Monday, 31 March 2014

Book Review: Vampire Academy (VA #1) by Richelle Mead

Series: Vampire Academy #1
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: 16 August 2007
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Source: Birthday gift / Bought

Goodreads Synopsis:

St. Vladimir’s Academy isn't just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They've been on the run, but now they're being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they're most in danger...

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.

My Review:

I initially read this book just before I started blogging. I have wanted to re-read it, to be able to review it for my blog, and when I saw a re-readathon hosted by Stephenie @ BookFever & Chistina @ Booksane, I quickly joined in to chat about this awesome book - chapter by chapter!

Characters: 4/5
Richelle creates great characters. There are your likable ones, the ones you cannot stand, and then a few that just surprise you. 

Rose - Rose is awesome. From the beginning you can see that she used to be reckless and she has learnt some tough lessons and is changing/growing up throughout the book. Rose can fly off the handle very quickly - but she has to control her anger due to the fact that she is walking on thin ice because of running away from the Academy with Lissa, and because there is a very real possibility of being expelled. At parts I really wanted to shake some sense into her - for example, when it came to Christian. Rose is a great strong main character. 

Lissa - Lissa is a beautiful and soft character. She has the potential to be explosive when the darkness kicks in. I can imagine is gets very lonely when you don't know what is happening to you and neither does anyone else. Lissa is lucky to have a best friend like Rose. 

Dimitri -  Hmmmm, Dimitri *smoulders*!! Dimitri is a strong character and is fighting some internal battles with his feelings. He is viewed as a kickass guardian god and has the skills to prove it. He sticks up for Rose and handles her perfectly - from her snarkiness to her wittiness. He is the guy you want next to your in a fight, and you definitely don't want to be on his wrong side. 

Christian - I love Christian to bits. He is not your straightforward, likable guy, but I connected with him easily. His bonding moments with Rose always had me laughing and he just belongs with Lissa. 

Mia - She just drives me insane. I felt a bit bad for her when I figured out why she is like she is - but really, being that mean and that extreme is just terrible. 

Mason - What an awesome character. He is sweet, loyal and a great friend to Rose. 

Plot, Pace, Writing style: 4/5  
The plot is unique and intriguing and the pace is perfect. Richelle's writing is easy to get into, and she knows how to surprise you in this series. I love her books, the worlds she creates and the characters she creates. 

Cover talk: 4/5: The cover is great. I love the font and the gates at the bottom. 

Final Thoughts: This still remains one of my favourite series and I enjoyed it even more the second time round. 

My Rating:

Books in the series / Other books by this Author:

Author Bio:
Scorpio Richelle Mead is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy books for both adults and teens. Originally from Michigan, Richelle now lives in Seattle, Washington where she works on her three series full-time: Georgina Kincaid, Dark Swan, and Vampire Academy.

A life-long reader, Richelle has always loved mythology and folklore. When she can actually tear herself away from books (either reading or writing them), she enjoys bad reality TV, traveling, trying interesting cocktails, and shopping for dresses. She's a self-professed coffee addict and has a passion for all things wacky and humorous.

Author Links: Goodreads l Twitter l website

Friday, 28 March 2014

Mini Book Review: The Secret Dancer by Ron Mace

Publisher: Lit Bits
Publication Date: 17 June 2013
Source: The Other Publishing Company 

(In exchange for an honest Review)
Audio or Book: eBook
Length:  12 pages / 1000 words

Goodreads Synopsis:

A romantic short story from the Lit Bits collection:
Everyone has their secrets but the secret shared by ex-dancers Rachel and Richard is more surprising than most, and they’ve never shared it, not even with their closest friends, not even now when tragedy strikes. ‘Secret Dancer’ is a Romeo and Juliet for today – a tragedy and a love story. It is sure to bring a tear to the eye of the reader.

My Review:

What an interesting and well written short story. This is a Short 1000 word story. I was amazed at the number of little twists and turns this story takes in such a limited span. A few of the developments had me really surprised, The characters were intriguing, the plot was original, and the pace was quick. 

I was drawn to this story originally because I was intrigued by the title and read a tiny excerpt when I was writing my own short story for the LitBits Competition at the end of last year. 

Ron is a brilliant writer and the quality of work is great. 

Final Thoughts:  $2.99 seems a bit expensive for such a short book but the quality of work is great. This book might be for people who don't have time to read long novels or have trouble getting through bigger books. 

My Rating:

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Topic of Light ~ Dream Big

Hello Lovelies

Welcome back to another Topic of Light. I think this new method is good for me as I hope it is good for your too. I have been a bit demotivated lately when it comes to my goals. Between last week's message and this week's topic - I can feel the inspiration and motivation slowly creeping back in. I have had to revert back to basics and you know what... that is OK too! I never gave up, I realised I just needed to slow down and have a breather - like a recharge. 

This week I decided to go with the same Positivity cards and was so amazed when I drew the card "Dream Big". I think this ties in wonderfully with last week's Stay Optimistic topic

Often people are a bit scared to dream really big. (Myself included). I think smaller goals feel more attainable and if we never reach the big ones - well at least we achieved something small right? WRONG. Small goals are important - but it is a security/inferiority issue here. We fear failing when it comes to the big stuff. Can you imagine how wonderful it would feel to completely achieve and excel at something huge - something you never thought you would achieve... Well that is where you need to set you sights. 

In someways we fear our own potential. We want to shine and stand out, but we want to fit in and move along at the same time. 

Write down a list of your fears - once you have down that, burn the paper or drown it in a bucket of water. Release them. Now go and write down your dreams. Place that list someone where that you can read it every day. Inside your cupboard, next to your mirror - where ever will work for you. 

One of my own dreams is have my book published, one of my biggest dreams is that that book becomes a best seller and a movie! Those who know me, know one of the authors that truly inspires me is Cassandra Clare. She also started out with a dream and hope. 

'Truly believe that you are utterly qualified for any endeavor you can dream about' ~ Doreen Virtue
"The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it." 
~ Michelangelo Buonarroti
Be great. Be wonderful. Be successful. Be amazing and start right now. Wake up and go make your dreams a reality. 

Who wants to be normal - go out there and be awesome! 

Monday, 24 March 2014

Mini Book Review: Killer Success: Awaken Your Inner Power by Lee Evans

Publisher: Brown Publishing
Publication Date: 22 August 2013
Genre: Inspirational, Motivational
Source: Amazon, Freebie Promo

Goodreads Synopsis:
Have you ever dreamed of having it all, but wondered how you could make that dream come true? Killer Success: Awaken Your Inner Power, will provide you with the blueprint for how to live the extraordinary life you deserve. We all have the power to be exceptional, and to achieve the dreams that have been buried within by years and years of misplaced fear, uncertainty and doubt. Through mastery of the power of your thoughts and actions, you can change the trajectory of your life, and can have, accomplish, and achieve anything you desire.

Lee Evans, through her work as a career coach, mentor, and motivational guru, has counselled endless numbers of clients on how to change their lives, to accomplish their passions. Through Killer Success: Awaken Your Inner Power, she poignantly reveals step-by-step strategies required for personal achievement, and shows you:
- How to Identify Your True Passions
- How to Map Your Dreams to Fruition
- How to Believe in Your Dream, Even if You Don’t
- How to Become the Person You Need to Be
- How to Trust in Your Unlimited Potential 
- and much, much more!! 
Killer Success: Awaken Your Inner Power, is a compelling book on how you can really have it all, by releasing the shackles that restrict your thoughts and your habits. If you are looking for freedom from the financial and emotional chains that bind you and you want to live to your fullest potential, Killer Success: Awaken Your Inner Power is your roadmap to excellence and success.

My Review:

I really enjoyed this book. It is realistic and Lee has a way with his points and words that make everything seem achievable and that you should start right now! 

The chapters are short and easy to get through, with an affirmation, action plan and success principle at the end of each one. It took me a while to read this book, even though it was a short read. Every time I read a chapter I was motivated and positive. 

I will probably read this book again and again - whenever I need a little kick to start working towards or to continue working towards my dreams. 

Final Thoughts: This really is a well written motivational book. It is a quick read and you can realistically use Lee's points to help you work towards your dreams and goals. 

My Rating:



Friday, 21 March 2014

Book Review: Chasing the Star Garden by Melanie Karsak

Last month, Naomi @ Nomi's Paranormal Palace and I decided to recommend books we thought were 5 stars for each other. It's a 5 star recommended reading program to make sure we don't miss out on the great books we should be reading!

Series: The Airship Racing Chronicles #1
Publisher: Clockpunk Press
Publication Date: 04 December 2013
Genre: Steampunk, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Source: Author (In exchange for an honest Review)
Audio or Book: Book
Length: 325 pages

Goodreads Synopsis:
An opium-addicted beauty.
An infamous poet living in self-imposed exile.
An ancient treasure about to fall into the wrong hands.

Melanie Karsak's Chasing the Star Garden takes readers on a thrilling adventure from the gritty opium dens of gaslamp London to the gem-colored waters of the ancient world. Lily Stargazer, a loveable but reckless airship racer with a famous lover and shattered past, reluctantly plunges into a centuries-old mystery in a romantic adventure best described as Dan Brown meets Mary Shelley.

It all begins on one of the worst days of Lily’s life. She just lost the London leg of the 1823 Airship Grand Prix. To top it off, a harlequin fleeing from constables shoved a kaleidoscope down her pants, told her to fly to Venice, then threw himself from her airship tower. What’s a girl to do? For Lily, the answer is easy: drink absinthe and smoke opium. 

Lily’s lover, Lord Byron, encourages her to make the trip to Venice. Lily soon finds herself at the heart of an ancient mystery which has her running from her past and chasing true love and the stars along the way.

*Due to steamy scenes and depictions of drug use, this novel is intended for mature readers.

My Review:
Chasing the Star Garden surprised me. It is not what I expected - not that I really knew what to expect!

Characters: 4 / 5
Melanie creates interesting and unusual characters. The story starts off with Lily and her crew racing in the Airship Grand Prix. After the race a man dressed as a harlequin delivers Lily a message, and then commits suicide by jumping off the side of the ship - What a way to start a story.

Lily - Lily is an unusual heroine. I like her and absolutely love her name 'Lily Stargazer'. She doesn't pretend to be anything she is not. She is a bit loose and carefree but mostly in control - when she isn't high on opium. Her character is very interesting and she has a sad childhood history. I enjoy her journey in the book and the way it all came together throughout the story.

Lord Byron - I liked him from the beginning - a high profile Lord from Britain. He is one of Lily's lovers and 'sponsors' her trip to Venice.  Byron is one of those characters that surprises you and makes your heart swell.

Sal - What an interesting and likable character. He is Lily's other lover. The more you see of him, the more you love him. Sal's love for Lily is beautiful and he is a man filled with tender moments. 

Plot, Pace, Writing style: 4.5/5  
I enjoyed the clues Melanie drops throughout the book. The plot is interesting and unique. At parts the pace was a bit slow, but on the whole it kept a moderate pace. It felt like an exciting treasure hunt. I loved how the title of the book tied in to the story - it really was such a beautiful 'A-ha' moment. I would say it was a good read for most of it, but the last 5 chapters really made it for me. The story really does tie up with a bang!

Cover talk: 5/5 I really loved this cover, it is beautiful and intriguing.

Final Thoughts: I really enjoyed this steampunk fantasy read and cannot wait to see where Melanie takes it in the next book 'Chasing the Green Fairy.'

My Rating:

Favourite Quotes
"We all have difficulties we must pass," Sal said quietly as he stroked my hair. "For many years I could not understand why my father, my brother, did not accept me, what I lacked. But I learned it was not in my hand to change the past. Sometimes your world must get turned upside down for you to truly see yourself."~"Asclepius clutches the serpent, conquering it. You see, my Lily, with determination, all monsters can be overcome. It is written in the stars." ~"She was a woman on a quest that was nearing its end. In those moments, a person will risk anything to win what they love."

Books in the series:

Author Bio:
Melanie Karsak grew up in rural northwestern Pennsylvania where there wasn't much to do but read books and go for hikes. Apparently, rambling around in the woods with a head full of fantasy worlds and characters will inspire you to become an author. Be warned. Melanie wrote her first novel, a gripping piece about a 1920s stage actress, when she was 12. A steampunk connoisseur, white elephant collector, and caffeine junkie, Melanie now lives in Florida with her husband and two children. She is an Instructor of English at Eastern Florida State College.

Author Links: Website l Twitter l Goodreads



Thursday, 20 March 2014

Throwback Thursday #1 Fallen by Lauren Kate

Throwback Thursday is a bookish meme hosted every two weeks by Stephenie @ Bookfever and Christina @ Booksane where we feature books that we've read in the past but are still crazy about. It could be a book you read as a child and still remember and love or maybe just a book that you haven't read in a long time and want to show your love for.

There’s something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.

Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price’s attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah. He’s the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.

Even Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce – he goes out of his way to make that very clear. But she can’t let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, Luce has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret...even if it kills her.

Dangerously exciting and darkly romantic, FALLEN is a page-turning thriller and the ultimate love story.

Why I love this book:

There are so many reasons I love this book. This was a complete cover junkie buy for me. I was looking for something to read while browsing the book isle in CNA and just grabbed it. I had no idea I would love this book so much when I first read it in 2010. I have re-read this book more times than I can remember. 

There are just so many beautiful moments in this book!
“The only way to survive eternity is to be able to appreciate each moment.” 
“I've already had to wait so long."
"How long?" Luce asked.
"Not so long that I've forgotten that you're worth everything. Every sacrifice. Every pain.”
“Please don't worry. I will always come for you. I won't let you go until you understand that."
"Then I refuse to understand," she said.”

Question/Activity of this week:

Activity! Go to your bookshelf, pick the 4th book from right, go to page 146, line 5 and write down the line.

Bespelling Jane Austen 
by Mary Balough, Colleen Gleason, Susan Krinard, Janet Mullany

"She felt her palms dampen beneath her gloves.Very attractive and very dangerous."
Northanger Castle by Colleen Gleason

Hope you enjoyed this meme this week!! What is one of your most memorable books?

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Topic of Light ~ Staying Optimistic

Hello lovelies

I hope you are amazingly well this week and keeping your chin up. I decided to take new direction with my topics of light for a while. I had a feeling that I had covered all I needed to cover with the Five Levels of Attachment and that it was time to move on to the next phase. 

I decided to draw some inspiration from my positivity cards. I love the magical and the mystical as you all might have noticed by now and have a few positivity packs to draw from when I need a little boost. If any of you have heard of Doreen Virtue, you'll know what I am talking about. 

This week's card was: 
Stay Optimistic 
~ Your dreams are coming true. Don't quit right before the miracle occurs ~

I smiled when I saw this message. How often do we give up just before the break through... 
All the time! We start our projects happy and enthusiastic, we work hard for a few weeks and then... we haven't seen results yet and start to wonder why. We give it a bit more time and then... start wondering if it is worth it or not anymore. It's normally at this point that success is right around the corner and we just need to hold tight a little bit more, hang on a little bit longer and give it that extra boost! 

If we got 'it' when we wanted it, 'it' might not be as great as it would be have been, if we just held out a little bit longer. Sometimes patience has it's rewards. Patience and guided action can work miracles! Keep your faith and believe in the miracles because you deserve them. 

Try stay positive, remember why you started your project and imagine the satisfaction you will have when you achieve your mark. Hold on to those thoughts until it happens. Visualise your success

In my mind I am a successful author already and we are making the movie - Yeah! Now I just need to finish writing my novel so I can complete this dream. In truth I wasn't sure I was capable of running a blog and never imagined there would be people who would want to read my thoughts and opinions - but I committed and here I am writing to you. It takes work and commitment but to me it is always worth it! 

My husband always says I am the most optimistic person he knows. Anything and everything is always possible: if you have the determination, drive and commitment to achieve it and want it enough - it will be yours! 

Stay positive and optimitics my friends. It is always darkest before the dawn but the sunrise is always breathtakingly beautiful and worth it. 

What are some of your goals that you are trying to stay optimistic about? I would love to hear from you. 

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #14 books on my Spring / Autumn reading list

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the girls over at The Broke and the Bookish, where bloggers get together and list the top ten things related to that week's topic.

This week is supposed to be TT books on your Spring list.. but since I am on the other side of the equator.. It is my TT Autumn reading list!!

I know I could have grouped these books under one title but since it is still 10 books I thought it would help ease off the pressure a little bit!! So many great books to read and so little time... 

My Autumn to-read list: 
(In no particular order)

#1 & #2: Mall Rats 
Deadlands / Death of a Saint by Lily Herne

#2, #3, #4 & #5: The Mortal Instruments

City of Ashes / City of Glass / City of Fallen Angels / City of Lost Souls

#6 & #7: His Fair Assassin

Grave Mercy / Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers

#8, #9 & #10: Shatter Me

Shatter Me / Unravel Me  / Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

Whats on your Spring / Autumn reading list??



Monday, 17 March 2014

Tour, Book Review & Giveaway: Tempus by Holly Lauren

Publisher: Libertine Press
Publication Date:  November 2013
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Source: GMTA Publishing (In exchange for an honest Review)
Audio or Book: Book
Length: 362 pages

Buy it here:  Amazon & Barnes & Nobles

Goodreads Synopsis:
Chapel Ryan isn't crazy. At least, that's what she's been trying to convince herself of for most of her life. But after being hallucination-free for three years, Chapel finds herself facedown on her English classroom’s gritty linoleum floor. When she looks up, everyone around her is suspended in animation. Mouths hang open mid-yawn, feet hover mid-cross, Ms. Freeman’s arm flexes mid-sentence diagram. It's another hallucination. Or, is it? 

Chapel prepares to tear herself back to reality when something happens. Something that has never happened before in any of her hallucinations--someone moves. And not just any someone—it’s the new guy with a scar over his lip and a reputation as black as his perfectly styled hair. And all of the sudden Chapel's white-knuckle grip on her life has slipped, and with it, her assurance that what she's experiencing isn't real.

My Review:
Wow what a book! Tempus is so much better than I expected - I loved this book from the beginning. The opening chapter dives right into Chapel having an hallucination, but the first one in  about 5 years. It sets the scene for the introduction of some main characters.

Characters: 5/5 
Holly creates beautiful characters. They are well rounded and balanced. 

Chapel - Chapel is smart, witty and genuine. I just love her, and she is easy to relate to. She puts everyone else first and is such a nice person. She doesn't have any airs or flairs about herself, even though she is a cheerleader - a position which normally comes with issues. I connected with her so easily right from the beginning. 

Zay - aka Isaiah, is charming and sweet. A bit of a bad boy rep, but you meet him initially as a nice guy and hear about his past. He is such a gentleman and so sweet when it comes to Chapel. I loved Chapel's effect on him and how she changed him as much as he changed her. 

Chapel and Zay just make me fuzzy and warm. I love their interactions and bantering. This 'sort of' instalove just works. It's not overly gushy and is very believable.

Gabe & Rush - Gabe is awesome. He creeps into your heart so quickly. I wasn't sure which side he was on, but I still adored him. Rush is your sarcastic & humorous character. He teases Chapel to pieces and is Zay's best bud. 

Plot, Pace, Writing style:5 /5  
I was drawn into the book quickly. The plot was captivating, the pace was perfect and the writing style was brilliant. Holly has created an awesome world that is easy to love and get lost in. She brings in twists you don't see coming and keeps you glued to the story. I did sort of guess the ending but wasn't disappointed

Cover talk: 5/5 I love the simplicity of the cover. It is just beautiful.

Final Thoughts: This is the best YA book I have read in a long time. I am hooked and cannot wait for the next book!

My Rating:

Favourite Quotes

In truth, no one knew all of her. She gave out pieces of herself here and there, but the whole of Chapel belonged to no one but Chapel. That was how she wanted it. 

"I'm not playing hard to get," she said. She pushed through the gym doors, pausing on her way in. "I am hard to get." ~ Chapel & Zay


Their conversation flowed. She liked that he asked good questions, and how he seemed to really think about his answers before giving them. He was well-traveled, well-read, well-everything. ~ Chapel

"I don't think of pain as something that can be measured. It either hurts, or is doesn't." ~ Chapel

"Grudges are easy," he said. "Forgiveness is hard."~ Timmy


"Are you always this pleasant?" she asked. "Or is there something about me that just brings out the best in you?" ~ Chapel to Rush


Rush shook his head. "I ain't like your boy, all lean and mean. I like my breakfast like I like my woman."
"I'm afraid to ask."
"Well-rounded with a little extra meat."
"Yup. Just s weird as I thought it would be."
~ Chapel & Rush

Soundtrack for TEMPUS

Author Bio:

Holly was born and raised in a small town in North Georgia. The third of four children, Holly grew up telling stories to get herself out of—and her siblings into—trouble. When she was eight years old, she penned her first publication: a newspaper called Sunny Dayz News. While she didn’t sell any actual copies, her sympathetic grandmother did peruse through the edition at least once.
When Holly isn’t dreaming up new plotlines for her next book, she enjoys breakfasting at Picnic CafĂ© in Dahlonega, Georgia with her (handsome) husband and their two (adorable) daughters.
Author Links  Website l  Facebook l  Twitter

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