Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Cover reveal: Spark by Holly Schindler

Spark HS



Holly Schindler's Spark:

When the right hearts comes to the Avery Theatre - at the right time - the magic will return. The Avery will come back from the dead.

Or so Quin's great-grandmother predicted many years ago on Verona, Missouri's most tragic night, when Nick and Emma, two star-crossed teenage lovers, died on the stage. It was that night that the Avery's marquee lights when out forever.

It sounds like urban legend, but one that high school senior Quin is now starting to believe, especially when her best friend, Cass, and their classmate Dylan step onto the stage and sparks fly. It seems that magic can still unfold at the old Avery Theatre and a happier ending can still be had - one that will align the stars and revive not only the decrepit theatre, but also the decaying town. However, it hinges on one thing - that Quin gets the story right this time around.

Holly Schindler brings the magic of the theatre to life in this tale of family ties, fate, love, and one girl's quest to rewrite history.

In my hometown, the restoration of a former movie theatre on the town square provided the genesis for my new YA novel, SPARK. Who among us hasn't dreamed of seeing their name in blazing neon across a gigantic marquee? Let me invite you to dim the lights and draw back the velvet curtains - let your imagination run wild as you enter my fictional Avery Theatre, where literally anything goes

---Holly Schindler



Holly Schindler


Holly Schindler is the author of three previous YA novels: PLAYING HURT as well as the critically acclaimed FERAL (starred PW review) and A BLUE SO DARK (starred Booklist review, ForeWord Book of the Year silver medal, IPPY gold medal). 


A writer of books for all ages, Schindler's MG, THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY, has made the master list for children's book awards in Illinois, South Carolina, and Alabama. She is also a hybrid author, having independently released comedic women's fiction (FIFTH AVENUE FIDOS) and the forthcoming PLAY IT AGAIN, her adult follow-up to her YA PLAYING HURT


She can be reached through her author site and hosts special sneak peeks and giveaways for subscribers of her newsletter.



Spark Premiere Graphic

 Spark "Premieres" May 17, 2016, but you can buy your "tickets" now. Links to pre-order:



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Thursday, 1 October 2015

Review: The Engagement Game by Jenny Holiday


Title: The Engagement Game
Author: Jenny Holiday
Series: 49th Floor #3
Publication date: Oct 5th 2015
Format: Kindle | Netgalley
Genre: Adult | Contemporary Romance

The black sheep of the old-money Rosemanns, advertising executive Marcus has made his own way in the world—and done extremely well for himself—but his family is still pressuring him to join their investment firm and settle down with a quiet, unobjectionable girl.

Which is why the sexy Rose Verma is the perfect date for his family’s charity ball. A bleeding-heart lefty from the wrong side of the tracks, Rose has never met a stray dog she didn’t love or a polka-dotted mini-dress she couldn’t rock. Marcus has enough dirt on Rose to “convince” her to play along. And if he lets it slip that they’re engaged, all the better. 

But all’s fair in love and blackmail, and Rose is ready to play a few cards of her own…

My thoughts:

This was another one of those books that I finish, find it an okay read, and then promptly forget everything about it shortly after I move on to the next one.

It sounds harsh, but there wasn't anything memorable about this book. It's been done so many times, even down to the details, that it just becomes 'one of those'. They're not necessarily bad reads - some are of course, but this one wasn't - they're just so common that they all seem to blur into one. 

I liked the characters well enough. Rose was quirky and sure of herself, Marcus was strong willed with family issues and the supporting characters were interesting - especially the parents. 

All that aside, I don't really know what else to say. I did have a problem (as usual seems like) with the ending. I've been saying this for a lot of reads lately, but there wasn't enough fight in the end. The whole book is focused on a blossoming relationship and then at the inevitable big obstacle towards the end, a seemingly huge pit that has opened up between them becomes irrelevant and easily crossed. We all know what's going to happen at the end, but I want the way it happens to be something worth reading and not just a couple of pages of 'oh maybe I was wrong'.

My rating: 5/10

Jenny Holiday:

49th Floor:

  1. Saving the CEO
  2. Sleeping with Her Enemy
  3. The Engagement Game

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Review: Pale Moon Walking by Paula Altenburg


Title: Pale Moon Walking

Author: Paula Altenburg

Series: N/A

Publisher: Entangled: Select Otherworld

Publication date: September 28th 2015

Format: Kindle | Netgalley | 282 pages

Genre: Adult | Paranormal Romance


Where the outlaws are out of this world...

US Marshall Sam Kyote has been sent to the dry old town of Coyote Bluff to recuperate from a top-secret government experiment that's left this law man a little...well, different. But Sam's about to find out that the town of Coyote Bluff has a whole lot of secrets. Most of which lead to Libby Mayden-the sexy, long-legged, and tight-lipped sheriff who saved his ass from an alien ambush.

The last thing Libby needs is a US Marshall poking around her town, especially one who's hotter than the Nevada desert sun. She can't let Sam find out most of her town are wanted outlaws. Between the aliens, the gunfighters, and a searing sexual attraction to Sam, she's in a whole heap of trouble. And Libby'll stride both sides of the law-and Sam-until she's forced to choose between self-preservation...and her heart.



My thoughts:

I wasn't a big fan of this read. I mean, I finished it, which was something in itself, but it was more of a chore than anything.

The characters of Pale Moon Walking didn't do anything for me. I wasn't enamoured by the romance and there were no moments in the read that made me wonder about any backstories of the characters. I just couldn't bring myself to care and that's why I can't say I enjoyed this book very much.

I found it difficult to get behind the whole alien aspect of this book as well. I have read books featuring aliens before so it wasn't the idea itself I didn't like, but it seemed really out of place in this one. I don't know if it was because I didn't think it was explained or introduced very well, or if they didn't play enough of a part in the story compared to the romance, but either way, it seemed like they weren't important in the grand scheme of things.

My rating: 3/10


Paula Altenburg:

Goodreads | Website | Twitter


Monday, 28 September 2015

Review: Tempted by Mr. Write by Sara Hantz


Title: Tempted by Mr. Write

Author: Sara Hantz

Series: What Happens in Vegas #7

Publisher: Entangled: Lovestruck 

Publication date: September 28th 2015

Format: Kindle | Netgalley 

Genre: Adult | Contemporary | Romance


She thought she knew everything about romance. She was wrong.

After losing out on a plum assignment, a romance book conference is the last place journalist Sheridan Farlow wants to be. Love is a myth-like flattering changing room mirrors-and she has the past relationships to prove it. Her editor wants a story? Fine. She'll write an entire exposé...only it doesn't go quite according plan.

Bernard "Mac" Mackenzie is something of an anomaly in the romance-writing world-a man who writes romance and believes in it. And until he met Sheridan, Mac's never felt anything close to the love he writes about. He needs more of her. In his arms, and in his bed.

Their attraction is explosive; even as Sheridan's cynical side battles her growing feelings for Mac. But can she handle writing a biting exposé with an exposed heart on the line?


My thoughts:

I feel like this book was more of a novella to a series and I'm missing out on three more books. It was so quick!

I couldn't stand this read from the very beginning. I was hoping for a lot more than a clichéd, Vegas romance with a touch of love at first sight thrown in. Most of the time, I'm all for a cheesy romance with a hunky guy and beautiful-but-doesn't-know-it girl who are thrown together and fall in love, but you know they're going to end up together. That's the thing - you know it's going to happen so that's not why you read the book. It's about how it happens - all the drama, maybe humour and tragedy in between. It's the journey, the character development and the emotions involved. It doesn't matter how clichéd it is, you can still make an incredible story that just happens to have a cliché thrown in.

To be honest, I normally talk about the characters in reviews, just because I really feel they make or break a book. But I can't even tell if I liked this set of characters or not. They were drowned out by the plot which was extremely frustrating. How could I like characters who throw themselves into situations like that? There was no depth to them because all the focus was on this romance that was in no way believable or relatable. 

Harsh, I know. Part of me thinks reading so many books has made me really sensitive to reads like this. Plenty of people would enjoy this book for the author's ability to get straight to the point - it's a quick afternoon, feel good read. It just wasn't for me.

My rating: 1/10

Sara Hantz:

Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


What Happens in Vegas:

  1. Tempting Her Best Friend by Gina L. Maxwell
  2. The Makeover Mistake by Kathy Lyons
  3. A Change of Plans by Robyn Thomas
  4. Masquerading with the CEO by Dawn Chartier
  5. Just One Reason by Brooklyn Skye
  6. Tamed By The Outlaw by Michelle Sharp
  7. Tempted by Mr. Write by Sara Hantz
  8. Gambling on the Bodyguard by Sarah Ballance


Sunday, 27 September 2015

Review: Lost in Geeklandia by E.J. Russell


Title: Lost in Geeklandia

Author: E.J Russel

Series: N/A

Publisher: Entangled: Select Contemporary

Publication date: September 28th 2015

Format: Netgalley | Kindle 

Genre: Adult | Contemporary | Romance


She has 30 days to turn her enemy into her boyfriend...

Introverted computer engineer Charlie Forrester has coded an algorithm for love, a nearly flawless matchmaking program. But then she's challenged to prove its accuracy - on herself. With her dream job on the line, Charlie has thirty days to forge a romantic relationship with her "perfect" match...her ex-friend and now-nemesis, Daniel Shawn. Since her dating experience is expressed in binary, she'll need more than flirting lessons and a wardrobe overhaul to pull it off.

After falling victim to the same online matchmaking con he was investigating, reporter Daniel Shawn's professional reputation went up in flames. Now he suspects someone has rebooted the scam, and he's determined to expose the fraud and rebuild his career. Unfortunately, his efforts to get back in the game get sidetracked by Charlie and her adorable geekitude, even though she seems to know a little too much about digital dating for Daniel's comfort.

And when fake romance crosses into real chemistry, Charlie's formula for love might just be the perfect formula for disaster...



My thoughts:

I was a little disappointed with this read. I liked it well enough, but I wanted a lot more considering the potential the plot has. 

I liked how driven Charlie was in terms of knowing what she wants and how to get it. She had her career all figured out and all she needed was a little push to get the rest of the way. She had no need for any outside help and when she eventually came across a huge obstacle in her way, she had no problem getting stuck in to get it out of her way so she could move on. I liked that - it wasn't necessarily a good character trait at times, but it gave her this strength that came apparent throughout the read. She knew when to apologise and when to backtrack and do the right thing which might not result in an outcome that's in her favour. She made a decision and stuck with it - there was no point in the read where Charlie was indecisive and it fit with the computer data aspect of the read. 

However, where Charlie came across as the strong, independent woman, Daniel came across as totally the opposite. At first, by Charlie, he was portrayed as this ruthless reporter that follows the facts - I saw none of that. I understand that Charlie was exaggerating her opinion of him based off of her past, but I wanted some of that drive in Daniel too. He was too much of a good guy.

That brings me to what I really didn't like about this book. I wanted so much more of a fight than there actually was. Daniel didn't fight for Charlie, Charlie didn't fight for Daniel and none of the supporting characters had anything to do with the eventual romance. There was no 'push' from them. 

For such a determined character, Charlie sure backed down awfully quickly and settled with the idea that Daniel would never speak to her again - where did all of that fire go? And Daniel was the same. He wasn't especially feisty to begin with, but he changed his mind in a single moment and it bugged me.

All in all I thought this read was okay. It had the outcome I expected and I enjoyed the humour involved, but in the end, it all happened too easily for me to believe in it.

My rating: 5/10

E.J. Russell:

Goodreads | Website | Twitter

Monday, 21 September 2015

Review: People's Republic by Robert Muchamore


Title: People's Republic

Author: Robert Muchamore

Series: Aramov #1

Publisher: Hodder

Publication date: 05 Apr 2012

Format: Paperback | 432 pages

Genre: YA 


CHERUB's newest recruit is on his first job: befriending a spoilt rich kid whose grandma runs a billion - dollar criminal empire. But twelve-year-old Ryan's got no idea that this routine mission will turn into one of the biggest in CHERUB history…

My thoughts:

I'm a huge fan of the CHERUB series and I've started reading the spin off series, Henderson's boys, too. I started reading these books when I was in high school and I've been following them ever since, albeit slowly. While I finished CHERUB a while back, I've yet to catch up on the other two series, including this one.

This book definitely wasn't disappointing. It had all of the traits I've grown to love from Muchamore, especially his sense of humour. While you can expect lots of action and suspense from his reads, the humour is what separates them from other books featuring a plot based on espionage. 

I will mention, as is the case with a lot of series, that CHERUB holds a special place in my heart. I followed those characters for a long time, so to be reading about the same place and some of the same supporting characters, I missed James terribly. I couldn't help but compare Ryan to James and how he first behaved on the same campus with the same teachers. 


This book seemed to be a lot more plot driven than the CHERUB books. The other series focused a lot on James and his character development and for a 12 year old, Ryan seemed a lot more mature than James did in the beginning. It wasn't necessarily a bad thing, it just gave the book a different feel to the other series and made it stand out quite a bit. It wasn't more of the same stuff.


I'm definitely interested to see what happens with this whole Aramov clan - it was interesting to find out that one mission will carry on across a few books.


My rating: 8/10


Robert Muchamore:

Goodreads | Website | Facebook | YouTube | Twitter



  1. People's Republic
  2. Guardian Angel
  3. Black Friday
  4. Lone Wolf

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Review: White Cat by Holly Black


Title: White Car

Author: Holly Black

Series: Curse Workers #1

Publisher: Gollancz

Publication date: 01 Apr 2011

Format: Paperback | 336 pages

Genre: YA | Paranormal


No-one at home is ever going to forget that Cassel is a killer. No-one at home is ever going to forget that he isn't a magic worker. And now he is being haunted by a white cat…

Cassel's family are magic workers. Ever since magic was prohibited in 1929 magic workers have been driven underground and into crime. His grand-dad is a black-fingered death-dealer, his mother is in prison and his brothers detest him as the only one of their family who can't do magic. But there is a secret at the centre of Cassel's family and he's about to inherit it. It's terrifying and that's the truth.

My thoughts:

Cassel is the sole member of a family of magic workers without any magic. People with the ability to give good luck, dreams and change emotions as they see fit with just a slight of hand. Of course, not all workers use their magic to do good, in fact, most are criminals, some with the power to kill with a single touch or transform a person into an inanimate object. Cassel finds himself struggling to fit in with his family when he has always been an outsider and treated as such. 


I had no idea what to expect from this book. I'd heard good things, so I bought it. Aside from that, I knew nothing - no reviews were read, I didn't ask anybody about it, I just bought it. Turns out I really loved it.


More than anything, I loved Cassel's point of view. I thought he was a brilliant character, full of depth, witty, charming one minute and devious the next - he was a really well rounded character that I kept learning about throughout the read. He had enough personality to keep me interested to the end of the book. 


I've never picked up on this in any other books, but I noticed the dialogue in this novel was incredible. I mean it in the simplest sense. I found myself really enjoying whenever Cassel was having a normal, day to day conversation with someone from his family or school. Nothing involving magic or assassination plots, just everyday stuff. It's a testament to how much I like Cassel's character but I loved how Holly could make dialogue seem so natural, enough so that I could imagine myself speaking in that way to my own family. Until I started talking about death workers and losing my memory of course…


This was the first book by Holly Black that I've read but it's certainly not going to be the last. I've already started on the sequel to this book - Red Glove. If anything the plot and world building made me ever the more eager to get on with the next one, just to get a bit more of the suspense and the awesome way Cassel can pretend to be someone he's not to cultivate a con. This book was exciting. I got nervous when Cassel and his friends tried to pull off something a little complicated. I worried that plans would fall through. I was surprised when Cassel showed a hint of genius when he suddenly announced he had a failsafe ready anyway. It made my heart race in the way only a good writer can - by immersing me in the story completely.


All in all I really enjoyed this one and fully recommend it to anybody who reads YA. And even those who don't!


My rating: 10/10



Holly Black:

Goodreads | Website | Livejournal | Twitter


Curse Workers:

  1. White Cat
  2. Red Glove
  3. Black Heart