Saturday, 30 August 2014

Review: Magnolia by Kristi Cook


Author: Kristi Cook
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release date: 5th August 2014
Pages: 336

Synopsis (Goodreads)

In Magnolia Branch, Mississippi, the Cafferty and Marsden families are southern royalty. Neighbors since the Civil War, the families have shared vacations, holidays, backyard barbecues, and the overwhelming desire to unite their two clans by marriage. So when a baby boy and girl were born to the families at the same time, the perfect opportunity seemed to have finally arrived.

Jemma Cafferty and Ryder Marsden have no intention of giving in to their parents’ wishes. They’re only seventeen, for goodness’ sake, not to mention that one little problem: They hate each other! Jemma can’t stand Ryder’s nauseating golden-boy persona, and Ryder would like nothing better than to pretend stubborn Jemma doesn’t exist.

But when a violent storm ravages Magnolia Branch, it unearths Jemma’s and Ryder’s true feelings for each other as the two discover that the line between love and hate may be thin enough to risk crossing over.

Review: 4 out of 5 stars

Magnolia was a quick and easy read, it was light, fluffy and highly entertaining; the perfect book for me at this time, the friends to more trope is one I am always pulled towards, especially when it’s a reverse adaptation of Romeo & Juliet.

The Cafferty and Marsden families are well known in Magnolia Branch and have hopes of uniting the families by marriage much to their same aged children, Jemma Cafferty and Ryder Marsden’s annoyance because their relationship isn’t at all friendly because of an incident that happened in the eighth grade, prior to this they were the best of friends.

I loved the characters despite the many infuriating moments, mainly from Jemma and her reluctance to tell Ryder what he had done wrong but when they become trapped together during the storm there were a number of reveals I quite enjoyed reading about. The parents and their expectations academically and romantically with their children were convincing and the hurricane emergency was written with believable yet scary detail, the side story of Jemma’s sister and of Patrick was heart-breaking but also written with believability.

The small town setting of Magnolia Branch Mississippi was written perfectly, I loved the southern atmosphere, history and mannerisms. I enjoyed the interesting twist on the Romeo & Juliet classic, it was done extremely well. Kristi Cook has written a page turner, with witty banter, tense moments and a great storyline I was captivated by this story.

Overall, Magnolia is a book I would highly recommend; with an enjoyable cast of characters, a sweet reluctant romance and some scary hurricane moments, it was a truly fabulous read.

Thank you to Simon & Schuster via Edelweiss for the opportunity to read and review Magnolia.

Kristi CookAbout the author: 

YA author Kristi Cook is a transplanted southern gal who lives in New York City with her husband and two kids. Her YA debut, HAVEN, was released in Feb. 2011 by Simon Pulse.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Review: Opposition (Lux #5) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Opposition (Lux, #5)Opposition

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: Lux
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release date: 5th August 2014
Pages: 534

Synopsis (Goodreads)

Katy knows the world changed the night the Luxen came.

She can't believe Daemon welcomed his race or stood by as his kind threatened to obliterate every last human and hybrid on Earth. But the lines between good and bad have blurred, and love has become an emotion that could destroy her—could destroy them all.

Daemon will do anything to save those he loves, even if it means betrayal.

They must team with an unlikely enemy if there is any chance of surviving the invasion. But when it quickly becomes impossible to tell friend from foe, and the world is crumbling around them, they may lose everything— even what they cherish most—to ensure the survival of their friends…and mankind.

War has come to Earth. And no matter the outcome, the future will never be the same for those left standing.

Review: 5 out of 5 stars

I can’t believe the Lux series has come to an end {sob} and boy was it an action packed thrilling conclusion!

What I love about JLA’s writing is it realistic in the sense the voices of the characters are believable in their actions and reactions and they have stayed true throughout the series. The beginning of the book had me worried with Daemon appearing like an arrogant ass in front of his fellow Luxen; I had no idea what to think of his behaviour and I felt sorry for Katy but in true JLA fashion she didn’t let me down with the romance which continues to make me smile.

I prepared myself for a lot of death and destruction in this book and no one seemed to be left unscathed by the invasion but I enjoyed watching how it would all play out and whether there would eventually be peace.

The plot was fast paced and kept me flipping the pages, it focused on the invasion but there was also a nice blend of action, romance, deceit and I was surprised by who the Luxen approached for help, I enjoyed this aspect. There were also some incredibly heart-wrenching moments but in true JLA fashion it was handled well. I loved how this book was told in dual POV, it was especially good for me at the beginning of the book when everything was still all over the place.

The characters are fabulous! I love Dee & Archer, Dawson & Beth and especially Luc, this guy seriously needs his own book as does Lore.

JLA’s writing is consistent and her storytelling keeps me riveted, I love the dialogue; there are always a few laugh out loud moments and the revelations were surprising. I couldn’t put this book down! The epilogue left me smiling.

Overall, an incredibly intense and emotionally satisfying conclusion to the series, I am sad it has come to an end.


Jennifer L. ArmentroutAbout the author: # 1 New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Jennifer L. Armentrout Lives in West Virginia. 

All the rumors you heard about her state aren’t true. 

Well, mostly. When she's not hard at work writing, she spends her time, reading, working out, watching zombie movies, and pretending to write.

She is the author of the Covenant Series (Spencer Hill Press), the Lux Series (Entangled Teen), Don't Look Back (Disney/Hyperion) and a yet untitled novel (Disney/Hyperion), and new YA paranormal series with Harlequin Teen.

Jennifer also writes New Adult and Adult romance under the pen name J. Lynn. The Gamble Brothers Series (Tempting the Best Man/Tempting the Player) and Wait for You. Under her pen name, she is published with Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Waiting on Wednesday - The Stars Never Rise by Rachel Vincent

Hi everyone!! thank-you so much for stopping by today.

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine which spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My WoW for this week is The Stars Never Rise by Rachel Vincent.

The Stars Never Rise (Untitled Series, #1)

Author: Rachel Vincent
Series: TBA
Genre: Young adult
Amazon pre-order
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release date: June 2015

Synopsis. (Goodreads)

Sixteen-year-old Nina Kane should be worrying about her immortal soul, but she's too busy trying to actually survive. Her town's population has been decimated by soul-consuming demons, and souls are in short supply. Watching over her younger sister, Mellie, and scraping together food and money are all that matters. The two of them are a family. They gave up on their deadbeat mom a long time ago.

When Nina discovers that Mellie is keeping a secret that threatens their very existence, she'll do anything to protect her. Because in New Temperance, sins are prosecuted as crimes by the brutal Church and its army of black-robed exorcists. And Mellie's sin has put her in serious trouble.

To keep them both alive, Nina will need to trust Finn, a fugitive with deep green eyes who has already saved her life once and who might just be an exorcist. But what kind of exorcist wears a hoodie?

Wanted by the Church and hunted by dark forces, Nina knows she can't survive on her own. She needs Finn and his group of rogue friends just as much as they need her.

What are most anticipating this week?

PS. If you are interested in children’s book reviews (3-12 years), I have started a new review blog Here – Little Ones Read (Competition happening at the moment to win a book of your choice to $10aud)

Review: Midnight Runes by Celeste Buie

Midnight Runes (The Bestowed Ones, #1)Midnight Runes

Author: Celeste Buie
Series: The Bestowed Ones
Publisher/Source: Self – YA Bound
Release date: May 2014
Pages: 265

Synopsis (Goodreads)


Brynn Emerson has always been in control of her life—until a mysterious stranger invades her dreams and her boyfriend, Trevor, suddenly dumps her.

Life gets more complicated when secretive newcomer Landon shows up at school. The playful and handsome Landon is somehow connected to Brynn’s ex-boyfriend.

Determined to find out how they know each other, Brynn draws closer to Landon…only to realize too late that she's risking more than she thought possible.

Meanwhile, a person of power has his sights on Brynn. Will Trevor and Landon work together to keep her safe? Or will she be pulled against her will into their mysterious world?

Review: 3 out of 5 stars

Midnight Runes is the first book in The Bestowed Ones series by Celeste Buie.

Our main character is Brynn Emerson who is having a few problems with her hot & cold boyfriend Trevor; he is behaving in a strange way, not showing up when they make plans, has a mysterious tattoo, is evasive and then suddenly breaks up with her without a valid explanation.

Brynn was a likeable character, sassy and witty. I felt she was too forgiving of both the evasive boys in her life – her boyfriend and the mysterious Landon who shows up at her school after a prior brief meeting; despite there being an obvious love triangle happening I never had a preference as to who she should end up with as both were equally interesting but I didn’t see them as anything special.

Midnight Runes is a character driven book rather than plot driven; I don’t mind this but the mystery of what was going on did leave me feeling frustrated until around the 77% mark (on my kindle) when things were revealed; prior to this I had no idea and if it wasn’t for mention of Runes in the title I’d have been clueless up until this point.

I would have liked more background details; everything was unfortunately glossed over.  Particulars about what and who the Bestowed Ones were and also about the runes weren’t fully explained, we know they are there but besides mention of protection we don’t really know much about their purpose and when Brynn finally finds out what is going I feel she accepts it too easily, I think the necessary emotions were absent. The world-building was unfortunately lacking in depth that I feel is necessary for this type of book.

Overall, while the plot and world-building wasn’t strong I was kept entertained enough with the unfolding character drama to stay interested and I will continue with the series to find out what is going to happen.

Thank you to YA Bound and Celeste Buie for the opportunity to read and review Midnight Runes.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Review: Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J. Maas

Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass, #3)Heir of Fire

Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass
Pages: 530
Publisher/Source: Bloomsbury Publishing Australia
Amazon - TBD
Release date: 11th September 2014

Synopsis (Goodreads): Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy. 

While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?

Review: 5 out of 5 stars

Contains possible spoilers!

Wowza! What can I say about Heir of Fire, the third book in the Throne of Glass series besides it was unbelievably epic and a must read for all fans of the series or of the fantasy genre. I can’t give this series enough praise; it is brilliantly crafted and executed.

At the end of Crown of Midnight there was a pretty huge reveal and in this book we find out a lot more about Calaena and her past, her powers and her purpose.  Now in Wendlyn to avenge to brutal death of Nehemia she is broken and battered and struggling to move forward, I was a little worried at the beginning of the book how she’d get past the pain but her strength and determination enabled her to move forward.

My heart crumpled for Calaena, she was well and truly damaged and to be honest I thought she was at her lowest low; she was still snarky and had a fierce determination but there was no one she could rely on or really trust; as the book progressed so did her willpower but it took a long time to get there with a plethora of self-doubt and humiliation, a lot of it because of a Fae warrior named Rowan Whitethorn who started out as a complete and utter barbaric ass but by the end of the book I respected him and wanted to learn more about this fearless man.

Dorian Havilliard has truly progressed as a character but events in this book were painful to see play out; his father is still a controlling, selfish creep of a man! I cringe thinking about him. I’m still hoping for a Chaol/Calaena hook up but he angered me on numerous occasions throughout this book & I'm not sure he is able to get past what and who Calaena is, he redeemed himself towards the end but I’m ‘still a little conflicted about his behaviour. We also get plenty of page time with Celaena's childhood best friend and Cousin Aedion Ashryver, this guy had sheer determination and a kick-ass attitude that I loved! I can’t wait to read more about him.

I am not usually a fan of multiple POV’s but in Heir of Fire it worked, each character had a distinct voice and a unique purpose, it was done well. There are also witches, I found these chapters less interesting and at times boring but I’m keen to see how it all plays out – things are getting really exciting!

There is no epic romance in this book, it was devoid of it unfortunately which I really missed; I loved the previous Calaena/Chaol interactions but in this there were none at all with them being separated, I was also concerned there would be a Calaena/Rowan hook up but thank goodness nothing came of it.

The complex storyline is fast paced and filled with betrayal, action, magic and wonderfully crafted plotting and planning, I have no idea in which direction the author plans to take the story; normally I like to have an overall picture in my mind but I love the element of surprise in this series. The world-building and action-filled plot is amazing.

Sarah J. Maas has crafted a truly magical, engrossing story, her writing is brilliant and the many shock surprises kept things entertaining; there were twists and turns aplenty with fabulous character development and further progression of the brewing war and the overall plot.

Thank you to Bloomsbury Publishing Australia for the opportunity to read and review Heir of Fire.

Sarah J. MaasAbout the author: Sarah J. Maas is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series (Heir of Fire, Book 3, will be out in September 2014). Starting in Spring 2015, her New Adult Fantasy series, A Court of Thorns and Roses, will be published by Bloomsbury as well. 

Sarah lives in Southern California, and over the years, she has developed an unhealthy appreciation for Disney movies and bad pop music. She adores fairy tales and ballet, drinks too much coffee, and watches absolutely rubbish TV shows. When she's not busy writing, she can be found exploring the California coastline with her husband.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

ARC Review: Don't Touch by Rachel M. Wilson

Don't TouchDon’t Touch

Author: Rachel M. Wilson
Series: -
Pages: 432
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release date: 2nd September 2014


A powerful story of a girl who is afraid to touch another person’s skin, until the boy auditioning for Hamlet opposite her Ophelia gives her a reason to overcome her fears.

Step on a crack, break your mother’s back. Touch another person’s skin, and Dad’s gone for good.

Caddie can’t stop thinking that if she keeps from touching another person’s skin, her parents might get back together…which is why she wears full-length gloves to school and covers every inch of her skin.

It seems harmless at first, but Caddie’s obsession soon threatens her ambitions as an actress. She desperately wants to play Ophelia in her school’s production of Hamlet. But that would mean touching Peter, who’s auditioning for the title role—and kissing him. Part of Caddie would love nothing more than to kiss Peter—but the other part isn't sure she's brave enough to let herself fall.

Perfect for fans of Laurie Halse Anderson, this debut novel from Rachel M. Wilson is a moving story of a talented girl who's fighting an increasingly severe anxiety disorder, and the friends and family who stand by her.

Includes back matter from the author.

Review: 3 ½ out of 5 stars

Don’t Touch is a story about a young girl named Caddie who has ambitions to be an actress but suffers from severe anxiety and has a fear about touching anyone. She created ‘games’ such as Touch another person’s skin, and Dad’s gone for good as a way to justify why she doesn’t touch.

The characters Caddie was an MC I unfortunately found lacklustre, I definitely felt sorry for the way she suffered but she wasn’t honest or forthcoming with anyone at all, especially with her family and her childhood best-friend Mandy who I thought was a wonderful support and Peter who despite his own personal struggles was fabulous; she was surrounded by a great group of new friends at the academy who were all developed well and likable.

The plot was interesting and relatively slow paced as we watch Caddie face her fears, yearn for touch, play Ophelia in her favourite play, grow close to her peers and find love – Caddie had not only her OCD to deal with but also moving to a new school and her parents separation. I liked seeing the progress Caddie would make; the author wrote her issues and reactions perfectly and with kindness,

Rachel M. Wilson’s writing is engaging and sympathetic, she knew her subject matter extremely well and wrote with compassion; as a sufferer of anxiety myself I found myself nodding along to Caddie’s reactions on numerous occasions - her writing is personal and gets right inside the MC’s mind. It is a wonderful debut.

What I liked:
  • Don’t Touch is a standalone! We need more of these.
  • The romance was done very well and wasn’t at the forefront of the story.
  • The acting and Shakespeare scenes.
  • I want a best friend like Mandy!
  • I liked that Caddie was seeking professional help to deal with her problem; it wasn’t brushed off and ignored.
  • The authors note at the end.
What I wasn’t a huge fan of:

  • The MC came across as flat, her anxiety was the main focus and her passion for acting I didn’t feel was fully portrayed in her actions, I would have liked to have seen more of her personality shine through.
Overall, despite struggling with the main character, I did enjoy Don’t Touch and the overall storyline which I feel the author wrote extremely well.

Thank-you kindly to HarperTeen for the opportunity to read and review Don’t Touch.


Rachel M. WilsonAbout the author: Rachel M. Wilson is the author of the contemporary YA, DON'T TOUCH, forthcoming from HarperTeen, Sep. 2, 2014. 

She graduated from Northwestern University and holds an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Rachel grew up in Birmingham, AL, and she currently writes, acts, and teaches in Chicago, IL.

Rachel's all over the Interwebs: 
On Twitter @byRachelMWilson
On Instagram: @byRachelMWilson
On Facebook:
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