Review: The Cruelty by Scott Bergstrom

33791316The Cruelty is the first book from a groundbreaking new YA voice: an utterly compelling thriller.

When Gwendolyn Bloom realizes that her father has been kidnapped, she has to take matters into her own hands. She traces him from New York City across the dark underbelly of Europe, taking on a new identity to survive in a world of brutal criminal masterminds. As she slowly leaves behind her schoolgirl self, she realizes that she must learn the terrifying truth about herself. To overcome the cruelty she encounters, she must also embrace it.

Paperback, 448 pages
Published February 9th 2017 by Walker Books. Goodreads.

 Amazon AU | Amazon US | Booktopia | Bookdepository


I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review >>

“A woman who seeks to rise in this world must be crueller than even men.”

Yes! Kill them, kill them all Gwendolyn. Oops sorry, that wasn’t me, it was The Cruelty inside me.

We (the reader) follow 17-year-old Gwendolyn Bloom as she goes through the process of; finding out her dad is missing, finding out what her father did for work wasn’t what she thought it was, finding out who she can and cannot trust, and finding out what she is truly capable of.

We watch Gwendolyn harden and evolve as she unearths and follows clues about the whereabouts of her father and the real reason behind his disappearance. Her journey takes her from New York, to Paris, to Berlin, to Prague, to her own personal Hell and back again.

I really enjoyed this book. I am confident I could give this book to my 78-year-old crime thriller loving grandfather and he’d devourer it. I confident that even in my early teens I would have enjoyed this book. Scott Bergstrom has written a captivating story that I think teens and adults alike will eat up greedily.

I loved that Gwendolyn wasn’t instantly a super spy /ninja assassin extraordinaire. She wasn’t a natural born killer, she made mistakes, had regrets, got herself in and out of trouble, needed help and knew when and when not to use the help offered – but ultimately, I loved that she got the job done like a boss, like a badass bitch.

 “…if no one else is going to act for me, then I have a choice: remain a child and do nothing, or become an adult and do it myself. That, it seems to me, is the difference between the child and the adult, the difference between the girl hunted by wolves and the woman who hunts them.”

By the last page of the story Gwendolyn Bloom is dead and a force to be reckoned with lives on in her hard-won skin.

There is a sequel, The Greed, coming out in 2018 and I am interested to see what becomes of Gwendolyn, her crash course mentor Yael and what goes down with the organisation that now, as I see it, “owns” Gwendolyn and her father.

Four “I really Liked It” Stars.

The above is what I drafted before I went onto Goodreads to see what the masses thought. It is, what after much deliberation I ended up posting. I almost altered it, I started to, because of all that I ended up reading online started to sway me (reviews from people I respect, news articles about the author and tweets about the text).

People are calling the author out for comments made in the book by the protagonist. I remember that while reading the particular part of the book they refer to, that I just thought he was trying to make her come across a bit up herself, you know, as if she thought she was above it all. Then after reading all the banter online I thought, damn maybe I got it wrong, maybe he really believed what he was writing. Maybe I’m stupid.

Calling the author out for the story being too farfetched and a protagonist being to superficial in her transformation. Hello you’re reading the YA book version of a mission impossible action movie, of course it’s farfetched and shallow. Isn’t that the point. Again, maybe I’m stupid.

Calling the author out for some belittling comments he and his people made. To me they just came off as idiots not knowing what they were talking about. I’m sure their intention wasn’t to offend. I’m sure that they are just ignorant of the wonderfully diverse and complex world that is young adult literature. Again, maybe I’m stupid.

Once I realised that other people’s views were swaying me I stopped and went back to the copy that I had drafted immediately after finishing it. My honest review. Yes, it is a happy rah rah review where I only mention the good points, but that’s how I try to write all my reviews. There is enough negativity in the world without me adding to it and I want my reviews to make people read more books, not turn them off them.

Sorry, I had to say something. It really upset me how quickly I started to think my thoughts were wrong. Damn you internet.I really enjoyed reading this book. You blew my after book buzz.

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Ramble & Review: Charmed by Various

As a treat for myself on my Thirtieth Birthday I took the half-an-hour journey into Newcastle to a fancy café / bagel shop for breakfast, then to the only old school comic book store still around (Graphic Action Comics: 572 Hunter St, Newcastle West NSW 2302). The next closest shop would be in Sydney, a two-and-a-half-hour trip. Obviously, I can buy them online, but that is beside the point! If you want to walk into a shop and buy comics and you live in the Hunter, Lake Mac or Newcastle’s surrounding suburbs you must take the journey to Newcastle. I call it a journey as they’ve stopped the train running, so you either must fight for a spot on an overcrowded bus or drive in and do laps until you find a car park. I drove. I hate buses. I’ll do trains no worries, but not buses.

While browsing (this took well over an hour much to my husband’s disdain) I saw an ad for a Charmed Comic re-boot coming in march. I found this amusing as I was in the middle of rewatching the entire TV series, so I pre-ordered it. I sat down and watched the entire TV series when I first got the collection back in 2008 and being stuck on the couch feeding Ethan at all hours seemed like a good enough reason for a rewatch.

Once I got home I started googling the comic series, as before that fateful trip to town I hadn’t realised there had ever been one. Oops and I call myself a Charmed Fan, shame on me. I found it available in collected volumes on amazon (kindle) and promptly began reading.

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Charmed: Season 9, Volume 1 (Charmed Comic Series collects issues 0-5) by Paul Ruditis, Constance M. Burge

Charmed Season 9 picks up where the TV show left off With the source of all evil defeated, The Charmed Ones, three witches destined to be the most powerful force for good our world has ever known, have embraced a new life. One of new family, friends, and a future without the constant battle between good and evil… or so they think.

Paperback, 176 pages. Published February 15th 2011 by Zenescope.

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Charmed: Season 9, Volume 2 (Charmed Comic Series collects issues 6-12) by Paul Ruditis, Constance M. Burge, Raven Gregory, Dave Hoover

The girls are back in town! Season 9 of Charmed continues in the pages of this graphic novel from Zenescope. Follow along everyone’s favorite trio of witches as Paige, Phoebe, and Piper continue their adventures from the hit TV series.

Paperback, 184 pages. Published September 20th 2011 by Zenescope.

My Thoughts: Zenescope has managed to move the girls to the comic medium quite well. Reading the comics I felt like I was still watching the show. The comic’s time line has moved forward slightly from the 8th TV season. I loved seeing Chris and Wyatt (Piper’s boys) a little bit older and seeing the other two sisters with children also. The family dynamic is still strong, with Granddad Victor on babysitting duties as the hubbies jump in to help in the dramatic last battle of Season 9 volume 2. The hubbies may be joining the battles some of the time now, but it’s still very much a magical woman in charge vibe. A must for fans of the show.

At the end of issue twelve we are left with a Prue size cliff-hanger thanks to a conversation between Patty and Cole – which forced me to go and buy volume 3 and realise I’m probably going to want to read all the Zenescope comics before I read my pre-ordered Dynamite first issue. DAMN IT!

For those who don’t know: The Charmed TV show spanned Eight Seasons and aired from 1998 -2006. It focused on three sister witches kicking bad guy ass and finding love. It was all about girl power, sisterhood, doing what is right and staying true to one’s self. Heaps of action was had; the demon killing kind and men wrangling kind, with plenty of eye candy for both the male and female viewers. The Charmed Comic series by Zenescope print run lasted from 2010 to 2016. Season 9 as they called it came out as 24 issues between June 2010 and November 2012 and Season 10 came out as 20 issues between October 2014 and September 2016. Dynamite now owns the rights to CHARMED and will be releasing its first Comic on the 8th March 2017.

Charmed #1 by [Schultz, Erica]

Dynamite is proud to present a brand-new Charmed story by writer Erica Schultz (Swords of Sorrow: Black Sparrow & Lady Zorro, Revenge) and artist Maria Sanapo (Grimm, DC Comics Bombshells) that will CHARM returning fans and new alike! Based on the popular WB television series that ran from 1998 to 2006. CHARMED, like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, had a cult following due to its supernatural fantasy storylines and strong female characters. Our debut series follows the characters played by Alyssa Milano, Holly Marie Combs, and Rose McGowan as they balance adult life with a new demon threat.

CHARMED #1: A dark force has set its sights on the art world of San Francisco and the only ones who can stop it are Phoebe, Paige, and Piper! Balancing work, witchcraft, and a life is never easy, and the Charmed Ones are stretched too thin. Meanwhile, a demon in the Underworld rallies the troops with a plan to take out the Charmed Ones forever.

Review: Disruption & Corruption by Jessica Shirvington

Oh wow, where do I start. I finished the last page of Disruption, made myself a fresh cuppa tea then opened up Corruption and continued Maggie’s journey. It was 833 pages of utterly enthralling action. Let me calm down and try to break this down (without spoilers).

19032994Disruption (Disruption #1) by Jessica Shirvington

What if a microchip could identify your perfect match?
What if it could be used against you and the ones you love?

Eight years ago, Mercer Corporation’s M-Bands became mandatory. An evolution of the smartphone, the bracelets promised an easier life. Instead, they have come to control it.

Two years ago, Maggie Stevens watched helplessly as one of the people she loves most was taken from her, shattering her world as she knew it.

Now, Maggie is ready. And Quentin Mercer – heir to the M-Corp empire – has become key to Maggie’s plan. But as the pieces of her dangerous design fall into place, could Quentin’s involvement destroy everything she’s fought for?

In a world full of broken promises, the ones Maggie must keep could be the most heartbreaking.

Published April 1st 2014 by HarperCollins. Goodreads View.

My Thoughts: Disruption sucked me in hard and fast. I wanted Maggie to succeed in her mission, all the while wishing more for her and her family. This books gives us blackmail, bad guy bullshit and sassy bitch brilliance. Maggie is a strong young woman that is not to be messed with. Maggie has worked hard to build up the skills she needs to succeed and she radiates a powerful darkness, but as the reader we get to see past the mentally disconnecting and physical conditioning she has created as her Armor to the real Maggie underneath, the broken soul who just wants to put things right. This book delivers us all the big game players, even if it doesn’t reveal all their true field positions. There is a big plot twist late on and a cliff-hanger that will have you needing to get your hands on the next book.

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Corruption (Disruption #2) by Jessica Shirvington

How do you live with yourself when you’ve deceived the one you love?

How do you move on when the person you’ve been fighting to save betrays you?

Two years ago, Maggie Stevens began the hunt.

Four weeks ago, Maggie’s world fell apart, when she finally
found what she’d been looking for. And when Quentin,
who had blindly trusted her, unravelled her web of lies.

Now, Maggie lives in the dark. But she’s not about to stay there.
Not when she still has to bring M-Corp down.
Not when there is still a chance she could win him back.

In the exhilarating conclusion to Disruption, Maggie must do
whatever it takes to show the world the truth.
And the price for her quest?

Everything.

Published November 1st 2014 by HarperCollins. Goodreads View.

My Thoughts: Corruption! I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN. We really get to know the characters and they feel real, well they did for me. Gus, Maggie, Quin, Travis, Morris and Liam – I loved them all! Actually the character Gus reminded me of a friend of mine. The scary thing with this dystopian is that it really isn’t that far-fetched. I’ve come to realise that the more, oh shit that could totally happen here in the next 10-20 years, a dystopian is the more I enjoy it. Hmmmm yet I love fantasy novels with dragons and trolls, yeah I have issues – ANYWAYS. This book has high stakes, high action, big plot twists, betrayal and forgiveness, world saving, love making (no sex scenes as such), corporate corruption and personal redemption. Maggie’s life tidy’s up nicely at the end, which is probably the most unrealistic part of the whole story, that and Quin’s ability to forgive. But I LOVE HAPPY ENDINGS so it’s all good. Well the ending is only as happy as it can be when a shit loads of innocent people have had to suffer and die along the way, but the bad guys get what’s coming to them, so that’s happy ever after enough for me.Five Stars

The Disruption duology is going on my Recommend-to-everyone-list along with the The Tribe Series, The Medoran Chronicles, The Illuminae Files and anything by the fantastic Will Kotastis. #LoveOzYA people, love that OZ YA!

Author Links: Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter

Review: Life Sentence by Lily Luchesi

She can fight evil, but can she fight the darkness in her own blood?

After the disastrous events with Miranda have subsided, Danny and Angelica have to adjust to a new kind of life at the Paranormal Investigative Division.

Fiona is still on the loose, and she has all of Hell on her side. Danny begins to enhance his psychic abilities with the help of a soul just like his. Angelica is caught between a rock and a very dark place.

Can their love survive these new trials, or will the past tear them apart?

* * * * My Thoughts * * * *
I’m sitting here pondering the three books that currently make up Lily’s Paranormal Detectives Series (a 4th is coming early next year!) and for the first time since Harry Potter a third book in a series is my favorite. Well for now because I don’t know  what the forth book will bring.

This installment was fast paced and action packed. I really enjoyed reading this paranormal /horror /action /romance mix. If this book was on a menu it would read: Flash back entree, Demon action main with a side dish of psychic powers and newly turned vampire and a large serve of Inter-species romance for desert.

I was excited at the end of Miranda’s Rights to see how Leander’s character played out in this book and I was not disappointed. I was drawn to Leander in Miranda’s Rights. I was intrigued by his darkness and mystery. The whole time I was reading Life Sentence I had to remind myself he was the “bad guy” and I shouldn’t like him, but meh, I dug his self-righteousness and self-imposed darkness – oh dear, moving right along.

I loved the edition of Mark and Brighton’s characters and the initial stand-off-ish suspicion between Danny & Brighton. I really hope Mark, Brighton and Danny are back for the next installment, but the feeling I got the feeling from the epilogue that we might be following Angie solo in book four with appearances from Leander. I’m sure what ever direction Lily takes the characters in it will be awesome. I will have to patiently wait and see. Five “It drew me in and I would happliy re-read” Stars

Five Stars
* * * * Lily’s Links * * * *

Release Day Blitz: Life Sentence by Lily Luchesi

 
 
BRAND NEW RELEASE!
Title: Life Sentence (Paranormal Detectives Book Three)
Author: Lily Luchesi
Genre: Horror, paranormal, mystery
BlurbShe can fight evil, but can she fight the darkness in her own blood?
After the disastrous events with Miranda have subsided, Danny and Angelica have to adjust to a new kind of life at the Paranormal Investigative Division.
Fiona is still on the loose, and she has all of Hell on her side. Danny begins to enhance his psychic abilities with the help of a soul just like his. Angelica is caught between a rock and a very dark place.
Can their love survive these new trials, or will the past tear them apart?
 
 
Books one and two are also on sale today only (August 2nd). Click the photograph below to catch up on the series for just $1!
 
 
Watch the trailer for Life Sentence, featuring the song “Together” by Matt Lande (used with permission).
 


EXCERPT from Life Sentence:“Well, well, little vamplet,” the wolf growled, “it is a true pleasure to see you in person. I see you got my note.”
“Ever hear of email?” Angelica asked. Danny felt the tension in her body flowing in waves. She was just barely restraining herself from launching at the wolf, getting revenge for her fallen employee. “You of know me, eh? Well, then you know what I’m capable of.”
“Oh, I do,” it growled deeply, as if pleased. “And I want to challenge you.”
“Challenge me?” Angelica asked. “To what?”
“A fight. Just us, to see who can win in an old-fashioned, one-on-one brawl.”
“It’s been a while since I was challenged hand-to-hand. You sure you’re up for it?”
Angelica’s smirk was a little alarming. Danny saw Brighton open his mouth to speak, but thought better of it at the look on her face. Angelica was about to go one-on-one with a cursed shifter. Any idiot could tell you that that was a bad idea, even for a full-blooded vampire.
“Can you promise me that your male harem back there won’t get involved? Because if they do, this whole thing is off the table,” the wolf said.
Angelica chuckled. “They know better than to interfere.”
Brighton grabbed Danny’s sleeve. “Are you really going to let her do this?”
“Do you think I can stop her? Or even help her? You know her, Brighton. She’ll incapacitate me in a second before going about the fight as if I never interrupted,” Danny said. “Stubborn as a mule.”
“I can hear you,” she said as she began to remove her black gloves. Her eyes never left the wolf in front of her. “Tell me, why do this? Your orders are to kill me, not challenge me.”
The wolf growled before it answered. “I heard what you did to the ones who came before me. They underestimated you. The only way for me to get a real, fair fight is to challenge you head-on. Why do you think I let that crazy witch turn me in the first place? For the power. I love a challenge. You, Angelica Cross, are a challenge.”
Angelica turned around and placed her two guns on the ground, as promised. She had not brought her sword in her haste to catch the wolf. “Then let’s go–monster to monster.”
The shifter scoffed. “At least I’m not still part human.”
Angelica’s eyes darkened, turning blood red. Her claws started to extend, something that had never happened when she was a vamplet. Finally, Danny watched as her jaw became distended, and her fangs released. These were not the two “Dracula” fangs she had had before: these were the long needle fangs every vampire had. Each tooth became thin and sharp, while the canines on the top and bottom reaching over two inches in length.
“See, that’s the thing: neither am I.”

About Lily:
 
Lily Luchesi is a young author/poet born in Chicago, Illinois, now residing in Los Angeles, California. Ever since she was a toddler her mother noticed her tendency for being interested in all things “dark”. At two she became infatuated with vampires and ghosts, and that infatuation turned into a lifestyle by the time she was twelve, and, as her family has always been what they now call “Gothic”, she doesn’t believe she shall ever change. She is also a hopeless romantic and avid music-love who will always associate vampires with love, blood, and rock and roll.
Her interest in poetry came around the same time as when she was given a book of Edgar Allan Poe’s complete work. She then realized that she had been writing her own poetry since she could hold a pen, and just had not known the correct terms. She finished her first manuscript at the age of fourteen, and was first published at twenty-one.
Her debut novel, Stake-Out (Paranormal Detectives Series Book One), was published by Vamptasy Publishing on May 19th, 2015. Book two, Miranda’s Rights, was released on January 8th, 2016. Book three, Life Sentence, will be released on August 2nd, 2016 by Vamptasy Publishing, and book four (title TBA) was also just accepted by the publisher and will be released in January 2017.
She has a short story, “Undead Ever After” in the CHBB Publishing anthology Love Sucks (released on June 13th, 2015). Her first erotic short story, “Have No Fears”, was published in the Hot Ink Press anthology Naughty Bedtime Stories: In Three Words on October 10th, 2015. She will also have a short erotic horror story, “The Devil’s Dozen”, in the upcoming Hot Ink Press anthology Death, Love, Lust, which was released on February 4th, 2016. Her horror short “Too Young To Kill” was released in the CHBB Publishing anthology Lurking In The Shadows on June 28th, 2016.
 
Links:

Chains of Water and Stone by Katherine Hurley

24896872Chains of Water and Stone (Griever’s Mark #2) 

by Katherine Hurley

Who is Logan’s father? The question has been whispered behind his back all his life. He’s ignored it, forced himself not to care, but when Belos starts demanding an answer to this very question, it takes on a new and disturbing significance.

As the race to answer this question begins, others rise in its wake, unearthing a mystery that could shake the very foundation of Earthmaker life, a mystery that could shake the whole world apart.

But Astarti has more immediate concerns. Logan is in grave danger, and she’s desperate to get to him before he is destroyed–body, mind, and soul.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ My Thoughts ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I’m feeling like a teenage fangirl at the moment. I didn’t want to put this book down and I enjoyed it even more than the first one.

I’m going to use a phrase I’ve only used once before in a review. Ship! As in; I totally ship Astarti and Logan. Actually the plain and frumpy 14-year-old that still resides inside my head wants TO BE Astarti.

In this second instalment we follow Astarti as she fights to free Logan from Belos, the man who was previously her captor. Logan and Astarti’s love grows even more, with them finally admitting, damn the consequences, that they love each other. Their love is delicious and made me fell all warm and fuzzy inside.

Astarti finds a friend, helper and protector in Horik her father’s champion warrior. I loved Horik becoming a major character in this book.

Once Astarti and Horik have freed Logan, we see the three of them partake in a quest for the truth behind Logan’s parentage.

By the end of the book we have found out the truth about what Logan is and a power as old as time has fallen into dangerous hands. Kathrine has set herself up for an Epic third book.

This book has action, romance, revenge, mystic tales of old, destruction, family secrets, a world in turmoil, dancing, pub brawls, evil creepy old skeletal men, clashes between rival races, grandmother visiting, self-discovery, magic, mystery and mead.

I love the world Kathrine’s has created. I love Astarti blending the elements of her earth with the energy of her soul. Actually I find both Astarti and Logan’s powers beautiful and fascinating.

I’ve been trying to decide if this book would stand on its own or not. I think it would still be an enjoyable fantasy fling, but you need to read the first book first to get a grip on how evil Belos’s is and where Logan and Astarti’s love first began.

I received a review copy for the first book in this series, The Griever’s Mark, from Kathrine. I liked it so much I pre-ordered this book as soon as it was available. But then I got so bogged down in review copies and other things I had scheduled, that I only recently got to finally read it. Since it took me so long to read number two I don’t have to wait for number three. Unbound (Griever’s Mark #3) has just been realised. Silver lining right there!

star.5Do you dare to step into the Drift?

24202316The Griever’s Mark (#1)

Astarti’s master controls her through a Leash, a bond of energy anchored deep within her. Despite being one of the few remaining Drifters, able to manipulate the energy world, she cannot break free. She knows her fate: she will serve until she dies, at which point her master will harvest her energy to augment his own.

Oh, yes, she’s done some bad things in her master’s name. She’s not asking for forgiveness. She expects you to hate her.

What she doesn’t expect is Logan, a man meant to be her sworn enemy. A man with secrets as dark as her own.

As the growing conflict forces Logan to embrace his newly discovered heritage, he fights to control a power he has long kept buried—a power that threatens everything he has tried to make of himself. Desperate to spare Astarti yet another burden, he tries to hide his crumbling control, but she has long since learned to recognize a lie. As Logan becomes a danger to himself and those around him, Astarti must find a way to help him, even if he doesn’t want it.

Unfortunately, Astarti has other problems. Good and evil wear ever-shifting faces, the right course of action grows increasingly unclear, and the stakes are only getting higher. In this final installment of The Griever’s Mark trilogy, Astarti must decide, once and for all, what she stands for–and what she is willing to sacrifice.

Want to know more about Katherine and her books:

Goodreads | Twitter | Website | Amazon AU | Amazon US

The Field Trip by R.A. Andrade

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The Field Trip by R.A. Andrade

Published: May 1st 2015 by Selladore Press, 272 Pages

Thank you to the Author, Publisher and Net Galley for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book.

Synopsis mk3An adventure mixed with a touch of fantasy. Add a twist of love.

Although clumsy with women, botany professor Ross Barton possesses the quality of fearlessness when confronting danger. Relieved to be escaping routine school work and a bad relationship for a field research trip, a strange woman and danger are the last of his expectations.

Jay, an awkward young woman unwilling to disclose her past, begins a solitary hike into the forest with a pet concealed in a box. She claims the pet is a cat.

Rumors are spreading about odd lights in the night skies of New England.

A flight instructor reports that the government quarantined an area of Vermont woods.

All trails intersect on The Field Trip.

My Thoughts mk3

I’ve struggled writing this review, while there were some good qualities in this book; I just didn’t connect with it.

Ross: Professor of Botany Ross Barton is 35, terrified of woman and single. He is sweet, naive, gullible and later on in the story bizarrely develops into an action hero.

The story starts off alternating between following Ross and a group of unnamed men in white lab coats at an unnamed facility. Ross is easily likable and the mysterious white coats are interesting, driving the story forward.

We meet Jay via a run-in Ross has with her while getting supplies for his trip. It’s not long after Ross starts his trip that the two story lines meet up and we are just following Ross through.

Jay: I guessed Jay Jay and Oswald’s secret earlier on and at first I really liked Jay’s character, she was aloof, aggressive and mysteries. The emotional turn around she does just felt too fast and rushed. I would have liked to see Ross and Jay’s relationship build more before blooming.

Oswald: Funny, twisted, sarcastic, but far too intelligent to be believable as a pet on any planet.

I could never tell where the story was going and that unpredictability was at times frustrating, but also one of the books better qualities, as more often than not you can guess what’s going to happen in a story.

The ending was a little hard to swallow. I liked that Jay was back. I was over the moon that Oswald was back. But no one asked Marsha what she wanted – It felt like body snatching and didn’t sit well with me.

I feel bad giving it only Two (It was ok) Stars, but I can’t bring myself to give it Three (I Liked It) Stars. I would be willing to read more work by R.A. Andrade, as the story wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t for me.

Two Stars

Author’s Links mk3

Ron writes from a small community in Michigan, sometimes at three in the morning when ideas wake him from sleep. He was born and raised in New England, sometimes drawing on those childhood and teen experiences for his novels. Driven to write, his goal is simply to entertain by bringing you the unexpected.

Website – http://www.raandrade.com/

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/10531683.R_A_Andrade

Stake-Out (Paranormal Detectives Book One) by Lily Luchesi

young ghost hunter in a haunted forest

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Detective Danny Mancini is on a case, following a murder suspect. When he catches him, he finds out that the perp isn’t even human: he’s a 200 year old rogue vampire!

The department doesn’t believe him, and puts him on early retirement, despite his many years of service to the Chicago Police Department, which sends him into a downward spiral.

Two years later, Danny gets an invitation from the beautiful, young and very attractive Detective Angelica Cross to join a secret branch of the FBI to help her track down Vincent, the wayward vamp.

But renegade werewolves, meddling immortal witches and Danny’s strange visions of a life lived a century ago with Angelica make things more difficult than it should be.My Thoughts mk3From the beginning it is easy to care about Danny – A detective doing his job and doing it well, who witnesses’ something unbelievable. And of course no one believes him; he is pushed out of the CPD, labelled as crazy and unfit for work. Danny is barely surviving, living on bottle after bottle of booze when along comes Angelica Cross and the PID (The secret paranormal investigation department of the FBI). A Vamplet, Angelica is the daughter of a human male and a vampire female. Angelica is sexy, strong and determined to catch the bad guys. Though the whole book Danny struggles, he’s had so much thrown at him and never really recovers. I hope that in the next or third book his life can come together for him. At the very end of the epilogue, I felt like there was hope of that, as he’d realised his mistakes.

Even though it was easy to guess Angelica Cross’s big secret early on, I loved that Danny didn’t. There are all sorts’ twists and turns along the way, some expected, some not. The story was fast paced, action packed, entertaining and emotional. I was swept up in Danny and Angelica’s world.

In this the first book, we meet two villains, but only one of them dealt with, leaving what could be an epic show down between Angelica and the powerful and malicious witch Fiona Gullifoyle.

I am really looking forward to the next installment. Bring It On.

My favourite parts:

The flash backs to Danny’s previous life, I loved the whole epilogue (even read it twice).

The vampiric history lesson Angelica gives Danny – Fascinating.

All the little snippets of song lyrics that accompany each chapter break – It is a really lovely, quirky touch. The emotion in the song lyrics matched the chapters perfectly each time.

Aesomenessbio linkdLily Luchesi is a young author/poet born in Chicago, Illinois, now residing in Los Angeles, California. Ever since she was a toddler her mother noticed her tendency for being interested in all things “dark”. At two she became infatuated with vampires and ghosts, and that infatuation turned into a lifestyle by the time she was twelve, and, as her family has always been what they now call “Gothic”, she doesn’t believe she shall ever change. She is also a hopeless romantic and avid music-lover, and will always associate vampires with love, blood and rock and roll. Her interest in poetry came around the same time as when she was given a book of Edgar Allan Poe’s complete work. She then realized that she had been writing her own poetry since she could hold a pen, and just had not known the correct terms. She finished her first manuscript at the age of fourteen, and now, at twenty-one, has two contributing credits in anthologies and the debut novel, Stake-Out.

Twitter – www.twitter.com/LilyLuchesi

Facebook Page – www.facebook.com/LilyLuchesi

Facebook Profile – www.facebook.com/lilyluchesibooks

Instagram – www.instagram.com/lilyluchesi

Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7369101.Lily_Luchesi

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Prev post with Lily discussing the writing off Stake-Out http://wp.me/p431Gp-my

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Fast and Loose by Nicholas J. Johnson

25374404Fast and Loose by Nicholas J. Johnson

Published: 1st July 2015

Thanks to the author, publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis mk3Joel Fitch used to be a con artist.

That is, until his scam paid off but his life went belly up. Now, two years later, at the ripe old age of 22, Joel has a mattress full of cash and no idea what comes next. The movies never tell you what to do after you’ve walked into the sunset.

Besides, Joel’s past is catching up with him. One of the victims from his con artist days has hunted him down. Far from exacting revenge, though, he wants Joel’s help. Danny Hemming is a TV journalist on television’s trashiest current-affairs program and he’s looking for someone to give him the inside scoop on the latest scams. And he’s not taking no for an answer.

Once again, Joel finds himself in over his head as he enters the murky world of tabloid television. Blackmailed into helping Hemming uncover and expose the country’s biggest swindlers, Joel is making more enemies than ever.

Goodreads-Button-with-Shadow My Thoughts mk3

I liked this book and the fact that I enjoyed it even though it wasn’t filled with forbidden or unrequited love, fantastical creatures or other worlds, like the books I normally read, for me shows how good a story teller Mr Johnson is.

The main characters; Joel Fitch a 22 year old millionaire ex-con-man and Danny Hemming TV “Journalist” with his eyes on the top producers’ job – Neither character is really all that like-able, but they don’t need to be. This book is fast paced, easy to read and flows well. It is set in Sydney, so it’s just down the road from me (kinda). I found it interesting taking a peek into a criminal world that goes on every day under all our noses. Now I’m not stupid, I know this stuff goes on, but obviously not everyone does as the Con-men out there are still thriving.

I mainly read stories that let me escape the world we live in – this story is the world we live in!! Even though I wasn’t glued to the pages, it was well worth the read and I’m looking forward to reading more from Mr Johnston.Three Stars

Author’s Links mk3

Nicholas J. Johnson knows scams.

After decades of rubbing shoulders with fraudsters and liars, he now works as a performer, writer and consultant, educating the public about the tricks of the con artist’s trade.

His live shows have featured at corporate events, schools and private events simultaneously entertaining and educating audiences about con artists and scams.

As an expert on fraud and deception he has appeared on A Current Affair, The Project, Sunrise, Kid’s WB, Today, Radio National, Triple J and more. He has consulted with everyone from magician David Blaine to Circus Oz.

A critically acclaimed comedian, Nicholas has performed at Edinburgh Fringe, Adelaide Fringe and the Melbourne Comedy Festival where he was nominated for the Golden Gibbo award for best independent comedy.

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/NicholasJJohnson

Website – http://www.conman.com.au/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/countlustig

YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/user/TrickyNick79

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/honestconman

Ice Kissed by Amanda Hocking

18132923Ice Kissed (Kanin Chronicles #2) by Amanda Hocking

Publish Date: May 5th 2015

A big thank you to Net Galley, Amanda Hocking and her publishers for allowing me the opportunity to read and review Ice Kissed.

Synopsis mk3

In the majestic halls of a crystal palace lies a secret that could destroy an entire kingdom…

Bryn Aven refuses to give up on her dream of serving the kingdom she loves. It’s a dream that brings her to a whole new realm…the glittering palace of the Skojare.

The Skojare people need protection from the same brutal enemy that’s been threatening the Kanin, and Bryn is there to help. Being half Skojare herself, it’s also a chance for her to learn more about her lost heritage. Her boss Ridley Dresden is overseeing the mission, but as their undeniable attraction heats up, their relationship is about to reach a whole new level—one neither of them is prepared for.

As they delve deeper into the Skojare world, they begin to unravel a long-hidden secret. The dark truth about her own beloved Kanin kingdom is about to come to light, and it’ll change her place in it forever…and threaten everyone she loves.

My Thoughts mk3I liked the synopsis of this book and requested to read and review it without realising it was the second book in a trilogy. OOPS!! But I read it anyway. I kinda wish I’d read the first book Frostfire first. I really enjoyed Ice Kissed anyway. I grew to love the characters, but I assume I would have already loved them if I’d read Frostfire first. And more than likely the big moment at the end would have meant more. I didn’t understand the depth of the ending of Ice Kissed until reading the synopsis of the first book while doing up this review post and I had an “Oh Snap!” moment.

A lot of the books I’ve been reading lately have been third person. It was so refreshing to step into a first person story via Bryn. I find first person to be so much more emotional and personal, I know it doesn’t work with every story – but it works wonders with this one.

The story starts with Bryn recapping a failed mission with Ridley and beating herself up over the failure. From the beginning scene of Bryn riding on horseback through the snow along high city walls, I was thinking “yeah I love medieval times, bring on some epic king Arthur settings and battles”. Then the words drove and SUV popped up and I was like “um, what, where the hell am I!”

Magic: After reading further on I was able to figure it all out: this is a story of trolls. I saw them in my head as human, oops. It is set in current times. The human world still exists, just as it is and the Trolls use a lot of our modern technology, hence the Range Rover they were driving in. I’m sure in the first book the whole world would have been built and I’d have already known this. We don’t see this Troll world thanks to magical Troll enchantments. Amanda Hocking really has beautifully blended our modern world with that of a Troll world secretly going on under our noses.

Romance: Bryn and Ridley have a forbidden romance thing going on. Ah it’s always sweeter when it’s forbidden. It’s always more exciting – well that’s my opinion.

At the 34% there is a sex scene which I wasn’t expecting, it’s not over the top or porno feeling. Stress less people. But it did make me realise I had no idea how old the characters were supposed to be. Also my brain went “Troll Sex, Um, well Trolls are humanoid, yes, yes, I’m imagining this correctly”. And really they are very human these trolls, they just live in secret from humans and have magical abilities. I’d been imagining Bryn as about 17-ish, but she may have been older, I really don’t know. She started working at twelve and after that I found it hard to figure out her time line.

Action: After the 34% mark the books takes off at light speed with Bryn leaving Ridley and her home with the Kanin to help the Skojare. At this point I delved into a fast flowing world of danger and mystery and Bryn fighting for what she feels is right. And I loved it. And I’m devastated that I have to wait until August to read the next book and see how things turn out.  And I’m not going to tell you anymore about it or I’ll give away all the  twisty turny awesomeness.

I really enjoyed being in Bryn’s head, I found her really engaging and her life captivated me. FIVE STARS.

AesomenessAuthor’s Links mk3Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3486415.Amanda_Hocking

Twitter: https://twitter.com/amanda_hocking

Facebook: www.facebook.com/amandahockingfans

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/aehocking/

Wattpad: www.wattpad.com/AmandaHocking

Website: www.worldofamandahocking.com