Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Review: Hold my Breath by Ginger Scott

Hold My BreathHold my Breath

Author: Ginger Scott
Series: -
Publisher / Source: Self - Netgalley
Release date: 18th November 2016
Pages: 300

Synopsis (Goodreads)

Fractions of seconds can do lots of damage. One decision can ruin lives. A blink can be tragic. And loving a Hollister…can hurt like hell.

I would know.

They say the average person can hold their breath under water for two full minutes when pushed to the extremes. Will Hollister has been holding his for years. The oldest of two elite swimming brothers, Will was always a dominant force in the water. But in life, he preferred to let his younger brother Evan be the one to shine.

Evan got the girl, and Will…he got to bury all of the secrets. A brother’s burden, the weight of it all nearly left him to drown.

The daughter of two Olympians, my path was set the day my fingertips first touched water. My future was as crystal clear as the lane I dominated in the pool—swim hard, win big, love a Hollister.

My life with Evan burned bright. He gave me arms to come home to, and a smile that fooled the world into believing everything was perfect. But it was Will who pushed me. Will…who really knew me.

And when all of the pieces fell, it was Will who started to pick them up.

In the end, the only thing that matters are those few precious seconds—and what we decide to do while we still have them in our grasp.

Review: 4 out of 5 stars

What a wonderfully engrossing and complex story! I am a huge Ginger Scott fan and this book was thoroughly mesmerising.

Maddy, Evan and Will were childhood best friends; all of them great swimmers but it was Evan who was the golden child; the three of them pushed each other to be the best that they could but when tragedy struck friendships were broken and their lives were forever changed.

Will left for college and ended up on a path of self-destruction after his family’s accident; he made many mistakes, most publicised but after 4 years absence he returns to town ready to retrain and rebuild lost trust and his relationship with Maddy; he does this with the help of his uncle and also Maddy’s father who owns a swimming club which is on the brink of bankruptcy.

There were a lot of emotions felt whilst reading this book; my heart broke for the characters who were all affected in one way or another; there was lost trust, betrayal, forbidden romance and secrets that all made for a fast paced an engaging story.

I couldn’t help but hope for happiness for Maddy and Will. Maddy’s past with Evan haunts her and with the reappearance of Will her feelings are conflicted; seeing their friendship reignite and their slow road to trusting one another and to an eventual romance kept me on the edge of my seat.

I enjoyed all of the swimming scenes between Maddy and Will, they were competitive and wanted the best for each other but there was always something stopping them from fully letting themselves give in to their feelings; their past and secrets were holding them back. There was a lot of drama and Will had to take on a huge burden; he had been through so much and things weren’t getting easier for him, I felt like he was given too many problems in this book, there was a lot of pain and suffering.

I thoroughly enjoyed the connection between Maddy and Will, I enjoyed the forbidden aspect and despite there previously being someone else involved also the friends to lovers’ storyline.

Ginger Scott’s writing is truly wonderful, her characters are flawed but each well-developed and interesting; I was hooked from the very first page and wanted more at the end. My only reason for not rating this book higher was because there was just too much angst, my heart was breaking.

Thank you to the author via Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review Hold My Breath.


Ginger ScottAbout the author: Ginger Scott is an Amazon-bestselling and Goodreads Choice Award-nominated author of several young and new adult romances, including Waiting on the Sidelines, Going Long, Blindness, How We Deal With Gravity, This Is Falling, You and Everything After, The Girl I Was Before, Wild Reckless, Wicked Restless, In Your Dreams, The Hard Count and Hold My Breath.

A sucker for a good romance, Ginger’s other passion is sports, and she often blends the two in her stories. (She’s also a sucker for a hot quarterback, catcher, pitcher, point guard…the list goes on.) Ginger has been writing and editing for newspapers, magazines and blogs for pretty much ever. She has told the stories of Olympians, politicians, actors, scientists, cowboys, criminals and towns. For more on her and her work, visit her website at http://www.littlemisswrite.com.

When she's not writing, the odds are high that she's somewhere near a baseball diamond, either watching her son field pop flies like Bryce Harper or cheering on her favorite baseball team, the Arizona Diamondbacks. Ginger lives in Arizona and is married to her college sweetheart whom she met at ASU (fork 'em, Devils).


Monday, 23 January 2017

Review: The Reader by M.K Harkins

The ReaderThe Reader

Author: M.K Harkins
Series: -
Publisher / Source: Self - Netgalley
Release date: 17th August 2016
Pages: 260

Synopsis (Goodreads)

Hunted, shot, and without her memory, eighteen-year-old Ann Baker wakes in shallow water on a deserted Pacific Northwest island. She is soon approached by two young men claiming to be her friends. Something isn’t right, but when gunshots sound, Ann is left with little choice but to allow Devon and Archer to help her escape. Soon she finds herself in their North Bend mountain compound, where the higher evolved humans claim to be mind-readers. While Ann heals, she realizes they believe her to be one of the last and most powerful of all – The Lost One.

She’s welcomed by most with opened arms, but not everyone is happy about her arrival. A jealous adversary has plans for Ann, which spirals the entire Reader community into chaos. 

As lies, murder, and betrayal threaten to rip apart the once harmonious mountain dwellers, Ann is thrust into making a decision that could save or devastate not only The Readers, but all of mankind. But there’s just one glitch: by doing so it may require her to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Review: 4 out of 5 stars

I was quite fascinated by the premise of The Reader and thoroughly enjoyed the action, romance, mystery and overall storyline.

Our MC is 18 year old Ann Baker who wakes up on a deserted island with no recollection of why or how she arrived there; when she is approached by two guys claiming to know who she is she is initially wary but trusts them to get her to safety.

Devon and Archer take Ann to a compound where she meets a group claiming to be able read minds and believes that she is the most powerful of them all, The Lost One and destined to save a race of people.

I thoroughly enjoyed the uniqueness and the concept, the world-building was entertaining and not overly complex. The notion of higher evolved humans and their abilities was intriguing and seeing Ann have to decide who to trust with the war against The Readers and The Jacks kept things entertaining.
Ann was a great character, full of sass and sarcasm; she is selfless and strong. Devon and Archer were both interesting, a little evasive and complete opposites, we also meet Lucy who was a fabulous character and Suzie drove me crazy! Each of the characters played a pivotal role in the overall story and to be honest I couldn’t tell who could and couldn’t be trusted.

The plot moved at a solid pace; it was highly engrossing but there were a few parts where I felt there could have been further development; certain situations were resolved quite easily, I did enjoy the twists and turns that weren’t expected.

This book does have romance and it was one I thoroughly enjoyed, sweet and slow to burn.

Overall, if you are after an action packed, mysterious, thrilling and romantic read then The Reader will be perfect.

I received a copy of this title via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.



M.K. HarkinsAbout the author: MK has always been a voracious reader. After hitting a dry spell of reading material, she decided to write the kind of book she'd like to read. This resulted in the creation of her debut novel, Intentional. (Award for Best Sweet Romance - eFestival of Words- August 2014)

Unintentional, her second book, is based on the life of one of the characters in Intentional. Unintentional was written as a stand-alone book.

Breaking Braydon and Taking Tiffany have both been released. Available on Amazon.

The Reader is MK's latest project, released August 2016.

MK is currently working on Famous by Default and the follow up to The Reader - The Jack. (Due out 2017)

When she's not writing novels, she likes to spend her free time traveling the world, splashing in mud puddles (She lives in Seattle, what can she say?), watching movies and reading (!)

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Review: Infinity (The Infinity Division) by Jus Accardo

Infinity (The Infinity Division, #1)Infinity

Author: Jus Accardo
Series: The Infinity Division
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release date: 1st November 2016
Pages: 320
Amazon

Synopsis (Goodreads)

Nobody said being the daughter of an army general was easy. But when her dad sends a teenage subordinate to babysit her while he’s away… That’s taking it a step too far.

Cade, as beautiful as he is deadly, watches Kori with more than just interest. He looks at her like he knows her very soul. And when he saves her from a seemingly random attack, well, that’s when things get weird.

Turns out, Kori’s dad isn’t just an army general—he’s the head of a secret government project that has invented a way to travel between parallel dimensions. Dimensions where there are infinite Koris, infinite Cades…and apparently, on every other Earth, they’re madly in love.

Falling for a soldier is the last thing on Kori’s mind. Especially when she finds herself in a deadly crossfire, and someone from another Earth is hell-bent on revenge…

Review: 2 out of 5 stars

I am such a huge fan of Jus Accardo, I have loved all of her series to date so I was quite excited to read and review her latest title, Infinity which is the first book in the series, The Infinity Division.

Unfortunately, I didn’t completely love it. It took me a while to get through and just as long to warm up to the main character, she was a bit of a pain and not the most endearing personality that Jus Accardo has written.

Kori is rebellious teenager with an Army general overprotective father. After getting in trouble for a graffiti incident he sends in two soldiers to watch over her whilst he is away but these guys are unlike others that have watched over her previously and she soon discovers secrets about her family life and ends up on the run from someone wanting to kill her.

The storyline about a secret government project was creative but not unique and there is a lot of information yet to find out. Other characters we get to know are Noah, Cade and Dylan and to be honest they were quite bland and I didn’t fully connect with them. As this is the first book in the series I am really hoping things improve in the sequel.

The world building was more tell rather than show, the alternate universe was mentioned but we never quite go there so I am still eager to learn more or see Kori visit. Parallel dimensions have never been a favourite storyline of mine but my hopes were high.

We also have the villain of the book and this guy is missing more than a few screws! His purpose was all about revenge and the lengths he took were pretty crazy.

Another thing I couldn’t connect with was the romance, it felt like too much too soon and I honestly couldn’t see how it would work out so this is something else I’m eager to see further explored.

I couldn’t fault Jus Accardo’s writing style but the pacing was slow and a few scenes were over dramatized. It pains me to give this book a low rating but I do want to give this series a go as it does have potential.

Thank you to Entangled Teen via Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review Infinity.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Review: By Your Side by Kasie West

By Your SideBy Your Side

Author: Kasie West
Series: -
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release date: 31 January 2017
Pages: 352
Amazon

Synopsis (Goodreads)

In this irresistible story, Kasie West explores the timeless question of what to do when you fall for the person you least expect. Witty and romantic, this paperback original from a fan favorite is perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Morgan Matson.

When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

Review: 3 out of 5 stars

I instantly fell for the premise of this book, a girl and a guy locked in a library for a weekend, to me it wouldn’t exactly be a hardship so I was eager to see how this would play out and as we realise it isn’t at all as easy and drama free as what we’d like and we see the repercussions of this.

Our MC is Autumn Collins who has plans with her almost boyfriend Jeff and her friends to go to a bonfire and cabin for the weekend but her plans quickly change when she finds herself locked in the library with no way out and no signs of her friends returning for her. She soon discovers that she has company in the school bad boy, Dax Miller.

Dax has a bit of a reputation, he is a loner and is apparently a troublemaker and to be honest he was a bit of an ass in the initial stages despite Autumn’s best efforts to get him to open up. We learn a lot about Dax as the book progresses and soon begin to understand why he is the the way he is and I came to really like him as a character, he was sweet.

The romance is slow to burn but to be honest I couldn’t feel a connection in the early stages at all, it all sort of came on very suddenly. This may be because of Autumn’s loyalty to Jeff after an incident that happened but I couldn’t really feel their growing bond until the very end which is what let it down for me.

I always love Kasie West’s writing style, it is gripping and engaging and you can’t help but always want for more; I felt that By Your Side had a more serious tone than what her other books have. She dealt with the subject of anxiety realistically, I liked that Autumn’s issues weren’t brushed aside.

A small gripe that I had was the lack of resolution with Dax’s mother, it was a little open ended; I would have liked more closure. The incident with Jeff was also a little light-hearted, there were no repercussions for his actions.


All in all, I enjoyed By Your Side; interesting characters, a small amount of drama and a slow to burn romance.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Review & 6 Things you didn't know about The Diabolic universe by SJ Kincaid


The Diabolic by S.J Kincaid
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release date: 1st November 2016
Pages: 416

Simon & Schuster Children's
ISBN 9781471148392 | 
November 2016
List Price
AU$ 19.99
NZ$ 22.99


The DiabolicSynopsis: A Diabolic is ruthless. A Diabolic is powerful. A Diabolic has a single task: Kill in order to protect the person you’ve been created for. 

Nemesis is a Diabolic, a humanoid teenager created to protect a galactic senator’s daughter, Sidonia. The two have grown up side by side, but are in no way sisters. Nemesis is expected to give her life for Sidonia, and she would do so gladly. She would also take as many lives as necessary to keep Sidonia safe.

When the power-mad Emperor learns Sidonia’s father is participating in a rebellion, he summons Sidonia to the Galactic court. She is to serve as a hostage. Now, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia. She must become her. Nemesis travels to the court disguised as Sidonia—a killing machine masquerading in a world of corrupt politicians and two-faced senators’ children. It’s a nest of vipers with threats on every side, but Nemesis must keep her true abilities a secret or risk everything.

As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns there is something more to her than just deadly force. She finds a humanity truer than what she encounters from most humans. Amidst all the danger, action, and intrigue, her humanity just might be the thing that saves her life—and the empire.
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Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars

The Diabolic by SJ Kincaid has the most uniquely wonderful premise which I was intrigued about instantly. I am pleased to be a part of the Simon and Schuster blog tour for this amazing title.

Diabolics are not human, they are creatures designed to be utterly ruthless and dedicated to only one individual, they are to serve as lifelong bodyguards, usually for the imperial families – they can’t feel empathy or kindness. Nemesis has been engineered to be strong, cold-blooded and deadly and to protect Sidonia Impyrean, the Senator von Impyrean’s daughter, Nemesis is to give her life for her should the need arise.

When the Emperor learns Sidonia’s father is participating in an uprising, he summons her to the Chrysanthemum. The only way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia is to masquerade as her in a place filled with bloodthirsty and corrupt politicians, it was a true test of her deadly nature.

Nemesis was an interesting character, I didn’t know what to make of her initially but she really surprised me with her strength of character and the feelings that she showed. I came to really like her character growth, she wasn’t without flaws but because of her genetic makeup her behavior was expected.

We have a small amount of romance and I was pleased that it wasn’t at the forefront of the story. Tyrus Domitrian is a supposed madman of the ruling family, he is the nephew of the Emperor and will one day inherit the throne. But he has many secrets, I won’t go into too much detail to avoid spoilers but his character surprised me.

The fast paced plot is filled with friendships, politics and how Nemesis fits into the diabolic world, she shows feelings that she isn’t meant to have. We see a lot of personal growth as the story progresses and I can’t help but wish that this was a series, I love the sci-fi world that Kincaid has created, it’s unique and very creative.

The world we come to know is captivating but also very brutal, Nemesis was kick butt but there were many scenes that were quite gory, there were quite a few deaths and admittedly some weren’t necessary.

Overall, The Diabolic is well-written, entertaining and engaging; I am definitely eager to read more books by SJ Kincaid. 

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Australia for the opportunity to be a part of The Diabolic blog tour.



About the authorAbout the author

S.J. Kincaid was born in Alabama, grew up in California, and attended high school in New Hampshire, but it was while living beside a haunted graveyard in Scotland that she realized that she wanted to be a writer. Her debut, Insignia, came out in July of 2012. The second book in the series, Vortex was released in July of 2013. The final book in the trilogy, Catalyst, came out October 28, 2014. Her standalone novel The Diabolic will be released in fall 2016.


6 Things You Didn’t Know About The Diabolic Universe

1)        I tried writing the universe of THE DIABOLIC from Tyrus's point of view first. I couldn't do it. I needed a break from writing from the viewpoint of boys after my INSIGNIA trilogy.

2)        Next, I took the basic idea of an I, CLAUDIUS YA and tried writing a humorous, reverse-THE SELECTION of sorts, where a mad Emperor is selecting his bride from among a number of girls and they are all desperate not to wed him. There was humor to be milked from the girls engaging in increasingly ludicrous ploys to seem more unattractive than each other, but I tired of it quickly and stopped writing it.

3)        Next, I tried writing the universe of THE DIABOLIC from Sidonia's point of view. It was in space, the tone was serious, but I couldn't get any traction. (There was no Nemesis in this version).

4)        THE DIABOLIC in its current form all sprang from one single page I don't even recall writing where Nemesis and Sidonia first meet. I kept coming back to that page, because something was there, yet I just didn't know what…

5)        Doubts plagued me the entire time I was writing THE DIABOLIC because I kept thinking my main character was too ruthless, too hard, too invulnerable for anyone to truly relate to her. This suspicion was reaffirmed when my first agent response was a rejection because Nemesis was too cold, the second a rejection because the very first chapter - and Nemesis's introduction - was too violent. Fortunately, I then connected with the best agent I could possibly hope for, and the rest was history.

6)        I finished this book, suspecting it would not sell.
            It sold in two days.


Thursday, 27 October 2016

Review: Midnight Hour (Shadow Falls:After Dark #4) by C.C. Hunter

Midnight Hour (Shadow Falls: After Dark #4)Author: C.C. Hunter
Series: Shadow Falls
Pages: 416
Publisher: St Martin’s Griffin
Release date: 25th October 2016

About the book:
Over one million readers have already fallen in love with CC Hunter’s Camp Shadow Falls between the Shadow Falls series and the After Dark series.  Now comes the conclusion of Hunter’s massive saga MIDNIGHT HOUR (St. Martin’s Griffin; October 25, 2016), a thrilling finale involving a missing sister, a heart in quandary, and a growing tattoo no one understands. Whether you are discovering Shadow Falls for the first time or have been following the series all along, this young adult novel will draw you into its otherworldly plot.

Being a dyslexic witch is a curse in itself, but Miranda Kane’s time at Shadow Falls has helped her harness her magical powers. Now, just as she’s finally mastered them and is preparing to graduate with her friends, a near-death experience threatens to ruin it all.

Miranda awakens in the hospital with a mysterious tattoo that no one can explain. As she struggles to make sense of it – and questions her feelings for a certain irresistible shape-shifter and a hot new guy – the strange markings begin to spread all over her body, leaving her desperate to find answers. But before she can solve that problem, a new one arises: her sister is missing. Has her sister been kidnapped? Miranda will risk her life to find out. Will she live to share the day she’s worked so hard for with her friends? When the clock strikes midnight, will Miranda make it to her graduation at Shadow Falls?

Review: 5 out of 5 stars

I think Midnight Hour by C.C. Hunter might be my second 5 star rating all year! I am so sad to see the Shadow Falls: After Dark series come to an end, it’s been one of my favorite YA Paranormal series.

Midnight Hour is our favorite kind-hearted, lovable and at times ditzy witch Miranda Kane’s book, she has to go through many struggles in this but along with the other characters we have met throughout the series and their unwavering support she got through it all.

Miranda is having to contend with a few mysteries – an explosion that almost killed her and her sister Tabatha, a strange creature and ghost following her around, an odd tattoo that appears and disappears at will, new abilities, her conflicted feelings about Shawn and Perry and of course passing her exams so that she can go to college with her best friends Kylie and Della. A lot was fit into this book and I loved every moment of it.

There was so much happening which kept the pace flowing at a fast pace, I was excited to find out what was going to happen and I wasn’t disappointed, there was action aplenty.

The romance was done very well; I have always loved Miranda and Perry together so when she was ‘sort of’ with Shawn, despite him being great I wasn’t completely happy so I was eager to see how everything would play out; I won’t reveal who she chose to avoid spoilers but it was all done very well.

The secondary characters are all fabulous! I love the friendship that Miranda shares with Kylie and Della and the respect she shows for Burnett and Holiday. All of the characters play a pivotal role in the overall series.

I adore C.C. Hunter’s writing style, the dialogue, humour and the banter always keeps me amused. The gripping story-line kept me flipping the pages, of course we have the bad guys but they are all written to perfection and as an added bonus we get a few POV’s from Perry and also Shawn. Everything came together well and I was extremely satisfied by the conclusion.

I am saddened this series has come to an end but I am excited for what C.C. Hunter comes up with next! I’m sure it will be just as amazing.

Overall, I love the mix of paranormals we get in this series, vampires, witches, shape-shifters, fae etc. The mystery element is always done well and the characters are wonderful! I highly recommend this series to all YA paranomal fans. 


C.C. HunterAbout the author:

C.C. Hunter grew up in Alabama, where she caught lightning bugs, ran barefoot, and regularly rescued potential princes, in the form of Alabama bullfrogs, from her brothers. Today, she's still fascinated with lightning bugs, mostly wears shoes, but has turned her focus to rescuing mammals. She now lives in Texas with her four rescued cats, one dog, and a prince of a husband, who for the record, is so not a frog. When she's not writing, she's reading, spending time with her family, or is shooting things-with a camera, not a gun.

C.C. Hunter is a pseudonym. Her real name is Christie Craig and she also writes humorous romantic suspense romance novels for Grand Central. 
www.christie-craig.com

C.C. would love to hear from you. Because of deadlines, it may take her a day or so to get back with you, but she will reply. cc@cchunterbooks.com

Praise for the Shadow Falls series:
“Ms. Hunter handles this series with such deftness, crafting a wonderful tale. I highly recommend this series filled with darkness and light, hope and danger, friendship and romance.”
Night Owl Reviews (Top Pick) on the Shadow Falls series

“Jam-packed with action and romance . . . Hunter’s lifelike characters and paranormal creatures populate a plot that will keep you guessing till the very end.  A perfect mesh of mystery, thriller, and romance. Vampires, weres and fae, oh my!” —Romantic Times on the Shadow Falls series

“The newest in the super-popular teen paranormal genre, this book is one of the best.  This one is going on the keeper shelf!”
Fresh Fiction on the Shadow Falls series