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Five Weeks release day blitz

29 Jul 2014





 
Synopsis
 
Izzy has always loved the freedom and adventure of life on the road, but she’s recently decided to settle down—as much as a rogue wolf can. When her boyfriend gets her a job working at a hot Shifter bar, she runs into the last person on earth she expected to see again.

Jericho isn't the famous rock star he once was, though he still plays in a local band and loves to party. Beautiful women come and go, but music is his only passion—until a sassy redhead named Isabelle Monroe shows up unexpectedly.

Fate reunites two former friends living with one foot in the present and the other in the past. But will they have a future when one of them is forced to choose between life and death? Old habits die hard, and sometimes the toughest addictions to shake are the ones that control our hearts.




Available for purchase at 

      


Excerpt

Bookish Treasures Recommends - UKYA

28 Jul 2014
Being based in the UK I get to see and read a lot of great books written by UK authors (and often set in the UK also). If you also live in the UK and want to support home-grown authors or are an international reader wanting a little variety, below are some of my favourite UKYA novels.

The Elites by Natasha Ngan



Synopsis

‘There is a rumour that the Elites don’t bleed.’

Hundreds of years into the future, wars, riots, resource crises and rising sea-levels have destroyed the old civilisations. Only one city has survived: Neo-Babel, a city full of cultures – and racial tension.

Fifteen-year-old Silver is an Elite, a citizen of Neo-Babel chosen to guard the city due to her superior DNA. She’d never dream of leaving – but then she fails to prevent the assassination of Neo Babel’s president, setting off a chain of events more shocking and devastating than she could ever have imagined. Forced to flee the city with her best friend Butterfly (a boy with genetically-enhanced wings), Silver will have to fight to find her family, uncover the truth about Neo-Babel and come to terms with her complicated feelings for Butterfly.

Packed full of adventure, romance, exoticism and the power of friendship, The Elites is a highly compelling and beautifully written novel from a supremely talented debut author.


Thoughts

Not only does The Elites have one of the most beautiful covers ever created, it also has equally beautiful and evocative writing. Throw in an intriguiging, high-tension plot line and some sweet romance and you have a winner. This was one of my favourite reads of 2013 and one of my favourite ever dystopian novels. Check out my review here!

Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK

Glaze by Kim Curran



Synopsis

Petri Quinn is counting down the days till she turns 16 and can get on GLAZE – the ultimate social network that is bringing the whole world together into one global family. But when a peaceful government protest turns into a full-blown riot with Petri shouldering the blame, she’s handed a ban. Her life is over before it’s even started.

Desperate to be a part of the hooked-up society, Petri finds an underground hacker group and gets a black market chip fitted. But this chip has a problem: it has no filter and no off switch. Petri can see everything happening on GLAZE, all the time. Including things she was never meant to see.

As her life is plunged into danger, Petri is faced with a choice. Join GLAZE… or destroy it.


Thoughts

I'm not sure how to describe the genre of Glaze, it isn't quite dystopia as it is set quite close to current time and is more the start of a dystopic society. Whatever it is, Glaze is a damn good book. It is action packed from start to finish and Petri is a character you can't help but root for.

I was supposed to review this book a while ago but had a bad health week and then exams. Expect to see a full review later this summer!

Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK

Flirty Dancing by Jenny McLachlan



Synopsis

Bea Hogg is shy but fiery inside. When national dance competition Starwars comes to her school looking for talent, she wants to sign up. It's just a shame her best friend agreed to enter with school super-cow Pearl Harris. Bea will fight back! But when school hottie, Ollie Matthews, who also happens to be Pearl’s boyfriend, decides to enter the competition with Bea, she will have more than a fight on her hands.

This warm, nuanced, hilarious story about friendship, fortitude . . . and dancing is impossible not to fall in love with. Jenny’s voice is fresh and convincing, and she handles both darker and lighter elements of the story with equal panache.


Thoughts

This is a super cute and fun contemporary read. Bea is a relatable, lovable character and the story has JIVE DANCING. I couldn't stop giggling throughout this book and it is such a refreshing read that is perfect for summer. Check out my review here!

Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK

Acid by Emma Pass



Synopsis

The year is 2113. In Jenna Strong's world, ACID—the most brutal controlling police force in history—rule supreme. No throwaway comment or whispered dissent goes unnoticed—or unpunished. And it was ACID agents who locked Jenna away for life, for a horrendous crime she struggles to remember. But Jenna's violent prison time has taught her how to survive by any means necessary.

When a mysterious rebel group breaks her out, she must use her strength, speed, and skill to stay one step ahead of ACID, and try to uncover the truth about what really happened on that terrible night two years ago. They have taken her life, her freedom, and her true memories away from her. How can she reclaim anything when she doesn't know who to trust?

Strong, gritty writing, irresistible psychological suspense, and action consume the novel as Jenna struggles to survive against the all-controlling ACID. Seriously sinister stuff.


Thoughts

Yet another tremendously beautiful cover that is also for an excellent dystopian novel. The world of Acid is the home of one of my favourite female characters - the incredibly kick-ass but at times vulnerable Jenna Strong. This book is set in a futuristic England ruled by a controlling police force that is terrifyingly imaginable.

Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK

Blood Red Road by Moira Young



*The cover has changed now to something more typical but I have a soft spot for this interesting original*

Synopsis

Saba lives in Silverlake, a wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms where her family scavenge from landfills left by the long-gone Wrecker civilization. After four cloaked horsemen kidnap her beloved twin brother Lugh, she teams up with daredevil Jack and the Free Hawks, a girl gang of Revolutionaries.

Saba learns that she is a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Saba and her new friends stage a showdown that change the course of her civilization.

Thoughts

This book is not set in the UK nor is the author originally from the UK but she does live here now which means we can claim this book! This is another fantastic dystopia with a well developed world and a fantastic MC. One of my favourite things about this book is the way it is written - there are no quotation marks and it is written the exact way the characters speak which helps to bring them to life. Though I know some people struggled with the writing, it made the book for me.

Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK

Goddess by Laura Powell



Synopsis

Strikes. Starvation. Riots. Britain is at breaking-point and Aura is blind to it all. The Cult of Artemis is the only home she’s ever known. Enclosed in its luxury lifestyle, the unrest gripping the country seems to belong to a distant world. Her dream is to serve the Goddess and taking a vow of chastity and obedience seems a small price to pay. But days before Aura is due to be initiated as a Priestess, she meets Aiden, the rebellious son of a cult insider, whose radical ideas and unsettling charm force Aura to question everything – and everyone – she knows.

Thoughts

This is a dystopia-esque book with an interesting mystical twist. Goddess is kind of in its own unique genre but it is definitely worth a read whatever your YA preference as it has something for everyone. I will hopefully have a review up for this soon so keep your eyes peeled.

Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon

Looking For JJ



Synopsis

Three children walked away from the cottages on the edge of town toward Berwick Waters. Later that day, only two of them came back. Alice Tully knows exactly what happened that spring day six years ago, though it’s still hard for her to believe it. She’ll never be able to forget, even though she’s trying to lead a normal life—she has a job, friends, and a boyfriend whom she adores. But Alice’s past is dangerous, and violent, and sad... and it’s about to rip her new life apart.

A gripping and emotionally searing novel by accomplished British author Anne Cassidy, Looking for JJ infuses a terrifying subject with humanity and hope.


Thoughts

I love this book because it is so unique. It deals with a topic that not many people would dare to go and it does so in such a great way. In Looking For JJ we have characters that have done terrible things and whilst I do not agree with their actions (and doubt anyone will) Anne Cassidy makes you understand their motivations so well that it impossible to judge them for what they have done. If you want a book with an MC who is a far cry from the traditional "perfect" girl then this is the book for you. Also incredible is the follow up novel Finding Jennifer Jones.

Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK

Riot by Sarah Mussi


Synopsis

It is 2018. England has been struggling under a recession that has shown no sign of abating. Years of cuts has devastated Britain: banks are going under, businesses closing, prices soaring, unemployment rising, prisons overflowing. The authorities cannot cope. And the population has maxed out.

The police are snowed under. Something has to give. Drastic measures need taking.

The solution: forced sterilisation of all school leavers without secure further education plans or guaranteed employment.

The country is aghast. Families are distraught, teenagers are in revolt, but the politicians are unshakeable: The population explosion must be curbed. No more free housing for single parents, no more child benefit, no more free school meals, no more children in need. Less means more.

But it is all so blatantly unfair - the Teen Haves will procreate, the Teen Havenots won't.

It's time for the young to take to the streets. It's time for them to RIOT:

OUR RIGHT TO CHOOSE, OUR BODIES, OUR FUTURE.


Thoughts

Sarah Mussi has created a possible future that is scarily realistic and plausible; the world is captivating and is what makes Riot one of my favourite reads of this year. The lead characters are great and I loved that Tia is such an avid protester even though she is one of the lucky ones who would be unaffected. She isn't a strong character in a kick-ass fighting way but instead in how she selflessly stands up for others. Overall a wonderful read that will leave you questioning all you thought you knew about politicians.

Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon


Most of the above recommendations are dystopias and most of those dystopias set in a near futuristic London with a government/police force that has gone power mad so if you have any recommendations of different genre UKYA please let me know!

Those are my recommendations, now on to a few books that have been recommended to me. I am hoping to get a copy of all of these very soon.

Trouble by Non Pratt




Synopsis

In this dazzling debut novel, a pregnant teen learns the meaning of friendship—from the boy who pretends to be her baby’s father.

When the entire high school finds out that Hannah Shepard is pregnant via her ex-best friend, she has a full-on meltdown in her backyard. The one witness (besides the rest of the world): Aaron Tyler, a transfer student and the only boy who doesn’t seem to want to get into Hannah’s pants. Confused and scared, Hannah needs someone to be on her side. Wishing to make up for his own past mistakes, Aaron does the unthinkable and offers to pretend to be the father of Hannah’s unborn baby. Even more unbelievable, Hannah hears herself saying “yes.”

Told in alternating perspectives between Hannah and Aaron, Trouble is the story of two teenagers helping each other to move forward in the wake of tragedy and devastating choices. As you read about their year of loss, regret, and hope, you’ll remember your first, real best friend—and how they were like a first love.


Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK

Bone Jack by Sara Crowe



Synopsis

Ash's dad has just returned from war, close to breakdown, far from the war hero Ash was expecting. Ash is going to be the stag boy in the annual Stag Chase. He's been waiting to tell his dad he's following in his footsteps, he'll make him proud. But Dad is stuck in a world of imaginary threats.

When Ash's grieving best friend pushes him away too, his world suddenly seems lonely and threatening. So Ash retreats to the mountains, to his punishing training runs. But in the mountains dark things are stirring - the hound boys of old haunt his running steps and Ash hears the death cry of a stag boy. Ash starts to wonder how much of the sinister pagan stories about the Stag Chase are true, and what it all has to do with his friend's anger and grief.

As death haunts his every step, Ash has to find a way to live again.


Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK

Out Of Tune by Beth Reekles



Synopsis

Ashley Bennett is a straight-A student in her junior year of high school, and life is looking good: she's got a boyfriend whom she loves, a group of friends who love to party... But really, Ashley loves to curl up at home with a good book, and she can't wait to go to college. When junior year starts, the life Ashley's settled into is turned upside down - the empty house next door has finally been sold, and moving in is Todd O'Connor...

When Ashley first meets Todd, he seems aloof and cocky, and she's reluctant to share a ride to school with him as her mom tells her to. As the two get to know each other, though, Ashley comes to realise that the mysterious, brooding Todd O'Connor, who all the girls are swooning over, is actually bookish and shy, and a little bit lonely. His dad passed away a few years ago, leaving him in the care of his uncle, and since then Todd has mostly kept to himself, his books, and his guitar.


And as Todd gets to know Ashley, he forces her to realise that her relationship with her boyfriend, Rob, isn't really making her happy - Rob is selfish, arrogant, and domineering. Will Ashley find the courage to forge her own path?


Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK

Please let me know if you have read any of these books, your thoughts and your favourite UKYA novels in the comments :)

Review of Fiancée for Hire

25 Jul 2014

Synopsis


Former Marine MacArthur Patton has made a small fortune on top-secret government contracts and black-ops missions, but his new assignment involves something more dangerous—marriage.

Well, fake marriage anyway.

To keep weapons out of the hands of terrorists, Mac has to secure a fiancée. A sweet, demure, compliant fiancée to serve as his arm candy for a few weeks while he completes the covert arms deal in Mexico. His sister claims to know just the woman, and sends her best friend to play the role.

"Sweet" and "demure" aren't in Kelli Landers's repertoire. A badass veterinarian who neuters big dogs and bigger men on a regular basis, she can't wait to bring Mr. Tall-Dark-and-Detached to his knees. Her longtime crush on the commitment-phobe makes her plan to seduce him even sweeter.

Love wasn't part of the plan, but the deeper Mac and Kelli fall into their ruse, the more danger they attract, until more than just their hearts are on the line…


Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK 


Review


This was a new twist on the whole arranged marriage trope for several reasons. The first being that, while it was for a business deal, it was also for national security which certainly makes things more interesting and also makes things seem more altruistic than an arranged relationship would otherwise be. Second, she is funny and brash. I knew I was in for an interesting read when the opening scene involved a less than clinical discussion of "Neuticles" prosthetic implants for animals who have parted ways with their manhood. Third, she has deep ties to his family. In fact, all of his family loves her and knows her better than the hero does for the majority of the book. 

Besides the fact that this is a marked improvement on the arranged marriage theme, it was also a compelling story. I loved how the heroine was smart and irreverent and had a healthy sexual appetite that she wasn't ashamed of. I also liked that she had a vulnerability that felt fresh and real, as did the hero. The ratio of romance, lust, action and humor was perfect. There were some ridiculous animal rescue scenes in there and the humor seemed to orbit around ball-busting but I was in the perfect mood to appreciate such oddities. 

*A copy of this book was provided in exchange for an HONEST review*

Try it for yourself! Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK  

Katie

Review of Reed

24 Jul 2014

Synopsis

Reece Reed has her fair share of baggage. After an abusive childhood and a less than ideal love life she tends to keep people at arm’s length. When she is hired by the FBI she accepts hesitantly, knowing this will mean fostering relationships with coworkers. As she develops new equipment to investigate crime scenes, she also develops relationships with those around her. she begins to let her walls down and let herself believe she may be able to have a normal life. Just when she starts to think true love may be within her reach, her dark past comes back to haunt her. Will she ever be able to live without looking over her shoulder? 

Reed is an inspirational story about overcoming obstacles. It contains crime, romance, drama, action, and snarky sarcastic dialogue. Witty and compelling, if you are looking for a good read, then read Reed.

Review

I have kind of mixed feelings on this book. The story starts with the recap of a truly horrific childhood that is told in a detached and analytic manner. I believe this may have been intentional as it would probably be "too much" otherwise and it fit with the character's personality, but it threw me for a loop as I expect to be emotionally invested in a book and the detached approach prevented me from really doing so. The timeline also jumps unexpectedly about eight years but doesn't actually inform you of said jump.

I enjoy reading about smarty pants women but this one was a bit of a stretch for me. She managed to pull off a bunch of doctorates in the span of a few years which didn't fly for me because of the whole research/thesis roadblock that is irrelevant to how smart or how determined you are.

The story did have a lot of elements that were great, such as severe emotional trauma, emotional growth, friendship, romance and suspense, but it just didn't quite pan out for me. Little details like the appearance of family in her life and how she handled a woman from her significant other's past just didn't feel realistic to me. Especially, for someone who has endured so much and should have some serious repressed rage.

In general, something just seemed to be lacking in the flow of the book, so I end up going through the motions rather than being caught up and captivated by it. I reviewed an ARC so there is always a chance some of the kinks will be ironed out before publishing.

* A copy of this book was provided in exchange for an HONEST review.*

Try it for yourself! Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK  

Katie

Cover Reveal - Letting Go by Molly McAdams

18 Jul 2014
Today I am incredibly excited to be helping reveal the cover for Letting Go by Molly McAdams. This is working a little different to most cover reveals as it is a video by the author talking about the book and sharing the cover (ooooh) though I have included the cover and synopsis at the bottom for those of you that don't want to / cant watch the video.



 
Synopsis
 
Image Map
When Grey and Ben fell in love at thirteen, they believed they’d be together forever. They never dreamed that three days before their wedding, twenty-year-old Ben would suddenly die from an unknown heart condition, destroying his would-be-bride’s world. Grey would have spent the next two years simply going through the motions if it hadn’t been for their best friend, Jagger. He’s the only one who understands her pain ... the only one who knows what it’s like to force yourself to keep moving when your dreams are shattered.
 
While everyone else worries over Grey’s fragility, Jagger is the only one who sees her strength, and vows to always be there for her-even if it’s only as her best friend. As much as he wants Grey, he knows her heart will always be with Ben. But when Grey finds out that Jagger has loved her since before he even knew what love was, it might prove to be too much for her to handle.
 
Grey soon realizes their chemistry is undeniable, and they learn that admitting their feelings for each other means they’ve got to face the past. Is being together what Ben would have wanted . . . or a betrayal of his memory that will eventually destroy them both?

Review of Flirty Dancing

17 Jul 2014

Synopsis

Bea Hogg is shy but fiery inside. When national dance competition Starwars comes to her school looking for talent, she wants to sign up. It's just a shame her best friend agreed to enter with school super-cow Pearl Harris. Bea will fight back! But when school hottie, Ollie Matthews, who also happens to be Pearl’s boyfriend, decides to enter the competition with Bea, she will have more than a fight on her hands.

This warm, nuanced, hilarious story about friendship, fortitude . . . and dancing is impossible not to fall in love with. Jenny’s voice is fresh and convincing, and she handles both darker and lighter elements of the story with equal panache.


Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK

Review

Warning - Do not read this book in public unless you enjoy looking like a giggling lunatic.

I enjoyed this book so much! It is a short, light-hearted read that will have you laughing out loud. Flirty Dancing reminded me of the Georgia Nicholson series which were my favourite books throughout my teen years as it has a similar feel to it. Other than the feel (and the main character having a crazy younger sister, oh and a dad who is abroad for a significant amount of the story) the books are very different and Bea is a fresh, unique character.

The storyline revolves around a dance competition and Bea becoming confident and happy about who she is. There are some very small amounts of romance but the main focus on the book is Bea's growth. Bea comes across as such a realistic character, she is smart, funny and sassy but at school she is too shy to show who she truly is and instead tries to blend in.

The dance element - Jive! - was such a great addition to the story and it made it unique. Other elements of the book such as bullying and the ex-best friend queen bee type were the same as what you see in most books like this but the dance competition (against both the ex-best friend bully and current best friend who has abandoned Bea to dance with the bully) was a great twist on a traditional storyline.

Flirty Dancing is the perfect book for the younger teen or pre-teen as well as the older crowd who want a light-hearted, funny read. I can't wait to read more books by Jenny McLachlan and am looking forwards to seeing what she will bring to the table next.

Try it for yourself! Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK

Laura

The Book Orphanage

15 Jul 2014
Over the past few years I have accumulated a lot of books. So many in fact that I no longer have room for them all. I recently sorted out my bookshelves and now have a large box of books under my bed that want a proper home. These are a mixture of books that I have read and don't have the room to keep, have several copies of, received in a giveaway long ago or received as an unsolicited book to review. Most of these books sound/are great but I simply don't have room for them or the time to read those that I haven't already. This is the book orphanage.


All of the books in the "orphanage" are free to a good home - you just have to pay the postage for me to send you your requested book(s) (unless we swap books often in which case I will send to you for free. The ones that I was sent by publicist for review purposes I would preferably prefer to send to a blogger who would like to review it but the others I am happy to send to anyone. Most of these books are YA but there are also a few general fiction, fantasy and NA books in there. As an alternative to being mailed - if you are someone I am likely to meet up with in the future (ie. A Londoner as I will be there shortly for two weeks) I will happily give it to you in person.

Also if you think I simply HAVE to read any of the books rather than giving them away let me know in the comments (some I have read, some I haven't).

All the books available are below - a strike through means it is no longer available / is not currently available. I will send books to countries other than the UK but postage can get expensive to other countries (if you are US based, it is probably cheaper for you to just buy the book new) so bear that in mind.

Angelfall by Susan Ee - Duplicate
Angelfall by Susan Ee - Duplicate
The Elites by Natasha Ngan - Duplicate
Rule by Jay Crownover - Duplicate
Love In Revolution by B.R Collins - Very old giveaway win
Anthem For Jackson Dawes by Celia Bryce - Very old giveaway win
Return To Me by Justina Chen - Very old giveaway win
The Weight Of Souls by Bryony Pearce - Not even sure where this one came from :P
Death & Co by D.J. McCune - Giveaway win
Starters by Lissa Price - Duplicate
Boy Nobody by Allen Zadoff - Duplicate
Unnatural Creatures by Neil Gamain - Giveaway win
The Eye Of Minds by James Dashner - Duplicate
The Demons Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan - Bought, read, no longer want
Skippy Dies by Paul Murray - Very old giveaway win
Our Kind Of Traitor by John Le Carre - Very old giveaway win
City Of Masks by Mary Hoffman - Very old giveaway win
Generation Dead by Daniel Waters - Bought, read, no longer want
Kiss Of Life by Daniel Waters - Bought, read, no longer want
Wake by Amanda Hocking - Bought, read, no longer want
Radiance by Alyson Noel - Bought, read, no longer want
Running Girl by Simon Mason - Unsolicited review book
Dead Time by Anne Cassidy - Very old giveaway win
Street Duty by Chris Ould - Very old giveaway win
Touch Of Power by Marie V. Snyder - Duplicate
Saving The World And Other Extreme Sports by James Patterson - Bought ages ago not realising it was book 3, now have all on my kindle
Missing Ellen by Natasha Mac a'Bhaird - Unsolicited review book
Zombies Don't Cry by Rusty Fischer - Very old giveaway win
Being A Boy by James Dawson - Got whilst interning last year, great book but I know I will never read it again
Pegasus And The Flame by Kate O'Hearn - Unsolicited review book
A Mutiny In Time by James Dashner - Very old giveaway win
Song Of The Moon by Catherine Banks - Very old giveaway win
Mercenary by Catherine Banks - Very old giveaway win
Wanted by Sara Shepard - Bought, read, no longer want
Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon - Bought, read, no longer want

If you are interested in any of these books please contact me in some way eg. comment, email or twitter etc.

Review of To the Sea

Synopsis


Fresh out of college and newly married, twenty-something Kira plans the perfect future with a house in the suburbs, ski getaways, and fancy dinners. When her husband Jeremy dies in a car accident, loss casts her adrift, but her heart cracks wide open when she uncovers the secrets he left behind.

Despite her dislike for the ocean with the whipping wind and itchy sand, Kira seeks solace in salt: tears, sweat, and the sea, helping her move beyond the myth of perfection, and guiding her toward the truth of who she really is.

She takes surf lessons to overcome her fear of the water and her well of grief. In the local surf scene, she meets sultry Jamie, with a hot Australian accent. He’s eager to spend time with her, but mostly between the sheets. Then there’s soulful Ian, her surf instructor, who helps her get on her feet and ride the waves.

During a transformative trip to South Africa on surfari, she learns the best way to be loved, yet when she returns to the shores of New England, grief continues to haunt her. She must let go, but how? Torn between the tides, Kira discovers strength and courage, navigates loss, lust, and love, taking readers along for the plunge.

Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK 

Review


This was not a light-hearted fluffy romance.  It starts out with the heroine feeling lonely and only gets worse from there as the life she thought she had disintegrates.  I am not usually up for these types of stories as I like to bask in happy feelings rather than depressing ones, but this story balanced things so well that I feel like I have been shortchanging myself by skipping some of the deeper stories that are out there.

The story is mostly about the heroine’s emotional journey.  She tried to define herself by her strict vision of perfection and slowly breaks down the mold she has boxed herself into as the story progresses.  She develops new friendships, discovers new hobbies, and makes some very difficult decisions.  The story straddles the Women’s Fiction/Romance classification as there is quite a bit of personal growth but the romance is sweet and substantive and not to be dismissed.    

My favorite aspects of the story are that the true romance doesn’t develop until the heroine is ready to undertake a real relationship and that there are emotional relapses.  The author doesn’t paint an overly rosy picture of the heroine trucking along on her journey to happiness.  The heroine struggles throughout to not only dig herself out of her funk but stay out of it.  I’ve always been a little envious of the surf culture which was part of the book’s draw for me initially but it really provided the perfect counterpoint to the life she had defined for herself.  She made a lot of decisions which conflicted with my own innate sense of vindication but were ultimately the best for her mental well-being.

If you are in the mood for a book about self-discovery with a happily ever after and are prepared to endure coping with some pretty devastating circumstances, this is a must read.  If not, you should still read this to break up the monotony of mindless fluff (not an insult, I am a big fan of mindless fluff…).

*A copy of this book was provided in exchange for an HONEST review*

Try it for yourself! Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK 


Katie

Review of Ivory Guard

11 Jul 2014

Synopsis


Life will make you stumble

One peaceful afternoon Lillian finds two angels in her living room - wings and gloriole and all - telling her she is an Ivory. Half human and half angel she is born to fight for humankind and to guard the hellholes where the membrane between worlds is at its weakest.
She, an important warrior? Yeah, riiiight.

Life can make you fall

Raz might be an angel but he doesn’t do compassion. His job is to train her, to make her a leader and that’s what he will do. So Lillian will just have to suck it up when she discovers the deadly truth behind his words. When she does exactly that, he has to admit there’s more to the bookworm than he thought. Much more. But there’s one thing he shouldn’t forget – in his world feelings come with a price. Is he willing to pay?

Love will give you wings.

Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK 


Review


This is your typical, “Happy eighteenth birthday! Now let’s flip your entire world on end!” story.  Lillian discovers that she was born with one purpose and has basically been on loan to her parents until she turned eighteen and graduated from high school.  She is an ivory which means her entire purpose is to do battle against the evil in the world.  So it is off to her new life with a very gruff mentor to guide her way.

This is not one of those angel stories where angels are awesome and they’re doing everything they’re allowed to do to help humans.  Nope.  Angels are pretty much jerks and the big man himself isn’t much better.  I am not quite sure how I feel about that particular aspect but I have to say that heaven as a bureaucratic corporation is somehow believable.  It just makes for a significantly more cynical outlook when no one is truly good.

I enjoyed Lillian’s character quite a bit.  She is hardworking, witty, loyal, and level-headed.  She is also a badass.  Her friends seem great too but there isn’t much development there.  In fact, the book seems to fly and consists of two parts: when they become an ivory guard and when everything starts to unravel.  There really isn’t a whole lot of downtime.

This is not a standalone book but the ending isn’t too much of a cliffhanger.  If you are looking for an epic good versus evil saga, this may not be the book for you as the lines are quite blurred.  If you are offended by God being portrayed as far from perfect, this is definitely not the book for you.  But if you are looking for a book about a strong girl who adapts to the challenges presented to her, fights for what she believes in but refuses to blindly follow the status quo, you should find this an enjoyable read.

*A copy of this book was provided in exchange for an HONEST review*

Try it for yourself! Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK 

Katie

Review of Sharing You

10 Jul 2014

Synopsis

Twenty-three year old, Kamryn Cunningham has left all she’s ever known and moved to a small town where no one knows her name, who her parents are, or her social status in the horseracing world. Months after opening her own bakery and evading attempts of being set up by her new best friend, she meets Brody. Kamryn fights the instant pull between them because there’s a detail she can’t dismiss. Brody’s married.

To say that twenty-six year old, Brody Saco has had a rough marriage would be an understatement. After marrying his pregnant girlfriend, he spends the next six years in a relationship filled with hatred, manipulation and guilt involving a tragedy that happened five years earlier. When he keeps running into his sister-in-law’s best friend, Kamryn, he can’t ignore that she makes him feel more with just one look than his wife ever has; and soon he can’t continue fight his feelings for her.

When staying apart proves to be too difficult, Brody and Kamryn enter a relationship full of stolen moments and nights that end too soon while they wait for Brody to file for divorce. But the guilt that comes with their relationship may prove to be too much for Kamryn, and Brody might not be strong enough to face the tragedy from his past in order to leave his conniving wife.


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Review

I am a huge and unashamed fan of Molly McAdams. She writes fantastic novels that get you emotionally invested and does one heck of a great love triangle. Sharing You is a very typical Molly book as she has a pretty specific way of writing. Unfortunately this isn’t my favourite Molly McAdams novel and is my least favourite of hers so far. Don’t get me wrong, Sharing You is still a very good book; it just doesn’t tick all of the boxes for me like her past ones have.

If you have read Capturing Peace (not a requirement before reading Sharing You, but does give good background) then you have already met Brody and know his sad story; Sharing You starts off several years after the tragic event that occurs to Brody in Capturing Peace.
Brody is stuck in a loveless marriage out of guilt and a sense of obligation. One of the things I loved about Sharing You is that as it is dual POV we get extra depth as we get to hear what the “hero” thinks instead of just the “heroine”. Kamryn has run from a highly controlling family to a new town where her life can be what she wants it to be. I loved Kamryn as she was a mentally strong character and the type to take control of her own destiny rather than let other people boss her around.

The romance in this book was great (as expected as that is what Molly excels in) and the characters had a great connection.  It was a bit insta-love but you can forgive that because of the incredible chemistry.
I think it is kind of obvious from the title, cover and synopsis alone that this book features cheating. Now I don’t have problems with cheating in books as it is something that happens (and often) in the real world but I know some people do. It is handled really sensitively in this book with the characters just being in a rather sticky situation; it is done in such a way that it is very hard to judge the characters by their actions.

My only issue with this book was believability when it came to Brody and his wife. The things that she and her family do just boggled my mind as it all seemed a little ridiculous. It all made sense at first but then when everything was revealed, it felt like the reasoning behind it just went down the drain.
Overall, this is another great book by a fabulous author. If you like emotional romance novels and don’t mind cheating as an aspect then I definitely recommend this for you.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review,  this has not affected my opinions or rating in any way*
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Laura

Review of Legendary

8 Jul 2014

Synopsis

Aliana Fagan spent her childhood traveling the world, dreaming of legendary heroes and mythical lands. But after the sudden death of her parents, she hides behind the safety of her camera and her art until a vivid recurring dream compels her to dig into her father's research about Avalon and Camelot. When she is hurled into a magical realm by forces she thought were only the stuff of fairy tales, she finds herself thrown into an adventure she could never have imagined. Nearly everything she thought she knew about Arthurian legend was wrong.

The independent eighteen-year-old is shocked to find that the people of Avalon think that she is the Destined One, the only person who can summon King Arthur back to life from his hidden chamber. Most surprising of all is that it's up to her to lead the Knights of the Round Table on an epic quest—an adventure that will transport them across the seven magic realms to reclaim all that has been lost so they can defeat the evil Mordrid for good. But first, she must bring the ancient warriors into her world and reunite them with their lost brothers. Chaperoning the legendary knights-with-a-chivalry-complex as they navigate the modern world is a constant challenge, and she certainly never thought she'd be caught between her intense feelings for the noble Sir Galahad and her growing friendship with the King. 

To fulfill the prophecy, Aliana will have to discover the meaning of friendship, bravery, loyalty, true love, and forgiveness. But can she do it all in time to save the realms from Mordrid's impending Armageddon?

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Review

Let me preface this review by saying that I am not much of an Arthurian legend girl. My interest in the legend pretty much stops at Sword and the Stone but something about the description for this book really piqued my interest.  I think it was the combination of a noble kingdom, magic, and the modern world.  Regardless of what drew my initial interest, it effortlessly held my interest and I am seriously impressed with how the author effectively wove together the various elements.

The story begins with a rather sad girl who is almost completely alone in the world and is still struggling with some uncovered deceptions from her past.  She has a vivid dream and sets out on her journey as a result.  I appreciated the fact that she took some basic precautions in her journey and that she is an experienced solo hiker. She is not perfect, as she has certainly been reckless in the past, but I appreciated the fact that her excursion didn’t raise my “she is too dumb to live” hackles. The remainder of her journey is filled with wonder, fear, and danger as she uncovers her role in the legend she thought she knew everything about.  After a successful romp in Avalon, she returns to the modern world with new friends in tow to take the next step in their journey.

This is the part that I enjoyed the most as I loved how she introduced them to the modern world and how her previous life integrated with her new life.  We get the perfect mix of overprotective alpha males, independent modern females, and a little humor when some new technology is thrown in the mix.  I really loved the heroine and the fact that she was the perfect balance of strength and weakness.  She struggles to overcome her fears and the emotions that result from only being seen as a “key” for her new companions.   There is definitely some romance but it was relegated to the end of the queue as there were bigger items of concern.  The villains are quite frightening and the consequences for failure are certainly extreme so the stakes are definitely high.  Our heroes manage to test themselves in battle before the book concludes at the ideal pause point.   Overall, this story can be summarized in one word, epic.  This was a delightful ride that I can’t wait to continue when the next book is released.

*A copy of this book was provided in exchange for an HONEST review*

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Katie



Bookish Treasures Recommends - Humorous Romantic Reads

5 Jul 2014
For people who enjoy a healthy dose of humour in their reading diet, I have compiled a list of some of the ones I have personally enjoyed. This is obviously more of an off-the-cuff list rather than an all-inclusive compendium. Humour is subjective but hopefully, you will find something here that suits your tastes.

Contemporary

Tara Sivec's Chocolate Lover's Series




Synopsis

Claire is a twenty-something, single mom that grudgingly helps her best friend sell sex toys while she attempts to make enough money to start her own business to give her foul-mouthed, but extremely loveable (when he's asleep) toddler a better life.

When Carter, the one-night-stand from her past that changed her life forever, shows up in her hometown bar without any recollection of her besides her unique chocolate scent, Claire will make it a point that he remembers her this time.

With Carter's undisguised shock at suddenly finding out he has a four-year-old son and Claire's panic that her stretch marks and slim to none bedroom experience will send the man of her dreams heading for the hills, the pair will do whatever they can to get their happily ever after.

Warning: contains explicit sex, profanity and enough sarcasm to choke a horse.
The humour in this series is a little on the crass side but doesn't go too far over the line (for me, at least).  I didn't follow through to the last book as it focused on two of the weirder peripheral characters and I was a little hesitant to commit to their story. The first two focus on Claire and Carter who have a wild night at a frat party with an unintended byproduct and no way to get in contact with each other.  Fate gives them another chance a few years down the road and between the main characters and those on the periphery, you are guaranteed some laugh out loud moments.

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Katie Ashley's Rock Chick



Synopsis

Indy Savage, cop's daughter, rock chick and used bookstore owner, has been in love with Lee Nightingale, once bad boy, now the man behind Nightingale Investigations, since she was five years old. No matter what ingenious schemes Indy used to capture his attention, Lee never showed an interest and Indy finally gave up. Now Indy's employee, Rosie, has lost a bag of diamonds and bad guys are shooting at him. When Indy gets involved, Lee is forced to help. Complicating matters, Lee has decided he's interested, Indy's decided she's not. But she can't seem to keep Lee out of her life when she's repeatedly stun gunned, kidnapped and there are car bombs exploding (not to mention she's finding dead bodies).

Indy's best bet is to solve the mystery of the diamonds before Lee. Lee's challenge is to keep Indy alive and, at the same time, win back her heart.
If you are familiar with Katie Ashley, you are probably aware that her books lend themselves more to marathon reads rather than short and concise stories. ;Fortunately, the combination of action, steam and humour make for a very enjoyable read. The humour in this particular book mostly relates to the heroine constantly finding herself in bizarre or mischief-laden situations and her band of misfit secondary characters


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Tangled by Emma Chase


Synopsis

Drew Evans is a winner. Handsome and arrogant, he makes multimillion dollar business deals and seduces New York’s most beautiful women with just a smile. He has loyal friends and an indulgent family. So why has he been shuttered in his apartment for seven days, miserable and depressed?

He’ll tell you he has the flu.

But we all know that’s not really true.

Katherine Brooks is brilliant, beautiful and ambitious. She refuses to let anything - or anyone - derail her path to success. When Kate is hired as the new associate at Drew’s father’s investment banking firm, every aspect of the dashing playboy’s life is thrown into a tailspin. The professional competition she brings is unnerving, his attraction to her is distracting, his failure to entice her into his bed is exasperating.

Then, just when Drew is on the cusp of having everything he wants, his overblown confidence threatens to ruin it all. Will he be able untangle his feelings of lust and tenderness, frustration and fulfillment? Will he rise to the most important challenge of his life?

Can Drew Evans win at love? Tangled is not your mother’s romance novel. It is an outrageous, passionate, witty narrative about a man who knows a lot about women…just not as much as he thinks he knows. As he tells his story, Drew learns the one thing he never wanted in life, is the only thing he can’t live without.

This is a story told from the male perspective and the male is, well, a bit of a dog.  It is a read where the hero grows on you despite your attempts to dislike him.  There are also some entertaining attempts at sabotage that, while on the immature side, you cannot help but enjoy. 

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Paranormal

Magic Bites



Synopsis

When the magic is up, rogue mages cast their spells and monsters appear, while guns refuse to fire and cars fail to start. But then technology returns, and the magic recedes as unpredictably as it arose, leaving all kinds of paranormal problems in its wake.

Kate Daniels is a down-on-her-luck mercenary who makes her living cleaning up these magical problems. But when Kate's guardian is murdered, her quest for justice draws her into a power struggle between two strong factions within Atlanta's magic circles.

The Masters of the Dead, necromancers who can control vampires, and the Pack, a paramilitary clan of shapechangers, blame each other for a series of bizarre killings—and the death of Kate's guardian may be part of the same mystery. Pressured by both sides to find the killer, Kate realizes she's way out of her league—but she wouldn't have it any other way…

Thoughts

The romance is slow to build in this series but so worth the ride. The series revolves around a post magic shift Atlanta where pretty much any weird creature imaginable is possible. The heroine, Kate Daniels, is the perfect mix of snark, intelligence, badassery and vulnerability.  While there are about a million accolades about this series that I could expound upon, I have to say that the humour is probably my favorite.

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Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs by Molly Harper



Synopsis

Maybe it was the Shenanigans gift certificate that put her over the edge. When children's librarian and self-professed nice girl Jane Jameson is fired by her beastly boss and handed twenty-five dollars in potato skins instead of a severance check, she goes on a bender that's sure to become Half Moon Hollow legend. On her way home, she's mistaken for a deer, shot, and left for dead. And thanks to the mysterious stranger she met while chugging neon-colored cocktails, she wakes up with a decidedly unladylike thirst for blood.

Jane is now the latest recipient of a gift basket from the Newly Undead Welcoming Committee, and her life-after-lifestyle is taking some getting used to. Her recently deceased favorite aunt is now her ghostly roommate. She has to fake breathing and endure daytime hours to avoid coming out of the coffin to her family. She's forced to forgo her favorite down-home Southern cooking for bags of O negative. Her relationship with her sexy, mercurial vampire sire keeps running hot and cold. And if all that wasn't enough, it looks like someone in Half Moon Hollow is trying to frame her for a series of vampire murders. What's a nice undead girl to do?

Thoughts

This is one of those stories where humans are well aware of vampires and manage to coexist in relative peace.  The heroine, Jane Jameson, is kind of pathetic at first as she has pretty much nothing going for her and is prone to the some serious bad luck.  Fortunately, her circumstances improve over the course of the book but her luck, well, that appears to be the one constant in her life.

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First Grave On The Right



Synopsis

This whole grim reaper thing should have come with a manual. Or a diagram of some kind. A flow chart would have been nice.

Charley Davidson is a part-time private investigator and full-time grim reaper. Meaning, she sees dead people. Really. And it's her job to convince them to "go into the light." But when these very dead people have died under less than ideal circumstances (like murder), sometimes they want Charley to bring the bad guys to justice. Complicating matters are the intensely hot dreams she's been having about an entity who has been following her all her life...and it turns out he might not be dead after all. In fact, he might be something else entirely. But what does he want with Charley? And why can't she seem to resist him? And what does she have to lose by giving in?

Thoughts

I have to admit that this one borders on the line between hilarious and outlandish.  The heroine is pretty bizarre and has a strange obsession with assigning names to everything, including her body parts.  Her oddity may have something to do with the fact that she can see and communicate with ghosts and has all her life.  Fortunately, I thoroughly enjoyed it and the mysteries associated with the various plot points were quite intriguing.  One delightful treat associated with the book is that each chapter opens with a humorous slogan from a t-shirt or bumper sticker.

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