Monday, 29 August 2011

Book Review: Sleepwalkers

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 566 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0757315887
  • Publisher: HCI Teens (3 Oct 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language English
  • ASIN: B0058O3HKI

Privileged and popular Caleb Mason is celebrating his high school graduation when he receives a mysterious, disturbing letter from his long-lost childhood playmate, Christine. Caleb and his jokester friend Bean decide to travel to his tiny hometown of Hudsonville, Florida, to find her. Upon arrival, they discover the town has taken a horrifying turn for the worse.  Caleb's childhood home is abandoned and his father has disappeared. Children are going missing. The old insane asylum has reopened, and Christine is locked inside. Her mother, a witch, is consumed with madness, and Christine's long-dead twin sister whispers clues to Caleb through the static of an A.M. radio.

The terrifying prophesies of the spirits are coming to pass. Eighteen clocks are ticking; sixty-six murdered souls will bring about the end of the world. As Caleb peels back layer after layer of mystery, he uncovers a truth more horrible than anything he had imagined, a truth that could only be uttered by the lips of the dead.

Sleepwalkers was a perfect blend of horror and suspense. The author kept the reader fully engaged as the story developed, the tension mounting page by page.

Primarily leading us through the story is rich and privileged Caleb. He has the rest of his life planned out…until a letter from a childhood friend changes everything. After all, the best way to make God laugh is to make a plan.

Instead of heading to Africa like planned, Caleb’s letter takes him back to his roots, but things are not quite as he remembered. The place is dilapidated and falling apart, the wilderness reclaiming the man-made instrusion. Most disturbing of all was his abandoned childhood home.

The residents of the town have turned a blind eye to the mysterious disappearing of the children – certain people not even raising an eyebrow.

Caleb’s search takes him to the Dream Centre – a converted insane asylum – where he is reunited with Christine, his childhood friend, who gives him yet another cryptic clue to what is happening in his hometown.

The clock is ticking for Caleb, who must get to the bottom of the strange goings on…if he wants to escape with his own life intact.

Sleepwalkers was reminiscent of Stephen King, who is the creater of horror novels as we know today. The author has a witty and sharp dark sense of humour which I loved and lightened the  haunting pages without completely distracting from the fear.

Any YA, horror, mystery or suspense fan will love this book. It is not to be missed.

Tick tock. 


Thursday, 25 August 2011

Book Review: Hunting Kat

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 238 KB
  • Publisher: Carina Press (4 July 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language English
  • ASIN: B005078OME

As a mercenary, Kat Darah doesn't have to pass for a normal human. On the edge of the solar system, she's just another biped. Most of the time.
Nearing the end of his military tour, Lt. Christopher Rygard debates the idea of hanging up his uniform for good. Looking for answers at the bottom of a glass of scotch, he meets Kat. One shared night of mutual desire seems harmless. But when their tryst is interrupted by attackers hunting Rygard, Kat must reveal her other form, the predator beneath the human façade.
Together they embark on a dangerous mission—a race against time to meet the enemy's demands, while trying to deny the passion between them. Rygard is faced with a terrible choice in the face of duty: Report the existence of a human turned shape-shifter. Or forget he ever met her.
25,000 words

Hunting Kat was a sexy, action-packed and thrilling ride of sci-fi fantasy adventure.

Our protagonist, Kaitlyn, is the kick-ass heroine of the book. There is no doubt Kaitlyn is one of the most interesting characters I have come across in a long while. With a beautiful and tough exterior, she manages to keep herself distanced from most people…particularly men.

Kat is content with her life as a merc, but those closest to her feel she needs some down time. Kat is tricked into a two-day holiday, where she meets Rygard during a bar brawl. Rygard ticks all the boxes for Kat – handsome, uniform, can hold his own against her. The sparks fly between the two and it isn’t long before Kat leads him back to her room.

Their evening is ruined when Rygard is attacked and Kat reveals her closely guarded secret in order to defend him.

The tension between Rygard and Kat was incredible and had me chewing on my nails. The action was superb – incredible fight scenes with plenty of suspense and gore. I adored the tenderness between the two protagonists, carefully balanced with the scorching passion.

Hunting Kat is one to gobble up in one sitting and is definitely not to be missed.


Monday, 22 August 2011

Book Review: Seers ARC

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Bonneville (8 Oct 2011)
  • Language English
  • ISBN-10: 1599557924
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599557922

For Kate Bennet, surviving the car wreck that killed her parents means big changes and even bigger problems. As she begins to see auras and invisible people, Kate must learn to trust Patrick O'Donnell, a handsome Guardian, or risk her life being overrun with Demons. She soon realizes that both she and her heart are in big-time trouble.

Seers was a fabulous new take on paranormal YA. It is a very difficult to create an original story in a genre over-run with paranormal beings, yet the author has done just this.

Our protagonist, Kate, leads us through the story. She was a very sympathetic character and one I feel a lot of young people could identify with. Kate faces a daily struggle of keeping up appearances, making sure the mask that covers the grief she sometimes finds overbearing, doesn’t slip.

When Kate meets hot, Irish, transfer student, Patrick, her carefully maintained world stars to crack and crumble around her. As her feelings for Patrick grow, she cannot ignore what has been missing in her relationship with Aaron.

But it isn’t just boy drama Kate has to deal with. Nope. She has the added complication of being a seer – a human with the ability to read auras. This makes her the subsequent target of Demons. Good thing for Kate she has a guardian or two watching her back.

The author keeps the tension up to the limits, making the reader ache to race through the pages to find out what will happen next. The action in Seers is incredible with immortal battles and an act that threatens to further rip Kate’s fragile family apart.

Seers was an enjoyable story and I could not put it down. The only thing I found distracting was the sudden POV shift from Kate to Patrick. I enjoy split POV novels, but Patrick’s chapter seemed to come out of nowhere and I found myself tripping a little to get back into the story.  That said, Patrick’s eyes are nice to look through.

This book is perfect for any action, YA, paranormal or romance lover. Something for everyone! 


Saturday, 20 August 2011

Book Review: Fezariu's Epiphany

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 522 KB
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1456500597

Suffering a betrayal as a young boy, Fezariu turns his back on his family. Convinced their way of life will help him leave his past behind, he joins the Merelax Mercenaries. In a quest to prove himself and survive his dangerous assignments in the Colonies, he's forced to forge new alliances but works hard to distance himself emotionally. Despite his determined focus to move on his thoughts are drawn back to Clarendon where the White Oak, an infamous brothel, holds the secret to his past and the childhood friend he abandoned still remains.

The author weaves an amazing world, bringing to life both characters and locations. Many fantasy novels get lost in the fantasy, too concerned with the worlds than the actions of the characters. Considering it is the characters who lead the reader through the story, this is a major faux pas.

Fortunately for Fezariu’s Epiphany, this is not the case. The surroundings for the author’s cast of character practically becomes a character in itself. The smell of baking bread and delicious cream pastries added to the charm of Alycea. The stench of the White Oak to the struggles of Jessamine. The smell of the burning city before Fezariu’s first campaign with the Merelax Mercenaries.

I lost myself in the story, of the plight of Jessamine and the struggles of Fezariu, the ache of loss within Alycea. The characters remained with me between my bouts of reading, playing on my mind and tempting me back.

Fezariu’s Epiphany has something for everyone – a tale of sweet, uncomplicated love, fierce action, incredible battles, trials of faith and conscience, sacrifices and heroic bravery. Fezariu’s Epiphany is more than a fantasy novel, and it is not to be missed.


Thursday, 18 August 2011

Book Review: Spellbound

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin; Original edition (21 Jun 2011)
  • Language English
  • ISBN-10: 0373210302
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373210305

What's a girl to do when meeting The One means she's cursed to die a horrible death?

Life hasn't been easy on sixteen-year-old Emma Connor, so a new start in New York may be just the change she needs. But the posh Upper East Side prep school she has to attend? Not so much. Friendly faces are few and far between, except for one that she's irresistibly drawn to—Brendan Salinger, the guy with the rock-star good looks and the richest kid in school, who might just be her very own white knight.
But even when Brendan inexplicably turns cold, Emma can't stop staring. Ever since she laid eyes on him, strange things have been happening. Streetlamps go out wherever she walks, and Emma's been having the oddest dreams: visions of herself in past lives—visions that warn her to stay away from Brendan. Or else.

Spellbound has the ultimate mix of magic, mystery, intrigue, romance and bitchy high school girls.

Emma feels like she loses everyone she loves and after a car crash that gave her the wake-up call she needed, she makes the decision to move to the Upper East Side with her aunt. Emma has to try and fit in with the rich and elite, all the while trying to keep herself together. Which isn’t easy, especially around super-hot Brendan.

As they grow closer, they realise there are forces at work that are thousands of years old. An ancient curse makes a happily-ever-after impossible for the two…though they are determined to overcome it.

Spellbound was charming and, without sounding cheesy, magical. The characters were sweet and tender, not to mention downright hilarious at times. A perfect blend of romance, mystery and tension keeps the reader engaged and anxious for more. Every story needs an evil villain, and Spellbound is no different. All I can say is, I’m seriously glad I never went to school with Kristen Thorn.

There is every opportunity for a sequel, and I sincerely hope there is one! 


Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Book Review: Lord of the Vampires ARC

Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Mills & Boon (7 Oct 2011)
  • Language English
  • ISBN-10: 0263883302
  • ISBN-13: 978-0263883305

Dangerously sexy vampire Nicolai was renowned for his virility, but now fate has turned against The Dark Seducer. Cast out from his home, Nicolai has been doomed to become a sex slave in the magical kingdom of Delfina. All that remains of Nicolai's mind is the primal need for freedom, revenge - and the only woman who can help him. The vampire calls to Jane Parker in her dreams, drawing her to his dark sensuality - and towards Delfina. Yet life is anything but a fairytale for humans in the mystical land. And while Jane may be the key to unlocking Nicolai's memory, exploiting her means dooming the only mortal he craves. Royal House of Shadows: Once upon a dark time, they were the only hope to bring their kingdom back to the light.

Lord of the Vampires is one of the best books in its genre I’ve read in a long while.

From the very first page, the author wrenches you from reality and places you firmly in the world of Nicolai and Jane. Lord of the Vampires is filled with action and suspense…not to mention the scorching desire from both main characters.

Told in alternating POVs, the reader is allowed a glimpse into the inner workings of both protagonists, a rare opportunity to know exactly what the other is thinking. While at times this can be torturous and frustrating watching them miss-interpret the other, at other times it is nothing short of spectacular.  It is not only the POVs that alternate – the locations do also. The contrast between Jane’s mortal world and Nicolai’s magically one is written beautifully, the lines blurring until you forget what you read is fiction.

It was a pleasure to read and watch Jane and Nicolai’s characters blossom and grow, the banter between the two electric and flirty. What I found most enjoyable to read was the difference between Nicolai’s thirst for vengeance and familiarity with anger and hatred, and the tenderness he feels for Jane.

I adored Showalter’s new world and breed of vampire. I will certainly be awaiting the rest of the series with bated breath. 


Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Book Review: Ashes Arc

Hardcover480 pages
Expected publication: September 6th 2011 by EgmontUSA

It is very hard these days to write a truly unique story. Especially a YA one. Yet this is exactly what the author has done.

Zombie novels and movies have been around forever. From Night of the Living Dead to World War Z, it feels like the same old recycled story line over and over again.

However, Ilsa Bick has created a new strain of the classic undead, created from a pulse that sweeps the planet (not a new medical miracle cure – that is way over done) that claimed billions of lives, and Changed countless others.

While Ashes is primarily a horror novel, it also weirdly an uplifting one. The author brings forth the worst aspects of humanity, but also let’s the best of it shine through too. Heroic acts and selfless people redeem the human race, keeping them away from the dangerous knife-edge we balance on that separates us from wild animals.

We are carried through the story by Alex, a young girl who has been dealt a multitude of hardships, but has not lost her fighting spirit. Alex is a remarkable character who manages to take survival to a whole new level, without resorting to barbaric acts.

While Ashes is full of fear and terrifying zombies, it also breathes hope. I found myself racing through the pages, eager to learn more and see where we would next be taken. Any reader will adore this book, and be left hungry for more. 


Saturday, 6 August 2011

Book Review: Stone Cold Seduction ARC

When a regular night of Robin Hood-ery results in the manifestation of some, um, unusual paranormal abilities, perfume-maker Elleodora Fredricks realizes the normal world she lives in isn’t quite… normal. And neither is she, thanks to her father, king of the shadow elves. Not only is he evil incarnate and the reason Elle moonlights as a burglar—someone has to take care of all his victims—he’s stolen her memories.

And only reading her fate can fix that.

Good thing she’s got a trio of hotties willing to help her find said fate, but only if she gives them something in return. Saving her oracle BFF’s fiance, falling in love with the gargoyle, and making up for breaking the phoenix’s heart ought to be a piece of cake for the princess of the shadow elves.

If only the king didn’t want his daughter dead…

Ahh, Stone Cold Seduction…how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

Well, you may have guessed. I have fallen head-over-heels, madly in love with this book. From the opening page, I knew it would ensnare me and hold me captive. And that it did.

Elle Fredricks is a small business owner. She has a shop where she invents and sells hand-made fresh cosmetics, soaps, lotions and bath bombs and the like. Elle’s life is a happy one, especially when she is coming up with new concoctions to sell. She also breaks into her hated father’s buildings and steals valuable gems and antiques.

Elle likes to think of herself as a modern-day, female Robin Hood. Her father is, to say the least, not a nice man whose not-niceness spreads far and wide. Elle sells the things she steals to give the money to people who have been affected by his very not-niceness.

One evening, as she is tottering along a thin ledge having just stolen a few gems from her father, Jax, Elle’s newest employee, appears at the scene. Jax’s appearance is a both pleasure and a confusion. It sets in motion a flurry of events that, if asked honestly, Elle would say she could have done without. Except the Jax part. That part she likes. Ahem, a lot.

Her best friend, Teryl, along with Jax, explain that she isn’t who she thought she was. And neither was her father. He just happens to be the King of the Shadow Elves, and she his heir.

Elle’s life is thrown for a loop, and it was refreshing to see a heroine flounder for a while. It gets pretty unrealistic when a woman’s life has been turned upside down and she accepts with style and good grace. Elle was definitely my kind of gal.

The cast of characters was superb (uh, I am SO Team Maclean, FYI). While Elle is struggling with a new identity crisis, she has three totally gorgeous, totally awesome guys to help her figure it out. The best friend, the new guy, and the guy from her past. Elle herself is amazing. Sarcastic, creative, gentle and the kind of girl you wished you could call your friend.

Stone Cold Seduction is so much more than a paranormal romance. It is a thriller and a mystery, and a little bit horror (especially with a certain Princess wielding not-nice dude on the scene). But you definitely can’t ignore the sparks that are flying – and there are a lot. The reader goes on a journey with Elle, who carries the weight of the book easily. You will hurt when she hurts, laugh when she laughs, and…yeah, other things too.

I do not say this lightly about books, and I truly mean it now. I cannot wait for the next instalment from Jess Macallan. 


Thursday, 4 August 2011

Escaping Normal Cover Art

I am so, so, so, SO excited to reveal the cover art for my first book to be published!

Total-E-Bound Publishing picked up my paranormal romance, Escaping Normal, for their Lust Bites category and is due to be published in November.

So here it is folks, a cover with my name on it. I hope it is the first of many!


Monday, 1 August 2011

Book Review: One Night in London ARC

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 5 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Collins, Inc. (30 Aug 2011)

A bargain that was all business . . . and pure passion.
Neither wealth nor beauty will help Lady Francesca Gordonwin custody of her young niece Georgina, saving thegirl from a cruel stepmother; she needs London’s top solicitorfor that. But when Edward de Lacey, son ofthe powerful Duke of Durham, hires away the one man whocan do the job, Francesca decides Edwardhimself must champion her case . . . if only she can meltthe dashing lord’s stony heart.
Edward has reason to be guarded, though. London’s tabloids have just exposed a secret that could ruin his entire family.When Francesca offers a unique chance to undo the damage, Edward is forced to agree to a partnership . . .and now, each moment together feeds the flames ofhis scandalous longing for the passionate widow. But whenGeorgina disappears, fate will test them both . . . and leave their love hanging in the balance.

One Night in London takes the reader’s breath from the very first page. Edward de Lacey is attending his father on his deathbed who is awaiting the return of his other two sons to say goodbye. The Duke of Durham has more than tender fairwells on his mind. It comes as a shock to his sons to learn that the Duke was married before their mother…and that the marriage technically was never officially ended, and therefore the marriage to their mother could be seen as bigotry…and the sons as bastards.

Edward, the middle son with the levellest head on all Durham affairs, heads to the city to employ the best lawyer he can find, to sort out the mess his father left behind. It is in doing this that he unwittingly angers Lady Francesca Gordon, who wanted the same lawyer, who is now unavailable thanks to de Lacey.

Francesca confronts him, her rising temper only sparking his curiosity. She finds a way to help him in his problem, if he will in turn help her. Working closely with Francesca, Edward slowly becomes entranced with her. They banter back and forth, the jibes making way for flirtation.

One Night in London has a colourful cast of characters who will not fail in charming and seducing you. Francesca is fiery and a wildcat, a woman of independence and action. Edward is honourable and gentlemanly, and downright wicked when needs be. The secondary characters are very evolved, many other authors not taking the time to do this. But Caroline Linden brings every single person to life on the page.

This book is one to be devoured and savoured all at the same time. But one thing is sure – you will not forget One Night in London.


Book Review: The Mephisto Covenant ARC

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: EGMONT - US (24 Nov 2011)
  • Language English
  • ISBN-10: 160684170X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606841709

Sasha is desperate to find out who murdered her father. When getting the answer means pledging her soul to Eryx, she unlocks a secret that puts her in grave danger - Sasha is an Anabo, a daughter of Eve and Eryx's biggest threat. A son of hell, immortal and bound to Earth forever, Jax looks for redemption in the Mephisto Covenant - God's promise he will find peace in the love of an Anabo. After a thousand years, he's finally found the girl he has been searching for: Sasha. With the threat of Eryx looming, Jaz has to keep Sasha safe and win her over. But can he?

The author unflinchingly launches the reader head first into action and intrigue with The Mephisto Covenant. At first glance, Sasha is a normal girl…albeit one served with a huge injustice. Her father was murdered. And Sasha is determined to discover the mystery behind his death; even if it means going to a group of people she’d do anything to avoid.

The Ravens are a secret society at her school – one that will kill a person’s popularity stone dead if they show even a hint of joining. But it is the Ravens who swear they can get Sasha the answers she needs. All she has to do is swear allegiance to their leader, Eryx.

Sasha figures she can mislead them – promise to take the oath, get her information then get the heck out of dodge. Her plan backfires when they see through it…resulting in deadly consequences.

The Ravens pelt Sasha with rocks and beat her within an inch of her life. They would have succeeded in taking it, had not the formidable yet gorgeous Jax, son of Hell, shown up.

The Mephisto Covenant was so much more than I expected it to be. I thought I was in for another YA romance, but colour me surprised when it turned out to be full of action, mystery, fear and bittersweet romance.

It was a joy to watch Jax and Sasha grow as characters as their relationship progressed. They were both charming and sympathetic, frustrating at times, but in a good way. The story itself was heart-stopping in a few places, achingly sweet in others. The author took the reader to the very precipice, dangled them over the edge and kept them there.

This book could very easily have become cheesy or too fanciful, but never did it become less than awesome to read. It is definitely one for older teens, with sex scenes more explicit than normally found. It would comfortably sit in the ‘New Adult’ niche in publishing, which I hope to see more of.

The Mephisto Covenant is the first in what is sure to be the next big series for teens and adults alike. 

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