion, before putting it on my face. Before I did this, the lotion would end up in one big blob on my face, so I found that folding the pad made it easier to get even coverage over my face.

      It's recommended that you use this product twice a day; once in the morning, and once in the evening. I do usually remember to use it twice a day, but sometimes I just use it before bed. If you only want to use it once, and make the product last longer, it's up to you, but if you have particularly oily skin, as I do, then it's best to use it twice a day.

      ----Scent---

      As always with Simple, this product doesn't contain any perfume, and is perfect for sensitive skin. I personally don't have a need for a perfumed product just to clean my face with anyway, so having no scent doesn't bother me. That's what a bottle of perfume is for!

      ---Results---

      It's recommended that you use the Simple Toner after using the lotion, and I try to do this every time I use it. However, there have been times when I haven't used the toner afterwards, either down to laziness, or just forgetfulness. While I've found that the results are better with the toner too, the lotion does do a good job of cleaning by itself. It's also very soothing if you have dry or chapped skin, so it's great in the winter. In fact, the product description on the bottle states that it's perfect for drier skin, as it's so gentle.

      I find that my skin feels cleaner since I've been using this product. It's very easy for my skin to breakout, so no product on it's own keeps spots away for good. Combined with a healthy diet and drinking plenty of water, this product has done wonders for my skin. It feels clean, smooth and just generally healthier. The product has even seemed to help moisturise, as my skin hasn't been as dry recently.

      ---Main Ingredients---

      This lotion contains Pro-Vitamin B5 and Vitamin E. While I don't know a lot about important vitamins for your skin, I am familiar with Vitamin E being good for your skin, so it makes sense for it to be in Simple products.

      ---Price---

      As I got this as part of a gift set, I didn't know how much each product would cost by itself. After using the products and loving them, I did some research into prices for when I've run out. As always with Simple, the price is fairly low, with this lotion costing around £3-£4 depending on where you buy it. I've spotted it in Superdrug, Boots, Wilkinson, Savers, and many Supermarkets, so it's easy enough to get hold of.

      The bottle is 200ml, and as you only need to use a little bit of product each time, I think this price is more than fair. There are products on the market that are a lot more expensive and considering how well this product works, I'm not tempted to fork out for a more expensive product at all.

      I've been using this product twice a day since Christmas, and the bottle still feels heavy. I'm estimating that there is at least half a bottle still left, so it offers fantastic value for money. It's a definite favourite for me.

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        04.02.2014 12:20
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        A slow and drawn out romance, but with added danger.

        'She was always there, no matter if I was awake or asleep, the idea of her lingering in the back of my mind. The way her cheeks dimpled when she smiled. The curve of her body. Her mysterious eyes. Her secrets.'

        ---Plot---

        Ash Jensen is a Sophomore at the University of Tennessee. A year and a half ago, Ash buried her fiancé, and she swore she'd never love again. After her friend Gina persuades her to take an internship at a conservation site, Ash's promise to herself is tested when she meets Kade Gyllenhal, a yummy conservation officer. Ash knows he's the wrong man for her, with his wild tattoos and his playboy reputation.

        Kade has his opinions on Ash before he meets her; he thinks she's a spoiled and pretentious princess from a wealthy family. Kade knows nothing about Ash's past and wants to keep it that way, but despite the risk of losing his job, he can't stop thinking about her.

        When the two of them are isolated on a routine trip into the woods, both of them are tested as things start to get complicated.

        ---My thoughts---

        I saw this book on NetGalley and thought it sounded interesting as I've never read a romance book with this sort of theme before. I was lucky enough to be accepted when I requested to read it, and got started within a few days. Although there are some problems with this book, such as formatting errors, I can definitely say that I enjoyed the story.

        I've read a lot of Romance books but this one was different. I've never read a Romance book which is set mostly in the woods before so this was an interesting one. The situation that the characters were in added an element of danger to the story, making it exciting and not all about the romance. There's also not tons of sex scenes in the book which does make a nice change. The Romance aspect does move slowly, but I feel that this was important to the story as the characters are thrown into a dangerous situation and focusing on surviving is the most important thing.

        It's great to see from both character's points of view in this story. Both of them have secrets that they keep from each other and seeing into each of their thoughts adds depth and character to them. There are still parts of the characters that are kept from us until the end, so there's also a lot of surprises, despite getting to know them throughout the story.

        Overall, I really enjoyed this story. It had everything it needed to make it interesting and keep me coming back for more; mystery,suspense,danger and of course, romance. I'd recommend this to anyone looking for a new and exciting Romance novel.

        ---The Author---

        Hopeless For You is Hayden Hill's first published novel. It's clear that Hayden put a lot of time and thought into this novel, in order to produce something both romantic and exciting. Hayden lives in Edmonton, Canada and in her spare time she loves reading, cycling , travel and photography. I'll be looking out for more Hayden Hill books in the future.

        ---Book Info---

        Kindle Edition ASIN - B00FBDVK28
        Kindle Edition price from Amazon - £0.77*

        Paperback Edition ISBN13 - 978-1492767817
        Paperback Edition price from Amazon - New from £5.34 - £7.17*

        Hardcover Edition ISBN13 - 978-0991842667
        Hardcover Edition price from Amazon - New and Used from £12.41 - £18.75*

        *Prices correct at time of posting

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          31.01.2014 17:18
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          A definite must read

          'All the facts and characters were present but the details and events were twisted into such a bizarre parallel reality. It was my life, but not as I knew it, for here it was all so much better.'

          ---Plot---

          Rachel Wiltshire's life was perfect. She had a handsome boyfriend, a wonderful group of friends, and she was about to set off for University to study for her dream career. The night of the accident changed everything; Rachel lost her best friend and she was badly scarred.

          Five years after the accident, Rachel wakes up from a fall, and discovers that everything is different. The night of the accident was a lucky escape, her best friend is alive and well, and she's working in her dream job. Rachel is thrown into a new world of happiness, love and second chances; but she has memories of a very different life, one filled with guilt and pain.

          Can both of Rachel's stories lead to a happy ending?

          ---My thoughts---

          I saw this book on a First Reads giveaway and thought that the plot sounded interesting and unlike anything I've read before. I was lucky enough to win a copy of this book and I chose to read it in December for a Christmas reading challenge, as the book has snow on the cover. Although most of the book is set in December, and a few pages mention Christmas, this isn't a Christmas book;it's so much more.

          I was drawn in from the first page of this book. It starts off on the night of the accident, and it was emotional from the very start, as Rachel loses her best friend. Although Rachel has a boyfriend, you can tell that there's something between her and her best friend Jimmy from the first page.

          Rachel's life after losing Jimmy was miserable. She lived in a tiny London flat, working as an Administrator for an Engineering company, a far cry from her dream job as a journalist. Rachel suffers severe headaches, caused by the accident five years earlier, and after a visit to her home town, she suffers a fall. When she wakes up, she finds her life is so much better than she remembers, and when Jimmy appears in her hospital room, she can't believe what she's seeing.

          I read several of the pages too fast in this book, as I was so desperate for Rachel to find solace, and I had to go back a few times to re-read certain sections. I found myself really connecting with Rachel; she was in such a terrible situation that I just wanted a happy ending for her, and I had many late nights reading this book until I just couldn't keep my eyes open any more.

          The connection between Rachel and Jimmy is beautiful. Although this book is described as a love story, and a large part of it is certainly a love story, there was so much more to this story than just romance. It was filled with tragedy, heartbreak, happiness, hope, despair, and everything in between. There were times while I was reading this, as it often happens with stories with an element of mystery, that I had a guess at the outcome of Rachel's predicament. However, all of my guesses were wrong, and the ending was a big shock. This is definitely one of those books that will stay with me for a long time, and although I managed to avoid waterworks, it was a close call, so do keep your tissues nearby.

          ---The Author---

          Fractured is Dani Atkins' first novel, and judging from this book, I can't wait for her to publish something else. Dani was born and brought up in Cockfosters, London. Dani spends her two hour commute to work reading, and often dreamed of becoming an Author herself. When her children grew up and left home, Dani set about making that dream a reality and published her first novel.

          ---Book Info---

          Kindle Edition ASIN - B00DCTVDA2
          Kindle Edition price from Amazon - £0.59*

          Paperback Edition ISBN13 - 978-1781857113
          Paperback Edition price from Amazon - New and Used from £1.28 - £5.59*

          *Prices correct at time of posting

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            27.01.2014 14:30
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            A good collection of short stories, perfect for a cold day indoors!

            'Susanna's stomach did a little flip-flop. It was the eyes.Though the lines at the corners seemed less pronounced, and the hard edge of pain was no longer there, they were his eyes, a strange colour that must be hazel but looked amber. Was it really him?'

            ===To Undo a Lady by Christine Merrill===

            --Plot--

            Danyl Fitzhugh is an actor and theatre owner in need of a woman. His leading lady has left, and he is in desperate need for someone to take her place. He encounters Sarah Branford outside his theatre, and vows he can turn her into an actress.
            Attraction soon blossoms between them, but can their relationship last when Danyl discovers the truth about Sarah?

            ---My thoughts---

            This short story is written really well, it's very fast paced but at the same time I didn't feel like it moved too quickly. The romance aspect does move very quickly, but as it's a romantic short story, this is to be expected. I really enjoyed the concept of this one, I'd not read a regency romance with a theatre theme before, so this was interesting for me. I loved seeing Sarah and Danyl's relationship blooming while they're acting side by side, and the ending was unexpected. I'd give 4/5 stars to this story.

            ===An Invitation to Pleasure by Marguerite Kaye===

            ---Plot---

            When Captain Fergus Lamont warned Susanna Hunter not to marry her betrothed, she ignored him and sent him on his way. Three years later, Susanna regrets this decision, and is surprised when she receives an invitation to spend Christmas with Fergus in the Highlands. She soon receives another shock, when Fergus reveals the true reasons for his invitation; he wants her to pretend to be his fiancée.

            ---My thoughts---

            This is my third Marguerite Kaye story and one that certainly didn't disappoint. I can't say that I enjoyed it as much as the full length stories by Marguerite that I've read, but that's only because with a full length book you have more time to grow attached to the characters and get into the story. However, I still really enjoyed this story, and thought that the pacing was great. It can be difficult to get the pacing right when you only have around sixty pages to work with, but for me, this was done very well.

            I loved the setting and the premise of the story, I haven't read any romances about Highlanders before,apart from Paranormal ones about Werewolves, so a more realistic story was great to read. I was still in suspense at the end of the book, waiting to see how long Susanna and Fergus can 'pretend' to be lovers before they give in to temptation. 4/5 stars for this story.

            ===His Wicked Christmas Wager by Annie Burrows===

            ---Plot---

            Lord Crispin Sinclair hasn't forgiven Lady Caroline Fallowfield for marrying another man. So while he's drinking and gambling in an inn, trying to forget about her, she's the last person he expects to see. She's there to persuade him to attend his brother's wedding to her sister, but he'll only agree if Caroline will share his bed, and take a gamble...

            ---My thoughts---

            For me, this story is about second chances and taking them when they come. Caroline and Crispin were lovers before she had to marry another man, so now that they have a second chance together, I found myself hoping that they'd get back together. I loved the idea of their wager together at the start of the book, it definitely made the story interesting and I had no idea who was going to win the wager. In fact, the person I thought would win didn't, so the outcome was unexpected for me.

            I thought the pacing of this story was good, and it was never clear whether they would get back together or not, so I was kept in suspense until the end. 4/5 stars.

            ===A Lady's Lesson in Seduction by Barbara Monajem===

            ---Plot---

            Camden Folk was once a notorious rake, known for bedding many women. Now he's consumed by desire for only one woman; young widow Frances Burdett. Yuletide festivities at his country estate seem to be the perfect time to seduce her.

            After Frances' brief marriage, she vowed to never be sworn to another man. A kiss under the mistletoe reignites desires that she thought long forgotten, but can she give in to the passion without losing her heart?

            ---My thoughts---

            This story was interesting, but I found the character of Camden got on my nerves quite often. He's very forceful with Frances, especially once he discovers that Frances doesn't like to be kissed. It seems less like he's seducing her and more like he's forcing her to be seduced. She seems to give in to it eventually however. While I enjoyed the idea of the story and the magical element of the house hobgoblin, I can only give this story three stars, due to irritating characters.

            ===The Pirate's Reckless Touch by Linda Skye===

            ---Plot---

            Julianna Wright's father discovered a precious and ancient treasure map, and was killed for having it in his possession. Now Julianna is determined to find the treasure before Christmas, and escape the pirates pursuing her.

            In order to complete her mission, Julianna needs the help of Captain Rawden Wood, a notorious pirate captain known throughout the seven seas. He's the only one capable of protecting her, but one touch from him could give everything away.

            ---My thoughts---

            This was my favourite story in this book, mostly because I've never read a romance with a pirate captain and found it really interesting. I'm not ashamed to say that I was put in mind of Captain Jack Sparrow and Johnny Depp while I was reading this book; he certainly seems to have a lot in common with Rawden. I loved Julianna's character; at first she seems like any timid and reserved woman from this time period, but as you learn more about her, you'll definitely be shocked.

            Again, this story was only around sixty pages long, but there's a lot of romance and action packed into those pages. The pacing was great once again, and I thoroughly enjoyed this one. I'd give this story 5/5 stars.

            ---About the Authors---

            Christine Merrill's childhood dream was writing, and after twenty years she was able to make it a reality. Christine has written several Historical Romance novels, including 'The Inconvenient Duchess', 'Miss Winthorpe's Elopment', 'An Unladylike Offer', and many more.

            Marguerite Kaye writes Historical Romances from her home in Scotland. She has over thirty books currently published, including 'Rumours that Ruined a Lady', 'The Beauty Within', 'Rake with a Frozen Heart', and many more. Marguerite actually sent me this compilation book in the post, in exchange for a review, as well as some some other books.

            Annie Burrows has been making up stories in her head for as long as she remembers. Annie studied English Literature and Philosophy at University, where she met her husband. Annie has written many Historical Romances, including,'The Earl's untouched bride', 'Never trust a Rake', 'Captain Fawley's Innocent Bride', and many more.

            Barbara Monajem wrote her first story in third grade about Apple Tree Gnomes. She published her first book, a middle-grade novel when her children were young.Now that her children are adults, Barbara writes Historical and Paranormal Romance books for adults. Some other books by Barbara are; 'Taste of Love and Evil', 'To Rescue or Ravish', and 'The Wanton Governess.'

            Linda Skye is a travel addict with an insatiable appetite for the written word. Linda moves across country and ocean with her military husband and currently lives in the UK. Some other books by Linda are; 'A Pleasurable Shame', 'Unveiled for the Persian King', 'The Debutante's Rose', and many more.

            ---Book Info---

            Kindle Edition ASIN - B00F462A76
            Kindle Edition price from Amazon - £4.20*

            Paperback Edition ISBN13 - 978-0263910438
            Paperback Edition price from Amazon - New and Used from £0.01 - £5.03 *

            Each of these books are also available as individual ebooks.

            *Prices correct at time of posting

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            25.01.2014 13:02
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            A great insight into Holder's side of the story.

            'My whole world turned from a place full of vibrant colors to a dull,lifeless gray. The sky, the grass, the trees...all the things that were once beautiful were stripped of their magnificence the moment I realized I was responsible for our best friend Hope's disappearance.'

            ---Plot---

            In this sequel to Hopeless, Dean Holder reveals his innermost thoughts and feelings. Holder has spent his entire life looking for the little girl that he let walk away all those years ago to finally free himself from the guilt he's carried since that day.

            What Holder doesn't know, is that when they do reconnect, he'll feel more guilt than he ever knew was possible. This is the story of Hopeless, told from Dean Holder's point of view; revealing everything that he felt during those painful moments.

            ---My thoughts---

            Once again, I have Colleen Hoover to blame for my lack of sleep. I read this book in two days, each time staying up until the early hours of the morning. It's yet another one of Colleen's books that I just couldn't bring myself to put down. Whilst I can't say that I enjoyed it as much as Hopeless, seeing the story from Holder's point of view was amazing,and it made me fall in love with the story all over again.

            The only reason I didn't enjoy it as much as Hopeless, is purely because Hopeless had the elements of shock and mystery surrounding it, as the truth about Sky was revealed piece by piece. But as Hopeless was more a six-star book than a five-star book, I was still able to give Losing Hope a huge five stars.

            I loved reading the letters that Holder writes to his sister Les. He opened up his heart in those letters and allowed us to really see what was going on in his head, and his heart, during Hopeless. Whilst Hopeless would have worked as a stand-alone anyway, the addition of Holder's point of view tied up everything nicely. Everything that happened in Hopeless made even more sense after reading this book, even down to small details which I won't go into so I don't spoil it for anyone else.

            Whilst this is essentially the same story as Hopeless from Holder's point of view, it's also different in so many ways. We get more of an insight into Holder's past, and the effect that Hope's disappearance, and the death of his sister Les had on him. In this book, we get to know the real Dean Holder with no holding back.

            This is the third book by Colleen Hoover that I've read now, and she has very quickly become one of my favourite Authors. After reading Hopeless, I moved on to the Slammed series, which I also fell in love with. Now that I've read Losing Hope, I plan on reading Finding Cinderella, a novella about Sky's friend Six. And of course, I'll be continuing with the Slammed series.

            ---The Author---

            Colleen Hoover is an American Author specialising in the New Adult Genre. Colleen's books have the power to draw the readers in from the first page and become immersed in the lives of the characters. Losing Hope is the sequel to Hopeless, and there is also a novella called Finding Cinderella which is part of the Hopeless series. Other books by Colleen Hoover include the Slammed series which consists of three books and two standalone novels which are due to be published in 2014; Maybe Someday and Ugly Love.

            ---Book Info---

            Kindle Edition ASIN - B00D5VNLFC
            Kindle Edition price on Amazon - £2.99*

            Paperback Edition ISBN13 - 978-1471132810
            Paperback Edition price from Amazon - New and Used from £3.20*

            Hardcover Edition ISBN13 - 978-1476763521
            Hardcover Edition price from Amazon - New and Used from £9.73*

            ---Hopeless Series Info---

            * Book 1 - Hopeless
            * Book 1.5 - The 'Best First Kiss' from Holder's POV
            * Book 2 - Losing Hope
            * Book 2.5 - Finding Cinderella

            *Prices correct at time of posting

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            24.01.2014 17:50
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            I really enjoyed this book; definitely worth a read.

            'The air in the room became thick and hot. It made me dizzy and breathless. I didn't fall for quick and easy words like a gullible teen, but man I was falling for his.'

            ---Plot---

            When Ally took a job at a bar to help pay for her classes, she didn't expect to meet Kale Wilder. Kale makes her feel things that she thought long forgotten, and it's not long before she starts to fall for him.
            But Kale came along at the wrong time. Somebody else has had his eye on Ally for a long time, and watches her every move. He's made it clear that if he can't have her, no one can. As Ally's feelings for Kale grow, so does her fear for her own safety.

            ---My thoughts---

            I saw this book on NetGalley and thought it sounded interesting so I requested a copy to read. I was lucky enough to be approved and started reading it right away. This definitely isn't your typical love story; it's not all cheesy pick up lines and hearts, as there is a real element of danger to this story.

            Earl, a regular customer at work, spends every night just staring at Ally. He doesn't talk to her, he just stares at her. As he's known to everybody in the small town, Ally finds it hard to make people believe that he's actually a threat to her. One person that does believe her though, is Kale. As soon as Ally and Kale meet, there's a spark between them. Their romance does seem to develop very quickly, but it also wasn't the main focal point of the story for me.

            There's real conflict in this book, as Ally is falling in love and should be happy, but being stalked by Earl is always on her mind and makes it impossible for her to just enjoy falling for Kale. This is supposed to be an exciting time for her but the threat from Earl is always at the forefront of her mind.

            Of course, she's lucky she has Kale, as not every woman that's stalked is lucky enough to have somebody to protect them. Having Kale around should make her feel more at ease, knowing that he's there and willing to protect her from Earl. But the stalking seems to get worse as she starts to spend more time with Kale and he can't be there to protect her all the time. Spending time with Kale provides a distraction from worrying about Earl, but as soon as he's gone, the fear sets back in.

            I really enjoyed reading this story as it had everything that makes a book exciting. It had the romance aspect with the lovely Kale, who's funny, kind and protective over Ally, although he's not possessive which is a plus. It also has the element of danger that keeps the reader in suspense and waiting to see what happens, as well as a bit of action thrown in later on in the story. Overall, I thought it was a great story and I'd definitely recommend it to lovers of romance and thrillers.

            ---Author---

            Elle Jordan is a USA Today Bestselling Author. Infatuated is her first published novel, and it's definitely a sign of great things to come. When Elle isn't writing, she can found on Facebook or Twitter, or on Photoshop making covers for books she doesn't have time to write. I'll be keeping a look out for more books by Elle Jordan in the near future.

            ---Book Info---

            Kindle Edition ASIN - B00FUUDRPK
            Kindle Edition price from Amazon - £2.51*
            This book isn't currently available in Paperback.

            *Price correct at time of posting

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