Saturday, 26 October 2013

Fireblood by Trisha Wolfe ~ ARC Review

Fireblood (Fireblood #1)
By Trisha Wolfe

Rating: 5+

'Just over four weeks ago, Prince Sebastian announced his intention to find a maiden to wed. As he's only nineteen, all assumed this was a move toward him taking the throne. A wife would mature him in the eyes of Karm.

The news had spread through the realm like wildfire. Or, how I imagine a wildfire would spread and consume if it were allowed. Every girl of age had gone into a frenzy. Hadley had talked about it nearly every day.

Not me. I watched my father wither.

The force field may imprison Karm, but Prince Sebastian has imprisoned me. I'm trapped in a prison within a prison.'

Becoming the prince's betrothed is an honour. An honour Zara would rather do without.

Out of all the eligible girls in Karm, Zara Dane is chosen to marry Prince Sebastian Hart. The news would be the cause of much celebration and joy to most girls, Zara's best friend Hadley included. But being told she's to be wed to the son of the man who ordered her father’s capture is a terrible sentence which Zara has no wish to see out. 

Prince Sebastian may have staked his claim. He may have have admitted to all of Karm that Zara belongs to him. But Zara belongs to no one but herself, and she will find a way to fulfil her father's final plea, no matter the cost: "Please, Zara. Do what you must to escape."

And escape she must.

Camelot was a dream, a fiction. Karm is real, and not at all perfect.

Trapped behind the towering stone walls of the Camelot-forged realm, Zara's days are filled with warding off the prince's unwanted advances and attending dull functions she has no desire to be apart of. No privacy is to be had, with guards forever lurking over her shoulder - especially with the prince's first knight, Sir Devlan Capra, constantly by her side. 

His shrewd mind and ability to sense Zara's inner turmoil make him a force to be reckoned with, and Zara cannot afford to have him foil her plans of escape. Nor can she afford to let her guard down, no matter how kind and honourable she may find him.

Everyone has secrets. Sometimes, they're even what keeps people who they are.

As the days pass, Zara begins to uncover the true foundations of King Hart's twisted rule - deception, convoluted plans and fickle agendas are the building stones of a world that is being torn apart from both ends. Suddenly no one is who they seem. Warring emotions plague Zara, as she is forced to make the ultimate choice: her freedom, or the realm's. To flee, or to join the Rebels and overthrow Hart once and for all.

But deception is a two way street.

The Rebels need Zara - she's their key to Hart, through his son. If Zara can sway Sebastian to aid the Rebels, victory will be theirs. They will able to save Zara's father, and the families of others who have been taken. 

As the wedding looms closer, Zara's time is running is Sebastian's. Because if she can't convince him, then he is the only thing standing in the Rebel's way. And they will have no choice but to take him out along with his father. 

Is Sebastian his father's son? Or is he the kind of ruler Karm, and the Rebels, need him to be?

Forces, fates and hearts collide in a tale that will sweep readers off their feet.

Trisha Wolfe's vivid and breathtaking story and its magical mix of dystopian elements, court intrigue, underground networks, fiery romance and, of course, the spectacular twist at it's conclusion, is a must-read this December. Accompany Zara on her journey and be amazed by the engaging nature of her tale, and the charming collection of characters you will meet along the way.

Join the fray. And fight for what truly makes us human - our freedom.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Guys VS Gals ~ Booknut's Ramblings

I decided today, to talk about how different guys and girls' tastes are when it comes to stories. 

Whether these stories are told by actors and actresses, or an author. Each gender seeks something different. 

But what? 
But why?

Hopefully this little spiel of mine provides both entertainment and insight into both genders and the battle faced by providers of stories to cater to our likes and dislikes.

And maybe it'll convince you that we're not so different after all!


It was a Friday night. 

I was tossing up between drowning my sorrows in hot chocolate, reading Pride and Prejudice for the twentieth time, or watching Pride and Prejudice for the fiftieth time. 

When all of a sudden I had the perfect idea. GIRLS NIGHT!

I headed over to my best friend's house, a copy of Sweet Home Alabama in hand. 

Together we gathered our supplies (popcorn, Allen's Lollies, chocolate for the emotional scenes and two boxes of Kleenex to be safe) before heading into her living room with the widescreen TV, ready to enjoy the movie...

...when we were thwarted. By Them.

Them. With a capital 'T'. Otherwise known as the opposite sex, the makers of inappropriate jokes, and the species that will test the female patience like none other.


My best friend's brothers to be exact. All four of them. Watching a bunch of guys in tight shirts and short shorts kick around a piece of sewn leather. Otherwise known as rugby.

"No!" I'd hissed, turning to my friend who was staring at her brothers as if seeing the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. "This is not happening! Tonight was meant to be our Patrick Dempsey and Josh Lucas swoon fest!"

My friend grimaced, lifting her shoulders slightly to indicate her helplessness. "But what do we do?"

And so began WWIII.

We started off with a few casual hints:

"Hey, guys, you know rugby looks really good on the other television."
"Wouldn't it be super nice if you guys had a room all to yourselves?"
"Why don't you all head out tonight?"

Which then progressed into bribery:

"The chocolate for the TV, fellas."

Which then turned into threats:

"I will scream. Loudly."
"Say bye bye to the TV remote, gentlemen!"

But nothing worked.

"What's so great about this movie, anyway?" Brother #1 asked, eyes never leaving the screen.

"It's so romantic," my friend gushed. "And that scene at Tiffany's...!"

"Bor-ing," yelled Brother #2.
"Yuck," agreed Brother #3.
"Yeah," backed up Brother #4.

Apparently all it took was for us to rig the DVD system, and to begin the movie for them to flee the room. But it was only one instance where I came to understand that guys and girls were as different as night and day.

As a book blogger, reader and amateur creative writer, I've been asked over the years by both guys and girls for book recommendations. 

Girls are always fun. And prepared. They'll give you a long list of the books they've read, what kind of romance story they like, what king of guys they'd like to read about and even give you specific genres from which to look into.

Guys...not so much!

I remember my first 'guy recommendation' (guymendation (?)). 

It was actually one of my best friend's brothers - Brother #1. The family were over at my place, and he was casually eyeing my bookshelves. All of a sudden he asks:

"Hey. Have any good books?"

I opened my mouth to say something like, "All my books are good books!" but I swallowed my bookworm pride and opted instead to say:

"Sure. I'll grab one for you."

And so started the terrifying process of picking a book for a guy.

He didn't like books with 'girly' romance. (Whatever that means.)
He didn't like books that had 'girly' endings. (Again - a little confused.)
He didn't like books that had 'girly' characters. (Okay. By then I was just offended.)

So what did he like?! I couldn't help but feel horrible. Recommendations were supposed to be easy, weren't they? Why was this so hard?

And then it hit me. 

And this is the message I want to leave with both sides of the war - girls and guys. That maybe it isn't that guys are too fussy, or girls are too fussy, or that we have such different tastes from one another. 

Maybe it's just that we THINK we're so different, and that there is a criteria for 'guy' stories, and 'girl' stories.

So...I made a decision.

"Take this one," I told him, shoving The Prophecy of the Gems into his hands.

He stared at it.
He held it out before him.
He stared at me.

And said. "Ah...what?!"

"Take it," I repeated calmly. "And read it."
"It's pink-"
"Take it."
"But it's girly-"
"Take it, read it, and if you hate it, I'll swear that I'll never force you to read another book in your whole life."

NB: Boys love dares. 

So he took it.

For those who've never heard of the book, here's a blurb:

'In a magical realm, three teenage girls-Jade, Opal, and Amber-are chosen to fulfil an ancient prophecy. Although they meet as strangers, they must learn to trust one another with their lives as they embark on an epic journey, armed only with magical stones. On the day of their fourteenth birthdays, they set out on a quest that will require them to leave their homes and families to face fierce enemies in an effort to save an enchanted land called Fairytale, where magic reigns and evil is unknown.

At the same time, in a parallel world, a young girl named Joa fights for her life in a hospital bed in Paris. While she is dreaming, she is transported to a magical realm where three young heroines fight a spectacular battle. Their success or failure will determine the fate of Fairytale…and Joa's survival.'

It had 'girly' romance.
It had a 'girly' ending'.
It had 'girly' characters.

And you know what?

He loved it.

I still remember listening to him go on and on about it the next time we saw eachother. He was analysing the characters, commenting on how the plot could have been a little different at this or that point. And I remember thinking that it felt good. It felt right that such a great book was being appreciated by both genders, despite it's 'girly' cover and the misconceptions that accompanied it.

"So," I'd said to him, smirking. "Ever gonna judge a book by its cover again?"

NB: Boys never admit when they are wrong.

It got me thinking. And I'll admit, after that I made an effort to seek out 'boy' books - books that I heard girls at school say were too 'guy' for them to read, books with weaponry, bloody battles and pages and pages on the political runnings of mysterious kingdoms. I read them, and enjoyed a great many of them.

Which led me to the conclusion that I have today: that we need to start ridding society of negative stereotypes associated with stories - both in books and movies. Girls should be seen as feminine even if they enjoy watching a good action-packed horror movie. Guys should be seen as masculine even if they admit to like watching The Notebook from time to time.

Because everyone deserves the chance to enjoy a good story no matter their gender.

So think on it. And let me know your thoughts below :)

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Nominated for the Liebster Award!

I can't believe it! I was nominated by the beautiful Smiley Sarah at Enchanted By A Book blog - and I just wanted to say a huge thank you to Sarah, and that I am truly humbled and honoured by her nomination. I'm so excited!!

So here's a little about this award:

It's an award for new/fun blogs. I can't believe that 21st Century Once Upon a Time's made the list! For those bloggers that I nominate, here are the rules that go along with the nomination:

- Link back the blogger that tagged you.
- Answer the questions of the one who tagged you.
- Nominate ten other blogs/bloggers.
- Ask ten questions for the bloggers you nominate.
- Let your nominees know of their awards and tag backs.

My Answers:

1. Have you ever heard a song that you thought described a book perfectly? If so, what book was it and what was the song?

OMG yes! That was Stand My Ground by Within Temptation for the book Splintered by AG Howard. It's all about the heroine facing her fears and realising that there's no escaping one's destiny - you have to embrace it. Not only were the lyrics a great match, but the music was simply gorgeous.

2. If you could have any power or ability from a book character, what would the power or ability be and which character is that from?

I'd love the ability to see the future, and decide which path/outcome I would follow, like Addison Coleman from Pivot Point by Kasie West.

3. Why, in your opinion, are books so much better than movies?

I guess it's because there are some things only your imagination can create. The sets, the actors, the script...they can only do so much. That spark, that allure that you gain from reading books and igniting your imagination can't be replicated. It just can't.

4. What is your favourite dessert or candy?

My favourite dessert has to be cheesecake. Salted caramel cheesecake. *sighs dreamy-eyed* I'm an unashamed cheesecake addict!

5. What is the closest casting choice (in a book to film) to how you imagined that character?

Alan Rickman as Snape. No competition! Every time I read the books now, I picture him ;)

6. What is the most unique book you have ever read?

Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith. It's also one of my favourites.

7. What is the coolest character name you have ever encountered in a book?

Definitely Morpheus from AG Howard's Splintered series! 

8. What is your all-time favorite book quote and what book was it from?

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.” ~ George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons.

9. What is a scene from a book that you wish the author would have done completely different? How would you have written that scene?
The final chapter of Harry Potter. I loved it, truly, I would have added more insight into the lives of each of the characters. The end felt so abrupt - it felt like losing close friends. I would have loved to have found out more about what Harry, Hermione and Ron ended up doing after Hogwarts. Did they complete the final years they missed? Did they become Aurors? I guess we'll just have to use our imaginations!

10. What is the craziest dream or nightmare that you've had? (Try to describe the crazy details.)

No joke. In mid-highschool I was in the Advanced Maths class. One night, I had a dream that I was in Maths class. I had to go through the entire class, solving complicated equations, getting most of them wrong and being utterly humiliated by my Maths teacher. By the end of the dream I was exhausted... only to wake up and realise I had double Maths that day!

*laughs* So, yep. That was some nightmare. I've had worse, but I could never remember the details.

Blogs I Nominated:

My Questions For Those Lovely Bloggers:

  1. What was the worse 'character death' you ever experienced and which book/book series was it from?
  2. What is the longest book you have ever read?
  3. If you could marry any book character who would it be, and which book/book series are they from?
  4. If you could live in any 'book world' (e.g. Middle Earth) which would it be?
  5. What is your favourite TV show to indulge in?
  6. The apocalypse is tomorrow! Time to prepare - which paranormal/supernatural being would you choose to be and why?
  7. What is your favourite dessert?
  8. Who's cuter - pirates or gypsies?
  9. The most interesting book/book series you've ever read is...?
  10. If you could compose one sentence by which the world would remember you by, it would be...?

A big thanks to Sarah once again and congratulations to the other nominees! :)

How Dare You?! HDU by India Lee ~ Review

HDU (HDU #1)
By India Lee

Rating: 5+

'Dear PrettyKitty29,

Hi, my name is Liam Brody. From the looks of your charming website, you've heard of me. Believe it or not, I've heard of you too. I was recently tipped off about your little gossip community. I probably shouldn't call it little. You are one of the busiest gossip communities on the Internet. 

Congratulations. I'm always impressed with people who manage to stay indoors so much. You must have a sufficient amount of Vitamin D.'

Looking for a book that puts A Cinderella Story,Gossip Girl and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days to shame?!

India Lee's stunning chick lit novel with a celebrity twist is a must-add to your TBR list. 

HDU is a work of art; a winning combination of the daunting world of stardom mixed with the realm of late-night blogging. With brilliantly delivered comedy, refreshingly real characters and an engaging and unpredictable plot, this novel is sure to go far with any reader who happens to be single, female, a lover of donuts, longing for a Princess Diaries-esque moment, or all of the above!

Amanda Nathan is a heroine with a fiery attitude, her blog posts on her site HDU - 'How Dare You?!' - witty and unrelenting as she tears apart the rich and shameless. 

Liam Brody, Hollywood bad boy, is often the target of her scorn - mainly because he's a womaniser, too good-looking, a horrid person...and too good-looking. 

But don't be fooled by this novel's simple blurb. What may seem like your typical YA/NA romance, featuring a guy with brooding expressions and magical eyes that make the heroine want to melt into a puddle of goo on the actually a hilarious story of a cute guy who's actually not so bad once you get to know him, a girl whose gossiping town will be the death of her, and the story of how they pretended to date so that both of them could achieve their dreams.

Interspersed with blog posts and comments, news headlines, sunglasses, ugly laughs, beautiful moments, sufficient amounts of Vitamin D, and a love that will have you wanting one of your own, HDU will dare youto take chances, make mistakes and follow your dreams wherever they take you. :)

Friday, 4 October 2013

Mystery & Mayhem ~ Thornhill by Kathleen Peacock Review

Thornhill (Hemlock #2) 
By Kathleen Peacock

Rating: 4.6

"You do know why I'm really here, don't you?"

I shook my head. I didn't. Not anymore.

Amy looked at me sadly, then glanced over her shoulder at the fountain. Something churned the leaves and gave off a sharp, metallic scent. With horror, I realised the liquid in the basin was blood. I scrambled to my feet, but Amy stayed sitting as though nothing were wrong.

She dipped her finger in the fountain and it came back coated red. "Things are about to get so interesting."

A search.

All Mac wants to do is track down Kyle and return with him to Hemlock. But how do you find someone that doesn't want to be found? It's no easy task, and with the Trackers hot on their heels, Mac is running out of time.

A raid.

Mac's ideal reunion is cut short as she and Kyle, along with a group of werewolves, are captured and sent to Thornhill, a rehabilitation camp for young werewolves - a camp shrouded in mystery. As they are assimilated into camp life, the dangers slowly reveal themselves...especially for Mac. 

If she tells those in charge she's a reg (a human) she might never see her friends again. But if she pretends to be one of the wolves, she's playing a dangerous game that may cost her her life.

A living nightmare.

Werewolves begin to disappear. Training regimes test the wolves physically and mentally. Cameras watch their every move. 

And the question remains: will Mac manage to uncover the dark secrets of Thornhill and save her friends before it's too late? 

Hearts collide, alliances crumble and form, horrors unfold and ghosts make their re-appearances in this thrilling sequel that is sure to have you on the edge of your seat!

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Quick Picks: The Cute Girl Network

The Cute Girl Network

By M.K. Reed, Greg Means & Joe Flood

Rating: 3.7

The Cute Girl Network is a testament to modern day love stories. A graphic novel with a chick-lit twist, it provides a romantic comedy that will touch both the heart and the funny bone!

Although the storyline can tend to become stagnant at times, it's very hard not to like the two main protagonists, Jane and Jack. Their relationship - from the jokes, stumbling, stuttering and the awkwardness to the locked gazes and sweet smiles - is cheesy...and yet weirdly satisfying. Despite its somewhat juvenile format, the novel lends its characters a depth not often reflected in graphic novels. Jane and Jack both deal with issues close to the heart: who to love, if to love, and whether or not love can win despite the odds in today's world. 

So if you're into chick lit, detailed illustrations, or are simply looking for a book to lift your spirits, pick up The Cute Girl Network and give it a try today.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Splintered Novella THE MOTH IN THE MIRROR ~ TBR!

The Moth In The Mirror

By A.G. Howard

'In this 40-page story, both Morpheus and Jeb get their say on what they think of Alyssa, her journey through Wonderland, and where she truly belongs...'

Are you excited for the Splintered novella?
What do you like about the cover?
Which Splintered character do you hope will make an appearance?

Let me know below!

 - For more info check out AG Howard's site here
 - To pre-order go here
 - Goodreads page here

Quick Picks ~ Demon Kissed by H.M. Ward

Demon Kissed (Demon Kissed #1)
By H.M. Ward

Rating: 4.3

"Your passion will keep you alive Ivy Taylor, but it will also risk your soul. It dictates what you do, how you live, and with whom you lay your loyalties. Oh child. You have so much good in you, and so much darkness too.."

A kiss is no big deal...right?

Sure. If the guy you're kissing isn't a soul-thirsty demon intent on ending your life.

From the moment Ivy Taylor is demon-kissed her life will never be the same again.

Enter a tale of angel-picked individuals, soul seeking demons, dreadful prophecies, tirades of secrets and a love that defies all odds. Demon Kissed by H.M. Ward is another thrilling paranormal romance novel which is sure to have you craving more!

He Was A Boy, She Was A Girl ~ Love & Skate by Lila Felix Review

Love and Skate
By Lila Felix

Rating: 4 

NA romance is like a packet of Allen's Lollies - sometimes, you'll get a handful of your faves...and sometimes you'll get one or two liquorice flavoured jelly babies which will ruin your day.

Well Love and Skate was definitely not a liquorice jelly baby! (Unless you happen to love liquorice flavoured confectionary) 

Love and Skate is a NA romance with a punk twist, introducing two characters who you will grow to love, root for, and cry over during the course of this novel.

The first of them, being our main protagonist/roller derby gal, Nellie Forrester:

"Yes Mom, I know that I'll never find anybody who loves me with blue hair. That's why I dyed it pink."

Nellie's straightforward personality, wit and charm create a character who has depth and a brain where most female characters only have air and 'feelings'. She has the rare female character ability to see the difference between love and lust - and to only accept the former. 

With a strength built up from years of heartache and a lack of acceptance from her family, Nellie is ready to take on anything. 

Including Owen Black:

'I stood stunned. She had known me less than a week and had me all figured out. She pecked me on the lips and left me standing there in the parking lot, standing on the line that marked where her car was. But instead of feeling betrayed, I felt freed.'

Owen and Nellie are basically two peas in a pod. 

With his own skeletons in the closet, Owen has a hard time with trust - something that he admits he struggles to come to terms with on a daily basis. Yet, be ready to throw your fangirl pom-poms up and down, because this tattooed mountain of maleness is...

*drum roll*


That's right, ladies! He may have tats, but the guy has more chivalry packed into his frame than most clean-cut guy characters have at the end of a novel. 

Owen and Nellie's relationship spans across a little over 200 pages, and is allowed to grow, and to be explored by the reader in all its facets - good, bad, ugly. And downright adorable. 

So if you like novels about cute guys who meet feisty girls who happen to like playing at roller derbies, you'll definitely like Love and Skate

Although, be prepared to do this more than once:
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