Thursday, May 31, 2012

Review - The Wanderer by Shawn Kirsten Maravel

The Wanderer (The Rider Series)The Wanderer by Shawn Kirsten Maravel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Paperback, 322 pages
Published October 26th 2011 by CreateSpace
Source: Author for Review

'After getting out of the Army, Landon Bradley packs up his motorcycle and heads North West in hopes of closing up old battle wounds and maybe even settling down. Not accustomed to staying in one spot for too long, he's not certain that he'll ever find a place that he can truly call home.

When he finds himself stranded in a small Wyoming town, Landon meets Maxine Abrams, more affectionately known as Max. Her blunt honesty and humble generosity make him feel closer to home then he ever has before. But when his feelings for her grow too strong, the reality that, like everyone else, he could easily lose her too, Landon feels the ever present urge to leave again. And Landon must decide which call to heed. His heart or the open road.'

My Thoughts:
The Wanderer is what I would call a 'real' romance. It wasn't your typical 'love at first sight', mushy, unbelievable romance where the characters are virtually naming their first borns after knowing each other for an hour.
Landon is a guy that you just can't seem to dislike. Even when you know perfectly well all about his womanising and commitment-phobic ways you still develop a soft spot for him because you know he is just a product of his upbringing and that he is still a good man at heart.
Max is also the kind of woman that you grow a liking for as a character as well. She's strong, independent and doesn't go weak at the knees just because a handsome man stands in front of her.
I really enjoyed the steady pace of this book which starts off giving you the story behind Landon and how he came to be riding across the country side. During his travels an unfortunate event leads him to meet Max and then we are taken on a journey as their relationship slowly develops from there.
The Wanderer was to me what a romance should be, a journey between the characters and a real sense of them developing together as people before jumping into bed. I guess you could say I like my fictional romances a bit more like things are in real life. To me this means you can relate to it a bit better and because of this I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.
Overall, The Wanderer is a great read for anyone after an interesting story with realistic, believable characters.

The Wanderer is the first book in 'The Rider' series. The second book in the series, Shifting Gears, is due for release on the 1st July 2012.

The Book Depository
Shawn Kirsten Maravel's Website

WWW Wednesday (30th May 2012)

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading.

To join in all you need to do is answer the following three questions:

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

Okay, I realise that it is Thursday again when I am posting this but someone stole my Wednesday again! Truthfully, Wednesday's are always complete write-offs for me due to it being a working day for me so after finishing work, picking bub up from daycare, getting dinner done and then trying to spend some time with hubby when he gets home things normally don't start winding down until quite late at night and writing up a blog post is the furtherest thing from my mind at that point in time.

Anyway, here is what I have been up to over the past week:

1) What am I currently reading? At the moment I am almost finished with The Wanderer (The Rider Series). I have enjoyed this book so far and will be posting a review soon.

I am also still reading A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1). I'm enjoying this book so much and just wish I could get through it a bit faster.

2) What did I recently finish reading? This week I finished reading Gone at Zero Hundred by C.R. Hiatt. Gone at Zero Hundred 00:00 I am participating in a Blog Tour for this book so check back here on the 3rd July for my review, Author Interview and Giveaway!
I also finished reading Endlessly by C.V. Hunt Endlessly (Endlessly, #1) which I also thoroughly enjoyed and Blink by Lloyd Poast Blink which is a very imaginative short story.

3) What do I think I'll read next? Next I probably start reading Scorpio Rising (The Scorpio Series, #1) which I have received for review and possibly Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2) because I really need to get through this series soon.

What has everyone else been up to this week?


Monday, May 28, 2012

Review - Blink by Lloyd Poast

BlinkBlink by Lloyd Poast
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Published May 17th 2012 by Books to Go Now
Source: Author for review

'A teenage boy wanders into a mystical forest ruled by a gypsy goddess named Amaisia Moon.

The forest changes with every blink or head turn and he discovers an ocean where dreams and nightmares literally come alive.'

My Thoughts:
This is a short but very imaginative read. The descriptions are so vivid you find yourself getting lost in the magic world even if only for a short time.

At first I felt the story was a little disjointed with characters and new themes just coming out of the place from every angle but once my mind caught up and realised that this is exactly how it's supposed to feel like I managed to settle into the imaginative world and enjoy the ride.

This story has a very similar feel to Alice in Wonderland with the secret world that the lead character finds himself immersed into where nothing is what it seems. I could definitely see this story being built upon and becoming a full novel one day.

A great, quick fantasy read for when you have a spare half an hour and don't want to be bogged down in a longer story.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

In My Mailbox (27th May 2012)

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren and is a weekly meme to show what books you have accumulated during the week.

I haven't had the chance to do one of these in a while so I need to play catch-up! Sunday's for us is usually family day so I try to limit my internet use but being that our little man is staying with the grandparents this weekend I don't feel so bad for writing this quick post :-)

Anyway, here is what I have received over the past week or so:




Haven There's no such thing as Werewolves (Demons Rising, #1) Getting LuckyApproaching the Dark Age - Orchestra Approaching the Dark Age - Echo Approaching The Dark Age   Resonance

Gifted or Won:

(May RAK's kindly gifted from Nikki at Realm of the Sapphired Dragon)

The Doorknob Society (Won from Laurie's Thoughts & Reviews)

For Review:

The Wanderer (The Rider Series) Blink Scorpio Rising (The Scorpio Series, #1) The Sting of The Scorpio (The Scorpio Series, #2)

So that pretty much covers my past week and a bit.

What great new additions did you get this week?

Michelle xx

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Review - Endlessly by C.V. Hunt

Endlessly (Endlessly, #1)Endlessly by C.V. Hunt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
202 pages
Published February 19th 2011 (first published February 17th 2011)

'When Ashley walks into a shop run by the vampire, Verloren, they both get the surprise of their lives. Ash is about to learn that she's not just another pretty young woman, while Verloren is astonished to find himself falling in love. But how can a vampire love a human? And what if the human isn't as human as she seems? When Ash's true nature reveals itself, the entire power structure of the world's outsiders teeters on the brink of destruction. Verloren and Ash become more and more terrified as they grope their way toward the ultimate truth: that they hold the key to something much larger than their own survival.'

My Thoughts:
Well, this book was certainly a surprise. I wasn't expecting much at all as it was a book that I picked up as a free copy from Amazon for my Kindle a couple of weeks ago but I have to admit that I really was pleasantly surprised.

This story is not your typical vampire story. I guess you could say it's more of a 'raw' vampire story rather than the stereotypical 'hollywood' ones that have been all over the place recently.

The story centres around a vampire named Verloren who has very human like tendencies such as being able to sleep and go out in sunlight as well as the ability to feel real emotions such as love for another being. This becomes apparent when a mysterious girl walks into his store one day and Verloren finds that he becomes infactuated with her and can't think of anything else.

What happens after this is a fast paced and interesting tale of an unconventional love story that conquers above all else.

What I loved about this book was that it brought practically every alternative being from other genres into the one story and managed to fit them all together rather nicely. In this book you'll not only find your typical vampires and werewolves but other mythical creatures such as fairies, trolls and witches all living together on earth in relative harmony.

All of these supernatural beings are controlled by a central head called The Quatre who determine the rules that they all have to abide by and pass on sentences to those that don't.

Although I must admit that I did see a lot of similarities between this book and some elements of the Sookie Stackhouse series and the Twilight books, I still found it an enjoyable read that definitely kept me interested until the very end.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can't wait to read the sequel.

Currently the Kindle edition of this book is still free at Amazon so get in and grab it quick!

Otherwise, grab the paperback version from The Book Depository

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Review - Contest by Matthew Reilly

ContestContest by Matthew Reilly
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
336 pages
Published March 10th 2003 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published 1996)
Source: Own copy 

'The New York Public Library. A silent sanctuary of knowledge; a 100-year-old labyrinth of towering bookcases, narrow aisles and long marble hallways. For Doctor Stephen Swain and his daughter, Holly, it is the site of a nightmare. Because for one night this historic building is to be the venue for a contest. A contest in which Swain is to compete - whether he likes it or not.

The rules are simple: Seven contestants will enter, only one will leave.

With his daughter in his arms, Stephen Swain is plunged into a terrifying fight for survival. The stakes are high, the odds brutal. He can choose to run, to hide or to fight - but if he wants to live, he has to win. For in this contest, unless you leave as the victor, you do not leave at all.'
My Thoughts:
This book took a little while to grab my attention and had been sitting on my bookcase for quite a while. But, once it did I found it hard to put it down as you jump straight into the story from the first page and then the rest moves in the typical fast fashion that Reilly is known for.

This book fits in with the theme of The Hunger Games but with Alien participants instead of just people. Seven contestants from all over the universe are chosen to participate in the 'Contest' and teleported to an 'arena' where no-one is allowed to leave until there is only one winner left.

I was fascinated with some of the concepts in this story and with the vivid descriptions of of the alien characters. I really felt like I got lost in this story and got excited at every twist and turn and I struggled to put it down.

If you're not normally a sci-fi fan then you may have a tendency to be put off by the theme of this book. I'm in no way a sci-fi fan at all and found that even though it included aliens as the main characters, it didn't feel like that aspect was the main focus of the book because it was still set in New York with a human hero and easy to understand concepts and language. I actually found the alien side of it added more interest than if it had just been between human participants.

In my opinion this is good read if you want something quick and easy to sink your teeth into to pass the time. If you're familiar with the writing style of Matthew Reilly you won't be disappointed with this book.

The Book Depository

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

WWW Wednesday (23rd May 2012)

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading.

To join in all you need to do is answer the following three questions:

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

Well I've been a bit quiet on here the past few days mainly because I've been a bit sick (awful stomach bug that just won't quit) plus our internet at home has been playing up and only seems to work every now and then (and of course when I want to blog is always the time it doesn't want to work!)

Anyway, onto the answers to the WWW questions this week before my internet decides to be temperamental again:

1) What am I currently reading? At the moment I am almost finished with
Gone at Zero Hundred 00:00  and I am really loving this book. I can't wait to find out how it ends.

I also decided to finally start A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1) last night because I've been constantly thinking about this book and just have to get it out of my system. I'm going to contain this book to be my 'read before bed' book so I don't expect to be finished with it for quite some time. I think this is one of the longest books I have ever attempted to read so far and the font is teeny!!

2) What did I recently finish reading? This week I finished reading One For The Money by Janet Evanovich. This is definitely a series I love and I can't wait to move onto the second instalment.

I've also officially given up on The Path of Daggers by Robert Jordan. I just can't bring myself to keep reading this book any more. I feel that my time is so much better spent reading something I'm actually going to enjoy rather than something I just feel obligated to finish.

3) What do I think I'll read next? Next I probably start reading The Wanderer (The Rider Series) and possibly

What has everyone else been up to this week?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Review - One For The Money by Janet Evanovich

One For The Money (Stephanie Plum, #1)One For The Money by Janet Evanovich
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages
Published June 13th 2006 by St. Martin's Press (first published September 1994)
Source - Purchased

'Welcome to Trenton, New Jersey, home to wiseguys, average Joes, and Stephanie Plum, who sports a big attitude and even bigger money problems (since losing her job as a lingerie buyer for a department store). Stephanie needs cash--fast--but times are tough, and soon she's forced to turn to the last resort of the truly desperate: family.

Stephanie lands a gig at her sleazy cousin Vinnie's bail bonding company. She's got no experience. But that doesn't matter. Neither does the fact that the bail jumper in question is local vice cop Joe Morelli. From the time he first looked up her dress to the time he first got into her pants to the time Steph hit him with her father's Buick, M-o-r-e-l-l-i has spelled t-r-o-u-b-l-e. And now the hot guy is in hot water--wanted for murder.

Abject poverty is a great motivator for learning new skills, but being trained in the school of hard knocks by people like psycho prizefighter Benito Ramirez isn't. Still, if Stephanie can nab Morelli in a week, she'll make a cool ten grand. All she has to do is become an expert bounty hunter overnight--and keep herself from getting killed before she gets her man.'

My Thoughts:
How good is Stephanie Plum? I am totally in love with this character. I think she is just so sassy, intelligent and resilient. She is willing to tackle anything with her big attitude and always speaks her mind but also has a soft side when required so you remember she is a normal female after all.

I was first introduced to Stephanie Plum in book number 7 when I accidentally picked it up at a staff book sale one day when I used to work for a book distribution company (why I ever gave that job up I don't know!) I then subsequently acquired books number 8 & 9 and eventually left that job so never got any further with the series.

Now, many years down the track, I finally decided to start the series from scratch because I remembered how much I loved the three books I read previously, and also because of the movie being released very soon starring Katherine Heigl as the main character Stephanie Plum. I refuse to watch a movie if it's based on a book before I have had the chance to read the book and get the whole picture first.

Anyway, for those of you who do not know, Stephanie has lost her job and is in dire straits until she manages to get a job as a bounty hunter for her cousin Vinnie. The problem is that her first assignment is a local cop, Joe Morelli, who she has a bit of a history with. One For The Money traces Stephanie's journey into the world of bounty hunting and her quest to nab Joe Morelli. She eventually gets in over her head after getting wrapped up in a murder investigation.

This book is fast moving and filled with characters that you can't help but become attached to. This was one of those books that you just don't want to put down once you start reading because you know a new development is always just a page turn away.

I always get a soft spot for books that make me physically laugh out loud as well and this is something I find myself doing on a regular basis whenever I'm reading a Janet Evanovich novel.

Overall, if you like strong female characters that are also fun and don't take themselves too seriously I definitely recommend this series.

Purchase Details:
The Book Depository

Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday Finds (18th May 2012)

Friday finds is a meme hosted by Should Be Reading where you list all the books that you've come across or heard about during the past week that you've become interested in reading.

My finds this week which were added to my TBR pile straight away were as follows (book covers link to Goodreads):
Gone at Zero Hundred 00:00 The Wanderer (The Rider Series) The Hunt (The Hunt, #1) Haven There's no such thing as Werewolves (Demons Rising, #1) Getting Lucky

What great finds did you come across this week?

Michelle xx

Thursday, May 17, 2012

WWW Wednesdays (17th May 2012)

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading.

To join in all you need to do is answer the following three questions:

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

Now I know that today is Thursday but someone seriously stole my Wednesday. I have absolutely no idea where it went!!

1) What am I currently reading?
Well at the moment I am still getting through One for the Money (Stephanie Plum, #1) and that awful Path of Daggers (Wheel of Time #8) book that I'll probably take with me to the grave.

I've also started listening to The Struggle (The Vampire Diaries, #2) in the car as I am determined to get through this series now.

2) What did I recently finish reading?

This week I finished reading Morning Star (Ethos #1) by Desiree Finkbeiner as well as A Good Man by Vanessa Morgan.

I also finished listening to The Awakening by L.J. Smith (The Vampire Diaries #1).

3) What do I think I'll read next?
Next I will probably start reading Gone at Zero Hundred 00:00 next as I've received a copy for review this week and it looks like a great book.

Let me know if you have done a WWW Wednesdays post so I can come and check out what you've been up to this week!

Review and Author Interview - A Good Man by Vanessa Morgan

A Good ManA Good Man by Vanessa Morgan
My rating: 3 1/2 of 5 stars
Source: Author for review
Published April 2012

'Loved DEXTER and AMERICAN PSYCHO? Then you'll love A GOOD MAN.

Louis Caron is a good man - vegetarian, he feeds the homeless, takes care of animals and is even concerned with the ecological future of the planet. But his altruism has a sinister edge - he's a vampire - and local detective Taglioni is becoming increasingly suspicious. Louis' attempt to escape the police takes him on a journey into his own private hell where he is not only forced to confront his worst fears, but also to destroy the lives of those he cares about most'

My Thoughts:
I received a copy of A Good Man in exchange for an honest review and as soon as I read the synopsis for this story I just couldn't wait to start reading it.

I must admit it took a bit of getting used to reading it in screenplay format but once I got the hang of it I could easily visualise each scene and the people in it and managed to get into the flow of the story.

A Good Man is definitely a thought provoking read as the reader is challenged to either like or loathe Louis and the things he does. Even though Louis is a vampire he has very clear human tendencies as well which adds to the uniqueness of this story and his character.

During this story you do see that Louis is 'a good man' in certain respects, such as through his loyalty to his friends, his love for animals and the struggles he faces while participating in his support group. But, then you see the evil side of Louis when he finds himself in a provoking situation and this is where the reader is challenged to decide whether Louis' actions were acceptatable or not given the type of being he is.

Overall, I really enjoyed the story and the main reason I haven't given it a higher rating is due to its length. It just wasn't long enough to me and I was left feeling a little deflated at the end because I just wanted a lot more of it.

I definitely can't wait to see how this screenplay transfers onto television and will certainly be looking out for its release.

Author Interview:

Author Vanessa Morgan was kind enough to answer some interview questions for me which I have included below:

Tell us a bit about your favourite character from the book.
The main character, Louis Caron, is my favourite one because we might recognize a lot of ourselves and others in him despite the fact that he's a vampire. He's also quite original as we don't usually see old, Botoxed vampires with arthritis.

What was one of the most surprising things you’ve learnt about yourself while writing?
That I'm actually a lot like the characters in A Good Man. I always thought of myself as a sweet girl, but once in a while it happens that I hurt people or that I lie. I just never saw myself as a bad person because I always had very good reasons for my behavior.

What do you think makes a good story?
Good characters... And a exciting beginning and ending, because people will always remember the starting point and the ending of a book.
What was your inspiration behind this book?
I was asked to write the screenplay of A Good Man. The only directions I had were that it had to be about a vampire and that I had to write it with certain actors in mind. I imagined what these actors would be like if they were vampires and what their worst fate would be. The rest is history.
Are there any authors that inspire you?
Daph Nobody - a good friend and without a doubt the most talented horror writer in Europe.
What’s your favourite way to spend your spare time?
Going to film festivals, eating out, cuddling my cat, enjoying the sun.
What's one piece of advice you would give other aspiring authors?
Well-developed characters and an exciting beginning and ending make up for a lot of other mistakes. Also, the only criticism you should ever take into consideration is the recurring one because a lot of it will be a matter of taste and some of the criticism will even be contradictory.
If you weren't a writer, what else would you be doing?
I would probably work with animals or start my own company. I actually owned a pet supply store before, but the desire to write fiction took the upper hand.
Do you have a favourite scene in this book (without giving the story away too much)?
My favorite scene in A Good Man is the ending. It's the reason why I wanted to write this story. It's devastating and it might not be to everyone's liking, but I think it's impossible not to be affected by it.
Do you have any pets?
I have a cat, Avalon. I'm obsessed with him. He appears in every movie adaptation of my work (and in the screenplay of A Good Man as well). He's also the star in his very own web comic at
What’s one thing that many people wouldn’t know about you?
The majority of my fans doesn't know that I'm originally from Belgium and that I still live there. Although I write in English and French, my native language is Dutch.

I would like to give a big thank you to Vanessa for giving me the opportunity to review A Good Man and for participating in an interview.

Important Links:

Purchase 'A Good Man':

Vanessa Morgan's Website:

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Review - The Awakening (The Vampire Diaries #1) by L.J. Smith

The Awakening (The Vampire Diaries, #1)The Awakening by L.J. Smith
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Published October 27th 2009 by Harper Audio (first published May 27th 1993)

'Elena is the school beauty, but she’s bored, until a new boy turns up in her class. Stefan is dark and mysterious—and she’s determined to get to know him better. But Stefan is just as determined to resist her... until a series of attacks in the area terrify the town and Stefan is held responsible. Elena is the only one who offers to help and, falling in love with her, Stefan tells her his terrible story. He is a vampire, on the run from his evil brother, Damon, who doesn’t share Stefan’s qualms about drinking human blood. And Damon is the one Stefan suspects of really being behind the recent attacks... Can Elena help prove his innocence—without revealing his secret?'

My Thoughts:
Well, where do I start with this book?

I've been listening to this story for the past couple of weeks in the car on the way to and from work and I now feel I could have done so much more with that prescious listening time.

I've been wanting to read this series for a very long time, especially after the television series was released but it was something that I just never ended up getting to. When I found an audio version of the first four books I decided to give them a go. Boy, am I kind of regretting that decision now.

This was probably one of the most cheesy, over-played books I've read (or heard) in a long time. I just don't understand how the language used and the desperate emotional feelings that are portrayed in this book can be associated with high school students. To me, if the author wanted to write such an intense, emotionally charged and desperate book she should have used adult main characters instead. Then it could all have been a bit more believable.

I just kept getting annoyed at how high school students could have such powerful thoughts and emotions and 'be-all or end-all' feelings and with such intensity that drives a person crazy. It's seriously ridiculous.

Anyway, overall this book is your typical vampire love story. Girl meets boy, boy appears to be unavaliable and full of angst so girl chases him, boy turns out to be a vampire and girl accepts his true natue because 'she just can't live without him' and trouble ensues them both from there.

Obviously there is nothing intellectual about this book but if you're after an easy read and want to conquer yet another vampire series just for the sake of it then you won't be disappointed with the start of this one.

Of course, because of my pedantic nature I now HAVE to listen to the remaining books in the series I have on audio or I will go insane. Or maybe listening to them will send me insane? Only time will tell......

Purchase Details: Amazon
The Book Depository
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...