Sunday, 28 April 2013

Natural Born Angel ~ Review

Natural Born Angel (Immortal City #2)
By Scott Speer

Rating: 4.5

"I know that even though most of the Archangels during the Troubles have since resigned, some of you could have been against my father and mother, what they stood for, and are probably against me now. But I know that this Immortal Ring should mean the same for everyone in the this room - even if they are a jerk. And I believe what it means, too."

ANNOUNCEMENT: The much-anticipated angel novel of the decade has ARRIVED! Jackson Godspeed's 'THE SHOE IS ON THE OTHER FOOT' now available worldwide!

It's so nice to know that you and your boyfriend can share near-death experiences and still have relationship issues. It keeps things comfortable, doesn't it? Knowing that he's such a hot,insecure egotistical jackass who needs a good bitch slap mess. And that when you need him to be there for you the most...he bails.

The words of Beyonce's Run The World float through my mind at this point: 'To other men that respect what I do please accept my shine.'

You know, there's nothing worse than a hypocritical guy. Especially the kind that love life when the spotlight's on them, but not so much when the girl's the one doing all the shining. 

The first book was a nightmare for Maddy - she had to put up with being Jackson's 'human' girlfriend, the paparazzi, him being in the spotlight, him being busy with interviews, photoshoots, etc, horrid ex-girlfriends, matters of life and death, and more. But she stayed by Jackson's side. And he was so sweet, too. He let her know that she mattered to him, first and foremost.

And you would expect that if the SHOE WAS ON THE OTHER FOOT Jackson would step up to the plate, right? That he would allow Maddy to have her turn in the spotlight with a total lack of jealousy and 100% support.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha

Instead he's like the green-eyed PMS monster. He doesn't attend functions, avoids her, acts grumpy as and then has the audacity (god I love that word - it sounds so Austen-y), the AUDACITY to blame her!! 

And then we come to the cliffhanger.

Where Jackson gives her an ultimatum. Because he thinks he has the freaking right to.

And he doesn't even let her get a darn word in edgewise. Just like a typical guy. 

Plus he already made her decision for her; he's just informingher of the turn of events without even considering that maybe, just maybe, she has a MIND OF HER OWN AND WOULD LIKE TO MAKE HER OWN CHOICES. That may she has a life outside of Almighty Jackson The-Sun-Shines-Through-My-Ass Godspeed. That maybe she is kind, sweet and compassionate. 

Jackson: You're on the side of the angels.
Maddy: Jackson will you just listen to me-
Maddy: Jackso-
Me: Let me show you how it's done *moves Maddy aside*

Me: Oh really?! (followed up by a roundhouse kick)

Show some spunk Mads! FEMALE POWER!!

And Tom is one delicious little fighter jet (lol, 'cause he's a pilot get it?!). I look forward to seeing the role he plays in the next book. I love that bit when he stalks up to Jackson and defends Maddy:
'"You might want to appreciate what you have, rather than take it for granted like everything else in your life," Tom said, mere inches from Jackson's face.'

*swipes eyes* Oh, Tom. My hero!

Overall, I enjoyed this book immensely and am now emotionally scarred until Book 3 comes out :)

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Shallow Pond by Alissa Grosso ~ ARC Review

Shallow Pond
By Alissa Grosso

Rating: 4.2

'I guess I should have seen it coming. History has a tendency of repeating itself, and the Buntings had already shown themselves pretty much incapable of getting out of Shallow Pond. I don't know why I thought I should be different.'

Shallow Pond is a normal town where nothing ever happens.

Barbara 'Babie' Bunting has lived in Shallow Pond all her life. And the only image of it she finds appealing is that of it getting smaller and smaller as she drives away to college. College means a new beginning, change, excitement and a chance to be known as something other than the youngest Bunting sister, constantly living in the shadow of her two older sisters.

'I held out my hand to him.
"Friends?" I asked.
"Friends," he agreed and shook it.'

Babie has seen what a broken heart can do. And she swears she won't let herself fall for anyone - ever.

But when Zach Faraday walks into Shallow Pond, Babie begins to realise that she can't always control her life, or how she feels. And that sometimes falling can be the sweetest death of all, losing your heart completely to another person.

Shallow Pond is a town with unexpected depths. And something dark lurks beneath the deceptively still surface.

Mysterious illnesses, fake ashes, old friends, tangled memories, coincidences and old photographs all combine to create a vivid picture - forming the base of a secret that not only changes everything Babie thinks she's ever known, but will make her questions herself and the ones she loves.

Sometimes a reflection is just as powerful as the real thing.

Be prepared to be shocked, as Shallow Pond leads you on a tale that is misleadingly mundane...until the truth comes to light. Part sci-fi, part romance, this story is not one you want to miss.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

One Novel To Rule Them All ~ Scrap by Emory Sharplin ARC Review

By Emory Sharplin

Rating: 5+

“In the name of the King, halt!"
"In the name of your duty, catch me!”'

A cross between Celine Kiernan's The Poison Throne, Tamora Pierce's Trickster's Choice and The Lord of the RingsScrap is an adventurous tale with enough magic, adventure, cussing, ballgowns, thievery, gypsies, poison and court intrigue to have you hooked from start to finish!

Hellip, a village in the vast empire of the cruel King Ibis, holds more than brutal Blackcoats, poverty, bloodied scaffolds and misery. Tucked away in a run-down orphanage lives twelve-year-old Tucker Scrap - baker's assistant, thief and as much as an enigma as the enchanted bracelet and the words on the note that were left with Tucker on the doorstep.

'Don't let her die.'

But when a girl named Vivian arrives to sweep Tucker away, Tucker never could have imagined what she faced outside of Hellip's dark streets. Intent on being re-united with her orphanage friends Ash and Kally - both who had vanished from Hellip without a word - Tucker agrees to go with Vivian.
But there's more ahead of her than dress fittings, etiquette lessons and rules. Vivian holds the secrets to Tucker's past and to her future. Tucker is more than just an orphan - more than just a thief.

'You could always count on serendipity to keep things interesting.'

In fact, Tucker could hold the fate of the kingdom in her palm...the only one with the will, strength and raw power to save it at last from Ibis' iron rule.



Scrap is a tale that will find its niche in your heart and stay with you forever - with its breathtaking take on magic, loveable cast of characters, colourful swear words, wit, talented twists and turns, exasperating gypsies, mayhem and abundant collection of 
weaponry, it is sure to captivate you unlike any other story to date!

A few of my favourite quotes:

 - 'Napier surfaced next to her and propped his arms on the ledge. "I meant to ask - can you swim?"
"No," she said through chattering teeth, "Actually I can't."
He cocked his head to the side and looked perplexed. "Your lips are blue."
"I'm cold," she said curtly.
"Want me to warm you up?" he asked, grinning.
"I'd rather be cold," she snapped, hating him more by the second.'

 - 'Leave the bragging for the idiots, she had decided. And leave the idiots for the scaffold.'

 - '“I think love and hate intertwine far too much for humanity's own good, yet we choose to compare them like vinegar and water.”'

 - 'Napier grinned. "I'm flattered."
"I'm sure you are," Colt said. "You've always been optimistic in your interpretations.'

Gowns & Crowns ~ Sworn To Raise ARC Review

Sworn To Raise (Courtlight #1)
By Terah Edun

Rating: 3.8 

'"You know," said Prima with a hint of cruelty in her voice, "If you really wanted to learn how to pay respect to the ground, I would have had Teachene show you."

Going stiff with ire at the girl's dig at her friend, Ciardis retorted, "It takes a dirt kisser to know one, Prima. Perhaps you should teach me."'

An interesting combination of court intrigue, medieval-esque politics, ancient magic and the painstaking trials of etiquette involved in becoming a true 'lady', Sworn To Raise is a tale to look out for.

Ciardis is of gypsy origin partially, which made her a fierce, fiery and intelligent heroine for the most part. 

Her being taken to be trained to become a companion - the process involving makeovers, new dresses, lessons, never-ending critique, and more - is very reminiscent of The Princess Diaries. Especially that scene in the movie when they're sitting in the screening room and looking at the profiles for potential husbands! 

A similar scene is shown in this book, with the girls being told to memorise the family histories and information folders on the men who wish to 'court' them.

The tale has a good use of humour, which broke up the storyline and made a refreshing change from the tough-love of Ciardis' mentor Serena - 'Defence was probably better described as 'how to hide pointy things in your dress and curtsey without stabbing yourself,' but it was actually quite fun.'

The only critique I have was that this story tended to lack cohesiveness. 

The only way I can explain it is that too many extra elements were added that seemed to clutter the storyline - and points that should have been given the time to mature, and grow, were often rushed. 

Ciardis' decision to leave to become a companion is quicker than blinking, the prince asks for her help and barely knows her, and then there's this maze competition which you would assume is part of the main plot (a.k.a her becoming a companion) but then the prince drags her away from it to aid him in another plot.

The problem wasn't the lack of entertainment, or interest. Rather that I think too many plotlines were being juggled at the one time. 

Her becoming a companion, her being a descendant of that esteemed magic-carrying family, the land dying, the prince being lied to, court was too much to take in and felt forced at times. Perhaps some of these elements could have been addressed in a future novel in the series - or the length of the book could have been altered to allow them to have time to take root properly.

But all in all this was a pleasant novel to read. 

If you love a novel with weaponry, court intrigue, wit and a spark of romance, Sworn to Raise has these in abundance and is the perfect pick for you!

Outsiders by Bail Vaughn ~ Review

The Outsiders
By Bailey Vaughn

: 1.9

I tried really hard to be open minded about this book - like with every book I set out to read. I'm kinda like a HSC examiner or marker - I'm looking to give the student as many marks as I can, but I can only mark what they give me. This book was like a coal mine. There were plenty gold nuggets...they were just hidden deep within it. They weren't mined and given the chance to shine.

The storyline was jumpy - skipping months between chapters. It was very like a fanfiction in composition, which wasn't necessarily a bad thing. However, the main protagonist was very hard to like. She was (for lack of a better word) loud, frank and slightly hysterical at times.

The events that made up the plot didn't flow together. It was almost like they appeared out of thin air - jigsaw pieces from different puzzles trying to fit together. From visiting missionaries and cute guys, to secret parties, to secret relationships (love at first sight is promoted - relationships happen out of nowhere!), shootings, takeovers and people finding out they're...pregnant.

Again; there were times when we reached a crossroads and I thought "It would be so cool if the opportunity was taken to let the story go differently, or take that path." But that option was never chosen. The story just kept wandering a little aimlessly, to be honest, which made it difficult to engage with.

I look forward to seeing more works from this author in the future - ones that hopefully keep up the powerful narrative voice and connect with the reader a little more. This is a good book for a light read - that explores several ethical, as well as common dystopian, issues.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Confessions of an Almost-Girlfriend ~ ARC Review

Confessions of an Almost-Girlfriend (Confessions #2)
By Louise Rozett

Rating: 5+

'Instead of closing the door to get away from the mirror like I usually do, I stand there and take a good look.

It's weird. I'm disappointed when I look in the mirror but it's not because I don't like what I see. I mean, I don't, but that's not what bugs me. What bugs me is that what I see in the mirror doesn't match what I see in my head. In my head, I'm prettier than I am in real life, so when I look in the mirror and see what I see, I feel let down. And also a little crazy.

Where did I get that image in my head if not from the mirror?'

Sometimes we need a little change.

If there is one thing Rose Zarelli has learnt from her experiences, is that if you want something done, you need to do it yourself. Hence, her brilliant plan to be 'Rose 2.0' for her sophomore year.

A new Rose. A stronger Rose. A more talented, independent Rose that is going to wow everyone around her with her sass, killer voice and new image.

A Rose that doesn't lock herself in her room for three days with no food or communication with the outside world.
A Rose that doesn't let what other people think about her penetrate the defences she's constructed for herself.
A Rose that deals with death rather than being exposed and made grief-stricken by it.
A Rose that doesn't hang on to every word that falls from Jamie Forta's perfect lips.

Rose 2.0 will be different. But will she be real?

Life is a balancing act. But Rose doesn't know how to juggle.

Everyone needs something from her - each person needs her to be someone different. Tracy needs Rose the Best Friend, Mrs. Zarelli needs Rose Sane And Moving-On Daughter, Peter needs Rose the Mature Younger Sister, her teachers need Rose the Responsible Student and Jamie needs Rose to just forget about him and move on to better things.

It's enough to drive a person crazy. And Rose is slowly losing her hold - not only on her image as Rose 2.0, but on the people she truly cares about, as they get swept up by Change, moving on with their lives.

Rose can't let go. And they can't hold on.

As trouble in and out of school rises to the surface, hearts are mended and broken, and tensions reach their breaking point, Rosie must decide for herself who she is and who she wants to be.

And if they can't handle Rose 2.0, then that's their loss.

My thoughts:

This book was painful to read. What I mean is, that it was painful because Louise's beautifully woven story - it's raw dialogue, real, unpretentious characters and heart-wrenching evoking of emotions - cut me to the core, making me see myself in a way I never had before. I don't know if I can say I can 100% relate to Rose (her story is far too complex for that), but I saw myself in her.

Louise captures those moments in life that change us for better or for worse - and she captures them with a skill rarely seen in modern literature. Her characters are as flawed as you and me, their words aren't mediated before hand. Rosie has awkward moments, she has a temper, she says things she shouldn't and isn't a perfect heroine. You love her, you hate her, you want to shake her and you want to hold her in your arms as she cries. You want to ask the world why it has drawn her this lot in life - why no one can see the struggles she goes through.

And then you realise that it's because we all have our own cross to bear.

I've had personal experiences that remind me a lot of Rosie's. There have been times in our lives when we have reached out to people and they've written us off. They've shut us down. They've tried to 'fix' the problem only to make it worse.

'"His life sucks right now," Jamie says.
"Yeah, well, so does mine," I answer.
"No shit," Jamie says, making it completely clear that he doesn't understand my lack of compassion.
I don't either, to be honest.'

It reminded me a lot of The Breakfast Club - which I happened to be watching yesterday evening, coincidently. There's that bit where they're all sitting on the floor together. Each one has issues, but each one sees their problems as bigger than everybody else's. But they find common ground in the fact they all have struggles. They become stronger.

What was aggravating about Rosie's situation was that often there was no right or wrong way.

It's not like it's black and white - like murder, for example. People have their own problems and secrets. And when you become privy to them, that opens up a realm of problems for you. Do you tell someone else? Do you help them at the expense of them hating you for it? Do you keep their secret and watch them suffer?

Rosie learns that you have to be yourself, as cliche as that sounds. She learns that it doesn't matter if you don't do something their way - it doesn't make your way wrong if it differs from theirs. You live with your own decisions.

'I did the wrong thing, and I lost him for real.
But did you do the wrong thing? Jamie thinks it was the wrong thing. But do you?
No. I don't.
I didn't do what Jamie would have wanted me to do, but that doesn't mean it was wrong.'

This is a fascinating, mind-blowing emotional rollercoaster of a book, that I am incredibly humbled to have been given the privilege of reading an ARC of. A big thank you to Louise, Netgalley and Harlequin Publishing :)

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Hana Yori Dango ~ Ink by Amanda Sun ARC Review

Rating: 4.6/5

'There's a saying in Japan, and it has to do with cherry-blossom viewing - hana yori dango. Dumplings over flowers.

It basically means that someone should value needs over wants, substance over appearance...Don't get carried away by beauty if it leaves you empty...'

The most beautiful places - and people - can be filled with the darkest secrets. Behind friendly faces, smiles and facades of happy lives can lie an emptiness that can't be filled.

And no one knows that better than Katie Greene.

The loss of her mother doesn't make it any easier for Katie to move to Shizuoka, Japan. There's the new language, the new culture, the new people...all Katie wants to do is be back home, not stuck with her aunt in Japan with Amerika-jin all but stamped across her forehead. Without Katie uttering a word, people have already decided that she's a foreigner - out of place from her bright hair to her limited knowledge of Japanese. 

And Katie's fine with that. She has no plans on remaining in Japan for long, anyway.

'My heart was glass - easy to see through, simple to break.'

But Fate has more in store for Katie, whether she likes it or not. Tomohiro - handsome, scathing and distant - seems to be on a collision course with Katie, cropping up near her when she least expects it. And wherever he is, trouble follows.

But it's not the kind of trouble you can deal with. Not when it's the stuff of nightmares.

Because whenever Tomohiro is around, ink - drawings, pens, sketches - come to life, springing from the page. Sometimes harmless, but sometimes vicious, they seem to be everywhere Katie looks. Tomohiro insists that he has nothing to do with it. He tells Katie it's all in her head. But Katie isn't going to be put off that easily. Tomohiro is an ink well of secrets - secrets that may be darker than Katie expects. Secrets that have links - not to mundane, ordinary powers. No; secrets that have links to the gods.

Katie and Tomohiro are drawn together, but his secrets and his destiny may just tear them apart.

My thoughts:

This book was incredible. 

Not only the story - but the attention to detail and how the author, Amanda, plunges you the reader into her world thoroughly. You don't feel disconnected. The drawings and sketches littered throughout the pages (which are of an outstanding quality), the use of Japanese terms and phrases (which are accompanied by brief explanations!) and the balance of fiction with reality are all key elements to what makes this book great.

Japan has such a rich, wonderful culture - and Amanda has treated it with respect, even through Katie's 'foreigner' viewpoint. Japanese culture is so much more than Japan the country, its food, its sites and its entertainment. The way people react to situations (e.g. hugging is often a 'no-no'!), how how you say a person's name gives so much insight into your relationship with that's overwhelming, but beautiful. 

We as readers are treated to a slice of Japan, mixed with an incredible take on Japanese mythology with characters that are many-faceted and who you will grow to love, and even hate! 

What really grabbed me was the detail with which Amanda describes the ink coming to life - as if she herself has seen it! It's so vivid that if you close your eyes, you could imagine it straight off. That is writing magic right there!

A big thank you to Netgalley and Harlequin Teen (and Amanda) for giving me the chance to read and review this book :)

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Salvation by Skyla Madi ~ Review

Salvation (Guardian Angel #3)
By Skyla Madi

Rating: 5

'"I'm not going to risk it."

His statement saddened me - if not for love, then what else? I was willing to risk everything for Eli except for one thing, and that was his life. Leaving him was the most selfless and selfish thing I'd ever done, but I didn't regret it.'

Love is a safehaven.

But when your very presence can put the ones you love in danger, sometimes you have to sever ties. Sometimes you have to pretend you're heartless - that your heart doesn't bleed, doesn't cry out with every step you take away from them.

Sometimes you have to run and just keep running, doing anything; anything if it will save the lives of those you love.

Ruby has never blended in.

And now is no different. She may have her magicked charm, that changes her appearance, but it can't hide the scent, the life, that clings to her. Nothing will undo what she is - a goddess. And it because of what she is, and the danger she faces from the blood-thirsty vampire Lucian, that she has to hide in the first place.

But Hide and Seek can't be played alone.

Ruby may be doing her best to hide, but too many people are searching for her, wanting her to be found. Hunter is on her heels; his feelings for her and his new demeanour - the latter one of the many downsides of his being a vampire - too intense for her to handle. But Ruby can't bring herself to end the life of a former friend...a friend who saved the life of the guardian angel she loves with all her heart.


Ruby may be severing ties - but some ties just can't be severed.

Sanctums are normally 'private places from which most people are excluded' (or so the definition goes...) but Sage Sanctum isn't excluding Ruby. Far from it. Ruby receives an invitation from Ivan Aleksandrov - requesting her presence back at Sage Sanctum.

Torn, Ruby longs to return but is painfully aware of what her presence there could mean. She'd be killing the last sliver of safety those she cares about have. Reminding herself that is only for a few days, she accepts the invitation...and is soon on her way back to where it all began.

But Mr Aleksandrov is not the only one that wants Ruby back. The council are more than eager to have Ruby return; her return suiting a mysterious purpose of theres that, when it comes to light, may change everything Ruby has ever known or guessed about what she is - and what she is capable of doing.

True love never dies.

As hard as Ruby tries to ignore the bond and the emotions that lie between them, she can't deny how her heart - her whole being - reacts to seeing Eli De Luca. The love of her life. The one thing she wants more than anything else. The one thing she can't have.

Eli treats Ruby with a casual politeness - but his polite words and lack of proximity can't quite disguise the hurt he harbours over her actions...actions done to save him. But just as frustration, guilt and hot tempers lie beneath this pair's facades of indifference, so does a burning attraction and love that has yet to be extinguished.

The battle is far from over. Salvation is just out of reach.

But Ruby will fight with everything she has to achieve it. To end Lucian and his malevolent plans. To protect Sage Sanctum and the gods and goddesses that pace within its walls. To see a world where angels and goddesses can find love without persecution.

To find that happy ending and make it hers.

Filled with adventure, Salvation is the next gripping instalment in the Guardian Angel series by Skyla Madi. Open the book and let yourself be pulled between the pages into a world unlike any other!

Poison To Touch ~ Touch of Death by Kelly Hashway Review

Touch of Death (Touch of Death #1)
By Kelly Hashway

Rating: 4.3

What if your kiss could kill? What if your touch was poisonous?

Odds are you'd not be in a hurry to scout out a date for prom...or help out at the local animal shelter.

Jodi Marshall's life is getting weirder and weirder...

Animals dying and coming back to life in a zombie-like state, a cute stalker with startling green eyes - none of this spells 'normal'. And when her stalker, Alex, informs Jodi that she's a necromancer or an 'Ophi' - a descendant of Medusa, born under the 13th sign of the zodiac, Ophiuchu - Jodi's life will never be the same. 

Suddenly being a normal teenager is no longer an option. Not when the tiniest drop of her blood, or the touch of her skin or lips could kill those she loves. 

Having poisoned blood in her veins isn't even the start of it. Jodi is also the Chosen One.

Hades has been taking out his wrath on the Ophi for decades. Jodi's the missing piece of the prophecy; the Ophi, directly descended from Medusa who will save her kind from perishing at Hades' hands. 

But the Ophi are a complicated, secretive lot. And some secrets are deadlier than any poison.

The line between friend and foe is blurred as Jodi is taken to meet the other Ophi - some of them ecstatic at her arrival, others boiling with jealousy and foul plans. But as Jodi uncovers her family history and the dark mysteries that surround the Ophi that have taken her under their wing, she begins to doubt their intentions.

Are they there to help train her to save the world...or are they there to help in ending the threat she presents?

Mythology, romance, humour and the paranormal create an addictive concoction that will undoubtedly steal your breath away - paralyse you - and have you wanting more!

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Pawn (Nightmare Trilogy #1) Book Trailer and Cover Release!

Pawn (Nightmare Trilogy #1)

Author: Sophie Davis
Release date: April 26, 2013
Genre: Young Adult Urban Fantasy
Formats: eBook & Paperback
Other Novels: The Talented Saga: Talented, Hunted, Caged, Captivated, Created

Sophie Davis Giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Social Networks:
Twitter: SophieDavisBook


Coming April 2013…SALVATION!


In the aftermath of a battle that forced Ruby to flee the safety of the guardian angels, she settles into a small town, hoping to blend in and forget about the ones she loved. It isn’t until Hunter stumbles across her working in a bar and a well-timed email from Ivan Aleksandrov that she realised she could go back to Sage Sanctum—for a few days, at least.

Out for revenge, Lucian will stop at nothing until he has Ruby for himself, but he isn’t the only one that needs her. The council, a group of gods/goddesses have a mysterious hand in Ruby’s return to Sage Sanctum and Mr Aleksandrov is eager to find out what it is.

Destroying Lucian is the least of her worries when Ruby comes face to face with Eli De Luca, the love of her life. It seems her departure has affected him more than she thought it would, but his frustration with her isn’t strong enough to hide the electricity that crackles relentlessly between them.

Determined to end her very real nightmare once and for all, Ruby fights the biggest battle of her life, one that affects not only her, but everyone involved.



Skyla Madi was born in the small town of Port Maquarie, New South Wales in
1993. She spent half her life growing up in Wauchope, a thriving rural town at the heart
of the Hastings River Valley before making the leap to the busy city of Brisbane.

Whenever this young Australian writer isn’t changing diapers, watching cartoons, cooking for her husband or doing other motherly-wife things she is actively working on her writing and improving her writing skills.

Skyla loves to read just as much as she loves to write and since discovering that YA/paranormal romance/urban fantasy/ are her favourite genres, she has embarked on her own writing journey and is currently working on a YA series titled ‘Your Guardian Angel’.

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