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 :]

November 27, 2012

Book Review: Every Day by David Levithan

Title: Every Day
Author: David Levithan
Release Date: September 1st 2012
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (Text Publishing in NZ & Aus)
Source: A gift from a friend :)

Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.

There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

My Thoughts

For me, Every Day is the quintessential love story - one person falling in love with another, regardless of outside influences.
Why is that important you may ask.

Well as far as I'm concerned, you fall in love with a person because of their values, humour, shared interests, chemistry, how they make you feel inside. The package that person comes in - be it fat, thin, black, white, boy or girl is irrelevant; and Every Day portrays that kind of love perfectly.

A doesn't know if he is a boy or a girl, he doesn't know if he is any particular race or religion, or anything other than a being that lives in one body at a time, one day at a time. (I'm referring to A as he because for me, A felt like a male)
He learns to adjust, to access his hosts memories to get through each day. Never getting overly attached, never dwelling for too long on the whys, the how's - until Rhiannon.
Rhiannon changes everything.
Rhiannon causes A to question all that he is, all that he knows, and all that he can be...

It did take me a little while to settle in to Every Day, purely because I couldn't comprehend the complexities of growing up the way A had.
But I was enthralled - by the strange and cleverly woven tale that is A's life, by A himself, and by the growing love between A and Rhiannon.
And while I did enjoy this thought provoking, well written story, I was left with questions too. Who or what is A? Who is the mysterious and devious Reverend and what secrets does he hold? And where to from here, because while the ending was sweet and heartbreaking, and perfectly right, the story (for me) is incomplete - I need to know more!

I really was completely sucked in to A's world and I've been left with a burning desire for more, which I may have to satisfy (for now) by reading other books by this author.

A cleverly written and beautifully told story, I highly recommend Every Day to every body. 4 stars ;]

Check out the quick fire question session with author David Levithan...

November 18, 2012

Book Review: Courting Trouble by Jenny Schwartz

Title: Courting Trouble (Bustlepunk Chronicles #2)
Release Date: October 1st 2012
Publisher: Carina Press
Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley

Swan River Colony, Australia, 1895

All suffragette Esme Smith wants is respect. Her beau, American inventor Jed Reeve, may be more enlightened than most men, but lately his need to protect her is at odds with her need for independence. Esme begins to wonder if a modern woman can share her life with a man without losing some of herself.

With his courtship of Esme stalled, the last thing Jed needs is the pressure of saving the Prince of Wales. But when blueprints for a sonic destroyer fall into his hands, he uncovers an anarchist plot that could have deadly consequences.

While investigating the threats, Jed is determined to keep Esme out of harm’s way, despite her protests. But when the terrorists capture Jed and demand a priceless emerald in exchange for his life, it’s Esme who must draw on all her strength to save the day

My Thoughts

Touted as a steam-punk romance, I did find Courting Trouble a little light in both regards, but I enjoyed the general storyline. It has been well written in an easy, and free flowing style, although it is a rather short read at just over 100 pages.

Jed and Esme have feelings for each other but neither wants to be the first to take that first step towards being together as a couple. Esme wants to be seen as an independent, forward thinking woman, and Jed just wants to woo and protect her which causes a little friction.
When the plans for a strange and possibly devastating weapon fall into Jed's hands, he uses the rouse of a terrorist plot to keep Esme close; which only causes more dissension between the two when his plans start to fall apart, and lives actually are at risk.

While it was a very easy read, it didn't keep my interest and I admit to skimming over several paragraphs, but overall a nice quick read for a rainy afternoon, 3 out of 5 stars :]

November 16, 2012

Spotlight On...

The Sword of Hope: Destiny Awaits
by Christopher Bryant

This is the story of two boys, one who is destined by the stars to walk a path laid out by destiny. The other, who is simply the help, will step out from the shadows and prove he’s more than just the help. The Sword of Hope is a growing up tale for the two boys, Christian and Tiberius.The boys set out to the Forest of Lost Emotion to face Gmonkis, but find that their enemy is not quite what they expected. The real enemy, their mission, is beyond the borders of their small town surrounded by trees.

Author Bio:
My name is Chris Bryant. I’m 27, born raised in Lexington, Ky. I love to write. I have been writing since I was little, always short stories about action or adventures I’d have liked to have been on. The Sword of Hope is my first of many books to come. My dream has always been to be able to get one of my stories published. This is my first full length story.


Authors website
Purchase for kindle

November 15, 2012

Look Who Got Interviewed...ME!!!

Yep, someone thought I was interesting enough to ask a few questions!

The lovely YA author Melissa Pearl, interviewed me earlier in the week, and the post just went live!

So, if you'd like to learn a little more about me, you should head over here!

November 13, 2012

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Flesh by Kylie Scott

Title: Flesh
Author: Kylie Scott
Release Date: October 1st 2012
Publisher: Momentum
Source: Purchased for my own reading pleasure.

Ali has been hiding in an attic since civilisation collapsed eight weeks ago.

When the plague hit, her neighbours turned into mindless, hungry, homicidal maniacs.

Daniel has been a loner his entire life. Then the world empties and he realises that being alone isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Finn is a former cop who is desperate for companionship, and willing to do anything it takes to protect the survivors around him.

When the three cross paths they band together; sparks fly, romance blooms in the wasteland and Ali, Daniel and Finn bend to their very human needs in the ruins of civilisation.

Lust, love and trust all come under fire in Flesh as the three band together to survive, hunted through the suburban wastelands.

My Thoughts

I bought this book because a friend recommended it, but I held off reading it because it has Zombies in it.
Yeah, zombies aren't really my thing, I'm not a fan. I watched one episode of The Walking Dead and that was it. I just don't get it; it doesn't float my boat as they say. So after some further prompting by my friend, I somewhat reluctantly picked up Flesh over the weekend.
OMG, when am I going to learn?!! (some friends know what they're talking about!!)

Flesh by Kylie Scott more than floated my boat, in fact my DH threatened me with an unladylike throwing out of bed if I didn't get up - but I refused to move until I finished this totally engrossing, surprisingly addictive, very sexy story.

Flesh caught my attention from the very first page with its snappy writing and giggle inducing banter from the two lead characters. I love a well written story full of snarky one liners, and Flesh had all that and more.
A great page turner with an ever evolving love story, flanked by a fight for survival, stomach clenching suspense and gore, and two sexy men doing their best to protect and serve a sexually adventurous and open minded target for trouble! I admit, I wasn't sure at first how the sharing situation might work for
Ali, Daniel and Finn, but I greatly enjoyed their sexual journey.

I cannot say enough great things about Flesh - in fact, author Kylie Scott may have very well converted me; I think I might try reading a few more zombie themed books.

A good balance of action, romance, and erotica set in a unique and interesting world of apocalyptic Australia.
Hot story, hot characters and even hotter sex, Flesh gets a well deserved 5 out of 5 stars from me ~<;]

Author Kylie Scott happened to see some of my exuberant comments about her book on facebook, and contacted me to very kindly offer, a digital copy of Flesh for a GIVEAWAY!! Thank you Kylie :)
If you'd like to enter, just use the rafflecopter widget below :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

November 10, 2012

Guest Posting on an Author's Blog

I was lucky enough
(super excited and amazingly honoured)
to be asked to guest post
on the blog of author T.G.Ayer

...and it went live last week :)

If you'd like to see what I had to say
about one of the character's from
her YA book series,
you can check out the
blog post here :)

November 8, 2012

Blog Tour Book Review: Bonded by Michelle Davidson Argyle

Title: Bonded
Author: Michelle Davidson Argyle
Release Date: November 1st 2012
Publisher: Rhemalda Publishing
Source: Received from the author for an honest review/blog tour

What happened after Cinderella married her prince? How did the evil sorceress in Sleeping Beauty turn evil in the first place? Discover these stories and a world filled with magic, forbidden love, elves, sprites, dragons, and the most powerful creatures of all— the fairies —in Bonded, a collection of three fairy tale inspired novellas.

CINDERS: A Cinderella sequel. Money can’t buy love, but magic isn’t a sure bet either. Cinderella, now officially a princess, finds royal life is not what she once dreamed. When a mysterious elf from her past stirs up long-suppressed passion, Cinderella begins to wonder if there really is love beneath the spell that captured her husband’s heart. But undoing magic can be harder than casting the initial spell, and the results are even less predictable.

THIRDS: A retelling of the Grimm’s fairy tale, One-Eye, Two-Eyes, Three-Eyes. Issina is surrounded by magic, yet none of it belongs to her. Despised and abused by her mother and sisters, she finds comfort when she meets the beautiful elves living in the nearby woods. The elves want to help her discover her own magic, but it’s not the kind of power she hoped for, and she learns there is more to magic than getting what you want.

SCALES: A Sleeping Beauty prequel. The sun never sets in the realm of the fairies. When the young fairy Serina looks into her sister’s eyes, she sees darkness for the first time. After her mother is murdered, Serina defies fairy law to follow her sister to the human realm. There she discovers the strength of a bond, the weight of a promise, and the darkness in her own heart.

My Thoughts

CINDERS: I thought that it started off great, but then headed into a really dark and dreary place that I felt took away from the magic of the start. The writing is great, and the imaginative and creative license taken with classic characters was refreshing and fun.
But poor Cinderella had me wishing for a another, new happily ever after for her!
A 3.5 star read :]

THIRDS: I really enjoyed the storyline - again, this was reminiscent of the Cinderella theme (downtrodden youngest sister, made to wait on the family hand-and-foot) but it turned into something so much more.
Great character growth for both the lead and her mother and sisters - a coming of age story, and I enjoyed the magic element very much in this one.

This was my favourite of the three, a
very well written 4 star read ;]

SCALES: I wasn't too keen on this one to begin with, it had a completely different feel to it from the first two.
The two sisters are
very different from each other in temperament and behaviour and have an underlying competitiveness that made me feel uncomfortable for Serina.
It was a very bittersweet tale of a fairy who really only ever wanted to be loved.
A rather haunting almost 4 star read ;]


Author website

Purchase for kindle

Book Trailer:

November 6, 2012

Book Review: Forbidden by Jacquelyn Frank

Title: Forbidden (The World of Nightwalkers #1)
Author: Jacquelyn Frank
Release Date: October 30th 2012
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Imprint: Ballantine Books
Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley

From New York Times bestselling author Jacquelyn Frank comes this first book in The World of the Nightwalkers—an exciting and sensual new spin-off series in which the Bodywalkers, an ancient race of the night, battles the evil forces who prey on them.
The unexpected happens in an instant. On her way to work, secretary Docia Waverley hurtles into a crashing crossroads, and she quickly begins to suspect that things will never be the same. Then, when a tall, blond, muscular stranger intervenes on her behalf, telling her it is his duty to protect her at all cost, what is just a feeling turns to proof positive. That is, as long as Docia’s savior doesn’t turn out to be a crazed kidnapper.

When Ram finds Docia, he has no doubt that she is his queen. But as this golden warrior sweeps in to protect her, he feels something more than body heat every time they touch. He is overwhelmed by a searing connection that goes deep into the twin souls inside him. A desire rises in him that is forbidden—this woman is his queen, the mate of his king, his leader, his best friend. And yet Docia is so vulnerable and attractive that she awakens a hunger in Ram that is undeniable, a carnal craving he cannot yield to . . . not without risking the very survival of the Bodywalkers.

My Thoughts

I found some parts of Forbidden to be rather long winded and over explanatory, but as this is the first book in a new series, a reasonable amount of explanation does need to take place in order to build the world in which this series is set. But considering it's parallel to the Nightwalkers books, I did feel it was a little overdone.

The characters were okay - at first I though that Jackson and Leo may have been a gay couple with all the love/hate tension going on! - maybe that would have livened things up a bit as I did find the love element of the story to be quite drawn out.
I do like some good sex in the books I read, and by all accounts it's one of the things Jacquelyn Frank fans have come to expect from her books; and I definitely felt the tension between Docia and Ram (if a little awkward), but I found the description of Docia squeaking during sex a little off putting and I actually screwed up my face while reading it (cant say I've ever squeaked - LOL!!!)

All in all, I found myself zipping through this book with great anticipation - Forbidden is a pretty good read and I'd happily continue with future books in the series. A reasonably satisfying  3.5 star read :]

November 5, 2012

Release Day Book Review: Betwixt by Melissa Pearl

Title: Betwixt
Author: Melissa Pearl
Release Date: November 5th 2012
Publisher: Self published
Source: Received from the author for an honest review

Beautiful, wild-child Nicole Tepper is hit by a car and left for dead. But when she wakes the next morning, Nicole finds herself in bed without a scratch. Perhaps she was more intoxicated than usual, as her mother is giving her the silent treatment and her friends are ignoring her as well.

Things take a turn for the weird when Nicole soon discovers she is actually hovering between life and death. Her body is lying in the forest while her spirit is searching for anyone who can hear her. Unfortunately the only person who can is Dale Finnigan, the guy she publicly humiliated with a sharp-tongued insult that has left him branded.

Desperate, Nicole has no choice but to haunt Dale and convince the freaked-out senior to help her. Will he find her body before it's too late? Or will the guy who tried to kill her with his car, beat him there and finish her off before anyone finds out?

My Thoughts

*Short moment of fangirl behaviour required*

I was blown away by its emotion and sincerity. Simply beautiful.
I loved, loved, loved it!! I could not put it down, didn't want it to be over, loved it!

*fangirl squealing session over!*

Seriously though, it's no secret that I loved author Melissa Pearl's Time Spirit Trilogy, in fact they are on my favourite YA reads of 2012 list, and you can check out my reviews for them here: Book #1, Book #2, Book #3
And Forbidden Territory, which Melissa co-authored with Brenda Howson was a fantastic read too. You can read my review here

So needless to say, I had some pretty high expectations for Betwixt.
I needn't have worried because Melissa has again proved to me why I love her (writing) so much.

Melissa Pearl has a talent for writing characters (in this case Nicky) with such emotion and truth, that you forget that you are reading a book. You almost become Nicky, its like slipping into her skin.
Admittedly, my teenage years are far behind me, but reading the first few pages of Nicky's chaotic teenage ramblings, had me reliving a similar moment in my own past, a mistake I had once made - and I was hooked.

The raw emotion, the turbulent thoughts of a messed up, hormone addled teenage mind is both refreshing and harrowing at the same time.
The mean games of popularity, the constant need to be top dog, the good looking girl with the swoon worthy boyfriend, and all the nasty bits in-between just made me feel for Nicky all the more.
She really is just a broken little girl trying to fill up all the cracks before she completely falls apart, and Melissa has captured it all with pinpoint accuracy.

Nicky's story is fresh and original, and while it's one of life and death, it's also a story of self discovery, personal growth, love, forgiveness and faith. A really great addition to a market flooded with supe's and otherworldly beings, Betwixt has a paranormal element all of its own.

Full of beautifully written moments of horror and surprise, laugh-out-loud one liners, complete and utter sweetness (aww Dale), and bone aching sadness and joy; Betwixt is a story that is so lovingly told, it will have you questioning more than just how your actions affect those around you, but the very world you have created for yourself.

Whether 16 or 60, you will fall in love with this book and the author.
Melissa Pearl is a powerhouse of emotional writing and her stories are addictive.

From start to finish, Betwixt had me choking with emotion, breaking my heart - but it was an absolute joy to read. Another book for the keeper shelf, Betwixt is a 5 Star Read ~<;]



November 4, 2012

Happy Birthday Golden Blood

Happy 1st Birthday to

by Melissa Pearl

Blurb: Gemma Hart never knows when her father is going to whisk her back in time. Her toes start tingling and she has a few minutes to find a secret haven where she can disintegrate and appear in another time and place. While “across the line,” her training and skills are put to the test as she completes a mission that will change history for the lucky few her father has selected.

Gemma's parents are adamant that secrecy is paramount to her family’s safety. If people knew what they were capable of, they could be "used and abused", as her mother always says. Afraid she might accidentally utter the truth and break the ancient oath of her people, Gemma spends her school days as a loner. Only one thing can throw her sheltered life askew... Harrison Granger.

Harrison never expected to talk to the strange Hart girl, but after a brief encounter he can't stop thinking about her. He begins a campaign to chisel away her icy veneer and is met with unexpected consequences. As he slowly wins this girl over, he enters a surreal world that has him fighting to keep his newfound love and his life.

If you want, you can read my Golden Blood review here

Author's blog

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