Thursday, 28 January 2016

TRULY, MADLY, DEADLY by Hannah Jayne


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My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was really excited when I found this book available on Wattpad, and decided to check it out.

The story started out interesting enough.

Sawyer's abusive boyfriend died in a car accident due to a drink driving incident. Now she's adapting to the confusion and guilt of missing him while at the same time being glad he's gone. Except, after she gets a note it becomes obvious that his death might not have been an accident. And now someone seems to be stalking her in the shadows and the body count starts to rise around her.

Okay. Sounds like a good premise, right?

Well, the story lost me somewhere along the way and I stopped caring about what was going on. Not to mention that the thriller/mystery angle just wasn't that intriguing. I was constantly bored and skimmed ahead, which didn't affect anything. Seriously, skipping a bunch of narration didn't keep me from guessing who the killer was or missing any vital info.

I was really disappointed in this story. The characters weren't engaging, their names were annoying, her family situation didn't feel realistic... In the end, it just didn't work for me. :/

Also, I know others said this before but I need to mention it because I totally agree: this book didn't need a new love interest. I think it could have been a lot stronger if Sawyer was purely dealing with the loss of her abusive boyfriend and not falling for someone else. But, that's just my opinion.

I love reading thrillers--both adult and YA--and feel like this one just didn't cut it. There are just too many flaws.

Good try, because it hooked me in at the beginning, but not enough to keep me glued to the page.

Monday, 25 January 2016

BOY 23 by Jim Carrington


Boy 23
Boy 23 isn't in My Place any more. He can't see The Screen, he can't hear The Voice. Boy 23 is alone.

 One dark night, Boy 23 is thrown in the back of the van and driven out of My Place – the only home he has ever known. He is abandoned in a forest with a rucksack containing the bare essentials for survival. Before the van drives away, a voice tells him he must run as far as he can. His life depends on it. Boy 23 has never known another human. Boy 23 has never even been outside. So who is he? Why do people want to kill him? And more to the point, who is the voice that wants to save him? 


I received this book from Bloomsbury Australia and didn't know a thing about it. But I liked the cover right away, and decided to look it up on Goodreads. There seemed to be a mixed reaction, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Still, I was intrigued enough to give it a go.

After reading a few chapters, I was hooked. You get thrown right into the middle of the story in a way that keeps you glued to the pages until you find out more.

Jesper--aka Boy 23--has lived his whole life in My Place. A room where his only companion is a bird and The Voice. Throughout his life he was set tasks, learned how to solve complicated problems, watched videos on a screen to enhance his learning, and was kept fed and clothed. He even knows the basics about how to survive in the wild.

So when The Voice drops him off in the middle of nowhere with a backpack full of supplies, tells him to head north-west, and stay away from other humans... he does as instructed. Jesper trusts The Voice because he's never given him reason not to. Even though he has a lot of questions and the landscape around him is mostly fallen buildings and empty villages, he enjoys the freedom and isolation.

His only connection to The Voice is a handheld device (a scroll) which he eventually loses after he's rundown. When Jesper wakes up in an orphanage run by priests preaching religion and making kids work for their keep, all he wants to do is escape. Not to mention that he can't understand their language (most people speak German) and he's constantly getting bullied. It's during one of these incidents that the priest in charge finds out a fascinating secret about Jesper and is suddenly very interested in parading him around.

While most kids choose to keep their distance, there is one girl called Carina who is willing to speak and befriend him. And it's with Carina and a helpful hand from The Voice that Jesper might find his freedom, get some answers and find out what really happened in this broken world.

O. M. G. This book was such an awesome surprise! Like I mentioned above, I didn't know what to expect when I set on this journey, but I found myself on a cat and mouse chase that took me over a desolate version of Europe and slowly revealed the many reasons why everything was now devastated.

This action adventure story is told in the alternating POVs of Jesper (Boy 23), Carina (an orphan with a heart-breaking story) and Blake (an official with a personal interest in the situation). Each one has their own secrets and the longer we spend with each character the more we realise just how scary, dangerous and controlled the world they live in happens to be. There are some very cool revelations and secrets that only enhance the experience.

Boy 23 is an amazing and very clever YA dystopian/sci-fi thriller. As soon as you strap in, this story hooks you in and doesn't let go while the characters try to escape one terrible situation after another. As soon as I started all I wanted to do was keep reading to find out more. It really is a thrill ride that kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish.

I loved it! Can't wait to find out what happens next to Jesper and Carina...

Thank you Bloomsbury, for sending me such a fantastic book. :)


Boy 23, January 2016, 9781408822777, Bloomsbury Childrens

Friday, 22 January 2016

EVERYTHING BUT THE TRUTH by Mandy Hubbard

Everything but the Truth
Enjoy Everything but the Truth and the other standalone titles in Bloomsbury's contemporary If Only romance line centered around an impossible problem: you always want what you can't have!
 
Holly Mathews' mom is the new manager of a ritzy retirement home, and they just moved in, which means Holly's neighbors are all super-rich retirees. Still, it's not a total bust, because gorgeous, notorious Hollywood playboy Malik Buchannan is the grandson of one of the residents. Just one problem: when they meet, Malik assumes Holly's there to visit her own rich relative. She doesn't correct him, and it probably doesn't matter, because their flirtation could never turn into more than a superficial fling . . . right? But the longer Holly lives in Malik's privileged world, the deeper she falls for him and the more difficult it becomes to tell the truth . . . because coming clean might mean losing Malik forever.
 
For anyone who has dreamed of their own Cinderella story, this title in the If Only romance line is about how when it comes to true love, the best person to be is yourself!
 
 
The If Only books are YA contemporary (clean) romance stories that remind me a lot of some of the books I used to read when I was a teenager. So I always love receiving a new one--Thanks Bloomsbury!--and giving them a go. I take each one as it comes because some haven't worked for me. But when they do, I adore them. 
 
This one falls in the Totally Worked For Me category. ;)
 
Holiday Mathews and her mother have recently moved into a very posh retirement home in Seattle called Sunrise House. This is where the wealthy go to retire, and she just happens to live there too. Her mother is the new leasing manager and while she goes about doing her business and proving her worth, Holly visits with some of the residents and does odd jobs for them. It's a great gig because not only does she actually enjoy talking to them, but at the same time she's making tips on the side to put away for college.
 
After the summer is over, she'll be going off to Washington State University so every bit of money she can put away helps. The day she crosses paths with the gorgeous Malik Buchannan, she can't believe her luck. Meeting a guy her age is almost impossible at Sunrise House. And when she runs into him again and he mistakenly assumes she's there to visit her wealthy grandmother, she doesn't correct him. Lying by omission doesn't seem too bad since she's going off to college anyway, but when the super hot rich guy she assumed was just a playboy turns out to be someone with real depth, she knows she's headed for trouble.
 
Yet, the deeper she gets, the less chance there is of her revealing who she really is without ruining the relationship they're quickly developing...
 
This turned out to be such a fun and super fast read. I seriously raced through it in under twenty-four hours because I loved Holly's--or is that Lucy's ;)--voice. Her interest in antiques was awesome, and I love how it fit into the story. I was also very caught up in Holly and Malik's ordeal. They're a great couple who might come from opposite financial backgrounds but are so much alike.
 
I loved the way their story developed, but have to admit that I kept waiting for everything to fall apart as soon as the truth was revealed! So the tension level got pretty high, especially during some of the hijinks and close calls.
 
Everything But the Truth is a wonderful story with a lot of depth. Sure, it's a romance at heart but there's so much more to this story. It explores a very close relationship between a mother and daughter who get along so well she can open up about anything. It's also about the strong friendship between two best friends who are soon going off to different colleges and feel like they might be losing touch with each other. And ultimately, it's about a very intelligent and nice girl who is willing to go above and beyond to help the elderly residents.
 
I enjoyed this book SO much! Can't wait to check out more. :) 
 
Everything But the Truth, January 2016, 9781619636590, Bloomsbury Childrens USA

Thursday, 21 January 2016

CLANCY OF THE UNDERTOW by Christopher Currie


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My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a book that keeps popping up on my Goodreads timeline, so when I saw it at the library the other day my daughter borrowed it for me.

As soon as I started yesterday afternoon, I found myself sucked right into this story.

Clancy lives in a town called Barwen. She works at the cosmetic stall inside the local shopping centre. She's part of a family that doesn't seem to spend much time together. She loves going to Nature Club and even makes a new friend. She also has a crush on a girl with a boyfriend. So, yeah, there's also that. She's gay and is afraid of anyone finding out.

Her father works for the council and one night is involved in an accident that puts too much attention on their family. Without knowing the facts, the locals start pointing fingers and judging. Clancy keeps going about her business and even seems to get the attention of her crush. But when she makes a move, everything falls apart.

Summarising the plot of this book really doesn't do it justice. There's a lot going on with family, friendship and finding yourself enough to know where you belong. Clancy was a realistic, likeable character who makes some stupid choices when she follows her heart instead of her head. But at the core she's a good person who sticks by the people she cares about.

I loved the family dynamics and how tragedy changes their homelife.

This is such an awesome book. And I especially enjoyed getting all of the Aussie references. :)

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

101 PIECES OF ME by Veronica Bennett


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My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The other day when we stopped by the local library so my daughter could pick up a few books she'd reserved, I noticed this book in the YA section. The cover caught my eye because it's so pretty and elegant. As soon as I read the blurb, I was intrigued. So I asked her to borrow it for me. :)

Sarah Freebody lives in a Welsh town and is very interested in movies. One day when she's filmed during the May Day parade, she catches the eye of a famous director and he wants her in one of his movies. She's offered a job as an actress and travels to the studio to get started. Suddenly she's become Clara Hope, and is thrust into the life of living in hotel rooms, acting alongside some well-known actors, make-up, fashion, parties, and falling in love with the older man who gives her so much attention.

But things aren't always what they seem, and she soon finds herself in an awful situation that turns her life upside down. It also forces her to re-evaluate her life and make a choice about where she wants to go. She knows she can no longer trust who she thought she could, and instead realises that the one person she thought was vain and obnoxious is the one who cared about her the most all along.

I LOVED this book! It's seriously addictive.

Sarah/Clara was such an awesome narrator as she takes us through the turn of events that turned her from a young naïve girl enamoured with silent movies, into a woman who learns the hard way that sometimes what you think you want the most doesn't turn out the way you thought it would. This is ultimately a story of disillusionment. But it's also one about personal growth and growing up.

The 1920's setting during the silent film era was fascinating. I loved being swept into the past and looking at the world through the eyes of a girl who was strong and independent in a world which didn't give girls/women the credit they deserved. Yet at the same time, so many of them did as they desired. I also really enjoyed the way the industry was portrayed. I guess some things never change. LOL.

This little book is a fast, interesting read that hooked me in right away. It's intriguing and filled with great characters. It also takes several unexpected turns that all lead to a very satisfying end. Loved it!

*thumb up*

Monday, 18 January 2016

TRICKY TWENTY-TWO by Janet Evanovich

26034837
Something big is brewing in Trenton, New Jersey, and it could blow at any minute...

Stephanie Plum might not be the world's greatest bounty hunter, but she knows when she's being played. Ken Globovic (aka Gobbles), unofficial student leader, has been arrested for beating up the dean of students at Kiltman College. Gobbles has missed his court date and gone into hiding. People have seen him on campus, but no one will talk. Things just aren't adding up, and Stephanie can't shake the feeling that something funny is going on at the college.

As much as people love Gobbles, they hate Doug Linken. When Linken is gunned down in his backyard, the list of possible murder suspects is long. The only people who care about finding Linken's killer are Trenton cop Joe Morelli, who has been assigned the case, security expert Ranger, who was hired to protect Linken, and Stephanie, who has her eye on a cash prize and hopefully has some tricks up her sleeve...


As you probably already know, the Stephanie Plum series is one of my favourites. I absolutely love catching up with Steph, Lula, Grandma Mazur, Morelli, Ranger and all the other awesome characters in Trenton.
 
So I was looking forward to getting stuck into it...
 
Stephanie isn't having a good day, and it gets worse when Morelli dumps her. Apparently, between being a cop and her constant calamity it's causing him some serious stomach problems and he needs some time to figure things out. At least she's got Ranger to fall back on. He's got a security job lined up for her, she's always got a constant bunch of FTAs to chase around, and there's also her friends and family.
 
Now Stephanie and Lula are on the case to find a missing frat boy because he beat up the dean at Kiltman College. But there's a lot more going on and they find themselves caught up with the crazy Zeta fraternity, a situation that might be linked to the current murders of two men, and an eccentric biologist who might be creating diseased fleas he intends to use against the college.
 
With so much going on--and Morelli showing up all the time--Stephanie starts to wonder if maybe she should give up the bounty hunter life and start looking for another job...
 
Tricky Twenty-Two is a super fun, fast read and a great addition to this awesome series! I love how Janet Evanovich effortlessly weaves a tale of intrigue, hilarity and danger while presenting a murder mystery that keeps the reader guessing. No matter what happens to Stephanie, she's got a knack for bouncing back and in this book she shows just how strong she can really be. She might need more help than most, but sometimes she can save herself just fine.
 
I loved this book and laughed out loud so many times. 
 
Can't wait for the next one!

Tricky Twenty-Two, November 2015, ISBN 9781472201652, Headline Review

Friday, 15 January 2016

HELL OR A RIDE Excerpt


Razor-sharp claws slashed across my face before I could duck out of the way, knocking the headlamp off my head. The bulb landed with a splash in a nearby puddle, reflecting an arc of light around the storm-drain.
 
“Shit,” I hissed, clenching my teeth against the sudden sting.
 
I’d been bitten, scratched, beaten, possessed, used as a host and screwed over by the demonic enough times to know it was better to ignore the throbbing pain in my cheek. Actually, having several strands of hair yanked from my scalp by the thick leather strap of the headlamp had hurt more.
 
The adjy demon flashed a macabre smile.
 
A swift kick to the creature’s abdomen propelled it back, giving me enough room to swing my axe and chop its head off. The body twitched and collapsed beside the head a moment later, causing a flurry of rats to scatter.
 
I could handle rats, but these demons had to go.
 
Just like with the pain, I didn’t waste my time with premature celebrations because there was another one behind me.
 
I straightened, sucked in a breath and regained my balance. But not before my left ankle twisted after my boots sloshed in the water pooled around my feet.
 
Crap.
 
Unbalanced or not, I swiped the axe across the second adjy’s throat.
 
A single, precise strike with just the right amount of force was enough to send its ugly melon rolling off the uneven shoulders. It landed with a bigger splash than the headlamp, or the demon before it. The decapitated body doubled over and flopped beside the head, spraying an arc of water all over my legs. Why did the rain decide to get heavier now?
 
Even this deep inside the storm-drain, I could hear the downpour echoing around the hollow brick walls. Gushing water wasn’t a surprise in this location, but the puddles were starting to resemble a stream.
 
My aunt used to say that when rain fell this hard, the gods and goddesses were angry. She’d also claimed Divinities had plenty to be mad about, since we didn’t respect them or take good care of our patch.
 
But I wasn’t going to think about her now. Not when the hole in my heart seemed to get bigger rather than smaller. People always said that time healed the loss of a loved one, but I was submerged and couldn’t reach the surface. I knew help was there if I needed it—from my friends, professionals and even magic—but carrying this pain reminded me of her existence. I never wanted to forget about Sally, the woman who’d raised me when my parents died.
 
The same woman who’d sacrificed her life so others wouldn’t have to.
 
It wasn’t fair that she’d died and was no longer here. The least I could do was make sure she wasn’t forgotten, and the pain helped to keep her memory alive.
 
I shook the thoughts away because I wasn’t done.
 
The gleaming puddle of light was dimming by the second, but I hoped it would hold long enough for me to see what I was doing. Killing the demonic and severing their limbs was just the first step of many.
 
“You can’t defeat us that easily, bitch,” both severed heads called in unison. They rolled near each other—ear over ear. Strands of gray, ropy hair dipped in and out of the puddles as they approached their discarded shoulders.
 
These creatures were weak and relatively easy to defeat, but they sure talked trash.
 
“Oh no you don’t.” I kicked one head and watched it rebound off the walls before landing nearby.
 
My ankle ached after holding my weight for five seconds too many.
 
“You fucking bitch,” the other one said when its friend’s head lay unconscious a few feet away.
 
It never ceased to amaze me how easily demons of every tongue and creed managed to get the knack for cursing. But I ignored what it said. No way in Hades was I going to let these demons reconnect with their bodies. Given the chance, these creatures would do just that.
 
While these pests weren’t a direct threat to people because they hunted vermin, they were a serious threat to the sentry demons who lived here—which they enjoyed devouring. I’d already stepped on several discarded bones, and had even grabbed a handful because they could fetch a pretty penny. As much as I disliked the thought of female sentry demons being eaten, I didn’t believe in wasting any demonic pieces. Some parts could be used for medicinal purposes or ritualistic practices, as decorative pieces, not to mention for enhancing sexual exploits.
 
Today, I was here to nab adjy heads and hands—one lot for a high-paying customer whom I’d supplied with plenty of demonic parts in the past. The other lot of limbs, I would keep. I didn’t make a habit of asking any of my regulars why they wanted particular bits and pieces, but I’d supplied Adela Gomory with enough body parts to know she was creating another sculpture. She specialized in taxidermy with a slant towards the bizarre.
 
As long as she didn’t reanimate whatever bastardized invention she was creating, it was none of my business what she did. I simply supplied the pieces, received payment and used the money to add to my own collection of obscure demonology texts, parapsychology volumes—as much occult paraphernalia as I could get my hands on. And that wasn’t limited to books.
 
This was the glamorous life of a demon hunter—living in the shadows, taking out the garbage while getting paid for the remains. Of course, in some cases I didn’t receive a dime, but there were always exceptions to every rule.
 
Hunching down near the closest discarded body, I severed both sets of hands and dumped them inside one of the many compartments within my trusty backpack.
 
I stood and headed for the unconscious head, but in my haze didn’t notice the other one rolling towards me until the mouth was clamped over my jeans. Damn, this was my best pair.
 
“Don’t be stupid, let go.”
 
“Or what, you’ll cut my head off?” the demon mumbled, without dislodging its sharp teeth from the denim. A millimeter more and those canines would graze skin. I wouldn’t turn into a demon from a bite, or become a host, but I could end up with a nasty infection.
 
“Very funny,” I scoffed, keeping my leg steady. Everyone thinks they’re a comedian nowadays.
 
I leaned over to yank the demonic head away but its sharp teeth pierced my skin.
 
“Ouch!” I smacked the wooden end of my axe on top of its cranium and the demon’s eyes rolled back. The head slid off my leg. I wasn’t in the mood for mucking around. I just wanted to shove the pieces I needed into my pack and get the hell out of here, so I could go home and fool myself into thinking I could catch a few hours of decent sleep.
 
Still cursing the puddles, I wrapped my fingers around the ropy strands of hair and shoved one head, then the other, into the same compartment as the hands. I had no idea why she wanted this particular head, but Adela had been adamant about acquiring one of Duke Aim’s demoniacs.
 
A cold sensation rippled down my spine, because this was the second legion from Aim’s territory to sneak into this patch during the last month. These two adjy weren’t the first I’d killed, but were probably the last because only a handful had snuck in. Still, with only one of the twenty-six legions already obliterated, if these idiots didn’t stop slipping in, the Patch Watchdog would send my inter-patch traveler friend to destroy their home. If any demonic territories became intent on spilling violence against other patches, the Watchdog—led by Burr Okell—would make sure they were erased from existence.
 
Why was Aim letting them run riot like this?
 
Not my problem.
 
 
 
 
 
  
This is a SIERRA FOX spin-off novel...
SIERRA FOX STORIES
     
   

DEAR ROCKSTAR by Emme Rollins

18113029
Dear Rockstar by Emme Rollins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

You know, sometimes I fall into a restless mood when it comes to reading and although I have SO MANY books on my TBR pile that I want to read, I end up wandering aimlessly through my bookshelves and Kindle trying to figure out what to read next. It's kinda crazy, but it happens.

Anyway, I found this on my Kindle and decided to give it a go. It's actually a book that I downloaded from Amazon a few years back because it was available for free. And it was set in the 80's. I'm a total sucker for the 1980's, so of course I wanted to check it out! ;)

Sara failed to complete high school because some awful family stuff happened during her senior year. So now she's attending an academy full of other people who flunked out of high school in hopes of finally graduating. Luckily she's got her best friend Aimee by her side--who has her own set of problems. Oh, and Sara is totally obsessed with a rock star called Tyler Vincent. She's been in love with him since she was fourteen, and while other girls usually move on from their teen idol crushes, she's pretty much still his biggest fan. She knows everything about him and wants desperately to meet him.

However, the day she meets the gorgeous Dale Diamond, all of her priorities are turned upside down and the man she built up to be her saviour because so much of her home life has been nothing short of torture, takes a backseat. All she can think about is Dale, and he just happens to look like Tyler and is even a musician who enters his band into the MTV Battle-of-the-Bands.

Only problem is that they've both got some pretty dark secrets. Secrets that might tear them apart...

I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed this book! Sure, there were a few teeny-tiny inconsistencies that showed up along the way, but it was still a solid book. I especially liked the setting--of course I did, since I grew up in the 80's--and even the complications these characters faced.

That's the thing about stories set in the 1980's... They're technically considered 'historical' fiction because we're talking late 20th century, but so much of what happened back then is mirrored in today's society. This story proves it.

The whole fantasy of falling for a rock star was also very well done. I loved how Sara's obsession wasn't really with the actual Tyler Vincent, but with the perfect man she'd created in her mind while trying to escape the horrors of her real life. It's something we've all been guilty of doing at some stage in our teenage years, isn't it?

Yeah, I really enjoyed this story. Not only is it a nice nostalgic trip into the world of music that was the 80's, but it also portrays some very complicated people dealing with real life issues. Oh, and how can I forget the love story at the centre of everything? Sara and Dale are just perfect together. Not just because their mutual passion for each other burns off the pages, but also because they're just as broken.

Great book!




Thursday, 14 January 2016

GLASS SWORD by Victoria Aveyard

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Mare's blood is red - the colour of common folk - but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from the prince and friend who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by the Silver king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red and Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat. Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?
 
 
It was so exciting to receive this ARC late last year, and I couldn't wait to get stuck into it because I enjoyed the first book so much. So I waited until 2015 ended before getting started on this book.

Mare Barrow might have escaped the clutches of the new Silver King and his power-hungry mother, but it doesn't mean she's entirely free. Rescued by what's left of the Scarlet Guard, they barely manage to get away alive and then she finds herself on an island that seems to offer freedom but is just another type of prison. Not even reuniting with her family and finding out the brother she thought was dead is actually just like her--a Red blood with Silver powers--is enough to keep her in the one spot.

Along with her closest allies, and the prince/friend who betrayed her, she heads off on the dangerous mission of tracking down all the other people with powers like hers in an attempt to round them up before the king kills them. Besides, they could come in handy against the crazy Maven.

But things rarely go as planned, and Mare finds out the hard way just how badly they can turn out...

Well, that was disappointing. Everything that I loved so much about Red Queen seemed to be missing from the second instalment.

It starts out well enough: action-packed, a few twists and turns, her reuniting with her family. But as a whole it just wasn't... exciting. There were too many moments where it felt like Mare kept recycling her thoughts, continually thinking about Maven even though he obviously didn't deserve a moment's thought. She doubted herself all the time. She doubted everyone around her. Which wouldn't have been a problem if it didn't dominate her every action and made her come across quite selfish.

I found it really hard to get swept away in her narrative, which is something I had no trouble with during the first book. Did I mention that I loved the first one? I did. I guess that's why I had such high hopes for this one. To be honest, at times this actually felt like it was part of a different world. I realise that everything was opening up to reveal more, but it wasn't enough. I found myself skimming forward too many times.
And I have to be honest, but I didn't like that ending. At all. O.o

Glass Sword is a well written addition to the futuristic, fantasy world of the Silvers and Reds. It's action-packed in places, sad in others, bleak all the way through, and offers a few unexpected things along the way. Unfortunately, it just didn't work for me.
 
 
Glass Sword, February 2016, ISBN 781409159353, Orion

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

ARCADE BLOCK


Yesterday we received our very last Arcade Block:


And here's what was packed into the box: 
  

And here's everything outside of the box: 

 
There are a few cool items in this box, but I'm glad we're not getting anymore of these.

Have a great day!

Friday, 8 January 2016

HELL OF A RIDE Blurb!


 
It only takes one spark to start a bushfire…and no one sparks like a demon.
Elsewhere, Book 1
Lavie Grye has everyone fooled into believing she’s over the untimely death of her aunt. Truth is, she’s stuck in struggle town, dealing with bottled up grief by kicking some demonic butt. But when a hot, tempting demon named Saul comes knocking for help, she can’t turn him down.
There’s a high-ranking demonic duke loose on the eastern side of Australia, literally scorching his sigil into the land. Unless he’s stopped, he’ll destroy the world’s intricate network of ley lines.
Lavie and Saul head out on a road trip to the next city Saul thinks the three-headed demon and his crazy conjurer partner will be targeting: Melbourne. Along the way, Lavie discovers the danger burns a path all the way back to a well-hidden family secret. And, with Saul’s help, begins to learn how to be comfortable in her own skin.
That is, if they can defeat the threat, ensure no more safe havens are destroyed—and manage to evade the killing shadows of Saul’s past.


Warning: This book features a feisty demon hunter and a demonically sexy prince, embarking on one hell of a road trip. Buckle your seatbelt—jumping the fire line can get dicey.
 
 
Lavie's story will be available in late March, but it's already available for pre-order:
 
Samhain PublishingKindle | Nook



This is a SIERRA FOX spin-off novel...
SIERRA FOX STORIES
 

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Meet my Darth Planner


I used to be one of those people who loved the idea of a yearly planner and would buy one, use it during January and then forget all about it. Yeah, that was me. I know there are a lot of people like that, but I think the reason why I did this was because I never found the planner that was perfect for me.

One day to a page was too much. One week to a page not enough. Even a week to two pages didn't keep my interest for long.

Then I discovered a little something called a Moleskine.

While checking out the many lovely designs and inside options, I stumbled upon a planner that featured a Week To One Page Opposite a Blank Page. As soon as I saw it, I knew it was something I would be interested in.

So to start me off, I grabbed an 18-month planner that took me all the way to the end of 2015:


Unlike my previous attempts at trying to remember to add things to the planner before totally abandoning it, I actually used this up until the very last day of the year. As you can see, it's a little swollen on the inside but it kept its shape pretty well and didn't fall apart at all.

When it came to replacing it with a 2016 planner, I debated whether to go for a completely different cover design and even whether I should stick to Star Wars... but of course I did.

Here's the planner I will be using this year:


Although Darth Vader is not one of my favourite Star Wars characters, I find myself gravitating towards his covers. It could just be that I like to have matching covers. Or that it was the one that really caught my eye. Or maybe I'm (slightly) tempted by the Dark Side. :P

Whatever the reason, I'm looking forward to filling up this year's Moleskine with as much detail, stickers, updates and washi tape as last year's.

Happy planning!

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

A HEAD FULL OF GHOSTS by Paul Tremblay


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My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, I was in the mood for a super creepy story and that's exactly what I got!

Merry is now in her twenties, but is still constantly retelling/rewatching the awful and very horrific events that happened when she was eight. Shortly after their father lost his job, her fourteen-year-old sister, Marjorie, started to act different. She was erratic, murmured to herself, complained about the voices inside her head and just acted downright creepy. So creepy that Merry feared her, and their parents assumed Marjorie was mentally ill.

Except, the treatment didn't seem to help and it cost money the Barretts didn't have. So they decide to let a TV show crew enter their lives, and even call in the help of a priest. But no matter what they try, Marjorie seems to get worse and everything leads to a horrific exorcism.

Wow.

This book was awesome in so many ways.

I love how it was told through the eyes of Merry as an adult and the memories she carried with her. At times she comes across as an unreliable narrator. A young girl who never got over the trauma she was exposed to, yet continues to dwell on it years later. After all, she's constantly reliving what she can remember for one media format or another.

There were many things I liked about this story: how you're constantly wondering whether Marjorie is in fact possessed, how quickly someone turns to faith when things are crumbling, that memories are very tricky things... but I mostly liked the challenge in the narrative. If opinionated, girls and women are often labelled 'crazy' and 'must be put in their place'. This is something that religion always does, and seems to come from a deep-rooted fear of the power of females. As soon as a young girl knows too much, speaks up too loudly or is interested in exploring her sexuality there must be something wrong. Yet, if boys do the exact same thing it's just part of growing up. Why is it that so many possession stories seem to feature girls during puberty? Well, this story makes you question that as much as whether Marjorie was in fact possessed by a demonic entity.

Asides from everything this story makes you think about--and there are a lot of things--it's creepy as hell. Which is another awesome thing about it!

I really enjoyed this and have my own theory about what really happened to this family. In particularly, my theory revolves around the sisters.

HORROR BLOCK


Since I (finally) caught up on posting a bunch of past HORROR BLOCK boxes, I'm now going to try and post them within a week of receiving them. That way I won't fall behind, plus there will be no spoilers because everyone should have received theirs by then.
 
We received December's box last week: 

 
And here's the creepfest that was inside...

 
I have to admit that I liked what I saw instantly!
 
And this is why:

 
There was certainly a lot to love about this box. That Freddy plush matches my Jason and Chucky plushies. All I'm missing now is Michael. Let's hope he arrives sometime this year. *fingers crossed*
 
This item is SO COOL:
 
 
Plus the Wes Craven Tribute Tee was bittersweet.
 
 
 I was ecstatic to find such an awesome T-shirt inside this very cool box, but I was also reminded about the world losing Wes Craven (RIP) last year. :( He made some of my favourite movies.
 
IMO, this is the best subscription box (trust me, we've tried quite a few) so if you want to grab one for yourself, check it out HERE.
 
Anyway, have a horrorble day!



Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Keep Track of Them Words



Around this time last year I posted about the very cool Tracking Sheets I'd found via Twitter. More specifically, I mentioned they were very handy spreadsheets made by author Sidney Bristol.
 
Since I just downloaded the 2016 versions, I thought I'd post my 2015 summary.
 
 
Last year's totals surprised me because 2015 wasn't a particularly great writing year. My productivity, inspiration and creativity took a downward spiral when I started dealing with several publishing issues that I had no control over. Those issues aren't completely done yet, but I've managed to move on.
 
Leaving the bitterness, disappointment and negativity associated with this behind is the only way to move on. Because I sure as hell am not going to let outside forces cripple my writing enthusiasm again. No way. And if that means taking a year to just do what I love best--write--than so be it.
 
Still, in spite of all of the above, I managed to write 162,503 words and edited/revised 2,828 pages.
 
I'm actually quite happy with that because it means that I wrote two first drafts, edited two books, revised two more and found my way back to writing. Yay! Not to mention that I signed the contracts for the two SIERRA FOX spin-off novels. That means all of the books set in Sierra's dangerous UF world will be available in the one place.
 
January is usually a slow month for me because my daughter doesn't start the new school year until the 29th, plus the start of the year always feel sluggish and out of sorts. But I'll get myself back into the groove soon enough.
 
In the meantime, if you decide to check out or use the tracking sheets, be sure to let Sidney know on her blog or on Twitter. After all, offering this for free is an awfully kind thing to do. 
 
Let's call 2016 the year of happy writing! ;)
 
 
 

Monday, 4 January 2016

Reading 2016


HAPPY NEW YEAR!
 
I hope you all had a wonderful time welcoming the New Year. We celebrated by going to watch THE FORCE AWAKENS again. This time on IMAX. It was quite the experience, and I have to admit that I enjoyed the movie even more than I did the first time I watched it.

Anyway.

2016 is here, so it's time to start a new reading challenge:

https://www.goodreads.com/challenges/3890-2016-reading-challenge

As you can see I've already started my Reading Challenge. I chose to start with a re-read, which is something I hardly do, but I just had to read this story again. It was a great way to kick off the reading year, that's for sure. :)
 
Okay, this year I'm once again aiming to read 100 books. That will include novels, novellas, short stories, comic books, poems, etc. This is the same target I've had for several years now, and I think it's the most realistic for me.

Here's to another awesome year of reading!
 
This is usually where I mention a Mini-Challenge. During the last few years it's been this: finish a bunch of trilogies/series that I have 1-3 books to go until completion. And no matter how many times I tell myself to GET IT DONE, I just don't. Well, I'm not going to bother setting this Mini-Challenge this year. I just hope that I finally get off my reading ass and tackle this. LOL.

There is one thing I want to do, and that's NOT borrow so many library books that my own book collections get shoved to the side. I seriously have bookshelves full of awesome books I can't wait to read, as well as a Paperwhite with SO MANY stories calling to me that it's going to be an easy thing to do.

I think. I hope.

Keep up with my progress on My Reading Page, or at Goodreads.
 
How many books do you plan to read this year?


Saturday, 2 January 2016

THE OUTSIDERS by S.E. Hinton


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My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, I decided to start my 2016 Reading Challenge with a classic. This is a book that I read back in the late 1980s, while in high school. I enjoyed it so much that I talked my English teacher into lending me all the other S.E Hinton books the English department had available. :)

Anyway, reading this book almost 30 years later was still a great experience. I was hooked instantly and read the whole book in one day (well, finished it just after midnight) because I just couldn't stop.

Ponyboy is a teenager. His parents died so he lives with his older brothers Darry and Sodapop. Darry works hard to keep the brothers together, while Sodapop dropped out of school and got a job to help keep Ponyboy in school because this kid's smart. He loves to read and is an advanced student. His brothers know that he might be able to make something of himself. If he can stay out of gang trouble.

Along with their friends Johnny, Two-Bit, Steve and Dally these guys are known as Greasers--poor kids from shitty homes but cool hair. And the Socs--rich kids with fancy cars who go around bashing Greasers. The night a bunch of drunk Socs go too far, Ponyboy and Johnny retaliate and are forced to go on the run...

Wow. Still amazing.

This story might have been set in the 1960s, but some things never change. S.E Hinton is right, the group names might change but some kids will always feel like they're lumped into one group or another and have to fight to stay alive.

This is a timeless book that packed the same emotional punch for me now as it did when I first read it (at the same age as Ponyboy). The writing style sucked me in quickly and deeply. I once again got lost in the violent world of the Greasers and felt sorry for their hardships but celebrated their generosity towards each other. Basically, I once again fell in love with the characters.

Ponyboy's voice is honest and raw. Johnny's story still tore my heart out. And the moral is still the same.

I LOVE this book SO MUCH.

Now I want to watch the movie! :)



ORIGINAL REVIEW: I read this book in high school and LOVED it!

Friday, 1 January 2016

Happy New Year!


I hope you all have an awesome...
 
 
 
 
Let's hope that 2016 is a better year than 2015 in every way possible.
 
Have an awesome time!

 
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