The Marriage Pact Experiment (blog tour) – book by Michelle Richmond

 

The Marriage Pact is a thriller by Michelle Richmond. In an honor of it’s paperback release, lovely people from Penguin Random House decided to do an experimental blog tour in which bloggers won’t post a book review, but will stick to the rules that were given (for at least 2 weeks) and later will let everyone know how that experiment impacted their lives.

I want to thank Jenny Plat for invitation to be part of this experimental blog tour.

This is my story…

When I got the invitation and read the rules, I have to admit although I was pretty excited, some rules I didn’t like at first (like giving my boyfriend all of my passwords).
However, I wanted to do it and see if there will be some kind of big change in my boyfriend’s and my lives since we pretty much already stick for the most of the rules (spoiler alert: there wasn’t).

So… without further ado, these are the rules:

1. Always answer when your partner calls
2. Exchange at least two thoughtful gifts every month
3. Cook your partner dinner twice a week
4. Unfollow your ex on social media
5. Never spend more than two nights apart
6. Tell your partner all your passwords
7. Only wear clothes your partner deems attractive or
appropriate
8. Enable the ‘find my phone’ feature so your partner
always knows where you are
9. Have no secrets from each other
10. Don’t even think about trying
to escape

 

As I already stressed out, the rules we stick to (my boyfriend and me) are already pretty much similar to these ones. I personaly don’t see them as rules, I just think it’s the way our relationship functions.
However, some rules were new and some we had to adapt since they were imposibble to stick to because of higher force (read: work).

There was never a question whether I’d always answer his calls, because that what I always did, so that rule wasn’t hard to follow.

When it came to rule no 2, that was a funny story. I decided to buy him a pullover (it’s his favorite type of clothes and looks pretty good on him) pre Valentine’s Day and he loved it! But, he thought I bought it to him since there were final sales at the stores, so he didn’t even think about the rules.

The rule no 3  we kinda skipped or adjusted. The thing is, I always cook lunch, almost never dinner. It’s practically the same, only we eat earlier in the day. It’s because I work the way I work, and with his job, it’s just easier to cook lunch.
I love cooking so that one wasn’t hard to follow. I actually cook at least 4 times per week (I don’t only when I don’t have time or when there are leftovers from the day before), so to be honest, this rule passed unnoticed.

Deleting exes wasn’t a problem because I don’t have a contact with any of mine, and my boyfriend is not on any social media, so he didn’t have anyone to delete either!

The rule no 5 we just had to skip. It’s because of his job. Sometimes he has night shifts and we just couldn’t stick to that rule 100%. However, since we live together, we spent every other night together, so I am counting this rule as checked!

Tell you partner all your passwords – well, here is where I cheated. To be honest, I thought this rule was kinda stupid, so I just left open all of my passwords on my computer. If he wanted, he could have visited everything and read everything, but he didn’t, because he’s not nosy and he knows I have no secrets.

The rule no 7 was the hardest to follow. I would wear an attractive clothes for a day, then I would forget, or would feel stupid waring certain clothes. So this one was adjuted as well.
If it was up to my boyfriend, I would wear lacy body all the time, but that’s not how you can function 24/7.
But I tried, I really tried!

The rule no 8 we also skipped because trust it or not, I don’t even have that option on my phone (or maybe I just couldn’t/didn’t know how to find it).

I can safely say that I have no secrets from him, so rule no 9 wasn’t hard to follow. 
It was even sad that there wasn’t that “I have to tell you something” moment that I usually read about in my books.
If nothing, this rule showed my how boring my life actually is.

And as for rule no 10 – I didn’t even cross my mind to escape. I love being in a relationship with him and I would only move forward with him, not without him! 

 

About the book:

Newlyweds Alice and Jake are a picture-perfect couple. Alice, once a singer in a well-known rock band, is now a successful lawyer. Jake is a partner in an up-and-coming psychology practice. Their life together holds endless possibilities. After receiving an enticing wedding gift from one of Alice’s prominent clients, they decide to join an exclusive and mysterious group known only as The Pact.

The goal of The Pact seems simple: to keep marriages happy and intact, and most of its rules make sense: Always answer the phone when your spouse calls. Exchange thoughtful gifts monthly. Plan a trip together once per quarter. . . .

Never mention The Pact to anyone.

Alice and Jake are initially seduced by the glamorous parties, the sense of community, their widening social circle of like-minded couples–and then one of them breaks the rules. The young lovers are about to discover that for adherents to The Pact, membership, like marriage, is for life, and The Pact will go to any lengths to enforce that rule. For Jake and Alice, the marriage of their dreams is about to become their worst nightmare.

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Book Review: The Glittering Art of Falling Apart by Ilana Fox

Title: The Glittering Art of Falling Apart
Author: Ilana Fox
Publisher: Orion Publishing Group
Date: February 4th, 2016
Pages: 400
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): 1980s Soho is electric. For Eliza, the heady pull of its nightclubs and free-spirited people leads her into the life she has craved – all glamour, late nights and excitement. But it comes at a heavy cost.

Cassie is fascinated by her family’s history and the abandoned Beaufont Hall. Why won’t her mother talk about it? Offered the chance to restore Beaufont to its former glory, Cassie jumps at the opportunity to learn more about her past.

Separated by a generation, but linked by a forgotten diary, these two women have more in common than they know . . .

Review:

Do you know what I usually do when I’m about to review a perfect book? I postpone it, and pospone it, and pospone it…
Because, sometimes it is hard to find the words to describe how much, and why, I liked the book so much.
There’s sometimes that self-doubt that I just wouldn’t do it justice.

This is what happened in this case. I started writing my review 6 days ago, and here I am now, still not sure if I’m going to finish it this time around.

I guess you can already guess that I loved this book. I did, I loved it so much! It is the best book I have read this year so far, and it was my first 5 stars read of 2018.

I heard about this book two years ago when it appeared in many women’s fiction bloggers lists of favorite books.
The story sounded promising and let’s face it: The cover is really appealing (and I always judge books by their covers, I can’t help it!).

The story follows two women in two different times: Cassie in nowadays and Eliza in 1980s.

Cassie was always fascinated with Beaufont Hall, a house that belonged to her family for years and years.
Unfortunately, because of  poor financial situation, Cassie’s family can’t afford to have Beaufond Hall anymore, and they are about to sell it.
For the last time, Cassie goes to Beaufond House to sort things out, say her last goodbye to the home she always wanted to live in and spends some time going through all the belongings in a hope she’ll find something valuable and figure out how to save the house.

There, in Beaufond Hall, she finds diaries of a forgotten family member called Eliza. Forgotten is maybe a wrong word in this case, because Eliza and her mother were subjects no one ever talked about, a tabu-theme of the family.

Eliza is a young girl who’s story is placed in 1980s in Soho. She was bored with her every day life so she moved there to work and have fun. We follow her around and see her dreams being shattered, her friends falling apart and herself trying her best but still chasing the tail of the creature called better life.

Both stories are told in third person, and intertwined into a whole.
I assumed how the story might have ended, and to be honest, I can’t tell you if the reason for that was it’s predictability, of the writer in me recognized the way she would have wrapped this novel.
It doesn’t really matter, because one thing I can tell you: I wouldn’t want it any other way.
In my opinion, the completion of the story was perfect.

If I had to choose, I’d say I liked Eliza’s story better. It was more interesting, more emotional and more lush.
At some points, I could have imagine scenes from her parts so well, it was like watching a movie in my mind.

Overall, I would highly recommend this novel.
Even if it belongs to women’s fiction genre, I think men would also enjoy reading it.
After all, it doesn’t talk about women’s problems, but about life in general, and all it’s obstacles, highs and lows.

 

IMPORTANT: 

If you haven’t, you can still ented a giveaway I’m hosting on Twitter, in which you can win this book and some croatian chocolate: ENTER HERE

Book Review: The Love Shack by Jane Costello

Title: The Love Shack
Author: Jane Costello
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Date: April 23rd, 2015
Pages: 484
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Life’s great when you’re 29 years old with a gorgeous girlfriend and fulfilling job. Until you have to move back in with your mum . . .

Dan and Gemma have found their dream first home, but the asking price is the stuff of nightmares. The only way they’ll ever save enough for the deposit is by moving in, rent-free, with Dan’s mum.

It’s a desperate solution, but it’s only for six months. And Gemma’s determined to make it work, no matter how bad things get.

But between Dan’s mum’s kitchen karaoke, her constant innuendos, irrepressible argumentative streak and – worst of all – her ham and pineapple curries, life back at home would test the patience of two saints. Which Dan and Gemma most definitely are not.

Then, as they’re trying to convince themselves it will all be worth it, Gemma’s past comes back to haunt her. And suddenly the foundations of their entire relationship are shaken to their core…

 

Review:

Ohh, Jane Costello! Seems like I can’t get enough of her books. They always make my day a bit better no matter in what stage my life is.
If you follow me for a while, you probably know she is my favorite author, and there’s a reason for that. Read this, or any other of her books, and you’ll understand.

The Love Shack follows a couple, Dan and Gemma who have been together for four years and they are in a process of buying a house.
They find a perfect one, but in order to be able to afford it, they have to live under the same roof with Dan’s mother for 6 months.
It’s not an easy choice but Gemma and Dan will do their best to secure the best possible future for themselves.

Reading this novel was such a delight. I got lost in Gemma and Dan’s story, had my LOL moments and was just having fun. It was everything that I wanted from a book at that time (that’s why I picked it in the first place, because I can always count on Costello to bright the mood).

Even tough it is a typical chick-lit (it has all the elements but the only difference is that in this story we follow the couple that are together from the very beginning of the story), I would say that this book is also very realistic.

Buying a house comes with lots and lots of paper works and compromise, and this book shows that (Just to stress out, it won’t bore you with those legal things that are not funny to read anyway).
Also, problems that our main characters had in this novel are ones everyone could come across now and then (especially Gemma’s).

The novel is written in fist person, following two POVs: Dan’s and Gemma’s.
I think that the author did a very good job because character’s voices sounded similar, but yet different.

I liked the imperfection of the characters.
I didn’t approve Gemma’s acts and couldn’t understand Dan’s principles, but still I liked them both very much.

Overall, I really, really enjoyed reading The Love Shack. I know this is one of those books I can always come back to.
Would I recommend? Defintely!
If you still haven’t read anything of Costello’s work, do yourself a favour and give her books a chance. Trust me, you won’t regret it!

P.S. In April Jane Costello will release her new book You Me Everything under a pseudonym Catherine Isaac. Movie rights have already been sold, as well as rights for translation to (I think) 15 different countires. I can’t wait to read that one!

Book Review: Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh

Title: Reign of the Fallen
Series: Reign of the Fallen #1
Author: Sarah Glenn Marsh
Publisher: Razorbill
Date: January 23rd, 2018
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: from Publisher for a review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Odessa is one of Karthia’s master necromancers, catering to the kingdom’s ruling Dead. Whenever a noble dies, it’s Odessa’s job to raise them by retrieving their souls from a dreamy and dangerous shadow world called the Deadlands. But there is a cost to being raised–the Dead must remain shrouded, or risk transforming into zombie-like monsters known as Shades. If even a hint of flesh is exposed, the grotesque transformation will begin.

A dramatic uptick in Shade attacks raises suspicions and fears among Odessa’s necromancer community. Soon a crushing loss of one of their own reveals a disturbing conspiracy: someone is intentionally creating Shades by tearing shrouds from the Dead–and training them to attack. Odessa is faced with a terrifying question: What if her necromancer’s magic is the weapon that brings Karthia to its knees?

Review:

If I’d have to choose only one word to describe Reign of the Fallen, I’d choose the word unique.
In my life, I’ve read many books (almost 500), but I’ve never read anything similar to this story.

Reign of the Fallen is a novel set in a world where people after their death can come alive, with the help of people who’s job is to take them out of the Deadland into their real world.
As you can imagine, most people that rule this world have already died many times.
However cool that might sound, there is one catch: if a dead person stays “alive” for too long, there’s a chance for her to become a Shadow, which is basically some sort of evil zombie that eats and kills everything and everyone.
So therefore, after some time, a person who is Undead (that’s the word for a person who was brought back to life) should be killed and then brought back to life again.
As you can imagine, the circle goes on and on and on…

As I already stated, reading Reign of the Fallen was a pleasant surprise since I have never read anything like that.
It took me some time to figure out how this world really works, but I thing that the world building was done great and I really enjoyed all the elements of it (also, I couldn’t help but think how this world must smell really bad!).

The story follows Sparrow who is the best in bringing Dead people back to life. She works for the king and she lives and breathes her job. She wouldn’t know who she’d be without it.

Sparrow was an interesting character, to say the least. She made some decisions that really left me confused, but I have to stress out that after everything that has happened to her, she was very lost and confused herself.
She was pretty selfish and self centered, and even though that is a turn off in a way, it is also a very realistic thing, because it is in human nature to centre the world around your own self.

There was one situation in the book that I just have to mention.
We got to see how a character got herself addicted to drugs, and how painful it was to take herself off it, and I have never saw anything similar in ya fantasy.
It was kind of silly, to be honest, but in the same time, I welcome it.

I also have to emphasize that this novel has a great diversity representation.

When I look at Reign of the Fallen as a whole, I honestly think it would have been a better book if it was an adult fantasy novel.

Overall, I am glad I gave this book a chance because it was like a breathe of fresh air, but when I look at the whole picture, it was a solid read.
I would still recommend it, though!

Book Review: Batman Nightwalker by Marie Lu (Blog Tour) @prhinternational #partner

I am so happy to be today’s host in Batman Nightwalker blog Tour.
I want to say thank you to Amanda Holman for giving me this opportunity, and to Penguin Random House for sending me a free copy of the book.

Blurb:

Before he was Batman, he was Bruce Wayne. A reckless boy willing to break the rules for a girl who may be his worst enemy.

The Nightwalkers are terrorizing Gotham City, and Bruce Wayne is next on their list.

One by one, the city’s elites are being executed as their mansions’ security systems turn against them, trapping them like prey. Meanwhile, Bruce is turning eighteen and about to inherit his family’s fortune, not to mention the keys to Wayne Enterprises and all the tech gadgetry his heart could ever desire. But after a run-in with the police, he’s forced to do community service at Arkham Asylum, the infamous prison that holds the city’s most brutal criminals.

Madeleine Wallace is a brilliant killer . . . and Bruce’s only hope.

In Arkham, Bruce meets Madeleine, a brilliant girl with ties to the Nightwalkers. What is she hiding? And why will she speak only to Bruce? Madeleine is the mystery Bruce must unravel. But is he getting her to divulge her secrets, or is he feeding her the information she needs to bring Gotham City to its knees? Bruce will walk the dark line between trust and betrayal as the Nightwalkers circle closer.

Review:

Like most of my generation, I grew up with Batman movies and cartoons. I loved watching them even when I was too little to understand them, and his partner Robin was my first love.

I always knew Bruce Wayne had a great tragedy in his life, saw his parents murder when he was a child, but I have to admit, never in my life have I wondered how he was like when he wasa  teenager.
Thanks to Marie Lu, I got a glimpse of his adolescent life.

Now I know he was smart, well educated, builted his first laptop and had an interesting group of friends. He was also brave and always fought for justice (who’d say, right?).

Batman Nightwalker was a perfect entertaiment. I read my copy during Christmas and it was the last book I read in 2017. I am so happy to say I finished a year with a great book in my hands.

I liked almost everything about it. I had fun reading scenes with Bruce and his friends, I enjoyed exploring Gotham city, but most of all, I liked scenes with a mysterious girl, Madaleine Wallace, who was our main villain.

I have to say that Madaleine was one of the best villains I came across lately (read “for the longest time”), and that includes not only books, but movies and tv shows too.

I was satisfied with the whole story, including the very end of the book too, even though I guessed one part of the book, the one that should have been a shocking moment (at least I think so).

Overall, I had a blast reading Batman Nightwalker, and a big reason  for that is Marie Lu’s compelling writing.

I would recommend this book to everyone who likes superhero stories and to all Batman fans.

 

 

Book Review: The Fate of Kings by Mark Stibbe & G. P. Taylor

I am so happy to be today’s host in The Fate of Kings blog Tour.
I want to say thank you to Rhoda Hardie for giving me this opportunity.

About the book:

1793. As the Terror begins to cast a great shadow over France, Thomas Pryce, the new Vicar of Deal, crosses the Channel to find the missing parents of his beautiful French wife. Facing grave dangers, he makes his way to Brittany where he not only discovers the fate of his in-laws but also uncovers a plot which threatens to topple the British monarchy. Fighting against a sinister secret society in a race against time, Pryce battles to thwart the plans of a Parisian spymaster and his agents in London. The Fate of Kings is the first in a series of gripping spy thrillers that will engross readers of C.J. Sansom, Dan Brown, as well as the many avid watchers of Poldark and Grantchester. In the first years of the British Secret Service, Thomas Pryce truly is the original James Bond.

My Review:

Going into The Fate of Kings I expected adventure and even more so, a political novel.
Did I get what I expected?
Yeah, I can say so. But I can also say that even though I got what I expected, this book was also different from what I’ve expected in a way.

First of all, let me clarify that this book is piece of Christian fiction. I knew it, and I like reading Christian fiction once in a while, but I always like to warn people about that because I know some readers just don’t feel comfortable reading word-to-word praying and phrases like “God will help us, God will be with me.”
When it comes to Christian fiction, I’d say The Fate of Kings is on a heavier side.

So… this is where comes one thing that I didn’t like about the blurb for this book. Thomas Pryce, our main character, is not only compared to James Bond, but said to be the original James Bond.
I think it is misleading because we all know what  James Bond is all about, and yeah, you could say Thomas has some similarities with Bond, but only he is too… chaste. And that isn’t a bad thing, don’t get me wrong, I just wouldn’t compare him to James Bond.

The writing style is interesting. You can tell from the way the sentences were built that this novel comes from writers with years of experience in writing.
Then again, I got a feeling that there were too much tells for my taste. I’d prefer more shows, to be honest.
Also, the writing style was a bit too descriptive for my taste.

I know it sounds like I didn’t enjoy the book, but that is not the truth. I think this book is pretty adventurous and I overall enjoyed the novel, I just had to arm myself with patience until I got used to everything that was different from my expectations.

Who would I recommend this book to?
To historical fiction readers but also to fans of political stories.
Would I recommend it to James Bond fans?
Actually I would, because I think they would like it, but would tell them not to expect lots of booze and women because Thomas Pryce is different from James Bond we all know from the movies.

About the authors:

G.P. Taylor

(born 1958 in Scarborough, North Yorkshire), pen-name G. P. Taylor, is the author of the best-selling novels Shadowmancer, Wormwood and Tersias. Before taking up writing full-time, he was an Anglican vicar in the village of Cloughton, North Yorkshire.
His works reflect his faith, carrying Christian messages like The Chronicles of Narnia of C.S. Lewis. He began to write his works to counter the increasing number of works, such as Harry Potter and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, that he believed were encouraging children to investigate the occult. His works have also garnered some controversy however, because whilst Taylor has claimed to be “an authority on Wicca and paganism”, his books have been considered offensive by some neopagans for describing them as being tricked by the Devil.

Mark Stibbe doesn’t have his biography on Goodreads nor on Amazon.

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Book Review: Anything You Do Say by Gillian McAllister (Blog Tour)

I am so honoured to take part in this blog tour.
Doe to some private reasons I wasn’t able to post my review on Saturday when it was my turn to be the host. I am taking this opportunity to apologize to everyone involved.

I really enjoyed reading this book (and talking about it with my colleagues), so I hope that Anything You Do Say will be a huge success.

I’d like to thank Jenny Platt from Penguin Random House UK, for giving me this opportunity.

About the book:

Joanna is an avoider. So far she has spent her adult life hiding bank statements and changing career aspirations weekly.

But then one night Joanna hears footsteps on the way home. Is she being followed? She is sure it’s him; the man from the bar who wouldn’t leave her alone. Hearing the steps speed up Joanna turns and pushes with all of her might, sending her pursuer tumbling down the steps and lying motionless on the floor.

Now Joanna has to do the thing she hates most – make a decision. Fight or flight? Truth or lie? Right or wrong?

My Review:

So… Do you know that case when you read a book and you want to talk about it with everyone around you, even though they didn’t read it nor they’re familiar with the story? And you just want to question them all the time “What would you do?”

That is what happened to me with this book, and I dare to say it will happen’ to most of the readers. I just couldn’t help it! I wanted to know what would my colleagues do if they were in Joanna’s shoes. It got so bad, I started guessing what each colleague would choose before they even had a say (I guess I’m weird like that).

One good thing came out of that: many of them want to read this book now (so my mission is completed! Gillian McAllister, you can now just sit and wait for the croatian translation (hopefully, fingers crossed!)).

 

So… what is this book about?
It is about a woman who’s story showed us how one single impulse decision can have a power to change lives complitely.

Joanna, our protagonist, is a woman who decided to have a night out with her friend. While they were in a bar, one guy asked them to pose for a selfie. They agreed, but after that the guy just wouldn’t let them be. He was way too pushy and he even sexualy assaulted Joanna, by rubbing his dick onto her, all while he had his clothes on (maybe I’m not describing all the details right, but it was some similar scenario if not the same).
After a while, when it was time to go home, Joanna parted ways with her friend and, alone in the dark, she had heard footsteps behind her. They were loud, coming after her, and she had an impulse, defensive reaction and as the guy touched her, she pushed him down the stairs, and he fell with his face down in a puddle.

What should she do now? Call 999 and take the blame, or just walk away, as it never happened?

From that moment, the story parted into two stories, Reveal and Conceal, that give you a see what happened with each decision.

I feel like there is so many ways you can actually read this book. You can read it as usual, parallelly follow each story, or you can read one story, then the other (or just one).

I was thrilled by both of them, but I have to admit that Conceal grabbed more of my attention. It was more intense and it kept me on the edge of my sit. One reason for that is McAllister’s writing style, because she did a great job picturing Joanna’s paranoia and her many trains of thought.

Reveal was also very good, even though it was passive at times. What I mean is, sometimes I just read the story and watched what will happen’ to Joanna, not being too engaged in the story.
However, there were some moments when I was pretty nervous.

What I liked the most in both of these stories is how well we got to see what was going on in Joanna’s head. All the chaos, every little decision after the big one that chose her path, had an impact on her and we got to see how she was changing every day, but also how her behaviour and everything that was going on played a role in lives of people aroud her, and how they were changing too.

This is definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year and I highly recommend it.
Trust me, you don’t want to miss this one!

I only wish Anything You Do Say was already out so we could disccuss it properly, because I’d really like to know what you’d choose if you were in Joanna’s place: to call 999 or to walk away?

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