Sunday, August 31, 2014

Book Shelf: Inheritance (Inheritance #1) by Lisa Forrest

Cirkulatti: a person descended from circus performers of the ancient world, rumoured to have supernatural gifts...

Tallulah has always known she was different. She can communicate without speaking, a secret she shares only with her childhood nanny, Irena, who warns Tallulah that gifts like hers are not always welcome.

When Tallulah begins training at the prestigious Cirque d′Avenir school, it soon becomes clear the troupe is not all that it seems. As Tallulah is drawn deeper into a world of dark, ancient powers and centuries-old greed, she must call on the skills Irena taught her -- and on the protection of the mysterious cuff Irena gave her for safekeeping.

But what is the secret of the power the cuff holds? And why are men willing to die to possess it? Tallulah always knew her gift was dangerous... But will it stop her from accepting her true inheritance?

More info on Goodreads.....


Inheritance is the first book in Lisa Forrest’s Inheritance series and is a debut novel that explores ancient circus performers like never before in this unique and fresh tale!

I have to be honest; I was really excited to read this novel. I’m always excited to read new Aussie fiction, especially when the novel is set in Australia and Inheritance very much caught my attention the moment I read about its unique concept. Unfortunately, Inheritance didn’t completely live up to my expectations, although I will consider reading the next instalment to see how Forest continues to develop the story.  

Inheritance follows seventeen year old Tallulah, a young woman who has always known she was different. When Tallulah begins training at the esteemed Cirque d’Avenir, a school for budding circus performers and artists, Tallulah discovers that the abilities and secrets she has always shared with her nanny Irena mark her as something special, a Cirkulatti. Drawn into dangerous Cirkulatti politics and a centuries old mystery, Tallulah slowly discovers that her abilities set her apart from even the Cirkulatti and mean she’s even more different than she ever imagined. 

I think the concept within Inheritance is absolutely sensational. I’ve never seen such manner of circus performers explored and linked in the way Lisa Forrest manages to do so in Inheritance. And yet I don’t think it met the potential it displayed when I first began the book. I would have liked to spend a little more time understand all the different performers; clowns, strongmen, flamethrowers and more, rather than focuses so much on Tallulah’s life which in my eyes paled in comparison to the possibilities of the circus folk.   

Overall I didn’t mind Tallulah as the main character, but where were times when I struggled to connect with her too. I understand Forrest wrote Tallulah’s character with the intention of her being powerful and having a huge importance to the Cirkulatti that we still don’t yet understand, but sometimes this came across as too obvious and I felt it was thrown in my face repeatedly when it wasn’t necessary.

I liked the different characters in this book and how they form different friendships with Tallulah. I would have liked to have seen more of certain individuals as they really would have complimented the story more. I was a bit perplexed by Tallulah’s love interests, as I thought one was too obvious and the other almost non-existent, although it was clear Forrest wanted to display a connection between Tallulah and this certain guy. 

Inheritance is a very detailed book and races towards a climactic ending that sees betrayals come to light by some characters you’re simply not expecting. A solid start to a new series but an Aussie author; I may just be persuaded to pick up the second book to see what happens next!

Source: Sent for review by Harper Collins Australia (Thank you guys!)
Format: Paperback
Buy it: Bookworld (Paperback) | Bookworld (Ebook) | The NileKobo
My Recommendation: If you're looking for something different this may be it!
Cover: Very pretty; love the cover model's dark look and the yellow--goes wonderfully.
Will I read sequel/continue with series: Yes, I think I'd like to know more.....

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Free Ebooks

Hi guys!

Check out some of the free kindle ebooks I've discovered on Amazon lately! Hope you find something new :)

Did you manage to get something new and different?
Be sure to check back for more future freebie posts!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Book Shelf: Luck of the Dragon (Las Vegas Dragons #1) by Susannah Scott

Luciana de Luca has a PhD in sass and gemology—and a problem. Her twin brother’s gambling debts have gotten out of hand, and a mob enforcer is blackmailing her to rob the latest, greatest mega-casino on the Strip. Although Lucy has worked her whole life to get away from her family’s grifter past, to save her brother, she dons three-inch heels and a sluts-r-us dress and struts into Alec’s Gerald’s casino, determined to put her long-forgotten thieving ways to the test again.

Alec Gerald, a shape-shifting dragon, has built the Crown Jewel casino to provide sanctuary for his people amongst the flash and awe of Las Vegas. Unfortunately, the sexy little thief trying to steal his largest diamond exhibit turns out to be his mate, and he must woo her before he loses his dragon form forever. But before he can handcuff her to his bed and explain the details of a mating ceremony, an enemy attacks and threatens to destroy his casino, his people, and his newfound mate.

More info on Goodreads.....


Luck of the Dragon in the first novel in Susannah Scott’s debut series that follows a bunch of dragon-shifters who own and operate the luxurious Crown Jewel Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and sees king of the dragons Alec meet the human who is set to steal his heart and become his destined mate.

I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t exactly gone the traditional route where this series is concerned; considering I read the second book, Stop Dragon My Heart Around prior to reading this first installment. In my defense, I didn’t know Stop Dragon My Heart Around was a sequel before I read it. I quickly realized I had missed a book though and set out to read Luck of the Dragon as soon as possible. I’ve finally had the chance to read Luck of the Dragon, and I have to say I’m thrilled to admit both books are as good as each other!

As a fan of PNR I’ve read lots of shifter tales, although this is one of the few dragon-shifter series I’ve read. I am however quite impressed with the world and characters Scott has written. They’re fresh and unique and endlessly likable. I’m already very invested in the lives of some of the minor characters and eager to hear their tales.

As far as characters go I really liked Lucy and Alec. Lucy is feisty and brave; willing to put herself in difficult situations to help out the brother she loves, but who continues to get himself in strife. Alec was bold, fierce and so, so sexy. As a leader he oozes confidence and goes after what he wants, which in this instance is Lucy.

I thought as individuals they were strong characters and I really enjoyed the romance Scott wrote where they were concerned. They had lovely chemistry and a great connection. I liked that they kept each other on their toes and that despite the struggles they faced and the mistakes made by one of them (not naming names here!) they managed to find their own happily ever after.

Having already read the second book featuring Leo and Tee, I’m already really excited to dive into the third book. Thanks to a little birdie (Susannah Scott!), I know what the third book will most likely feature Mei and Darius and I’m so ecstatic to read their tale!

Source: Sent for review by Entangled Publishing (Thank you guys!)
Format: Ebook
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
My Recommendation: If you're looking for a fun PNR and you'll enjoy this---and it has dragons ;)
Cover: I think the cover is beautiful--love the flowing nature of the models dress
Will I read sequel/continue with series: Yes

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Release Day Launch: Guardian by Courtney Cole- Excerpt & Giveaway

Today I'm participating in the Release Day Launch for Guardian by Courtney Cole. Below you'll find an excellent excerpt & giveaway. Plus to celebrate Courtney’s Birthday, she is putting a bunch of her titles on sale for just $.99 on August 28th ONLY!

Sometimes, things that go bump in the night are real.

My name is Whitney Lane.  I’m sixteen years old and at first, I thought I was crazy.

I kept seeing shadows move along walls, and hearing whispers around corners, but whenever I looked, there was never anything there. 

Until one day, there was.

Our world isn’t what we think.  There are things around us, good things, bad things, scary things. 

Things that we tell ourselves aren’t real, but they are.  

They’re very real, and they’re terrifying.

I’ve been swept up now, in a battle of good and evil, confused about love and what is supposed to be love, but isn’t.  I don’t know what to think anymore.  I can’t trust my emotions and I don’t know what is true. 

There’s only one thing I know for sure.

Nothing is what it seems.

Amazon | KoboiBooks
From Guardian....
Sometimes the things that go bump in the night are real.

Happy birthday to me.

I close my eyes and burrow into my pillow as I try to sleep, as I try to escape this life.

It’s a life I never thought I’d have, a life I most certainly don’t want.

I’m still feeling sorry for myself as the blackness of sleep finally overtakes me.

I don’t know what time it is when I shoot straight upward like a rocket. Something had yanked me from the oblivion of sleep, something loud and shrill scraping my window.

My room is completely dark and I glanceat my clock in confusion.

3:00 a.m.

As my heart pounds hard against my ribcage, I quickly scan every corner of the room.

In the last few hours, dark shadows had migrated onto my pink walls, but they’re familiar, nothing out of the ordinary, although in the night, they seem twisted and scary.

I remain motionless as I allow the sleep-induced fog to clear from my brain.

As I sit, I feel common sense and logic slowly returning.

Of course nothing had touched my window because my bedroom is on the second floor. Nothing can reach it. And there are no trees near enough to brush against it. It was just a dream.

It was only a dream.
I chant it silently to myself like a mantra as I consciously slow my breathing down, hoping that my racing pulse will soon follow. It was only a dream.

But just as I’m calming down, I hear it again.

A high-pitched shrill shriek, reminiscent of fingernails on a chalkboard, scraping down my window. I gasp and pull my feet up to my chest, which is when I notice the temperature.

I notice because I can see my breath.

Timidly, I blow a puff out again, watching the way my breath turns white in the air.

Holy crap. Oh my God.
What the hell?

The sound stops and stillness surrounds me once again, the silence so loud that it echoes in my ear.

Nothing moves around me, the shadows are perfectly still as they twist across my wall. They look like mangled fingers and arms and legs, but they don’t move.

My legs are weak and shaking, but I know I have to move. I have to move off my bed because it feels like something is under it. Something terrifying.

With a leap, I bound across the room, my feet hitting the floor several feet away from the edge of my bed.

The floor is ice cold, as though it had been covered in a blanket of snow.

I’m trembling as I race to the far wall and check the thermostat. Because that’s the only explanation. I must’ve bumped it earlier, I must’ve turned the AC way down.

But the luminous numbers stare at me in contradiction.

74 degrees.

It must be broken. It has to be broken.

My breath is coming in pants now, terrified, anxious pants.

My fear isn’t logical. I know there’s nothing here. I’m the only one in this room.

Or am I?
The air seems to push at me from all around, something dark, something heavy, something real. Something unseen.

My fingers shake, my legs tremble, and then all of a sudden, they can no longer support my weight. I go down like a pile of bricks, collapsing onto the floor. I lie still because I can’t move, because something seems to sit on my chest, holding me down.

The shadows start to move, to slither across the walls, to reach and pull and dance.

I struggle to focus, to see what it is.

But all I can see are the numbers on the thermostat suddenly moving, rapidly counting down from 74 to 20.

Twenty degrees?

The air is frigid as I suck it in, as I try to pull the ice crystals into my mouth so I can breathe.

All of a sudden, there’s a blackness in front of me. It hovers over me, a shapeless mass, sucking in the cells of the air, the atoms and the molecules. It’s darker than the blackness of my room, blacker than the blackest black.

Something is here.

With me.

"Dad?" I whisper in a white puff. Because what else could it be?

I reach out a finger to touch it, and then I can’t see anything else, because the darkness of it surrounds me, bleeding into everything else, even my vision. The shriek is back, screaming into my ears, bleeding into my brain.

Then there’s nothing.

Want more? Get your copy of Guardian today!

Courtney Cole's currently having a $0.99 sale on some of her books for August 28th ONLY!

Courtney Cole is a novelist who would eat mythology for breakfast if she could. She has a degree in Business, but has since discovered that corporate America is not nearly as fun to live in as fictional worlds. She loves chocolate and roller coasters and hates waiting and rude people.

Courtney lives in quiet suburbia, close to Lake Michigan, with her real-life Prince Charming, her ornery kids (there is a small chance that they get their orneriness from their mother) and a small domestic zoo.

Visit Courtney:

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Book Blast: Stolen Moon by Kimber Leigh Wheaton- Excerpt & Giveaway

I'm super excited to be participating in the Release Blast for Stolen Moon by Kimber Leigh Wheaton! I LOVED the first book in Wheaton's Light Chronicles, Shadow Fire and I can't wait to dive into the second book in the series! To help Kimber celebrate I've got a fabulous except seeing the two main characters meeting for the first time and kick-ass giveaway to share with you guys!

Katarina ~ a Royal Knight bound by honor and duty who steals a powerful relic from a sorcerer in a desperate attempt to save her kingdom from the clutches of a madman.

Ethan ~ a mercenary leader trapped between his growing attraction to Katarina and his responsibility to protect his friends from the evil pursuing her.

Zebulon ~ a malicious sorcerer waging war as though it's a game, caring nothing for the lives he destroys in his quest for power.

Drawn together by a moonstone medallion—an indestructible relic with immense magical power.
Katarina steals the medallion from Zebulon and flees in the dead of night. Together with Ethan and his mercenaries, she struggles to stay one step ahead of the sorcerer and his minions in a race against time to save her homeland. Fierce battles, ravenous monsters, and bloodthirsty brigands—those are no surprise. But Katarina never dreamed her greatest obstacle could be falling in love.

Add Stolen Moon on Goodreads or check out my 5 star review of Shadow Fire!


From Stolen Moon.....

He moves to sit on the edge of the fountain in the middle of the square. I follow and join him on the ledge, watching him glare at the gurgling water. His hands play in the water for a few moments before he pulls them out and turns his fake smile to me.

"How can I help you?" he asks, though I get the feeling he has no intention of helping me based on his dark glare.

"I'm looking for Ethan Avalon," I say, gazing at the handsome man.
My eyes lock onto his full, red lips. For a moment I imagine what it would be like to kiss those smirking lips. Warmth floods my body, spreading from my neck up to my cheeks.

"I'd give just about anything to know what you're thinking right now," he says, his voice deep and husky, sending tiny shivers down my arms.
This time the smile does reach his eyes—they sparkle like twin emeralds. My pulse quickens as I continue gazing at his face. His real smile is breathtaking, and my heart flutters within my chest.

"I'm Ethan, by the way."

"I'm Katarina Zamora," I reply while trying to calm my racing heart. If he doesn't stop with the glowing smile, I'll lose all ability to think. "I'm in desperate need of a mercenary's assistance, and a friend told me I should find you."

The words aren't coming out the way I planned. They become garbled somewhere between my brain and my mouth. The amused look on his face isn't helping the situation at all.

"And what kind of help do you need?" he asks in a polite but bored tone.

His face has reverted to the soulless smirk. I kick myself for mourning the loss of his real smile. What's wrong with me? I've been surrounded by stunning male specimens for the last few days, weeks if I include Captain Harris. This is the first time my hormones have spiraled out of control. Finding the resting place for this medallion before Zebulon catches me should be my priority. Yet all I can think about is kissing this gorgeous man. I wonder if he'd think me strange if I slapped myself. Right now I wish someone would.

"You know, that soulless smirk of yours is unnerving," I say, gazing at him. "Your real smile suits you much better."

Did I just say that? Hormones one, Katarina zero.

"Thanks," he replies, tipping his head to the side. I'm pleased to see his eyes sparkling again when his genuine smile returns to grace his face. "Most people never notice the difference."

"Then they're blind fools." I really should start thinking before opening my mouth.

Kimber Leigh Wheaton is a bestselling YA/NA author with a soft spot for sweet romance. She is married to her soul mate, has a teenage son, and shares her home with three dogs, four cats, and lots of dragons. No, she doesn’t live on a farm, she just loves animals. Kimber Leigh is addicted to romance, videogames, superheroes, villains, and chocolate—not necessarily in that order. (If she has to choose, she’ll take a chocolate covered superhero!) She currently lives in San Antonio, TX but has been somewhat a rolling stone in life, having resided in several different cities and states.

Visit Kimber:

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I want to say a BIG CONGRATS to Kimber on her new release---I just know it's going to be as amazing as the first book. I urge you all to read Shadow Fire if you haven't already; you won't regret it!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Book Shelf: No Rest for the Wicked (Immortals After Dark #3) by Kresley Cole

In this next installment in the Immortals After Dark Series, USA Today Bestselling author Kresley Cole delivers a scorching tale about a forbidding vampire who lives in the shadows and the beautiful assassin who hunts him there.

A vampire soldier weary of life...

Centuries ago, Sebastian Wroth was turned into a vampire—a nightmare in his mind—against his will. Burdened with hatred and alone for ages, he sees little reason to live. Until an exquisite, fey creature comes to kill him, inadvertently saving him instead.

A valkyrie assassin dispatched to destroy him...

When Kaderin the Cold Hearted lost her two beloved sisters to a vampire attack long ago, a benevolent force deadened her sorrow—accidentally extinguishing all of her emotions. Yet whenever she encounters Sebastian, her feelings—particularly lust—emerge multiplied. For the first time, she's unable to complete a kill.

Competitors in a legendary hunt...

The prize of the month-long contest is powerful enough to change history, and Kaderin will do anything to win it for her sisters. Wanting only to win her, forever, Sebastian competes as well, taking every opportunity—as they travel to ancient tombs and through catacombs, seeking relics around the world—to use her new feelings to seduce her. But when forced to choose between the vampire she's falling for and reuniting her family, how can Kaderin live without either?

More info on Goodreads....


No Rest For The Wicked is Kresley Cole's second installment in her Immortals After Dark and is an exciting, sensual tale featuring a brilliant heroine and a brilliant hero!

Having heard so many brilliant things about this series, I've been so excited to finally read it, that I was disappointed to find that I didn't exactly love the first book in the series. In fact, I had a few issues with it, but I was still ready to give the next book a go....and boy am I glad I did! No Rest For The Wicked was a thrilling read, and so much better than the first book in the series!

From the very opening chapter in this book, I knew I was going to like the main characters. There was just something about Kaderin and Sebastian that drew me from the beginning and as the story progressed I only wound up liking them more.

Kaderin the Coldhearted certainly wasn't what I was expecting. We met her briefly in A Hunger Like No Other and I have to be honest and say there wasn't anything about her that stood out then. And yet in this book, she had me wrapped around her little finger! Kaderin was a fierce warrior and more than capable to taking care of herself, but she was also very likeable, and as her emotions and feelings slowly came back to her in this story, it became quite evident that she had a good heart.

As for! What a fantastic male lead! It's no secret that I didn't exactly like Lachlain in book one, but Sebastian shines in No Rest For The Wicked with his good nature and attitude. I have to give Kresley Cole props for writing such a fantastic male character in Sebastian--he held many alpha traits I expect from a PNR hero, but he was also very insecure and unsure of himself in a way that lent to him being a softer man at times. He was a gentleman and honorable and truly did have a good soul. Basically he was the perfect blend of strength and power with intelligence and vulnerability.

Together, Kaderin and Sebastian really did have great chemistry. Cole writes their romance perfectly, with their intensity and attraction undeniable, but their relationship also one that grows and deepens over time. They brought out the best in each other and really enhanced the novel with their chemistry together; evident from the opening chapter.

I must say, I'm becoming quite intrigued by the characters we're meeting throughout the series so far. Every time a new character is introduced, I find myself picturing, and hoping for, future stories featuring them and I'm thrilled to know Cole has written some featuring many of the characters I already look forward to reading about such as Bowen, Reign, Murdoch, Conrad, and more.

After a great installment in this series, I look forward to getting my hands on the next few books!

Source: I bought
Format: Paperback
Buy it: Bookworld | The Nile | The Book Depository | Amazon
My Recommendation: For PNR lovers
Cover: This one is still quite corny, but still sexy.
Will I read sequel/continue with series: Yes.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Release Blitz: Beast: Part Two by Ella James- Excerpt

Welcome to the release blitz for Beast: Part Two by Ella James! Hitting the world today, I have a fantastic excerpt from this Beauty & the Beast retelling to share with you and I'm happy to celebrate its release :)

Yes or no? What will she do? Can Annabelle redeem Beast with her heart intact, or will her time at La Rosa Prison ruin her? Find out who Beast really is in the dark, erotic retelling of Beauty & The Beast.
Check out the series on Goodreads or purchase on Amazon!
From Beast 2.....
“You look nervous,” he says. His hand, still in my hair, turns to my cheek. It’s warm. Smells good. “Come and sit down.”
He takes my hand and leads me to a window seat. A built-in bench, pressed up against a wall of glass. He wraps his hands around my waist and lifts me up. Sits me down up there. My eyes scan the patchy, dirt-strewn yard outside. The way the rain smashes off the ground and into something else. The sky is white. Stark white.
“Just a minute,” he says.
My mind screams as he steps away. He reaches onto some shelves along the wall and grabs an armful of navy blue blankets. Painters’ blankets, I realize as he holds them out for me. He sits them on the bench beside me. Smooths one out. Lifts me up and sits me on it. Then he tucks another one behind me.
“Thank you,” I murmur. Despite the blankets’ tattered appearance, they seem soft enough. There’s no paint on them, and they don’t smell like it. Another one unfolded by his big hands, tucked around me.
“You got wet. Warm up a moment.”
I sit there because my brain is broken and my heart feels puffed up like a balloon.
He climbs up behind me and gently nudges me forward. He leans his torso up against mine, spreads his legs around my butt and thighs. Strong hands begin to knead my shoulders.
“Don’t be nervous here, Angel. I’ll take care of you. Always.”
Check out the first book in the series here!

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

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

To find out more about Ella’s projects and get dates on upcoming releases, find her on Facebook at  and follow her blog,  Questions or comments? Tweet her at author_ellaj or e-mail her at

Visit Ella:

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Blog Tour: Harrow by Amanda Troyer- Excerpt & Giveaway

Welcome to the Blog Tour for Harrow by Amanda Troyer! Today I have a great excerpt to share with you as well as an awesome giveaway for a print copy of Harrow--not to be missed!

Sixteen-year-old Brenna doesn’t believe her vivid imagination can hurt her, until she wakes up in a church, covered in blood. Blood that isn’t hers.

She thinks her life can’t get much worse, but when she finally finds a way to escape her abusive home, her imagination turns to nightmarish hallucinations.

Niven likes staying inside the abandoned church, hiding from his violent father. The two bond through art and misery, but Brenna knows good things in her life don’t last long.

Her delusions take a horrific turn when she thinks she sees two men gruesomely murdered by a monster in the church basement, but in the end, she’s the one with blood on her hands.


From Harrow....

"Brenna..." Danny sing-songs my name, and I can’t help the sick feeling in my gut that says this time I won’t be as lucky as the last. Their heavy boots crush twigs and dried leaves, a dozen yards from where I’m crouched, as branches dig painfully into my skin. I don’t dare breathe. They circle back, checking behind bushes at the edge of the church property, careful not to leave an inch unsearched.

"Come on, girly," Nate calls for me, pleading in fake desperation. "We won’t hurt you. We just want what your sister stole."

Like that isn’t something I’ve heard my entire life. ‘Come here, I won’t hurt you’ is almost always followed by, ‘You shouldn’t have done that’ or ‘you forced me to’. I never walk away from that phrase without pain.

Danny is still wearing the hat, that I’m sure is to hide his receding hairline, and looks ready to explode. His body is tan and toned, but his hair is out of his control. Just like me. He takes the red hat and crushes the brim in his giant hands wringing, and wringing, until a tear forms at the edge. He notices, and throws it to the ground.

"We’re going to find you, you little bitch, and when we do…" He pauses and smirks. "It’s not like anyone will give a shit that you’re missing."

It doesn’t hurt as much as he’d like it to. I know no one would miss me, but I don’t really feel like committing suicide about it just yet. They start yelling at each other but they have walked far enough away now that I can’t understand all of what they say. While stealing glances back at the two men I feel along the stone wall in dappled light until I hit a sharp edge. There’s an alcove that holds a tiny stained glass window, but when I push it doesn’t move. Sneaking inside a possibly haunted church isn’t my first choice, but considering how fast they run, it looks like my best option. The row of bushes end at the next window, and I watch the men argue for a quick second before I crawl forward as lightly as possible.

Mulch scrapes my knees, and shins, and sticks to my hands, but I can’t stop. I check them again as I reach the window, and they’re watching the hedges in my direction. They can’t possibly see me though, I can barely see them. I look at my dirty fingers and realize the thick silver bracelet is reflecting the little pockets of light. My heart stops as they start a slow saunter toward me. Their faces are smug but there is a certain level of murder in their eyes too. I frantically kick behind me at the window, at least if I break it I’ll just be bloody and safe, not bloody and dead.

"I told you we’d find you." Danny squats down, and I kick again behind me, feeling like a donkey but I don’t care. I cry out when he grabs at my wrist but the kick opened the window. I shove hard off the trunk of the shrub, and slide through the awning.

My feet hit the floor, followed by my butt, and my back, before I hit my head against a wooden barrel. The window slams shut, I hear it click like a lock as the two men try desperately to open it. Not that they could squeeze through if they manage to get it unstuck. I sit up on my hands and they aren’t just covered in mulch, but some kind of basement slime too. I’m really glad I chose glue instead of stitches. I stand and brush them off on my shirt, but I can’t tell if it’s helping. It’s too dark. All the light shining in from the three multi-colored windows ends, abruptly in mid-air, two feet into the room. Darkness drew its territory line, and the light isn’t permitted to cross it.

Want more? Grab your copy of Harrow today!

Amanda hasn’t always been a reader, but she’s always been a daydreamer.  Once her sister started giving her young adult books, she realized books fuel her daydreams and has since become an avid reader and a writer as well. 

Visit Amanda:

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**I want to say a big thanks to Amanda Troyer for inviting me to be a part of the fun with this tour!**

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Book Shelf: The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy #1) by Marie Rutkoski

Winning what you want may cost you everything you love.

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction.

Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

More info on Goodreads......


A rich and compelling read, The Winners Curse is a beguiling tale of politics, secrets and honour woven together with a complex love story that spans different social standings and sees a strong young woman face losing everything she loves for the chance to save her people.

I’ll be honest, heading into The Winner’s Curse I was really apprehensive as I’d never read any of author Marie Rutkoski’s work and didn’t know what to expect. To begin with the stunning cover stole my heart and the description at the back of the book had me very excited, but I was worried. I’d seen some mixed reviews and wondered if perhaps the book wouldn’t live up to my expectations. Well, it didn’t…it exceeded them!

The Winners Curse has to be one of my favourite books this year so far; I’m just putting that out there! From the moment I opened the book, I found myself entranced by Rutkoski’s glorious tale. The Winners Curse is a stunningly written tale of deception and war that sees Rutkoski depict two very different societies of people; the Valorian, a powerful and strong race and the Herrani who are enslaved to the them and fighting to regain their freedom.

Told predominantly through the eyes of Krestal, the daughter of the Valeroin's most celebrated general, The Winners Curse is a wonderfully depicted novel. Marie Rutkoski excels in her world building and wonderfully follows a young woman who has only two choices for her future; to either marry or enlist in her empire’s military. With neither choice appealing to her, but with time running out to choose, Krestal’s life dramatically alters when she witnesses a slave auction one day and takes a chance by purchasing a young slave by the name of Arin who calls to her as a kindred spirit.

As the main character, I really liked Krestal. Even though she is a noblewoman and has been raised as a lady, she’s quite capable and biting. Krestal is level headed and quick thinking. She is a strategist and despite her instance that she does not wish to join the military, has quite a mind for it. She knows how to take care of herself and makes some really self-sacrificing choices in The Winners Curse.

There’s something very conflicting about this story. Although Krestal’s voice is the dominant one throughout the story, The Winners Curse is also detailed through Arin’s eyes at times, creating a delicious layer of complexity within the story. You’ve got two opposing sides, both equally right and equally wrong in their choices; they’re both fighting for power and supremacy over the other, even if their motives and drives differ at times. For me, The Winners Curse made me question a lot of humanity and I liked the way Marie Rutkosi explored the pitfalls of war and the effect if can have on the simple people who have to live with its consequences.

As the male lead, and someone who’s POV we experience during The Winners Curse, Arin was a very complicated character himself. He was enslaved when the Velarian invaded his home and has spent the last decade of his life being treated like an animal and forced to work for those who conquered his country; having been repeatedly bought and sold over the years. The contradiction in Arin is that although he is used to manual labor and hard work at the hands of his masters, he is also very cultured and intelligent; having been someone of class prior to the war that turned his world upside down. He hides a lot of secrets, many of which see him keeping certain truths from Krestal; something that impacts on their growing relationship, especially seeing how disastrous Arin’s intentions and plans will bring destruction to Krestal's world.

Personally, I just found this book to be a real conundrum because neither side could win without bringing disaster down upon the other. Who is deserving really isn’t who you expect at the times and the change in power and position is something that shifts multiple of times within the novel.

With Krestal and Arin’s relationship a focal point in the story, but also woven together heavily with politics and war, I really liked what Rutkoski did with their relationship. Both from different classes, they're very different but connect so beautifully. Krestal can be herself with Arin and she appreciates him for his swift mind and manner rather than his use. They really are star crossed lovers with betrayal something neither can avoid when love mingles with war and I’m so very excited to see how Rutkoski develops their romance in the next book considering the shocking ending.

Author Marie Rutkoski launches herself into the fantasy genre with her explosive novel The Winners Curse, proving that she is definitely a voice to watch in the future!

Source: Sent for review by Bloomsbury Australia (Thank you Sonia!)
Format: Paperback
Buy it: Bookworld | The Nile | The Book Depository | Amazon
My Recommendation: This book is brilliant and a must read for fantasy lovers!
Cover: I think it's absolutely beautiful--one of my faves this year so far!
Will I read sequel/continue with series: Yes, I can't wait.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Blog Tour: Crystal Magic by Madeline Freeman: Gust Post & Giveaway

Welcome to the Blog Tour for Crystal Magic presented by Xpresso Book Tours! Yesterday I posted my review of Crystal Magic and today I have author Madeline Freeman discussing the inspiration behind the story in a fabulous excerpt and I have an ecopy of Crystal Magic to give away as well as the tour wide giveaway I'm happy to share!

Nothing is safe around Kristyl Barnette. Windows break. Books rocket across the room. Lights flicker. Strange occurrences follow the sixteen-year-old everywhere.

When tragedy forces her to move to the small town of Clearwater, Michigan, with her estranged aunt Jodi, Kristyl tries to leave her past behind. But Clearwater has secrets of its own—a mystical history that intersects with Kristyl’s life and might shed light on the inexplicable events that plague her.

When a mysterious illness threatens her aunt’s life, Kristyl will do anything to cure her. Enlisting the help of witches could save Jodi, but is dealing in magic worth the consequences?

Add on Goodreads or check out my review!


Inspiration behind the book
The first nugget of inspiration for Crystal Magic came from a name—Crystal. The first draft, written when I was thirteen, relied heavily on the oddity of having several girls in the same small town with different spellings of the same name. And while and quirk like that might be enough for a thirteen-year-old, when I came back to the idea nearly two decades later, I knew I needed more.

When you strip away the magical elements, at its core, Crystal Magic is the story of a girl becoming her truest and best self. It’s the journey we all find ourselves on. One of the things I’ve learned in life—so far—is that while, at our cores, we’re often always the same person, our circumstances can bring out different facets of our personalities—sometimes unexpected ones. I want to uncover those aspects of Kristyl Barnette’s personality. If I ever get stuck, I start thinking about what kinds of craziness I can throw at her and how she might react. What will the experiences bring out about her? How can she deal with them and remain true to herself? And what are the consequences when she’s not?

But I didn’t strip away the magical elements. Why? In addition to my deep-seated and unfulfilled desire to possess some kind of supernatural ability, I like the challenges a world with beyond-ordinary complications presents. While magic affords certain solutions, it also causes problems that "normal" people don’t have to deal with. And, let’s face it, it’s just cool.

So, Crystal Magic pulls its inspiration from some of the same places I think most authors find their stories: real life experiences, natural curiosity, and the longing for something more.

Madeline Freeman lives in the metro-Detroit area with her husband, her daughter, and her cats. In the time she should spend doing housework, she rewatches Fringe. She also loves anything to do with astronomy, outer space, plate tectonics, and dinosaurs, and secretly hopes her daughter will become an astronomer or a paleontologist.

Visit Madeline:

As I previously mentioned I have ONE (1) ecopy of Crystal Magic to give away thanks to Xpresso Book Tours and author Madeline Freeman! To enter simply comment with a way to contact you and which format you would prefer. Giveaway ends September 5th!
--Signed copy of Crystal Magic (Open to US and Canada, ends August 26th) a Rafflecopter giveaway