Book Review: Rock It by Jennifer Chance

Rock It (Rule Breakers #1)

Title: Rock It (Rule Breakers #1)
Author: Jennifer Chance
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, New Adult, Musician
Publisher: Love Swept (Random House)
Publication Date: March 4th, 2014
Pages: 240
Rating: 2.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Lacey Dawes is a total pro at the talent agency where she works, and it doesn’t hurt that IMO Worldwide Media represents Dante Falcone. The rock god has starred in her fantasies since she was sixteen—and remains her secret crush to this day. So when Dante picks her to be the interim manager on his Dream It tour, Lacey can’t believe her luck. Handling Dante is sure to be the most exquisite, spine-tingling, nerve-wracking mix of business and pleasure ever.

Although Dante is grateful for the adoring fans who scream for one more of his full-throttle, soul-searing songs, being surrounded by a cadre of corporate types backstage is wearing thin. Then Lacey shows up. Yeah, she’s organized, smart, quick to get him what he wants before he knows he wants it—but Dante senses there’s something else going on with sweet, sexy Lacey. One kiss tells him what that “something” might be . . . and makes him hungry for more.

My Review:

Ever been obsessed with a rock star? Lacey Dawes has – and she has the scrapbooks to prove it. She’s been in love with musician Dante Falcone for as long as she can remember. When she was a teen she sent him a letter every day for a hundred days and she isn’t completely over her first crush. Now, in her twenties, Lacey’s talent agency has signed Dante Falcone as their number one client – and he wants her to go on tour with him. It’s a dream come true – or is it? Trying to keep her personal and professional lives separate, Lacey struggles as she gets to realize that the man behind the guitar is just as incredible as she always thought.

Rock It reads a little like well written fan fiction. What would you do if you got the chance to get up close and personal with your fantasy musician? Lacey gets to experience just that – however it felt a little odd at times. We get to see Lacey the junior talent agent – willing to do whatever it takes to keep clients and her employers happy. She will do the grunt work that no one else wants to and does all the little jobs her boss Brenda passes down. When she catches Dante’s eye and he requests her, Lacey is determined to be as professional as possible. And yet, it doesn’t take much for uber-competent and businesslike Lacey to be quite sensual and sexual. I found it a little odd and (disregarding the incident with the champagne) could not quite work out why she behaved as she did  – except if it was just her lingering feelings as a fangirl spurring her on. Dante is every bit the rock star. He’s been in the spotlight for a long time and wants to break out and do what he wants to do and not what his record label expects. His reputation with the ladies is legendary and it felt natural that he would embrace Lacey’s sexual side. His realization of his true feelings towards Lacey felt abrupt and uncharacteristic.

These characters have quite a bit of sexual chemistry with each other but as a reader I didn’t connect with either of them. Lacey spent a lot of time worrying that she was going to lose her job (despite the big boss nearly always saying how great she was doing) and daydreaming about how amazing Dante is. I’m not sure what set Lacey apart from the other groupies Dante had and the two didn’t appear to have much of an emotional connection.

This book was a steamy read and not for those who don’t enjoy down and dirty romances. The idea that dreams really can come true is very sweet however I would have liked to have seen more emotional maturity from Lacey and Dante. There are some humorous moments throughout the novel but ultimately this isn’t a story that will stick with me.

 

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About Jennifer Chance

JenniferChance

I come by romance honestly, having spent several years writing adult romance and entering romance contests through Romance Writers of America–including finaling twice in the prestigious Golden Heart contest and winning once. But despite these and other contest wins, my first published novel came not in adult romance, but as a writer of YA historical fiction (you can read all about my Elizabethan spy girls stories, the Maids of Honor, here.)

Still, despite my love of Elizabethan spies, I could never quite give up those super Alpha contemporary romance heroes. So, in the summer of 2013, I decided to see if perhaps I might still have a romance or two up my sleeve.

I wrote a tale about a girl whose biggest high-school and college crush–a rock star–suddenly becomes her biggest client, only now she has to be professional and not betray the fact that she’s completely in love with the guy. It was a fun, sexy, romantic fantasy, and I suggested the idea to my agent… who asked what other ideas I had in addition to this story. Shortly after, the Rule Breakers series was born.

To separate these books from my historical work, I adopted the name Jennifer Chance. I am now pursuing my dreams (pretty much round the clock as it turns out) and am THRILLED to be able to have four e-books coming out in 2014 and early 2015, all with Random House LoveSwept’s New Adult romance line.

As to what will happen from here, who knows? But as long as there is a story to be written and an HEA to be had, I’ll be the one over in the corner, tapping away on my keyboard.

Connect with Jennifer at her Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Book Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

If I Stay

Title: If I Stay (If I Stay #1)
Author: Gayle Forman
Genre: Realistic Fiction, contemporary, Young Adult
Publisher: Doubleday
Publication Date: April 2009
Pages: 272
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Just listen, Adam says with a voice that sounds like shrapnel. I open my eyes wide now. I sit up as much as I can. And I listen. Stay, he says.

Everybody has to make choices. Some might break you. For seventeen-year-old Mia, surrounded by a wonderful family, friends and a gorgeous boyfriend decisions might seem tough, but they’re all about a future full of music and love, a future that’s brimming with hope.

But life can change in an instant.

A cold February morning …a snowy road …and suddenly all of Mia’s choices are gone. Except one. As alone as she’ll ever be, Mia must make the most difficult choice of all.

Gripping, heart-rending and ultimately life-affirming, If I Stay will make you appreciate all that you have, all that you’ve lost – and all that might be.

My Review:

After a car accident leaves Mia in a coma, she starts to think about what life holds for her. Her parents are gone and some of the choices she has to make seem to be just too hard to even think about considering. But as the machines keep her body alive, her spirit walks the halls of the hospital seeing the people she loves and reminiscing about days gone past. With college looming and having decide between the love she has for music and the boy who holds her heart, Mia needs to decide. If she goes she can be with her family… but if she stays? Well that remains a mystery.

This is one of those devastating stories about loss and love. And I adored the way love was portrayed in this novel. Not necessarily the love between main character Mia and her boyfriend Adam but the love between families. Mia’s parents were shown though flashbacks to be supportive and generous in the way they felt about each other and their children. Their passion for music and life was infectious. Despite these characters not being present in the present tense, reading their interactions through Mia’s memories were one of my favourite parts of the book. Like wise the love shown between friends – like Kim and Willow.

I found it hard to engage with Mia – but considering she was disconnected from the world I’m not surprised that I was disconnected from her. Even though her flashbacks I found her to be a little standoffish and lacking the vibrant energy in which she describes her family and friends as having. That said, her narration does deliver a well-rounded and full picture into her life and her music. Her relationship with music and love was beautifully written and I thought it was a very interesting way to look at the world.

This is a beautifully written novel about love and life. It kind of snuck up on me. I didn’t think I was into this story but I started to tear up during one of the scenes (it was the one when Gramps came in to talk to Mia) and I had to reach for the tissues. I’ve heard such great things about Gayle Forman’s books and I’m so glad that I decided to read one. I will definitely be on the look out to read more from this fantastic YA author.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon || Book Depository


Book Review: Flirting in Italian by Lauren Henderson

Flirting in Italian (Flirting in Italian #1)

Title: Flirting in Italian (Flirting in Italian #1)
Author: Lauren Henderson
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Europe, Mystery
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 12 June 2012
Pages: 336
Rating: 2 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Four girls. One magical, and possibly dangerous Italian summer. Family mysteries, ancient castles, long hot nights of dancing under the stars . . . and, of course, plenty of gorgeous Italian boys!

My Review:

The cover is cute, the blurb – adorable. The novel? Something I didn’t expect. (Note: The blurb I’m referring to on the back of my copy is a quote from one of the girls about super hot boys – nothing about mysteries, danger and castles)

I wanted to read this book because when I was sixteen, I spent the summer in Italy – an Australian summer which turns out to be a very freezing European winter. But none the less – I read this book to reminisce and I feel a little cheated. I was expecting a fluffy but fun read about teen romance, boys and the Italian sun. What I got was a contradictory heroine, a bizarre mystery and boys that I found to be a little more creepy than charming.

The story starts with Violet (whose name we don’t find out until page 25 and that’s after a rather long deep and meaningful with mother… names just never came up. Weird, huh?) browsing a museum. When she comes across a painting where the subject is her doppelgänger – Violet is flawed. This is not just a case of slight similarity… the woman in the portrait could be Violet’s identical twin! That is – if Violet lived hundreds of years ago and came from Tuscany – where the painting is said to have been originally painted. Feeling like she never really belonged in her family – but apparently too polite to ask her mother if she was adopted, Violet manages to get her absent father to fund her trip to the Italian country side so she can go to a finishing school. Why you might ask? Because the castle where the painting of Violet’s spitting image apparently originated from is not open to the public – except, that is, for the students at the cultural course that Violet is enrolled in. And by culture course – I mean finishing school complete with flower arranging.

It’s in Italy that Violet meets Luca – a local boy with whom she feels an instant connection. And he’s got a vespa – what more could an English girl want? Oh that’s right. He also happens to be the son of the castle where her carbon copy’s painting is from. Convenient, right? Oh – we’re just getting started!

I wanted to love this book. I was so excited when I finally got my hands on a copy. And it’s possible that I would have enjoyed this story had my expectations not been so high but I don’t think this is the case with Flirting in Italian. Violet got on my nerves from the beginning. By page 12, she had already contradicted herself and she continued to do so right though the novel. She’s very intolerant of others and I thought she had quite a few double standards. I have to admit I was rather annoyed at her for how she treated her mother throughout the novel. I think that Henderson was trying to capture the teenage state of mind whenever she started in on embarrassing parents or fashion but in the end – it felt out-of-place.

And then there’s Luca. The oh-so-hot Italian local that Violet finds an instant attraction with. So much so that she finds herself in a passionate embrace with him within minutes of meeting him. Now – don’t get me wrong. I’m not a prude. My problem lies with Violet and her considering her behaviour to be perfectly okay because they’re like… soul mates – but for the other girls attending the Cultural Course with her – flirting with boys they just met – what hussies! See – Violet has many double standards. And the chemistry between Luca and Violet? I didn’t see it. I kept wanting to like them as a couple and hoping that something would happen to them relationshipwise for me to get behind them as a couple. But it never happened. It probably would have been easier to like them together if Violet didn’t keep switching between hating him and wanting to slap him and then daydreaming about him and how amazing he is in the space of a heart beat. MAKE UP YOUR MIND ALREADY! I don’t need a romance to like a book and I think I’d prefer no relationship at all to one that is this high maintenance and confusing.

As for the enigma of the girl in the painting? It was a confusing storyline. To be honest – this entire novel felt a little undercooked. I get that it’s only the first novel and that things need time to brew and develop but there’s a bit too much mystery and not enough solving.

This book is the first one in a trilogy and I think that potentially, the things that irked me in it could be straightened out by reading further. But to be honest I feel like the marketing people were a little dishonest. The blurb, the cover – none of this really show what this book is going to be about. In fact I think they were deliberately misleading readers as to the contents of this novel. Considering the second book is called “Kissing in Italian” I’m not sure I’m going to be pleased with where this leads. I will not be reading any more of this series.

Purchase the novel from:

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Book Review: Blood Storm by Rhiannon Hart

Title: Blood Storm (Lharmell #2)
Author: Rhiannon Hart
Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, Vampires, Romance 
Publisher: Random House Australia
Publication Date: 1st August 2012
Pages: 384 pages
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
The rain wanted to be ocean; the ice in the mountain caps wanted freedom. I never knew that water held such longing. The clouds above my head rumbled like a growling wolf, impatient to release their burden. I held the rain there a moment longer. I turned to Renata, heard her gasp and knew my eyes glowed blue.

I spoke a single word. ‘Rain.’

In the Second Book of Lharmell, Zeraphina and Rodden must travel across the sea to find the elusive ingredients that will help them to win the coming battle against the Lharmellin – but shadows from Rodden’s dark past may come back to haunt him. And while she learns to harness her new abilities, Zeraphina still fights the hunger that makes her crave the north – not to mention avoiding her mother, who wants to see her wayward daughter married to a prince at all costs.

My Review:

Five months after Blood Song finished, Zeraphina is still in Pergamia and has been extremely busy. Training with her trusty bow and arrow – as well as her drain cat, Leap and loyal eagle, Griffin – Rodden has been trying to get Zeraphina prepared for fighting the Lharmellians. With her seventeenth birthday approaching, there’s more to worry about than just the Harmings – her mother, Renata, is finding potential Princes who would be willing to marry the somewhat wayward princess. Trying to fight both her destiny and the blood tie to Lharmell, Zeraphina and Rodden set out to collect supplies for a weapon deadly to all with Lharmellian blood.

Zeraphina is one of those heroines that make me like her more with every word I read about her. She’s fiercely loyal and smart. Her bloodthirstiness (and not just the thirst-quenching kind) is somehow admirable. I adored how she took care of Rodden, both physically and emotionally. She’s brave and even when things are at their most dire, she’s starting to behave like a potential queen and is looking out for those who can’t look out for themselves.

I loved the relationship that has been brewing between Rodden and Zeraphina since the first time we met the King’s Advisor in Blood Song. They have chemistry but with the class system and Renata so violently opposed to their relationship it feels like they are doomed from the start. Regardless of the potential (and probably) doomed ending, I love how these two interact. They’re not all rainbows and sunshine (however there is a cute fluffy bunny or two). Their world is hard and dangerous but throughout everything I love the way Zeraphina and Rodden treat each other – it’s not often kind but always considerate.

This book developed Rodden’s history fantastically. As he and Zeraphina travel the lands gathering supplies for their secret weapon we get to see just who Rodden was before he became Prince Amis’ best friend. The view of the country and the people who live there added an extra something to this novel and the world in which it exists.

Blood Storm is a fantastic fantasy novel set in a world where the blood-sucking creatures are so much more than your typical vampires. The characters are interesting and the plot gets thicker and more fascinating with every twist. After the way this book finished I am on the edge of my seat with anticipation. Blood Queen will be released sometime in 2013. I can not wait to get my hands on a copy!

 

 

Purchase the novel from:

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Cover Reveal: Demon Derby by Carrie Harris

Demon Derby final cover

Title: DEMON DERBY

Author: Carrie Harris

Publisher: Random House

Genre: Paranormal

Age Group: Young Adult

Expected release: March 2014

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Casey kicked cancer’s ass. Now a demon wants to kick hers…

Casey hates being known as the girl who survived cancer. She wants people to treat her like her old self, fearless and strong. And after a creepy encounter with a crazy guy in an alley, Casey is all about reclaiming her power.

So when she has a chance to try out for the Apocalypsies roller derby team, she jumps on it. Being a derby girl would prove that she doesn’t need anybody’s pity. It doesn’t hurt that Michael, the team manager, is almost unnaturally hot. Which makes sense when Casey finds out that he’s not even human.

Michael’s got a secret: he trains demon hunters. That crazy guy in the alley? Demon. And the fact that Casey went head to head with evil and lived makes her a threat to demonkind. Casey thought she’d already fought and won the battle of her lifetime. But it’s only beginning…

From Carrie Harris, author of Bad Taste in Boys and Bad Hair Day, comes a knockout new read for anyone facing their own demons—inside and out.

About the Author

Carrie Laughing hi res

Carrie Harris is the author of BAD TASTE IN BOYS and BAD HAIR DAY. Her husband is a cancer survivor and a ninja doctor, and her three kids are already in training to fight evil someday. She collects monster-themed clothing, is physically incapable of being serious for more than five minutes at a time, and isn’t a derby girl…yet.

Carrie Harris | Twitter | Facebook

AToMR Tours

How fantastic does this book look?! Demon hunters and Roller Derby? Sounds like a match made in heaven (or maybe somewhere a little south of there). This one is definitely going on my to-read list.

Not a YA Book Review: Wool Omnibus by Hugh Howey

Wool isn’t a young adult or even a new adult book but I felt like sharing my review on this blog anyway. Whilst not falling under the genre of YA fiction, I still think this series could be read and enjoyed by young adults or adults of any age.

Title: Wool Omnibus (#1-5)
Author: Hugh Howey
Genre: Science Fiction; Dystopia;  Post Apocalyptic
Publisher: Century (an imprint of Random House)
Publication Date: January 2013
Pages: 448
Rating: 4.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
This Omnibus Edition collects the five Wool books into a single volume. It is for those who arrived late to the party and who wish to save a dollar or two while picking up the same stories in a single package.

The first Wool story was released as a standalone short in July of 2011. Due to reviewer demand, the rest of the story was released over the next six months. My thanks go out to those reviewers who clamored for more. Without you, none of this would exist. Your demand created this as much as I did.

This is the story of mankind clawing for survival, of mankind on the edge. The world outside has grown unkind, the view of it limited, talk of it forbidden. But there are always those who hope, who dream. These are the dangerous people, the residents who infect others with their optimism. Their punishment is simple. They are given the very thing they profess to want: They are allowed outside.

My Review:

Whilst these books are available as individual ebooks, I’m so glad I had a copy of the five so as soon as I finished each one I could start the next one immediately.

From the few pages of Book 1, I was drawn into the world of Silo living when the mere expression of unhappiness with living in the Silo is the same as signing your own death sentence.

There’s so much drama and suspense throughout these books – Howey isn’t afraid to kill main characters whenever he feels necessary. But whenever new ones are introduced it feels natural and not just as a replacement for a former character. The titles of each of the books being knitting terms was not lost on me.

During some of the books it did feel a little like I was playing catch up – the reasons for the decisions reached at the start of the book not being revealed until the final pages (like in book 1) – but at the same time the with the fast paced nature of the books I never felt lost. There is always something happening.

I found the second book (Proper Gauge) a little on the dull side (especially considering how exciting Holston was) but it did give vital information about the daily living and structure in the Silo as well as the hold the IT had on the Silo.

There’s a little bit of everything in this omnibus – politics; society; a slight love story; treachery – and so much more. The many different narrators add to the complexity of silo living and made it that much more suspenseful – knowing that anyone could die at any moment regardless of whether they were a “main” character or not.

I enjoyed these first five instalments in the Wool series and will definitely be tracking down book 6 as soon as I can.

Thanks to The Reading Room and Random House for the review copy

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 


Book Review: The Alchemyst by Michael Scott

I’m always looking for new books to read. So a couple of months ago I was asking my friend Cam for recommendations and he suggested The Alchemyst. I bought it that night (I think that internet shopping is just feeding my book buying addiction) and then after it arrived in the mail it just sat on my desk for a long time before I got around to reading it. But I’ve finished it (finally!).

Title: The Alchemyst (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel #1)
Author: Michael Scott
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Mythology, Magic
Publisher: Delacourte Press
Publication Date: May 2007 
Pages: 375
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
He holds the secret that can end the world.

The truth: Nicholas Flamel was born in Paris on September 28, 1330. Nearly 700 years later, he is acknowledged as the greatest Alchemyst of his day. It is said that he discovered the secret of eternal life.

The records show that he died in 1418.

But his tomb is empty.

The legend: Nicholas Flamel lives. But only because he has been making the elixir of life for centuries. The secret of eternal life is hidden within the book he protects—the Book of Abraham the Mage. It’s the most powerful book that has ever existed. In the wrong hands, it will destroy the world. That’s exactly what Dr. John Dee plans to do when he steals it. Humankind won’t know what’s happening until it’s too late. And if the prophecy is right, Sophie and Josh Newman are the only ones with the power to save the world as we know it.

Sometimes legends are true.

And Sophie and Josh Newman are about to find themselves in the middle of the greatest legend of all time

My Review:

Sophie and Josh Newman, fifteen-year-old twins, had planned on working during the summer to save up enough money to buy a car. But when the book store Josh was employed at gets broken into by a couple of golems, Josh learns that his boss – the laid back Nick Flemming – is none other than the immortal alchemyst Nicholas Flamel. Dee manages to fling around his dark magic, kidnap Flamel’s wife and steal the one book that Flamel has spent most of his unnaturally long life trying to protect.

And that’s just the first chapter!

This book is full of action and all sorts of magical and mythical creatures. There’s Greek, Irish, Egyptian and so many other types of mythology touched upon and I was surprised to read in the author’s note that all the characters (with the exception of the twins) were based on real historical people or mythological beings.

The twins are interesting characters. The entire novel takes place over a matter of days and despite the short time frame they have both changed so much since the start of the book. I can’t wait to see what happens the in other books with regards to the prophecy and who Josh and Sophie decide to align themselves with.

Nicholas Flamel – the Alchemyst himself – was probably my least favourite character. I think I was expecting too much from him and in this first novel he and his motives remain a bit of a mystery.

I loved the idea of Hekate’s shadowrealm and her World Tree – that’s the kind of tree house I’d love to have in the backyard. Scathach (Scatty) was more fun than I expected a 2500 year old character to be and I can’t wait to see just how Perry fares. The Morrigan is rather scary and not just because she hangs around with a murder of crows. She’s turning out to be a brilliant villain – I just can’t wait to see what sinister plans she has next.

This was an entertaining book and a pleasant change from all the YA romances I’ve been reading of late.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository