Book Review: Kiss of Fire by Rebecca Ethington

Kiss of Fire (Imdalind #1)

Title: Kiss of Fire (Imdalind series #1)
Author: Rebecca Ethington
Genre: Paranormal romance, magic, young adult
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: October 2012
Pages: 352
Rating: 2 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Joclyn Despain has been marred by a brand on her skin. She doesn’t know why the mark appeared on her neck, but she doesn’t want anyone to see it, including her best friend Ryland, who knows everything else about her. The scar is the reason she hides herself behind baggy clothes, and won’t let the idea of kissing Ryland enter her mind, no matter how much she wants to.
The scar is the reason she is being hunted.

If only she knew that she was.

If only she had known that the cursed stone her estranged father sent for her 16th birthday would trigger a change in her. Now, she is being stalked by a tall blonde man, and is miraculously throwing her high school bully ten feet in the air.

Joclyn attempts to find some answers and the courage to follow her heart. When Ryland finds her scar; only he knows what it means, and who will kill her because of it.

My Review:

After being bitten by a mysterious bug when she was five years old, Joclyn spent six months in a coma. Upon waking up she has a very strange scar on her neck and her eyes have changed colour. Her father can’t cope with the bizarre mark on her neck and leaves. To try to make ends meet, Joclyn’s mother takes a job as a cook for the wealthy Edmund. It’s there that Jos meets his son, Ryland. From that moment on the two are inseparable. Eleven years later the two are still best friends despite Ryland’s father threatening them to stay apart. On Jos’ sixteenth birthday she gets a letter from her father claiming that he knows the secret behind her scar – and it involves magic.

This summary has one of my pet peeves – it alludes to things that don’t happen until half way though the book! You can’t do that! But I can understand why they did it. Kiss of Fire is fairly slow to start. We get to see a lot about Jos – who she is and how she got that way, as well as her relationship with Ryland. The magic element isn’t fully developed until the second half of the book and I think that was a little too long. I found my attention drifting at parts. The character of Jos did frustrate me at times. She’s got no insight and it felt like she always needed someone to hold her hand. Her relationship with Ryland was sweet and I do love to read about fated mates however it felt odd – one day best friends and the next Ry is trying to kiss her with no in between? But this is a story with magic so maybe I should blame it on witchcraft.

The characters of Wyn and her ‘brother’ are interesting and I love Wyn’s effervescent personality but I felt like the brother was a heart beat away from being a love interest for Jos and I feel having a love triangle would detract from the strong bond that Wyn and Ry share.

I feel a little like a nitpicker but there was one thing about this story that really niggled at me. BFFs for eleven years – doing all sorts of crazy things that kids get up to and not once did Ryland see the scar on Jos’ neck. And yet, one afternoon of hairography with Wyn and she can see the mark that Wyn’s been so protective about showing off? I just find it a little hard to believe that he never once saw it especially how attentive he is to her every move.

The magic and creatures involved in this book are cool – I love that the author has gone and writing a paranormal novel without the usual monsters. From the birth stones, to the powers they have, these are cool creatures.

Kiss of Fire has a lot of twists and turns with a fairly exciting climax and a great lead in to the second novel however my disconnection with the characters and dislike of Jos will keep me from continuing this series.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon

Book Review: Easy by Tammara Webber

Easy

Title: Easy
Author: Tammara Webber
Genre: New Adult, Contempoary Romance, 
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: May 2012
Pages: 330
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Rescued by a stranger.
Haunted by a secret
Sometimes, love isn’t easy…

He watched her, but never knew her. Until thanks to a chance encounter, he became her savior…

The attraction between them was undeniable. Yet the past he’d worked so hard to overcome, and the future she’d put so much faith in, threatened to tear them apart.

Only together could they fight the pain and guilt, face the truth—and find the unexpected power of love.

A groundbreaking novel in the New Adult genre, Easy faces one girl’s struggle to regain the trust she’s lost, find the inner strength to fight back against an attacker, and accept the peace she finds in the arms of a secretive boy

My Review:

This is one of those books that I’ve heard a lot fantastic things about. So many that it made me incredibly nervous to read it. I’ve heard that it’s THE book in the New Adult genre and that Lucas is the ultimate book boyfriend. So what did I do? I bought it then put it on the shelf never to think of again. Until a few months ago when I got given an audiobook copy from a friend.

For the past month, I’ve been listening to Jacqueline and Lucas’ story one hour at a time whilst running around my neighbourhood. And I can see what all the fuss is about. Tammara Webber wrote a story with characters who have a lot of depth to them. They’re flawed and interesting and for the most part entirely believable. I wasn’t sure I was going to like Jacqueline at the start. She’s a little mopey and heartbroken but there’s so much more to her than her first impression. She’s brave and intelligent and very hard-working. She’s not one of those people who jump to conclusions and blame you for what’s going on inside their own heads but she does give people the benefit of doubt. Her relations with her friends are real and relatable and the e-banter between her and Landon is rather entertaining. Lucas is the perfect kind of bad boy and I loved the way he treated Jacqueline however I didn’t love him as much as I expected to.

This is a book with some fairly heavy themes – abuse, victims, rape and reputation – but I thought they were dealt with beautifully. I liked that it didn’t go the stereotypical route – Jacqueline is no helpless heroine but she’s an everyday woman. Abuse is something that can happen to anyone – and I admired her for how she dealt with the aftermath. She’s stronger than I first thought and manages to fight back – not just in a physical way but equips herself with the skills necessary to not be put in the same position again. Girl power! 😀

Easy is a book I’m so glad that I actually decided to read! It’s got realistic characters, a lot of romance and great storyline about female empowerment. I’m definitely going to read more books by Tammara Webber.

Audiobook note:

I’m not usually an audiobook person but I really enjoyed listening to this one. When reading exciting parts in a novel I tend to read very quickly just to see what’s going to happen next but having to follow where the narrator was taking me was good in this instance. I got to stay within this world for a while and the speed definitely drew out the anticipation. The version I listened to was narrated by Tara Sands who read at a great pace and did a fantastic job at distinguishing between characters are well as dialogue, to text messages, to email without there being any confusion.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon |  Booktopia Book Depository | BookWorld

Book Review: Zac and Mia by A.J. Betts

Zac and Mia

Title: Zac & Mia
Author: A.J. Betts
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Contemporary, Cancer, Romance
Publisher: Text Publishing
Publication Date: July 2013
Pages: 272
Rating: 4.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
The last person Zac expects in the room next door is a girl like Mia, angry and feisty with questionable taste in music. In the real world, he wouldn’t—couldn’t—be friends with her. In hospital different rules apply, and what begins as a knock on the wall leads to a note—then a friendship neither of them sees coming.

You need courage to be in hospital; different courage to be back in the real world. In one of these worlds Zac needs Mia. And in the other Mia needs Zac. Or maybe they both need each other, always.

My Review:

Zac and Mia is a book told by the perspectives of two very different teenagers. Zac is a seventeen year old active farm boy suffering myeloid leukaemia and now stuck in confinement after a bone marrow transplant. With only his supportive (yet at times a little overbearing) mother, nurses and the Internet for company, Zac is intrigued by the new admission to the hospital room next to his. Mia isn’t quite as okay with her diagnosis as Zac. She’s angry and in denial. Her prognosis is the best of anyone in the ward but all she can see how the cancer in her leg is taking her former life away from her.

I liked how Betts broke up this book – the first part is entirely told from Zac’s point of view, the last solely Mia, and the middle section alternating perspectives per chapter. The way it was told kept me rather anxiously reading on to make sure the characters were okay. Zac is someone I instantly enjoyed reading about. He’s smart and funny – his bone marrow’s alter ego, Helga! – but also incredibly logical. His fixation with maths and statistics showed that he knew his odds but was trying to be the one who beat them. Mia was harder to like – she’s pricky and snarky but from reading her side of things you can see that it’s just a cover for how scared she is. The relationship between them was a joy to read. They are unlikely friends but their shared experiences give them a bond that few can possibly understand. I love the interactions between them – from Mia obnoxiously blasting Lady Gaga to Zac’s knowledge of the ridiculous ways people have died. This book despite the serious nature of cancer did leave me grinning at times.

Their personal situations as well as their medical conditions contrasted nicely – Zac with the super supportive friends and family who all knew the ins and outs of what he was facing opposed to Mia who didn’t even let her friends know. Zac considered Mia to be the luckiest person on the ward but she was the one acting as if she was the only person facing a death sentence. Zac has the family who are all there for each other and there maybe teasing on the farm but when it comes down to it they would do anything for one another. Mia isn’t quite so lucky as her mother was a teenager when she had her and neither one seems to know how they should treat the other. These differences contrasted nicely and really showed off how differently people behave when facing a similar beast.

I’ve seen people compare Zac and Mia to John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars – with both books dealing with teens and cancer but for me they both told very different stories. Zac and Mia showed off the darker side – with everything from hair loss to bowel movements being discussed. I liked that Betts showed the ugly side of things as it made it all a little more realistic for me. It felt well researched from both a medical standpoint as well as the personal side of cancer.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It’s thoughtful and heartbreaking yet sincere and at times amusing. I highly recommend it.

 

Thanks to Text Publishing for the review copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon | Booktopia | Book Depository | BookWorld

Book Review: Play With Me by Piper Shelly

PlayWithMeTourBanner

Title: Play With Me (Grover Beach Team #1) PlayWithMe
Author: Piper Shelly 
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Sports Romance, Young Adult, Fun 
Publisher: Self-published
Publication Date: December 2012
Pages: 190
Rating: 3  stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Ryan Hunter’s parties are legend. And tonight she’s going to be there.

Liza Matthews anticipates the return of her best friend and only love since kindergarten from soccer camp. But when Tony finally shows up, his mind is more focused on another girl. And worse, she’s a soccer player. Fighting for the attention Liza craves, she’s just a hairbreadth away from making a very stupid decision. But when extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, she’s prepared to play ball to get her man.

The tryouts are hell, the first match ends bloody, and the morning after the selection party she wakes up in the worst place possible—in the arms of the captain of the soccer team. The hottest guy in school. Ryan Hunter

My Review:

Sweet Sixteen and never been kissed – but Liza knows who she wants her first to be. Tony Mitchell – the boy she’s been best friends with since forever. But when he comes back from soccer camp there’s something different about him… and not just his sudden liking for Red Bull. Determined to get his attention, Liza tries out for the soccer team and finds herself way out of her depth. Lucky for her, the gorgeous team captain, Ryan Hunter,  is willing to take Liza under his wing. Are his intentions honourable or does he want something more than just to teach Liza about the game he loves?

Play With Me is short and sweet. It’s a novella and just under 200 pages, this story was a fun one to read although fairly predictable. The characters are a little simplistic but enjoyable to follow. Liza is the slightly naive girl who has a long time crush on her BFF, Tony – who seems to have no idea about Liza’s true feelings. Ryan is a bit of a spoilt rich kid who has money, good looks and girls following him around at all times – except for the one he wants. These people may be slightly stereotypical but I liked reading about them. They’re cute and I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen next.

I have to admit  wasn’t the hugest fan of Liza – she’s clueless and slightly irritating in her complete obliviousness to Ryan’s advances however that has just made me even more eager to read the companion novel, Ryan Hunterwhich is the story of Play With Me from Ryan’s perspective. I didn’t quite believe Liza’s complete turn around from painfully naive to make out queen but that’s just a minor quibble.

This story was fun and sweet. I enjoyed reading it and recommend it for fans of Miranda Kenneally’s Hundread Oak’s series.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

(check it out now! It’s free as an ebook from Amazon and B&N for the month of October 2013)

AUTHOR BIO

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The quick-and-dirty:
I’m a cool girl with a passion for writing.
The genres you’ll find me hanging out at are contemporary and paranormal YA, but I’m also snooping into some adult paranormal right now. All of them romances…of course.
The nitty-gritty:
I’m an Austrian lass—totally uncomplicated and up to anything fun.
I grew up in Vienna, not by free will but because my parents decided to move there when I was only 4 years old. I. Hated. The. City. Everything about it. So right after graduation I moved back to Upper Austria, where I settled down with a nice husband and an awesome laptop.
I’ve been a storyteller all my life. Already in kindergarten, I came up with the most exotic fantasies and tales. My teacher would call me a liar. I call it the cornerstone of my writing career.
People always told me you can’t make a living with being an author. So when my first novella PLAY WITH ME came out and shot straight to the stars within the first week, I was totally dumbstruck. Took me a while to realize what was happening, LOL.
And the personal stuff:
At the (awesome) age of seventeen, I met the love of my life. But he was a playboy, and I was so not going to be his next trophy. It took him another four years of fighting for me until I finally decided to give that “couple-thing” with him a shot. I’m now married to this man. 😉

We have an eleven-year-old son, and together we travel a lot…although I sometimes wish the trips were shorter because I can’t wait to get back to my laptop and my many stories. Unless we’re in Disneyland. No stress to go home then…

If you still want to know more about me, my FAQ page is the right address for you. 😉

http://pipershelly.com/faq/

Author Links:

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Best/Worst Series Enders!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one of their bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join.

The topic for this week is: Top Ten Best/Worst Series Enders

There are so many series that I’ve adored how they ended but some fell short of my expectations. Here are some that I’ve enjoyed and didn’t love so much.

The Best!

Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy, #6) The Reckoning (Darkest Powers, #3) Twilight (The Mediator, #6) The Last Battle (Chronicles of Narnia, #7) United We Spy (Gallagher Girls, #6)

The Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy #6) by Richelle Mead – I gave this book five stars so it should be no surprise that it’s on this week’s list as one of the series with what I consider to be the best enders. I like how things end up for Rose, Lissa and all the other VA people but things aren’t too perfect if that makes sense. Just because their story is over, there are still things open. And I think that’s one of the reasons why the spinoff series, Bloodlines works so well. Because we can still see these characters again and things don’t seem awkward with them having a life after VA.

 The Reckoning (Darkest Powers #3) by Kelley Armstrong – I loved that these characters had grown since the first book of the trilogy and they delivered a climax to the series that felt appropriate. It was action packed but still felt true to the characters. And plus it’s Kelley Armstrong. She’s brilliant. I’ve loved every book of her’s that I’ve read.

Twilight (Mediator #6) by Meg Cabot – For the longest time this was my favourite YA series. Suze is strong and the kind of girl I wish I was growing up. She’s brave and intelligent but prone to get herself into trouble rather often. The last book in this series ended perfectly for me. It’s how I wanted things to happen but never imagined that they could.

The Last Battle (Narnia #7) by C.S. Lewis – Narnia is one of those series I grew up reading. And when I got to the end… It was fairly emotional for me. I haven’t read this book in years but I remember thinking it as a great way to end the series.

United We Spy (Gallagher Girls #6) by Ally Carter – I read this book last week… and whist this book is darker than those at the start of the series, it fit where the characters are now perfectly. They’ve grown up and are facing things that are more mature. This is a great ending to this series!

The Worst!

Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3) Breaking Dawn (Twilight, #4)  From Dead to Worse (Sookie Stackhouse, #8)

Mockingjay (Hunger Games #3) by Suzanne Collins – I wouldn’t be surprised if this book ends up on a lot of people’s lists this week – both as the best and worst. I liked the direction Collins was taking it however it had one MAJOR issues. Pacing. Things would take forever and then all of a sudden people would be dead? And stuff would have just happened and I’d have to flip back a few pages to see if I’d missed anything. It had promise… it just wasn’t quite right.

Breaking Dawn (Twilight #4) by Stephenie Meyer – What disappointed me most about this book was the action. It’s one where I think the movie did a great job of fixing what I had issues with. There’s such build up of this EPIC fight that’s going to happen…. but then it all fizzles out. I felt let down that after all the talk and all the preparation there was nothing. That said – the very ending I thought was perfect for Edward and Bella.

From Dead To Worse (The Southern Vampire Mysteries #8) by Charlaine Harris – Also known as the Sookie Stackhouse series or those books that True Blood is based on, I adored this series. But after the first seven or so books everything seemed to fall apart for me. The things that I loved at the start of the series were no longer in the books and I found myself growing frustrated by the main character, Sookie. It’s still a series that I enjoy the first half of but books 8-13 aren’t ones I liked very much at all.

The Best and Worst at the Same Time!

Sometimes there are books that I love and hate at the same time.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7) Rapture (Fallen, #4)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter #7) by JK Rowling – Loved and HATED how this book ended. And I think the reason why I hated it was because it was OVER! All those years I’d invested in this series and to have it over… a bit of a shock. But I loved how the characters found themselves in the end. And whilst I wasn’t a huge fan of the epilogue – it was right for them.

Rapture (Fallen #4) by Lauren Kate – This book annoyed me. It was a bit too fluffy but in the end – I think it was PERFECT for the characters. This is how they are meant to be. And how they’re supposed to live. Frustrating at times for me as a reader but I can see how great it was for the characters.

 

That’s my top ten. Let me know what yours are! Do we have any the same, any completely different? I’d love to see what you guys think of this week’s TTT.

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Book Review: Banish by Nicola Marsh

Banish

Title: Banish
Author: Nicola Marsh
Genre: Paranormal, Magic, Young Adult, Contemporary 
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: August 2013
Pages: 272
Rating: 2 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Alyssa has one week to destroy her enemy, save her spirit… and save her soul.

After her ex-boyfriend commits suicide and her mum’s alcoholism sparks yet another psychotic episode, seventeen-year-old Alyssa Wood flees her small hometown of Broadwater and heads to New York City to stay with her bohemian aunt — a Wicca High Priestess.

Alyssa revels in the anonymity of a big city and her new life. Her grades climb, she has a new best friend, and a new guy: the sexy geek Ronan — a saxophone player who prefers jazz to pop.

But her newfound peace is soon shattered when she sees a dead body in one of Ronan’s music clips — and she’s the only one who can see it. Worse still, Alyssa recognises the body that has been murdered a week forward!

Alyssa doesn’t believe in the supernatural…despite her family’s Wicca background. So how will she overcome evil when it’s closer than she thinks?

My Review:

There’s a lot to like about Nicola Marsh’s YA debut – a strong heroine, a mystery which I couldn’t wait to see how it was solved, some romance and a great kind of magic. Alyssa has been through a lot.  Her boyfriend killed himself the day after they broke up and her mother is an alcoholic who hears voices – NYC with her high priestess aunt has to be better than the memories in Broadwater. But it seems that Alyssa can’t outrun her past. Her new life meets her old when she sees a video set one week in the future of a dead girl. Her new boyfriend Ronan thinks that maybe Lyssa’s aunt is responsible but the strange keeps popping up – a weird séance, jewellery which should be buried and other mysterious goings on. Alyssa needs to banish the bad that’s following her and try to save the girl before this bad magic following her takes her too.

I was excited to read this book because I love reading YA by Australian authors. The fact that Banish is set in the US was a little disappointing to me. Whist I thought Marsh did a great job of writing this city into the book I would have loved it just a little more had it been set in Australia.

I found Alyssa hard to connect with and as a result I found myself uninterested and not invested in just how things would end up for her. She’s blunt – and understandably so considering her history. But I didn’t like how rude she was to those trying to help her and her attitude towards people. She has expectations from people but doesn’t communicate to others what she wants or needs and because of this they don’t behave as she would like and she gets annoyed with them. Her constant disapproval of her aunt’s interest in the supernatural, her mother’s alcoholism and her boyfriend taking his own life was reiterated a little too often for my liking. It seemed like by the end of the novel there was only one thing I knew about each of those characters because it was the only thing Alyssa told us about them. I wasn’t a huge fan of the relationship between Alyssa and Ronan and I felt low to no chemistry between them but I liked that despite their relationship being new – it wasn’t perfect and that added a layer of realism to it.

The plot is slightly predictable but I was genuinely surprised by the motivation behind WHY the villain was tormenting Alyssa and I thought that the ending was a satisfying one. The highlight of this book to me was the type of magic used – it brought me back to my days watching Charmed. I’ll be keeping an eye out for any other YA titles Marsh writes however if Banish turns into a series it’s not one I think I’ll continue reading.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon | Booktopia| Book Depository | BookWorld

Book Review: Hopeless For You by Hayden Hill

Hopeless For You

Title: Hopeless For You
Author: Hayden Hill
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult, 
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: September 2013
Pages: 215
Rating: 2.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Ash Jensen, a squeaky-clean sophomore at the University of Tennessee, has a trail of baggage a mile long―she buried her fiancé only a year and a half ago. She swore she’d never love again but when she finds herself interned to a yummy Canadian conservation officer that promise is tested big-time. Kade Gyllenhahl sports wild tattoos, a rebellious attitude and a fohawk to die for. He’s definitely the wrong man for her and she knows it.

Kade doesn’t have time for a girl like her. She’s a pretentious, unreadable princess who lives her life by her parents’ rules. Kade knows nothing about her past and he’d prefer to keep it that way. Besides, he’ll lose his job if he sleeps with Ash. Now if only he could get his mind off her.

When the two of them end up alone and isolated on a routine field trip in the woods, things get a little complicated…

One man afraid of commitment.
One woman afraid to love again.
Two lives.
Two hearts.
One life-changing journey.

My Review:

She’s the privileged doctor-to-be and he’s a tattooed nightclub doorman. Seems like they’d have nothing in common. But Ash and Kade are more similar than they’d first thought. Spending the summer in British Colombia looking after beautiful birds of prey, they find another side to the other and maybe something like love.

This is one of those books that when you pick it up you know exactly what you’re going to get – no surprises just a lot of romance and some fun characters. And there are times when that’s exactly what I want to read! Ash is damaged after her previous romantic relationship fell apart and left her broken-hearted. Her relationship with her parents is slightly shaky and it seems like her best friend Gina is the only one who really gets her. Until arriving in Canada and meeting Kade. Kade is similarly broken. His ex-girlfriend destroyed his sense of self and his family don’t know how to treat him since. Despite both of them not trusting their hearts – there’s instant attraction. The centre they’re working at has a no fraternization policy but with the sparks flying between these two – it’s only a matter of time.

The plot develops at a nice pace – despite the smattering of instalove between Ash and Kade. He sees her photo and just knows. There’s some great supporting characters that I wouldn’t mind getting to know a little better perhaps in a spin off novel. Kade is slightly crude at times which just helps his bad-boy persona and Ash does a fair job of not crying too much. The romance is lovely but a tad unrealistic – both the fast paced nature of things and the sheer impossibility of just how much you can do when you’re wet, cold, starving and broken in the wilderness.

It’s a sweet story and a nice way to pass away a few hours.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon

Book Review: Taming Cross by Ella James

Taming Cross (Love Inc., #2)

Title: Taming Cross (Love Inc. #2)
Author: Ella James
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Suspense, 
Publisher: Barkley’s Books
Publication Date: August 2013
Pages: 236
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
For twenty-three years, Cross Carlson was a playboy. You know the type. Tall, dark, and wealthy. Blue-eyed. Charming. He seemed to have it all so easy. But Cross was harboring a terrible secret – one that helped ruin the life of an innocent girl and almost ended his own.

Finally out of the hospital, Cross is flailing, scarred in both body and mind and stifled by the weight of the secret he still keeps. The only way to absolution lies in a Mexican convent, and going there could cost him everything.

If there’s anyone who knows what it’s like to screw up big time, it’s Meredith Kinsey. Just a few years ago, Merri was an ordinary girl with a job at her college newspaper and white picket fence kind of dreams. Now she’s holed up in a Mexican convent, hiding from a drug lord who thinks he owns her.

What happens when the only way out of hell is with the son of the man who put you there? They say love conquers all, but does it really?

My Review:

This is one of those books that is fast, sexy and at times serious. Cross is a man with a guilty conscious. He knows that an innocent woman is wasting away after being sold to a Mexican cartel as a sex slave. Still recovering from a near fatal motorbike accident, Cross decides to pack up his bike and rescue Missy King from the horrible fate he feels somewhat responsible for.

Meredith Kinsey – aka. Missy King – has found salvation in a convent. But when Cross comes riding up, she needs to leave with the mysterious stranger or face certain death. Merri starts to feel things for Cross but knows that she can’t let her inner hussy free just yet. First they both need to get back to the States without dying. And what’s Merri going to think when she founds out her rescuer is the son of the man she blames for getting her sent to Mexico in the first place?

I haven’t read the first book in the Love Inc. series. But despite not having read Selling Scarlet, Taming Cross does a fair job as a stand alone novel. I feel like all the vital information covered in the first book was rehashed and I get the general idea of what’s going on in the Love Inc. universe.

Cross is one of those deliciously damaged heroes- he’s still suffering from the bike accident and he’s somewhat lost with regards to his place in the world but he’s determined to save Merri. I love his gruff attitude and the way he treats Merri. Merri is a great heroine and I think she’s a great example of how one bad choice in life can snowball into the direst circumstances. She’s strong and resilient which I admired. Despite all she’s been though she can still keep a cool head in the depths catastrophe. Her reactions regarding Cross made me laugh- although that probably wasn’t always most appropriate reaction.

This is a book with some fairly serious subject matter – sex trade, drug cartels and political immorality. But I thought that Ms. James managed to tie it all together in a way that I couldn’t help but want to read more and find out what happened to her characters! The romance is rough and yet sweet – I enjoyed Cross and Merri as a couple.

Taming Cross is a New Adult novel and yet had the characters been ten years older, they would have been completely believable and I wouldn’t have been surprised. Sometimes I wonder if I completely understand NA as a genre…

I enjoyed this book a lot and have since bought myself a copy of Saving Scarlet (Love Inc. #1). Ella James is a great author – I read Here last week and I loved how different her two series are. She’s one of those authors that I can’t wait to read all she’s written.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon

Oohh…. Taming Cross (Love Inc. #1) is currently free for kindle on Amazon.

Book Review + Giveaway: The Rig by Joe Ducie

The Rig Blog Tour banner

Title: The RigThe Rig
Author: Joe Ducie
Genre: Thriller, Young Adult, Action, Mystery
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Publication Date: September 2013
Pages: 368
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Fifteen-year-old Will Drake has made a career of breaking out from high-security prisons. His talents have landed him at the Rig, a specialist juvenile holding facility in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. No one can escape from the Rig. No one except for Drake…

After making some escape plans and meeting the first real friends of his life, Drake quickly realises that all is not as it seems on the Rig. The Warden is obsessed with the mysterious Crystal-X – a blue, glowing substance that appears to give superpowers to the teens exposed to it. Drake, Tristan and Irene are banking on a bid for freedom – but can they survive long enough to make it? Drake is an action hero to rival Jason Bourne and the CHERUB team in this debut author’s fantastically imagined sci-fi nightmare.

My Review:

Will Drake has already escaped from three maximum security juvenile detention facilities. But he’s seen nothing like the Rig. Located in the middle of the Arctic Ocean at a former oil rig, it’s not just the conditions that are brutal. With a tracker accounting for each inmates every move and guards who are crueller than the weather – it seems like there’s no escape for Will. But he’s determined. With a techno-genius for a cell mate and a girl who helps Will discover some of the secrets the Rig holds, there’s nothing going to stop Will escaping… not even the mysterious Crystal-X.

From the first page of The Rig I felt like I was watching a movie. There’s so much cinematic potential for this book. From the helicopters landing on one of the five old oil platforms now turned prison for criminal youth to the brilliant sport Ducie came up with “Rig Ball” – I felt like I could see all the action playing out like a film.

Will is a great character to let us into the secrets of the Rig. He’s street smart and practical but he’s nobodies fool. We get to find out as we read that whilst he may be an inmate of one of the world’s toughest juvenile facilities, he’s not a bad guy. That said – he can hold his own even against super enhanced bullies. There’s more than meets the eye to Will – and we get to see that as hardened as prison has made him he still cares for his family and friends. Tristan – Will’s cell mate – is an oddly likeable guy. He’s a quiet guy who just wants to do his time and get out – the opposite in many ways to Will – but he’s willing to stand up for his friends no matter the consequences to himself. I liked him. His interaction with Irene, a female detainee on the other side of the Rig, was somewhat adorable to read as it unfolded and added a little to the comic relief for what is a mostly serious novel.

The action is this novel is brilliant. There’s a lot going on and Ducie has come up with some great concepts. The idea for his magnetized lacrosse game – known as Rig Ball – is as fun as it is absolutely brutal. The trackers which not only detect location but also keep track of how much the inmates owe the establishment for their stay is an interesting design that I thought was pretty cool. The plot around Crystal-X is something that I wish was developed a little further. There’s a lot about the blue crystal that I thought had a lot of potential however it felt a little out of place. This book is suspenseful and a great contemporary thriller up until about half way though when the Crystal-X is introduced and it brought me out of the story a little. The alien mineral gave the novel a paranormal element which just felt a little odd considering the rest of what was going on.

I enjoyed reading this book. Great characters with a setting so vivid I felt like I could be there on the Rig with Will and the others – this book was a brilliant read.

Thanks to Five Mile Press for the review copy

Purchase the Novel From: 
Amazon| Booktopia | Book Depository

GIVEAWAY!

Thanks to Five Mile Press, as a part of this blog tour I have 1 paperback copy of The Rig to giveaway. Open to Australian residents only.

To Enter:

Leave a comment at the bottom of this post and then click on the link below and fill in the form.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

Entries close 14th October, 2013.

Winner will be drawn via random.org and will have 48 hours to reply or another winner will be chosen.

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Turn-offs You Encounter Whilst Reading

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one of their bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join.

The topic for this week is: Top Ten Book Turn-offs You Encounter Whilst Reading

Here are a list of some of the things that turn me off a book whilst reading it:

  • Too many point-of-views. I read Spellcaster by Claudia Grey earlier this year and whilst I enjoyed the story there were a few too many POVs to keep track of. And some odd ones too – there was a one paragraph point of view from a crow. It just didn’t work for me.
  • Covers that don’t match the story. Like when the main character apparently has a tattoo on his arm and in the cover his arms are mark free? FRUSTRATING! Or the main character is described as a blonde and yet the cover portrays her as a brunette… its one of my true pet hates.
  • Love triangles. There are times when they’re done well but for the most part I’m a little over them.
  • Authors tagline. You know on the cover when there are quotes from other authors about the book? I nearly didn’t read City of Bones (Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare because my copy had a tag line by Stephenie Meyer…. Petty I know but I did eventually read it. IT just took longer because I was assuming it was Twilight-esque.
  • Lots of spelling/grammar errors that become too much to ignore.
  • Book covers which are redesigned to look like other books. I really don’t like what they have redone a lot of classic book covers to make them look like Twilight covers…

  • Characters who don’t act their age. The main problem I have is when authors are writing about young children. They’re usually portrayed as being super insightful and funny and smart. It usually just frustrates me.
  • Characters I can’t connect with and as a result I don’t care about them or their ending…
  • Books which end up being a little too preachy and religious.
  • Flawless characters. Now – I don’t want to quote Tyra Banks but flaws are beautiful. I would much rather read about someone I could relate to because they’re not perfect rather than characters who are just… too good to be true.

 

Oh my.. this week’s list is making me seem a bit negative. But for every turn-off there are dozens of things I LOVE when I’m reading.

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