Book Review: Fall For You by Cecilia Gray

Fall For You (The Jane Austen Academy Series, #1)

Title: Fall For You (The Jane Austen Academy #1)
Author: Cecilia Gray
Genre: Contempoary Romance, Young Adult, Retelling
Publisher: Gray Life LLC
Publication Date: November 6th, 2013
Pages: 144
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
It’s obvious that Dante thinks he’s way too good for Lizzie. And Lizzie knows Dante is a snob with a gift for pushing her buttons. But things are changing fast this year at the Academy. And when Lizzie’s quest to stop those changes blows up in her face, taking her oldest friendship with it, she has nowhere else to turn but to Dante, with his killer blue eyes, his crazy-sexy smile, and his secrets… Secrets Lizzie can’t seem to leave alone, no matter how hard she tries…

The last thing that the girls at the elite Jane Austen Academy need is guys. But over the summer the school has been sold, and like it or not, the guys are coming. And they’re about to turn the Academy—and the lives of its students—totally upside down…

My Review:

I think the idea behind this series is fantastic. A modern-day retelling of Jane Austen’s novels – with the characters from each novel being friends with each other! Fall For You, the first book in this new series, is Lizzie’s story. She loves the Jane Austen Academy and is horrified when the former-all girls school opens its doors up for male students. And that’s not the only change being made. Room mates and a headmistress who is more about the bottom dollar than the students is enough to drive Lizzie crazy. Not to mention Dante – a new student who has formed a less than impressive first impression on (and of) Lizzie.

Lizzie knows that she has to do all she can to save the Academy she loves before it’s too late – and Dante better not get in her way.

There’s a lot going on in this book and I think too much was attempted in such a small number of pages. We get introduced to the Academy, to the heroines, to the heroes and have a complete story all in less than a hundred and fifty pages. It didn’t completely work for me. I love the idea of Lizzie being friends with Ellie (Eleanor from Sense and Sensibility), rivals with Anne (from Persuasion) and not entirely sure of Emma (from Emma). It’s a fabulous idea. And the fact that they’re not all bosom buddies is even better! I strongly believe that not all of Austen’s original characters would be BFFs because of their fairly strong – or overly passive – personalities. I loved how well the story as a retelling worked considering it’s set in a boarding school and how well Gray substituted some of the original minor characters with what will be major characters in this series. I really thought it was clever.

Unfortunately I felt like Lizzie’s story wasn’t given enough room to really blossom. Her interactions with Dante were gorgeous. There’s one scene in particular where the tension between the two of them had me completely absorbed with their chemistry. But their relationship felt so sudden to me that I felt a little short-changed. Their scenes together were few and short. It needed to be bigger and more dramatic and just more. As Darcy and Elizabeth’s counterparts I knew they had to be together but I wanted to feel they’d earned their relationship as Dante and Lizzie within the bounds of this novel.

This is a fairly quick read and it was a fun one. I loved the cross overs with Austen’s original works and enjoyed seeing how Grey would integrate the stories. I was lucky enough to get review copies of the next two books in the series and I’m excited to see how Grey tackles Sense and Sensibility as well as Northhanger Abbey

Thanks to NetGalley for the review copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon

Book Review: Darkness Watching by Emma L. Adams

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Title: Darkness Watching (DarkWorld #1)perf6.000x9.000.indd
Author: Emma L Adams
Genre: New Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Self-Published 
Publication Date: September 2013
Pages: 196
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Eighteen-year-old Ashlyn is one interview away from her future when she first sees the demons. She thinks she’s losing her mind, but the truth is far more frightening: she can see into the Darkworld, the home of spirits– and the darkness is staring back.

Desperate to escape the demons, Ash accepts a place at a university in the small town of Blackstone, in the middle of nowhere – little knowing that it isn’t coincidence that led her there but the pull of the Venantium, the sorcerers who maintain the barrier keeping demons from crossing from the Darkworld into our own world.

All-night parties, new friendships and a life without rules or limits are all part of the package of student life – but demons still stalk Ash, and their interest in her has attracted the attention of every sorcerer in the area. Ash is soon caught between her new life and a group of other students with a connection to the Darkworld, who could offer the answers she’s looking for. The demons want something from her, and someone is determined to kill her before she can find out what it is.

In a world where darkness lurks beneath the surface, not everyone is what they appear to be…

My Review:

I’ve been interesting about this book since I did a cover reveal a few months ago – books set in university have been one of my guilty pleasures since the days of borrowing Sweet Valley University novels when I was a pre-teen. Darkness Watching is a great addition to the new adult world – with a delightful paranormal element to it all.

Ashlyn has her heart set on going to Oxford. But when she starts seeing dark shadows with creepy eyes and completely blows her interview, she finds a second chance in Blackstone. A smaller university – practically unheard of for many – this is Ash’s chance to embrace college life. Parties, room mates, professors and lectures aren’t the only new things in her life – she also has to deal with the new knowledge that she’s a sorceress and the things in the shadows aren’t the scariest things she has to face.

This is one of those books that is very much about the main character finding herself and embracing her new place in the world. I loved getting to see Ash embrace the university experience and starting the newest chapter of her life. And an added bonus for me was that all the new goings on in her life weren’t precipitated by some gorgeous guy who brings the creep with him. Not to say there aren’t males around in this book – and some of them rather creepy – but for the most part it’s not a romance at heart. I found myself cheering that she has so many interests that were her own and not just ones that she had because of a boy or because her friends forced them onto her. I found her to be similar to me – but better! – and I liked getting to follow her as she discovered the Darkworld.

The demons and magic in this book is something different – and not the type that I feel like I’ve read before. I liked the ‘magical’ characters and it was interesting to see where they fit into Ash’s story. There are twists and turns – not all I was expecting – and I imagine that this series is one that’s only going to get better with each instalment.

 

Thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for the review copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes and Noble| Kobo

 

AUTHOR BIO

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Emma spent her childhood creating imaginary worlds to compensate for a disappointingly average reality, so it was probably inevitable that she ended up writing fantasy and paranormal for young adults. She was born in Birmingham, UK, which she fled at the first opportunity to study English Literature at Lancaster University. In her three years at Lancaster, she hiked up mountains, skydived in Australia, and endured a traumatic episode involving a swarm of bees in the Costa Rican jungle. She also wrote various novels and short stories. These included her first publication, a rather bleak dystopian piece, and a disturbing story about a homicidal duck (which she hopes will never see the light of day).

Now a reluctant graduate, she can usually be found in front of her writing desk, creating weird and wonderful alternative worlds. Her debut novel The Puppet Spell, published in 2013 by Rowanvale Books, is a fantasy tale for young adults and the young at heart, inspired by her lifelong love of the fantastical, mythology, and video games. Emma also writes supernatural fantasy novels for older teens and adults. Her next book, Darkness Watching, is the first in the upper-YA/New Adult Darkworld series, and will be published in September 2013 by Curiosity Quills Press.

Author Links:
Website Blog Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Book Review: My Date from Hell by Tellulah Darling

My Date From Hell (The Blooming Goddess Trilogy, #2)

Title: My Date From Hell (The Blooming Goddess Trilogy #2)
Author: Tellulah Darling
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Mythology, Young Adult, Adventure, Humour
Publisher: Te Da Media
Publication Date: October 2013
Pages: 288
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Sophie Bloom’s junior year has been a bit of a train wreck. After the world’s greatest kiss re-awakened Sophie’s true identity as Persephone (Goddess of Spring and Savior of Humanity), she fought her dragon-lady guidance counselor to the death, navigated mean girl Bethany’s bitchy troublemaking, and dealt with the betrayal of her backstabbing ex, Kai (sexy Prince of Darkness). You’d think a girl could catch a break.

Yeah, right.

With Zeus stepping things up, it’s vital that Sophie retrieve Persephone’s memories and discover the location of the ritual to stop Zeus and Hades. So when Aphrodite strikes a deal that can unlock Sophie’s pre-mortal past, what choice does the teen goddess have but to accept?

The mission: stop media mogul Hermes from turning Bethany into a global mega-celebrity. The catch? Aphrodite partners Sophie and Kai to work together … and treat this suicide mission as a date. Which could work out for Sophie’s plan to force Kai to admit his feelings for her–if she doesn’t kill him first.

Add to that the fact that BFF Theo’s love life and other BFF Hannah’s actual life are in Sophie’s hands, and suddenly being a teenager—even a godlike one—seems a bit like … well, hell. Whatever happened to dinner and a movie?

My Review:

Sophie Bloom never expected to be held captive by her birth father. But then again – the never thought he’d be Zeus, Greek King of the Gods. But somehow Sophie finds herself breaking free from her fedora wearing, suit clad all-powerful bio-dad. Together with Kai, son of Hades and lover of Sophie’s former self, Persephone, they must somehow work out how to uncover Persephone’s memories and stop Zeus and Hades. If only that was all – they also have to stop the teenage megalomania Bethany from taking over the world thanks to a magical tattoo’s powers and somehow fall in love with each other. I suppose it’s a good thing they also have Aphrodite helping on the romance front or not…

Sophie is one of those characters I can’t help but like. She’s smart mouthed – probably too much so as it always seems to be getting her in trouble with tenancy to talk first and reap the consequences of angry gods later – but she’s also a lot of fun. Not much can get this newly reincarnated goddess down. Not even the devilishly handsome Kai. Together they’re a match to be reckoned with – that is if they can get their hormones in control. Sophie’s friends Theo and Hannah are supportive in all the right ways but I like they also have their own stuff going on. Theo’s former beau makes an appearance (who knew there would be hipster gods?!) and Hannah finds her feet beautifully after being thrust into a world where the gods are real.

This is a great second instalment in this series. Now all the preliminary stuff is taking care of we really get into the adventure and blossoming (or should that be blooming?) relationship between the characters. Sophie is starting to get the hang of being a goddess and only has to occasionally come to terms with jealousy of her former self’s relationship with Kai – someone Sophie isn’t even sure she wants to love… but doesn’t want him not to love her. She’s delightfully confusing and I think she manages to confound herself more than she does anyone else.

I love books with an adventure/quest side and this one doesn’t disappoint. We get to see more gods and goddesses along with their powers during this book. I thought it was a great to witness Sophie’s reactions to places and people she’s met as Persephone and doesn’t recall. Getting to know Kai as she travelled was another highlight. I loved finding out that he is every bit a match for Sophie and her sarcasm.

Tellulah Darling’s writing is just as sassy and witty as in her previous books, littered with pop culture references and feisty characters. I love how many references she manages to slip in. Having a Dance Dance Revolution game having memory retrieving capabilities? Who thinks of that?! I found myself amused from cover to cover with the antics and cheeky dialogue. There is no doubt that I’ll be reading the third and final book in the Blooming Goddess trilogy. I just have to find out what happens next to Sophie and Kai!

 

Thanks to the author for the review copy.

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: Here by Ella James


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Title: Here (Here #1)
Author: Ella James
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
Publisher: Barkley’s Books
Publication Date: February 2012
Pages: 210
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):13490992

Milo Mitchell’s life used to be charmed, but that was before her father died, she went a little crazy, and her best friends started acting more like strangers. One Saturday morning as she roams the land around her family’s Colorado wind farm, tagging deer for a project that used to be her father’s, Milo makes a big mistake: a dart from her stun-gun takes down a teenage guy.

Dressed in a Brinoi tux and armed with a perfectly starched handkerchief, the guy looks like a young James Bond – or some country’s missing, playboy prince. Trouble is, he could be either. Mr. Mystery has no idea who or where he is. Afraid her dart caused his amnesia, Milo takes him in, names him Nick, and tries to get used to a hot guy sharing her bedroom.

But Milo’s Nick is more than he appears. Soon the pair find his face in a newspaper obituary, and Nick beings to have memories of Milo–who is sure she’s never met him. If ‘Nick’ survived a plunge off a steep cliffside on his way to a family camping trip, why did Milo find him dozens of miles away, wearing a freshly pressed tuxedo? If he’s just a high-school athlete, why does he have moves like Jason Bourne? And why does he feel more for her than his surviving family?

When a train of black SUVs shows up on Mitchell property, Nick and Milo run–toward a shocking conclusion that could destroy both their worlds.

My Review:

Whilst tagging deer for a project, Milo Mitchell never expected to come across anyone in the woods. Let alone a gorgeous stranger dressed in a tuxedo… and perhaps shooting him with her dart gun by accident wasn’t the best way to make a good first impression. To make things stranger – after having been shot, the well dressed stranger can’t remember anything about himself – not even his name. Milo takes in the stranger and giving him a change of clothes, a new name – ‘Nick’ – and a place to stay till they figure out what to do next. The stranger appearance of Nick isn’t the only weird thing happening in the small town of Golden. The electricity starts acting up and Nick finds himself knowing things that should be impossible to recall.

Milo and Nick start a quest to find who he may have been before they met in the woods. But Milo and Nick aren’t the only ones looking for answers… and things are not going to go well if they find Nick before he finds out who he is.

I love the vibe of this novel. It’s such a fun and quick read. Milo’s a little lost in the world after he father died but she’s keeping it together well. If you call hanging out in the woods tracking deer a good thing. She still manages to have a group of good friends, hobbies and a fairly healthy social life. She’s responsible and I like the mixture of level-headedness mixed with romantic wonder that she has. She’s brave and a great match for Nick.

This book is mostly told from Milo’s point of view but every now and then Ms. James switches things up and we get to see the world from Nick’s perspective. It’s an interesting way to show how things are not quite right for the boy – more than just some fairly extensive amnesia. Whilst I liked the look into him and his thoughts – I think I would have liked him more as a character had he been a bit more mysterious. Because we get to see him confused and vulnerable but only in short snippets – I didn’t really find him a desirable male lead. He’s not a bad boy nor is he the boy next door or any of those other categories that I like my leading men to fit into. He’s just a little lost and for the most part a little bland.

That said – I loved the action. This book is well paced with some characters that amused me and made me want to keep reading. Milo is sweet but a little damaged and I feel like Nick has potential to grow into someone who I really root for. This is a book I’d recommend for fans of Jennifer L Armentrout’s Lux series and not just because of the scifi-ness they have in common. It’s a well written exciting book and there is no doubt – I will definitely be reading the second book in the Here series.

Purchase the novel from:

 Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 

Teaser

I shouldn’t have come to Milo’s house, but I was riding for my life, and when I thought about it ending, all I’d wanted—literally the only thing I thought about—was her.

It was startling, the clarity, the sense of purpose, because shortly after I saw Milo’s concert, I got mind-jacked. I didn’t know by what, but the presence had a serious hard-on for calculus and physics, other things I shouldn’t know or care about. I had a freaky suspicion that it was the Real Me, and that the Real Me was some kind of wizard/astrophysicist.

I spent two days in my bed after it happened, hung over on numbers, figures, but by the third day I could handle it. And my superpower had come back, stronger.

I knew intuitively how to control the van, how many meters away the Harley was when I landed, how to start it, how to drive it.

I ran for it as the van spun, tires screeching as it turned to come back for me. It had been modified, was faster than the bike, but I knew the town grid completely, and I’d clogged their fuel injector, which meant that ten minutes after our little chase started, I had lost them.

I doubled back, took an indirect path to get to Milo’s house. I didn’t want to leave an easy trail. When I pulled up and they were nowhere to be seen, I thought I had evaded them, told myself I had gotten away. But it wasn’t until I saw Milo that I realized what I’d done. I should have added to my lead, driven far away, stolen another bike, a car, hopped a train, gone anywhere but were I was. Where she was.

And what did I get for my utter stupidity?

Milo, wide-eyed and concerned. Milo, rubbing my back, tapping my knee. Milo heedless of the danger. Milo, achingly close.

She was leaning over me now, blowing on the scrape she’d just cleaned. “That feel any better?”

I nodded, my nose and forehead digging into her blankets.

“Good.” I felt her hand trail up my spine, then lift away and land atop my hair.

“You can go to sleep, you know. I’ll keep watch, just in case.”

I shook my head, dizzy from the pill and her soft hand. “I need to…leave…”

 

About Ella James

Ella James is a Colorado author who writes teen and adult romance. She is happily married to a man who knows how to wield a red pen, and together they are raising a feisty two-year-old who will probably grow up believing everyone’s parents go to war over the placement of a comma.

Ella’s books have been listed on numerous Amazon bestseller lists, including the Movers & Shakers list and the Amazon Top 100; two were listed among Amazon’s Top 100 Young Adult Ebooks of 2012.

To find out more about Ella’s projects and get dates on upcoming releases, find her on Facebook at facebook.com/ellajamesauthorpage and follow her blog, http://www.ellajamesbooks.com. Questions or comments? Tweet her at author_ellaj or e-mail her at ella_f_james@ymail.com.

Author Links

Website | Facebook | Twitter 

Book Review: The Originals by Cat Patrick

The Originals

Title: The Originals
Author: Cat Patrick
Genre: Science-Fiction, Contempoary, Romance, Young Adult
Publisher: Hardie Grant Egmont
Publication Date: May 2013
Pages: 298
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Ella, Betsey and I look like sisters: triplets, you might think.

But that’s not what we are at all.

We are clones in hiding. We split our lives and exist as one person in the outside world. And we’ve always been happy.

But now I’ve fallen in love … and that changes everything.

Because to let love in, I need to be allowed to be Me.

My Review:

Three girls, one life. For the past decade Lizzie, Betsey and Ella have been sharing the life of Elizabeth Best. One taking the morning shift, one the afternoon and the final girl being the one to take the evenings. But Lizzie is sick of having their mother control their every move. Each taking a third of the same life with none of them getting to live their own life at all. But this is the way things have been for years and their mother says it’s for their own protection – that no one can know they aren’t sisters but rather clones. When Lizzie falls in love with Sean she doesn’t want to share him with her sisters or be forced to “date” the boy their mother chose for them. So it’s time to find out just who they’re hiding from and what secrets their mother has been hiding from them…

The idea behind this book is brilliant. Ella, Betsey and Lizzie all sharing the one life and only being allowed to leave the house when their mother permits it. I’ve not read many books regarding clones and I loved how Cat Patrick approached the subject. I loved that the girls are the same and yet so completely different from each other.

Lizzie is a great narrator. She’s sweet and trying to navigate life the best way she knows how. A bit difficult when you only get a few hours each day outside. But somehow Lizzie manages to fit in with society and set herself aside from her sisters. Sean is adorable but a little too accepting and perfect to be entirely real. Betsey and Ella are fantastic at supporting Lizzie and showing how their circumstances effect all three girls. I would have loved to have read parts of this book from the sister’s perspectives but  even just with Lizzie’s thoughts this book is complete and interesting.

I loved how the characters grew throughout this book and how the plot developed as the girls learned more about where they came from and who they were. There’s a lot of mystery and tension as things get revealed and secrets come out. Sean was a great catalyst for the triplets searching for the truth and their own lives. I felt a little let down by the ending but the build up and characters more than made up for it.

I’ve not read a Cat Patrick book before but after reading the Originals and enjoying her writing style – I’ll be looking forward to reading her other books.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon| Booktopia | Book Depository | BookWorld

Book Review: Nearly Broken by Devon Ashley

Nearly Broken banner

Welcome to my stop on the Nearly Broken blog tour hosted by YA Bound Book Tours.  Click HERE to see the full blog tour schedule! Don’t forget to check the bottom of this post for a tour wide giveaway! 

Title: Nearly Broken (Broken #1)nearly brokenAuthor: Devon Ashley
Genre: New Adult, Romantic Suspense, Realistic Fiction
Publisher: Self published
Publication Date: 4 June 2013
Pages: 367
Rating: 3.5.stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
We’d both gone missing at one point, but Claire had one thing I didn’t. Someone to notice. So why was I the one still here and she the one still gone?

Nineteen year old Megan Smith has spent the past year working in a small town diner in the middle of nowhere. Life is quiet, simple, safe. Then comes the news that her look-a-like has gone missing.

Claire.

Still damaged both physically and mentally, Megan’s not looking to be noticed. Wherever she goes from here, it’s a road she needs to take alone. But when Nickolas Ellis takes the job as the new nightshift cook, it scares her how easily her defenses crumble down, down, down for him. But there are secrets she can’t bear to share with just anyone, unspeakable acts that continue to haunt, and when the similarities of Claire’s abduction couples with the fear of an unwanted visitor in town, the urge to run before it all happens again intensifies, threatening the only happiness Megan’s ever found.

My Review:

Note: This book is recommended for 17+ for mature and disturbing situations, language and sexual content.

Megan Smith is a workaholic. For the past 18 months since moving to a small town in the middle of nowhere she has worked the night shift every night without fail. No social life to speak of, Megan actively tries to avoid attention. Attention that might be deadly. She spends half her life checking over her shoulder and keeps her secret past close to her chest.

And then there’s Nick. The gorgeous guy who’s cooking skills belong anywhere but in a small town diner. Megan is drawn to him instantly but knows that she can’t afford to get tied to anyone. What if they find out what she’s done? Or the scars that lie underneath her long sleeves.

This is a story that has mystery, suspense, thriller moments and a lovely romance. Megan is a complicated character. I don’t want to reveal too much so I’ll just say that the nearly broken in the title refers to her. She’s been though so much and it’s heartbreaking. But she’s strong and I admired her for it. Despite all that has happened she never once stopped trying and she didn’t take the victim role even when it was assigned to her. But I also found her a little confusing at times. I thought some situations she felt a little out of character – but what is her character? I feel a little unfair for even mentioning this considering that this is a woman who was fractured and is trying to put the pieces back together. I’d be critical if I thought she was too well put together.

Through all the mystery and drama, there’s a sweet love story. One about soulmates and overcoming everything to be together. I thought it was lovely. Megan and Nick are a great fit. But Nick’s perfection was a little hard for me to take. He’s so protective and so amazing… but I sort of felt like Megan traded one cage for another. I was very interested to see that Ms. Ashley has written a companion novel to Nearly Broken which tells Megan and Nick’s story from Nick’s perspective. I think that I’ll have to check that one out just to see if it redeems Nick in my eyes.

Overall this is a tough novel. It’s one that tugs on the heartstrings and instills some fear – it’s a little eerie that Megan’s story could happen to anyone. This is not a book for the faint hearted with very disturbing content but I thought it was entirely worthwhile.

About the Author

Devon Ashley

Devon Ashley

Devon Ashley was born in Huntington Beach but has spent most of her life residing in Texas. She spends a great deal of her time taking care of her husband and son but always seems to find time to write, knit and create unique decorative pieces. She particularly likes to write Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance.

Interesting Fact: Devon Ashley shares her birthday with her favorite author, Jane Austen.

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***GIVEAWAY***
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2 signed paperbacks and 2 e-books (epub or mobi) of Nearly Broken, open Internationally!

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Purchase the novel from:

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Novella Review: The Flute Player by Shawn Mihalik

Title: The Flute Player
Author: Shawn Mihalik
Genre: fantasy, novella
Publisher: Asymmetrical Press 
Publication Date: 12 March 2013 
Pages: 67
Rating: 3.5.stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
For nearly ten years, young Oliver has begrudgingly accepted his position as the flute player of the peaceful village of Drommar—a responsibility thrust upon him after the previous flute player, and Oliver’s best friend, drowned in a tragic childhood accident.

Now on the cusp of adulthood, a mysterious young woman enters Oliver’s life, and he begins to question the nature of his world and the importance of his place in it.

My Review:

In the village of Drommar, the Flute Player is a position of honour and prestige. Every morning and evening, the player inspires, motivates and soothes the villagers with his tunes. But it’s not a position Oliver wanted. When his childhood friend died in a tragic accident, Oliver inherited the role and the flute. Shut out from the world by his father, Oliver spends his days trying to write new tunes for the villagers. But devoid of stimulus, Oliver lacks the motivation and inspiration to write. After discovering there’s more to the world than just sheet music and the flute, Oliver thrives and finds so much more to life. There’s a girl, Alexandria – a stranger from another land that only he can see. But things are not right and Oliver needs to find out what’s meant to be and what isn’t before it’s too late for Alexandria.

This short story is a very interesting read. I found it a little uncomfortable to begin with. There are some sentences that go for over a hundred words broken up with a series of commas. But as I got into the story, Mihalik’s style of writing grew on me and only added to the fantastical nature of Oliver’s story. The simplicity of village life nicely contrasted with Alexandria’s modern (or at least modern compared to Oliver’s standards) way of living and I liked how they interacted with each other. Both isolated in the world and yet – though each other – not alone.

Mihalik has crafted a great story with a different style and vibe to most. Despite it’s length, The Flute Player still manages to give some twists and delivers beautiful imagery. To sum it up in one sentence – The Flute Player is a  quick read with a great journey.

P.S. – how great is the cover!

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Novella Review: Spartan Frost by Jennifer Estep

Title: Spartan Frost (Mythos Academy #4.5) 
Author: Jennifer Estep
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Contemporary, Mythology
Publisher: KTeen (an imprint of Kensington Publishing Corp.)
Publication Date: 25 June 2015
Pages: 60
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
I’m Logan Quinn, the deadliest Spartan warrior at Mythos Academy. At least I was — until the day I almost killed Gwen Frost.

Professor Metis and Nickamedes say that I’m fine, that Loki and the Reapers don’t have a hold on me anymore, but I can’t risk it. I can’t risk hurting Gwen again. So I’m leaving Mythos and going somewhere far, far away.

I know Gwen wonders what’s happening to me, whether I’m safe. I can’t tell her, but this is my story …

My Review:

Before Midnight Frost (Mythos Academy #5) is released in July, it’s fantastic to get a novella help me wait for another instalment in one of my favourite series. And the best part about Spartan Frost is that we get a glimpse at life though the eyes of our favourite Spartan, Logan Quinn.

In the wake of events from Crimson Frost (Mythos Academy #4)Logan is trying to get his head around just what happened in the auditorium. Moving back to New York with his father, Logan is battling his inner demons. That is until his father lets him join the Protectorate and face off against some Reapers.

This novella is short and sweet so my review is going to be too. I love Logan – and it was fantastic getting to see life from his point of view. Spartan Frost isn’t going to be necessary to completely understand and enjoy the Mythos Academy series however it’s an interesting to see how Logan feels about fighting, his family and his relationship with Gwen.  

I am more excited than ever for the release of Midnight Frost and hope that in the future, Jennifer Estep plans on giving us more insights from the Spartan, Logan Quinn.

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Book Review: The Elite by Kiera Cass

Title: The Elite (The Selection #2)
Author: Kiera Cass
Genre: dystopia, fantasy, romance
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: 1st May 2013
Pages: 272
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (goodreads):
America Singer has the chance to leave normal life for a world of glamour and luxury… for ever.

She was chosen for The Selection, a reality TV competition to be gorgeous Prince Maxon′s bride. Surviving the rivalry and turmoil of the first round was tough, especially with secret feelings to conceal. But America′s gone further than she dared to dream and made it to The Elite – the final six.

Friendships are tested to breaking point as favourites emerge. America′s feelings for Maxon grow ever stronger, but she suspects darker mysteries in his family past. With Aspen close-by offering comfort, solace and something more, where do her loyalties truly lie?

My Review:

The Elite delivered exactly what I wanted in the second book of the Selection series. There’s more drama, more love triangles and more gorgeous gowns fit for a princess-to-be. America Singer is still in the middle working out her feelings regarding her two admirers – Crown Prince Maxon and her childhood sweetheart now Palace guard, Aspen. Every time she thinks she’s decided which way her heart is leading her something happens and makes her feel mixed up all over again. Maxon only has six girls left in The Selection and where America was once comfortable regarding his feelings towards the other girls she’s now anxious and more jealous than she ever though she’d feel. Emotions are running strong. Marlee is still acting oddly, Celeste has more nasty tricks up her sleeve and the King weighs in with who he think Maxon should pick…

The first half of this novel doesn’t have much regarding the dystopian aspect of this book but the second half ramps up and delivers some much-anticipated action. The rebels are back and the threat to the crown and country. The remaining girls from the Selection get more time to show who they are as people as well as learning the importance and responsibility of  being Maxon’s wife. America is still a little too amazing for my liking – being a hero to the people and the funniest girl in the Selection – but more of her flaws came out as this series is developing. The love triangles are a little overwhelming at times with America deciding on one of her men and then being adamant that it’s the other one she’s meant to be with. And then another flip-flop in her decision a few pages later.

For the Bachelor fans – there’s still quite a bit in this book for you! Extravagant balls, a bit of scandal and scheming competitors are still in the mix and feel like they’d be right at home on the show. Whilst the Bachelor aspect is what drew me to this series, I’ve grown attached to the characters and unique drama Kiera Cass has brought to her story. I can not wait to read The One and find out who America chooses and which of the remaining contestants will be Maxon’s bride – along with just how much more damage the rebels will inflict.

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Book Depository