Monday, 30 June 2014

Book Review: Bitten (WotO #1) by Kelley Armstrong

Series: Women of the Otherworld #1
Publisher: Orbit
Publication Date: 25 September 2001
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Source: Bought
Audio or Book: Paperback
Length: 448 pages



Overview:
Elena Michaels is a werewolf. She tries to be human, but the man whose bite changed her existence forever, and his legacy, continue to haunt her. Thrown into a desperate war for survival that tests her allegiance to a secret clan of werewolves, Elena must reconsider who and what she is.


Fan Book Trailer





My Review:
This was one of those books I bought on a whim... I was at the book exchange and I had some credit that I needed to use up before I lost it. I have heard so many good things about Kelley Armstrong so I just added it to my ever increasing TBR pile. While browsing some blogs that night I saw a great review on The Geeky Bloggers Book Blog.Yay... A good reference.. So I added it to my Book of the Month Poll for June. Then Niki @ The Obsessive Bookseller totally convinced me I needed to read this book soon.... And it won book of the month.... See it was all meant to be! I was shocked when I got to the end of the book about discovered that this was Kelley's first novel.. wow really??? It was so well written, if I didn't read it for myself at the end of the book I'm not sure I would have believed it. 

This book is amazing. It is filled with love, friendship, heartbreak, adventure and fun! If you love werewolf books... this one is for you! As far as I can tell all the books in this series can be read as stand alone novels. 

Characters & Storyline: 4/5
Kelly creates well rounded and interesting characters. 

Elena -  Elena is an outcast trying to fit into the human world.  I like love her to bits. What I loved most about her is that she is not perfect! She is strong, broody and unpredictable. She is not an anti-heroine but she has so many flaws and resists what she thinks doesn't work for her around every bend. She grows throughout the story and I was throwing a party when she realised what she needed to realise without compromising herself - if that makes any sense without giving away any spoilers. There were times when I wanted to smack her over the head when it came to Clay but the journey was worth it. 

Clay - Clay Clay Clay... Clay is awesome! He is who he is and he feels how he feels and that's it! He is one of those characters that just made the story for me. By the end of it he became my favourite character. He is so devoted to Elena and such a wild card. If I haven't convinced you to read this book... read it to meet Clay.

Jeremy, Nick, Antonia, Logan, Peter - (The Pack) - What a beautiful bunch of characters. They each add their own flavours to the story. I would have liked to get to know Logan a bit better but alas his role in the story is one that drove the plot further. 

Plot, Pace, Writing style: 4/5  
There is no doubt Kelley writes well and is brilliant at world building.  I enjoyed the history Kelley includes of this story. Her plot was exciting and she tugs at your heart strings with heartbreaking and tender moments. The pace was a little bit slow at some places but Kelley used this to fill us in with some of Elena's past. 

The ending was perfect. I love it. The only sad part to me is that there is no Clay and Elena in the next book. Or not from what I can tell in the blurb of book 2. 

Cover talk: 3/5 
The cover is OK. It was the colour and the font that drew me to the book in the first place. 

Final Thoughts: 
This was an awesome read and I will definitely be looking into reading the rest of this series.

My Rating:


Favourite Quotes
'You know, I couldn't imagine living somewhere without seasons.'

'Yeah?'
'Real seasons, I mean.I couldn't live without spring. Days like today are worth every snowstorm and slush puddle. By March, it seems like winter will never end. All that snow and ice that seemed so wonderful in December is driving you crazy. But you know spring is coming. Every year, you wait for that first warm day, then the next and the next, each better than the last. You can't help but be happy. You forget winter and get the chance to start over. Fresh possibilities.'
'A fresh start.'
'Exactly.'
~ Elena & Clay
Books in the series / Other books by this Author:



Author Bio:
Kelley Armstrong has been telling stories since before she could write. Her earliest written efforts were disastrous. If asked for a story about girls and dolls, hers would invariably feature undead girls and evil dolls, much to her teachers' dismay. All efforts to make her produce "normal" stories failed.

Today, she continues to spin tales of ghosts and demons and werewolves, while safely locked away in her basement writing dungeon. She's the author of the NYT-bestselling "Women of the Otherworld" paranormal suspense series and "Darkest Powers" young adult urban fantasy trilogy, as well as the Nadia Stafford crime series. Armstrong lives in southwestern Ontario with her husband, kids and far too many pets. 

Author Links: Gooreads l Website l Twitter




Love

Chanzie



Friday, 27 June 2014

Audio Book Review: The Drive-By Wife by Mike Wells

Publisher: Smashwords
Publication Date: 06 September 2013
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Source: Author via Audible (In exchange for an honest Review)
Audio or Book: Audiobook
Length: 9 hrs 16 mins
Narrator: Mark Torres



Overview:

In this explosive psychological thriller, Allen and Cynthia Hunt are a well-educated, upper middle-class San Francisco couple who experience the ultimate domestic nightmare. A deranged, seedy truck driver barges into their lives, blackmailing Cynthia into becoming his "drive-by" wife. Billy has led a lonely, bleak existence on the road and has always dreamed of “having him a beautiful, lovin’ woman to come home to.” Unable to go to the police, Allen and Cynthia desperately try to fight off the twisted stalker, who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. But the two have serious problems of their own. The story spirals into a tangle of deceit, deception, and murder. Can Allen and Cynthia unite and defeat the diabolical maniac from the hills, or will he destroy them both?



Previous reviews by Author:
Lust, Money & Murder

My Review:

When Mike contacted me to review this book I was so excited because I absolutely loved his previous audio book I reviewed, and have been a fan of his work since. Mike's LLM audio book was also my first audio book that I received for review and it will always hold a special place in my heart. 

The Drive-by wife was a great listen. Mike starts off with an intriguing captivating scene that gets you intrigued and keeps you listening from the word go. 

Narrator 3/5: 
Mark has a very nice voice to listen too. His flow was steady while reading but I found his transitions to be a bit rough - sometimes within the same chapter. I could hear when it was a different recording as his voice a different pitch when he started the next sentence / paragraph. I think he got more into character as the book went a long. My favourite character he perfomed was Billy, probably because he really differentiated his voice so well compared to Alan and Cynthia. 

Characters & Story line: 3.5/5

As I have come to expect from Mike, he starts off with a great hook to kick off the book. 

The characters are well rounded, each with their own ways which makes them interesting. I enjoyed the character development throughout the book, as Mike peeled away the layers of each character in different ways. 

Cynthia & Alan - What an interesting couple. Cynthia is sweet, caring and smart, and Alan just got on my nerves for the first half of the book. I just wanted to smack him over the head and tell him to wake up and see what a gorgeous amazing smart wife he had. The whole mess began because Alan was a workaholic and neglected his wife which led her to be somewhere she should not have been and ended up getting attacked. I think for me, Alan had the most development throughout the story and I really warmed up to him by the end. Cynthia I connected to really easily and her love of books and working in a book store made her that much more awesome to me. Overall Watching them grow as individuals and a couple was an enjoyable journey. 

Billy  - I actually really liked Billy in the beginning. I felt so sorry for him initially (even though what he was doing was wrong). Over the course of the story you see how messed up he really is as his true colours started showing. It was quite an emotional roller coaster as I liked him, loathed him, was disgusted by him and then ended up feeling really sorry for him all over again. All in all BIlly is a great and entertaining characters. 

Plot & Pace: 3.5/5  
Mike writes romantic suspense quite well and keeps you guessing where the story might go - with a great twist in the last third of the book that I did not see coming. I enjoyed the last 3rd of the book the most. I am not sure if the pace was slow of if Mark just read slowly but I notched up the speed on my audible app to x1.5. The plot was good. I really enjoyed how the story came together at the end and we start to get answers about Billy. 

Cover talk: 2/5 
The cover is OK. I can see the connection to the story elements not after I have listened to the book but it wouldn't initially grab me.

Final Thoughts:  
The Drive-by Wife was an enjoyable listen, although I preferred Lust, Money & Murder. This is a great book for people who enjoy suspense with a dash of romance. 

My Rating:


Other books by this Author:



Author Bio:
Mike Wells is an American bestselling author of over 20 "unputdownable" thriller and suspense novels, including Lust, Money & Murder and Passion, Power & Sin. He is also known for his young adult books, such as The Mysterious Disappearance of Kurt Kramer, The Wrong Side of the Tracks, and Wild Child, which are used by English teachers in high schools and colleges worldwide. Formerly a screenwriter, Wells has a fast-paced, cinematic writing style. His work is often compared to that of the late Sidney Sheldon, with strong and inspiring female heroes, tightly-written scenes, engaging action/dialogue, and numerous plot twists. He currently lives in Europe and teaches part-time in the Creative Writing program at the University of Oxford.

Author LinksGoodreads l Twitter l Facebook l Blog


Love

Chanzie

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

A day out at the Music Festival - 2014

My SoCo & Free hat
Hello Everyone


So today I thought I would share my day out to the Music Festival here in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. 


Originally my husband and I were not sure whether to attend or not due to PE having some really bad organising skills when it comes to events planning. Really... PE is almost never on the radar for music concerts for International bands - Anyway moving on! 


Andre & Guy
A friend of ours called us up at the last minute and asked if we wanted to join him, so we thought why not! 45 minutes later we were on our way to check it out. 


I was pleasantly surprised that it was actually quite awesome and there was quite a bit of music talent floating around. Shortly after arriving we each grabbed something to eat and drink. I even got free hat - Awesome! Anyone who knows me... knows I love freebies!! 



Kendall & Edward
After roaming around for a while we caught up with these awesome peeps... Kendall and Edward. We were just in time to see Edward perform live in front of Century 21. I heard he was good but couldn't wait to hear it for myself. Apparently I am one of the few people that didn't know he actually made it to top 32 in SA Idols! 

Let me tell you it was awesome! There were a few different stages with different artists playing at any given time. The streets were festive with so many people, plus we had the perfect weather!




Did you enjoy the video?? This is one of my favourite songs and I just had to catch it!! All in all it was a wonderful day and we will definitely be returning next year. 

Here are some more pics.. 





Hope you enjoyed this peak at the fun day we had! 



Monday, 23 June 2014

Mini Book Review: The Crimson Spell (Charmed #3) by F Goldsborough & Constance M Burge

Series: Charmed #3
Publisher: Pocket books
Publication Date: 01 April 2003
Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy
Source: Library
Audio or Book: Book
Length: 181 pages



Overview:

Evil thoughts and dark desires
Boil and burn in a wicked brew!
Throw hate and fear into the fire
May friends and lovers both be true
Prue, Piper, and Phoebe don't know that a coven of warlocks is hunting them. They don't know that one of the warlocks has entered their lives disguised as a friend. And they don't know the coven's mission—to drain them of their magical powers, even if it means destroying them to do it!
Now the Charmed Ones must figure out which of their friends is really their enemy. Because sometimes what you don't know—can kill you.

Previous reviews:
The Power of Three (#1)


My Review:

Once again I loved this quick read! I love the adventures of Prue, Piper & Phoebe. Every book I love them more and more. Connection with the characters is easy and you really get drawn into the story. The pace of the story was fast and the storyline was fun. I felt like I was watching the series while reading this book, you know exactly what you are going to get. Prue yearns for friendship, Phoebe yearns for love while Piper tries to be a mentor at a shelter. 

Final Thoughts:

This was a great read. I haven't been disappointed yet!!

My Rating:



Friday, 20 June 2014

Book Review: Benton - A Zombie Novel by Jolie du Pré

Series: A Zombie Novel Volume #1
Publisher: Precious Monster Press
Publication Date: 18 May 2014
Genre: YA, Paranormal, Horror
Source: Chelsea's Author Promotions (In exchange for an honest Review)
Audio or Book: eBook



Overview:

Zombies have killed everyone in the Benton household--all except twenty-something Jennifer. She's escaped her bedroom, but what now? Waterbank, Illinois is overrun. Where can she go?

A chance encounter with seven other young survivors points towards Texas. A charismatic, handsome young man named Mark says he can lead them all to his family's ranch, where he's sure they'll be safe. Jennifer wants to trust him - with her life and possibly her heart.

There's no place else to go, there's no way to escape the zombies but through, and there's no telling if Jennifer and Mark will live long enough to act on the emotions building between them.




My Review:
I wanted to try out a zombie novel for quite some time. I do have some on my TBR pile, and have won a few that are just waiting to be read! When I saw this novel I figured I could squeeze it into my schedule and it really was a quick read! Zombies freak me out... I don't normally touch anything with zombies especially movies, so this was venturing into new territory for me. In some ways, this was a very young read and it fits into the YA category very well. 

Characters & Story line: 2.5/5
I had to do some thinking when it came to this review. Since this is not my normal type of book. I tried to come from a neutral perspective. I felt that the characters needed some development, and I did not always understand what motivated their actions and decisions. 

There was a conversation between Jennifer & Mark about God & religion that seemed a bit out of place. I can understand why it came up but it was just kind of out of the blue and very short and not necessary. 

Jennifer - Jennifer is sweet & a survivalist.  I'm not sure if I would stay sane if I saw what she saw and went through what she did. Jennifer needs a little bit fire to her personality. She seems to be a natural at everything.  I want to know more about her as a person, and her history. I don't understand some of the things that she says or decisions that she makes. 

Mark is such a sweet character. I liked him. Gary is such an ass. He is the one who got under Jen's skin. Katie is annoying. I think all she does is scream and get paralysed every time she sees a Zombie.

Plot, Pace, Writing style: 2.5/5  
The writing style is kind of staccato and doesn't flow smoothly. The pace is good and the plot is interesting, but also a bit predictable in some ways. I would have liked to know more about how the apocalypse happened and just some more story-building in this regard - it is briefly mentioned initially and had such an intriguing unique take on Zombies. I think if this was elaborated on, it would have given the story some 'juice'. 

Jolie brings quite a hectic twist into the story near the end, which sort of saved it for me. 

Cover talk 4/5: 
I actually really liked this cover. It gives a creepy kick-butt type feel to it. 

Final Thoughts: This was an OK read for a Zombie novel and I would like to know what happens in book 2. 


My Rating:




Author Bio:
JOLIE DU PRE is a full-time published author, editor, article writer, blogger, and monster lover. The first book in her zombie series - BENTON: A ZOMBIE NOVEL, VOLUME ONE - is available now at Amazon. ~~ Visit her blog Precious Monsters. Finally, don't forget to " like " Jolie on Facebook.

Author Links: Website l Twitter l Goodreads







Thursday, 19 June 2014

Topic of Light: Be Who You Want To Be Now

Hello Everyone! 

Sorry my post is a day late this week but I attended a webinar on Tuesday night for the Money Magic program I am doing and totally loving it! I can officially say I have my own Fairy Godmother and she is awesome *tee hee - watch this space* She is a South African making a Global difference... I have her on speed dial and yes... She really has wings!!!

My Fairy Godmother
Donna McCallum

Today is also my Dad's birthday!! *Happy Birthday Dad* Thank you for being such an amazing inspiring force and blessing in my life, I love you <3 


Have you ever felt like you wish you were a little different? Like you are never truly happy with exactly who you are (100%)... You wish you were smarter, more talented, had more friends and so on... Well here is your little wake up call... Begin being the person you want to be today! Take charge of your life and make the changes only you can make. This will shape you to be that person you want to be in the future. 


If you wish to be smarter, begin to learn. If you wish to be talented, start practicing. If you wish to have more friends, get friendlier. You will never become the person you want to be without starting somewhere.
"Begin to be now what you will be hereafter."
William James - Philosopher (1842-1910)
Two of the best things I realised (You know... those things we all know and say repeatedly but never really sinks in... until one day it all clicks):


1 - Only you can make your dreams come true


It seems like such a silly thing to realise but its true. We all sit there wishing for a better life and staying in comfort zone... but sitting on the couch thinking about running on the treadmill won't make you fit... or watching TV when you could be writing your book isn't going to get you published! You see what I mean...


2 - You really can make your dreams come true 


If you want it enough, like really really desperately would do anything for it - you can make it happen. No matter what it is! Take action, be grateful and put in the time. I could ramble on and on and on... but the truth of the matter is - It is possible! 


Wow I feel better now.. Are you feeling inspired? What are your dreams? What small step can you take today towards your dreams? 



You want to know what I did..

I signed up for the Money Magic course and I started reading this book: 



Check it out if you are really serious about making taking the first step towards your new life. 


Take the step, take charge and live your dreams, starting from today.


Leave a comment and lets get started!!! 






Monday, 16 June 2014

Mini Reviews: The Withering palace (#0.1) & Evangeline (#0.5) - Dark Faerie Tale Novella's

** I read these novella's after I read book 1 - Ever Shade **

~ The Withering Palace ~

Series: A Dark Faerie Tale #0.1
Publication Date: April 2014
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Amazon
Audio or Book: ebook (Part of Anthology)



Overview:

This is Aveta's story.


Untold darkness rules the Unseelie realm of the Land of Faerie. Hidden in this vast area, Aveta, the future queen of the Unseelie Army perfects her gifts over lifetimes. Learning that magic isn't the only way to manipulate the world around her, this naive girl grows into a woman of strength, cunning and ultimately becomes one of the most feared leaders in Faerie.


Underneath her hardened exterior, lies a woman who has known the darkest of hearts, the agony of love, the pull of the consuming power coursing through her veins and what it takes to be ruler of the Unseelie within the walls of The Withering Palace.




My Review:

Do you ever wonder what happened to a character that made them evil. This is one of those stories. By no means did I think Aveta was a pure soul from the beginning but I do think she was destined to end up the way she did. It was written in her destiny. I do think she had the potential to let go of all the darkness that consumes her but then she wouldn't be the evil queen would she?



Alexia transports you back in time beautiful and she quickly sucks you into the tale of Aveta.

Final Thoughts: This quick read was enjoyable and heartbreaking. 

My Rating:




~ Evangeline ~

Series: A Dark Faerie Tale #0.5
Publication Date: 15 September 2012
Publisher: Crushing Hearts & Black Butterfly Publishing
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Amazon
Audio or Book: ebook
Length: 29 pages



Overview:
The Land of Faerie is calling. 
There are places unknown, magic lures you in and love spans lifetimes. 
Don't resist. It's in the blood...
Evangeline is a short story prequel to Ever Shade.



My Review:
Evangeline is a great prequel that helps put a few puzzle pieces together for you with regards to Evie & Shade. It doesn't explain how Evangeline ended up with the Unseelie, but it does help understand where her heartache began. 

I laughed when I saw where her latest nickname came from. It went from Evie to Vange in Ever Shade. 


I am not sure if it holds any future significance but it feels like I know a secret about Shade that is yet to be revealed!!


Final Thoughts:  Evangeline is a great quick prequel read!


My Rating:

Books in the series:

Other books by this Author:


Author Bio:

Alexia currently lives in Las Vegas, Nevada–Sin City! She loves to spend every free moment writing or playing with her four rambunctious kids. Writing has always been her dream and she has been writing ever since she can remember. She loves writing paranormal fantasy and poetry and devours books daily. Alexia also enjoys watching movies, dancing, singing loudly in the car and Italian food. 

Author Links: Website l Twitter l Goodreads



~ Grab these freebies ~





Love

Chanzie