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Review of Branded

31 Aug 2013


Fifty years ago the Commander came into power and murdered all who opposed him. In his warped mind, the seven deadly sins were the downfall of society. He created the Hole where sinners are branded according to their sins and might survive a few years. At best.

Now LUST wraps around my neck like blue fingers strangling me. I’ve been accused of a crime I didn’t commit and now the Hole is my new home.

Darkness. Death. Violence. Pain.

Now every day is a fight for survival. But I won’t die. I won’t let them win.

The Hole can’t keep me. The Hole can’t break me.
I am more than my brand. I’m a fighter.
My name is Lexi Hamilton, and this is my story.


Branded starts by instantly dropping you into the action. The opening grabs your attention and promises to be gripping and engrossing. The book doesn’t let down on the expectations built at the start. I was intrigued by the dystopian world of this book; Crimes are categorised by which of the seven deadly sins they fit under and anyone accused is instantly assumed guilty and thrown into a giant community/prison known as the hole without trial.

Branded is full of action, emotion and thrilling forbidden romance. As the sin Lexi has been deemed guilty of is Lust, life in the hole is incredible risky for her; those branded with Lust are usually the quickest to die. Lexi is such a caring character, even in the dog eat dog world of the Hole she cares more about others who are suffering than herself. On top of her sympathetic nature she is also strong minded and tough. She won’t let herself be beaten down, mentally or physically, and she stays strong despite all that she goes through

The chemistry between Lexi and Cole was palpable and yet a relationship between them would lead to death for both. This adds another layer of tension to a story that will already have you biting your nails. Despite the book being YA, the authors aren’t afraid to show the gory, dark and sometimes sexy moments.
I really loved the world in Branded; it is almost a dictatorship where no one can speak up to defend themselves or others. This allowed for moments where the book really makes you think and feel for the characters. All this is balanced out by fighting, action and romance; think a sort of mixture of The Hunger Games and Divergent.

Reading Branded you would never be able to guess that it is written by two authors. Everything is well written and the writing style remains the same throughout. If you are dystopian fan then this is a must read, especially if you like books that equally balance action with romance. I would definitely recommend this book as it has something for everyone.

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

Try it for yourself! Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK

Cover reveal - Darkness Watching

Today I am revealing the cover for Darkness Watching by Emma L. Adams. Darkness Watching is a New Adult paranormal / urban fantasy which makes me very excited as I love NA books of genres other than contemporary romance. Here is the lovely cover and intriguing synopsis.

Darkness Watching by Emma L Adams


Seventeen-year-old Ashlyn is one interview away from her future when she first sees the demons. She thinks she’s losing her mind, but the truth is far more frightening: she can see into the Darkworld, the home of spirits– and the darkness is staring back.

Desperate to escape the demons, Ash accepts a place at a university in the small town of Blackstone, in the middle of nowhere – little knowing that it isn’t coincidence that led her there but the pull of the Venantium, the sorcerers who maintain the barrier keeping demons from crossing from the Darkworld into our own world.

All-night parties, new friendships and a life without rules or limits are all part of the package of student life – but demons still stalk Ash, and their interest in her has attracted the attention of every sorcerer in the area. Ash is soon caught between her new life and a group of other students with a connection to the Darkworld, who could offer the answers she’s looking for. The demons want something from her,  and someone is determined to kill her before she can find out what it is.

In a world where darkness lurks beneath the surface, not everyone is what they appear to be..

Coming September 30th 2013


About the Author

Emma spent her childhood creating imaginary worlds to compensate for a disappointingly average reality, so it was probably inevitable that she ended up writing fantasy and paranormal for young adults. She was born in Birmingham, UK, which she fled at the first opportunity to study English Literature at Lancaster University. In her three years at Lancaster, she hiked up mountains, skydived in Australia, and endured a traumatic episode involving a swarm of bees in the Costa Rican jungle. She also wrote various novels and short stories. These included her first publication, a rather bleak dystopian piece, and a disturbing story about a homicidal duck (which she hopes will never see the light of day).

Now a reluctant graduate, she can usually be found in front of her writing desk, creating weird and wonderful alternative worlds. Her debut novel The Puppet Spell, published in 2013 by Rowanvale Books, is a fantasy tale for young adults and the young at heart, inspired by her lifelong love of the fantastical, mythology, and video games. Emma also writes supernatural fantasy novels for older teens and adults. Her next book,Darkness Watching, is the first in the upper-YA/New Adult Darkworld series, and will be published in September 2013 by Curiosity Quills Press.

Review of By My Side

30 Aug 2013


Lily Saunders sees her family falling apart. Her father is deserting her, and her mother is drinking more and more. Even sarcasm can't help Lily. When she thinks her best friend, Andy Green, will help her, she discovers how his blinding jealousy will mess everything up.

And then Gabe Green comes back home. She thinks it'll be like always between them—sarcasms and curses thrown at each other—but she's mistaken. He's different, and understands right away the problems she's trying to keep for herself.

But even if he's there for her, making her fall hard, they both know it'll end soon. Because at their age, you can't expect forever. Right?


Unlike many of the NA books I read, this story does not have the two main characters fall in love instantly. I always enjoy a story where the two main characters are not lovey-dovey from the get go. It’s always refreshing to see the couple struggle to figure out their feelings and what it means for them. It makes the relationship seem a little more realistic than other novels.

This is exactly what happens between Gabe and Lily. The two have hated each other ever since they met. Lily is the best friend of Gabe’s younger brother, Andy, and the two brothers have never been close.

The story is refreshing, watching Lily deal with the romantic feelings her best friend harbours towards her while she falls for his older brother. Throughout the book, readers can see why Gabe is who Lily falls for and why Andy causes his own fate.

The book is not just about Gabe and Lily’s relationship. The story is also about Andy and Gabe finding a way to repair their tattered relationship. The two bond over Lily and a tragedy, and after those events, they begin to build an actual relationship. It is enjoyable to watch the two go from brothers who fight each other physically to seeing them talking, communicating and laughing with one another.

The story also has a more serious tone as Lily deals with the cause and effect of her parents divorce. Ultimately their divorce drives the plot and Lily emotions throughout the story. There is a slight twist that gives you an even deeper look at who Lily is and what both Gabe and Andy mean to her.

Ultimately this is an enjoyable NA novel. The characters are easy to connect with as well as fall in love with them. You feel like you are with them on their journey, especially when the turmoil hits. The book ends with closure and makes you feel like Lily and Gabe get their happy ever after.

Try it for yourself! Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK

Feature Friday - Interview with Carrie Butler

Feature Friday is a brand new item on Bookish Treasures. Every Friday I will be featuring an author through either an interview or a guest post. If you are interested in taking part please send me an email. 

Today I am happy to be interviewing Carrie Butler, founder of New Adult Alley and author of Strength (Mark of Nexus #1). I reviewed Strength when it first released earlier this year (you can read the review here) but unfortunately for Carrie one of the biggest nightmares an author can have happened to her. The publishers of her book closed to further submissions - including her sequel. Carrie has now re-released the book as self-published and it is doing just as well as before! Read on for an interview with Carrie as well as the synopsis for Strength.

Strength by Carrie Butler


When college student Rena Collins finds herself nose-to-chest with the campus outcast, her rumor-laced notions are shattered. Handsome, considerate, and seemingly sane, Wallace Blake doesn’t look like he spends his nights alone, screaming and banging on the walls of his dorm room. Hell, he doesn’t look like he spends his nights alone, period.

Too curious for her own good, Rena vows to uncover the truth behind Wallace’s madman reputation--and how two seconds of contact had left her with bruises. Of course, there are a few setbacks along the way: guilt, admiration, feelings of the warm and fuzzy variety…

Not to mention the unwanted attention of Wallace's powerful, supernaturally-gifted family.

They’re a bloodline divided by opposing ideals, two soon-to-be warring factions that live in secret among us. When Rena ends up caught in their crossfire, Wallace has no choice but to save her by using his powers. Now they’re really in trouble. With war on the horizon and Rena’s life in the balance, he needs to put some distance between them. But Rena won’t let go. If fighting is what it takes to prove her own strength and keep Wallace in her life, then that’s what she’ll do--even if it means risking a whole lot more than her heart.

Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK

Interview with Carrie Butler

Why did you decide to become an author?
It was actually brought on by the crappy job market. I found myself out of work and in desperate need of escape, so I decided to write a novel. I’d already spent years writing stories. Why not give the professional thing a try?

Best. Decision. Ever.

How do you balance writing with other things in your life?
I sacrifice sleep. Seriously. I blink at people all zombie-like when they’re talking. Haha! :)

What is your favourite thing about being an author?
Definitely interacting with readers and seeing the story through their eyes.

What is it like now being self-published when you previously had a publisher?
It’s liberating. I’m in total control. But I must admit, it’s the slightest bit terrifying...

Do you plan to self-publish all your books in the future or go back to traditional publishing?
I think I’ll self-publish most of my paranormal and fantasy titles, but I might go back to traditional with the contemporaries. You know, provided I actually finish them...

What are your favourite books?
That is a terrible question to ask someone, Laura! *grins* Here are a few that come to mind: Nothing But Trouble by Rachel Gibson, The Darkest Night by Gena Showalter, Neanderthal Seeks Human by  Penny Reid, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Divergent by Veronica Roth.

Are there any books/authors that inspired you to write?
Mix Gena Showalter’s knack for creating complex, paranormal worlds with Janet Evanovich’s talent for first-person narration.  That’s what I wanted to write.

Describe your book in one sentence.  
When Rena falls for the campus outcast, she provokes supernatural warfare that puts a lot more than her heart at risk.

Where did you get the idea for Strength, did anything inspire you to write it?
Strength—and ultimately, the whole Mark of Nexus series—started as a "what if" scenario. What if a unique, supernatural race lived among us? What if there was more than one? How would the world stay in balance?

I listened to music while I plotted out a few points, and the 2005 Five for Five cover of "All I Know" came on. Wow. The lyrics—the first few lines about bruising each other—really struck me. 

 As I considered them, the figurative meaning morphed into a more literal scenario. How tortured a man with uncontrollable strength must be... falling in love for the first time... unable to touch the girl he loves without hurting her...

That's how the romance element fell into place. ;)

What made you decide to write a New Adult paranormal novel?

Honestly, that’s just how it played out in my mind. When I wrote the manuscript, NA hadn’t yet resurged from St. Martin’s attempt in 2009—meaning, most agents and editors wouldn’t consider it.

Fortunately, I was stubborn. I wasn’t going to compromise the integrity of Rena and Wallace’s story just to bend to some industry standard, so I kept at it. And I’m so glad I did.

What would you say makes your book unique and worth reading?
What makes it unique? Well, it’s not about a reformed manwhore and the girl who tamed him—that’s for sure. ;) Here are three reasons to read Strength:

1. It contains original mythology.

2. There is no insta-love.

3. It’s not afraid to be funny, at times. ;)

Is there any specific message you wanted to convey in the book?
I try not to get too preachy with my fiction, because I don’t want readers chasing me with pitchforks, but I’d say it really enforces the idea that we shouldn’t judge one another. People we deem outcasts typically have a lot to offer, if only we’d give them a chance.

What are your plans for future books?
Right now, I’m working on the third—and probably last—book in the Mark of Nexus series. I’m also playing around with two contemporaries and a fantasy. Lots ahead!

Do you have any hobbies and Interests unrelated to books?
Going to the range, drawing, having bonfires, etc. Anything low key and casual.

Would you ever consider putting these (answer to above) into any of your books?
Funny you should mention that! I’ve been toying around with a fantasy/fairytale mash-up, and the main character uses a crossbow. It’s given me a great excuse to play around with mine. ;)


If you could meet any one author (dead or alive) who would it be and why?
Gena Showalter. I adore her writing, and she has a great personality online.

Tell us one interesting fact about yourself.
I played the trombone for ten years. Shh...

What is your favourite food?
Tacos with Italian salad dressing on them. Don’t laugh. It’s awesome.

What is the most adventurous thing you have ever done?
When I was in college, I let some guy sneak me into a famous (closed) theatre. Did I mention that I had just met him? *facepalm* Let’s call that equal parts adventurous and stupid.

If you could be any supernatural creature which would you choose?
I would totally be a Dynari!

About the Author

Carrie Butler daydreamed her way through college—until they thrust a marketing degree into her hands, slapped a summa cum laude seal on the corner, and booted her out into a less-than-stellar job market. Instead of panicking at the prospect of unemployment, she used her Midwestern logic to steer into the skid and point her life in the direction she really wanted to go: writing out those daydreams.

 Her passion for New Adult fiction led her to co-found NA Alley—one of the first websites dedicated to the category. She is the author of Strength (Mark of Nexus #1) and Courage (Mark of Nexus #2).

Cover reveal - The Darkest Joy

28 Aug 2013
Today I am revealing the cover for New Adult romantic suspense novel The Darkest Joy by Marata Eros. I am a HUGE fan of this author after reading her YA/NA paranormal novels under the name Tamara Rose Blodgett (you should definitely read Blood Singers - it's free!) I think The Darkest Joy sounds amazing and I can't wait to read it.

The Darkest Joy by Marata Eros


A sexy and poignant new adult novel from New York Times bestseller Marata Eros, about two lost souls who find each other in the wake of tragedy, only to learn that love may not be enough to heal the wounds of a dark and tortured past...

Twenty year-old Brooke Starr has escaped the aftermath of a brutal tragedy by abandoning her music studies and moving north to take a summer position as a part-time deck hand on a deep-sea fishing boat. When her survivor’s guilt becomes unbearable, Brooke realizes there's only one thing she can do to finally erase the pain.

Deep sea fisherman, Chance Taylor, has just wrapped his guitar set at the local saloon when he sees the silhouette of a young woman in repose, the full moon highlighting her shadow as she plummets from a pier too high for diving... into water too cold to survive. Without thinking, he plunges in after her, saving Brooke from drowning.

As Chance works to save her from her own emotional fragility, Brooke finally begins to learn how to save herself. But when their chemistry begins to consume them, Brooke withdraws. She’s determined to be the master of her own destiny... until the past catches up with her in a cataclysmic plan so dark, so final... it threatens their love and their very lives.

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About the Author

Marata Eros is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of dark, romantic new adult novels, including A Terrible Love and its companion novel A Brutal Tenderness. A passionate writer who loves interacting with her readers, Marata lives in South Dakota with her husband.

Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest

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Review of Off Sides

27 Aug 2013


“I'm not sure what possessed me to do it. Maybe it was the impossible expectations I faced, maybe it was my own self-loathing. But I just knew I needed something different to happen. I needed someone... something... to derail me from my current path. Otherwise, I would become lost... a hollowed out shell of a man. So I did it. I approached her, then I pursued her, then I made her mine. And my life was saved...”

Ryan Burnham is the privileged son of a U.S. Congressman and captain of his university’s hockey team. While he is on the verge of fulfilling his dreams to play in the NHL, his parents want him on a different course. One he is expected to accept for the sake of his family’s public image.

Forced her to abandon her music career after the heart breaking death of her parents, Danny Cross exists on the opposite side of the tracks from Ryan. She is struggling to make her own way, working two jobs, attending college part time and volunteering in a homeless shelter. She is on a mission to build her own success.

With a chance meeting, their vastly different worlds collide, causing each to evaluate whether they are truly on the correct path to self-fulfillment and happiness. Can their relationship survive? Particularly when others are against them every step of the way. A lot can happen in just ten short days...

Review (Katie)

What drew my interest in this book was that, while the heroine clearly represents someone from the "wrong side of the tracks", she is written as a violinist who had been admitted to Julliard.  So, I figured the hero's snooty family would look down on her until they discovered just how bad-ass of a violinist she is (I mean, wouldn't a snooty family revere a violinist who was admitted to the top performing arts school in the country?).  Yeah, well, I was a little off-base there...

Overall, I found the book to be well-written but it didn't linger in my mind once I finished it which is typical for a fun, beach read but I would not have expected this book to fall into that category.  There were plenty of serious issues such as the loss of parents, parents who appear to be incapable of love, and sexual violence but they seemed to blend in with the story overall.

I liked the heroine but, sadly, didn't quite buy into just how amazing she is.  I'm also a stickler for details in stories as, while I love a fairy tale romance, I don't like to get distracted by questioning little details.  Such as, how is she "paying off medical debt" and attending two college courses at a private university while working at a diner?  How did she go from living off of ramen soup to having the ingredients on hand for legitimate breakfasts and being able to feed a hockey player with an bottomless stomach?  Or, that she somehow ends up on track to finish school on time despite taking time off to care for her sick mother and then attending school only part-time for her "junior" year?  
While, I've spent all this time harping on the details, it's not fair to judge this book solely on that.  It really is rather well-written and has a natural flow to it.  I could truly empathize with the characters, completely understanding their viewpoints and motivations, and was really happy with the outcome of the book.  There was enough drama to keep things interesting but it managed to avoid being full of angst.  In fact, that sums up this book pretty well, it's a sweet story that manages to retain its light feel despite the serious circumstances and events.
Review (Amanda)

Sawyer Bennett beyond exceeded my expectations with this book. The characters pull at your heartstrings and make you root for them despite the hardships they have faced.

Danny is by all means unique. Whether it’s her life experiences or her physical features, she does not conform. Her appearance and strength are why Ryan is instantly attracted to her and why others judge her at first glance. Ultimately Danny is not what is expected and that is exactly what Ryan needs after a life completely planned out by his parents.

Danny is the dyed hair, eyebrow pierced waitress while Ryan is the captain of their college’s hockey team. They are from different worlds, but their story brings both worlds together.

The only downside to the book is that it is a quick read. The story progresses extremely quickly. If the book had been longer, it would have become easier to become heavily invested in Danny and Ryan’s love story.  The entire story takes place over the course of ten days as the duo quickly falls in love and work to conquer obstacles. They not only have to deal with their pasts, they also have to deal with the differences in class and the assumptions people make about others.

The biggest lesson learned from this book is simple. Don’t judge a book by its cover. If Ryan let what other people thought about Danny define their relationship he would have missed out on the greatest thing to happen to him.

Although Ryan is a hockey player, hockey does not play a major role in the story. Besides the fact that Danny attends a game and many of Ryan’s friends are hockey players, there is not nearly enough hockey for fans. Although realistically in ten days there is not much time for hockey to take place. For those who are not hockey or sports fans in general story, the story it’s self has so much more to it than the sport.

This NA book is definitely a fun and quick read. The writing is good, Danny is snarky and fun, and Ryan has his swoon worthy moments. The story is written in alternating POV, some quick changes, while others last full chapters. The POV alternates at the perfect moments to give readers plenty of insight into the minds of both Danny and Ryan.
Try it for yourself! Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK

Review of The Bane

26 Aug 2013


Before the Evolution there was TorBane: technology that infused human DNA with cybernetic matter. It had the ability to grow new organs and limbs, to heal the world. Until it evolved out of control and spread like the common cold. The machine took over, the soul vanished, and the Bane were born. The Bane won't stop until every last person has been infected. With less than two percent of the human population left, mankind is on the brink of extinction.

Eve knows the stories of the Evolution, the time before she wandered into the colony of Eden, unable to recall anything but her name. But she doesn't need memories to know this world is her reality. This is a world that is quickly losing its humanity, one Bane at a time.

Fighting to keep one of the last remaining human colonies alive, Eve finds herself torn between her dedication to the colony, and the discovery of love. There is Avian and West – one a soldier, one a keeper of secrets. And in the end, Eve will make a choice that will change the future of mankind.

The Bane is The Terminator meets The Walking Dead with a heart-twisting romance.

Previously published as Eden, due to reader demand it has been revamped and rereleased as The Bane: book one in The Eden Trilogy.


I first read this book a while ago under its original title Eden. When I heard that the book was being revamped to make it the first in a trilogy rather than a standalone I eagerly accepted the opportunity to review the new version.

The majority of the book has remained the same with the cybernetic zombie-like creatures originally named the Fallen being re-named The Bane one of the biggest changes along with a few storyline tweaks. Though I had read the book before the story did not bore me in the slightest. Even the second time round this book is still extremely exciting and the spelling improvements made for a more engrossing read.
The Bane is very unique in its premise; technology has evolved (with some semi-accidental help) to become a disease which spreads readily among humans turning them partly robotic and affecting the brain. Keary Taylor has also written a kick-ass heroine with a difference; don’t expect to meet many characters like Eve. She is unbelievably strong and smart, yet she sees the world differently to most people and struggles to understand people’s feelings, including her own.

This book has a love triangle which sometimes puts me off but it is remarkably well done. This is more of a true love triangle than most books which have a couple and then someone who comes along to make things difficult but everyone knows will never win. I honestly did not know who to root for in this book as West and Avian are both sexy and strong and would be great for Eve. In the end I was very happy with who was chosen (I was mainly happy that there WAS a choice).
I loved that The Bane brought together many elements. It is an apocalyptic world where the survivors must fight every day to live and there are also elements of sci-fi along with romance and a coming of age tale of self-discovery.

I greatly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to fans of dystopian/apocalyptic novels or to people who enjoy action mixed in with romance. I can’t wait to read book 2.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, this has not affected my opinions or rating in any way*
Try it for yourself! Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK

Stacking the Shelves / Showcase Sunday #28

25 Aug 2013
Showcase Sunday is hosted by Vicky @Books, Biscuits, and Tea and Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and they both give bloggers the opportunity to share the books they have received in the past week.
Yet again this week I got a lot of books from netgalley partially because I was sent pre-approved links for about 20 books (I actually resisted most). From today onwards I am requesting no more books from netgalley until I have given feedback on almost all I currently have. I also treated myself to a few books this week that I have been wanting to buy for ages.

This week I wrote a post about review requests which most people seem to like so far. See if you agree with what I say here.

As usual if you click on the book cover you will be taken to its Amazon page.

A huge thank you to Indigo, HarperFiction and Random House kids UK for these wonderful books. All of these are books that I am very excited to read.

This is an NA sci-fi novel that sounds unique and amazing. Thank you to Stephanie J Pajonas for the copy and the lovely review request.
Thank you to NAL/Berkley/Signet romance (Penguin), Harlequin Teen, Indie Inked, Elyssa Patrick, Scholastic, Marie Hall and Egmont USA for the lovely ebooks.

A downloaded a few cool looking freebies and most are still available for free if they interest you.
Taming Cross is a recently released sequel, HDU is a book by an author I love and I finally bought myself this book as a treat (was really good!). Pantomime and Shift are both books I have had my eye on for a while and are currently on sale for a limited time.
So what do you think? Are there any books you have read, plan to read or have just now caught your eye? Feel free to link to your Stacking the Shelves or equivalent post in the comments.