Sunday, 19 October 2014

Book Review (396): The Fall - Bethany Griffin

The Fall

Genre: Horror
Age Appropriate: Young Adult

The Fall is based on the Edgar Allen Poe story The Fall Of The House Of Usher, while I've never read this story or anything by him at all, this book has left me intrigued enough to at some point seek out some of his works.

This was written in a jumbled way with each chapter jumping around to the main character Madeleine's various ages throughout the story, but all mixed up, we start the book when she's eighteen then move to say her ninth, then something else etc, while it was an interesting way to write the book quite often once I'd started a new chapter I'd have to go back to read how old she was in the chapter heading, so while I did end up confused at times I still really enjoyed this book.

The Usher family is cursed, especially those that inhabit The House Of Usher, the house seems to be alive and with each generation finds a favorite and does it's best to keep that person beholden in it's interiors forever, until their untimely deaths at a young age which is the fate of the Usher family legacy, that and the sickness which causes fits and the loss of any sense of time.

Madeleine has been chosen over her twin brother Roderick as the chosen heir of the house, when she was younger she believed that the house protected her, it wasn't until after Roderick is sent away to school to hopefully escape the curse that she soon realises that the house is evil, and it destroys everyone and everything that resides in it.

With the appearance of a young Dr Winston who will be assisting the other two doctors in residence at the house, it's not long till he too succumbs to the evilness that hides in the walls and Madeleine finds herself even more of a prisoner than she ever was, she plans to find a way to escape and leave the house forever, but will the house ever let her go or will she end up like all the rest of her ancestors that met a tragic end, never to leave.

I wasn't a fan of the open-ended finale to to this book, I'd rather be told by the author what happens instead of trying to figure it out myself, that is the one thing I found most disappointing about this story.

But all in all this was a creepy tale that was made even more disturbing reading it at night and hearing noises, my imagination did run wild, especially with the events that happen inside the house in this book, this would be a perfect Halloween read for those who like to scare themselves with tales like this.

Quite enjoyable.

I give this 4/5 stars.

1.I didn’t ever really give up on writing, I just went through a long period where all I wanted to do was READ. I’d write a paragraph, read a book or two, write another paragraph. And for a long time, all of my creativity was consumed by teaching.
2.At some point the creativity reasserted itself and I wrote Handcuffs. It was a book that I needed to write, and I still love it very much.
3.After Handcuffs I spent some time figuring out what I wanted to write, what I could add to the world of literature that was different and unique. After several learning manuscripts, I wrote my Masque of the Red Death.
4.It’s actually quite bizarre to see myself listed as the author of Masque of the Red Death (Poe’s story is The Masque of the Red Death).

Website + Facebook + Twitter + Goodreads

Saturday, 18 October 2014

(ARC) Book Review (395): Mortal Gods (Goddess War #2) - Kendare Blake

Mortal Gods (Goddess War #2)

Publication: 14th October 2014
Publisher: Tor Teen
Pages: 341
Genre: Fantasy/Mythology
Age Appropriate: Young Adult
Ares, God of War, is leading the other dying gods into battle. Which is just fine with Athena. She's ready to wage a war of her own, and she's never liked him anyway. If Athena is lucky, the winning gods will have their immortality restored. If not, at least she'll have killed the bloody lot of them, and she and Hermes can die in peace.

Cassandra Weaver is a weapon of fate. The girl who kills gods. But all she wants is for the god she loved and lost to return to life. If she can't have that, then the other gods will burn, starting with his murderer, Aphrodite.

The alliance between Cassandra and Athena is fragile. Cassandra suspects Athena lacks the will to truly kill her own family. And Athena fears that Cassandra's hate will get them ALL killed.

The war takes them across the globe, searching for lost gods, old enemies, and Achilles, the greatest warrior the world has ever seen. As the struggle escalates, Athena and Cassandra must find a way to work together. Because if they can't, fates far worse than death await.
My Thoughts.
I love books featuring Greek Mythology, while usually most books are retelling's of famous couples in Greek lore, this series is unique in that the Gods and Goddesses of ancient times are alive and present in the current day.

With the main focus on Athena, Hermes and Cassandra Of Troy (reincarnated in the present day), they are in the midst of war against Hera, Aphrodite, Ares and countless others I'm sure we don't know about yet.

With all of the Gods and Goddesses dying of an affliction associated with their given powers, they are hoping to find a way to stop their deaths, while at the same time not being completely sure of why this is happening.

Without giving too much away, we pick up the story after the devastating end of Antigoddess, with the addition of some new characters in Odyseuss, Achilles and Calypso to join team Athena, having the two weapons of war as they are known in Cassandra and Achilles, hope is on her side, but not everything goes to plan and we are left with a bit of a cliffhanger that will leave you desperate to get your hands on the next book.

Kendare's writing has a way of drawing you into the story and keeping you absorbed all the way to the very end.

Packed with action, suspense and vengeance this was a great instalment to this series.

An exciting and refreshing take on the Greek Mythology, this is one series that has me captivated and thirsty for more!

I give this 4/5 stars.

Kendare Blake is an import from South Korea who was raised in the United States by caucasian parents. You know, that old chestnut. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Ithaca College and a Master’s degree in Writing from Middlesex University in London. She brakes for animals, the largest of which was a deer, which sadly didn’t make it, and the smallest of which was a mouse, which did, but it took forever. Amongst her likes are Greek Mythology, rare red meat and veganism. She also enjoys girls who can think with the boys like Ayn Rand, and boys who scare the morality into people, like Bret Easton Ellis. 

Saturday, 11 October 2014

(ARC) Book Review (394): Cowboy Boots For Christmas: (Cowboy Not Included) (Burnt Boot, Texas #1) - Carolyn Brown

Cowboy Boots for Christmas: (Cowboy Not Included) (Burnt Boot, Texas #1)

Publication: 7th October 2014
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Pages: 352
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Appropriate: Adult
Buy It: Amazon B&N GoodReads
Callie Brewster didn’t figure she’d ever see Finn O’Donnell again when they parted company in Afghanistan. But when her little brother witnesses a killing, everything changes. The government says they’ll put him in witness protection, but Callie doesn’t trust anyone to protect her brother—except for Finn O’Donnell.

All Finn wants for Christmas is some peace and quiet on his newly purchased ranch. But he owes Callie Brewster his life, and he always repays a debt. Now there’s a woman in the house who joined the army to get away from ranching, a boy who is scared of his shadow, and a feud going on amongst the other ranchers. Yet in the midst of all the chaos, Finn is happier and more at peace than he’s ever been before…
My Thoughts.
Cowboy Boots For Christmas (Cowboy Not Included) was an extremely fun and enjoyable western contemporary romance.

First book in the Burnt Boot, Texas series by Carolyn Brown, just from this book I can see that this is going to be an amazing series if this one was anything to go by.

This was my first book ever of Carolyn's, I've heard such good things about her writing. and having written and released over 40+ books I can see why she is still so popular, contemporary romance's when they're series set in small towns have become my new book obsession, I just can't seem to get enough of them!

Retired army sniper Finn has recently taken over a ranch in Burnt Boot, Texas when his partner and spotter from his army days Callie comes to him asking for help for her and her nephew Martin, once they move in it's only a matter of time before Salt Draw ranch is not only home to those three but an assortment of stray pets, kids and it's former owner Verdie who decides her retirement home is not for her, they also find themselves stuck in the middle of the town's two feuding families the Brennans and the Gallaghers, life here is never dull.

Filled with warmth, love and the joys of Christmas this is one book to get you into the holiday spirit, I will definitely be hunting down more of Carolyn's books, she's found herself a new fan.

Highly recommended, especially for those about to start picking up and reading their Christmas reads.

I give this 4/5 stars.

I am a bona-fide Tex/Okie which means I was born in Texas and raised in Oklahoma with a trip through California where I acquired a brother and a sister, albeit at the time I would have much rather had a kitten as siblings. Remember, though I was only four when we left California and moved back to Oklahoma where my mother, bless her heart, took on the job of raising three kids and holding down a job without a husband. Since I'm older, I realize now just what an undertaking that was!
Reading became a passion and I would read anything but I loved romance books. My English teacher, who was quite modern for the times and let us read anything we wanted for book reports, always gave me a good grade on my reports. But I remember one quite well that she wrote, "Why do you read this trash?" on the side. Well, Mrs. Williams, with almost 70 books published, I can now answer that question. I read that trash so that someday I could write it.
So about the time I turned 50, someone asked me, "Okay, Carolyn, what are you going to be when you grow up?" And my answer was, "Do I have to decide today?" That week I got the "call" and I sold two books after 20 years of trying to work a toe into the publishing market. Believe me, I decided right then that I would be a romance author, immediately after I got finished doing a real fancy happy dance. Two years later the imprint I was working for flat out died after publishing four of my books, but I'd moved on to Avalon books and wound up writing 44 books for them before they sold to Amazon. However, before that happened, I'd started writing cowboy romances for Sourcebooks and fell in love with all those sexy cowboys in tight fittin' jeans and Texas drawls. I'd always wanted to try my hand at women's fiction so Sourcebooks let me cross genres and give it a whirl and I loved it. Then Amazon's imprint, Montlake Romance, bought a couple of my cowboy romances.
That first call came in 1997, seventeen years ago this month, and since then I've sold 75 books and I haven't changed my mind about what I want to be when I grow up. I still plan on being a writer, only now I've branched out into women's fiction as well as romance. I've written historical series and single title romance, contemporary series and single title romance but here lately I've settled on cowboy romances and of course my new women's fiction books.
Husband has gotten used to my new venture by now and all the kids are grown and out of the nest. And believe me, nowadays I can answer the question without a single stutter when folks ask what I want to be when I grow up.
I want to be a writer. I love every minute of it.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Book Review (393): Before You Break (Between Breaths #2) - Christina Lee

Before You Break (Between Breaths #2)

Before You Break is an emotionally sweet and at times heartbreaking contemporary romance, between two people who have lost someone close to them and blame themselves for the deaths.

Ella first notices Quinn whilst dating her no good loser boyfriend, she finds herself drawn to him and he to her, but Quinn carries a burden of guilt that has him unable to start a relationship with anyone, even Ella who he is immensely attracted to.

After the death of her brother she decides to become a psychologist and as part of her course she works at a suicide prevention hotline, it's here that she first takes a call from Daniel (which is actually Quinn) who is troubled and thinking of harming himself, Ella who answers the calls with her full name Gabrielle "Gabby" forms a connection with him, unbeknownst to each other about each's true identities.

Chemistry sizzles and sexual tension is in the air whenever these two are in the same vicinity, the romance is hot and so very well written, we have appearances from Avery and Bennett from the first book there is something here to please everyone.

This series is so good, so addictive and very enjoyable to read, I look forward to the next book in the series.

For fans of new adult contemporary romances this is one series you need to pick up.

I give this 5/5 stars.

Mother, wife, reader, dreamer. Christina lives in the Midwest with her husband and son--her two favorite guys.

She's addicted to lip gloss and salted caramel everything. She believes in true love and kissing, so writing romance novels has become a dream job.

Author of the Between Breaths series from Penguin. ALL OF YOU, BEFORE YOU BREAK and WHISPER TO ME available now, PROMISE ME THIS on October 7th, 2014.

Also Adult contemporary romance TWO OF HEARTS coming from Penguin/NAL on May 5th 2015.

Website + Facebook + Twitter + Goodreads

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Book Review (392): Beauty And The Billionaire (Billionaire Boys Club #2) - Jessica Clare

Beauty and the Billionaire (Billionaire Boys Club #2)

Pages: 304
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Appropriate: Adult
I've always been a big fan of Beauty And The Beast re-tellings when it's told with an intriguing plot and loveable characters, and this is what I got in abundance whilst reading this book.

The second book in the Billionaire Boys Club series, I adored this book, I loved it so much more than the first book.

I think that definitely had something to do with the two leads, Hunter and Gretchen, Hunter who has been horribly scarred all his life hides himself away in his mansion where no one can see his scarred face, lonely and of the believe that no woman could ever love him looking the way he does, he comes up with a plan to lure Gretchen (whom he has only ever seen from a distance) to his home for a job writing a book incorporating some old letters he acquired.

Gretchen sees the man behind the scars and seeks to make Hunter trust and to believe in her, so the flirting begins between her and this shy virgin who's very awkward when she's around, this story soon heats up and Hunter soon comes to realise that what he has wanted all his life is this woman who has given him more in the time she's been there than anyone has his whole life.

These two were the perfect couple, Hunter has such a sweet and caring soul, that he hides from the world along with his face, and Gretchen is just the woman to help him become more confidant  in himself.

This series seems to go from strength to strength, and I'm eager for the next instalment, a new favorite, Jessica knows how to write a hot and steamy romance.

I give this 5/5 stars.

Jessica Clare is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author who writes under three different names. As Jill Myles, she writes a little bit of everything, from sexy, comedic urban fantasy to zombie fairy tales. As Jessica Clare, she writes erotic contemporary romance.
She also has a third pen name (because why stop at two?). As Jessica Sims, she writes fun, sexy shifter paranormals. She lives in Texas with her husband, cats, and too many dust-bunnies. Jill spends her time writing, reading, writing, playing video games, and doing even more writing.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

(ARC) Book Review (391): Kiss Kill Vanish - Jessica Martinez

Kiss Kill Vanish

Publication: 7th October 2014
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 432
Genre: Contemporary
Age Appropriate: Young Adult
Valentina Cruz no longer exists.

One moment, she was wrapped in Emilio’s arms, melting into his kiss. The next, she was witnessing the unthinkable: a murder in cold blood, ordered by her father and carried out by her boyfriend. When Emilio pulled the trigger, Valentina disappeared. She made a split-second decision to shed her identity and flee her life of privilege, leaving the glittering parties and sultry nightlife of Miami far behind.

She doesn’t know how to explain to herself what she saw. All she knows now is that nothing she believed about her family, her heart, or Emilio’s love, was real.

She can change her name and deny her past, but Valentina can’t run from the truth. The lines between right and wrong, and trust and betrayal, will be blurred beyond recognition as she untangles the deceptions of the two men she once loved and races to find her own truth.
My Thoughts.
Kiss Kill Vanish was one of my most anticipated books of the year, a standalone contemporary about a seventeen year old girl Valentina who witnesses her boyfriend Emilio murdering a man on the orders of her Father.

Running away and changing her name, she escapes to Montreal where she makes the acquaintance of Lucien and his brother Marcel, I really enjoyed the banter between Valentina and Marcel, I found myself laughing out loud quite a lot.

I can't write too much about the plot, you need to experience the surprises and twists that you don't see coming yourself, whilst I did find that the beginning of the book dragged a bit, that didn't take away how much I loved this book, the concept is what initially drew me in and while I don't read a whole lot of mystery books I thoroughly enjoyed this one, with a fresh take on your average murder mystery concept, this story is one of my favorites of the genre.

Jessica has written an edge of your seat mystery, that will have you dying to know what the outcome will be and leave you in suspense the whole way through.

This is the first book that I've ever read of Jessica's and it definitely won't be the last.

Highly enjoyable.

I give this 4/5 stars.



I was born and raised in Calgary, Canada. As a child I played the violin, read books, and climbed trees incessantly. I went on to study English and music at Brigham Young University, and since then I’ve been an English teacher, a symphony violinist, and a mother. I currently live in Orlando, Florida with my husband and three children.
My young adult novels are VirtuosityThe Space Between UsThe Vow, and Kiss Kill Vanish. I’m represented by Mandy Hubbard of D4EO Literary Agency.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

(ARC) Book Review (390): Kiss Of Broken Glass - Madeleine Kuderick

Kiss of Broken Glass

Publication: 9th September 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 224
Genre: Contemporary
Age Appropriate: Young Adult
Buy It:  Amazon + Barnes & Noble
Madeleine Kuderick’s gripping debut is a darkly beautiful and lyrical novel in verse, perfect for fans of Sonya Sones and Laurie Halse Anderson. Kiss of Broken Glass pulses with emotion and lingers long after the last page.

In the next seventy-two hours, Kenna may lose everything—her friends, her freedom, and maybe even herself. One kiss of the blade was all it took to get her sent to the psych ward for seventy-two hours. There she will face her addiction to cutting, though the outcome is far from certain.

When fifteen-year-old Kenna is found cutting herself in the school bathroom, she is sent to a facility for mandatory psychiatric watch. There, Kenna meets other kids like her—her roommate, Donya, who’s there for her fifth time; the birdlike Skylar; and Jag, a boy cute enough to make her forget her problems . . . for a moment.
My Thoughts.
Kiss Of Broken Glass is a contemporary story based around fifteen year old Kenna's 72 hour lockdown in a psychiatric ward after she is caught cutting herself with the blade of a pencil sharpener at school, what started as something to fit in with the group of girls she hangs out with who also cut themselves, she becomes addicted, we get to see her struggles almost like withdrawal symptoms whilst locked away.

We get to meet some interesting fellow patients in Donya, Skylar and Jag, and learn about their reasons for being admitted.

Written in verse as a diary of her time in there and through Madeleine's writing you almost feel like you're there with Kenna, as she comes to the conclusion that what she does isn't normal and that she needs help, although the book finishes once she leaves the psych ward after the 72 hours are up we get the sense that she wants to stop cutting and maybe just maybe she's on the road to recovery.

Cutting is a serious problem of youth and even adults around the world today, I don't read a lot of realistic fiction but this brings home just how unhappy people can be and just what they'll do to make themselves feel better even if it's only for the amount of time it takes to cut themselves and draw blood.

This is my very first book I've read in verse and it won't be my last, I flew through this story, both interesting and informative I look forward to Madeleine's next book, her writing is enjoyable and I was intrigued the whole way through.

I give this 4/5 stars.

Who I Am
I grew up in Oak Park, a suburb of Chicago, and loved every pulsing beat of the place except for the snow which fell like 11 months a year. Now I live on Florida’s Gulf Coast where shoes and coats are optional. Along the way, I’ve picked up jobs and training and college degrees. But none of them had a single thing to do with writing.

Which just goes to show –

You don’t always get where you’re meant to be by following a straight path.

                                   Sometimes it’s kind of crooked.

          And full of potholes.  

What I Write

          Contemporary YA fiction. Which means –

                           no wizards, no vampires, no post-apocalyptic worlds.

Because real life is nuclear enough…

I like writing about underdogs. Even the ones who snarl and don’t want to be rescued. Because let’s face it, underdogs are a lot more interesting than those fluffy pedigrees with pom poms and perfect teeth.