Saturday, 27 February 2016

REVIEW; I Am Pilgrim, by Terry Hayes


Genre: Thriller, Suspense

Recommend: Yes



Pilgrim is a top secret agent, set out for retirement to lead a normal life, under the radar. Brought along to comment on a murder scene, he sees more than anyone else, and finds himself swept up into the investigative world again. 
Meanwhile, a Saudi-Arabian man is plotting against the world and fabricated an expert plan to eradicate America.
Can Pilgrim solve the crimes and stop him? Or will the hunter become the hunted?

My Thoughts:

This book!!
Firstly- it's extremely hard to write anything about this without giving things away, but with how sparse the blurb of the book is, it leads you nearly blindfolded into the depth of the story so I really don't want to spoil it for others.

I'm at a total loss as to where to even start with this one. At being 889 pages long in the paperback version, it's definitely a wrist-ache but totally worth it - it was a story to get utterly lost in. 

Pilgrim: Code-name for our main character, Pilgrim. He is a legendary secret agent in the top levels of security, with intelligence and skill like no other. Assuming different identities throughout his life, no one is really certain of who he really is. I loved how the story was told through his eyes; getting inside the mind of a natural investigator as he picks up minor details of the state of a room to conclude to momentous reasoning. 

Pace: This book is long but just right. There are four parts to it: 
  1. Introduction to Pilgrim- the story opens in a murder scene in a hotel room with an unidentifiable victim
  2. Introduction to The Saracen/main plot - the Saudi-Arabian who grows up to mastermind the plan to bring America to its knees
  3. Pilgrim is sent on his mission - Their paths intertwine and the present time thriller unfolds
  4. Attack/ End.
The pacing in this is executed brilliantly. The reader gets an insight into the past of both crucial characters and witnesses pivotal scenes that shape their character to lead them to their current choices and decisions. The breakdown of the story into 4 sections helps the intake of the story- the huge quantity of information is put forward in a more enticing way that enables the past/present flow naturally together in a seamless progression of events. Even though the setting/time often changed from chapter to chapter, it was simple still to follow what was going on. 

Writing: Hayes' writing is captivating. Every word appears to be chosen carefully as the passages are succinct and have punch. There is no stream of consciousness or meaningless chatter/waffle that plagues so many stories. There are also subtle hints intertwined that help the reader follow along the path of Pilgrim's mind, without any neon flashing signs pointing to evidence - there's no insult to the intelligence of the reader needing everything explained. In saying that, yeah, there were some repeated phrases here and there or similar descriptions for things - but in 900 pages of course there'll be some repetition!  

Story: Again, I don't want to give much away - half of the success of this novel for me was not knowing where it was going to lead me. But this was one hell of a story. It was so well thought out and constructed, with back stories and thought processes and intertwining plots and conclusions that all fitted together like a jigsaw when moments before things seemed totally irrelevant or unrelated. Hayes' doesn't hold back with the imagery either- warning, not a book to be read when eating!!! But it's all effective, it's a scary book in one way as it's so easy to see (and even understand possibly) how one can come to the mind-frame of seeking revenge and how a plan so huge and detrimental can be orchestrated by an individual. 


I can't remember when I last read a book this good. So many lately have been 5 star reads and this just supersedes them completely. I'm in such book-mourning and urge everyone and anyone to try read this. The second half is definitely a lot more exciting than the first- down to the story developing compared to more of a background lesson - but definitely worth the time to read. 


Saturday, 20 February 2016

REVIEW; Entangled - novella (Evolve #2.5), by S.E. Hall


Genre: New Adult, Romance

Recommend: Yes



Laney and Dane are back, and fighting over how to decorate Laney's new Duplex over the summer months. Entering bets and wagers, they go head to head to prove their point. 

Meanwhile the usual drama surrounds them and they also have a wedding to attend... 

Enter into another chapter of their epic love tale, before the new semester begins. 

My Thoughts:

I normally skip the little side novella's as I'm more interested in the greater story, but I'm glad I read this. We got to revisit Laney and Dane and it was refreshing getting inside their minds again and watching them start the next stage of their relationship together. 

"How do I tell her, without sounding like a psycho, that I want to know every facet of her every day? If she laughed, I want to know what was funny. I want to know what she ate, what she wore, who she saw. I want to connect with her on a youthful, carefree level. She needs to know I can relate, that I like to have fun, too. I miss her when we're apart and want to recreate every moment when we're together."

Ahh, so cute! I nearly felt this story conveyed the love and chemistry between Laney and Dane a lot better than in Emerge, despite being a fraction of the length. It's also cool seeing Laney continually develop and become more confident in all aspects of her life. 

There was also a great flow to the story; with the inclusion of Sawyer who will be the focus of Entice, so it fitted in nicely to the overall series. All books in this series could be read as stand-alone books but I love how they incorporate aspects from all of the characters. 

Although, I really wish "baby" would be cut of these books by 50%. It's so grating. 


Decent little novella to support the overall series. Definitely recommend to read if reading the rest as adds in good character support and helps build the story and relationships. Well worth it! 


Saturday, 13 February 2016

Top 5; Book Boyfriends

As it's Valentine's weekend, I thought I'd share a special little post dedicated to us readers, whose Valentines are wrapped up in one of our favourite stories as a fictional character, one we fall for harder than the main character does, and who we will forever compare our future partners to and live in hope we will find someone that makes for decent competition... Here's my current list, of my top 5 book boyfriends!

Rush Finlay - Rosemary Beach 

Bad-Boy Rush is your typical troubled soul. His charm and wit (and apparent great looks) win you over to begin with. But his sensitive side that slowly becomes uncovered makes the reader fall for him even more. He's perfect...

“Talk. We are going to talk first. I want to see you smile and laugh. I want to know what your favorite show was when you were a kid and who made you cry at school and what boy band you hung posters of on your wall. Then I want you naked in my bed again.”

Rule Archer - Rule 

He starts off being awful and totally unattractive with his blasé and dismissive attitude. To have made it on here though, he must've changed and boy did he. As he fell for his love interest he let his own walls down and his true personality emerged, and we all fell for him! 

"My struggle came with the fact that Rule was complicated. He was brash, mouthy, careless, thoughtless, and often cranky and generally an insufferable pain in the ass. But when he chose to be, he was also charming and funny, artistically brilliant and more often then not, the most person in the room and I had been head over heels in love with both sides of him since I was thirteen years old." 

Noah Shaw- The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

Noah Shaw... he has a reputation that precedes him and he is arrogant and cocky. You may see past his charm and attitude to begin with, but following him as he slowly falls for Mara is so enticing and captivating, we've all been bit by the love bug. He just one of those characters that was built with a magnet and you can't hide from the attraction.

“Noah's eyes held my face. I swallowed hard. The juxtaposition of him sitting in a room full of people while staring at no one but me was overwhelming. Something shifted inside of me at the intimacy of us, eyes locked amid the scraping of twenty graphite pencils on paper.

Sam Greyson - Chasing Hearts

Sam Greyson is really one of my favourites. Hot damn. His humour is infectious and he seems like the type of guy you fall for immediately. His added moments of anger and desperation show he's only human and can also make mistakes, just attracts the reader more to him as he isn't portrayed as some Godly Perfect figure that only exists in novels. 

"Life isn't always what we want it to be. It sounds like you've had the short end of the stick for most of yours, but it doesn't mean you don't have the right to be happy. If you give me the chance, I'd like to be the one to show you what that's like." 

Jack McLachlan - Beauty from Pain

Mr McLachlan is more the one and only Book Husband! Major Swooooon. He is decisive and powerful and knows what he wants - or he thinks he does. But when he falls in love, he reallyyyyy falls in love and his caring and loving nature makes for an addicting read that make us all want one of him.

"I've known pain my whole life, but this is a new kind for me. It isn't born of something wrong or ugly. This pain is conceived out of beauty - my love for Jack Henry McLachlan. I embrace it. I clutch it as tightly as I can with both fists because I never want to forget the love I have for him. Loving him will forever be my Beauty from Pain."

Interested in reading more? 

Fallen Too Far
Rule (The Marked Men, Book 1)
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Heartless (The Chasing Hearts Series Book 1)   
Beauty from Pain: Beauty Series - Book 1

Saturday, 6 February 2016

REVIEW; Embrace (Evolve #2), by S.E. Hall


Genre: New Adult, Romance

Recommend: Yes

SPOILERS (If haven't read book #1)


Evan Allen left his university to be with Laney... but he was too little too late. Now at her uni, seeing her with Dane is killing him. Knowing nobody doesn't help him either. 

But Sawyer and the others kindly take him in and help him to meet other people. Evan soon begins to find his feet again and get back on the scene, and realises his situation isn't as bad as he thinks. 

Losing Laney may have been the wake-up call he needed to embrace his new life.

My Thoughts:

I really loved the first book in this series and was so excited to continue the drama. But part of my was a little let down with this one...

Evan: Gah, I felt SO bad for him at the end of Emerge and was eager to see how his chance at luck went. The only negative for me was that it was obvious this was written by a female. There were times where his reactions and thoughts were definitely not male characteristics and had the typical traits of a "perfect guy" created by countless authors. Now, he's meant to be the die-hard romantic "good guy" but it was a little too much at times. Maybe he was just too cutesy for my liking but I fell a little out of love with him in this and his double standards with Whitley got quite frustrating considering how much she cared for him. 

Format: Quick little point out - kindle edition needs format editing. Nearly every "texting" conversation is all over the page and a there are numerous sentences where it stops mid line and continues on the next one. Just interrupts the overall flow for the reader. 

POV: Mostly portrayed from the POV of Evan, I enjoyed how it swapped over so we still got the insight into Laney and Dane's life and it wasn't a strong cut off to Book 2. They were still included as integral characters, although slightly sidelined as this was Evan's story. It was all executed quite smoothly and the writing style appropriately adapted per character. 

Whitley: Ah, bless her! Even I nearly fell for her. Like probably most readers, I wasn't a fan of her in Emerge, but we aren't meant to be. We only see the bitch side of her and immediately dislike her meddling nature, but we ~should~ know we women are bitches usually when we're hurting or defensive over something and this is exactly her situation. She is such a great person underneath her defensive nature and persona she plays and I loved reading more about her person. Her unconditional love and affection for Evan from the start was so endearing and even her warming to Laney showed how mature and kind-hearted she really is. 

Character Development: There was great development of the characters in this. Evan changed dramatically through the story and in fairness, so did Laney. I felt sorry for her position as she wasn't really to blame for the whole "love triangle" as such. (Read Emerge review for further dissection of that mess!) I could understand how awkward and guilty she felt at the beginning but then she also got mad as Evan was only trying to move on and live his life accepting he'd lost Laney. As she woke up to realising how he must have felt etc, she matured greatly and even welcoming Whitley into her group despite everything. 

Love/Romance: Mehhh... this is where this book fell down for me. I couldn't connect with the romance in this AT ALL. I don't know why seeing as I loved it in Emerge. It all just seemed like the same scenes retold and possibly with different characters at times but it was just dull. I'm so tired of reading the "baby" in every romantic scene in every book now too... just major cringe. 


It may have let me down a little, but I still loved the journey this book took and how the overall story continued and grew. I cannot wait for book 3 being focused on Sawyer - I bet this will be the best one yet!!