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Stages of Grace
Stages of Grace
Price: £2.04

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Amazing Book That Resonated Deeply Within Me, 20 May 2013
This review is from: Stages of Grace (Kindle Edition)
When Carey Heywood said she was looking for reviewers, I jumped at the chance. I have never read anything by her before but she came highly recommended by a friend. So it was a chance for me to meet a new author and be introduced to her world. I can tell you now, I am so very happy that I did. If I hadn't, I wouldn't have known what a fabulous author she was and what she would bring to my life in the form of Stages of Grace.

This book made such an impact on me for a couple of reasons, one because it's written so beautifully but it also resonates with me on a deeper level because I suffered similarly to Grace. So much so it could have been called "Stages of Keren" instead.

Denial... Anger... Bargaining... Depression... and finally Acceptance.
These stages of grief are more prominently associated with death. But what happens when it's the death of a relationship not an actual person?

At first, Grace and Jon were blissfully happy. She'd been out on a blind date with someone and had seen Jon across the bowling alley - he was gorgeous, kind, funny... all the things you'd want in a boyfriend. They were always stealing kisses and sharing happy moments. That was until they'd been together for 3 years and Jon wasn't the easygoing man she had come to know and love. He became distant and cold, snapping at her for the slightest thing.
They used to have a morning routine of sharing a coffee and then seeing each other off to work, then Jon lost his job. For a short time, he kept up with the routine, seeing Grace off to her job as a doctor's receptionist but then one day he just stopped.
Every little thing Grace did seemed to annoy him. She was permanently walking on eggshells. She got to the point where she would put her clothes for the following morning in the bathroom the night before because getting dressed in their bedroom had Jon shouting at her for making too much noise.
This resonated within me because I once had a partner who was much the same, only he hit me too. Fortunately for Grace, Jon never physically hurt her, but the mental abuse was just as bad as physical abuse.

Grace would go to work, and that would be the only reprieve she got because she worked with her friend Nikita. But when she got home on a night, she never knew what she'd be walking into.

There were no more tender moments or romantic gestures. Jon would wait until Grace went to bed and then he'd have the cheek to take her car out (because he now couldn't afford the upkeep of his own car) and he'd stay out until all hours doing lord only knows what. If Grace had asked him what he was up to, he would have gone ballistic. So she never asked.

Grace was an orphan, her parents having died recently. Jon had seen her through those times with a tissue for her tears and a shoulder to cry on. So what had happened to the old Jon? Where had the sensitive guy she'd fallen in love with disappeared to? What could she do to bring him back? Was it her fault?

One day, an unexpected letter has Grace shocked. She has a grandmother who is alive and living in Florida. Why hadn't her mother told her this when she was alive? She had always believed her mother when she said that her grandmother was dead. But here, now, she was reading a letter that confirmed this to be a lie.

Upon visiting her grandmother Kate in Florida, Grace has time to reflect on what her life is like. She sees it through fresh eyes. Of course, it helps that her grandmother's next door neighbour Ryan is hot. Not that I condone cheating to any degree, but with what she had suffered, I was silently encouraging her to at least kiss Ryan.

Kate asking her to stay with her in Florida makes Grace reassess her life. Is she happy? Does she love Jon anymore? Is there anything keeping her in Ohio? She could get a job in Florida. She could live with Kate. She could do anything with her life. But could she leave Jon or would she stay and try to make the relationship work?

Well these are questions you must endeavour to find out the answers to for yourself.

This book is an emotionally fraught journey for sure. The first stage, Denial, I was right there with her. I kept leaving the partner that beat me but I kept returning. He had a way of emotionally blackmailing me into staying, promising he'd never hit me again. I kept believing he could change. Lesson to be learned from that? A leopard never changes it's spots.
The next stage, Anger. I could feel this emotion probably just as strongly as Grace. How could Jon turn from someone so loving to someone who shouted and screamed at her for the slightest of things? She felt the anger rising inside her because all the times she thought she was in the wrong, she wasn't. There was nothing wrong with the way Grace acted. It was Jon who was in the wrong and how dare he assume to take it out on her.
Then there was Bargaining. Well, Carey Heywood knows how to play with my emotions and she had me here too.
I was all too quickly thrown into Depression and so I totally felt Grace's plight. I was hurt that he mentally and physically bullied me into staying by his side. Calling me whenever he was on a break at work. Not letting me have a job because he was jealous that I might find someone else. Well in the end, I did find a job and I did find someone else. Someone like Ryan. Someone who treated me as an equal. As a person to loved, desired, cherished. not beaten and destroyed. It was in this stage that I must admit, I cheated. Looking back on it, it wasn't the right thing to do... BUT... he had beaten all the love out of me and I craved someone to put the pieces of me back together.
Lastly, we have Acceptance. For Grace, it was acceptance that it was time to make a change in her life. She had to stand up and be counted as an equal. She had to accept that it wasn't her fault that Jon had taken his problems out on her. He tried making her think that it was her fault for rubbing it in that she had a job and he only got "an allowance" like a child. Well she finally succeeded in standing up and making herself heard.
Acceptance for me was realising that it was not okay for [bleep] to beat me or mentally abuse me. I finally took that step to leave him, permanently!

So I felt Grace's every moment, cowering in case anything she did set Jon off. But I also felt every moment when her smile started to shine through. The moments she felt happiness being with her grandmother or being around Ryan.

Even if you've never been through a similar situation, I truly believe that you will have a hard job keeping yourself from empathising with Grace. She is such a beautiful character, both inside and out. She craves the love she used to have, but with the finality of the death of her relationship, a butterfly emerges from the cocoon. A stronger woman who can finally get what she wants from her life.

The writing style of Carey Heywood sucked me in. She pulled at my heartstrings at every turn. A tumultuous journey from beginning to end, Stages of Grace shoots right toward the top of my Best Books of 2013 list.
I am now looking to get all of the books Carey has written and I believe she is writing a sequel to SoG, I truly hope she does.
There aren't enough words to describe this story without totally ruining your own first-hand experience of it. All I can tell you is that you won't be sorry you bought this book and spent a wonderful few hours lost within the pages. I smiled when Grace smiled, a laughed when she laughed, and I even cried a couple of times. People who know me know that I can't resist a book that makes me feel this much emotion.

If my review gets even just one person to read this book, then I will have done my job.

If you are in a similar situation to Grace, it may even help you take stock of your own life and get out before getting too hurt.

Thank you Carey for providing the e-copy of SoG for review. Thank you for hitting every emotion on the head. But thank you most of all for creating Ryan for me to swoon over.
Ryan... how I long for a second book... maybe from his POV?... A girl can dream!

The Eternity Cure (Blood of Eden)
The Eternity Cure (Blood of Eden)
by Julie Kagawa
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Yet Another Amazing Book In The Blood Eden Series, 7 May 2013
Have you ever loved a book and hated it both at the same time? I have had a couple of those and The Eternity Cure is one of those. There are many reasons to love it and those are the ones I could talk about all day. But the reason I hate it? Well there's two reasons actually, one I can share and one I can't.
The reason I can share? Well, this book was a roller coaster of emotions and at the peak of those emotions, I came crashing down - I literally crashed and burned and fell apart in tears. I love a book that can make me so invested in the characters that I feel their emotions along with them - but this time was different. I loved it and hated it because it broke my heart. But then possibly redeemed itself in the Epilogue. I'm literally DYING without book 3.
I remember when I read The Immortal Rules last year. I was so excited because I had an eARC of a book that people were hyping up and I got so swept up in the hype - which is totally unlike me - but anyway, I read it and it became a fast favourite of 2012. I remember thinking that the sequel couldn't possibly be as good - Hell, I have to admit I was wrong - it was BETTER!

Allie Sekemoto has made a vow that she will find and rescue her sire and mentor, Kanin. She can feel that he's in pain, she dreams about the things that are happening to him. She can feel a pull in his direction and she vows to follow it so that she can help him get free from Sarren, a vicious vampire who's gone mad. He might be the only known vampire to come back from insanity, but it changed him in ways that cannot be reversed. He's so strong and his agenda is as yet unknown but whatever it is, it has something to do with Kanin. Why else would he chain him up in the dark and do unspeakable things to him? For fun? Knowing Sarren, the answer is "Quite probably!"

Unfortunately, Allie can feel two pulls in different directions, one slightly stronger than the other and she is unsure which one to follow. She isn't even sure how she'll rescue Kanin from possibly the strongest vampire she has ever come across. All she knows is that Kanin is on the brink of being broken and going insane and she will do anything to rescue the man who once rescued her.

Allie decides to follow one of the two pulls she feels inside and who should she bump into but Jackal - her blood brother, having been sired by Kanin a long time ago.
Allie hates Jackal, and with good reason. He's never given her a reason to do anything other than distrust him. He's not necessarily evil per se, he's just... spiteful, vengeful, sadistic... you get the picture. So he's not exactly on Allie's good side. She mistrusts him based on past encounters yet here he is offering to help her find their sire. Why? Well that's not really clear. Jackal will always have his own agenda and helping Allie find Kanin isn't something he does from the bottom of his unbeating heart.

So Allie and Jackal form an uneasy alliance and go in search of their sire. There are a few problems they encounter along the way. One of which is the fact that many humans seem to be infected with something that makes them crazy. They tear at their own skin. If they are knocked down, they get back up as though nothing happened. The only way to stop them coming at you in a fight is to slice them in half or cut off their heads, something fatal.

The journey is not easy and once they reach their destination, further complications arise. They need to get in to see Prince Salazar but how? They need to free Kanin, but how? Nothing is as they think. It couldn't be more complicated.

Do they free Kanin? Do they find the elusive "cure" they seek? Does the cure even exist? There are so many questions that arise and every time you think that you have this book figured out, Julie Kagawa goes and throws a spanner in the works.

I have to say, I loved The Immortal rules and it deserved every one of the 5 wings I awarded it. But The Eternity Cure should be given an extra few stars for the cunning, the creativity and the outcome. It was AMAZING. INCREDIBLE. One of my top books of 2013 so far.

Julie Kagawa is a very talented author. She inspires me to write better in my book. The intricacies of this book, the way she makes you think that you are being betrayed, the way she makes you fall head over heels in love with Zeke... Everything she does shows her talent. She makes you care about her characters, really invest in them. As I said at the start of this review, she made me crash and burn at the end. There were a couple of times throughout the book that I shed a few small tears. but the ending, that just tore down my defences. Julie Kagawa gets under your skin. She makes you feel as though you've been sucked into the book. I found that it took longer to read this book than the first, and in the beginning, it was paced slightly slower. But as I got further into the story, the pace picked up and I found myself turning the pages faster and faster.

You can safely say, this book was a blast. It was anything but boring. It was nothing short of perfection and I don't know how she plans to top or even match it in book 3. But roll on book 3 because I am betting it is going to be another kick-A installment in the series.

Love Me For Me (New Adult/ Bad Boy Contemporary Romance) (Safe Haven Book 1)
Love Me For Me (New Adult/ Bad Boy Contemporary Romance) (Safe Haven Book 1)
Price: £1.91

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read In One Sitting, Couldn't Stop Reading Til The End!, 7 May 2013
I'm not entirely sure how to proceed with this review. When I was first sent the email by RABT about participating in the tour, I read the synopsis and agreed as it seemed like the sort of thing I would enjoy. In a way I was right. Yet I later learned that it opened up old wounds. It didn't make me dislike the book, it actually made me empathise with Serena on a level I didn't think possible before I started reading.

Serena is at college. It's been a fresh start for her since getting the scholarship. She shares a dorm with her best friend, Kaylee. Serena is past the days of being a party girl though. She no longer sleeps with random boys, even if they are cute. It's been hard for her, getting where she is today. She has a past that she isn't proud of - there's a sordid secret she's never told anyone, bar one person. That person didn't believe her. So now she keeps herself to herself and doesn't let anyone get close.
When she first told her mother her secret, she hoped and prayed she would believe her. But her mother Felicity was blind to the facts. She point blank refused to believe her daughter. So Serena went off sleeping with any boy that paid her any attention. She put on weight as a defence mechanism. These were the only ways she thought she'd be able to cope.

One day, she's late to class and can't bring herself to enter because the tutor doesn't think well of being tardy. She looks up and sees a gorgeous boy who's also late for class. They decide to ditch together and go and grab a coffee whilst studying for the clqass they have skipped.

There's an air between them that crackles with electricity. But Serena has promised herself she is done with her days of meaningless sex. She can't give someone the "more" that most people can give, she feels that she comes with too much emotional baggage and therefore she cannot commit to anyone.

But Alex is gorgeous, kind, funny, and in no danger of going anywhere any time soon.

Serena wars with herself about wanting to open up to Alex, but she can't. She's never breathed a word of it since Felicity didn't believe her. There are times when her room-mate Kaylee looks at her as though she too has past experiences that she suffers silently. But Serena can't even share with her best friend what's tucked away in the darkest recess of her mind.

It might be okay for Serena to say that she can't tell anyone because no-one will understand. But in reality, she's just keeping those that care about her at arms length. If she told them the truth, they might just stand a chance of believing her.

Serena and Alex date but she keeps those walls built up around her. One night, as they are kissing, Serena finds that Alex has scars. He may well even have a secret of his own. She wants him to share with her his innermost secrets, but that makes her hypocritical if she won't open up to him.

What ensues is a beautiful, if tragic tale of a love that won't survive if some of their baggage isn't tossed overboard. Will Serena trust Alex enough to tell him the truth? Will Alex tell her his own secret? Everybody has inner demons, but it's only when we finally open up and share with those that love us that we find a weight has been lifted from our shoulders.
How do I know? Well I suffered from the same past as Serena. I dealt with it in exactly the same way as she did and admitting that might make you think I'm nothing but a dirty [bleep] - that's on you, feel free to take that opinion - but for me, it was a coping mechanism, the same as it was for Serena.
Two people who go through the same fate may not end up dealing with it in the same way. But for me, [my Mom] Alison didn't believe me about my step-dad either and in that way, Kate Laurens could have been describing me when she wrote Serena's character.

I have to say, this book touched me so much and at 76% through, warm salty tears raced their way down my cheeks. I was really feeling the emotional pain of these characters tortured souls.

Kate Laurens debut novel is a tale of a hurt little girl who shuts herself off to the world and when she grows up, finds it hard to know who she can place her trust in. Enter Alex, the handsome, loving man who wants her to open up but at the same time doesn't pressure her. He's kind, loyal, loving, caring, all the traits you could want in a man. He loves Serena entirely, wholeheartedly and would give anything to be able to help her fight the demons that haunt her.

In Another Life YA Sweet Romance
In Another Life YA Sweet Romance
Price: £1.96

5.0 out of 5 stars Another Amazing Novel By Jo Cattell, 25 April 2013
I have to say in all honesty that I don't know how to begin this review. This book was one of the most emotional books I have ever read.
It may come as a surprise to some of you but not to others that I adore everything that Jo Cattell writes, and everything she writes makes me cry - well, In Another Life was no exception. I cried from nearly the first page and read much of the book with tears in my eyes.

This story is based on a true story and knowing that is probably one of the major factors behind my tears. Everything that happened, well most things, actually happened in real life and that made it all the harder for me to keep my emotions in check.

A lot of you who have read my reviews before know that if I am moved by a book, I will have a good cry. But this book brought out the sobbing baby in me. It wasn't until the end that I cried as hard as I have ever cried in my life. So that's your warning to have a whole box of tissues ready before you open this book.

Anne is a good girl. she deserves to be treated like a Queen or at the very least a Princess, by any man in her life. But that's not the case when she meets Jim. Her friends think she needs a boyfriend and so encourage her to go out on a date with him - I read the first date scene and it was at that moment in time that I knew that Jim was NOT the right person for our wonderful Anne.
Through Jim, she meets his best friend, Nate. He's everything that Jim isn't. He's good looking in a kind of nerdy way [and I love nerdy]. He's good and kind. He makes her laugh. Trouble is, he's Jim's best friend, so Anne shouldn't see him in the way she does. She shouldn't look forward to time spent with Jim just because she gets to see Nate.
Upon dumping Jim [which is totally the right thing to do] she gives Nate a hug goodbye, feeling that she won't see him again because of how things have ended up. But she couldn't be more wrong.
She didn't know it at the time but Nate liked her all along. He wanted to hit Jim for some of the things he said and did to Anne. He knows she deserves so much better.

So Anne and Nate start seeing each other. He has to admit to her that he is poorly and needs dialysis. He really needs a kidney transplant but the waiting list is long and he doesn't know if or when he's likely to get one.
Anne doesn't let this bother her. She does things for him and treats him well. She treats him with the same respect he treats her, which is how a real relationship should be. They are such an adorable couple.
Anne's best friend Monica and her boyfriend Joe really think that Nate is good for her. They all plan days on the beach and Joe's family have a place they can all head off to for a short getaway.
The relationship blossoms and you can see the two really love each other. It's like they are two halves of the same whole - soul mates.

One day, good news comes, they've found a kidney for Nate. They couldn't be more excited. He's been so poorly for so long that it's a big deal that they've managed to find him a match.

[Spoiler Carefully Extracted]

Anne and Nate get by day to day knowing that he is so poorly, but she looks after him the way anyone who loves someone would. They are a young couple in love and you couldn't want anything other than a Happily Ever After for them.
Nate's Mom and Dad like Anne, the only person who seems to have something against her is his sister. She seems to think that the moment his health takes a decline, Anne will leave him. Little does she know, she couldn't be more wrong.

In life, you are lucky if you find 'the one' and if you do, it's a once in a lifetime thing. If you've ever felt true love, it's an all consuming thing that means come Hell or high water, you would do anything for the one you love. You would walk from one end of the Earth to the other, walk over hot coals, move mountains, all things that sound like clichés - but if you think they're clichés, then maybe that's because you've never been in love. You may think you have, but in my opinion, you haven't.
I know that this couple in real life, would have done all those things for each other. They were young, yes, but also so in love - a love like which, some people in life may never be lucky enough to experience.

This book was an all-consuming thing for me. From the moment I picked it up until the moment I put it down, I was right there alongside them, feeling everything they went through.
I know that Jo pours her heart and soul into each book she writes and this book felt like something extra too. It was like she was telling us a secret, something she'd kept inside.

There is a song that sprung to mind when I was reading this book, "If Tomorrow Never Comes" by Garth Brooks.

Jo Cattell is an amazing author and I defy anyone to think differently. She writes from the heart and gives each book her all. You feel like you're on a roller coaster, with the ups and downs and loop-the-loops. But it becomes your favourite roller coaster and you don't want to get off.

Going Under
Going Under
by S. Walden
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.61

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome book. Recommended for mature teens., 29 Mar 2013
This review is from: Going Under (Paperback)
I am completely at a loss as to how to start this review. For those of you who know me, you know I am not speechless very often. Well at this moment I am both speechless and bursting to the brim with things to say.
I am never too sure what an author expects or wants a review to be like, so I trust my words to guide me and once I get going, I think I'll be alright but at the moment I am sat at my computer with a kind of blank expression on my face. I'm thinking of deleting what I've written and starting again... Hmm... The fact is, this book blew me away, but in a whole new sense.
Normally, I read a lot of Happily Ever Afters. Perhaps because I'm a hopeless romantic and perhaps because anything else can leave me devastated. Perhaps it's a bit of both!
This book isn't your mermaids or princesses or knight in shining armour kind of story. It's much deeper than that. This story got to me on a whole new level, the reason behind that is because in my own way, I caa relate to it. You see, this story, at it's core it's about rape. Not something a lot of people reading this will have first hand knowledge of, or at least I hope not.

When I was just 14 years old, I was nuts about a boy who used to go to our Youth Group. What's that got to do with it? Well you'll find out. but please, if you have got issues with the subject matter, I urge you not to read any further.
So, this boy, he was tall, had dark hair, kind eyes and was a year older than me. My friends had to set me up with him because I was so shy. Well, the story goes that he was sweet and kind, said and did the right things. He held my hand and offered nothing but sweet kisses. I was 14 and sex was the last thing on my mind. But it obviously wasn't the last thing he thought about. Why am I telling you this? I don't know, but I hope by the time I have finished, you will have an understanding of the bond I formed with Brooke, the MC in Going Under.
Where was I? Yes, this boy, he asked me on a walk through the nature reserve that ran along the back of my house. We were accompanied by his cousin so I didn't think there was any harm in it. I said goodbye to my friends and told them I'd see them later. God only knows how I wish I hadn't. As we got further into the nature reserve, the boy asked me to sit on the grass with him, still all harmless right?! Wrong! I sat down and no sooner had I done so than he climbed over me and pushed me back to the ground. His cousin pinned my arms down whilst the boy undid his trousers... I was subsequently subjected to rape. The cousin had gone to hide in the bushes to watch because now the boy has his hands free to hold me down. The cousin started throwing pebbles and rocks at my head....
Once he was finished, he pulled me up and held my hand like it was the most natural thing in the world. I got to my house and when I closed the door on him, I went to the bathroom and found I was bleeding. I decided a bath might help try to scrub the memories away.
I didn't tell my Mom or my Step-dad, I just went about life as normal. I was emotionally numb. I refused to believe I was the victim of rape. I thought I must have led him to believe that it was okay. After all, the word no never passed my lips. But then neither did the word yes...
I had a girl knock on my door the next day and she called me a whore for sleeping with her boyfriend. I was shocked to find out he had a girlfriend, but was more shocked to find out he had 11 girls thinking they too were his 'girlfriend'.
I never spoke up. I told boyfriends that came along afterwards that it had happened, but I never went to the police. The fact is, I refused to be a victim, but I refused to wake up and hold this boy responsible for such a cruel act. I wish I'd told someone at the time. Maybe something would have been done. Maybe he thinks he got away with it, maybe he doesn't remember doing anything bad to me. It is after all 16 years ago.

What has my story got to do with Going Under and why am I telling you all about my personal experience? Well, the reason I guess I'm telling you is because I am here and you are wherever in the world you are and I am safe from harm - safe from people judging me.

The story in Going Under isn't the same as my story, but if you read the book, you will realise just why I had such a strong reaction to it. I finished the book just before writing this review and I was a teary eyed, snotty mess. I couldn't even coax my limbs into helping me up to splash cold water on my face. It wasn't until my son asked me why I was crying and said that he would look after me that I got my act together and went to wash my face and 'man-up' as some people might call it. I pulled myself up by the bootstraps and realised that this book was the beginning of a whole new chapter in my life, one entitled Closure.
Summer Walden says in a note at the end of the book that if you are a rape victim, she urges you not to read it. But I knew what the subject matter was when I picked the book up and was determined to see it through to the end, no matter the personal cost. But I've come out of the other side of it - yes it made me relive the whole ordeal, but it also taught me a lesson in how to just let go and move on. I thought I had moved on 16 years ago, but until this day, I didn't realise what a weight it still was on my shoulders. Now I feel uplifted and like I can finally let go. I thank Summer from the bottom of my heart for this story. Some may judge her for writing about such a taboo subject - but I praise her for having the courage to break out of the constraints society places on us. I for one think that rape wouldn't be such a taboo subject if it weren't for society. If victims didn't feel so judged by society, they would have a far easier time coming forward.

So, will I delete all this and start again, just get on with writing my review? I guess we won't really know until this post is published.

But enough of my story, I'm not here looking for pity. I want to tell you a little about Going Under and why it deserves more than the mere 5 wings I rated it. If only things were rated out of 10 stars, this would still be a 12. For me anyway.

Brooke's best friend Beth was raped and as a consequence of that, she killed herself. She wasn't strong enough to deal with the aftermath. So Brooke decides to be strong enough for her. Brooke isn't innocent in this story, she's guilty of sleeping with Beth's boyfriend Finn behind her back. But that's her only sin. Thankfully, she isn't still with Finn, else I may have stopped reading right then.
Brooke decides that she needs to do something to help uncover what happened to Beth and stop it from happening to anyone else. I like Brooke, she's a martyr, yes, but I like her anyway.
She starts attending a new school and moves in with her Dad when her Mom decides to move to California. Brooke thinks that by attending Beth's old school, she can somehow find justice for Beth and peace for herself. She's constantly haunted by her fears that Beth thought she was a terrible person for sleeping with Finn and for not helping her in her time of need after Cal raped her.
Brooke decides to make the ultimate sacrifice and pay the ultimate price for vengeance. She wants to set herself up as a victim. She wants Cal to 'do her' and then she can come forward saying it was rape. But life is rarely ever that simple.
Upon attending her new school, Brooke is confronted by Cal almost the second she's through the door. It's like she's fresh meat and he's a Bloodhound. He plays the gentleman, telling her that he'll tell her all she needs to know about the teachers and the classes. He plays hard to get but then when he sees Brooke's disinterest, he keeps sniffing around her.

I said life was rarely ever simple. The complication this time comes in the form of the most beautiful blue eyes she's ever been witness to. She could swim laps in the pools of his eyes. His name? Ryan. He's a bit of a loner, doesn't hang around with the jocks, or with anyone really. But that's okay, Brooke doesn't mind that one bit.
Brooke knows it's going to be complicated going after the guy that raped Beth and getting him to like her if she's seen flirting with Ryan. But what harm can it do? It seems to have an unintended, yet good, reaction from Cal anyway. He's jealous.

One day, Brooke is in the stairwell when she hears a secret club being discussed. This club involves scoresheets, sex with virgins... Not a very nice club to be a part of. But that doesn't seem to bother Cal, Parker and Tim. (There are others but I'll leave it to you to find out who) They are the main players in this little club and Brooke wants to uncover anything she can about it so that she can set herself up as the victim.
The problem with that is, Brooke doesn't know how deep she's in until it's far too late.

Brooke gets a job and is pleased when working as a waitress has it's perks of being able to see Ryan. Then there's the fact that he lives in her street too. What a stroke of luck. But how is a girl to juggle vengeance for her friend and the blossoming attraction she feels for the handsome boy with alluring blue eyes?

Well I will leave that all for you to find out for yourself. After all, you didn't come here so I could give you a blow-by-blow account of everything....

[major spoiler extracted carefully]

Summer Walden never intended to write a smoochy love story that has an epic romance and a blissful HEA but... I was actually happy in the end. It isn't your typical HEA, but after the tumultuous roller coaster ride of a storyline, this girl will take what she can get.
At about 80% in I started to cry and I didn't stop until the end. In fact, my tears streamed faster and my sobs were louder as it went along. I was sucked in from the moment this book began but it was here that I was most moved by the events occurring. I felt every ounce of Brooke's pain and the story tugged on every heartstring I own and then some.

There's no way I could write a story about such a taboo subject and like I say, I commend Summer on her bravery for writing this beautiful book.
It's not beautiful in the traditional sense of the word, but it has helped me move on with my life and I can honestly say that this story will stay with me always... as the first step on my road to healing.
It's taught me that it wasn't my fault what happened to me and if I could confront the guy who did what he did, I think I would show major restraint by just walking past him with my head held high in indignation.

If you are a victim of rape or you know someone or suspect that a friend might have been raped, I urge you to reach out to someone. You really should talk it through, don't bottle your rage for years thinking that no-one will believe you. The best time to contact the police is as soon after the event as possible. Don't have a bath, don't wash your clothes. Every piece of evidence you can get, do it. But do not put yourself in as dangerous a situation as Brooke. It's easy to think "It's okay I'll walk away unscarred." But you won't. As a person who has lived through it, take it from me, the scars never fully heal, you just have to learn to trust that it wasn't your fault. If you didn't explicitly say YES then the sex is NOT consensual and I urge you to do something about it before it is too late. Please?

Reservation (Preservation, #2)
Reservation (Preservation, #2)
Price: £2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning Sequel, 21 Mar 2013
As I fell utterly in love with the first book of this series, Preservation, I knew I needed to read this book as soon as possible. Thankfully, Rachael sent me a review copy and I was able to get to it after meeting other deadlines for blog tours.
Let me tell you, this book was incredible! It was just as good as the first book. Usually, I find that in reading sequels, they some how can't manage to live up to how much I loved the first book. But this time, I can happily tell you, that wasn't the case.

If you've read my review of Preservation, you'll know I was a snotty, teary eyed mess come the end of the book. Reservation was no different. I cried constantly for the last 15%, but those tears began to fall harder at certain points {find out where for yourself}

If I'm honest, everything that Rachael Wade writes seems to make me cry. She just has the knack of affecting me in ways that many an author cannot. I feel like the characters aren't just fictional and in the pages of a book, but instead, they're real people. That's how much of a connection I have to them.

It was absolutely brilliant to read this book from Ryan's POV. When I read Preservation, I always wondered what was in his head and when Rachael said on her blog that there would be a book from Ryan, I was overjoyed. I needed to know what made Ryan Campbell tick - this was just the opportunity to find out.

When I read the blurb for this book, I was thinking "Oh dear God no. Ryan don't you dare mess it up. Don't mess around on Kate, else I'll have to jump into the book and thump you myself."
The reality is, both Ryan and Kate have suffered trauma in the past in the form of their exes. They are both so much in love with each other, yet it feels like a bomb waiting to go off. They're scared to be together because of their past, but they're in it for keeps and just want the past to disappear. It's a real shame for them when the past comes to bite Ryan in the butt and threatens to knock him off the rails, spiralling into despair.

Ryan has a publishing contract with Simon and Warden, something he has wanted for a long time, since the days of Jamie his ex. She cheated on Ryan and made it impossible for him to go into a career as an author because he couldn't keep his own head together. Jamie was the trigger that set him off sleeping with girls from the University where he was a teacher. He was the 'use them and toss them aside' kind of guy.
But now he's cleaned up his act, ever since Kate Parker walked into his classroom that fateful day. He and Kate have been an item for a while now and she understands all about his past. she tells him that the past is exactly where all that sort of stuff belongs.
It wasn't so long ago though that he nearly lost Kate. She took a teaching position overseas so that she could have some head-space. But Ryan went to her and they worked things out. So now, he's home alone, waiting for her to come home to him.
He's still teaching at the University until the end of the semester, then his career as an author should really take off. Especially due to the fact that the movie rights have been optioned so not only will he have a book out, but soon there will be a movie too. That's the dream right? A book and movie deal? Yeah, you might think so, but sometimes things don't work out the way you think they're meant to.
Ryan's career puts him in the spotlight. More so than he ever thought or hoped it would. People from his past come out of the woodwork to talk to the press about his attitude towards women back at the University. There are things that Ryan would rather keep under wraps, but as things so often do, they have a way of working their way to the surface.

Kate is still overseas and it's hard on Ryan not having her around. It puts an untold strain on their relationship, even if they don't see it yet.

Ryan is thrown into the spotlight, much to his chagrin. He has to go to parties and schmooze the people in the publishing world. The only thing is, Danny, his publicist, is either incapable of doing his job properly or he just doesn't care what it means for Ryan and Kate when he does certain things. {things I'll leave to you to discover}

Ryan and Kate are getting married, taking the plunge and moving in together instead of living in separate apartments. Ryan has a book and a movie coming out. Kate has a book of her own coming out. Things couldn't get better than that, right? Well you need to read Reservation for yourself to find out.

I adored this book and I think Rachael Wade is one amazing author. She writes fluidly and flawlessly. She has a habit of making her characters delicious and irresistible. This book was no exception to that rule. In fact it probably proves the rule.
If there's one thing Rachael knows how to do, it's keep her readers hooked and guessing what will happen next. From one moment to the next, I couldn't tell where she was taking this story. There was lots of drama, tears and tantrums. I had to put the book down a couple of times because I was upset and because I wanted to prolong the story. I was reading it far too quickly and all too soon it was over.

For people who know me, you know I loved Fifty Shades of Grey. But those of you who know me better will know that I think Preservation and Reservation beat the Fifty trilogy hands down. Rachael is a truly amazing author and if I could aspire to be an author, it would be Rachael. I want to write like she does, to touch readers in the way she does. I want there to be a buzz about my books in the way there is about hers.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 26, 2013 7:42 PM GMT

Myka Jelina Gothic Figurine "Monica"
Myka Jelina Gothic Figurine "Monica"
Offered by StrangelingUK
Price: £19.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, 19 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
As always, the pictures do not do any MJ figurines justice. Monica is a stunning little lady and I just love her as I love all MJ art.

Myka Jelina Gothic Figurine "Zoe"
Myka Jelina Gothic Figurine "Zoe"
Offered by StrangelingUK
Price: £19.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, 19 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Myka Jelina Gothic Figurine "Zoe"
I love MJ Art. Every piece tells a story. The pictures do not do any of her pieces justice. Zoe is a very striking figurine.

Grishma (Necoh Saga Book 1)
Grishma (Necoh Saga Book 1)
Price: £0.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Debut Novel, 19 Mar 2013
Firstly, I'd like to show some cover love. I absolutely adore this cover. It's simple, elegant and beautiful. Perfect for the story contained within.

When Kelly first approached me about this book, it was to do some critiquing for her. I gave her my insights on the first few chapters but after that, she was picked up very quickly by a publisher, so I didn't read any more - I waited for the final outcome.

I have to say, this book is a new favourite of mine. With a twisting story arc, fluid writing and truly unique characters, this book has sky-rocketed to my 'Most Favourite' list on Goodreads.
Why did I enjoy it so much? Well there's hardly enough words to tell you without giving away the whole story - but what I will tell you is this...

Brooklyn is a normal teenage girl with your pretty average life. That is until the day she attends a house party thrown by Jocelyn Macintyre. Her world is then thrown into disarray and all because she got a little lost.
Why was she lost? Well, we have to go back in time a little way to answer that question. Brooklyn has been in love with Kai since forever. Kai is a friend of Brooklyn's brother and her feelings blossomed for him over a period of time. But Kai doesn't seem to see her in the same light. Why? I can't tell you (it's a spoiler).
So, upon attending the 'party of the century' at Jocelyn's house, Brooklyn is disturbed and upset to find out why Kai doesn't think of her like that. So much so, she runs off out of the house, out of the garden and into the woods that surround the back of the house.

Brooklyn is lost and alone, upset because of the betrayal and she's beyond hurt by someone she classed as a best friend.
She doesn't remain alone for long though. Ryder, the foreign exchange student living at Jocelyn's, comes seemingly out of nowhere. There's something in the woods and if Brooklyn doesn't follow Ryder, she could end up dead. So she does as he tells her. That something in the woods? Well that would be Grishma!

Ryder takes Brooklyn to his home via way of the moonbow (not saying too much, you need to read it for yourself). She discovers that they are no longer even in her world, they have been transported to Ryder's homeworld of Necoh.

Ryder shouldn't have taken her to his world, she'll stick out like a sore thumb, but it was all he could think to do at the time to save her. He explains this to her and Brooklyn being a girl after my own heart doesn't totally flip out and slap him upside the head for lying - as some people might do. On their run through the woods, she caught something in the sole of her foot but before she has chance to do too much moaning (as might be appropriate) Ryder puts a balm on her foot to help it to heal.
Ever the gentleman, he shows her the way to what the Necohian's class as a bath and leaves her to clean the mud caked in her hair and on her skin. Once out of the water, Brooklyn puts on some clothes Ryder has left for her.

This is surely as much excitement as Brooklyn can handle. but oh no, things are about to get extremely worse.

{spoiler extracted}

Brooklyn wanders off and stumbles upon some members of the Tribe of Topher. They all believe her to be the missing Princess Sophie. She explains that she is not, but do they believe her?

{spoiler extracted}

Ryder can't find Brooklyn anywhere. He's worried that she'll get lost and hurt because she doesn't know his world. But he can't plan for what actually happens.

{spoiler extracted}

Someone returns Princess Sophie to her rightful home, the castle, with the King of Necoh. But Brooklyn isn't the Princess and nobody will believe her. They think that someone has altered her mind with a concoction that erases memories. Brooklyn has no choice but to play along and hope that Ryder can rescue her somehow.
Tasked not only with rescuing Brooklyn, Ryder also still has to track down and kill Grishma for the death of his father. This is going to be one hell of a rescue/tracking mission. Is Ryder prepared for all eventualities?....

It's not long since Princess Sophie was returned home but the King is insistent that the ceremony still go ahead as scheduled. What ceremony? Well, she's to marry Prince Algid of Dratun.

Brooklyn doesn't know what the King has planned until she hears one of the servants says she will make a lovely bride. How on earth will she get out of having to marry a Prince? There's no way she can do that. She has to get home. Plus, she has come to like Ryder.

{yet another spoiler extracted}

Ryder is on his way to try and find Brooklyn. But by the time he does, will she even remember who he is? Will she even remember who she is?.....

Grishma is a foul beast who smells like rotten fish. She killed Ryder's father and kidnapped his mother Bethenny and sister Brianna. Can he slay the beast and rescue his mother and sister, as well as finding and rescuing Brooklyn from her fate?.....

This unique cast of characters made for a complex story arc, yet it was simple to follow and I really enjoy a book that can do that, combine both complex and simple. By that, I mean, Kelly made sure there were twists and turns, highs and lows, things happened that you just didn't see coming. But though it was so intricately weaved, this story was easy to follow along with and in fact get swept away by.

I absolutely loved Cridifer and Pidifer. (you'll know who I mean when you read the book.) I fell in love with the swoon-worthy Ryder and I loved Brooklyn. She's probably my kindred spirit. She's got a kick-A attitude that you just have to admire.

Kelly Anne Blount is a debut author but it doesn't mean she can't jump up onto my Favourite Authors list. I found her fluid writing style really easy to read and to connect with. I love how she alternates the chapters so that we also get to experience Ryder's POV. It was a great way of making him an easy guy to fall for. I cannot wait for book two to come out. Alas I guess I will have to wait, I don't know if book two will come out this year or next.

Thank you Kelly for allowing me the chance to read and review your wonderful debut novel.

Your Guardian Angel (The Guardian Angel Series Book 1)
Your Guardian Angel (The Guardian Angel Series Book 1)
Price: £0.77

5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most amazing books I've read in months, 6 Mar 2013
Where to start this review, I really don't know. There are so many things I could sit and gush about all day, but that would spoil your own reading journey. What can I say without spoiling it? Well... For a start, I want to prepare you for your next book boyfriend. His name is Eli De Luca, the name alone is swoon-worthy but the man himself is even more amazing.
My first true (fictional) love was Dimitri (Dimka) Belikov from Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead and I have to say that the pedestal he once had all to himself is now shared by Eli De Luca.
He is a Guardian Angel entrusted with the care of Ruby Moore. He is H.O.T hot and there is no denying the chemistry between him and Ruby, even though it is forbidden. But isn't a taste of the forbidden fruit even more exotic? I think so. It's more dangerous and alluring. All words that could also be used in a character description for Eli.
So, anyway, before I end up making this a review of Eli and not the book, I best put him to the back of my mind [very hard to do].

Ruby Moore lives with her mom and life would be good if it wasn't for the fact that Hank (Ruby's step-father) turns up and all goes to Hell in a handbasket. See, the thing is, Hank has become a vampire. He's come back to drain both Ruby and her mother as they are pure souls and that is what a vampire needs to survive.

[spoiler removed]

Ruby's life as a weak vampire completely sucks. She's neither a fully fledged vamp, nor a normal human being. She can do things other vamps can't, like go out in the sunlight. But ultimately there are things such as super-human speed and strength that she doesn't have.

[spoiler removed]

Ruby is taken to a place called Sage Sanctum where she must be kept outside of the school grounds because she is a vampire and the students are Guardian Angels, Gods and Goddesses. But Mr Alexsandrov - the head teacher - takes Ruby to a cabin where her mother used to live. He tells her that her mother always meant for Ruby to come to Sage when she was old enough and that the cabin used to belong to her mother.
She is protected by Tay and Eli, two angels tasked with watching over her until she can be turned into what she was always meant to be, a Goddess.

In time, Ruby is allowed to attend Sage Sanctum with the rest of the students. Most of them don't know what she was before, but some manage to find out and try to give her a hard time. But Ruby is such a kick-A heroine in this wonderful story and she takes no nonsense. She settles in to life at school, even though the lessons about plants and stuff are pretty boring.
The best thing about school for Ruby is that she gets to see Eli. She wasn't even thinking about boys until he came into her life and now all she can do is think about how handsome he is and how she longs to feel his soft lips upon hers.

I have to be honest, everything Ruby was feeling, I was feeling alongside her. I had this rapidly developing crush and I was urging Eli to give in to his desire and kiss her. You could tell they both wanted each other, the tension was palpable. But a relationship between a Goddess and a Guardian Angel is forbidden. Goddesses like Ruby should be mating with Gods. But Ruby doesn't let a little thing like that keep her from trying to get time alone with Eli at every possible opportunity.

So before I spoil the entire book, I'll finish by saying this...

Skyla Madi is an incredible author. Her writing sucks you in and you fall heart first into this amazing book. I have always loved anything to do with Angels and this is one book that I rank up there with the most incredible of them.
This is a fast-paced, thrilling, heart-string-pulling roller coaster ride of a book and I cannot wait to pick up a copy of Sun-Kissed and fall back into the world that I didn't want to leave. Skyla weaves a little magic into her characters and makes them something special.
The good guys have you rooting for them and the bad guys have you wanting to get in there and land a few well placed punches yourself. You feel the anger building and just wish that you could get in there and knock their heads together.

So if you are looking to find your next favourite book, then look no further! For fans of Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy books, if your heart belongs to Dimka, come and see if your heart strings are pulled in the direction of Eli. I swear, you won't be sorry.

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