Showing posts with label 5 stars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 5 stars. Show all posts

Monday, 5 August 2013

Book Review: Uninvited by Leigh Spiegel and Meg Summers - BLOG TOUR

I am very excited today to be a part of this fantastic tour, Uninvited is the first book in the South Hills Sidekicks series and you can read my review below. I really think the covers are cute too for this series. PLUS as always, a giveaway at the bottom.

Uninvited (South Hills Sidekicks #1) by Leah Spiegel and Meg Summers
Released: 11th February 2012
Genre: Young Adult Humorous Chick-Lit
Format: Paperback - thank you for the lovely card Leah
Source: via Xpresso Book Tours for an honest review during the tour

When Alley started her senior year at Upper East High in the South Hills area, it was supposed to be the usual drag of hanging out with people who spent more on one outfit than Alley did on her entire wardrobe. That was until Kirsten, a girl in their clique, suddenly goes missing and the only people who seem to care are her friends. All evidence leads to the new comer Shane, a cocky and self-pretentious person in Alley’s opinion, but the police seem uninterested so she and the rest of the girls start a little investigation of their own. But they are nowhere closer to finding Kirsten than when they started and now they had the police’s attention; just not in the way they expected. The girls have to start over and discover that maybe it wasn’t an outsider who took Kirsten, but someone within their own clique who has something to hide; a secret that just might have gotten Kirsten killed.

My Review

I absolutely adored this book and the beginning to the South Hills Sidekicks series. It was such fun and the characters were so fantastic that I couldn’t put it down. I had a little trepidation when I went to start the book, but as soon as I turned the first page I was hooked on the fun and unique world that these two wonderful ladies have created. The style of writing they have attributed to Uninvited was fabulous and like so funny.

Alley has started her senior year at Upper East High with her best friend since grade 3, Val. Since Val is in with the popular clique, Alley is automatically included as well. The rest of the group includes Kirsten the Queen, Kayla and Libby, plus a bunch of boyfriends. First day and Kirsten introduces the group to a newbie, Shane. It is quite unusual for a new kid to be included in the popular group, but Kirsten knows him from somewhere or other and gives him the recommendation to join them.

Kirsten was turning eighteen and planning to have a big party to celebrate, that afternoon, the girls were going dress shopping to help Kirsten find a dress for her party. Everybody turned up at the dress shop except Kirsten. Something is wrong, Kirsten isn’t answering her phone and nobody seems to know where she is. The girls just assume she is with her boyfriend and will talk to her tomorrow.

Tomorrow it is confirmed, Kirsten is missing. She didn’t turn up for school and didn’t go home last night; her car is still in the school parking lot. Now Val is extremely upset as are the rest of the group and after speaking with the police, they hope she is found soon.

Val and Alley have some suspicions about Shane being behind the kidnapping. He turns up the day Kirsten disappeared and they were acting a little weird at lunch, something just seems off with Shane. Val is determined to get to the bottom of it, when the police seem to push their ideas out the window. Val is scheming and has decided that the girls will help her uncover Shane’s secret and find Kirsten.

Val is known as a ditzy klutz and nobody seems to be taking her very seriously, but the girls follow along with her plans and get themselves into all sorts of mischief. The police seem to think it could be somebody at school and this puts more suspicion on Shane.

Will they really be able to find Kirsten? What is Shane’s secret? Is there something going on between Shane and Alley? Are the alibi’s true for the group’s boyfriends on that night?

Everything comes to a head when Val decides to have a party. Follow along with Val, Alley, Libby and Kayla as they try to solve the mystery of their missing friend. It is a lot of fun and I was laughing out loud quite a lot with the humorous outbursts from Alley towards Shane. I loved this book so much that afterwards I had to grab book 2, Confiscated and 3, Compromised so I can find out what antics the group get up to next. This is definitely a favourite of mine for this year. I highly recommend to all young adult readers that are looking for a light hearted, fun and intriguing read.


Other books in the series:

About the Authors

Although we moved down to North Carolina several years ago, we’re originally from the Pittsburgh area. (That’s why a lot of our characters either live in the Burgh or reference our hometown football team, The Pittsburgh Steelers.) And yes, we even have the Southern accents to show for it now. Although Megan’s is considerable thicker, Leah still can’t understand the locals.

We are known as ‘the sisters’ among our neighborhood; when actually we’re probably really known as ‘the sisters with the Yorkies’. Our pups, Skippy Jon Jones and Captain Jack Sparrow, were given long names to compensate for their small size but not their large personalities.

If Leah’s not glued to her electronic devices, AKA her Kindle Fire and various laptops, you can find her training ‘the attack dogs’, running on the treadmill while conceiving the next great book idea with the Dave Matthews Band, Muse, Florence and the Machine, The Lumineers, and Pink (just to name a few) blaring out of her earphones.

If Megan’s not glued to her electronic devices AKA her iPad and Nook Color, you can find her teaching fourth graders, swimming marathon style at the pool, or cuddling with ‘the attack dogs’ as she watches Duck Dynasty, Gold Rush, Scandal, Person of Interest, Morning Joe, etc.

Leah graduated from Edinboro University with a BA in Art Education. Megan received her teaching degree from Edinboro University and Masters in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Technology from Grand Canyon University.

Website ~ Goodreads ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~


One (1) eBook copy of Uninvited by Leah Spiegel and Meg Summers
Open Internationally
Ends Midnight 12th August 2013

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Xpresso Book Tours

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Book Review: Close My Eyes by Sophie McKenzie

Goodreads Summary: When Geniver Loxley lost her daughter at birth eight years ago, her world stopped… and never fully started again. Mothers with strollers still make her flinch; her love of writing has turned into a half-hearted teaching career; and she and her husband, Art, have slipped into the kind of rut that seems inescapable.

But then a stranger shows up on their doorstep, telling Gen the very thing she’s always wanted to hear: that her daughter Beth was not stillborn, but was taken away as a healthy infant and is still out there, somewhere, waiting to be found. It’s insane, unbelievable. But why would anyone make that up? A fissure suddenly opens up in Gen’s carefully reconstructed life, letting in a flood of unanswerable questions. Where is Beth now? Why is Art so reluctant to get involved? To save his wife from further hurt? Or is it something more sinister? And who can she trust to help her?

Ignoring the warnings of her husband and friends, Gen begins to delve into the dark corners of her past, hopeful she’ll find a clue to her daughter’s whereabouts. But hope quickly turns into fear and paranoia, as she realizes that finding the answers might open the door to something even worse than not knowing. A truth that could steal everything she holds close – even her own life.

Title: Close My Eyes
Series: N/A
Author: Sophie McKenzie
Publisher: St Martin's Press
Release Date: 9th July 2013
Genre: Adult Contemporary Thriller
Format: eGalley
Sournce: Publisher via NetGalley

Well, I don’t know where to start. I originally saw this at the shop and thought it looked interesting and then found it on NetGalley and just had to request it. Once I had started reading the actual idea of what this book will be about it terrified me, I am a Mother to 3 beautiful children aged 5, 3 and 1. The thought of losing a child is horrific enough, but then having a seed planted that the baby hadn’t, well too awful for words. I tried to stop reading this because I was scared to find out what went on, but I just couldn’t put it down and I find this a testament to Sophie McKenzie and her writing ability. The whole way through I kept talking about it with my Mum because it wouldn’t leave my mind. Amazing! Amazing ! and AMAZING!

Art and Geniver (Gen) have been together for 14 years and married for around 10 years. Their life has been prestigious with Art’s business growing from strength to strength and now even including working with the Prime Minister of England. Eight years ago, they became excited that they were expecting their first baby; moving closer to the hospital, Gen became worried that the baby wasn’t moving much and went for a scan. Her Doctor told them that the baby had died in utero and a C-Section immediately would be best for everybody. Gen was overwhelmed with grief and couldn’t believe her little baby girl has died. Not even being able to see her or hold her, she was taken away and a funeral arranged. Art had arranged everything, Gen was too distraught and her life was forever changed.

Becoming depressed and a recluse, Gen couldn’t even bring herself to write anymore. Her best friend, Hen also pregnant for the first time wasn’t even game enough to talk to Gen or show her own baby. They decided to try IVF and after 5 failed attempts, Gen is questioning if she even wants to try that again. The emotional turmoil of hope and failure was too much for her.

One day while Art was at work, Gen had a visitor at her door. Upon opening the door, it was a stranger; a woman that was telling Gen awful awful lies. Lucy O’Donnell had a sister that recently passed away of cancer and with her last breath, told Lucy that the baby was actually alive and her sister helped to cover it up. She had lived with the guilt for eight years and wanted to put things right before it was too late.

Gen doesn’t know whether to believe this stranger; can it possibly be true? Gen speaks with Art and Hen, they both cannot believe it to be true, why would anybody lie about a baby dying, and surely it couldn’t happen! Gen still sees the nervousness of Lucy and how genuine she seemed. Now the seed is planted and hope is reborn.

Gen tries to contact Lucy, but the number is no longer in service. Huh?!? Now what? Going against Art and everybody else that had told her to move on, Gen tries to dig deeper and contact the people involved in her C-Section. But finding people from her past is no easy task and tracking down her Doctor seems to be downright impossible. What is going on?

Nobody wants to give Gen any answers and they all tell her to move on and forget that Lucy even visited. Why isn’t Art interested in the possibility? Where is her Doctor? How come the people involved keep going missing? Is her child really alive?

Follow Gen’s journey through her depression, hope, love and dangerous adventure to find the answers and discover the truth behind her baby. This mysterious, thrilling and emotional expedition that I undertook with Gen left me gasping and OMGing and hoping that Gen can be happy and survive the betrayal and heartache. I highly recommend this book to all contemporary readers even without children because the thrilling story is so addictive. Ms McKenzie is another definite favourite.


About the Author

Sophie was born and brought up in London, where she still lives with her teenage son. She has worked as a journalist and a magazine editor, but fell in love with writing after being made redundant and enrolling in a creative writing course. She burst into the publishing world with Girl, Missing her debut novel (published 2006), which tallied up numerous award wins nationwide, including the Richard and Judy Best Kids’ Books 2007 (12+ category), The Red House Book Award and The Manchester Children’s Book Award. She was also longlisted for the Branford Boase award, which commends debut authors, and the coveted Carnegie Medal.

She writes mostly thrillers - though she has done some teen romance stories too. Sophie is really excited right now because of...

Close My Eyes - which is the first psychological thriller for adult readers (pub May 2013, UK, July 2013, US)

Split Second - her new teen thriller for Autumn 2013 (UK)

The Flynn teen romance series which started with Falling Fast and Burning Bright and continues with Casting Shadows (pub July 2013, UK)

For more info on these and my other books, check out my website:

~ courtesy of Goodreads and Ms McKenzie's website

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Book Review: How Beauty Loved the Beast by Jax Garren

Goodreads Summary: It’s all been leading to this.

Jolie Benoit has become a skilled agent of the Underlight, relying on her savvy to complete assignments while Sergeant Wesley Haukon was out of commission. But an unexpected clue to the Order of Ananke’s diabolical scheme rattles Jolie, and she turns to Hauk for comfort.

It’s been years since Hauk took comfort from the touch of another person, though his love for Jolie is deep and powerful. Uncomfortable in his skin, scarred by a terrible fire, he is unable to give in to the pleasures that Jolie so desperately wants to grant him.

Meanwhile, the Order is lurking in the shadows—and when they strike, the blow is swift and terrible. Hauk and Jolie scramble to fight for their community, but with the future of the Underlight threatened, no one is safe. And Hauk will never be the same…

Title: How Beauty Loved the Beast
Series: Tales of the Underlight #3
Author: Jax Garren
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: 13th May 2013
Genre: Adult Steampunk Urban Fantasy Romance
Format: eGalley
Source: via Publisher from NetGalley

**Please note: there will be spoilers for How Beauty Met the Beast and How Beauty Saved the Beast**

Well, what a fabulous conclusion to Tales of the Underlight. I have really loved this series and hope to read more from the characters within in another series. The characters are all lovable, but Hauk is my favourite. He is such an insecure guy, but shows such strength when it comes down to the crunch and boy, all that muscle! Jolie is a wonderful character as well, with her loyalty, determination and patience with Hauk; and she is so passionate, love her. Jax Garren’s writing style has drawn me in and I couldn’t put How Beauty Loved the Beast down, as with the other two books in the series.

After saving Wesley Haukon (Hauk) in the last instalment, Jolie Benoit is determined to have her way with Hauk and draw him out to show his skin. But first Hauk needs to recover from his injuries. Jolie seems to find trouble where ever she goes and during a secret mission while Hauk is in hospital, this is no exception to the rule.

Hauk and Jolie are a part of the Underlight, a secret society that is determined to stop The Order of Ananke (these are the baddies, trying to rule the world). Everywhere they go, Hands of Atropos (the army for The Order) seem to be around and trying to inject their members with some secret serum. It doesn’t seem to do anything at this stage, but they are all worried about what is to come.

While they are trying to work out what is coming, Jolie and Hauk are trying to take their relationship to a new level and Jolie is determined to help Hauk deal with his scars. She wants to show him they don’t affect her that she just wants all of him. After some intense romance, it appears that Jolie has her work cut out for her. Hauk just has too many scars, internal and external; he has promised that one day he will reveal himself fully to her, but right now he can’t. Jolie is heartbroken that Hauk cannot trust her, if he loves her, why can’t he show it?

There appears to be something happening and the members of the Underlight are changing into zombies (so to speak). They are not acting like themselves and trying to head to the surface. Does this have something to do with the injections everybody is being stabbed with?

Can Jolie and Hauk work out what the Order is trying to achieve? Can a reversal be made for the injection everybody is being stabbed with? Can Hauk overcome his insecurities and let Jolie love him completely? Will Jolie finally admit her true feelings to Hauk?

This is one fantastic adventure with Jolie and Hauk. The romantic scenes are both frantic and intense, but then soft and sweet; just like the characters themselves. There are so many variables in this world that has the potential for another great series. I just love Ms Garren’s intense, but fun atmosphere and Jolie with her no bull attitude. I highly recommend this series to all adult romance readers, it is highly enjoyable.


About the Author

Jax Garren is descended from Valkyries and Vikings (she’s part Swedish) but was raised a small town girl in the Texas Hill Country. She graduated from The University of Texas with a degree in English and a minor in Latin and stayed in Austin to teach high school. During her eight years in public education she was in a riot, broke up fights, had cops storm her class with guns drawn…and met the most amazing young people who taught her more about life and hope than she taught them about any school subject.

Jax believes in happily ever afters. She married her real life hero, a handsome engineer who is saving the world through clean energy technology. Her heroine is Marion Ravenwood from Raiders of the Lost Ark, the perfect blend of tough and feminine. Jax blames Marion for her dream of traveling to Nepal to experience Himalayan palaces and monasteries and to drink yak butter tea.

Jax loves meeting new people, so if you see her out and about say hello! She’s always happy to raise a glass with her readers (or anyone else) in a toast to courage, adventure, and love.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Book Review: Point of Retreat by Colleen Hoover

Goodreads Summary: Hardships and heartache brought them together…now it will tear them apart.

Layken and Will have proved their love can get them through anything; until someone from Will’s past re-emerges, leaving Layken questioning the very foundation on which their relationship was built. Will is forced to face the ultimate challenge…how to prove his love for a girl who refuses to stop ‘carving pumpkins.’

Title: Point of Retreat
Series: Slammed #2
Author: Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Simon and Schuster UK
Release Date: 18th September 2012
Format: eGalley and Paperback
Source: via publisher from NetGalley and Library

**Please note: this review contains spoilers for Slammed**

OH MY GOODNESS! Point of Retreat was perfect in every way. It continued on from Slammed and I cannot wait to read This Girl to find out what is next for all the characters. Ms Hoover has me addicted to her books and I feel so emotional during and after reading her books that I cannot pick up another for a couple hours. I had to calm down and go wow that was fantastic. I did get a little annoyed with Lake in this one, but only because she was being a total cow towards Will. I really felt for him in this one, poor guy.

After the passing of Lake and Kel’s Mum (Julia) they now seem to be in a routine. Starting college has been exciting and enrolling a challenge, but together with Will and Caulder, they make a happy family. Everything seems to be going along ok; they managed to get separate days at school and are not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing.

Will has one last gift from Julia that they are to open together. Lake is eager to find out what it is, but emotional all the same. It’s the last object left from her Mum and it seems to make everything final. They open the box and find it contains a vase full of tiny origami stars. The note reads from Julia that each star has a little bit of wisdom that may help them find their way. It could be lyrics from a song, a quote or a saying from Julia, but all will hopefully give them some advice to help their life. Since they don’t have anybody but each other, these little stars will give them a little help.

Never finding a moment to themselves, they are never allowed to take their relationship too far. If they ever find a moment in quiet and start kissing, there is always a point of retreat that they call. Lake and Will do not want to get too far in case Caulder or Kel walk in on them. Plus there are also new neighbours across the road and they seem to become part of their mismatched family. Kiersten is an 11 year old with attitude and wisdom of an 18 year old. She speaks her mind and Kel has taken an instant liking to her.

Back at school, Will has his first class and finds a familiar face amongst the students. She starts towards Will and sits next to him; he is astounded that it’s Vaughn. He hasn’t seen or heard from her in 3 years since she broke it off when his parents died and now here she is.

Vaughn turns up at Will’s house one afternoon to talk to him, she wants to apologise for the way she ended things and to try again. Will has asked her to leave, but she starts the waterworks and as Will has the biggest softest heart, he hugs her. This is when Lake walks in, BUSTED! Now everything is in question.

Is Will only with Lake because they have grief in common? Would they have fallen in love if circumstances were different? Could Will love Lake without her baggage?

Will now has to prove himself to Lake; prove how much he loves her and that they belong together. He cannot imagine his life without her. Everything gets tested one night when their whole world comes crashing down. Will they survive?

I love all the characters in Point of Retreat, Kiersten is hilarious with her attitude and Sherry with her homemade medicine. This book is utterly butterflyingly awesome and is a must read to everybody! I can’t wait to read more from Ms Hoover.


Slammed (Slammed #1) by Colleen Hoover
You can read my 5 book review HERE!

About the Author

I love music. LOVE music. Namely The Avett Brothers, Lumineers, Pink, Eminem. I have eclectic taste? If you have any recommendations, send them my way!

I'm addicted to diet pepsi and could tell you in a taste-test which restaurant it came from. It's a serious addiction, I tell you.

I get stoked whenever I get a message from goodreads saying I have a new friend request me, dangit!

If you want to know when I have new books out or just want to be inundated by random, pointless blog posts, follow me at

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Book Review: Belladonna by Fiona Paul - AUSTRALIAN BLOG TOUR

Today I have the pleasure of participating in the Australian Belladonna blog tour. I am extremely excited and below is my review of Belladonna. There will also be an interview posted today and a giveaway for 2 paperback Australian editions of Belladonna.

Title: Belladonna
Series: Secrets of the Eternal Rose #2
Author: Fiona Paul
Publisher: HarperCollins Australia
Release Date: 1st July 2013
Genre: Young Adult Historical
Format: Paperback
Source: HarperCollins Australia for an honest review during the tour. Thank you so much!

Cassandra Caravello is trying to forget Falco, the wild artist who ran off with her heart, as she grows closer to her strong, steady fiancĂ©, Luca. But Luca seems to have his own secrets. When he′s arrested by soldiers in the middle of the night, Cass′s life is once again thrown into chaos. She must save Luca, and that means finding the Book of the Eternal Rose -- the only evidence that will prove he is innocent.

So begins her journey to Florence, a city haunted by whispers of corruption, secret soirees, and clandestine meetings of the Order of the Eternal Rose. And home to Falco, who′s working for the Order′s eerily stunning leader, the Belladonna herself.

Can Cass trust her heart to lead her to the truth this time?

Nothing is as it seems in this seductive thriller, where the truth may be the deadliest poison of all.

My Review

Phew, what a read, another fantastic instalment of the Secrets of the Eternal Rose series. This secret society seems to be getting even more intriguing and mysterious with each book and I cannot wait for Starling. I loved Venom and loved Belladonna even more. Ms Paul’s writing style is fantastic, so well written and detailed that I could smell and feel the horrible water in the prison; feel the slimy things writhing in the water. Oh boy and the romance, ooohhhh!

After the stress of the murdered girls and Luca turning up and saving the day, Cassandra (or better known as Cass) was coming around to the fact that she is inevitably going to marry Luca and Falco has gone.

After awaking from another nightmare, Cass is disturbed to hear noises out her door and finds Luca has been arrested with no reason why. Cass and her Aunt are overwhelmed and extremely upset by this and can’t understand why Luca would be arrested. Now Cass is determined to find out the truth and help Luca to be released.

There is gossip all over Venice about Luca and Cass has heard that he was arrested on heresy against the Church; he is sentenced for execution in one month. Cass speaks with Luca and they are adamant they know who is behind his arrest. Cass has to find the book of The Order of the Eternal Rose to help free Luca and show evidence against Dubois.

Cass is off to Florence with her best friend, Mada. Cass believes the book is located here and will hopefully be able to find it on her trip. Cass ventures to the market and views executions of young women believed to be vampires. So unexpectedly she finds Falco. How is Falco in Florence? Is it fate that they ended up in the same place? Falco is working for very wealthy woman, her name is Belladonna and she is leader of The Order of the Eternal Rose. Belladonna came back from the dead and is still as beautiful as the day she apparently died. Curious about her story, Cass and Mada receive an invitation for tea.

Cass and Mada are invited to attend a party now at Belladonna’s Villa and Cass goes for a walk outside. This is a wrong choice considering it is night and she is attacked by wild dogs. Cass awakes in a room and is being attended to by Piero, Belladonna’s personal doctor. For some reason, Cass is always sleepy and is having horrible dreams that she is being bitten by a vampire. Is there something funny going on?

Can Cass work out where the book is to save Luca? Who is Belladonna really and why is she so young and beautiful? Can Cass forget Falco and concentrate on Luca, her fiancé? What is this secret society working toward and who are they? Will Luca be saved from being executed?

There are so many elements to this series and I am in awe of Fiona Paul. Her talent for writing with such detail and such a complicated story line are inspiring, but it is all easy to follow and addictive, the pages just keep turning. With mystery, lovely romance and with Cass being a little like Nancy Drew, what more could you ask for. The characters develop and mature with each page and I can see Cass grow into a young woman to make the hard decisions she needs to in order to survive. I cannot wait to read Starling to see what happens next. I highly recommend this series to all young adult readers.


About the Author

Fiona Paul is a writer and registered nurse from St. Louis, MO.

(I prefer the short and sweet bio since there's a lot of other stuff to read in these posts that's more relevant than my love of coffee or desire to shark dive).

Book #1 in Secrets of the Eternal Rose series:

You can read my review from last year HERE.


I would like to thank so very much Amanda from Harper Collins Australia for allowing me to giveaway two (2) Australian edition copies of Belladonna and it is open internationally. How cool is that??

Ends midnight 7th July 2013

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Other participants of this fantastic tour are: