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.

(ARC) Book Review (389): Chained By Night (Moonbound Clan Vampire #2) - Larissa Ione


Chained by Night (MoonBound Clan Vampire #2)

Publication: 30th September 2014
Publisher: Pocket Books
Pages: 416
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Age Appropriate: Adult
Buy It: Amazon | Powell’s | B & N
THE FUTURE OF HIS TRIBE
Leader of the vampire clan MoonBound, Hunter will do what he must to save his people from extinction or worse, a torturous eternity as vampire slaves and subjects of human experimentation. To keep his enemies at bay, he has agreed to mate a rival clan leader's daughter in return for peace between the clans and an ally in the looming war with the humans.

THE LOVER OF HIS SOUL
But survival comes at a price. First, Hunter must break an ancient curse by successfully negotiating three deadly tests. Then he must resist the searing passions of the gorgeous vampire warrior he despises but is bound to mate. Will Hunter stay true to his word? Or will he risk everything for the woman he really loves: the vampire seductress's identical twin sister?
My Thoughts.
Chained By Night was such an exciting instalment in the Moonbound Clan Vampire series, this book was so much more enjoyable than the first one.

The main storyline of Chained By Night is the arranged mating of Moonbound's clan chief Hunter to the enemy clan Shadowspawn chief''s eldest daughter Rasha, traveling with her is her twin sister Aylin who has been shunned her entire life by their clan for a deformity that she was born with and is treated poorly.

When Hunter mistakes Aylin for Rasha and she thinks that he's someone named Roger, sparks fly and the chemistry goes through the roof, until reality sets in and the realisation of each others true identities come to light, fighting their attraction to one another while Hunter finds his future mate Rasha abhorrent, when Hunter is made to complete three deadly tests to defeat an ancient curse he finds himself accompanied by Aylin after Rasha refuses, which only makes his decision to distance himself from her even harder.

With a greater threat of humans trying to hunt them down and destroy them and a traitor inside the clan, this is on it's way to being one of my favorite series, I have high hopes that the third book will be Myne's, the slivers of story we got of his past has me in dire need to read his story.

A great series by a fantastic author.

I give this 5/5 stars.



Many writers will tell you they began writing stories the moment they learned to wield a pencil. I’m no exception. But even as a child, I didn’t write “kid” stories. I preferred something more dramatic. Something that didn’t include Dick, Jane, and a dog named Spot. I wanted my dogs to have names like White Fang or Cujo. I’ll always have my parents to thank for that. They never censored my reading material (though I suspect that if they had truly known what was between the covers of some of the books, they’d have been a little more careful,) so when other girls my age were reading Laura Ingalls Wilder and Judy Blume, I was immersing myself in Stephen King and Jack London.
Considering my fiction preferences, it came as no surprise to anyone that my first short stories were tales of horror, and my first novel, penned at the age of 12, was an Alaskan wilderness story with a wolf hero.
Eventually, my interests changed. Oh, I still enjoy a good Stephen King novel, and Jack London remains a favorite, but I discovered some new favorites while I was in college. Robert Jordan. Marion Zimmer Bradley. Mary Stewart. Oh yes, I’d found fantasy. I devoured every novel I could find, and in time I started writing my very own fantasy novel. That novel is still a work in progress, thirteen years later.
Eventually, after I’d read just about every fantasy novel published, I had to switch to something else. That something else was straight historical fiction. Again I exhausted my supply, but my longtime friend from my Air Force days, Karen, came to the rescue with something I never thought I’d read. Something I made fun of her for reading.
She made me read a historical romance.
Thus began a passion for, well, passion. I wanted to write romances, and I wanted to see them in print. To help fulfill that dream, I joined RWA, writers’ lists and critique groups. In order to build some writing credits, I worked on some military and National Weather Service technical manuals. As my writing improved, I began to sell my work to print magazines like The Canine Journal and Dog Fancy, and to online publications such as Writing-World.com.
Then, in early 2006, while in the middle of recovering from hurricane Katrina (and after nearly giving up on writing,) I inked a 3-book deal with Bantam Dell with my collaboration partner, Stephanie Tyler. We write together under the pseudonym of Sydney Croft.
I also sold a series of dark paranormal romances to Warner, a sale that was extremely satisfying because I was finally able to combine my love of romance with the darkness that creeps into my voice, thanks to my youthful and still-present love of horror novels and dark fantasy. This sale also cemented my ability to write full time, a dream come true because of my husband's Coast Guard career and frequent moves. I can take my job with me! And happily, in March of 2009, the second book in this series hit the USA Today Bestseller list, and in April, the third book, Passion Unleashed, hit both the USA Today AND New York Times bestseller lists.
I've also written for Samhain, a wonderfully supportive publisher with a great list of authors.
Most recently, I sold a vampire series to Pocket Books…and I hope there are more to come!
For more on my journey, check out my FAQ page and my For Writers page under articles.
Oh, and the friend who got me addicted to romance? I paid her back by getting her hooked on Star Trek. Live long and prosper, Karen! (One day I WILL write that Star Trek novel!)

Website + Facebook + Twitter + Goodreads


Book Review (388): Bound By Night (Moonbound Clan Vampire #1) - Larissa Ione


Bound by Night (MoonBound Clan Vampire #1)

Publication: 24th September 2013
Publisher: Pocket Books
Pages: 392
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Age Appropriate: Adult
Buy It: B & N | Amazon
Larissa Ione's bestselling Demonica series has captivated fans with its sensual blend of dark passion and demonic fury. Now she takes you to another intoxicating world—where a dangerous clan of wild vampires rules the night...

A WOMAN OUT FOR BLOOD

Nicole Martin was only eight years old when the vampire slaves rose up in rebellion and killed her family. Now she devotes her life to finding a vaccine against vampirism, hoping to wipe out her memories—along with every bloodsucker on the planet. But there’s one thing she cannot destroy: her searing, undeniable attraction for the one man she should hate and fear the most . . .

A VAMPIRE OUT FOR REVENGE

A member of the renegade vampire MoonBound Clan, Riker is haunted by demons of his own. When he recognizes Nicole and remembers how her family enslaved his loved ones, his heart burns for vengeance. But when he kidnaps Nicole and holds her in a secret lair, his mortal enemy becomes his soul obsession, his greatest temptation, and, perhaps, his only salvation—a hot-blooded lover who could heal him with her touch . . . or bury him forever.
My Thoughts.
I'm a huge fan of Larissa Ione's Demonica series, so I didn't expect anything less than an action packed, paranormal romance with extremely likeable characters plus an amazing plot, and that's exactly what I got!

The Moonbound Clan Vampire series is about a group of warrior vampires that are trying to live their lives without being captured and used as slaves by humans, Riker second-in-command has a big problem with humans, stemming from twenty years ago when his mate Terese was caught and made a slave for the Martin family whom are responsible for creating the Daedalus labs that experiment and torture vampires, after her death Riker doesn't believe that there's good in any humans, so when he kidnaps Nicole the heir to the company (after most of her family were slaughtered by their vampire slaves when she was younger) in return for a female vampire Neriya , he discovers that not only will Nicole's brother (her last remaining relative) betray her, but just maybe he may find something in her that he has been missing since Terese's death.

The interaction between these two is interesting, there's no insta-love here, at first they both hate what one another is for obvious reasons, and then a slow forming attraction gives way to sizzling chemistry and a passion that neither have ever experienced before,

The concept and world-building of this series is what kept me unwilling to put down this book, I cannot wait to see what happens in the rest of the series.

Larissa is an author you need to start reading a.s.a.p if you haven't already, this lady knows how to write great paranormal romances.

A great start to this all new take on vampires.

I give this 4/5 stars.


Many writers will tell you they began writing stories the moment they learned to wield a pencil. I’m no exception. But even as a child, I didn’t write “kid” stories. I preferred something more dramatic. Something that didn’t include Dick, Jane, and a dog named Spot. I wanted my dogs to have names like White Fang or Cujo. I’ll always have my parents to thank for that. They never censored my reading material (though I suspect that if they had truly known what was between the covers of some of the books, they’d have been a little more careful,) so when other girls my age were reading Laura Ingalls Wilder and Judy Blume, I was immersing myself in Stephen King and Jack London.
Considering my fiction preferences, it came as no surprise to anyone that my first short stories were tales of horror, and my first novel, penned at the age of 12, was an Alaskan wilderness story with a wolf hero.
Eventually, my interests changed. Oh, I still enjoy a good Stephen King novel, and Jack London remains a favorite, but I discovered some new favorites while I was in college. Robert Jordan. Marion Zimmer Bradley. Mary Stewart. Oh yes, I’d found fantasy. I devoured every novel I could find, and in time I started writing my very own fantasy novel. That novel is still a work in progress, thirteen years later.
Eventually, after I’d read just about every fantasy novel published, I had to switch to something else. That something else was straight historical fiction. Again I exhausted my supply, but my longtime friend from my Air Force days, Karen, came to the rescue with something I never thought I’d read. Something I made fun of her for reading.
She made me read a historical romance.
Thus began a passion for, well, passion. I wanted to write romances, and I wanted to see them in print. To help fulfill that dream, I joined RWA, writers’ lists and critique groups. In order to build some writing credits, I worked on some military and National Weather Service technical manuals. As my writing improved, I began to sell my work to print magazines like The Canine Journal and Dog Fancy, and to online publications such as Writing-World.com.
Then, in early 2006, while in the middle of recovering from hurricane Katrina (and after nearly giving up on writing,) I inked a 3-book deal with Bantam Dell with my collaboration partner, Stephanie Tyler. We write together under the pseudonym of Sydney Croft.
I also sold a series of dark paranormal romances to Warner, a sale that was extremely satisfying because I was finally able to combine my love of romance with the darkness that creeps into my voice, thanks to my youthful and still-present love of horror novels and dark fantasy. This sale also cemented my ability to write full time, a dream come true because of my husband's Coast Guard career and frequent moves. I can take my job with me! And happily, in March of 2009, the second book in this series hit the USA Today Bestseller list, and in April, the third book, Passion Unleashed, hit both the USA Today AND New York Times bestseller lists.
I've also written for Samhain, a wonderfully supportive publisher with a great list of authors.
Most recently, I sold a vampire series to Pocket Books…and I hope there are more to come!
For more on my journey, check out my FAQ page and my For Writers page under articles.
Oh, and the friend who got me addicted to romance? I paid her back by getting her hooked on Star Trek. Live long and prosper, Karen! (One day I WILL write that Star Trek novel!)

Website + Facebook + Twitter + Goodreads


Wednesday, 24 September 2014

(ARC) Book Review (387): Scratch - Rhonda Helms


Scratch

Publication: 30th September 2014
Publisher: Kensington
Pages: 240
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Appropriate: New Adult
The most painful scars are the ones you never see. In her DJ booth at a Cleveland dance club, Casey feels a sense of connection that's the closest she ever gets to normal. On her college campus, she's reserved, practical-all too aware of the disaster that can result when you trust the wrong person. But inexplicably, Daniel refuses to pay attention to the walls she's put up. Like Casey, he's a senior. In every other way, he's her opposite. Sexy, open, effortlessly charming, Daniel is willing to take chances and show his feelings. For some reason Casey can't fathom, he's intent on drawing her out of her bubble and back into a world that's messy and unpredictable. He doesn't know about the deep scars that pucker her stomach - or the deeper secret behind them. Since the violent night when everything changed, Casey has never let anyone get close enough to hurt her again. Now, she might be tempted to try.
My Thoughts.
Scratch is a compellingly written new adult contemporary romance, that is emotionally heartbreaking, devastating and sure to have you in tears, but it's not all doom and gloom, it's about a girl who finally learns to let go of her guilt and anger that she has held onto since she was thirteen.

Casey is an introvert, the only time she'll leave her apartment is for classes, her deejaying job on the weekends and her weekly dinners with her grandparents, she doesn't really have any friends, emotionally closed off ever since the incident that changed her life all those years ago, she also suffers panic attacks quite regularly as well.

Then one night while on a break at work, Daniel a guy from her Philosophy class starts up a conversation with her, and it's from this moment that she starts to come back to life, with neither unable to stop thinking about the other, they with reluctance from Casey go out a few times, mostly these times out together don't exactly end on a good note but Daniel perseveres, so when the relationship starts to get serious and  Casey still hasn't told Daniel her secret it will start to drive a wedge between them, can she trust Daniel to not look at her with pity once he knows, and how can she possibly move on with her life when she still hasn't let go of the past, of her anger and grief which is slowly killing her inside.

Casey's past made for such a tragic back story, her life was shattered and torn apart at the age of thirteen, and the girl that she was died that day and in her place was a hollow shell of the girl that she used to be, Daniel so easy-going was able to help her live again, and while things were worked out at the end between these two, I would have loved and epilogue just to see where these two end up and where they are in life.

But that's just a tiny thing, all in all I adored this book, I read it in one sitting, I just couldn't put it down, Rhonda has herself a new fan, I will read anything she writes.

A fantastic story, one I'll definitely be re-reading.

I give this 5/5 stars.


Rhonda Helms started writing several years ago. She has a Master's degree in English and a Bachelor's degree in Creative Writing. She also edits for Carina Press (an imprint of Harlequin Publishing) and freelance edits.

When she isn't writing, she likes to do amateur photography, dig her toes into the sand, read for hours at a time, and eat scads of cheese. WAY too much cheese.

Rhonda lives in Northeast Ohio with her family.



Rhonda lives in Northeast Ohio with her family, dog, and a very loud c

(ARC) Book Review (386): Sins & Needles (The Artists Trilogy #1) - Karina Halle

Sins & Needles (The Artists Trilogy #1)
Goodreads | Amazon US | B&N | KOBO | Audible | Amazon UK
Sins & Needles is a book that I've wanted to read for a very long time, drawn not only to the very intriguing synopsis but to the cover as well, I was extremely excited to have a chance to read and review this amazing book with that ending that has me desperate to get onto the next book straight away.

This is a contemporary romance that you won't soon forget, featuring a con artist heroine Ellie and a sexy badass tattooist Camden, both damaged and angry, each with issues, former high school friends who share sizzling hot chemistry.

When Ellie attempts to rob Camden and gets caught she's blackmailed into helping him with a problem thatis right up her alley, but Ellie's past is about to catch up to her in a big way and Camden will find himself caught up in the middle.

The flashbacks to Ellie's past show us a greater insight into the history of  her mistake that cost her Camden's friendship, we also get glimpses into her former relationship with Javier and how and why she came to be on the run from him.

There are just so many things to love about this story, great characters, fantastic plot, the writing is so good and the story is just exceptional, this is the first of Karina's books that I've ever read but it certainly won't be the last.

So while I ponder on why it took me so long to pick this book up, I highly recommend that those who like their romances with a bit of action thrown in with characters you won't soon forget to give this a go, you won't be sorry.

I give this 5/5 stars.

With her USA Today Bestselling The Artists Trilogy published by Grand Central Publishing, numerous foreign publication deals, and self-publishing success with her Experiment in Terror series, Vancouver-born Karina Halle is a true example of the term “Hybrid Author.” Though her books showcase her love of all things dark, sexy and edgy, she’s a closet romantic at heart and strives to give her characters a HEA…whenever possible.
Karina holds a screenwriting degree from Vancouver Film School and a Bachelor of Journalism from TRU. Her travel writing, music reviews/interviews and photography have appeared in publications such as Consequence of Sound, Mxdwn and GoNomad Travel Guides. She currently lives on an island on the coast of British Columbia where she’s preparing for the zombie apocalypse with her fiance and rescue pup.
Karina can be contacted in the following ways:
• Facebook
• Twitter

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Book Review (385): The Queen Of The Tearling (The Queen Of The Tearling #1) - Erika Johansen


The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #1)

I have to admit that this book wasn't on my radar at all until it was announced  that Emma Watson had signed on for the movie adaptation, reading the synopsis had me intrigued, fantasy is a genre that I do enjoy to read but I seldom get a chance to, but I never would have guessed how much I would love this book.

Erika's writing captured me from the very first sentence, and before I knew it I was completely absorbed in the world-building and the well fleshed out characters.

Kelsea a Princess, has been in hiding ever since she was a baby, now that she has turned nineteen she is to return to Tearling to be anointed Queen, of course it's no smooth sailing, instead numerous people will use any means necessary to stop her on her journey, it's from here that we begin to learn just what kind of Queen she will be, whilst trying to fix the mistakes and problems that her long dead Mother and former Queen have left her with, incurring the wrath of the Regent who is also her Uncle and the Red Queen of Mortmesne while trying to right these wrongs.

We are introduced to quite a few new characters but none that catch my eye more than two in particular who will leave you incredibly eager to learn their stories and the secrets they hold, Lazarus (Mace) the Captain of the Queen's Guard who also guarded her Mother, and holds a wealth of information about the identity of Kelsea's Father and the circumstances surrounding her Mothers's death, and last but not least Fetch, we pretty much get no information on him only little tidbits that just aren't enough, I have so many questions about these two and I hope that they will be answered in the next book.

With a plot filled with action, a heroine that has no qualms about standing up for what she believes in and the sometimes humorous way that Kelsea speaks her mind, this has only made me more anxious to get my hands on the next book.

Erika has crafted a world that you will lose yourself in, this was a one sitting read for me, I just couldn't seem to tear my eyes away from this amazing story.

One of my favorite fantasy books of all time.

I give this 5/5 stars.


Erika Johansen was educated at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania before attending the celebrated Iowa Writers Workshop, where she earned a Master of Fine Arts degree. She later became an attorney. The Queen Of The Tearling – the first book in a trilogy – is her debut. Erika lives in the San Francisco Bay Area of California.


Sunday, 21 September 2014

(ARC) Book Review (384): Falling Into Place - Amy Zhang


Falling into Place

Publication: 9th September 2014
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Pages: 304
Genre: Contemporary
Age Appropriate: Young Adult
On the day Liz Emerson tries to die, they had reviewed Newton’s laws of motion in physics class. Then, after school, she put them into practice by running her Mercedes off the road. 

Why? Why did Liz Emerson decide that the world would be better off without her? Why did she give up? Vividly told by an unexpected and surprising narrator, this heartbreaking and nonlinear novel pieces together the short and devastating life of Meridian High’s most popular junior girl. Mass, acceleration, momentum, force—Liz didn’t understand it in physics, and even as her Mercedes hurtles toward the tree, she doesn’t understand it now. How do we impact one another? How do our actions reverberate? What does it mean to be a friend? To love someone? To be a daughter? Or a mother? Is life truly more than cause and effect? Amy Zhang’s haunting and universal story will appeal to fans of Lauren Oliver, Gayle Forman, and Jay Asher.
My Thoughts.
Falling Into Place has received a lot of buzz and hype from publishers and bloggers alike, with books with this this much praise I sometimes become a bit hesitant to pick them up on case I end up disappointed, however in this case I was so enamoured with this story I fell completely in love.

Amy Zhang has created a story that will have you feeling so many different emotions, the effect and impact that bullying has on not only the victim but the instigators themselves, it's always been said that bullies are people who are unhappy with themselves and so pick on other people to make themselves feel better, that is true in this book.

Liz the most popular girl in school is a bully and has destroyed many a schoolmate's lives, we come to find that Liz is just a broken, lonely and insecure girl who comes to feel remorse for all of the people that she hurt, and so instead of asking for help she decides that the world would be better off without her in it and decides to kill herself by crashing her car, but things don't go to plan and Liz doesn't die on impact.

Throughout the book with the stories of her cruelty, her unhappiness, the events leading up to her decision and her plans to take her own life, we go from disliking Liz to feeling sorry for her and wishing that she gets a second chance.

This story had me in tears quite a few times throughout this book, Amy has such a beautiful writing style that had me captivated, that will also have my buying anything that she releases in the future.

One of my favorite contemporary books of the year, this was fabulous.

So highly recommended.

I give this 5/5 stars.


Hello! I’m Amy. I write books. My debut, FALLING INTO PLACE, will be published by Greenwillow/HarperCollins in the fall of 2014. I like laughing and parentheses. I love watching soccer but can’t play it to save my life, and I love playing tennis but don’t like watching it. I hate those little toothpick/dental floss combos. I’ve always wanted to visit Prague. I paper-mached my desk using old book pages. I have a typewriter named Mattie Ann. I write on my walls. I don’t have my driver’s license. I’m scared of failure and eyelash curlers. I have very silly thumbs. The past fascinates me. Books, tea, architecture, words, and pie make me very happy. Let’s go on a quest.