Review: Writing on the Wall by Tracey Ward

Writing on the Wall by Tracey Ward

Genres: Young Adult, Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic

[Goodreads | Amazon]
"I’m a girl stuck in Neverland with The Lost Boys. I’m
no Wendy, I can hold my own. I don’t need to wait
around for Peter to save me, but I’m also not an idiot. I know my enemies."

It's been nearly a decade since the world ended. Since Joss watched her parents die at the hands of a nightmare, a nightmare that stalks her even now, all these years later. That's the problem with the Risen - they refuse to die.

But Joss is a survivor. A loner living in the post-apocalyptic streets of Seattle. It's a world dictated by Risen and the looming threat of the Colonists, a group of fellow survivors living comfortably in their compounds and patrolling the wild, looking to "save" the orphans of the end. 

Orphans like Joss. 
Like Ryan.

As a member of an all male gang, Ryan is a threat as real as the Risen, a threat Joss avoids at all costs. Then one night their paths cross and Joss makes a choice that goes against all of her instincts. A choice that will threaten everything she has.

Now a new outbreak is imminent and the Colonists are closing in. Joss' solitary, secret world will be blown wide open and the comfortable numbness she's lived in for the last six years will burn away leaving her aching and afraid. 

And awake.
This book popped up on Amazon as a freebie, and I decided to take a gamble and read it. Let's just say I was not disappointed! I devoured it in one sitting, unable to put it down because of the fast pace and amazing delivery. 
Me during the entire book.
For starters, it's so easy to love the female lead. She isn't a Mary Sue. She's very real with very real issues. But in spite of them, she stays strong and true to herself. You cannot help but root for her from beginning to end without a second thought. So many female leads fall into the stereotypical Mary Sue category that I was doing my own happy dance as I got to discover more about her and her complexities as the story unfolded.

Truth be told, I've never been into the whole zombie scene before. The above gif is exactly why. I still won't be, I'm sure. (Tracey has converted me with her series featuring zombies and kick-ass female leads.) But this book was able to make zombies prominent without the over-saturation that I was weary of. Zombies are a large part of the story, but the author is able to weave so much more into it.

Unrelated, but I can just mention how giddy I got with the Middle Earth/LotR references? It made the book that much more enjoyable! I will forever picture Crazy Crenshaw as Gandalf and Radagast's love child. 

Lastly, the cliffhanger; brutal! I'll be waiting with bated breath for the next installment of the series. And I'll definitely be suggesting it to my group of friends who enjoy dystopian YA stories!

Review: Nothing Ventured by Jane Oldaker

Nothing Ventured by Jane Oldaker

Genre: Chick Lit

[Goodreads | Amazon | Kobo]
Molly Malone is obsessed with putting herself on
the map by building a prestigious housing
development. All she needs to get started is a very large wad of cash. Romance is about the last thing she would ever pencil into her overflowing diary until she encounters the breathtakingly handsome Paul Farnsworth, front man for a group of investors who might back Molly’s project.

What a lovely book! Molly is too swept up with work to worry about romance until Paul comes along and they turn each other's worlds upside down. 

Molly is someone that I can identify with, and one of my favorite main characters as of late. The detail offered by Oldaker makes the story pop off of the pages. I feel a different cover could really add to the value of the book, though. I'm a sucker for beautifully done covers, and this one doesn't do it justice. All in all, everyone should give this book a chance. It's a perfect, quick read. 

**I was gifted this book for free in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to the author and/or publisher.

Bonus Review:

Mitchell Parker's Anniversary Gift by Jane Oldaker

Genre: Chick Lit

In honour of his fortieth wedding anniversary with
his wife Eileen, Mitchell Parker has acquired what is
possibly the greatest anniversary present in history which he intended to unveil at the quiet but lavish evening he and Eileen had planned at their favourite hotel. Unfortunately the occasion isn't going as planned and he finds himself observing a table across the dining room where Molly Malone, the daughter of one of his oldest friends is spending the evening with her companion Paul Farnsworth. As he watches the young couple and reflects on the last forty years, Mitchell Parker realizes he has another gift to offer in celebration.
I'm not ashamed to admit that I was in tears when I finished this short story. It added a new dimension to the wonderful book Nothing Ventured . It's a perfect showcase of Oldaker's talents as a writer. The scene is brief but it really gives a good taste of what the accompanying novel is all about. 

**I was gifted this book for free in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to the author and/or publisher.

Harry Potter Moment of the Week #1

  I've seen so many others participating in memes, and I thought it'd be a fun to try on my blog! Naturally, something Harry Potter related is where I went to first. I hope everyone enjoys!

Hosted by Uncorked Thoughts.
The aim of this meme is to share with fellow bloggers a character, spell, chapter, object
or quote from the books/ films/ J. K. Rowling herself or anything Potter related!

The Invisibility Cloak

  Honestly, this is something that I ponder too often. It's a no brainer that I would never pick the Elder Wand. The power and consequences are too grave for me to even consider it. But the choice between the Resurrection Stone and the Invisibility Cloak is something that I think about a lot. I would give anything to be able to bring my grandmother back. But no matter how much it hurts, the past is best left to itself. If you're always reliving the past, you can never be happy in the present and looking towards the future. Therefore, my choice would be the Invisibility Cloak. How cool would it be to spy on everything?! I would immediately go to the local Wal-Mart with it and begin depositing random items in people's carts. And I could finally sneak my cat into restaurants and shops with me. If only she'd be quiet!

Review: Haunted on Bourbon Street by Deanna Chase

Haunted on Bourbon Street 
by Deanna Chase

Genres: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance

Jade loves her new apartment-until a ghost joins her
in the shower. 

When empath Jade Calhoun moves into an apartment above a strip bar on Bourbon Street, she expects life to get interesting. What she doesn't count on is making friends with an exotic dancer, attracting a powerful spirit, and developing feelings for Kane, her sexy landlord. 

Being an empath has never been easy on Jade's relationships. It's no wonder she keeps her gift a secret. But when the ghost moves from spooking Jade, to terrorizing Pyper, the dancer, it's up to Jade to use her unique ability to save her. Except she'll need Kane's help-and he's betrayed her with a secret of his own-to do it. Can she find a way to trust him and herself before Pyper is lost?
Haunted on Bourbon Street introduces Jade Calhoun in a well thought out manner. A new transport to New Orleans, Jade finds that her apartment over a coffee shop and strip club is haunted. As the story progresses, Jade finds out more about herself as well as the supernatural around her. It combines everything from witches, ghosts, empaths, and even angels to bring New Orleans and all the tales you hear of it to life. In a fast pace finale, Jade must utilize her own inner gifts to save the day and that she does.

This book was suggested to me while I was looking for something similar to the Southern Vampire Mysteries. Luckily for me, it was free on Amazon and immediately loaded to my Kindle. I have two faults with this book, so I'll go ahead and get them out of the way. 

As so many other leading women in stories as of late, Jade struggles to see her own beauty. And she's absolutely dumbfounded that her landlord has any interest in her. It's constantly reiterated about how hunky and hot this said landlord is. And it isn't until they get together that she perceives herself as beautiful, and only then worthy. I dislike that mentality so much. 

My second annoyance was with the speed of the story. As I said, the ending is very fast paced. The start up of the book is very slow. A lot of time is devoted to world building, which I do appreciate. The book was able to make me feel like I was in the midst of New Orleans on numerous occasions. But the pace was slowed because of this until bam! There's everything you've been waiting for in the span of a few pages. I wish more time and detail would have been devoted to the finale to flesh it out more and give the reader a more immersing experience.

All of that aside, it is a very good and quick read. Deanna Chase knows how to make you feel like a part of her story. And I love how she built her characters so well. Even with the minor characters, I felt like I connected with them. If you enjoy paranormal mysteries with a sprinkle of romance, this will definitely satiate your needs.

I will definitely be recommending this book. Though it's a quick read, it's a brilliant introduction into the Jade Calhoun series. I cannot wait to continue following Jade's adventures!

Review: Family Secrets (Davenport Manor #1) by Melissa Zaroski

Family Secrets (Davenport Manor #1) by Melissa Zaroski

Genres: Paranormal, Paranormal Romance
The series takes place in the fictional small town of
Davenport, IL on the sprawling property of the
founding family’s 200-year old Manor. Emma Davenport is over 200 years old and has remained with her family through the generations, who have accepted her for what she is. Her sixth-great nephew, Daniel Davenport, lives with her on the property as her “younger brother”, who she gained guardianship of when his parents and sister were tragically killed. He is a young Hollywood actor that is the star of a blockbuster movie franchise.

When the current installment of the movie franchise is filmed on the Davenport property, Emma is completely taken by a human actor that she has adored from afar for years, Todd Foster. Their relationship blossoms, but not without turmoil; mostly stemming from her immortal offspring and partner-in-crime, Zachariah Dancy and her maker, the ancient Scottish/Irish vampire, Aidan O’Shea. The ghosts (literally) of Emma’s past begin to harass Todd, wanting to her to fess up for her wrong-doings.

Emma learns that there’s a reason for her immense attraction to Todd, one that surprises the both of them. With this revelation, Todd’s life is forever changed and will always be in danger, as will Emma’s if she keeps him around. Todd learns that there is more to Emma than just being an average vampire and wonders what kind of future he will face now that she has become a part of his life.
  To sum this up, when's the next book in this series going to be released?!

  Family Secrets is the first book in the Davenport Manor series. It lays the groundwork for an amazing story revolving around the historical Davenport Manor and its residents and guests. This book is full of the supernatural, mystery, romance, and plenty of comedic relief.

  I feel fortunate to have won this book from a First Reads giveaway after reading it and thoroughly enjoying it. The characters are engaging. I much enjoyed learning about each of their backgrounds, especially the vampires. Vivienne had to be my favorite. I have a soft spot for the '20s, so I definitely loved hearing about her human life. Emma is certainly a strong female lead. The twist at the ending shows that Emma is not one of the Mary-Sue characters that dominate this genre. She has her own struggles and faces them as best she can. It's very easy to root for her. I'm most intrigued by Todd, though. The author knows how to build her characters and give them their own voice.

  I'm still shocked to find out that this is Melissa Zaroski's debut novel. The similarity to theSouthern Vampire Mysteries is definitely prevalent. The potential is undeniably here. The storytelling and flow of this novel are on point. Everything about the book blends together perfectly.

  Do yourself a favor. Get a copy of this book. But be prepared to give up an evening or two while you devour it. 

**I was gifted this book for free in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to the author and/or publisher.

Review: My Cup of Tea: Summer of Love, Vol. 1 by Kat Lieu

My Cup of Tea: Summer of Love, Volume 1 by Kat Lieu

Genre: New Adult, Chick Lit
It’s another suck-tastic summer for book nerd and baker,
Sara Lee-Affen. She’s broke, she’s single, and she’ll
probably die a virgin. At her beautiful cousin’s wedding, Sara meets a sexy and delicious stud muffin, Ian Forrests. He’s totally her cup of tea, that is until he laughs at her misery when a bee burrows into her ear. Yes, a dang bee. She’s dying (well not really) as he’s dying from laughter. 

What a jerk. A smoking hot, Adonis of a jerk with strikingly green eyes, dark hair, and drool-worthy pecs and eight-pack abs. As luck and fate would have it, Sara keeps bumping into Ian all summer long and ends up working for him as a pastry chef at his failing bakery. Despite her better judgment, Sara falls for the sexy, badass rich boy. She discovers the truth about Ian: he’s a tortured soul who’s still pining for his deceased girlfriend, Sarah. One look at Sarah’s picture and poor Sara knows that she could never compete. She could never be Ian’s cup of tea. 

Or could she? 
  I adored My Cup of Tea: Summer of Love. It's a perfect easy read that will leave you laughing and smiling afterwards. It follows the lives of Sara and Ian as fate brings together in unlikely circumstances following their haunted pasts.

  The very first chapter of the book had me hooked. I was laughing at Sara's antics from the start. She is a wonderful character and I connect with her so easily. (And I love her name. I'm a sucker for the name Sara!) I cannot wait to see her grow as the series continues. Kat Lieu did a flawless job at establishing who Sara is without piling on too much information too soon. Ian, the object of Sara's attention, is the other main character in the story. His cockiness was prevalent, but it served it's purpose in laying the groundwork for his character. 

  The book switches between Sara and Ian's point of views, and I enjoyed this part immensely. Being able to view the characters from a different perspective enhanced my appreciation and understanding of them. Some books I've read in the past have failed at executing this, but again, Kat was flawless with it.

  Quick side note, the layout of this book had me drooling. The cover is gorgeous. The cupcake pictures that accompany each chapter left me hungry! 

  The cliffhanger at the end is brutal, but I'll definitely be seeking out the next book in the series to follow along with Sara and Ian's lives. Without a doubt, I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys an easy, fun read. I'm already eyeing the other books published by Kat Lieu! 

**I was gifted this book for free in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to the author and/or publisher.

Review: Netherworld by Lisa Morton

Netherworld by Lisa Morton

Genre: Supernatural, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
[Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble]

In nineteenth-century Victorian England, a young
widow finds that she has inherited more than her late
husband’s property: The Furnavals serve as the ancestral keepers of supernatural portals scattered around the globe. When demonic entities begin crossing over from the Netherworld, Lady Diana realizes that a war is brewing, and she must be the one to confront it.

Accompanied by a young Chinese sailor named Yi-kin, her feline guardian Mina, and a mysterious scholar, Stephen, Diana will begin a journey to solve the mystery of her husband's death and prevent the apocalypse.
  Netherworld chronicles the journey of Diana; a widow left with the task of completing her husband's family legacy of closing portals between the mortal realm and the Netherworld. Diana comes in contact with plenty of interesting characters along the way. The book keeps a steady pace that ends with a satisfying ending. The addition of Diana's faithful cat, Mina, was brilliant and will appeal to all cat (and animal) lovers.

  This book was a bit longer than I expected, but it never felt drawn out. Every part of the story seems to have a purpose in the plot and flows well. Morton is crafted at creating a bevy of characters that are wonderfully written and entertaining. From the furry Mina to the dutiful Howes, you will find that each character has their own voice and story.

  Morton is a genius at crafting the setting of her story. There were times that I wanted to turn on the bedside lamp at the haunting feel. Regardless, I still couldn't put it down. The book is listed as the beginning of a series, and I cannot express how much I want to continue following Diana and Mina's adventures. After finishing this book, I was left with the tinge of sadness that comes with the parting of characters you've grown attached to. I think that in itself shows the quality of this book. 

  All in all, I couldn't suggest a better book for someone who loves their historical fiction served with a side of adventure and romance.

**I was gifted this book for free in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to the author and/or publisher.

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