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Review: Unwritten by Chelsea M Cameron

Received from InkSlingerPR

Received from InkSlingerPR

Title: Unwritten
Author: Chelsea M Cameron
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: July 2014
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 3/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

Children’s librarian by day. Romance novelist by night.
British single father.
Someone else is writing this love story…

Blair Walton isn’t your average curvaceous tattooed children’s librarian. She’s also one half of bestselling romance author, Scarlet Rose. Along with her BFF Raine, she spends her nights writing books so steamy, she’s afraid they would shock her Southern conservative grandmother to death . . . if she knew about them. That’s why she and Raine write in secret.

On deadline for their latest book and out of ideas, Raine suggests (demands) that Blair find a guy and “do some research”. Declan Bennet has all the qualifications: He’s British, looks fabulous in a suit, has glorious blue eyes and gets bonus points for being an amazing single dad to his adorable son, Drake. But what starts out as a research project quickly turns into something much more. And Blair’s not the only one with secrets.

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REVIEW 

Ok, so I was totally smitten as soon as I knew the story focused around a children’s librarian. Blair is a tattooed, smut writing children’s librarian – how can anyone not totally love her just from that :)

Blair is what really made Unwritten for me,  not only is she someone I could personally relate to (hello, teen librarian here) but she was also a terrific role model for women everywhere. She accepts herself for who she is, she embraces her life and herself and other people gravitate to her for those reasons alone. She’s utterly gorgeous, curvy and comfortable with her body (inspirational) I really loved how she accepted herself as she was, embracing her love of food and covering her body in literary quotes and book illustrations.

I’ve got to be honest and say I really didn’t get Declan’s appeal, especially the Draco Malfoy appearance (not my type obviously, lol). However, Declan’s role as a father endeared him to me, he really is a wonderful father and has a terrific relationship with his son. I’m always slightly envious when I see/read about ‘good’ fathers. Personal experience with less than stellar male role models makes even good fictional fathers bittersweet for me.

Chelsea’s adorable, quirky sense of humour shines through the narrative, it is one of my favourite things about her writing :) Her use of unconventional modern literary couples added to the humour and relatability of the story as a whole :) Add in the humourous and probably very accurate insight into the world of writing and editing on a deadline alongside strong female friendships and you have a captivating story.

While the romance was a secondary element in the book for me, I absolutely adored Blair. I wish she were real so I could use her as inspiration for my girls.

Review: The Hazards of Sex on the Beach by Alyssa Rose Ivy

Received from InkSlingerPR

Received from InkSlingerPR

Title: The Hazards of Sex on the Beach
Series: Hazards #3
Author: Alyssa Rose Ivy
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: July 2014
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

One broken heart, one drink too many, one steamy night in the sand…

No one warns you about the dangers of drinking with a broken heart. At least no one warned me. I never imagined I’d fall for a musician, especially not one like Chase, but then again I never expected to have my heart broken into a million pieces by the frat guy I thought was the love of my life.

Sometimes it’s the rash decisions, like hooking up in the sand, that lead you to the best places—the kinds of places where it’s possible to let yourself fall in love again.

REVIEW 

In the third installment of this fabulous series, it’s the turn of Cara to take centre stage. We’ve encountered Cara in both of the previous books as the third roommate and best friend of Juliet and Mallory. Cara has always come across as the quintessential sorority girl – a bit like Barbie on speed ;) She’s been going steady with Aaron since starting college. Always doing what other people expect of her especially where Aaron is concerned that the shock of his betrayal cuts deep with Cara. Not only does she lose the boy that she thought she was going to spend forever with but she really doesn’t know who she is. Aaron is a complete and utter d-bag, I am so glad that Juliet hit him where it hurt because that is exactly what I wanted to do to the b*****d.

Cara in a moment of rebellion does something completely out of character and has a random hook-up at a party on the beach, leaving straight after without giving her name. Destiny has other plans for her though. No longer fitting into the social life she previously relied on, Cara steps out of her comfort zone by going to an indie concert with another sorority girl, Jade (also mentioned in the previous books). Jade has a spot on the college radio and enlists Cara as her wing-woman when interviewing bands.  As fate would have it the mysterious hook-up just happens to be a member of an up and coming band at the concert Jade and Cara attend.

I think I’ve read too many books with angst in them because I was just waiting for the other shoe to drop with Chase rather than just accepting him for who he was. Probably exaggerated by Cara’s need to remain distant due to the hurt she suffered with Aaron. Chase proves that stereotypes are a way for other people to justify their thoughts and actions. Chase is not your typical rocker in the slightest; blending hot geek with musical genius wrapped in sensitivity and caring. He really is the total package.

Although long distance relationships are very difficult, the time apart allowed Cara to discover her own likes and dislikes in a way she has never been able to before. Chase brings out the confident woman who was lurking under the insecure surface. The hotness scale in this book has certainly been upped to volcanic proportions, the limited time together means fireworks erupt when the opportunity presents itself.

Alyssa beautifully weaves the idea of identity into the narrative, especially the fact that we are constantly changing and evolving based on life experience. Alongside the saying ‘everthing happens for a reason leasing you to where you should be not where you think you should be’.

The Hazards of Sex on the Beach provides a stunning conclusion to the series – although I would love to see a novella/novellas of the characters 10 years down the line. It would be a fabulous way to expand the connection already established to the wonderful characters Alyssa has created.

Review: Boys Don’t Knit by T.S. Easton

Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: Boys Don’t Knit
Series: Boys Don’t Knit
Author: TS Easton
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Publication Date: 1 Jan 2014
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 5/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

Ben Fletcher must get to grips with his more ‘feminine’ side following an unfortunate incident with a lollipop lady and a stolen bottle of Martini Rosso from Waitrose. All a big misunderstanding of course. To avoid the Young Offenders unit, Ben is ordered to give something back to the community and develop his sense of social alignment. Take up a hobby and keep on the straight and narrow. The hot teacher he likes runs a knitting group so Ben, reluctantly at first, gets ‘stuck in’. Not easy when your dad is a sports fan and thinks Jeremy Clarkson is God. To his surprise, Ben finds that he likes knitting and that he has a mean competitive streak. If he can just keep it all a secret from his mates…and notice that the girl of his dreams, girl-next-door Megan Hooper has a bit of a thing for him…Laugh-out-loud, often ridiculous, sometimes quite touching, and revelatory about the knitting world, Boys Don’t Knit is a must for boys and girls..

REVIEW BY SAM – YEAR 9

This is a teen comedy novel revolving around the life of struggling teen Ben fletcher. Ben isn’t a bad kid, he just seems to hang out with the wrong people, in the wrong places, and more often than not, he’s also in those places at the wrong time. So it’s only a matter of time before he is forced into community service after a hairy incident involving shop-lifted alcohol, a bike and a lollipop lady who wouldn’t seem out of place on a Viking battlefield. Thrust into a desperate mission of redemption, Ben must face this wizened warrior queen, inappropriate innuendo from his parents, girls, and a short-lived career in knitting. And getting a date with the frustratingly elusive Megan Hooper would also be nice.

I picked this book up with mixed emotions; the title suggested a comedy, and after reading the synopsis I was assured that it was, however, the cover was a dubious mix of bright colours and a theme that wasn’t reassuringly masculine, and as a result there was a brief moment of indecision, before I made the worthwhile choice of taking it to read.

Filled with unexpected turns, it didn’t exhaust its ability to occasionally cause me to giggle like a little girl, and at other times groan with exasperation at the impossible circumstances Ben somehow gets himself into. T.S. Easton seems to manage to effortlessly draw you into the life of Gex, Joz and Freddie and their friend and antiheroic weed, Ben Fletcher, the unlikely main character of this story.

A worthy read, causing you to inwardly cringe, laugh and even feel the successes (few, yet still there) of the relatable Ben Fletcher, it’s almost sad to finish the story, but it leaves no doubt about the prowess of the skilled T.S. Easton: there is nothing to criticise.

Read it, it’ll be a laugh.

Review: Shine by Candy Gourlay

Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: Shine
Author: Candy Gourlay
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Publication Date: 5 Sept 2013
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

This is not a ghost story even though there are plenty of ghosts in it. And it’s not a horror story though some people might be horrified. It’s not a monster story either, even though there is a monster in it and that monster happens to be me.

Forced to hide herself away from the superstitious island community of Mirasol, thirteen-year-old Rosa seeks solace online. There she meets Ansel95, and as the friendship moves from virtual to real, Rosa discovers that she’s not the only one with something to hide..

REVIEW BY OSKAR – YEAR 7

This is an eerie, horror story with a spiritual background and a bit of ghostly atmospheric feeling. It is set in a peculiar city where the relentless rain never stops, and all locals are highly superstitious, worrying at the slightest twinge of unusual occurrences. As a thirteen year old, Rosa must seize the freedom to be who she really is, and, after meeting the mysterious Ansel95 online, as well as seeing ghostly images of her mother, her life is completely changed.

At the beginning, I was a little perplexed, thinking this book was a bit too far out of the ordinary, but as the compelling storyline continued, I realised that only a minority of the customs of this superstitious community were unique, and different to nowadays. The pace of the story is relatively moderate, with flashbacks from the past occurring every couple of chapters, increasing the complexity and texture of the plot set in the near future. Also this aids in filling in part of the background story to the overall plot.

The author has the uncanny ability to turn the varying degree of fairly random characters into likable, friendly individuals. Even the so-called villains in the story are not acting completely according to their own will, but are briefly controlled by spells of madness. This story is made engaging due the variety of different events that happen throughout the course of the book, as well as the fact that it is highly unpredictable, and the reader is constantly striving to find out what occurs next.

If there is anything that I, personally would add to this novel is perhaps some more background information on the characters linking off of the main character, such as her friends, and maybe even a more detailed concentration on the background of Rosa’s rather unknown father.

Despite this, I personally enjoyed the overall novel and would possibly consider reading more of this writers work to see what other interesting and enjoyable stories of this calibre have been created.

Review: The Night Itself by Zoe Marriott

Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: The Night Itself
Series: The Name of the Blade #1
Author: Zoe Marriott
Publisher: Walker
Publication Date: 4 July 2013
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

When fifteen year old Mio Yamato furtively sneaks the katana – an ancestral Japanese sword – out of its hiding place in her parent’s attic to help liven up her Christmas party costume, she has no idea of the darkness she is about to unleash on modern day London, or the family secrets that she is going to uncover.

The paralysing paranoia that descends on her before she gets to her friend’s party is her first clue. The vivid and terrifying visions that nearly get her killed are a pretty good warning too.

The giant nine-tailed cat demon that comes after the sword and tries to rip her throat out? Overkill.

Seconds away from becoming kitty-food, Mio is saved by Shinobu, a mysterious warrior boy. But it’s already too late. Mio has ruptured the veil between the mortal realm and the Underworld, and now the gods and monsters of ancient Japan stalk the streets of London, searching for her and the sword.

With the help of her best friend Jack, a fox spirit named Hikaru – and the devoted protection of the betwitchingly familiar Shinobu – Mio attempts to discover the true nature of the sword and its connection to the Yamato family. Because if she doesn’t learn how to control the katana’s incredible powers, she’s in danger of being overwhelmed by them. And if she can’t keep the sword safe from the terrible creatures who want it for their own, she’ll lose not only her own life… but the love of a lifetime.

REVIEW BY MARIANNE – YEAR 9

The main focus of The Night Itself is Japanese myth. It tells the story of how a 15 year old, Mio Yamato, steals a priceless family heirloom for the sole purpose of making a fancy dress costume more exciting.  The heirloom just happens to be in the form of a deadly Katana sword. Stealing the sword sets of a chain reaction awakening the blade and threatening to wreak havoc on th unsuspecting streets of London. Mio has to find a way to harness the Katana’s power or it will destroy her and her love.

I have to state straight away that I am with the villains on this one :) I really like the nine-tailed demon at the start of the book, he is such a cool, sarcastic and calculating character; just the right amount of evil without being annoying or over-powering. For the characterizations of Ms Marriott’s evil-doers I have to give her 5 stars :)

There are aspects of insta-love within the story – I agree that the relationship was inevitable and adds a beautiful touch of romance to the story overall; however I would have preferred to see the relationship develop over a longer period of time. This is a personal preference and by no means distracts from the enjoyment of the book as a whole.

I definitely recommend this author to others. Please take into consideration that I don’t generally read anything beside The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit and you can truly appreciate how high this score is for me :)