Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Happy New Year!

Overall 2013 has been a pretty good year for me:
  • I've read over 100 books 
  • I discovered book blogging and Netgalley
  • My first two books were published
  • And I finished my degree.

What about you?

I don't really do new years resolutions but next year I'm hoping to do more writing as for part of this year I've had writers block.

Happy new year everyone!
J x 

Monday, 30 December 2013

Review - Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando

Blurb from Goodreads:

It's time to meet your new roomie.

When East Coast native Elizabeth receives her freshman-year roommate assignment, she shoots off an e-mail to coordinate the basics: television, microwave, mini-fridge. That first note to San Franciscan Lauren sparks a series of e-mails that alters the landscape of each girl's summer -- and raises questions about how two girls who are so different will ever share a dorm room.

As the countdown to college begins, life at home becomes increasingly complex. With family relationships and childhood friendships strained by change, it suddenly seems that the only people Elizabeth and Lauren can rely on are the complicated new boys in their lives . . . and each other. Even though they've never met.


My Review: 

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review via Netgalley. Thanks to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando*

3/5 stars

When Elizabeth receives information about the girl that will be her roommate at university, she eagerly sends an email to Lauren, sparking what soon becomes a fast friendship through a turbulent time of new boyfriends and tense childhood relationships.

Roomies was an easy read with relateable and likeable protagonists. 
I enjoyed it despite not being wowed.  

Sunday, 29 December 2013

My Week in Books 23rd-29th December


Phoenix Island by John Dixon

2.5/5 stars

Read my review here. 

The Elite (The Selection, #2) by Kiera Cass

3/5 stars

Presents for Christmas:

Divergent (Divergent, #1) by Veronica Roth

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

Bought (with Christmas money):

The Elite (The Selection, #2) by Kiera Cass (Kindle copy, £2.48)

After Eden (After Eden,#1) by Helen Douglas (Kindle copy, £0.99)

Incarnate (Newsoul, #1) by Jodi Meadows (paperback from The Book Depository)

For Darkness Shows the Stars (For Darkness Shows the Stars, #1) by Diana Peterfreund (paperback from The Book Depository)

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West (paperback from The Book Depository)

Pivot Point (Pivot Point, #1) by Kasie West (paperback from The Book Depository)

Wasteland (Flight, #2) by Lindsay Leggett (paperback from The Book Depository)

Currently Reading:

Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando

All pics taken from Goodreads!

Hope you all had a fantastic Christmas!
J x

Friday, 27 December 2013

Review - Phoenix Island by John Dixon

Blurb from Goodreads: 

 The judge told Carl that one day he'd have to decide exactly what kind of person he would become. But on Phoenix Island, the choice will be made for him.

A champion boxer with a sharp hook and a short temper, sixteen-year-old Carl Freeman has been shuffled from foster home to foster home. He can't seem to stay out of trouble, using his fists to defend weaker classmates from bullies. His latest incident sends his opponent to the emergency room, and now the court is sending Carl to the worst place on earth: Phoenix Island.

Classified as a terminal facility, it's the end of the line for delinquents who have no home, no family, and no future. Located somewhere far off the coast of the United States and immune to its laws, the island is a grueling Spartan-style boot camp run by sadistic drill sergeants who show no mercy to their young, orphan trainees. Sentenced to stay until his eighteenth birthday, Carl plans to play by the rules, so he makes friends with his wisecracking bunkmate, Ross, and a mysterious gray-eyed girl named Octavia. But he makes enemies, too, and after a few rough scrapes, he earns himself the nickname "Hollywood" as well as a string of punishments, including a brutal night in the sweatbox. But that's nothing compared to what awaits him in the Chop Shop: a secret government lab where Carl is given something he never dreamed of.

A new life. . . .

A new body. A new brain.

Gifts from the fatherly Old Man, who wants to transform Carl into something he's not sure he wants to become.

For this is no ordinary government project. Phoenix Island is ground zero for the future of combat intelligence.

And for Carl, it's just the beginning. . .

My Review:

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review via Netgalley. Thanks to Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books and John Dixon*

2.5/5 stars

Carl Freeman, a champion boxer, is an orphan who has been moved from foster home to foster home as a result of his constant fighting with bullies. When a judge sends Carl to Phoenix Island, an intense boot camp for troubled orphans, he realises that the fight for his life has only just begun.

Phoenix Island started well, capturing my attention and imagination. The characters were easy to connect with and some of them likeable. However, about half way through when Carl starts training with Stark, I found my attention slipping, as it did towards the end when I didn't really care what happened anymore.

Overall Phoenix Island started promisingly but petered off towards the end.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

My Week In Books 16th-22nd December


Almost Demon (The Sigil Cycle, #1) by A.J. Salem

2.5/5 stars

Read my review here. 

The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell

3/5 stars


Until You (Fall Away, #1.5) by Penelope Douglas 
(Kindle copy, £1.83)

I loved Bully so can't wait to read this.

Netgalley Approved:

And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard

Relentless (Shattered Hearts, #1) by Cassia Leo

Pieces of You (Shattered Hearts, #2) by Cassia Leo

Bring Me Home (Shattered Hearts, #3) by Cassia Leo

Currently Reading:

Phoenix Island by John Dixon

All pics taken from Goodreads.

Hope you all had a good week.
J x

Friday, 20 December 2013

Top Reads of 2013

Below are my favourite books that I've read this year (in no particular order).

Title: Raksha (Blood and Fire, #1) 
(Title change - now titled Halo)
Author: Frankie Rose

Blurb from Goodreads:
She has no name.

She has her knives; her training; her halo.

The first and second give her the tools and the skill to defeat the opponents she is pitched against each month. The third frees her from pain and fear. From any kind of emotion at all. Everything is as it should be. Everything is as it should be, until…



When a newly-named Kit escapes the Sanctuary after killing her best friend, the last thing she needs is another knife in her hand. Or Ryka, the damaged, beautiful blonde boy, who she refuses to let save her. Still learning how to process the onslaught of her new feelings, the sights and sounds of Freetown are overwhelming and strange. There are a hundred differences between her old home and her new one, but one thing remains starkly similar: the matches. Yet where the blood in the Sanctuary landed only on the colosseum floor, Kit will quickly learn that a river of red runs through Freetown’s very streets.

Freed from the oppression of a society who stole her right to feel, the true horror of her old life leaves Kit wondering if she really has been freed at all. Would she be better off without the crippling horror of all the blood on her hands, or is the love of one boy worth living through all the pain?

Raksha is the call of the dead. The rumbling chant for fresh blood from the other side, the demand for sacrifice. The colosseum is behind Kit. The fighting pits await.

You have been called to the fights.

Click here to read my five star review. 


Title: Bully (Fall Away, #1)
Author: Penelope Douglas

Blurb from Goodreads:
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.

Title: Flight (Flight, #1)
Author: Lindsay Leggett

Blurb from Goodreads:
The first rule of survival in the Underground: When you’re outside, keep your eyes on the skies. Ace Harpy Hunter Piper Madden is used to danger, but the death of her brother slams the brakes on her high-torque lifestyle and leaves her broken and confused.

On the run from the dictating Elder Corporation, she’s eventually found in the quiet undergound city of Ichton and asked to work for the Corp on contract to quell a new and frightening Harpy threat.

Enter the discovery of horrifying Corporation secrets, Harpy attacks, and a new friendship with the strange Asher, and Piper’s days become anything but boring.

Then, a chance encounter leaves Piper privy to a dangerous secret, ad as she and Asher team up in an effort to unravel the truth, the secrets they uncover beneath the ancient walls of the dead city will spark their world into a grand-scale war

Click here to read my five star review.

Title: Wasteland (Flight, #2)
Author: Lindsay Leggett

Blurb from Goodreads:
Wasteland, the next book in the FLIGHT trilogy, takes place a few months after the ending of book one.

Trapped in a cell and experimented on, Piper Madden’s only hope is remembering Asher. Then, Elder Corp President Rupert Elder gives her new orders: to be a leader in a war against the Harpies. Without a choice, Piper must obey Rupert’s commands or suffer from paralyzing and painful Nanomachines. But the war is just beginning, and Asher has gone missing. The resistance is slowly building, and the upcoming war will be larger and bloodier than anything seen since the Devastation that ruined the earth. Throughout all of this, Piper remembers the time before she ran to Ichton, when David was alive and her hope in Elder Corp was still strong.

Click here to read 5 star review.

Title: The Bone Season (The Bone Season, #1)
Author: Samantha Shannon

Blurb from Goodreads: 

It is the year 2059. Several major world cities are under the control of a security force called Scion. Paige Mahoney works in the criminal underworld of Scion London, part of a secret cell known as the Seven Seals. The work she does is unusual: scouting for information by breaking into others’ minds. Paige is a dreamwalker, a rare kind of clairvoyant, and in this world, the voyants commit treason simply by breathing.

But when Paige is captured and arrested, she encounters a power more sinister even than Scion. The voyant prison is a separate city—Oxford, erased from the map two centuries ago and now controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. These creatures, the Rephaim, value the voyants highly—as soldiers in their army.

Paige is assigned to a Rephaite keeper, Warden, who will be in charge of her care and training. He is her master. Her natural enemy. But if she wants to regain her freedom, Paige will have to learn something of his mind and his own mysterious motives.

Title: The Testing (The Testing, #1)
Author: Joelle Charbonneau

Blurb from Goodreads:
Sixteen-year-old Cia Vale is honoured to be chosen for The Testing – a series of exams set by the United Commonwealth that selects the brightest young adults to become leaders of their war- stricken world. 
But when candidates start disappearing and Cia witnesses unimaginable horrors done in the United Commonwealth’s name it becomes clear that these are no ordinary exams, and Cia is forced to realise the truth: this is no longer about winning, but surviving.

Title: All Our Yesterdays (All Our Yesterdays, #1)
Author: Cristin Terrill

Blurb from Goodreads:
Em is locked in a bare, cold cell with no comforts. Finn is in the cell next door. The Doctor is keeping them there until they tell him what he wants to know. Trouble is, what he wants to know hasn't happened yet.

Em and Finn have a shared past, but no future unless they can find a way out. The present is torture - being kept apart, overhearing each other's anguish as the Doctor relentlessly seeks answers. There's no way back from here, to what they used to be, the world they used to know. Then Em finds a note in her cell which changes everything. It's from her future self and contains some simple but very clear instructions. Em must travel back in time to avert a tragedy that's about to unfold. Worse, she has to pursue and kill the boy she loves to change the future.

Click here read my 4.5 star review.

Title: The Name On Your Wrist
Author: Helen Hiorns

Blurb from Goodreads:
It's the first thing they teach you when you start school. But they don't need to; your parents tell you when you're first learning how to say your name. It's drummed into you whilst you're taking your first stumbling steps. It's your lullaby. From the moment it first appears, you don't tell anyone the name on your wrist.

In Corin's world, your carpinomen - the name of your soul mate, marked indelibly on your wrist from the age of two or three - is everything. It's your most preciously guarded secret; a piece of knowledge that can give another person ultimate power over you. People spend years, even decades, searching for the one they're supposed to be with.

But what if you never find that person? Or you do, but you just don't love them? What if you fall for someone else - someone other than the name on your wrist?

And what if - like Corin - the last thing in the world you want is to be found?

Title: Deeper We Fall (Fall and Rise, #1)
Author: Chelsea M. Cameron

Blurb from Goodreads: 

Two years after her best friend was involved in a car accident that caused a traumatic brain injury, Lottie Anders is ready to start her freshman year of college. Ready to move on. Ready to start forgetting the night that ripped her life apart.

Her plans come to a screeching halt when not one, but both brothers responsible for the accident end up back in her life again.

Zack is cruel, selfish and constantly rubbing what happened to her friend in Lottie's face.

Zan is different. He listens to her awkward ramblings. He loves To Kill a Mockingbird as much as she does, and his dark eyes are irresistible. His words are few and far between, but when he does speak, she can't help but listen.

The trouble is, Zan was the driver in the accident, and now Lottie's discovered he lied to her about what happened that night. Now she must decide if trusting him again will lead to real forgiveness, or deeper heartache.

Click here to read my five star review. 

Title: Hunting Lila (Lila, #1)
Author: Sarah Alderson

Blurb from Goodreads:
17-year-old Lila has two secrets she’s prepared to take to the grave. The first is that she can move things just by looking at them. The second is that she’s been in love with her brother’s best friend, Alex, since forever.

After a mugging exposes her unique ability, Lila decides to run to the only people she can trust—her brother and Alex. They live in Southern California where they work for a secret organization called The Unit, and Lila discovers that the two of them are hunting down the men who murdered her mother five years before. And that they’ve found them.

In a world where nothing and no one is quite as they seem, Lila quickly realizes that she is not alone—there are others out there just like her—people with special powers—and her mother’s killer is one of them…

Title: Saving Grace (Mad World, #2)
Author: Christine Zolendz

Blurb from Goodreads: 

After spending over 2,000 years being a lost soul looking for the angel I was forbidden to fall in love with, I finally found him. 
Lucky for me he has taken up residence inside the hot body of NYC’s local bad boy, tattooed rock star, Shane Maxton. 
Turns out, not only is he absolutely perfect, so is the whole Grace Taylor life that I’m stuck in. 
The only problem is Gabriel. 
An archangel who wants me all to himself so he kind of kidnaps me. 
Now I have to find my way back and hope everything works out…

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Release Day Blitz - Stealing Promises by Brina Courtney

Today is the release day of Stealing Promises by Brina Courtney!

Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance

 Promises are made to be kept, never stolen. But that’s exactly what happened to Victoria Blane and Levi Manor. Tragedy strikes their perfect relationship leaving Victoria struggling to overcome the darkness that threatens to bury her.

With Victoria’s life in tatters she decides that running away is easier than dealing with her troubles. But when a friend finds her on the floor in her kitchen, she knows it’s time for a change.
Brighton Hanley knows what it’s like to lose someone. He knows what it’s like to be haunted by things that can never change. When he meets Victoria he recognizes the pain she’s trying to bury deep in her eyes. He knows she’s trying to run away, but he also knows that you can’t run forever.
Victoria is drawn to Brighton in ways she never expected. He becomes her champion, her life line… her sunshine in the darkness. But is Victoria ready to let go of the past and grab on to her future? Or will she run away from Brighton before she can be hurt again?

The next morning Victoria was surprised to find it drizzling outside. She snuggled further under the quilt but when she reached over for Levi, he wasn’t there. She groggily opened her eyes and started to sit up looking for him, but he wasn’t inside the small cabin.
Wrapping the quilt around her body she shuffled over to the window to look out and see Levi rearranging some things in the truck. She opened it slightly and called out to him, “Morning, did you have breakfast yet?”

He waved back at her, there was mud down his jeans but he looked relaxed and almost cheerful. “No not yet. I’m trying to get down to the main house to get us some, it was included with our stay. God damn truck is stuck in the mud.”

Victoria sighed deeply, so much for getting to see the small town that was close by. “Well I packed some snacks.”
He smiled back at her and shrugged his shoulders and walked into the cabin taking off his muddy boots upon arrival.  He walked over to Victoria and delivered a light kiss on the cheek, “How did I get so lucky?”

She smiled back at him devilishly, “Can’t tell ya. So what’s the grand plan for today vacation planner?”
He laughed at her teasing, “You’ll just have to wait and see won’t you?”

She set her lips into a thin line, Victoria didn’t like surprises very much.

“Don’t worry about it. Just eat your granola bar.”
After they ate and Victoria had gotten dressed Levi led her to the back of the cabin to a small trail. “I think you’re really going to enjoy this.”
They walked through the cool spring air while trees shed sprinkles on them. They walked in silence, hand-in-hand over small rocks and twigs, through the mud until Victoria finally heard rushing water. “Is that a waterfall?”
Levi smiled at her. “Nope. I did you one better.”
As they continued to walk they came upon a clearing with a small hot spring receded into the ground. There were rocks set up around it clearly put there by nature while others had been moved by people to keep clothes dry and supplies away from the steam. Victoria smiled and pushed Levi playfully. “You know I didn’t bring a bathing suit!”
Levi kissed her on the lips pushing his body against hers, “Of course I know that.” He quickly began to strip, taking his hoodie and shirt off in a flash. Victoria watched with interested eyes as he turned to her, his tanned muscles rippling beneath the light rain. He walked over to her and wrapped his hands around her body to bring her closer. “You’re going to join me, right?”  He whispered hotly in her ear.


About Brina Courtney


Brina Courtney is a new adult author obsessed with chocolate, crime shows, and fantasy movies. She’s spent the last few years as an elementary teacher and a high school cheering coach. She lives in a small town in Pennsylvania with her husband and two very loud, small dogs.


Monday, 16 December 2013

Review - Almost Demon (The Sigil Cycle, #1) by A.J. Salem

Blurb from Goodreads: 
The last thing Gemma Pope expects to study in the after-school book club is demon etiquette but that is exactly what she has to do to succeed as a summoner and save her hometown.

Since taking the blame for the car accident that claimed the lives of her twin brother and two of her best friends, she s been seeing things. Dark shadows, opaque, menacing, multiplying.

The clock starts ticking when the local mild-mannered librarian suffers a psychotic break and pulls a gun on her reading circle. People are dying in disasters and wars all over the world. Gemma s dad is getting weird, her classmates are becoming violent, and the darkness surrounding Harrisport is getting thicker.

Does she trust hot English Lit teacher Mr. Flynn or Ian, the mysterious new kid in town, who has knowledge beyond his years and access to other dimensions?

It is only when the gates to hell are opened, that Gemma learns who her real friends are.

Discover what lies just beyond the veil of humanity in the sleepy town of Harrisport.

My Review:

*I received a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Salem Books Inc. and A.J. Salem*

2.5/5 stars

Waking up after a car accident that resulted in the deaths of her twin brother and two of her best friends, Gemma Pope's life takes a turn for the supernatural when she starts seeing black blobs.

People in Harrisport start acting strangely and Gemma has to decide if she can trust her new English Lit teacher Mr Flynn or the mysterious Ian who is new to town.

I have mixed feelings about this book.
On the one hand I liked the supernatural aspect and Salem's take on angels and demons.
However, I thought that Gemma was too accepting of the events that happened and didn't question many things. 

Cover Reveal - True Fate by Shayna Varadeaux

Book Name: True Fate
Author Name: Shayna Varadeaux
Publish Date: January 6th 2014
Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy

Cover Design by K.A. Last of KILA Designs


Strange things have always happened to Nia, and until now she’s written them off as flukes. At nineteen she has seen her fair share of odd occurrences and just feels lucky.

When Nia unknowingly spoke a prophecy on her eighteenth birthday she freaked out her best friend, Rhea. Nia realizes she needs to find some answers. Rhea makes her promise to go and see her Great Aunt Amarie, but she isn’t sure if her crazy aunt could really help.

Nia finds herself unexpectedly drawn to a stranger and begins dreaming of people who seem to know everything about her.
They offer little in the way of information as to how and why. It all feels too real but Nia is unsure, at least until she wakes up with a trinket from the encounter.

When dreams and reality collide Nia will have to face dangers she never knew existed. Ready or not she will have to discover her True Fate.


The house was dark from the outside and Nia wondered where they were headed and if there was even anyone inside yet. Eric opened the door and the house was dark inside too, except for the yellowish light coming from under the doorway they were heading towards. The moonlight shone in the windows showing the covered furniture. Nia guessed this safe house hadn’t been used in a while.

Eric opened the door then reached for Nia's hand, "Don't freak out, it’ll be okay, I promise.", he said squeezing her hand and sending as much calm her way as he could. Nia had no idea what was going on and why after avoiding her questions this was what he had said to her. When he opened the door the first thing she noticed was bloody rags in a waste basket. The scent of iron and antiseptic made Nia’s stomach roll and she gagged. Rhea's breath caught when she noticed the blood too and she shakily lowered herself into a chair holding her injured arm. She turned to Nia with a worried look in her eyes.

Time stood still for Nia as she saw his hand first, the unmistakable markings were a dead giveaway. ‘It can’t be.’ The scent of the blood clung to her senses making her stomach clench as Avery stepped out of the way giving her a clear shot to her worst nightmare. Nia's chest tightened and she felt like she would hurl, her focus went hazy, "No.", she whispered. She took a shaky step closer and her legs buckled beneath her. Eric reached for her just as her world gratefully faded to black.


Author Bio:

Shayna is a happily married mom of three teenagers and a native Texan. She is a highly addicted reader and an avid reviewer with a love for generating buzz for other authors.

“Life is chaos and reading is my relaxation. Writing comes second only to my family and my music. I love playing the bass and singing backup vocals for my husband. A tattoo artist turned author, following my dream and loving it!"

"I am currently writing True Fate, my first YA Paranormal Fiction! I hope to publish by the end of the year or the beginning of next year. Luckily I have my best friend who is also my supportive husband to cheer me on. I'm definitely looking forward to the painful journey of becoming a self-published author!”

Author Links: