31 October 2013

Conversion by S.C. Stephens Review

What they say: Emma is content. She's got a promising career in front of her, great friends, and a pretty amazing family. But her love life has been a little lacking lately. That's when fate steps in, and she crashes into a tall, dark and handsome man—Teren Adams.

He’s single, successful, an extraordinary gentleman, but he’s also secretive. And some of his secrets are more unusual than most people’s. For instance, he’s a “little bit” vampire. He has fangs, incredible hearing, unbelievable speed, and, on occasion, he enjoys drinking a steaming cup of blood. But he’s also very much alive. He has a heartbeat, loves steak as well as cappuccinos, and has no problems walking around during the day.

Since Teren acts human the majority of the time, the pros far outweigh the cons in Emma’s book. But when it becomes apparent that Teren’s condition is much more serious than he first lets on, and that being in a relationship with him requires more sacrifices than most would be willing to make, will Emma stay? Is love enough to compensate for a life that will never be anywhere near normal? But then again...what's normal anyway?
What I say: I think by now it's pretty clear I love a good vampire book, but with so many out there these days it's often hard to find a decent vamp story. Conversion by S.C. Stephens is a very different vampire story because it's not all about sexy-times nor is it overly heavy on the paranormal. The female lead Emma falls for a great guy who just happens to be a little bit vampire!
Conversion has it's own vampire mythology which I'll let you discover it for yourself because it adds to the charm of the story. Stephens includes lots of popular culture references and in-jokes. I personally loved how Teren's wacky family were the Adams family!
When Teren was going through his er...change I found him a bit frustrating but thankfully this didn't last too long. Emma was really funny and she had some brilliantly witty one-liners.
Conversion works because the vampires are generally really normal. I loved the idea of them playing crazy golf and farming cows.
I didn't read Conversion and the other books in the series the first time round but I enjoyed discovering it upon it's rerelease this year. I'm looking forward to book two!
4 Stars in my Sky!
My fav non-spoilery quotes:
  • There was a three-hole putting green, because what self-respecting vampire doesn't like to practice their putt?
  • I held my breath at the fire I saw burning in the glowing orbs. Bedroom eyes had nothing on sucking-on-your-thigh eyes.
  • In my most menacing tone, I firmly told her, "I will drag your sleeping ass out into the sun, if you so much as drop a fang at my sister."
  • "Good, I don't think I could keep seeing you if you ate dog. That's just gross."

Halloween Spooktacular Final Day

It's Halloween and I wanted to give y'all a last chance to enter the 
Spooktacular Giveaway Hop...

As part of the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop hosted by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer I'm offering you the chance to win:

1st Place = 1 x $10/£10 Amazon Gift Card ($ or £ depending on where you live). 

2nd Place = 1 x $5/£5 Amazon Gift Card

To enter the GIVEAWAY just fill out the rafflecopter form using any or all of the options below, they are: 

Follow on Facebook, follow @ziliinthesky on Twitter, follow the blog (you can pick whether on Google+, BlogLovin', email or GFC), leave me a fun spooky themed comment below!!

You can use as many or as little of the options, it's totally up to you!

The Hop runs from 15th to 31st October - so wotcha wait for, go win stuff!?


Blast from the past review: Hard Bitten (Chicagoland Vampires #4) by Chloe Neill

What they say: Times are hard for newly minted vampire Merit. Ever since shapeshifters announced their presence to the world, humans have been rallying against supernaturals—and they're camping outside of Cadogan House with protest signs that could turn to pitchforks at any moment. Inside its doors, things between Merit and her Master, green-eyed heartbreaker Ethan Sullivan, are tense. But then the mayor of Chicago calls Merit and Ethan to a clandestine meeting and tells them about a violent vamp attack that has left three women missing. His message is simple: get your House in order. Or else.

Merit needs to get to the bottom of this crime, but it doesn't help that she can't tell who's on her side. So she secretly calls in a favor from someone who's tall, dark, and part of an underground vamp group that may have some deep intel on the attack. Merit soon finds herself in the heady, dark heart of Chicago's supernatural society—a world full of vampires who seem to be ready to fulfill the protesting human's worst fears, and a place where she'll learn that you can't be a vampire without getting a little blood on your hands.
What I say: It's going to be hard for me to talk about anything other than the ENDING *sobs*, but I'll try.
In terms of Merit and Ethan: After their *ahem* session in the last book and Ethan's subsequent 'freak out', Ethan spent the rest of Twice Bitten and most of Hard Bitten trying to win Merit round again. The blame for this turn-around I put entirely with Ethan, and I can understand why Merit wants to distance herself from him. It will take a lot of work from Ethan to regain Merit's trust, but it was nice to see him trying. I did get sick of all the half-truths and lies he told her, but I suppose he has a lot at 'stake' (sorry couldn't resist)!!
I enjoyed seeing Merit call Morgan out on a few things, because let's be honest he NEEDED to hear them. I still like Morgan in a I'm-sure-he's-shifty kinda way. So if Morgan's out as competition for Ethan, than hello Jonah! The whole "Merit is mine" scene he provoked was brilliant.
I find all the stuff with Merit's father sort of distracting, but I wasn't expecting the level of involvement he actually had had with the vampires from the off. Clever and sneaky Chloe Neill!
I'm starting to sense warning signs about Mallory. I'm thinking her inner bad witch may come out to play soon.
A LOT happens in Hard Bitten and the Red Guard involvement has increased. It was also interesting to see the changed human opinion concerning the vampires; less as sexy and mysterious and more as evil, we must stake you all.
THE ENDING!! Er well, it would have massively ruined my day if I had read the Chicagoland series back when it was first published and didn't already have some semblance of what's going to happen. BUT reading the event actually unfold was really sad. Neill must have been expecting some kind of fallout from the ending and I wonder how far in advance she planned the series.
Much better than Twice Bitten, but also really frustrating. Hard Bitten is a good edition to the series in terms of world building and helping Merit grow.
4 Stars in my Sky!
My fav non-spoilery quotes:
  • Sometimes hanging out in pyjamas with a good book sounded like a phenomenal idea.
  • Only a four-hundred-year-old vampire would wonder if a grad student could understand procrastination.
  • "Be stubborn if you wish to, if you need to, but we know how this will end."
  • It was my TBR-my To Be Read stack. The usual subjects were there. Chick lit. Action. A Pulitzer Prize winner. A romance novel about a pirate and a damsel in a low-cut blouse (What? Even vampire enjoys a little bodice ripping now and again).

30 October 2013

Review: Bully by Penelope Douglas

What they say: My name is Tate. He doesn't call me that, though. He would never refer to me so informally, if he referred to me at all.

We're neighbors, and once, we were best friends. But then, one summer, he turned on me and has made it his mission to screw up my life at every opportunity. I've been humiliated, shut out, and gossiped about all through high school. His pranks and rumors got more sadistic as time wore on, and I made myself sick trying to hide from him. I worried about what was around every corner and behind every door.

So I left.

I spent a year studying abroad and bathed in the freedom of life without Jared. Now I'm back to finish up high school and get the hell out of here forever. I'm hoping that after a year of breathing room, he's moved on and forgotten all about me.

But even if he hasn't changed, I have. I'm not interested in avoiding him or turning the other cheek anymore. We're going to go head to head, because neither of us wants to back down.

What I say: I'm in two minds about Bully and it took me a while to actually write up my review because I couldn't figure out if I loved or hated it. Tate and Jared are enemies who live next door to each other. They were childhood best friends until Jared returned from visiting his estranged father when he was 14 and started bullying Tate. Tate has now returned to America for her senior year of high school after spending a year abroad in France. After putting up with years of Jared's abuse and bullying, Tate is no longer prepared to sit by and take it.
The problems I had with the book were mainly based around Jared's actions towards Tate. He is absolutely vile to her, making her pretty much a leper at school. I felt Tate was extremely forgiving, far more so than I could ever hope to be. Tate finds an inner strength but she is willing to forgive some pretty nasty actions and words. The things Jared has done to her were bad BUT the things he said to her were far worse.
My other problem is Jared himself. I didn't think his reasons for being a bully in any way justified his actions. For most of the book I desperately wanted to know why he was like that, but when I discovered more about his history I still couldn't forgive him completely. I think a lot of it was because he continuously tortured the one person who meant more to him than anything because it was his coping technique. I think the length of time he carried on his harsh behaviour was what actually annoyed me. I could understand his initial hurt reaction and his lashing out but to carry it on for years seemed extreme.
The things I didn't like about Bully were in a perverse way also the things I really liked! Jared's darkness was intriguing and I enjoyed reading more about their childhood. Although I would have liked Tate to stand up for herself earlier and to hold more of a grudge, that just wasn't her and I supported this about her personality.

4 infuriating Stars in my Sky!

My fav non-spoilery quotes:
  • "This is how bullies are made I thought, but it still felt good to lash out, and I didn't want to stop."
  • "I wasn't protecting you," Jared said matter-of-factly, pinning me with a heated stare. "I was jealous."
  • "Hey, Tate. I'll do a threesome with you. My compass always points North."
  • I saw Sam peeking in, looking comically like Dobby cowering behind Lucius Malfoy.

Waiting on Wednesday: Defy by Sara B. Larson

Waiting on Wednesday is my weekly post where I obsess over the shiny new books  I cannot wait to read!

This week I'm waiting on...Defy by Sara B. Larson

What they say: A lush and gorgeously written debut, packed with action, intrigue, and a thrilling love triangle.

Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king's army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince's guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can't prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard and friend Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory.

The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she's sworn to protect?

  • Expected publication January 7th 2014 by Scholastic Press

Why I'm waiting on Defy...

  1. I love a fierce heroine!
  2. I like the Twelfth Night inspired girl-as-boy twist.
  3. The idea of the girl saving the boy sounds fun.


29 October 2013

Sentinel Blog Tour by JLA - Pure Day

I'm extremely excited to be part of Jennifer L. Armentrout's Sentinel blog tour!! 

To celebrate the release of the final instalment in the Covenant series, Jennifer, Spencer Hill Press and Stuck in Books are hosting a swan-song tour remembering the entire series before we get our hands on the last book and say goodbye to Alex, Aiden and Seth.
I absolutely loved the second Covenant novel so I'm remembering Pure on the blog today! 

There are a whole heap of Covenant goodies coming up including an AWESOME Giveaway, a Pure related Mini Interview with Jennifer, you can relive my Pure review and don't forget to follow the rest of the tour here!

What they say about Pure:

There is need. And then there is Fate. 
Being destined to become some kind of supernatural electrical outlet isn't exactly awesome--especially when Alexandria's "other half" is everywhere she goes. Seth's in her training room, outside her classes, and keeps showing up in her bedroom--so not cool. Their connection does have some benefits, like staving off her nightmares of the tragic showdown with her mother, but it has no effect on what Alex feels for the forbidden, pure-blooded Aiden. Or what he will do--and sacrifice--for her. When daimons infiltrate the Covenants and attack students, the gods send furies--lesser gods determined to eradicate any threat to the Covenants and to the gods, and that includes the Apollyon--and Alex. And if that and hordes of aether-sucking monsters didn't blow bad enough, a mysterious threat seems willing to do anything to neutralize Seth, even if that means forcing Alex into servitude--or killing her. When the gods are involved, some decisions can never, ever be undone.

Where to Buy Pure:

Author Spotlight: # 1 New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Jennifer L. Armentrout Lives in West Virginia.

All the rumors you heard about her state aren’t true.

Well, mostly. When she's not hard at work writing, she spends her time, reading, working out, watching zombie movies, and pretending to write.

She is the author of the Covenant Series (Spencer Hill Press), the Lux Series (Entangled Teen), Don't Look Back (Disney/Hyperion) and a yet untitled novel (Disney/Hyperion), and new YA paranormal series with Harlequin Teen.

Jennifer also writes New Adult and Adult romance under the pen name J. Lynn. The Gamble Brothers Series (Tempting the Best Man/Tempting the Player) and Wait for You. Under her pen name, she is published with Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

Jennifer has got to be one of the hardest working and most generous authors out there. She is very supportive of her fans/readers and is always hosting Giveaways and posting book excerpts/extras on her blog. To find out more about Jennifer the head here:

Spencer Hill Press is giving away a $200 gift card to Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Book Depository or any indie bookstore of the winner's choice to not only stock up on amazing books, but to perhaps buy a Nook HD or Kindle Fire. 

Mini Interview With Jennifer about Pure:

For JLA – Pure has been called Seth’s book.  Did fans reaction to Seth surprise you?  I wasn’t really surprised by the reaction to Pure because I knew that the book focused more on Seth than Aiden.
For Alex -  Knowing what you know about Leon, do you think there was more to him being the one to find you in labyrinth?  Oh, I’m sure there was more to it.
For Aiden -  By far, the zoo was the best scene in Pure.  What did you enjoy most about being at the zoo with Alex?  I loved knowing that I was doing something for her that made her happy. 
For Seth – That whole sleeping issue that you and Alex have in Pure, did you realize what was up or were you just going with it?  I would’ve just gone with it.  But, truth?  I knew what was up.
What I say (review): For those of you who haven't read book one Half-Blood I suggest you read it first, but here's a brief intro to the series: The Greek Gods are real and the series focuses on their Daimon-hunting offspring. The MC and our heroine Alex is a 17-year-old Half Blood (pure blood mother and human father) who has returned to school/training after years on the run with her mother. She meets the uber hot pure and her trainer Aiden. Relationships between pure's and half's are banned by the gods so nothing can happen between Alex and Aiden (but it sorta did, almost). There's also the super powerful Apollyon (think uber hunter) Seth; Seth is a pain in the butt but is Alex's 'other half'. Sentinel's are highly trained guards, hunters and all round bad ass's trained to kill Daimon's. Daimon's kill and drain the godly aether out of the half's/pure's.
Right, well that summary was less brief than I had imagined so I'll refrain from devolving too much of the plot in Pure. Pure starts just after the dramatic ending of Half-Blood

Alex is as sassy, irresponsible and headstrong as ever. I love Alex because she's the Queen of snark and sarcasm but she's also really sweet and loyal. Alex is a mix of fierce power and innocent vulnerability. Despite her recklessness Alex is extremely likeable and she gets some brilliant one-liners!!
I was so cross with Aiden after a certain scene in the last book, but it's hard to stay angry with him because he's such a sweetie: the Zoo! Aiden thinks about his actions and has a lot of responsibility - at times he sort of reminds me of Dimka from VA. Towards the end I literally couldn't believe what was happening!
Oh Seth I don't trust you, but I kinda love you anyway! Seth is possibly even more reckless than Alex and is used to getting his way. There's also a very hidden sensitive side to him and I love how Seth and Aiden spark over Alex.

Seth is a big presence in Pure, he's not just there to annoy Aiden! I felt like there are two sides to Seth and it's a constant battle as to which side wins. Oh hello swimming scene!!

It's great to see Alex becoming stronger and more independent. Everyone seems to have an agenda when it comes to her and she has to battle to be heard a lot of the time.
I really like Jennifer's books because she writes banter really well. I always love how good she is at creating awesome female leads. I could literally write a whole blog post based on Jennifer quotes and one-liners!
Pure is a great follow-up and a fab instalment in a wonderful series!!

4.5 Shiny Stars in my Sky!

My fav non-spoilery quotes:

  • "Ever since I’ve met you, I’ve wanted to break every rule." Aiden turned away, the muscles in his neck tensing. He sighed. "You’ll become the centre of someone’s world one day. And he’ll be the luckiest son of a bitch on this earth."  
  • "So... uh, you're a Team Edward kind of guy?" He snorted. "No. I'm Team James or Team Tyler's Van, but apparently neither of them won by the look of it. She's still alive."  
  • "You know what, you need to stay out of my bedroom. You have your own.” He smiled. "I know I do. I see it quite often. I just prefer your bed. It smells better."
    I made a face. "It smells better? What does your bed smell like? Regret and bad taste?"  
  • He followed me around the edge of the bed. "I've been told my lips can make a girl forget just about anything. You should try it out." 
  • "You know what? Lets go." I shot Aiden a defiant look. "Come on Seth. Let's go continue our lovers' quarrel." "Yes my love, that sounds fantastic. Don't forget to grab a dagger so you can poke my eyeballs out."

28 October 2013

Review: Vade Retro Satana by Michele Suzanne

What they say: It’s never easy living up to your father’s expectations, but when your father is Satan, and he sees you as his ticket to world domination, it’s especially tough.

Austan Paumgarten wrestles with normal fifteen-year-old issues like grades, girls and winning sports matches, along with some abnormal ones like what to do when his father possesses his roommate. Initially, Austan withdraws, believing himself to be a curse on others but is drawn out by three new friends; Imani Baptiste, a girl with a harrowing past who sees running fast as her only hope of going to college; Gabe Michaels, Austan’s roommate, a socially awkward guy who desperately hopes to find friendship and fit in at St. Ignatius, a competitive all-boys boarding school, and Fr. Bonaventure, a kindly old priest with a chilling connection to Austan’s family.

When his father forces him to collect souls, Austan struggles with his demonic destiny as the devil’s son and his innate desire to help those he cares about.

Author and Buy links:

Goodreads * Website * Facebook * Amazon 

I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review!

What I say: I've read a few Satan/Devil themed books (I think it all stems from my love of Paradise Lost and Milton's charismatic Devil) and I always enjoy a good twist in the story. Austan is the son of the devil and Vade Retro Satana is about his struggle to fight fate.

The story begins with Austan arriving at a Catholic boys school where he meets his new roomie Gabe. Austan and Gabe are very different; Austan is handsome and confident. He doesn't really care what others think and has the beauty and mysteriousness of a conflicted moody bad boy. Austan wants his father out of his life and doesn't want to become like Satan. Gabe is a bit geeky and comes from a long line of successful male's and faces a lot of pressure/expectation. Gabe's a trier and a people pleaser, more than anything he wants to fit in.
Austan meets and is instantly drawn to beautiful and damaged Imani. Imani is desperate to escape her past and get a good Uni scholarship. Boys don't feature in her plans...
When Austan's father makes an appearance he creates havoc for all the characters and sets Austan a horrible challenge. He made some funny references to The Exorcist movie and his representation in popular culture.

As a Latin student I loved all the exorcism stuff and the Latin lessons, but don't let the title put you off. I found the first chapter a little hard to get into but when the story really picks up I found the plot and characters engaging.

3.5 Stars in my Sky!

My fav non-spoilery quotes:
  • "After 78 years, the only things I'm sure to remember are the things I wish to forget."
  • "I hope you don't mind my asking, but what's it like?" Austan stared blankly until she clarified, "You know, being the son of Satan?"
  • "Do you have any idea what it's like being the weird, quiet guy people can't figure out?" "I'm quiet," said Austan. "Yeah, you're the cool quiet guy. Big difference."

Review: Lucky Girl by Violet Ivy

Lucky Girl - How I Survived the Sex Industry

What they say: The intimate autobiography of an international call girl. Scary, funny and bizarre stories recorded for your amusement, edification or simply for interesting dinner conversation.
The sex industry is clouded in mystery. It has to be to some extent or it wouldn’t survive. But in this age of internet porn, buying pubic hair trimmings online and wife swapping parties it’s about time the veils of mystery were taken down.
For moralists, let’s visit the chicken and the egg scenario. Which came first the prostitute or the client? If there were no clients then obviously there would be no sex workers. But what if there weren’t any prostitutes? Would guys wank themselves silly to porn? Harass their post-menopausal wives? Frequent bars trying their luck? Or hassle the secretary and risk being charged with sexual harassment? Would statistics for rape be on the increase? Is prostitution a necessary evil in our society? Don’t mindlessly believe and quote information spoon fed to you by friends, family or the media. Make an educated decision.
Although it was never my intention to get into this industry, I’ve travelled the world, had incredible experiences and bought several properties. I won’t have to rely on the government pension when I retire.
My closest friends are co-workers, madams and clients. Brilliant people who I would never otherwise have had the good fortune to meet. I will never regret my decision to enter this field. It has not always been a bed of roses, but when I compare it to what my life might have been; cleaning job, shitty boss, marriage, perhaps divorce, mortgage, kids, living in the burbs, scraping by to give my kids a better life than I was destined for, I feel that I have been rescued…..thank God.
Money doesn’t make you happy? Tell that to someone thrown out of his house because he can’t make the payments or the mother who can’t afford Christmas presents for her kids again this year. I’ve been poor. Money equals choices. Options of how to travel on this journey we call life. Did I make some mistakes? Sure! But there’s not too much I’d change. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Money gives security. Poverty causes ulcers. Financial hardship can also make you compromise yourself in ways that being a sex worker never will.
This industry eats its young and damages those not strong enough to cope. Every worker has a different personality, head space, upbringing, personal history and therefore experience. This book is a glimpse of mine. I am not advocating anyone join the profession. That is a personal choice.
When I started out I could never have imagined what my life journey would look like or where I would be now. I don’t even know where in the world I will be in twelve months. What I will be doing? Who I might be bonking, caning or smearing with hot wax? Exciting isn’t it? Carpe diem – seize the day. I’m a lucky girl.

Book Links:
What I say (review): Lucky Girl is in a similar vein to Secret Diary by Belle de Jour, but, we are assured the events are real. In Lucky Girl Violet describes how she ended up working in the sex industry and how fortunate she it.
I was expecting a smutty book with a few anecdotes and was pleasantly surprised how witty the book is. Violet has a dry sense of humour and a no nonsense approach to storytelling. Lucky Girl is cleverly written and is really funny.
Violet doesn't gloss over the bad parts of working as an escort she merely highlights her choices and her situation. The book is very informative about prostitution and escort services; I for one had no idea being a sex worker was legal in Australia. A lot of people are judgmental about the sex industry and although it's not something I'd given a lot of thought until now, I like to think I'm fairly open minded.
Violet's POV is refreshing and interesting. She describes some of her clients and their antics. My favourite stories included 'baby bird' and a brothel bathroom. I'm sure due to the subject matter this won't be everybody's type of book, but I'd happily read a follow up if Violet can find the time in her travels to write one.

4 Stars in my Sky!

Author Spotlight: Violet Ivy grew up on a small wheat and sheep farm in the outback of Western Australia. A spray of freckles across her nose, pigtails streaming down her back as she swam naked in the local creek to cool off during the endless summers. Who could have predicted her transformation into one of the world’s most elite, international escorts? The wanton woman satisfying the needs and desires of the most affluent men and women of the globe.
Life was not always easy for Violet. Hers is a rags-to-riches story from the seedy brothels of the mining town Kalgoorlie to attending the Kentucky Derby and the Oscars on the arms of the most influential men on the face of the planet.
Violet continues to work in an industry that can either make or break it's players. She has had to learn how to adapt and hone her expertise to climb to the top of her game. Based in Melbourne, Australia, where sex work is legal, she travels to far flung places, (if the money's right), as either a courtesan or a fetish Mistress, fulfilling her clients' needs and desires. Encouragement from friends and family to share her adventures led her to begin a series of books exposing the realities behind the veil of the oldest profession in the world. She introduces her readers to myriad bizarre, scary and hilarious people and situations she comes across in her travels.


27 October 2013

Review: Twisted Summer by Lucy V. Morgan

What they say: A dark New Adult romance

You have to understand that we never meant for it to happen. We knew it was stupid. We knew it was wrong.

Eighteen-year-old Danni Warren has big plans for her last summer before college: a cool job, a concert she wouldn’t miss for the world, and spending time with her beautiful girlfriend, Esme. But after one hell of an argument, Danni’s mother packs her off to stay with her estranged step-uncle, Gabe, in his lodge on the English coast. So begins a weekend of the worst punishment imaginable: no phone signal.

With his sun kissed good looks and sarcastic manner, twenty-nine-year-old Gabe Asher isn’t anything like Danni expected. She wants to hate him—he’s her punishment for standing up to her mother—but between surfing lessons and beach hikes, Gabe and Danni grow close. Maybe too close.

Now Danni’s questioning everything: old family secrets, her future, her strained relationship with Esme. One sun stained afternoon, Gabe and Danni go too far. And then everything else falls apart...
What I say: Just a quick warning Lucy V. Morgan's NA book Twisted Summer includes the controversial topic of a relationship between a young girl and her step-uncle.
Right, onto the plot... The book begins with 18-year-old Danni being sent to stay with her Mum's estranged younger stepbrother Gabe. This is her punishment for ranting about her Mum's annoying boyfriend. It's the summer before she starts uni and Danni is unimpressed at being sent to stay with a stuffy sort-of-uncle she hasn't seen since she was little. She's also unhappy about missing a gig with her girlfriend Esme. Danni decides she'll just have to suffer through the weekend with Gabe until she can go home. BUT Gabe is neither stuffy, nor uncle-like; he's a super hot 29-year-old, tanned surfer.
I had expected to instantly hate Twisted Summer (because there's nothing more annoying than something being controversial just for the sake of it), but I ended up really enjoying the story. Although the relationship between the two leads is controversial it became clear as their relationship progressed how much they balanced each other, so much so that I ended up forgetting the pseudo-incest stuff (Danni's word not mine) and focused on the love story.
Sometimes Danni really annoyed me with her bratty behaviour; she flew off the handle really easily. She's also selfish and whinny at times, but most of this is down to her age. There's also the confusion about her sexuality; Danni herself explains she always expected to be with a guy and she considered herself bisexual. I got the impression Esme was very much the driving force in their relationship and didn't allow Danni to be Bi or even consider the possibility of wanting to be with a man.
It's blindingly obvious Danni isn't really invested in the relationship with Esme. For the most part she goes along with what Esme wants. Gabe is a shining light, he allows her to be whoever she wants and encourages her to try to experiences (yes this includes being with a man), whereas Esme holds her back.
At first I did think Gabe was taking advantage of a vulnerable and confused young woman. He actively pursues Danni even though he is the grownup in the situation. My next idea was along the lines of Gabe having a fantasy about converting a lesbian, but I finally moved on to realising how they were instantly drawn to each other and couldn't stop the situation they were in.
I was happy with how Morgan decided to finish their story. I wasn't expecting to become so invested in their relationship, and found myself really disliking Esme (who is the innocent party in the story). 
There are a lot of naughty bits in the book between Danni and Gabe and the odd scene with Danni and Esme. It was entertaining reading a teenage girl's smutty thoughts and at times it was more like we were hearing the story from a teenage boy instead, but this made the story work. Danni comes out with some brilliant and hysterical lines at times which lessened her bratty qualities with comedy value.
I'm not a big fan of sequels for no reason, so instead of a sequel I'd like a novella from Gabe's POV explaining his thoughts at in the book. In particular it would be interesting to see him try to justify his actions to himself.
A somewhat controversial 4 Stars in my Sky!
My fav non-spoilery quotes:
  • "I've spent the past few nights in nasty hell without you, mostly wishing I was in nasty hell WITH you."
  • He went from delicious, forbidden and adorable to a heap of magic bastard pudding.
  • "You're not going to get me out with frickin' Spooky McTapper."
  • "Mum is very supportive of our girl-love. I think she feels all feminist and PC because of it."

26 October 2013

Blast: Getting Rooted in New Zealand by Jamie Baywood

Because everybody loves a good memoir! 

Book info:
Craving change and lacking logic, at 26, Jamie, a cute and quirky Californian, impulsively moves to New Zealand to avoid dating after reading that the country's population has 100,000 fewer men. In her journal, she captures a hysterically honest look at herself, her past and her new wonderfully weird world filled with curious characters and slapstick situations in unbelievably bizarre jobs.
It takes a zany jaunt to the end of the Earth and a serendipitous meeting with a fellow traveler before Jamie learns what it really means to get rooted.

Buy Link:

Author Spotlight:
Jamie Baywood grew up in Petaluma, California. In 2010, she made the most impulsive decision of her life by moving to New Zealand. Getting Rooted in New Zealand is her first book about her experiences living there.
Jamie is now married and living happily ever after in the United Kingdom. She is working on her second book.

For more info about Jamie then head here:


"Just like “biscuits,” the word “rooting” has a completely different meaning in New Zealand than it does in California. In California, one would say they need to get rooted when they settle in somewhere, as in, to put down roots, to ground themselves. After living oblivious to the New Zealand definition for five months and while brushing my teeth with Liam the other night, I told him, “I’m really excited to live in this house because I really need to get rooted. I traveled all around Samoa for a month before I came here, and the first place I lived in New Zealand didn’t work out, so I had to move. I’m excited to stay in one place long enough to get rooted.”

Liam’s eyes almost popped out of his head, and he just about choked on his toothbrush. He spat out his toothpaste, staring at me out of the corner of his eye. Finally he spoke, “Jamie, are you hitting on me? Do you know what rooting means here?”"

25 October 2013

Review: Second Chances by Jo Briggs


What they say: Layla Keyes is back in England. Much has changed in the five years since she moved to New York to pursue a modelling career - On the outside she appears independent, self-assured and enjoying running her own successful fashion label.

On the inside she is determined to take back what she lost five years ago when misunderstandings allowed a jealous third party to manipulate and interfere in destroying her relationship with Evan Carter.

Evan Carter has spent all that time pretending to not be affected by the loss of Layla from his life.

A twist of fate brings the two back together as they are forced to share a few days alone.

Can their love be rekindled despite the secrets they still have to confess to each other?

I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. I read the newly edited/complete series version which I believe contains both the original parts to Jo Briggs's story.
What I say: The book begins with a really sad break up leaving both Layla and Evan devastated. Layla left Evan, believing she was doing the right thing for both of them. The story picks up 5 years later and Second Chances fills in what happened in the missing years and also shows how the characters try to move on from the past.
Second Chances is about misunderstandings and miscommunications. Both Layla and Evan are equally scared of hurting the other and of being hurt themselves. As a result they left a lot unsaid in the past which is something they need to deal with this time round.
In their time apart Layla gains independence and although she suffers a lot, she is spared from depending on Evan and his money. Layla has become successful in her own right and takes responsibility for her actions. Although I disagreed with some of her choices I respected her reasons for making them.

Evan is sweet, kind, sexy and loyal. The prologue scene from his POV was really sad and the reader can see just how lost he is. It's a tough call between who makes the most mistakes, but in general I felt both characters were victims of circumstance and outside forces. Don't get me started on Caggie, the evil harpy!

Some of the language, in particular when Evan speaks is a little formal (maybe it's a class thing). The dialogue doesn't always flow, but this doesn't really effect the story. I don't think I'm particularly sentimental but I enjoyed their story and found myself desperately hoping they could get their HEA and recreate what they lost.
3.5 Stars in my Sky!
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