October 29, 2012

Book Review: The Crimson Thread by Suzanne Weyn

Title: The Crimson Thread
Author: Suzanne Weyn
Release Date: July 5th 2012 (originally self-published June 17th 2008)

Publisher: Scholastic 
Source: Received from KIWIreviews for an honest review

The year is 1880, and Bertie, having just arrived in New York with her family, is grateful to be given work as a seamstress in the home of textile tycoon J.P. Wellington. When the Wellington family fortune is threatened, Bertie's father boasts that Bertie will save the business, that she is so skillful she can "practically spin straw into gold."

Amazingly, in the course of one night, Bertie creates exquisite evening gowns—with the help of Ray Stalls, a man from her tenement who uses an old spinning wheel to create dresses that are woven with crimson thread and look as though they are spun with real gold. Indebted to Ray, Bertie asks how she can repay him. When Ray asks for her firstborn child, Bertie agrees, never dreaming that he is serious…

My Thoughts

In this non magical retelling of the classic Rumpelstiltskin, author Suzanne Weyn has instead given the reader a story set around an immigrant Irish family, freshly arrived to the slums of 1880 New York.

While a clever idea, it is sadly mediocre in its execution.
The characters are all rather shallow and underdeveloped, making it difficult to follow the story that is mostly a narrative telling, rather than a descriptive showing.

The men in the family are all selfish and self serving, and basically abandon Bridget to work and support the two smaller O’Malley children.
Bridget or Bertie as she is come to be known, is extremely naive in her behavior, making her an unbelievable and unlikeable character.
Ray Stalls, though supposedly a critical character for the story, only makes brief appearances and is for the most part forgotten, again distorting the original role of the character until he is a mere shadow of his dastardly namesake.

Full of historical inaccuracies, (the inaccurate and exorbitant price charged for yarn - to name but one) the story is very slow to start, made all the more frustrating by the juvenile phrasing, dragging the reader along, until its abrupt and unfulfilling end.

From start to finish, The Crimson Thread is a rather flat, under whelming read that I wouldn’t recommend for anyone over the age of 13.

2 stars :|

October 27, 2012

Book Launch Event for Kiwi: The Real Story

Today at the Whangarei library, the official book launch for
Kiwi: The Real Story took place.

Heather Hunt

Annemarie Florian

After some brief speeches made by the illustrator Heather Hunt, and author Annemarie Florian, we were told some amusing tales of Heather and Todd's adventures tracking various Kiwi through bush blocks and gully's.
Todd, heather and Annemarie
We were then treated to a wonderful and entertaining puppet show which kept the children completely and thoroughly transfixed.

Beautifully realistic Kiwi puppets
Rat attack!
The Kiwi is a curious bird

The children then had a morning tea of mud slide drinks (chocolate milk), freshly dug worms (jelly) and insect biscuits :)
Bush tucker
fresh 'worms'

Huhu grub!

This really was a lovely morning out with my girls, and we made sure to get our copy of this gorgeous book signed by Heather and Annemarie, and Todd from Backyard Kiwi too.

Book Review: Confessions of an Angry Girl by Louise Rozett

Title: Confessions of an Angry Girl (Confessions #1)
Author: Louise Rozett
Release Date: August 28th 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley

Rose Zarelli, self-proclaimed word geek and angry girl, has some confessions to make…

1. I'm livid all the time. Why? My dad died. My mom barely talks. My brother abandoned us. I think I'm allowed to be irate, don't you?

2. I make people furious regularly. Want an example? I kissed Jamie Forta, a badass guy who might be dating a cheerleader. She is now enraged and out for blood. Mine.

3. High school might as well be Mars. My best friend has been replaced by an alien, and I see red all the time. (Mars is red and "seeing red" means being angry—get it?)

Here are some other vocab words that describe my life: Inadequate. Insufferable. Intolerable.

(Don't know what they mean? Look them up yourself.)

(Sorry. That was rude.)

My Thoughts

I have to admit I've been putting off reading this book for a while, I just kept looking at it and thinking more teenage angst, really?
Well, I started reading it in bed, and just couldn't put it down...finally finishing at 1am - what a fantastic read!

I was instantly attracted to Rose. The girl has some issues, but she's not a bad kid. The last few months have been hell for her and she just hasn't had an outlet for her feelings, hence the angry girl status.

Filled with great characters that weren't over-the-top, over exaggerated versions of teenagers that some authors have. This teenage girl was more true-to-life, dealing with actual teenage issues like raging hormones, school bullies, and inexplicable crushes. (I know what I'm talking about, my house is usually full of teenage girls, especially on weekends!!)

Did I find Rose to be a pain in the ass at times? Yes
Was I annoyed by her behaviour, the way she sometimes acts? Yes

Hello, she's a teenager - teenagers are just not right in the head!!

(again, I have first hand knowledge of this fact!)

The well scripted story and flawless writing made Confessions of an Angry Girl an easy and very enjoyable book to read - I can't wait to read Confessions of an Almost Girlfriend (bk #2) next year.

4 out of 5 stars ;]

October 25, 2012

The Three Lost Kids: Review, Interview and GIVEAWAY

Title: The Three Lost Kids and The Death of the Sugar Fairy (The Three Lost Kids #4)
Author: Kimberly Kinrade
Release Date: October 2nd 2012
Publisher: Evolved Publishing
Source: Received from I.O Book Tours

Halloween is here and Lexie, Bella and Maddie couldn't be happier. But why does everything feel so different? Fewer houses are decorated and fewer kids are out trick-or-treating. Still, that's not going to stop the three girls from eating as much candy as they can before their parents can stop them, even if that means fighting each other for it.

When they finally discover a haunted house worthy of their favorite holiday, they forget their parents' warnings and go in alone, only to discover that the house really is haunted, and not only that, but they've been transported to a whole different world!

A dying Sugar Fairy in one of the abandoned rooms send them on a quest to find her Sugar Baby and the magic Sugar Flower in order to save her and Halloween. If they fail, Halloween will be gone forever, and they'll never return to their family.

But with Sugar Bug attacks, the Cavity Caves where they must face their deepest fears, and giant gummy bears armed with candy cane swords, the girls aren't sure they'll make it.

Their only chance is to work together, using each of their strengths to help each other. Can they stop fighting over candy long enough? Or will they be trapped in the dying Sugar Land forever?

My Thoughts

I love reading children's books, especially if its a book I can read with one of my own daughters :)

This book was a lovely, well written story, with adorable characters and great imagery. I especially enjoyed the portrayal of the Mom and Dad with their hand holding and kissing. It's so refreshing to see lovey-dovey parents :)

I really enjoyed reading this with my daughter, it was light and fun, but encourages kids to make healthy choices too.

The Death of the Sugar Fairy was a very sweet (pun intended!) story indeed, and
gets 4 out of 5 stars from me ;]

Here's what my Miss 10 had to say about the book...

This book was really fun to read, I really liked when the girls scoffed the candy in their mouths when their parents weren't looking, thats something I would do! All the sweets and candy make me want to eat it all for myself.

The haunted house that they visited was pretty spooky, and I would be really scared to go there. But Bella, Maddie, and Lexie got pretty cool powers when they went to Sugarland, that part was really cool.

I can't wait to read the rest of this series, I really like them (The Three Lost Kids),
I give this book 4 Stars ;]

First 3 books in series
Now I was lucky enough to have a chance to ask the author a few questions, here's my interview with Kimberly :)

1. What are three quirky, interesting, or little known facts you can tell us about yourself?

1: My brother was my best friend growing up, and we used to create elaborate games in our neighborhood, where we were in magical worlds and everything and everyone took on a double meaning. We could play at this for hours, and we even expanded some of these games to continue into adulthood.
2: I had many businesses as a kid. I created a museum of fossilized rocks in my grandparents' backyard and charged annual admission rates, and I even went pro with my writing once I ran out of teeth to sell to the Tooth Fairy. I'd write short stories and poetry and sell it to neighbors door-to-door.
3: I never get writer's block, ever.

2. Who are some of your favorite authors?
I'm glad you didn't ask me to pick just one! :) C.S. Lewis, Neil Gaiman, Patti Larsen, Lane Diamond, Dmytry Karpov (my husband—he's amazing!), T.G. Ayer, Emlyn Chand, Patrick Rothfuss. This is a short list, but as you can see it spans many genres and styles!
*Ohh, we share some favourites Kimberly - I love C.S. Lewis, Neil Gaiman, and T.G. Ayer too!*

3. What books do you have on your ‘to be read’ pile?
The Silver Sphere by Michael Dadich, Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake, and Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor.

4. What have been the biggest challenges and/or surprises you’ve faced as a writer?
My biggest challenge is two-fold. Scheduling and outlining. For one, I have too many ideas and not nearly enough time to write them all, so I'm constantly over committing and am therefore constantly running behind on deadlines, which I hate. To that end, I have had to force myself to become a plotter, when I really prefer to just write in the flow. But plotting allows me to see the whole story before I start, thereby avoiding any major plot holes or problems that would require major rewriting (and loads of time I don't have.)
5. What has been the hardest thing about writing children’s books?
Staying in the voice of a child, without talking down to the reader. It's always my goal to offer a fun but challenging read to new or young readers, so they learn new words, think in new ways, but don't feel so overwhelmed that they give up. It's hard, but so worth it, to find that balance.
6. Did your stories/characters manifest themselves in dreams/daydreams, voices in your head etc, or do you sit down and purposely create them?
A combination of dreams, daydreams, talks with my kids and voices in my head. (Don't I sound crazy now? LOL) I don't sit down to purposely create them until I already have a strong idea screaming to be written, then it's just a matter of fleshing out and asking the all important question: What happens next?
7. Favorite movie and/or TV show?
I have many, and it usually changes by the season. Right now, my favorite TV show is Pretty Little Liars (Or Vampire Diaries). My favorite movie is impossible to say, I like so many.
*I LOVE TVD, I'm a Damon girl!*
8. Favorite actor and/or actress?
I love Anne Hathaway, Robert Downey Jr., Hugh Jackman, Sean Connery and Gabriel Byrne, for starters :)
9. Who is your ultimate swoon worthy man? (Other than your hubby!)
Other than my hubby?? Well, I don’t know, I'm married to a sexy Russian Prince, it doesn't get much more swoon worthy than that. But if I HAD to pick… hmm… I'd have to say Hugh Jackman.
*not a bad choice...personally I'm thinking Gerard Butler!*

10. What is the most daring thing you have ever done or hope to do?
I've done a lot of daring things in my life, but probably the most daring was trusting my heart when I fell in love with a man I met on Twitter, and moved in with him the first time we met in person. We're now madly in love, happily married, and are co-writing books together. Sometimes being daring pays off big!
*You're definitely braver than me :)*

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions Kimberly, its been an absolute pleasure having you
Thanks for the great questions and thank you SO MUCH for having me on your site! :)

The inspiration :)

October 24, 2012

And The Winner Is...

Yes, this is the post revealing the winner of the $15 gift voucher to an e-retailer of your choice, kindly donated by author Toni Kenyon :)

But first, I just want to say THANK YOU SO MUCH TONI!!
Thank you for the really great guest post, it was super awesome having you here at My Book Chatter.

Thank you also, for sharing with me your book Private Love In A Public Place. I can't wait to read book #2 in the series :)

In case you missed my review you can read it here, and if you want some more info on Toni and her book, here are some links:

Buy the book from Kobo Smashwords AMAZON

Author Website: http://www.tonikenyon.com
Twitter: @Toni_Kenyon

Okay here is the draw...

the entries...
'Rainbow' sorting through the entries...
this one tastes good...

yep, this is the one...

Congrats Rhonda!!!

I'm going to contact Toni now and let her know who one, and I'm sure she will contact you shortly with details on how to claim your prize Rhonda :)

Book Review: The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa

Title: The Lost Prince (The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten #1)
Author: Julie Kagawa
Release Date: October 23rd 2012
Harlequin Teen
Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley

Don’t look at Them. Never let Them know you can see Them.

That is Ethan Chase’s unbreakable rule. Until the fey he avoids at all costs—including his reputation—begin to disappear, and Ethan is attacked. Now he must change the rules to protect his family. To save a girl he never thought he’d dare to fall for.
Ethan thought he had protected himself from his older sister’s world—the land of Faery. His previous time in the Iron Realm left him with nothing but fear and disgust for the world Meghan Chase has made her home, a land of myth and talking cats, of magic and seductive enemies. But when destiny comes for Ethan, there is no escape from a danger long, long forgotten.

My Thoughts

Well, I cant say I'm impressed at all.
Was the story good? - it was okay but it was all just a little too familiar and predictable. Yes there were different characters, different fey, but after it's all said and done; it's the same scenario, the same formula, the same fight as the Iron Fey series.

Sigh...I feel like I'm going to repeat myself, in fact, I think I will...
here were no surprises, no twists and turns, nothing to make me gasp and squeal with shock, sorrow, happiness...it was all very...meh.

Yep, that's exactly what I said about The Iron Knight (Iron Fey #4), and I wasn't terribly fussed with the entire series, w
hich means I probably won't bother reading anymore of Ethan's books. I will say however, that I think the author writes a much better male voice than she does a female, even if Ethan is an annoying little snot.

The writing is okay, the characters are okay, perhaps a little shallow, but okay, the storyline is okay - it was all okay, nothing flash, nothing to WOW about.

Lovers of the original Iron Fey series will no doubt love this book, but as far as I'm concerned, The Lost Prince is a only worth a read when there's nothing else to do.

3 out of 5 stars :]

October 22, 2012

Happy Halloween GIVEAWAY

Its that time of year again where many of my American friends are dressing up their houses, and front porches with an array of gorgeous, scary, and fun Halloween decorations, having parties and taking their kids 'trick or treating'

While we don't go to as much trouble here in New Zealand, I thought I'd have a giveaway to celebrate this awesome time of year.

I'm giving away 10 prize packs consisting of an awesome array of
metal bookmarks, phone charms, book thongs, magnets,
erasers, necklaces, earrings, buttons, keyrings, etc.

metal bookmarks, phone charms, book-thongs
necklaces, earrings, magnets, bookmarks, buttons, etc
Basically, I'll fill an envelope with lots of my Halloween treats and post them anywhere in the world to 10 lucky winners :)

Giveaway is international, just use the rafflecopter form below to enter
and have a...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

October 18, 2012

Guest Post and GIVEAWAY with Author Toni Kenyon

Toni Kenyon
For my sins, when I contacted Cath I suggested something "Smart, Sassy and Pithy" for her blog she agreed.

I'm not sure that I've been smart, sassy and pithy all in one article in my life!

So, I thought about the reasons Cath and I connected in the first place - aside from me being a writer and Cath being a reader.

1. We both live in New Zealand - Aotearoa - the land of the long white cloud;
2. We're both imports. We were transplanted to New Zealand as youngsters from England.

I consider myself an Antipodean gal now, even though due to some inbred kind of patriotism that I don't understand, I can still be found glued to the television bawling in front of a Royal Wedding. There's something inherent about the pomp, ceremony and tradition that pulls at my heartstrings.

So then I took a moment to think about how my background (displaced youngster, struggling to come to terms with a new life, new rituals and a new country) may have influenced the way I approach writing romance novels. If you've read PRIVATE LOVE IN A PUBLIC PLACE, you'll have come to see that my take on romance is little outside the 'usual'. I realize that's a massive generalization, but my writing has been described as 'gritty' and I think that's appropriate and a fair observation.

I love the romance genre and I adore happy endings, but there's some deep-rooted, intrinsic part of me that rebels at the thought of writing a 'traditional' romance. When I look at my own personal history, the way I grew up and the effect being transplanted from my motherland had on me, it makes sense that I would rebel. One of the things I'm enjoying about indie publishing is that I no longer have to 'fit' inside the strict boundaries of a 'line' and the internet gives my work the chance to find its readership over time. As I was explaining to a friend recently as we walked the beach with my dogs, "My stories don't have to come out of the starting gate with a hiss and a roar." They can build to a slow boil - just the way I like my sex scenes... :-)

The lack of restrictions involved in shelf-life as well, means that the stories will be available on-line ad infinitum. I don't know about you, but that kinda blows my mind.

So, what is it that I've mined from the story-telling well to take it's place for eternity in the internet library? PRIVATE LOVE IN A PUBLIC PLACE is the story of Mags and Julian and essentially focuses on Mag's experience with Julian the man and Julian the mega super star. I have always been surrounded by musicians, unfortunately not of the mega super star status, but we're working on that :-) My dad was a bass player and I grew up with a double bass and Vox amplifier in my bedroom. I could often be found as a youngster gaffa taping cables down at the gigs Dad played that evening. Strangely, my husband-to-be is a musician, I sing in a band and my son is currently studying for a degree in rock music. It's not surprising that music plays a large part in my life and that experience (with a lot of help from my imagination) has translated nicely onto the page.

Here's the blurb:

Mags O'Brien lives on the alcohol-soaked, drug-enhanced concert circuit, managing out-of-control rocker Julian MacAvoy. She helps him spread his musical gospel to his adoring followers, despite the fast-spinning turnstile on his bedroom door, and the broken hearts he leaves in his wake.
Mags believes she’s immune to Julian’s magnetic personality but when controversy hits the tour, she finds herself in danger of falling at his feet, slave to his appetites and her own desire and need.
Julian refuses to be tamed, but the pressure of the ravenous crowds clamps tighter and tighter around him. His chaotic world starts to crumble when he realizes his motivation to continue touring comes from an unobtainable woman. Can he force her to make the agonizing choice between himself and her estranged husband?
An erotic and candid look at life on the road.

I hope you enjoy PRIVATE LOVE IN A PUBLIC PLACE. Book two in the series is scheduled for release in April 2013 and also keep an eye out for my short novella, THE FAN which follows the journey of one of Julian's groupies.

In the meantime, I have another couple of novels due for release. If you want to stay informed, sign up for my newsletter at http://www.tonikenyon.com 

I've been blessed to have music touch my life in various ways. Why don't you tell me how music, or a musician has touched your life.
Cath will be making a random draw from those who have commented and I'll send you a $15.00 gift voucher from your preferred ebook retail store.

Thanks for having me, Cath. It's been a pleasure.


Thank you so much for the great guest post Toni, and WOW, what an awesome giveaway :)

So come on friends, leave a comment (and include your email address)
, answering Toni's question for your chance to win that $15 gift voucher!

Giveaway will be open until next Wednesday (NZ time) and 1 winner will be drawn at Random :)

You can read my review of Private Love in a Public Place here

October 17, 2012

Book Review: Private Love In A Public Place by Toni Kenyon

Title: Private Love in a Public Place (Private Love, #1)
Author: Toni Kenyon
Release Date: August 2012
Publisher: Apeople Publishing
Source: Received from the author for an honest review

Mags O'Brien lives on the alcohol-soaked, drug-enhanced concert circuit, managing out-of-control rocker Julian MacAvoy. She helps him spread his musical gospel to his adoring followers, despite the fast-spinning turnstile on his bedroom door, and the broken hearts he leaves in his wake. 
Mags believes she’s immune to Julian’s magnetic personality but when controversy hits the tour, she finds herself in danger of falling at his feet, slave to his appetites and her own desire and need. 
Julian refuses to be tamed, but the pressure of the ravenous crowds clamps tighter and tighter around him. His chaotic world starts to crumble when he realizes his motivation to continue touring comes from an unobtainable woman.
Can he force her to make the agonizing choice between himself and her estranged husband?
An erotic and candid look at life on the road.

My Thoughts

At some point or another, most people have lusted after someone they know, perhaps a co-worker, or even the boss; and Mags is no different.
The trials and stresses of being on tour, have stretched her marriage to breaking point. Her husband has become more of an annoying friend than lover, and her annoyingly charming boss is getting her hotter by the day.

Toni Kenyon has written a really great story around a life we usually only hear about through trashy magazine articles using mysterious sources and telescopic photo lenses. But instead of just your typical hype, the author has brought to life the real story behind the scenes; she has made her celebrities human, fallible, and extremely likeable - warts and all.

I loved Mags. All things considered, she is an incredibly normal woman in an unreal world fuelled by booze, drugs, and overinflated ego's. She's struggling to keep herself sane, while pandering to the every need of her crew and her 'star' boss Jules.
Jules is a great leading man. He's cheeky and funny with just the right amount of sarcastic flair - although he does have a tendency to sulk, but he's sexy and alluring, and knows that Mags has the hots for him.

memorable line...
"He whispered pacifying words to me through my hair; they ran like warm treacle down the long strands, ta
king eventual residence in the small caves of my ears."

A great cast of characters to both love and hate, Private Love in a Public Place has been expertly written, drawing the reader in right from the start.
The life of this on-tour band was both descriptive and entertaining, perhaps a little predictable in parts, but it was definitely shaken up with some really unexpected twists and turns - and lets not forget the hot sex!
While there are some really tender and heartfelt moments of aww, there is a decent amount of hot blooded, I-want-you-right-now sex :)
Right out of left field, the author spun this story on its head and had me gasping with shock and excitement. I was not expecting that at all, a great turn of unexpected events :)

A thoroughly entertaining and pleasurable 4 star read ;]

*Be sure to check out my blog tomorrow for a guest post and GIVEAWAY with author Toni Kenyon*


Buy the book from Kobo Smashwords AMAZON
Author Website: http://www.tonikenyon.com
Twitter: @Toni_Kenyon

October 16, 2012

Release Day Book Review: The Twelve by Justin Cronin

Title: The Twelve (The Passage #2)
Author: Justin Cronin
Release Date: 16th October 2012
Publisher: Hachette NZ (Orion Books)
Source: Received from the publisher via Booksellers NZ

In his internationally bestselling and critically acclaimed novel The Passage, Justin Cronin constructed an unforgettable world transformed by a government experiment gone horribly wrong.

With The Twelve, the story continues.

In the present day: As a man-made apocalypse unfolds, three strangers navigate the chaos, desperate to find others, to survive, to witness the dawn on the other side of disaster. Lila, a doctor and an expectant mother, has been so broken by the spread of violence and infection that she continues to plan for her child’s arrival even as society dissolves around her.
Kittridge, known to the world as “Last Stand in Denver,” has been forced by loss of electrical power to flee his stronghold and is now on the road, dodging the infected, armed but alone and well aware that a tank of gas will get him only so far.
April is a teenager fighting to guide her little brother safely through a minefield of death and ruin. These three will learn that they have not been fully abandoned—and that in connection lies hope, even on the darkest of nights.

A hundred years in the future: Amy, Peter, Alicia, and the others introduced in The Passage work with a cast of new characters to hunt the original twelve virals . . . unaware that the rules of the game have changed, and that one of them will have to sacrifice everything to bring the Twelve down.

The scope widens and the intensity deepens as the epic tale of sacrifice and survival begun in The Passage surges forward in its breathtaking sequel—The Twelve.

My Thoughts

Although I found The Twelve slow to start, it is (as stated above) an epic read. Not only by it's sheer volume, but the journey in which Justin Cronin has crafted for his characters.

We are once again thrown into this haphazard, tumultuous world of death, destruction, and vampires - where the strongest, greediest, and more often than not, most brutal members of the population thrive.

We follow the crazy, somewhat dismal and demanding lives of our hero's as they again fight for survival in a quest to rid (whats left of) their world of The Twelve. Only this time they are not just fighting virals, they find themselves fighting a so-called system too

The Twelve is an enthralling story that took me around four days to read as I found myself, at times overwhelmed. There is just so much going on; from different time periods, to the differing points of view of a growing cast of characters. This does however, allow the reader an insight into the backgrounds of the cast and history surrounding the situation with which they are now faced - if you can get past the feeling of information overload.

There was plenty of creepiness and gore to keep the most avid horror fans happy, and the individual stories of each character were perfectly told, emotionally draining and heartfelt.
I was very happy to see Amy grow, both emotionally and physically, and it was great to again get inside her head; to try and decipher what on earth was going on. My only complaint would be that I really would have loved for the growing attraction between Amy and Peter to have progressed further.

Author Justin Cronin has again left the reader with unanswered questions, unresolved plot twists, and a great cliffhanger that has left me aching for more. It's going to be an impatient wait until the third book, The City Of Mirrors comes out in 2014!

I was enthralled, creeped out, and I really, really liked it - a 4.5 (almost 5) Star read ~<;]

October 7, 2012

Book Review: The Blessed by Tonya Hurley

Title: The Blessed (The Blessed #1)
Author: Tonya Hurley
Release Date: September 25th 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Imprint: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Source: Won from a blogger giveaway

A re-imagined redemption remix following three wayward teenage girls in Brooklyn that draws on the earliest martyrdom legends of St. Lucy, St. Cecelia, and St. Agnes, The Blessed is a dark and gritty supernatural romance that puts an ancient twist on modern love and relationships.

Along with the enigmatic Sebastian, Lucy, Agnes, and Cecilia are forced to figure out who is good and who is evil in the battle for not only love, but for their own souls.

My Thoughts

I had not heard of this book until I won an ARC in a giveaway on an author's blog page, but I was immediately intrigued with the storyline. I have an attraction for things religious and spiritual, and have collected a few religious based books, artworks, and nic-nacs; and I definitely wouldn't mind one of the girls beautifully described chaplets :)

While reading The Blessed, I found that it didn't really have one clear voice, or POV throughout, and this did cause some confusion as I was page flipping back and forth to check and see if I'd missed something, because it really was quite distracting and I did feel more than a little lost at times. One moment I'm reading the book from Lucy's point-of-view, and the next I'm in Sebastian's head, and then back again; all in a matter of a few sentences.

However, the second half of the book evened out some, and was a much better read. The story started to take on some direction, and I'd finally come to grips with its disjointed nature.

I really enjoyed the new take on the Saint theme, and author Tonya Hurley can definitely write some beautifully descriptive passages. But I especially enjoyed the parts that were dedicated to each character: Lucy's Lament, Cecilia's Dream, Agnes's Ecstasy, and The Word According To Sebastian.
In fact the whole book has a poetic-ness to it that I haven't often found in a YA book, but it is, at its heart - a dark, gothic, emo-to-the-extreme read, that may not suit the tastes of your average or younger YA reader.

While I may have some contradictory views on some of the content, I can easily see The Blessed being adapted for TV or a movie; it definitely fits the brief for teenage tastes in all things spooky and supernatural, and it does have that sexy bad boy quality going for it too.

Again, I dont think this is a book for everyone, it does flirt with an imaginary line that some writers (and readers) are hesitant to cross, but all things considered, I actually really liked it.

An intriguingly addictive read that spoke to my inner goth, 4 Stars ;]


Author website
The Blessed Facebook page

October 5, 2012

Book Review: Until There Was You by Jessica Scott

Title: Until There Was You (Coming Home #2)
Author: Jessica Scott
Release Date: October 8th 2012
Publisher: Loveswept (A Loveswept Contemporary Military Romance)
Source: Received from the author for an honest review

He plays by the rules, she’s not afraid to break them. Now these two strong-willed army captains will prove that opposites attract . . .

A by-the-book captain with a West Point background, Captain Evan Loehr refuses to mix business with pleasure—except for an unguarded instance years ago when he succumbed to the deep sensuality of redheaded beauty Claire Montoya. From that moment on, though, Evan has been at odds with her, through two deployments to Iraq and back again. But when he is asked to train a team prepping for combat alongside Claire, battle-worn Evan is in for the fight of his life.

Strong, gutsy, and loyal, Captain Claire Montoya has worked hard to earn the rank on her chest. In Evan, Claire sees a rigid officer who puts the rules before everything else—including his people. When the mission forces them together, Claire soon discovers that there is more to Evan than meets the eye.

He’s more than the rank on his chest; he’s a man with dark secrets and deep longings. For all their differences, Evan and Claire share two crucial passions: their country and each other.

My Thoughts

I read Jessica Scott's first novel in her Coming Home series, Because Of You and you can read my review here.

I started reading Until There Was You, hoping for a similarly well written story and well defined characters that the author had presented with her first novel.
Unfortunately, I found myself floundering and feeling let down by its distinct lack of the afore mentioned qualities.

I did not like, nor was I able to connect with Claire. She's pushy and rude, and while I understand that there is a certain need to be strong willed and stoic in the military, she just came across as a bitch.
And while Evan is described as a rigid officer who puts the rules before everything else, he actually comes off as more of an uptight coward who hides behind the rules.

I just struggled to find anything to like about either of the MC's.

The story also, was far more about their training and getting ready for deployment than it was about a building romance. I was bogged down with military drills and procedures, infighting amongst the ranks, and the senseless drivel presented by the secondary characters that I guess was supposed to strengthen the main storyline.

I just felt that the whole book needed another edit, the story fleshed out some more, the characters built up and refined, and more romance and feeling added because I just didn't feel anything, and therefore I didn't enjoy this book on any level.

I do however think that Jessica Scott can write a good story, but this one needed more work, and in order to be a romance there needed to be more attention spent building the attraction and sexual heat between her characters, that was evident in her first book.

For me, this was a disappointing follow up, 2 Stars :|

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