Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Review: The Virgin Romance Novelist

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Title: The Virgin Romance Novelist

Author: Meghan Quinn

Series: N/A

Publisher: Hot-Lanta Publishing

Publication date: April 2nd 2015

Format: Kindle | Netgalley | 292 pages

Genre: Contemporary | Humour | New Adult 

Goodreads



Her bosom heaved at an alarming rate as his rough hand found its way down to her soft, yet wiry briar patch... 

Can you say briar patch in a romance novel? What about meat sword? That’s what it is…a meat sword, right, all meaty and sword like, slaying through the inner dungeons of a woman’s dark desires. What about breasts? Do bosoms really heave? 

God, I have no idea what happens when private parts touch. 

I’m a virgin trying to write a romance novel and can’t seem to write past a sex scene thanks to my lack of experience. 

My two best friends encourage me to drop the pen for a while and gain some real life practice through multiple dating facets such as blind dates, online profiles, and random hookups. 

But losing my virginity is proving to be tougher than expected…

 

 

My thoughts:


This is another one of those reads that you have to be in the right mood for. I really wanted something that would just constantly make me laugh - something light hearted and full of quirky characters that get up to all sorts. This was definitely that book to get me out of a bad mood.


I think the only way to enjoy this read is to take it as it's meant to be. It is pretty ridiculous with the things that go on - throwing up, running away from gangs of cats and general hilarious conversations are pretty much what this book is made up of. It was a blast.


I really liked these characters. Rosie made me laugh but she was also really relatable - to a certain extent at least, hopefully no one has to go through what she did! She was an ordinary young woman who wanted to get out there and experience life - she was unsure about her job, where she stood with her friends and most of all, she thought her love life was a disaster. But she took it on the chin for the most part and tried her best to figure things out. 


Even though this was supposed to be a fun read, I did think it needed more substance. Rosie went through potential dates like nobody's business and it just didn't pace well since around 4 happened in the span of one week, each with different guys. I also really wanted to hear more about the other important things in her life - she didn't spend a lot of time with her best friend (aside from Henry) and nothing else was mentioned about the work aspect of the story. I mean, the whole idea was Rosie trying to get experience in order to write a romance novel…but what happened to the actual novel after the experience part was done? I would have liked more.

 

Overall if you want a light, fluffy read that will make you laugh I would recommend this one. 

 

My rating: 6/10

 

Meghan Quinn:

Goodreads | Website | Facebook

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Review: Exaltation by Jamie Magee

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Title: Exaltation

Author: Jamie Magee

Publisher: Alvashia 

Publication date: February 10th 2015

Format: Kindle | Netgalley 

Genre: YA | Paranormal 

Goodreads



Fate is a twisted b*$#@, at least his was.

Was one soul worth the lives of millions? The quandary was one that Rydell King had no choice but to face. No matter the answer, the truth remained—innocence was created to destroy him. She was beautiful…extinguishing her to save his people seemed impossible, and maybe it was. As an immortal, his focus was to destroy the curse upon his people, as he devoured the emotion that bore him—exaltation, no matter the cost. She made him question everything. 

Mercy had never been crueler.

 

 

My thoughts:


Well safe to say I'm really annoyed with myself. I think it would have helped greatly if I'd have read other books by this author to better understand what on earth was going on. Talk about being thrown in the deep end. As it was, I had no clue that this was part of a series, even if it could technically be read as a standalone.


I've never been so confused reading a book. There was so much going on already that I had a hard time grasping all the terms and names of places that were being thrown around. I did start to get the hang of it towards the end but for most of the read I was drawing a blank on a lot of technicalities of the plot.


I have to say though, for the most part, I was pleasantly surprised with this read. Forgetting the fact that I knew nothing about what was going on and it took so much time to get used to the world that this book is set in, I couldn't read it fast enough.


Rydell, I found, was a pretty complicated character and I liked that. He has a past and it comes through occasionally even though he's not aware of it. Others see it though and it makes for some pretty interesting interactions. I thought he worked really well with Raven - his seriousness and experience with her fun loving, quirky personality. They balanced each other out, which, from what I understand so far, is essential to the story.

 

What really blew it for me though, was the hint of a love triangle. I hate love triangles. They just don't work 99% of the time, either because there's too much of a clear choice or the author cops out and kills one of them off or something. I can't stand them. Seeing as I've had a whole book full of Rydell and no one else, I don't like the idea of someone else coming into the picture - I already don't like him. How could I? He's interfering and ruining a good thing. I really hope that's not the case.

 

All in all I enjoyed this book. I would recommend it, but please don't do what I did and start out of nowhere. I wouldn't mind checking out the series from the beginning myself.

 

My rating: 7/10

 

Jamie Magee:

Goodreads | Website | Twitter

Monday, 23 March 2015

The Frenchman - Book Tour & Giveaway

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Hi guys! Welcome to my tour stop of The Frenchman by Lesley Young. Make sure to check out this book on GoodReads and Amazon, enjoy the excerpt and go enter the awesome giveaway.
 
 


Fleur Smithers rarely veers off the straight and (excruciatingly) narrow. So moving to the seaport town of Toulon to live with her newfound biological mother—an inspector with the French National Police—for one year is a pretty major detour.

Son of France’s crime royalty family and international rugby star, Louis Messette, is devoted to his sport, famille and nothing else. But the saucy American he meets one night changes everything. She sparks a desire in him like no other. Possession takes root. She will do as he commands.

Bit by bit Fleur slips into the Frenchman’s realm of wanton pleasure agreeing to his one condition: that she keep their affair secret. She serves up her heart without reservation in the hub of the glittering Côte d’Azur, and the along the soulful Seine in Paris, unaware of the danger she is in. For her new lover’s “family business” will pit her against her mother, the police woman sworn to bring down the Messettes. And by then, far more than Fleur’s heart will be on the line.


Book Excerpt:


 After a moment, when I steeled my resolve, the door opened. 

 Not Louis.

 A man with salt and pepper hair, a nasty scar above his lip and astute eyes, scanned me. “Oui?” he asked rudely.

 I hesitated, but then thought, I’m all in.

 Je suis venue pour voir Louis.

 He scanned me much more carefully, and his dark eyes stopped at the cash in my hand. After his eyebrows rose, ever so slightly, his face relaxed and a side hitched up. He shrugged and opened the door wider.

 I stepped into another foyer, encased in a marble, circular partition. With one last wave of jacked-up energy, I barreled around the wall, quickly scanning the, holy massive, space, hesitating only to admire the incredible view provided from floor-to-ceiling windows everywhere. Gorgeous kitchen, too. I sucked in a waft of cooked chicken. God I missed meat. Pausing to get my bearings—this was an extremely large suite—I followed the faint sound of the television sports game. There was the living room. I spotted a giant flat screen against a wall, blinds tugged down around it.

 My heart was going a mile a minute, my hands shaking. I couldn’t turn back now. I stepped down the two stairs, powered across the empty dining room area, into the living room space, aiming straight for the middle, where . . . my eyes scanned quickly . . . there were others present, two, I think, standing behind one sectional. 

 Ah-ha! 

 There sat Louis, legs wide apart, on a giant leather sofa, a remote in one hand and an empty plate of chicken bones beside him. He was in a pair of track pants and nothing else. To say he was shocked, when he realized the girl standing in front of him was not a cute American announcer suddenly on his TV screen, was an understatement.

 “Fleur,” he exclaimed sitting forward, absolutely no fat bunching at the waist.

 “What the hell is this?!” I shouted at him, waving the cash.

 I watched red sprout in his cheeks as he glanced around at the chilled room, and back on me. His eyes took in the money, and my other hand on my hip. He stood up to his full, mighty height, extra slow, his eyes steady on me. 

 But I wasn’t intimidated. Not in the least. He was way out of line.

 “You know what? In America, you pay—” I shook the wad of cash at him “—after you’ve finished the transaction.” I threw the money at him but it didn’t get very far. It kind of fluttered to the floor. 

 Holy cow. Did I really just say that? That is not what I had meant to say. It just came out.

 Waves of regret rippled through me as he pulled his head back, and his lips bunched up, contemptuous. Disgust spread on his face like ink.

 And who could blame him? There I was, standing in his living room, lamenting the fact he had not bopped me. Oh sweet mercy.


About Lesley Young:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


LesleyYoung

Lesley Young is an award-winning Canadian journalist by day, and obsessive novelist by night. Her debut novel, Sky’s End (Soulmate Publishing, 2013) hit #9 on Amazon’s sci-fi romance paid best-seller list in its first three months of release. 

Not too long after that, she started dreaming up quirky heroines who lose their hearts to extremely powerful, flawed heroes, only to find out what love really is while on a dangerous adventure abroad. She called it the Crime Royalty Romance series, and landed herself a pretty big agent at Spencerhill Associates. Never one to take the obvious path, Lesley ultimately decided to self-publish. She’s never sure who or what will pop up in her imagination next. The Irishman? The Spaniard? The Hawaiian? Anything’s possible, and she loves suggestions (or recommendations of really hot, er, talented, actors to work as a muses).

Stay in touch with her and feel free to forward on decent options at Facebook.com/LesleyYoungBooks and @LesleyYoungBks (note: Charlie Hunnam’s already taken the lead role of The American—#3 Crime Royalty Romance...coming soon!).


Giveaway info:

Lesley has provided a fantastic giveaway, including a $25 Amazon gift card and 20 ebook copies of The Frenchman! To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter form.




Tour schedule:

 


Check out more at the Tour Page below:



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Saturday, 21 March 2015

Review: The Boy From The Woods by Jen Minkman

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Title: The Boy From The Woods

Author: Jen Minkman

Series: N/A

Publisher: Storm Publishers

Publication date: Dec 1 2013

Format: Netgalley | Kindle | 285 pages

Genre: YA | Romance

Goodreads



Julia has been in love with Michael for years. He’s the hottest guy in school, and she can’t believe her luck when they finally hit it off during Senior Prom. Her dream doesn’t last, though: after a few dates, he callously dumps her out of the blue. Summer vacation starts with Julia feeling heart-broken and miserable. 

But then she rescues Michael in the woods when he has a motorcycle accident in a heavy thunderstorm. From that point onward, her life is turned upside down. Michael has changed completely after the blow to the head that nearly killed him... and he wants her back. But why is he so different? And will she be able to trust him this time around? 

Can the boy who broke your heart ever win it back again..?
 



My thoughts:


Oh goodness, this read really didn't agree with me. It was so disappointing too, because of the fact it had the potential to be a great, unique read - it just needed a tremendous amount of polishing.


My biggest problem was the characters. They weren't believable to me at all. I think any reader will agree with me when I say, when the characters aren't relatable and are just too far over on the side of bland or expressionless, the book becomes such a chore to finish.


Julia aggravated me…a lot. I really started to hate the way her emotions bounced all over the place - I'm pretty sure nobody thinks the way Julia does. She was way too quick to forgive and it made her look undeserving. And by that I mean, Julia had something really bad happen to her and then within a couple of meetings between characters, it was ok. That could actually work, if there was any sort of explanation or extraordinary apology where the one responsible is genuinely regretting his actions. That was not the case. It was almost as if his actions were blamed on someone else entirely and it just didn't make sense. It made Julia look incredibly weak.

 

The same goes for all the supporting characters. The dialogue, or any interactions between them for that matter, came across as incredibly forced to me, so much so that it became almost painful to read. Like that awkward, cringe worthy pain of someone being forced to listen to something they shouldn't be listening to. 

 

The plot itself was where it was disappointing. There were hints of a great story hidden by awkward writing and terrible characters. I seriously think if the whole thing is reworked it could be something special but safe to say, this time around was a big let down.

 

My rating: 1/10

 

Jen Minkman:

Goodreads | Website | Twitter

Monday, 9 March 2015

Review: Red by Alyxandra Harvey

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Title: Red

Author: Alyxandra Harvey

Series: N/A

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Publication date: March 10th 2015

Format: Kindle | 198 pages

Genre: YA | Paranormal

Goodreads


Bad girls burn hot…
 
Red is the color of Kia Alcott's hair.
It's her temper, which blazes hot and always gets Kia into way too much trouble.
And it's the color of fire. Fires that Kia can start…just by thinking about them.
 
When her latest “episode” gets her kicked out of school, Kia is shipped off to her grandmother, who works for the wealthy Blackwoods. It's an estate shrouded in secrets, surrounded by rules, and presided over by a family that is far from normal…including the gorgeous and insolent Ethan Blackwood.
 
Ethan knows far more about the dangers of the forest surrounding the estate than Kia can ever imagine. For this forest has teeth, and Ethan is charged with protecting the outside world from its vicious mysteries.
 
But inside, even the most vibrant shade of red doesn't stand a chance against the dark secrets of the Blackwood family…



My thoughts:


This was one of those reads that were split right down the middle into one half that I couldn't stand and the other, enjoyable. For this kind of read, I never know what to say in a review and how to rate the book. I feel like I'm forced to decide which half of the read to represent the whole book. I suppose it depends on how enjoyable I found the one half to be. But it really does disappoint me when this happens - it just shows how much potential the book had.


To put it simply, I got bored. The first half of the book really dragged for me. I found myself wandering off just to distract myself and the number of times my thoughts started to wander was astonishing. Thinking back I don't know how I carried on reading. 


Nothing seemed to grab my attention. The characters fell really flat and that, in turn, just made me not care about anything that went on. Not any secrets that were revealed, character deaths or supposedly exciting things of the sort that usually has a reader on the edge of their seat.


In the second half however, things started to pick up. There was a whole lot more action happening and the characters had actually started to open up a bit, and that made me take a little bit more notice.


This is where things get really frustrating for me. Did I actually enjoy it that much, or was it in comparison to the first half of the story I found it a breath of fresh air? Thinking back, i couldn't wait for it to be over. So I guess that answers that question.


My rating: 4/10


Alyxandra Harvey:

Goodreads | Website | Twitter



Review: The Thorn and the Sinking Stone by CJ Dushinski

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Title: The Thorn and the Sinking Stone

Author: CJ Dushinski

Series: Thorn & Dagger

Publisher: Entangled: Teen

Publication date: March 10th 2015

Format: Kindle | 313 pages

Genre: YA 

Goodreads



Warring families. Forbidden love. And danger they can’t escape… 

Daggers. Roses. Cowboys. Boat Men. Survivors of Earth's Last War, four “families” vie to rule the dreary streets of Rain City through violence and blood.

Valencia Hara, Princess of the wealthy Black Roses, is raised in warrior ways with sharpened steel. But she is no ordinary Rose. She is Cursed—tainted with the ability to see seconds into the future…

 To avenge his father's death, Sebastian Leold, of the rival gang Two Daggers, must face off against the Black Princess, he with his dagger, she with her katana sword. Yet a secret from a shared past leaves him unable to kill beautiful Valencia; nor can she kill him. For they once knew each other beyond their blood feud…and they have more secrets in common than they know. 

But in a world filled with vengeance and violence, there can be no room for love…

 

 

My thoughts:


This book reminded me a lot of Romeo and Juliet. I have a feeling a lot of people will read this and think the same. There's two clashing families and a forbidden romance, it's just set apart by the more paranormal aspect of 'Curses' - an extraordinary ability - and the more dystopian, futuristic feel to the settings of the story. 


I liked this read. It was very quick, simple and enjoyable. The plot wasn't as complicated as I might have liked and it was a little predictable, but it was full of great action, and that's always a plus for me. There was no chance for me to get bored with all that was going on - something was always happening and it was always something relevant and important to the plot. It was a very, in your face, here's what happens sort of read. And sometimes, that's just what I need.


What stood out to me most though, was Sebastian. I loved his simplicity as a character, and I don't mean simple in the sense that he had nothing to him aside from his backstory. He was still a well rounded character in a way, it's just he wore his heart and thoughts on his sleeve. I think the novel being written in first person helps, but I loved knowing what he was thinking every step of the way. He never lied to himself or kidded himself about his identity as a huge member of the Daggers and I really appreciated that. He stood up - at the very least in his own mind - and decided to be different to the rest and try and change as many minds, and protect as many people as possible. In my eyes, that makes a very strong, unwavering, hero to the story. Loved him.


So I liked the plot, the action, one of the main characters and I also liked the rival families and gang aspect of the story. What really let me down was Valencia. She was basically the polar opposite to Sebastian. Everything I loved about him, Valencia had all the same attributes but it just didn't work for her. What happened in the plot went against her thoughts and feelings she was displaying throughout the read. 

 

Val was very confident in the beginning of the read and I loved it. She was this fierce warrior for her family, ready for her calling and looking forward to it. But throughout the read she fell incredibly flat. Instead of a warrior and protector, she became a damsel in distress, even though she had this awesome ability to see seconds into the future and she'd worked so hard to become this bad girl fighter. It became really annoying. 

 

I do have a feeling that Val will feature more in the second read and grow into a better character and I'm interested to see where it goes from here.

 

My rating: 6/10

 

CJ Dushinski:

Goodreads | Twitter | Website

 

Monday, 23 February 2015

The Accidental Empress Blog Tour - Excerpt & Giveaway

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Here it is! My blog tour stop of The Accidental Empress. Make sure to check out more this book on GoodReads, enjoy the excerpt and go enter the awesome giveaway.
 
 
Buy:


New York Times bestselling author Allison Pataki follows up on her critically-acclaimed debut novel, The Traitor’s Wife, with the little-known and tumultuous love story of “Sisi,” the Austro-Hungarian Empress and captivating wife of Emperor Franz Joseph.

The year is 1853, and the Habsburgs are Europe’s most powerful ruling family. With his empire stretching from Austria to Russia, from Germany to Italy, Emperor Franz Joseph is young, rich, and ready to marry.

Fifteen-year-old Elisabeth, “Sisi,” Duchess of Bavaria, travels to the Habsburg court with her older sister, who is betrothed to the young emperor. But shortly after her arrival at court, Sisi finds herself in an unexpected dilemma: she has inadvertently fallen for and won the heart of her sister’s groom. Intrigued by Sisi’s guileless charm and energetic spirit, not to mention her unrivaled beauty, Franz Joseph reneges on his earlier proposal and declares his intention to marry Sisi instead.

Plucked from obscurity and thrust onto the throne of Europe’s most treacherous imperial court, Sisi has no idea what struggles and dangers—and temptations—await her. Sisi upsets political and familial loyalties in her quest to win, and keep, the love of her emperor, her people, and of the world.

With Pataki’s rich period detail and cast of complex, compelling characters, The Accidental Empress offers a captivating glimpse into the bedrooms and staterooms of one of history’s most intriguing royal families, shedding new light on the glittering Habsburg Empire and its most mesmerizing, most beloved “Fairy Queen.”

 

 

Book Excerpt:

 

Prologue

Budapest, Hungary

June 8, 1867

 

“Empress, we are ready for you.”

 

She turns, a small nod and a flourish of her hand. “Time to assume the role.” She slips her narrow arms through the sleeves. The silken fabric, expertly stitched and tailored, molds around her curves. My, but she has never quite grown accustomed to how heavy these things are. Heavier, it seems, than her own tired frame.

 

All around her nervous footmen and chattering attendants fuss, bickering like frantic bees in the hive that encircles their all-important leader.

 

“Fluff her skirt!”

 

“Mind the trim!”

 

“Time to go!”

 

“Can’t be time already, can it?”

 

“Ready, Empress Elisabeth?” The imperial hairdresser stands before her, the ancient crown poised between two fingers, its diamonds catching a glint of candlelight. As delicate as the wisps of a spider web. And yet, durable enough to have survived the centuries, to have persisted longer than the royal heads on which it has rested. Heads now embalmed, hairs now gray and fallen out.

 

“Ready.” She nods, lowering her chin so that the diadem can be nestled into her chestnut curls—curls that have been named the most valuable crown jewels in all of the Habsburg collection. The curls, they say, that won her the emperor’s heart.

 

The crown in place, she glides forward and glances at herself in the full-length mirror. She does make an arresting vision; even she has to admit it.

 

The gown is of white and silver brocade, laced with rows of diamonds and stitched to hug her narrow figure. The long cape of white satin drapes effortlessly over her shoulders before tumbling to the ground. But it’s her face that they always want to see, more so than any imperial stitching or ancient tiara. They’ve all heard of her slanting, honey-colored eyes. Her smoothly sculpted cheekbones. Her lips, the lips that the emperor once declared as “fresh as strawberries.” The emperor. Her heart lurches forward. God, but she is tired. Will she have the energy to survive this day?

 

A knock, and her heart trips once more. She glances up, her eyes darting to the heavy oaken door. Which one of them will it be on the other side? Will it be the emperor? Or will it be . . . him? Her cheeks grow warm at the thought, and she chides herself. Even after everything she has been through, she still reddens like a girl of sixteen at the thought of him, the mention of his name. Her own husband doesn’t pull such a scarlet blush to her cheeks.

 

The door lumbers open, groaning like a sluggish guard woken from his midnight watch after too much ale. In an instant, she sees him, and he sees her. He takes her in. She can tell from his face that she has succeeded in beating the breath from his gut; he wears the look of a stunned animal.

 

“Sisi” is all he manages to say. “Sisi.” He throws his arms up, wide, as if to pull her into him. But he checks himself, takes note of the servants bustling about.

 

“Your Majesty.” He clears his throat. “Are you ready?”

 

She inhales, considering the question. Is she ready? No. She never really was ready, she supposes. That was the problem, wasn’t it? But she lifts her chin, throwing her shoulders back.

 

“I am,” she answers, one quick nod. She glides forward. The dress drags—its splendor too heavy for her exhausted body. But she sighs and continues across the room.

 

She can already hear them on the other side of the walls. Not so much the individual cheers and cries, but a dull, persistent throb. Constant. Like the crush of the sea waves on the earth: unyielding, unceasing.

 

He offers his arm and she slides her own through it, her soft flesh pressing into his heavily starched uniform. The doors open wider now. She blinks, longing to pull a gloved hand upward. To shield herself, to hide her face from all of those direct, inquisitive eyes. . . . Eyes that will study her and take her in, as if she is theirs for consuming. But she checks her impulse. Stands a bit taller.

 

And then she hears it. “Sisi!”

 

A breath inward. A moment to fortify herself as she turns to him. “It is time.” And it was. At last, it was time.

 

***

 

Also from Allison Pataki:


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Read more about The Traitor's Wife on GoodReads.

 

Buy:

 Amazon | B&N | Indiebound


About Allison Pataki:


Allisons finals Website Headshot

Allison Pataki is the author of the New York Times bestselling historical novel, The Traitor's Wife. She graduated Cum Laude from Yale University with a major in English and spent several years writing for TV and online news outlets. The daughter of former New York State Governor George E. Pataki, Allison was inspired to write her second novel, The Accidental Empress, by her family’s deep roots in the former Habsburg empire of Austria-Hungary. Allison is the co-founder of the nonprofit organization, ReConnect Hungary. Allison is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post and FoxNews.com, as well as a member of The Historical Novel Society. Allison lives in Chicago with her husband. To learn more and connect with Allison visit www.AllisonPataki.com or on Twitter.


Website | Goodreads |  Twitter | Facebook



Giveaway:

Thanks to Allison Pataki and Simon & Schuster, one lucky winner will receive a $120 gift card to the ebook retailer of their choice (Amazon/B&N/iTunes)! Please enter via the Rafflecopter form. Giveaway is open internationally.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tour Schedule:





Check out more at the Tour Page below:


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