Tuesday, 7 July 2015

{Blog Tour} Jesse's Girl (Hundred Oak #6) by Miranda Kenneally

16045315Posted by Donna
Release Date: July 7th, 2015
Finished Date: April 29th, 2015
Publishers: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Source: For Review
Format: eARC
Pages: 304
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / The Book Depo

Practice Makes Perfect.

Everyone at Hundred Oaks High knows that career mentoring day is a joke. So when Maya Henry said she wanted to be a rock star, she never imagined she’d get to shadow *the* Jesse Scott, Nashville’s teen idol.

But spending the day with Jesse is far from a dream come true. He’s as gorgeous as his music, but seeing all that he’s accomplished is just a reminder of everything Maya’s lost: her trust, her boyfriend, their band, and any chance to play the music she craves. Not to mention that Jesse’s pushy and opinionated. He made it on his own, and he thinks Maya’s playing back up to other people’s dreams. Does she have what it takes to follow her heart—and go solo?

The Review: Maya Henry has always wanted to be a rock star. So when career mentoring day rolls around she gets the chance to shadow Jesse Scott – one of Nashville’s biggest teen idols. But when Maya finally meets Jesse Scott he isn’t what she expected especially when he announces that he’s planning on retiring the music business and Maya can’t fathom why because she wants what he has and thinks he’s crazy for giving it all up.  But Jesse pushes Maya to want more from her music, even with no band, he believes she has the talent to make it big if only Maya will consider going solo…. Can Maya really make her dreams come true? 

I love Miranda Kenneally’s books and I’m so pleased that the Hundred Oak series is still going strong. Jesse’s Girl is book 6 in the series and while I didn’t enjoy this one as much as the last few, it was still a fabulous read. 

As I mentioned I didn’t quite enjoy this one as much as the previous books but that’s down the own personal preference because I’m not a huge fan of the music star stories where the main character tries out for a music show or the main character falls in love with a music star. I knew that going into this story but it’s Miranda Kenneally so I couldn’t miss out on her book. And even though I didn’t enjoy the music background as much as I did previous books where it’s featured baseball or running etc, I still thought Miranda wrote a good story and I still enjoyed it. 

Jesse and Maya were likable characters – yes even Jesse once we get to know him. There each had their own style – Jesse liked country and Maya is a little punk rocker. But Jesse really opens Maya’s eyes up to trying new and different styles and I liked that. They had a good connection once they got over the introduction parts and the humour between them made for some entertaining reading. I did enjoy the moments they had together. They were touching and sweet. Their romance was cute.  It’s more a hate-love relationship rather than insta-love which is always good. I loved the support system that Maya had around her and how much she started to support Jesse whom didn’t really have much of a support system. For me though, I didn’t like Jesse as much as I thought I should. He was an okay character but he was pretty predictable at times. I wish I’d liked him more.

In all, Jesse’s Girl is still a well written story that is quite fun and entertaining. It may not have been a favourite of mine but I still can’t wait for more from this author. 

Thank you to Sourcebooks Fire for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Growing up in Tennessee, Miranda Kenneally dreamed of becoming an Atlanta Brave, a country singer (cliché!), or a UN interpreter. Instead she writes, and works for the State Department in Washington, D.C., where George W. Bush once used her shoulder as an armrest. Miranda loves Twitter, Star Trek and her husband.

Monday, 6 July 2015

{Review} Gold (All that Glitters #2) by K.A. Linde

25403757Posted by Donna
Release Date: July 7th 2015
Finished Date: July 1st, 2015
Publishers: Self Published
Genre: NA, Contemporary, Romance
Source: For Review
Format: eARC
Pages: Unknown
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US 

The prey becomes the predator.

Love. That cursed four-letter word no longer belongs in Bryna’s vocabulary. The only four-letter word she knows now is gold.

…and fuck.

She’s well acquainted with that one. And that’s exactly what she plans to do. She’s no longer the golden girl, and when she meets a businessman who promises everything she could ever want from the arrangement, she intends to get her money’s worth.

Follow the conclusion to Bryna’s gold digging story in this scandalizing, duplicitous second book to the USA Today bestselling author K.A. Linde’s All That Glitters series.

The Review:  Gold is the stunning follow up to Diamonds by author K.A. Linde and what a fantastic read it was! 

Bryna's had her heart-broken once and she's determined not to let it happen again. She's decided to become the very thing Jude accused her of being – a gold digger and now Bryna has set her sights a guy she’s just met who loves plashing cash about. Buy Bryna knows she needs to play this one cool if she wants the results she’s looking for. So let the game begin……

I didn’t know what to expect before heading into Gold. Bryna’s story blew me away in Diamonds and I couldn’t help love the girl and want the best for her. But Bryna’s life is never easy so I couldn’t have expected it to be all hearts and flowers. She definitely doesn’t make things easy on herself. She can be cold, serious and deceiving at times but then she can be this fun girl that is completely her opposite. I really loved both Bryna’s. Of course I liked her more when she’s being herself but there’s something so mesmerising about the serious Bryna. The way her mind works, wow. She’s smart and not afraid of speaking her mind. She knows what she wants and definitely isn’t afraid to go after it. If I’m honest I was torn to which Bryna I wanted to come out on top at the end. But like I said before, I wanted the best for her so I knew a life of gold digging couldn’t make her truly happy. 

Bryna always has so many men in her life that it’s such a whirlwind to keep up. In Gold alone there’s a handful of different guys – who the hell do you root for? But for me it was between Hugh and Eric and maybe even a little bit for Jude. Ssh, don’t hate me. I would have loved for Jude to realise his mistakes and be a better person. And Hugh was just lovely. It was great getting to know him! And Eric was this big thing that just came out of nowhere. I certainly wasn’t expecting Eric. 

Gold isn’t just about Bryna’s gold-digging life though. It’s about her self-discovery and finding true happiness.  It’s a seductive and tantalizing read – one that’s hard to put down once starting and, it’s a story that K.A. Linde has written well. So in all, definitely a hit for me and it’s one I think you should all pick up. 

Thank you to K.A. Linde for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

{Review} Noisy Dinosaurs: My First Touch and Feel Book by Jonathan Litton

Posted by Donna
Release Date: June 1st, 2015
Finished Date: July 5th, 2015
Publishers: Little Tiger Kids
Genre: Children's Picture Book 
Ages: 3 - 5 years old
Source: For Review
Format: Hardback 
Pages: 12
Touch, feel and hear the noisy dinosaurs on every page of this interactive chunky board book, packed with bright photographs, tactile textures and exciting dinosaur roars!

About the Author: Jonathan Litton has written numerous children's books in prose and verse. He loves using his science background to write about sea creatures, space and saving the planet, but is also fond of penning stories about pirates, princesses and picnics. When not writing, he can usually be found on his bike.

The Review: Noisy Dinosaurs is a great way to introduce your children to the wonders of dinosaurs and in such a fun way too. Featuring six different dinosaurs, you can listen to each one roar and also feel the textured parts of their bodies. 

My daughter loved this book especially when she is so interested in dinosaurs already, I'm guessing most children are at that age. But for her, this was a definitely a hit. She started playing with it immediately and before I even had the chance to read it with her, she'd already gone through all the pages and listened to each dinosaur roar. She was excited. And I loved watching the happiness on her face from reading this book because it offered her multiple fun and also a chance to learn that little bit more about dinosaurs. 

I thoroughly enjoyed it too. I enjoyed reading it to her and I loved that each dinosaur has it's own page with a small description. The illustrations are fantastic with detailed pictures and big lettering that makes it easy to read.

This would make a perfect gift for a child that is already interested in dinosaurs or even to a child who would like to explore the world of dinosaurs more. 

Thank you to Little Tiger Kids for giving us the opportunity to review this in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

{Review} Diamonds (All that Glitters #1) by K.A. Linde

25393027Posted by Donna
Release Date: April 19th, 2015
Finished Date: June 29th, 2015
Publishers: Self Published
Genre: NA, Contemporary, Romance
Source: Bought
Format: eBook
Pages: 189
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US 

Bryna feels his eyes on her. 

Hot, seductive, enticing. 

He’s at least ten years older than her seventeen years, and he knows exactly what he’s doing to her with that look. Walking away would be the smart thing to do… But she can’t. Not that first night when he takes her home and claims her body. Not when he shows up in her life again with expensive gifts to win her trust. Not even when she’s falling for him, and everything else is falling apart… 

Find out how Bryna goes from golden girl to gold digger in this tantalizingly scandalous book.

The Review: Diamonds is the first book in the All that Glitter series by K.A. Linde. It can be read as a prequel to the next book in the series Gold or, you could dive right in and start with Gold but I'd highly recommend you do start with Diamonds - it's worth it, trust me.

Bryna is a seventeen-year-old high school student that comes from a dysfunctional family, she's the Queen at her school and has one of the hottest boyfriend who is an upcoming movie star but still, she finds herself feeling alone in her life. Her heart is empty. So when Bryna meets an older, attractive guy that she forms a deep connection with, she can't help just go with it. He makes her feel special and loved, but they each know the other is hiding secrets and soon their secrets will reveal themselves and make everything crash around them.....

This was a great introduction into Bryna's story. It's such a fast paced story that drags you in and Bryna is definitely one unique character. I went into the story not knowing what to expect from her and even though she has her moments, I really liked her. I loved how honest and outspoken she was. Deep down she puts on this front with people and tries to be someone she isn't, when really she's just looking for someone to love and take care of her. Her family problems cut deep and so she seeks attention elsewhere. It might not always be the best elsewhere but when she meets Jude she finally thinks she's found the right person. It's clear that Jude was hiding secrets but so was Bryna so of course I wanted some sort of happy ending for them. It's safe to say I didn't expect the way the story ended. I'm hoping there is some sort of happy ending for both of them in Gold. 

In all, Diamonds is a great introduction to the All that Glitter series and I can't wait to see Bryna shine in Gold! 

Friday, 3 July 2015

{Review} Gideon's Promise (Sons of Judgment #2) by Morgana Phoenix

18332077Posted by Melanie
Release Date: February 23rd, 2015
Finished Date: February 25th, 2015
Publishers: Self Published
Genre: NA, Paranormal, Romance
Source: For Review
Format: eARC
Pages: Unknown
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US 

His love will become her curse.

For centuries, Gideon has kept his secret, knowing that it could mean the life of the woman whose very heartbeat was his reason for living. But when Veil Creatures are slaughtered in their homes by those sworn to protect them, it may be up to him to save those he loves from a fate worse than death. What he doesn’t expect is the betrayal and a choice that could leave his family devastated.

Valkyrie Devereaux believes only in the power of justice, loyalty and obeying the laws of her people. Love was something to be feared and she had been taught long ago that anything that could make you weak, needed to be eliminated. But when she is assigned to join the Casters of the north in hunting down the creatures killing the innocent, even she can’t help the twang of longing for something that goes against everything she was raised to believe was wrong.

Like fire and gasoline, passions collide. Heat erupts as they fight against their desires and their very nature. But a fire like theirs can never be smothered. It can never be stopped. It can only burn to unimaginable heights, but what happens when it careens out of control and destroys everything around them? And who is waiting for that exact moment to destroy the brothers?

She will become his death.

The Review: Gideon’s Promise is the second book in the ‘Sons of Judgement’ series and this time around (as the title would suggest) it’s Gideon Maxwell’s turn to find his soul mate…… the thing is – he found her 300 yrs ago and kept it to himself! Gideon could be classed as many things, cocky, arrogant, funny, HOT….. need I say more? But one of those things I never saw him as was a self-sacrificing, protector of hearts. Gideon made quite the impact in book one with his wit and charm, he came across as a ladies man who would never be tied down – little did we know the secret he was keeping. It was also clear in book one that there was a little something, something going on in the chemistry department between him and Valkyrie Devereaux, you could tell they were mutually attracted but in a hate to love kind of way, they infuriate each other both on purpose and unintentionally and now we know why. I loved the banter between them in book one and it definitely carried over onto book two well, I’m also a sucker for hate to love relationships too so I was hooked straight away because it was clear these two were meant for each other. The reason he keeps it secret is because of who Valkyrie is and the laws and customs of her people, knowing that she could be put to death if they became an item and knowing that if he didn’t touch or claim her then she would never know of her soul mate status and be able to live her life as expected.
He always keeps her at arms length but when veil creatures are being wiped out in their own homes, Valkyrie is sent to investigate and join forces with the Maxwells and that leaves Gideon with a dilemma because the more he time he spends around her, the more he wants to touch her, bond with her and the living arrangements put temptation firmly on his doorstep. Valkyrie, unaware of Gideon’s feelings doesn’t understand why he is so standoffish with her, he always seems to hate her and she doesn’t know why, but she’ll give as much as she gets. Her world is much different to Gideons, her life is about survival, being the best, never failing or showing weakness and above all – obeying the laws and customs of her people. She is not allowed to fall in love, she will be given a mate when the time comes and she will do her duty by bearing children to become the next generation of warriors.
As they investigate the slayings, they are forced to enter hostile territory in the hopes of gaining information but what happens is something different, they are betrayed in the worst way possible and the consequences are dire. I could never have imagined the way the story would turn here, yes I was expecting something but wow, what a shocker and it really opened my eyes up to the perpetrator. When Gideon tried to take the blame, it broke my heart because of what he was trying to do and why, it is a big game changer in the story but also a good thing for the progression of the relationship. With the event and the fall out, I thought it brought a softer side out in Valkyrie, she seemed less rigid and willing to see another way but those law abiding tendencies still remain.
As the story keeps on going we have multiple attempts on everyone's lives that inject a lot of action into the plot, we still have murderers on the loose and there’s a real sense of dread upon all at the house. Something is brewing, something bad and this is the basis for what is to come. All of the way through the book, it’s hard to see a way for Gideon and Valkyrie to get their HEA, you really want it for them but there are so many obstacles in the way plus there is a truly tragic event that astounded me – in fact this book is filled with OMG moments that really make you feel like no one is safe. I enjoyed finding out about the other keepers of the gates, each are different and have a different way of doing their jobs but it’s Valkyries I was most interested in and that we got the most information about. Her story is really sad, her life is sad and it was tough to read of her treatment by those meant to love and protect her. The fact that she was not free to love who she chose isn’t even the worst of it so I was so glad she had the Maxells to lean on. There is a lot going on in the story that doesn’t become apparent until the ending, I didn’t feel like the book had a solid conclusion – more of a small cliffhanger ending but it does what its meant to…. Leaves you wanting more.

Thank you to Morgana Phoenix for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Thursday, 2 July 2015

{Guest Post + UK Giveaway} Chloe Bennet, Author of Boywatching

By Chloe Bennet
Release Date: June 4th, 2015
Publishers: Orchard
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 384
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / The Book Depo

The annual joint school dance (aka the Snog Fest) is looming, and Chloe and her three best friends are determined not to repeat last year's disaster, which led to Year 9's top Mean Girl, Maggie, humiliating them online as a pack of sad losers. 

First they need to figure out just what's going with the utterly incomprehensible yet strangely attractive St Thomas's boys - 

and so the science of BoyWatching is born... 

Chloe BennetBoywatching, by Chloe Bennet

Like most people reading this (I’m guessing here, but I think I’m right!) I grew up loving reading.  Not that my life wasn’t perfectly nice, but there was nothing I’d like better than wrapping myself up in somebody else’s … whether they lived in a castle in Scotland or a hut in America, whether they were really real or magically unreal, whether they did harm or had harm done to them, I’d bury my nose in the book of their stories.
When I started to (sort of) grow up, I didn’t grow out of the reading thing.  So I was very lucky to get a job as an editor in publishing.  Which meant I was wrapped up in other people’s lives in a different way – helping people write memoirs, history, humour.   I loved the business of working with writers to shape their stories, to look at the big picture and the little detail.  It was rewarding and fascinating.  But then it got frustrating….and I realised it would be much more fun to Do It Myself!
At about this time, I found myself at a bus stop, watching a boy as he waited for the bus – he must have been about nine or ten.  I was thinking how sweet he looked in his school uniform, collar askew, expression of concentration as he opened his packet of crisps.  And then up came these two fourteen-year-old girls.  They looked super cool in their skinny jeans and crop tops, long straight hair and eye-liner.  Much older than their years.   They must have recognised the uniform because they went up to the boy, and asked him, ‘Do you go to St George’s?’.  The boy looked rather nervous and admitted that he did.  And then the girls asked him whether he knew any boys in Year 11.    Still nervous, the boy said he did.  “So,” one said, “do you know Harry Adams, or Patrick Clark?”   “Or,” said the other, “Mark Forster or Sam Johnson?”  And I thought that at that age, however cool you look, you don’t necessarily know much, and you just have to get your information about The Boy wherever you can find it, even from the most unlikely sources.
And then I started to think back to those days when you’re young and curious and just starting to work out the whole thing with Boys.  And I thought, what if my heroine and her friends approached these mysterious creatures scientifically, noting down behaviour patterns – good and bad – and working out who might go with who and why.   I reckoned there’d be laughs and tears along the way, but maybe she would learn stuff, find The One, and maybe her friends would too.
That very night I went home and started to write Boywatching – Chloe’s story of her own and her friends’ adventures as they try to get the hang of The Boy.   What makes them behave the way they do, look the way they do, do the things they do….?  Chloe develops a system of points and unpoints,   and there’s much discussion about what’s really important – ranging from Great Kissing and Kind to Children and Animals to Looks Good in Jeans and Doesn’t Ignore You When He’s With His Mates.
Boywatching, though, is an imprecise science, which is why you have to do so much of it.   Plus it’s always a work in progress; boys can change, grow up (even though this can be a slow process), and you have to observe them in all sorts of different conditions - playing football, being with grown-ups, going to school….  (That’s why there are going to be further books in the series!)
But Boywatching isn’t just about watching boys: it’s about friendships, bullying (survival tips, not how-to), families, tiresome brothers and sisters, annoying parents (not always annoying though, sometimes parents can be quite helpful), and teachers who will keep interrupting your life to try to make you learn stuff.  I think - I hope - there are a few life lessons to be learned in between the laughs. 
Chloe herself is feisty and funny.   Although she can also be quite annoying because she DOES like to get things right.   She wants to be a writer when she grows up, so is also quite pedantic when it comes to apostrophes and the right place for them….   But otherwise she’s perfectly normal, and very good at looking out for her friends.   (Chloe and I have a lot in common, but the main thing we have in common is that we believe in friends like some people believe in Heaven or homeopathy.)
I’ve grown to be very fond of Chloe.   
And of Mark, who is not only handsome in a tousled, dimpled way, but also sensitive, intelligent and funny.  He is The One Chloe falls for.  

If only Mark were twenty years older.  And real. . . .   

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

{Feature} Waiting on Wednesday (#118)

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

Donna's WoW
Reign of Shadows
by Sophie Jordan 
Release Date: February 9th, 2016

Seventeen years ago, an eclipse cloaked the kingdom of Relhok in perpetual darkness. In the chaos, an evil chancellor murdered the king and queen and seized their throne. Luna, Relhok’s lost princess, has been hiding in a tower ever since. Luna’s survival depends on the world believing she is dead.

But that doesn’t stop Luna from wanting more. When she meets Fowler, a mysterious archer braving the woods outside her tower, Luna is drawn to him despite the risk. When the tower is attacked, Luna and Fowler escape together. But this world of darkness is more treacherous than Luna ever realized.

With every threat stacked against them, Luna and Fowler find solace in each other. But with secrets still unspoken between them, falling in love might be their most dangerous journey yet.

With lush writing and a star–crossed romance, Reign of Shadows is Sophie Jordan at her best.

Donna's thoughts: This sounds epic. I loved Sophie Jordan's Firelight series but then didn't love Uninvited, so I'm hoping I love this one! 

Melanie's WoW
Reawakened (The Reawakened #1)
by Colleen Houck
Release Date: August 25th, 2015

From COLLEEN HOUCK, New York Times bestselling author of the Tiger’s Curse series, comes the first book in a series about a teenage girl entangled in an epic Egyptian quest full of romance, adventure, and mythology!

When seventeen-year-old Lilliana Young enters the Metropolitan Museum of Art one morning during spring break, the last thing she expects to find is a live Egyptian prince with godlike powers, who has been reawakened after a thousand years of mummification. 
And she really can’t imagine being chosen to aid him in an epic quest that will lead them across the globe.
But fate has taken hold of Lily, and she, along with her sun prince, Amon, must travel to the Valley of the Kings, raise his brothers, and stop an evil, shape-shifting god named Seth from taking over the world. 
From New York Times bestselling author Colleen Houck comes an epic adventure about two star-crossed teens who must battle mythical forces and ancient curses on a journey with more twists and turns than the Nile itself.

Melanie's thoughts: 
Everything about this sounds fab! I haven't read anything by this author before so I hope this is a good way to show her talents.

<What's your "waiting on" pick this week?
Want to participate? 
Grab the logo, post your own WoW entry on your blog, and leave your link at Breaking the Spine. 
Happy Reading!