Friday, 28 February 2014

Review ~ Defy the Stars by Sophie McKenzie

Defy the Stars (Flynn, #4)
Purchased the paperback myself

Release Date: January 2nd 2014

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Description:

After months apart, everyone thinks that River is successfully building a future without Flynn. Indeed, she has almost convinced herself that she is moving on. And then, one day, Flynn is back, bringing with him tales of his glamorous new life. River suspects his lucrative new work involves some form of criminal activity, but will she let herself be drawn back into Flynn's world? Or is this, finally, the end of the line for them both?

I'm so disappointed with this book. I love Sophie McKenzie's work and have read every book she has put out there but this book was just really frustrating. I have enjoyed this series but I felt after Catching Stars it was going downhill. However, I hate leaving series unfinished and I thought that maybe the author would surprise me and turn my feelings around.

My Opinion

For most part the book was good. I liked the darker side of their lives and how River and Flynn kept being drawn to each other. However, that was all blown out of the water by the ending and rendered totally pointless. For me there was no logical reason behind what happened, except the author couldn't find a way to get her characters out of the web of problems she had spun, and it was disappointing. I don't read romances to feel like this when I get to the end of a series; they're not meant to end with me throwing my book across the room in annoyance.

For me the most important part of the final book in a series is the ending and this just didn't deliver, so it makes me dislike the whole book as there is no hope of getting what you want from the characters.

I'm not going to say any more because I don't want not going to give away spoilers as it's the final book, but I feel let down, especially as I love this author.


Tuesday, 25 February 2014

ARC Review ~ Say It With Sequins: The Waltz by Georgia Hill

Say It With Sequins: The WaltzeARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 13th March 2014

Publisher: HarperImpulse

Description:
For fans of reality dance shows, this series is strictly irresistible!
Slip on some dance shoes and step up to love!

Who Dares Dances is a reality TV show with a difference. Not only do the contestants have to learn to dance, they also face a series of bizarre tasks.

Best-selling children’s writer, Lucy Everett, signs up as a personal challenge – can she battle her phobias and dance in front of millions of viewers?

When she meets fellow competitor, the seriously sexy but reserved Olympic swimmer Max Parry, she finds in him her very own Prince Charming.

But Max seems content to just be friends. Will Lucy ever get her longed for fairy tale ending?

Find out by waltzing into this dreamily romantic second novella in the Say it with Sequins series.

My Opinion

After enjoying the first book in the series (The Rumba), I thought I'd give Say It With Sequins: The Waltz a go. I loved the colours on the cover and the whole design but there also appeared to be more going on than in the first book from what I gathered from the description. 

Say It With Sequins: The Waltz was a slow developer for me though. The start was enjoyable but I felt it was a bit too close to the first book. However saying that it did get better with every chapter and I was hooked after the halfway mark. The writing moves at a fast-pace which helps as well as you are never stuck in one scene long. I was flicking through pages quickly and had finished this book within the hour.

In general Say It With Sequins: The Waltz is a feel-good read whereby parts made me smile. There were also sections where I really did feel for the characters (especially towards the end) but I liked how the author still managed to keep the book lighthearted and fun--which keeps with the theme of Strictly Come Dancing.

I think I liked the characters more in this novella than the last. I felt I could connect with them better and relate to their problems. I also liked how the author toned down the cast list and brought people back. This helped me follow the story easily as one of the issues I had last time was there were too many people to keep track of. I was glad that the story focused on Lucy and Max rather than bring in other dancers and I loved that Daniel was brought back--he was so sweet and just a lovable character.

I still wish there was more development on the actual dancing as these books do just focus on the behind-the-scenes aspects. I would like to get a full description of at least one dance (maybe the one in the title) per book as at the moment the structure is: practice, fear, advice, it's over. It just leaves me wanting more when you get that.

Saying that, the behind-the-scenes do allow for a good development of the romance. I would have liked for it to maybe start a little sooner than it did as it ended rather abruptly but it was a good romance nonetheless. I think I preferred the romance in the first book because it was steamier but the characterisation in this book as you got to know them on a deeper level and I was able to connect with them more. I did find Max and Lucy more likable than Julie and Harri.

Overall Say It With Sequins: The Waltz, was a good, quick read that was enjoyable. It caught my attention and definitely got better the more I read into it. A great way to relax after a busy day.

3.5




Sunday, 23 February 2014

Book Spotlights ~ Ellie Campbell

To Catch a Creeper

Release Date: 24th March 2014

Description:
Cathy is riding high in her brand-new job at a (surprisingly bitchy) top London advertising agency working with best friend Rosa. But when Rosa’s pregnancy goes amiss and enemies sabotage her new career, she finds herself leading a chaotic double life of lies and deception, hiding a shameful secret from all, especially husband Declan who appears in the throes of a nervous breakdown. 

Meanwhile she’s agreed to unmask the notorious Crouch End Creeper, a burglar terrorizing their neighbourhood. Little does she know that her meddling, assisted by fellow mothers (the Wednesday Once Weeklies) and the Neighbourhood Watch, will lead their dangerous opponent to murder. And that it's not only the tall elegant transvestite who is placing herself at risk...

Pre-order: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

Excerpt

Chapter 1

‘It must have been horrendously frightening, Cathy,’ Holly Willoughby’s sparkling white teeth are shining directly into my eyes causing me to spontaneously blink, ‘finding yourself stalked and then almost strangled to death.’
‘Oh yes,’ I nod and refill my water glass. ‘Terrifying.’
Although, I squirm as three huge cameras circle closer like a cackle of hyenas moving in for the kill, nowhere near as terrifying as being on live TV. All through the interview I keep getting these uncanny impulses to indulge in a touch of Tourette’s, spouting obscenities while intermittently flashing a nipple.
‘And then not only did you capture the culprit but you managed to turn the situation round and through it launched the most talked about advertising campaign this decade.’
‘Not just me...’ I grin bashfully as Camera One’s red light gives a little wink in my direction.
‘So as a woman who’s spent the last eight years as a mother and housewife,’ Holly continues brightly, ‘how are you finding it being back out in the workplace?’
How am I finding it? Fantastic. Sodding-bloody-fantastic, I want to reply but for some reason, ever since the camera did that little wink, my throat simply refuses to co-operate.
‘It’s a...a...’ I cough and reach for the water, ‘case of...’
‘And balancing this brand new exciting career with taking care of two primary-school age children?’ prompts her co-presenter nicely. ‘You must be very organised...’
‘Well, Joseph... I mean Jason... I mean...’
And that’s it. My mouth freezes while I rifle through my memory bank trying to recall his name. Jason or Joseph... But no, it can’t be either. Joseph was the biblical character that this guy portrayed at a West End theatre and Jason...he was the ex-Neighbours actor who also played Joseph as well as dating Kylie Minogue and picking David Guest’s nose on some reality show. So this guy, the one sitting in front of me, all mike-ed up, awaiting an answer while millions look on... God, who is he? Sweat pools under the armpits of my new Vivienne Westwood polka-dot dress with the waist-cinching corset as I scan and rescan his grey speckled hair and cute baby face. ‘The thing is...’
A reassuring hand rests on my arm. For the fifth time this morning, Rosa steps in to save me.
‘Oh she is, Phillip,’ she laughs lightly. ‘Super-organised, that’s our Cath. Packed lunches prepared night before. Uniforms folded neatly on chairs. Dishwasher and washing machine fully loaded. Plants watered. Fish fed. Wonderwoman has nothing on her.’
She slaps me on the back, just as I take another gulp of water. Instead of drowning the giant South American toad now living in my larynx, a fountain shoots out from my mouth and nose.
Holly smiles once more as she smoothly links back to the weather, before the cameras wheel away, allowing her to dab at her water-spotted jacket and mercifully ending the second most scary moment of my entire life.


Looking for La LaLooking For La La

Release Date: 15th March 2013

Description:
In a recent survey 65% of mothers admitted feeling undervalued, over-criticised and constantly tired.

Cathy is no exception. Her dull, uneventful days as a stay at home, mother of two, are radically transformed however with the arrival of a heavily lipsticked postcard addressed to husband, Declan. Who is the mysterious La La? Could Declan really be having an affair? And is Cathy actually being stalked?

Whatever – it will definitely prove riveting gossip for the Tuesday Twice Monthlies, Cathy’s 'Mothers Restaurant Research’ group where scandal flows as recklessly as the wine. But what starts as a light-hearted investigation with best friend Raz, soon turns into something much more sinister.

With a possible murderer on the scene, a sexy admirer igniting long-forgotten sparks, and all her friends hiding secrets, it’s not only Cathy’s marriage that’s in jeopardy. Add in the scheming antics of Declan’s new assistant, the stress of organising the school Save The Toilet’s dance and the stage is set for a dangerous showdown and some very unsettling, possibly deadly, revelations.

BUY: Amazon

About the Authors

Ellie Campbell is a pseudonym for sisters, Pam Burks and Lorraine Campbell who collaborate across the mighty Atlantic from their respective homes in Surrey, England and Colorado, USA,
finding writing together a great excuse for endless phone conversations. Together they have
written four novels How To Survive Your Sisters, When Good Friends Go Bad, Looking for La La and To Catch a Creeper. They love any chance to connect with their readers.

Ellie Campbell is represented by the Hardman & Swainson Literary Agency (www.hardmanswainson.com). For further information and to get in contact with them please visit their website: www.chicklitsisters.com.

Friday, 21 February 2014

ARC Review ~ Her Best Laid Plans by Eve Devon

Her Best Laid PlanseARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 27th February 2014

Publisher: Harper Impulse

Description:

Love is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans…
The Totally Perfect Life Plan of Amanda Gray

Step 1 – Take total control of own destiny and avoid getting too wrapped up in the details.

Step 2 – Definitely do NOT kiss gorgeous bad-boy businessman who doesn’t know how to live life without scheduling it six months in advance, even if he is absolutely irresistible.

Step 3 – Don’t even THINK of accompanying him to London as his PA to enjoy steamy encounters in a metropolitan paradise.

Step 4 – Absolutely, positively, whatever you do- do NOT fall in love with him…

My Opinion

This sounded like another fun, flirty read from Harper Impulse so I instantly downloaded it from NetGalley. It is another one of their books that I started much too late in the evening and then was disappointed I had to stop reading because my eyes would no longer make the words readable at 4am.

The start had me hooked and the dynamics of Jared and Amanda's relationship were intriguing. It set everything up well and I wanted to know how things were going to play out between them. It also left a few unanswered questions that were slowly revealed throughout the book. I liked that the author concealed Jared's past up until the end; she mentions his feelings towards it but gives no clues as to what he did to make him feel that way. It created a slight mystery and kept me reading as I wanted to know his secrets.

As well as this the characterisation in Her Best Laid Plans was good. I liked how Amanda started off as a person who went with the flow, didn't have a life plan and put others first to stop herself focusing on one and then Jared was the opposite. As a successful businessman he had plans for everything and unwavering focus. I felt that they balanced each other well and from the opposite personalities allowed each other to grow and change believably because of the amount of time they spent together. 

The romance that emerges between them was fun and engaging. It keeps you turning pages and I liked the more flirty side of things as they teased eachother--especially after the boardroom incident (you'll have to read it to find out what happens). It was a fun romance to read about, that made me smile on more than one occasion. 

The only thing I can criticize this book for is that I felt the ending--although nice--seemed a bit abrupt. The author had done a good job with time scales throughout the book but I felt towards the end they just disappeared altogether and rather develop scenes, like the wedding, they were glanced over and for me they could have had a bit more relevance and a bit of a bigger part in terms of emotional development for the characters so the final chapter wasn't so "well that was a fast change of heart" effect.

Overall, Her Best Laid Plans was a good romance. It made me smile, kept me engaged and I liked the concept of planning and living in the moment. 


Read more about this book by clicking the image below!

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Wednesday, 19 February 2014

ARC Review ~ Secret Crush of a Chalet Girl by Lorraine Wilson

Secret Crush of a Chalet Girl packshoteARC received from the author in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 27th February 2014

Publisher: Harper Impulse

Description:

Secret Crush of a Chalet Girl’ is thelatest installment in the ‘Chalet Girl’ series, set in the exclusive Swiss ski resort of Verbier, the winter playground of the rich and famous.

Chalet Girl Sophie Trent has plenty of reasons to hate Valentine's Day. After a lifetime of being treated like she didn’t matter because of her looks, she’s shed the pounds but not the self-esteem issues – and when she can curl up with one of her beloved romance novels, why put herself through a night of awkward speed ski dating?

A treasure hunt set by a secret admirer makes her reconsider. Only, what if it’s a cruel joke? Because it certainly wouldn’t be the first time!

But as Sophie follows the trail of red paper hearts around the idyllic winter wonderland of Verbier, she can’t help but wonder whether there really might be a Secret Valentine waiting for her out there on the slopes...


My Opinion

I only received this book a few hours ago--literally--but I couldn't wait to start it. I needed a break from what I've been focusing on for the past few days and Secret Crush of a Chalet Girl was the perfect escape. If you haven't figured it out from my last three reviews of the books in this series, I'm a big fan of it so obviously I couldn't wait to get my hands on this installment and therefore couldn't wait to start it.

Secret Crush of a Chalet Girl has everything I've come to love from this author in the previous books but it had one extra thing that hasn't been present before...it almost moved me to tear. Yep, my eyes were tearing up and although that may be partly due to the mood I'm in, I definitely found Secret Crush of a Chalet Girl to be more moving due to Sophie's back story. There was one heart-wrenching moment where Sophie confesses everything and I just felt for her completely and I could feel my emotions swelling with her. Lorraine definitely did an excellent job of creating a believable an likable character that you vouched for wholeheartedly.

As well as this, I loved the treasure hunt aspect. Although the set up as to who was behind it was a little predictable (not sure if that was intentional), I'm still a hopeless romantic so I didn't care. I thought it was unique as it isn't something I've seen before in books and it's now given me another unrealistic expectation of guys. I want a treasure hunt too! ;-) 

Once again, Lorraine packs a lot into the 82 pages and the pacing is kept throughout the entire novella so it keeps you turning pages until you forget the time. The only thing I can really say was that I wanted the ending to be developed slightly more. It ends well, with everything resolved, no questions and a feel good aspect but I think I would have liked to read about what Holly reveals rather than just hear her state it. That's probably the hopeless romantic in me coming out again though. 

Overall, I still stand by the statement I've made in my previous reviews: these are some of the best winter novellas I've read in a while and ones you won't want to miss. They take you through a whirlwind of emotions, keep you engaged, are full of characters you can relate to and above all are feel-good romances that are fun, sexy and sweet. I would highly recommend!


You can also read an excerpt of Confessions of a Chalet Girl by clicking on the picture below!

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Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Book Spotlight & Giveaway ~ Fishing for Light by Nathaniel Sewell

Fishing for LightFishing for Light

Release Date: 1st October 2013

Publisher: Bobby's Socks Publishing

Description:
A story about Eddie, a twenty-something, he is lost in life, and lacks the light behind his eyes, but when Professor Quan realized the government used his genetic starter to create Ms. Prosperina, he devoted his life to eradicating her by spreading the universal bond within humanity’s genetic code, pure love, and Eddie's life suddenly mattered.

Decades earlier, Professor Quan unlocked the genetic code; he discovered how to fight his cataclysmic mistake, Ms. Prosperina. After he saw a shooting star, he randomly targeted a baby named Edward, altering his DNA with an intermixed cellular powder.

Twenty-three years later, somewhere along Eddie’s life journey, he had lost the light behind his eyes. But when a secret IRS unit was nearby monitoring Eddie and his bumbling childhood friend’s conversation about peddling unique autographed material on WePay, they arrested Eddie’s friend for tax evasion.

In reality, the IRS was on a gestapo like mission to track down anyone trading living organic material that might lead them to Professor Quan and his laboratory where he hid the real Hope Diamond.

Professor Quan must solve the genetic riddle that swerved Eddie away from his destiny to fight pure evil.


BUY:

About the Author
Nathaniel Sewell (1965 - currently above the clover) was born in Lexington, Kentucky. His first novel was, Bobby's Socks. It was not a particularly happy story, but he hopes Fishing for Light might entice a smile.


Giveaway
*I am not responsible for this giveaway in anyway, just hosting it on the blog for the author. Prizes are not distributed by me.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, 14 February 2014

Review ~ Edna in the Desert by Maddy Lederman

Edna in the DesertPaperback received from the author in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 9th September 2013

Publisher: eLectio Publishing

Description:
Edna is a precocious troublemaker wreaking havoc at her Beverly Hills school. Her therapist advocates medication, but her parents come up with an alternative cure: Edna will spend the summer in the desert with her grandparents. Their remote cabin is cut off from cell phone service, Internet and television. Edna’s determined to rebel until she meets an older local boy and falls in love for the first time. How can she get to know him from the edge of nowhere?


My Opinion
When I was asked to review this book the author told me it was YA. It sounded like a fun, easy and interesting read and the zero technology aspect interested me as I thought it was going to be more about the relationship and Edna developing. However having finished 
Edna in the Desert, I can say that I was shocked to find the main character (Edna) was only 13 and that this book is definitely more middle grade than YA.

For me the overall concept was good and I liked the idea, however there are a few issues that have torn my opinion. You see, I'm not a fan of books with characters under the age of 16, especially if they involve romance as I just can't connect with the characters as they're either too juvenile or over mature. This was one of the main things that I struggled with when reading Edna in the Desert as I felt Edna would have been better placed around 16. I just felt 13 was just too young and not relateable for a young adult audience, especially with the way she acted at times.


Her age also led to problems with the relationship aspect. Johnny was 17 and although the age gap isn't that big, I just found it strange. I could understand Edna's feelings for him as a crush and I thought that was crafted and developed well to make it believable. However, for it to be reciprocated, for me, was just weird and it felt awkward to read. I'm not saying that kind I thing doesn't happen, and Johnny ended it before things got out of control, but personally I'm not a fan of it in books as the relationship isn't mature/deep enough or it's over before it starts. 

The other thing I struggled with in this book is that it's very dense. I like books that have a lot of speech to move the pace along quickly and although 
Edna in the Desert moves along very quickly as the chapters are short, I found the pages of paragraphs and rare speech a little tough to concentrate on for a long time. There was just too much narration for me. I could understand that there wasn't much for Edna to do in there desert and that there weren't many people but I would have liked more conversations with those that were around and for them to be developed more. Generally they were only a few sentences before long chunks of dense text appeared again. 

However, saying that, I did like was Edna's growth. Her development throughout her stay was written well and she changed steadily. It was a gradual process and I liked that things with her Grandparents ended well--even if I would have liked more details on her Grandpa's history. I thought Edna matured well but like I said previously I think she would have been better placed around the 16 year old mark (unless the author changes the blurb so people know).

Overall, 
Edna in the Desert was a quick easy read. Although I had some problems with it--which I think was mostly down to the description not giving much away and the ages coming as a shock--there was something about it that kept me reading. I wanted to see how everything turned out for her in the end. If you like middle grade fiction this may be for you.


Thursday, 13 February 2014

Review ~ The Last Lord of the Moors by Isabella Brooke

The Last Lord of the MoorsPaperback received from the author in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 29th December 2013

Publisher: Self-published

Description:
In the twenty-first century, who needs Lords anymore? Richard, Lord of the Manor of Arkthwaite, lives alone in his crumbling house, resenting his hereditary position. He’s hoping to drink himself to an early grave and bring the title to an end. His bleak plans are upset when newcomer Helena decides to shake up this fading community. She’s been jilted and she needs a new project, so she joins forces with local headmistress Vicky and together they hatch a plan to bring broadband to this remote spot. Their lives clash with Richard’s as the cable needs to be dug across his land. But when Richard falls for Helena, it gets more complicated. She’s suspicious of men and their compliments; and he has his own reasons for wanting to stay single. Can they both shake off their histories to bring a better future to the village - and their own lives? Contains: romance, community regeneration, pagans, over-the-top mothers, British humour, rain.

My Opinion

The Last Lord of the Moors interested me for two reasons. The first was because I was intrigued to see how the author tied in the concept of Lords into a modern-day romance. The second was because there was also the promise of humour and I love chick-lit that makes you smile. So, there wasn't really much of a question about what to do when I got a request to read this book.

The Last Lord of the Moors was a simple and easy read that was a great book to switch off with in the evenings to just relax. It made me smile on more than one occasion so I definitely wasn't disappointed with the humour and I liked how that lightheartedness was carried throughout the novel rather than just coming in bursts. I felt that the author did a good job with the characterisation to keep the banter between all characters no mater who they were with.

Another thing I liked was how the relationship developed slowly and wasn't without its issues. Richard was an interesting character and I liked his rule of living up to gossip--that made me laugh. It was also a good contrast to his real personality and the problems he faces with his life and family. Helena challenged him to be better and he challenged her views, the characters worked well together creating a seamless romance that flowed nicely. The third person narrative which switches between character gave a good overview of feelings, thoughts and helped too keep things moving at a good pace.

If there is one thing I would say about this book that I didn't like, it was that the chapters were a bit too long. I'm the type of person who won't stop midway through a chapter so I prefer short and plenty rather than fewer but longer. For me 30 pages (on average) is slightly too long, especially at the start when you're learning about everyone. However, by the end, I did find them easier to get through as I was engaged with the characters.

Overall The Last Lord of the Moors was a good, easy read that kept a smile on my face, kept me reading and kept me engaged. It's believable and realistic and I enjoyed it more than I expected.


Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Book Spotlight & Excerpt ~ Till Death and Beyond (Witch World book 1) by Lyn C. Johanson

Till Death and Beyond (Witch World book 1)Till Death and Beyond

Genre: Paranormal Romance

ASIN: B00HBGWT4G

Description:
Till Death and Beyond is a sizzling tale of two souls bound by destiny in a cruel plot to separate them forever...

A COLD BEAUTY WHO KNOWS DEATH INTIMATELY...

Amira is the strongest witch on the face of the earth, with psychic abilities no others possess. And yet, she is but a slave to the whims of the gods. Forced to be born anew every time she fails in fulfilling an ancient prophecy, Amira is desperate to break the vicious cycle.

A TORMENTED WARRIOR WHO HAS LOST EVERYTHING...

Plagued by the memories and guilt over his family’s demise, Raven lives for the sole reason of restoring his younger brother. And kidnapping a witch is only the beginning—for he intends to right the wrongs of his past by any means necessary.

A DESTINY TO CHANGE THE WORLD...

While the gods might have planned for her to be captured, surrender is not something that comes easy to Amira. Yet one glance into her captor’s eyes, and she is swept away by emotions long ago denied to her. She decides to play along. For a while.

Despite the hatred Raven harbors for their kind, he is intrigued by the witch. One taste of her lips, and she becomes his obsession. Soon, he discovers that fighting against the passion they ignite in one another is futile. But as they strip each other’s secrets, a powerful force threatens to destroy them both.

For in this game of gods nothing is simple—the whole universe seems to conspire against them. And no matter how fiercely they fight, or what they are willing to endure to save each other ... the path they travel is paved with loss.

Will they survive the ultimate test, if even their determination—to fight till death—might not be enough?

For Valentine's week only Till Death and Beyond is on a countdown sale so get it while the price is lowered! 


Excerpt

“Burt!” Amira heard Raven yell the moment he saw what she was looking at. “Women and children. Inside. Now!” His hand unsheathed the sword. “Jim! Willy! Take a few men and guard the door. Robin…” he continued issuing orders as the advancing enemy warriors were practically at their doorstep.

“You—” he looked at her.

“Staying,” she announced. Amira wanted a piece of those bastards too. For Brea, for Sofie, for all the nameless girls who had suffered at their hands. She wanted blood, and she wanted it now!

The rage she thought she’d buried came alive with a vengeance. It flared inside her, intertwined with hatred and anger. Her emotions churned, flooding her senses—with a force so powerful, a storm descended upon them all.

Dark clouds obliterated light, replacing the glorious summer weather with a brewing maelstrom swirling above their heads. The far horizons vanished. The winds rose and howled, catching her flimsy strapless gown, causing the purple, silky fabric to flutter in the air.

“Amira!” Raven’s voice rang louder than the bellowing thunders, his expression all but promising to throw her over his shoulder and carry her inside if she didn’t listen.

She shook her head. If he thought for one second she would lock herself away like some coward… The thread of her thoughts snapped when Raven’s palm wrapped around the nape of her neck. He pulled her closer until their bodies met, and looking directly into her eyes, whispered, “Stay alive.”

“Same goes for you,” Amira breathed, conscious of their hearts beating with the same wild tempo. Conscious of the plea in his hoarse voice.

Theirs was a brief, stolen moment in the midst of a tempest. A fleeting touch that lasted a thousand lifetimes in Amira’s heart, and yet ended way too quick. There was no more time.

Her gaze was drawn away by a black sea of enemy streaming through the iron gates, in waves of raised swords.

Lyn C. JohansonAbout the Author

Writing got Lyn through every hurdle and hardship life has dealt her. At first, she shared her feelings with her diary. Then, she poured her soul into her poems. But despite the hidden passion, she chose a career in the logical world of software engineering.

The long and boring hours of writing her master’s thesis encouraged Lyn to open a new blank page and let her imagination take flight. Several years later, her first romance novel was born.

Switching career paths has turned her life upside down. Now, she doesn’t just live with her husband and sons, she constantly visits the world she dreams up. The world, she invites you to explore.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Review ~ The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sightebook received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: January 2nd 2012

Publisher: Little Brown

Description:
Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. Having missed her flight, she's stuck at JFK airport and late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon-to-be stepmother Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's sitting in her row.

A long night on the plane passes in the blink of an eye, and Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other in the airport chaos upon arrival. Can fate intervene to bring them together once more?

Quirks of timing play out in this romantic and cinematic novel about family connections, second chances, and first loves. Set over a twenty-four-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.

My Opinion

I've seen this book around a few times but the description never really caught my interest enough to buy it. However, lately I've been in a romancey mood and have been downloading more novels with that theme so when I got an email from NetGalley stating the first 500 people got this book as a 'read now', I logged in instantly. It was enough to away my judgement as although many people don't like instant love, I love it. Yeah I'm a hopeless romantic at heart...sue me.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight was summed up in the description pretty well. It's a great quick read that I started way too late in the evening and then kept me up until the early hours of the morning. I didn't want to stop and it didn't help that the chapters were short and fast-paced. One thing I really liked about The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight was that the author set it over twenty-four hours. I've never seen this done in a book that wasn't a novella and I found that it gave you a lot of detail about everything that happened in the period without becoming confusing in terms of time-scale. It also allowed the sense of drama and urgency that came across well in the authors style.

I thought the scenes on the plane were sweet and they had me smiling as I read them. I liked the easy flow of conversation between Oliver and Hadley as it seemed natural and not forced. I also liked how the author didn't through the insta-love on your face. It was obvious what would happen but she focused on the getting-to-know-each other side of things rather than the omg-he's-so-hot-I-love-him.

If there's one thing I wasn't so keen on in this books it was how Hadley's relationship with her dad changed so quickly. I liked her emotions to begin with and everything felt real as she left America. However towards the middle and end she jumped from one thing to another and for me it didn't feel very authentic. Besides that, the British speech became a bit annoying with the stereotypes but I will admit this author pulled it off better than most I have seen in a while.

Overall The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is a quick, easy read that I found hard to put down. It was easy to connect with, follow and relate to an I will definitely be checking out this authors new book coming out in April.



Sunday, 9 February 2014

Guest Post ~ J. Aleksandr Wootton

J. Aleksandr WoottonJ. Aleksandr Wootton ~ Author of Her Unwelcome Inheritance 

J. Aleksandr Wootton is the author of the Fayborn fantasy novel series (Her Unwelcome Inheritance, The Eighth Square, and the forthcoming A First or Final Mischief), which have been described as “A modern Alice in Wonderland with a touch of Narnia.” You can find out more at his website, www.jackwootton.com. His books are internationally available in digital and paperback formats from most major online bookstores.


Guest Post

Many of us have, I think, been among the blessed.

It happens when you are walking slowly through the woods or a downtown district full of little shops, or driving in the country or in the mountains:

You see, from a peculiar angle –

– a stile into a field, the path bend around a significant rock or tree, a barely-open doorway, a cleft in the rock –

– and you know that you are looking into Otherness. At a revelation of something that is truly true, but beyond our world.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Review ~ Dark Souls (Dark Souls #1) by Ketley Allison


Dark Souls (Dark Souls, #1)
ebook received from the author in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: September 29th 2013

Genre:
Urban Fantasy/Paranormal


Description:
19-year-old Emily desperately wants a name for what she is. For what is consuming and torturing her. For what is changing her. 

But she’s not crazy like her mother. She’s not. 

Emily may not be as crazy as she thinks, because her body is no longer her own. Something is stirring inside her. It is soft, seductive, and tells her what to do to survive. As Emily learns that her world has been infected by demons that consume human souls and fit seamlessly into the bodies they empty, she must also accept that she is one of them. Yet, she is different from the rest, because her darkness didn’t inhabit her, it was awakened. 

And Emily must choose a side.

My Opinion

OK, so I will admit this book has taken me a long time to read - like a few months- as certain things have got in the way and I had to put it to one side for a while. However I have finally been able to finish it over the last two days.

When the author contacted me about reviewing this book I was intrigued as she told me it was a NA paranormal novel. As most NA around right now include romance, it caught my interest. I'm also a big fan of darker novels and this is what Dark Souls seemed to promise with both the blurb and the title. It was definitely at the darker end of the paranormal scale but now that I have read it, I would say it would better classed as a book aimed at the upper YA market.

The start of this book intrigued me. It built up questions nicely that developed the suspense and tension about who and what everyone was. It also created a good relationship between Emily and Macy. I liked their friendship and I could relate to Emily's situation when being dragged out by friends. It was believable and set the book up well. 

I read the first 30% with no problems at all and I found myself wanting to read on. However, after that I felt the book didn't hook me as well and, unlike other books, I know exactly why: the secrets were left hanging too long. Most of the problems I had with this book stemmed from that reason as rather than receive answers to move the story on quicker, I felt things dragged a little and I just grew to dislike Emily. For me she didn't do enough to find anything out for herself and I just couldn't sympathise with her in any way as she fought a the battle with her demon. I found her to be too isolated and shut off which, for me, created a cold character that you don't want to vouch for.

Saying that Dark Souls did pick up again but it wasn't until the 80% mark did I find myself wanting to read more. Once Emily found out what she was everything started to become better as there was another element to the story than just "what am I?" However, once Emily's character is revealed, everything else became kind of obvious as to who Asher and Gwyn were and what was going to happen. 

Personally, I would have liked the reveal to come earlier and then learn about Emily's demon side even more as things like the powers were a little underdeveloped. I feel that if this had happened then there would have been more depth to the book and allowed for a more climatic ending.

Overall though, although Dark Souls didn't connect with me, paranormal fans might enjoy this, especially if you're into darker fiction. The relationships are believable, the start is tense and I liked the different take on demons that aren't related to Hell. I thought the way the author portrayed them was interesting. Dark Souls shows the potential this author has but I feel the structure and pacing of the book needs a bit of work to develop certain aspects and add more depth so it can be a great read.


Thursday, 6 February 2014

Guest Post ~ Michelle Graves

Michelle  GravesMichelle Graves ~ Author of The Chronicles of Izzy

Michelle Graves is a self-proclaimed nomad, moving every two to three years with her husband the Army man, her beautiful daughter, and a fat tailless cat named Torri. When she is not writing away trying to purge her mind of yapping characters she can be found entertaining her daughter, attempting to craft (whilst trying not to injure herself with the glue gun), baking yummy treats, or reading. She admits to having a restless spirit and forces her family to go out on adventures whenever possible. They lovingly play along. 

Find out more on her Facebook Page , Twitter, Goodreads or on her Blog.


You can find her books on Amazon


Guest Post

Am I going crazy?
About three years ago I seriously considered having myself committed and it was all because of Izzy. She showed up in my head one day, demanding that I listen to her story. I tried to ignore her, really I did. I mean, who listens to the voices in their head? Unfortunately, Izzy would not be refused.

After two years of ignoring her, repressing her voice, and going out of my way to avoid being in quiet rooms I couldn't deny it any longer. I had to get her out of my head, and so my journey as a writer began.

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