December 30, 2012

The Best and Worst of 2012 as Read By Me!!

So I guess most, if not all book bloggers are doing some kind of Top Ten or Best Reads list to finish of 2012, and so I decided to throw my hat in the ring also!
It sounds fairly easy I know, however it has taken me an absolute age to wade through my pile of books to find the true standouts; here are some of the books I have loved in 2012...

A fellow Kiwi, I first heard about Melissa Pearl via an online newspaper article in March. I bought Golden Blood for my kindle, and fell in love! The characters, the plot, the writing - I was completely blown away, and quickly read book 2 in the series (Black Blood) and desperately waited for book 3 (Pure Blood) to be released.
I have also read Forbidden Territory which Melissa co-authored with Brenda Howson, and Melissa's most recent release, Betwixt
I am now eagerly awaiting her latest trilogy, with book #1 Unknown, tentatively scheduled for a June 2013 release.

I discovered T.G. Ayer (also due to the internet article mentioned above), and what a discovery she has been!
I read, and fell in love with Dead Radiance. Its beautifully written story of Norse mythology threaded into an intricately woven teenage tale of loss and hardship, mystery and intrigue, first love, deceit, self discovery and more. Just as wonderfully written was Dead Embers, the second in the series and I am impatiently waiting for book #3 Dead Chaos which is scheduled for a March 2013 release.
T.G. Ayer also has a new series (The Hunter trilogy), with book #1 Skin Deep, scheduled to release in February 2013, which I can't wait to read too!

Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarry completely took me by surprise.
This was a story I expected to like, but I very quickly found myself enraptured by Echo and Noah's story. I loved this book, and I can't wait for the follow up book Dare You To which is set to release in May 2013.
Vengeance Born had been on my list of books to get from the first moment I saw the cover! Australian author, Kylie Griffin did not disappoint with her beautiful and creative world building, bringing this story and her characters to life, etching a place in my heart. The second book in this series Alliance Forged just confirmed for me what a talented writer Kylie Griffin is, and her books are on my keeper shelf.
I have pre-ordered the third book in this series, Allegiance Sworn and I really can't wait for its release in April 2013.

Zombies are not my thing, but Flesh came highly recommended by a friend so I thought why not. Why not indeed! - not only was this a great zombie story full of snappy writing and addictive characters, but it was a really great erotic read too!
A convert to the zombie theme, I look forward to more books from Kylie Scott, especially book #2 in this series Skin, which is set to release in February 1st 2013.

I loved the amazing world that Merrie Destefano created for Fathom
This beautifully crafted story with a watery twist and shrouded in Celtic myth was addictive. For her first foray in the YA genre, Merrie Destefano has definitely made her mark, I cant wait to see what she has to come in 2013.

A beautiful and sweetly engaging story, Ransomwood by Sherryl Jordan will melt your heart. Simply put, this book was an absolute pleasure to read.

Every Day by David Levithan is the quintessential love story.
Although it didn't get a perfect 5 star review from me, it was a book I could happily read again...and again. I loved the voice with which this story is told and will definitely add the authors back catalogue to my to read list.

I love a good historical romance, and IMO Anna Campbell writes some of the best.
Seven Nights in a Rogue's Bed left me thoroughly enchanted with its dark and gothic retelling of a beauty and the beast themed love story. Another author on my keeper shelf, I can't wait for the next installment of Anna Campbell's Sons of Sin series.

Book #2 in the Witch Song series, Witch Born definitely has all the right things going for it and I eagerly await future stories from Amber Argyle as she has put me under her spell with the truly beautiful and lyrical way in which she writes. 

The following have not necessarily been bad books, but they have been books I did not enjoy; for whatever reason, they just didn't do it for me :(

Seven Day Loan was a couple of wasted hours of my life that I'll never get back!
Entirely too shallow for me :(

This story lacked character depth and a good editor; and through frustration and angst I gave up after reading less than a quarter :(

Did nothing for me, and (in my opinion) it was pretty crap!

I was bored beyond reason and gave up after 145 pages of Redemption :(

I hated the contrived characters and the authors overuse of a thesaurus. This Ember just fizzled :(

So that's it...
The Best and Worst of 2012 as read by me...
I know there will be people out there that completely disagree, and that's fine - I'll respect your opinion if you respect mine!!
(thats code for don't bother messaging me to rant about how wrong I am!!!)

December 20, 2012

Book Review: Angel In Chains by Cynthia Eden

Title: Angel in Chains (The Fallen #3)
Author: Cynthia Eden
Release Date: November 27th 2012
Publisher: Kensington
Imprint: Brava
Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley

As a fallen Angel of Death, Azrael is cursed to walk the earth alone in search of redemption. One night, as he wanders the streets of New Orleans, he discovers a woman surrounded by panther shifters. No longer able to contain the anger simmering within, Az summons his dark powers and attacks, determined to protect this innocent human from certain death.

Only Jade Pierce is no delicate flower. She's spent years learning to survive and fight the evil forces sent by her ex-lover who refuses to let her go. But after seeing Az in action, she figures she could use a little supernatural help. And so she plans a course of seduction guaranteed to arouse his interest and his angelic passions. .

My Thoughts

You can read my review of Angel Betrayed, book #2 in this series here

Every great thing that I loved about the previous book has been repeated in Angel In Chains.
This story has been very well written, flows effortlessly off the page, and was a joy to read.
I loved the characters, the storyline, the writing, everything. There were a couple of bumpy patches at the beginning, but they were easily forgiven due to the level of reading pleasure I got from this book.

I really can't wait to read the next installment from Cynthia Eden's The Fallen series.
4 out of 5 stars ;]

December 18, 2012

Book Review: Harbinger by Peta Crake

Title: Harbinger
Author: Peta Crake
Release Date: September 2012
Publisher: Destiny Romance
Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley

As an Olympic messenger, suburban Aussie girl Ophelia Lind is used to being at the beck and call of the gods. But when gorgeous demigod Aden moves into her neighbourhood and starts taking advantage of her services, Ophelia believes life could not get any worse. She's about to be proven very wrong.

Ophelia tries to enjoy a normal, everyday life while running messages for the Greek gods – but without warning an odious creature - evil incarnate - begins to stalk her. As a messenger dealing with the all-powerful and sometimes frightening gods, Ophelia is accustomed to adventures and scrapes. But this is different. Even Aden, who is madly and deeply in love with Ophelia, finds it difficult to protect her. Suddenly Ophelia is in a battle for survival and begins to question everything – her upbringing, her identity, and her true feelings for the alluring and entirely frustrating Aden.

My Thoughts

A rather enjoyable story but wow - what a lot there is going on, too much in fact. This book could really do with some refining and more direction, it's a bit all over the place, jumping from one scenario to the next.  
The writing flowed well and was easy to read but I was often left feeling dazed and muddled trying to figure out where the story was going, because it just didn't (go anywhere).
An interesting cast of characters with a mix of paranormals and Gods, but again, there was too much of all this other stuff, and not enough couple time for Ophelia and Aden. I never felt any kind of growing attraction between the MC's, they just kind of come together, there's no real progression of anything, and the ending was wound up into a nice tidy bundle that felt flat and too saccharin sweet.

Not a bad debut, but some definite work needed.
3 out of 5 stars

Book Review: The Gathering Darkness by Lisa Collicutt

Title: The Gathering Darkness
Author: Lisa Collicutt
Release Date: September 22nd 2012
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley

They say "third time's the charm", and for sixteen-year-old Brooke Day, they had better be right. She’s been here before, twice in fact, and an evil demon-witch wants her dead a third time.

When Brooke is forced to leave Boston for the small town of Deadwich, she thinks her life is over. Before long, her new friends start acting strange—downright evil. But worse than that, nightmares she’s had her whole life become reality.

Enter Marcus Knight; popular, hot, and the only person Brooke can trust. Not to mention, they’ve shared the same nightmares.

With the discovery of an ancient Celtic amulet, Brooke and Marcus unravel the secrets of her past, which reveals the key to her future.

As the equinox approaches:

Darkness and light merge for the first time in a century.

Soul-mates reunite.

Magic awakens

My Thoughts

While the story is an interesting one, pulling from numerous paranormal realms, it is also a frustrating one - teenage angst and drama seem to go hand-in-hand with any YA para book these days but sometimes, too much drama is just that - too much!

The Gathering Darkness has just the right amount of mystery and magic to keep the reader entertained but the drama fueled ups and downs between Brooke, Marcus and their circle of friends was just a little too over-the-top, it really should have been toned down a bit.

I was sorely tempted to give up after yet another broody, misinterpreted moment between Brooke and Marcus, but continued on only because I wanted to see how it would all come together. 

I wasn't disappointed by the story; it was made interesting by all the reincarnated souls of witches and faeries telling a tale of betrayal and deceit, but the relationships between all the characters could have used some work - it's hard to root for character that you find mildly annoying.

Overall, the author has cleverly woven together witches, faeries, reincarnation and magic, into an interesting and well thought out story but is let down slightly by the repetitive phrasing and angst ridden characters.
An almost 4 star read :]

Book Review: Splintered by A.G.Howard

Title: Splintered
Author: A.G.Howard
Release Date: January 1st 2013
Publisher: ABRAMS
Imprint: Amulet Books
Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley

Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.

When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on.

There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.

My Thoughts

Splintered, although it has a pretty cover, is sadly thrown on the Did-Not-Finish pile...

I've tried, I really have, but I just can't read it...
After just a few pages I knew it was going to be a chore to read. It just didn't capture my attention and I was bored.

By the time I struggled to whichever page it was that I finally stopped reading, all I could hear was the buzzing of bees in my head and I was afraid of going quietly mad myself!!

Terribly boring, and a 'voice' I just couldn't stand to read anymore from - sorry.
1 Star only :[

December 17, 2012

Book Review: Scent of Magic by Maria V. Synder

Title: Scent of Magic (Healer #2)
Release Date:

Publisher: Harlequin
Imprint: Harlequin MIRA
Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley

Hunted, killed, survived?

As the last Healer in the Fifteen Realms, Avry of Kazan is in a unique position: in the minds of friends and foes alike, she no longer exists. Despite her need to prevent the megalomaniacal King Tohon from winning control of the Realms, Avry is also determined to find her sister and repair their estrangement. And she must do it alone, as Kerrick, her partner and sole confidant, returns to Alga to summon his country into battle.

Though she should be in hiding, Avry will do whatever she can to support Tohon’s opponents. Including infiltrating a holy army, evading magic sniffers, teaching forest skills to soldiers and figuring out how to stop Tohon’s most horrible creations yet: an army of the walking dead—human and animal alike and nearly impossible to defeat.

War is coming and Avry is alone. Unless she figures out how to do the impossible…again.

My Thoughts

You can read my review of book #1 Touch of Power here

I have yet again been blown away by the authors ability to draw me into her beautifully written world. This spectacular and war torn land where magic is a strange and powerful gift both revered and feared rolls effortlessly from the page - Ms Snyder's imagery is fantastic.

I eagerly devoured this second instalment of Avry's story and for the most part I was happy with its progression but I did miss the presence of Belen and the 'monkey's'. The absence of their camaraderie and playful nature made some parts of this story a little flat for me.The lack of page time for Avry and Kerrick as a couple also left me wanting. I was really hoping that there would be a better pay off for all they had to go through in the first book.  However, Ms Snyder did redeem herself with the very surprising and unexpected return of one of my favourite characters from Touch of Power!

Overall, Scent of Magic with its beautiful imagery and cast of fun filled characters will take you on an adventure full of magic, deceit, friendship and love, and leave you gasping for more with its shocking cliffhanger.
A decent 4 star read.

Author website

December 15, 2012

Spotlight On...Vivien Sparx

It is with great pleasure that I shine a spotlight on author Vivien Sparx...

I have written romance stories since I was a teenager (I am now aged 23) and more recently I have focused my writing on erotic romance.
One of the things I pride myself on is being able to tell an erotic story without ever using profane or graphic language; it's just the way I like my stories to be.
I am the author of five erotic romance titles currently available on Amazon including - Her Master's Voice, The Billionaire's Temptress and Her Master's Kiss parts 1, 2 & 3
I have had a lot of feedback from my readers and the tone or my stories seems to strike a chord with fans of books like Bared to You and Reflected in You by Sylvia Day.
I think everyone who reads my kind of stories has already read 50 Shades of Grey and the Bared to You Crossfire novels.

Between E L James and Sylvia Day these ladies are responsible for generating huge interest in the genre of stories I happen to write. I am sure my stories will never reach the dizzy heights of success that 50 Shades of Grey, Bared to You, and Reflected in You have already reached...but I am having fun trying.


When Renee decides the only way she can save her relationship with a hurtful boyfriend is to become submissive, she enlists the expertise of a dark and brooding master.

However, Renee's training soon has her falling for master Stefan, and as she becomes immersed in the spellbinding erotic world of domination, Renee realises she's infatuated with a man who remains mysteriously out of reach; a man who refuses to be loved.

Behind Stefan's cold, remote facade is a man dealing with his own past and his own pain.

'Her Master's Kiss' is an intense emotional romance story filled with passion, conflict and steamy erotica!


Set in London over one long weekend, 'The Billionaire's Temptress' features a delightful heroine and her struggle to allure, arouse and attract the passions of a dark, sexy billionaire.

But everything is not quite as it seems as Holly sets about seducing Nikolai.

Once Nikolai's passions are aroused, Holly soon learns that unleashing Nikolai's desires may be more than she can handle as the erotic action quickly begins to sizzle.

Author Links

Facebook page

On Amazon


December 7, 2012

Book Review: The Coffin Girls by Aneesa Price

Title: Coffin Girls, Elegantly Undead (Coffin Girls)
Author: Aneesa Price
Release Date: July 18th 2012
Publisher: Self published
Source: Received from the author for an honest review

A sexy, female vampire with secrets. A sinfully-handsome witch prince on a mission. A formidable Vampire Council with something to hide.

A vampire descendent from the original Coffin Girls, Anais runs a successful event and wedding planning business from her majestic New Orleans plantation house. To the Vampire Council, she is seen as an exemplary hostess and household head of a misfit bunch of vampires.
When Yves, her maker and head of the Vampire Council requests her assistance in hosting the mysterious, yet dashing Prince of Witches, Conall, she has no option but to accept. But Anais is the keeper of secrets; secrets that can kill. Protective of her family’s undiscovered uniqueness, Anais is guarded, yet intrigued by the enigmatic witch prince.
Conall and Anais are drawn together when confronted with fatal encounters and an unimaginable destiny… if she’s willing to accept it and fight.

My Thoughts

I found Coffin Girls, Elegantly Undead, to be a slow moving story that tempted me to skim its pages and skip ahead. I thought the plot was good, but there wasn't anything keeping me interested enough to really enjoy the story.
I'm also not a huge fan of writing that reads like a manual - giving an almost blow-by-blow of events rather than using imagery to create a sense of being there. I would have enjoyed a little less telling and more use of descriptive writing; and for me, the story lacked flow, it was a bit of a bumpy read.

While the characters were interesting and a bit different than your average vampire, werewolf, witch; I didn't really care for Anais. I initially thought she was an intriguing MC, and she had a definite heat and attraction with Raulf but she very quickly moved on to Conall which I felt cheapened her character.

Sadly, without a decent connection to the characters I lost interest and took my time to finish the book - I dont think the Coffin Girls is a bad book, I just dont think it was a book for me.

Overall an interesting story with a difference for lovers of all things supernatural but I thought it could do with a little more depth and polish. 3 out of 5 stars :]

December 4, 2012



Desolate City by Racquel Jones

Cover credit: Silviya Yordanova

After being invited to a party, Seiren never dreamed of being haunted by the Haydens--supernatural beings--of her city. She was suppose to forget about how they watched her every move days before. She was suppose to forget how everything went downhill after meeting a certain white eyed Hayden. But that would be too simple...

Ereshkigal, a group of powerful beings that all Haydens resent, have their sights on Seiren and Haydens from every corner of Black Phoenix will do everything in their power to stop them.

With the help of the gun-toting agent Luann and Hayden guardian Julius, Seiren must figure out her place in all of this and why she is literally running for her life.

Expected publication: January 10th 2013

Author Links:


Cover Artist Links:

December 3, 2012

2012 Christmas Blog Hop

Merry Christmas EVERYONE...

I am giving away a $10 Amazon gift card :)
Make sure you visit all the participating blogs and enter their giveaways as well as mine.
Have fun and remember to leave comments :)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here are all the links to other participating blogs:
1. Intoxicated by Books                                       11. Amethyst Daydreams
2. Ashley Lavering                                              12. Romance, Rumors, Rogues
3. Forbidden Reviews                                         13. Gracen Miller @ Road to Hell series
4. Close Encounters with the Night Kind           14. MIsfits and Heroes
5. Aine @ Hose Millar                                        15. Sunday S. Smith
6. Natasha Blackthorne                                       16.My life, One story at a time
7. My Book Chatter                                            17. Better Read than Dead
8. JC Martin                                                        18. Cecilia Robert
9. Beck Valley Books                                          19. Casey Crow

November 30, 2012

Spotlight On...Shane O'Neill

It is with great pleasure that I shine a spotlight on author Shane O'Neill

The author developed a fascination with Dracula from an early age.
Like many others he was enthralled by Christopher Lee’s portrayal of him on the big screen. It was in his late teens that he discovered Dracula the man and the love affair began from there.
An avid historian, for many years he studied the period in which the real historical Vlad Dracula lived, 15th Century Balkan. It followed from there then that with his love of writing he would always choose Dracula as his subject.

Away from writing, the author has a wide range of interests. He has lived and travelled all over the world.
He has a love for all things historical, with a particular fascination for medieval Europe. Anywhere he travels he likes to search out locations with an historical interest. He is well read and in recent times has a preference for the work of James Patterson, Carlos Luis Zafon, John Grisham, Jeffrey Archer and Stephen King. He also keeps his library well stocked with historical texts.

For a time he played scrabble on the international stage and represented Wales at the 2007 World Championship in Mumbai, India. He has a real love of sport, most notably football, rugby union, cricket and boxing. His great loves in the football world are Manchester United, Glasgow Celtic, Internazionale and lowly Luton Town. His sporting heroes include George Best, David Beckham, Roy Keane, Ian Botham and Muhammad Ali. His only other activities away from these are long country walks and time spent with friends and family.

The Dracula Chronicles is the brilliant and terrifying new concept of Dracula. It is an epic journey through the ages where the forces of Light and Darkness struggle for supremacy until the Second Great War, as foretold in the Book of Revelations. This bitter feud began after the creation of mankind. Lucifer’s jealousy leads to the First Great War of the angels. Hundreds of thousands of years on the feud simmers beneath the surface. It plots the course of history as we know it today. Both sides manipulate the major players through the centuries to seek an advantage over the other.

On a cold night in December 1431 in Sighisoara an old gypsy woman delivers a prophecy to the great Vlad Dracul. She tells him he is about to sire two sons, one an angel and the other a devil. He returns to his fortress just as his wife bears him a son, whom he names Vlad. In the very same moment across the country on the border between Transylvania and Hungary a gypsy girl gives birth to another son, Andrei. The die is cast. The twin souls are born. The young Vlad Dracula becomes the instrument of the forces of Darkness. To balance this, the baby Andrei is blessed by the angels and bestowed with awesome powers. These chronicles are their story.



Twitter: @ShaneKPONeill

November 28, 2012

Book Review: Rogue Rider by Larissa Ione

Title: Rogue Rider (Lords of Deliverance #4)
Author: Larissa Ione
Release Date: November 20th 2012
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley

They're here.

They ride.

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

Born of a match between good and evil, four siblings stand between hell's minions and everything they want to destroy. They are the Lords of Deliverance, and they have the power to ward off Doomsday . . . or let it ride . . .

Jillian Cardiff came to this remote mountain town to forget the demon attack that almost killed her. Instead, she rescues-and falls for-a gorgeous stranger who has no memory of anything other than his name. Handsome, charming, and protective, Reseph seems like the kind of man whom Jillian can trust. But with hints of a troubling history of his own, he's also the kind of man who can be very dangerous . . .

Reseph may not know why he mysteriously appeared in Jillian's life, but he knows he wants to stay. Yet when Jillian's neighbors are killed, and demon hunters arrive on the scene, Reseph fears that he's putting Jillian in danger. And once it's revealed that Reseph is also Pestilence, the Horseman responsible for ravaging the world, he and Jillian must face the greatest challenge of all: Can they forget the horrors of a chilling past to save the future they both desire?

My Thoughts

So this is going to be one of those reviews that is hard to write because I'm finding it difficult to articulate my thoughts, but in doing so, will probably piss off half the population of Ione fans!

I wanted to love Rogue Rider.
I had high hopes for Reseph and the woman who would be his mate.
I wanted so much for this to be a real bad-boy-gone-good-but-still-a-little-bad-but-finally-comes-good emotional roller coaster of a read.
But what I got was a weak, disjointed, convoluted mish-mash of a story that I found to be unappealing and boring.

Don't get me wrong, there were a few moments of the brilliance that is Larissa Ione's story writing, but around the 45% mark I was bored and stopped reading it for a few days. I couldn't connect with Jillian, I found her to be cold, unlikeable, and far too staid and Reseph was too nice with barely any hint to his Pestilence past - the whole thing just felt off to me.
And once I picked Rogue Rider back up, I had the Aegis, DART, the other Horsemen, the Watchers, Demonica characters and Archangels to add to the story and the whole thing became a juggling act - and I was dropping the pins fast!

At the end of the day, I love Larissa Ione's characters but I just felt that she sacrificed some of Resephs story in order to round out and tie up some ends and create new plot lines.

Will I continue to buy her books? For sure!
Am I already dying to read Reaver's story? Absolutely!

But for me, this was probably her weakest book in the series and only gets a 3.5 stars out of 5 :]

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