Wednesday, 26 October 2016


Title: My Junior Year Of Loathing
Series: School Dayz
Author: Jennifer Digiovanni
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Release Date: 25th October 2016

BLURB from Goodreads
Junior year is supposed to be tough. Exams, term papers, homework, college tours, and participation in extra-curricular activities can all add up to non-stop stress. But Melinda Banner has goals to achieve and dreams to make real. This year, she’ll be unstoppable. But even over achievers need a break.

While walking in the woods to take a break from the stress of it all, Melinda meets a boy named Connor. After a few more run-ins, the two settle into an uneasy friendship, if you can even call it that. 

But Connor's closed and mysterious. Whenever Melinda asks too many questions, he suddenly has to go or is no longer interested in talking. When they’re together, she’s torn between wanting him to open up and running away as fast as she can. Still she can't seem to shake her budding interest in him.

Connor has his own way of looking at the world, and his views often conflict with Melinda’s practical nature. Can you like someone and loathe them at the same time? Is he even worth the emotional tug on her heartstrings or distraction from all things Junior year?

And, as if she needs another project right now, Melinda starts to obsess over the abandoned estate she passes on the way to school each day. Between Connor and the old estate, Melinda's beginning to think she's taking on too much.

But Melinda's smart. She finds a way to indulge her interest in the estate and fulfill her obligations. She will uncover the truth behind the aging edifice for an epic article in the school newspaper. 

But when her investigation reveals a connection between Connor and a tragedy long-since forgotten, Melinda has a choice: put off her junior year achievements to save a local landmark and a boy who constantly pushes her away or put them both out of her mind for good and focus on making the grade.


Late-summer humidity beads on my skin as last remnants of daylight dissipate, giving way to a bright silver moon. I drink in the scent of wildflowers along with the hum of voices mixing with a choir of cicadas in the woods behind me. When I turn to continue on, I sense a swift movement in the overgrown brush to my left. A branch snaps.
“Who’s there?” My heart ricochets around my chest. I tense my legs, prepped to run at the first sign of danger while my eyes dart along the bottom of the thicket, hoping to find a small animal. Very small. Preferably not a skunk, though.
Another snap, followed by footsteps.
“Just me,” says a male voice. Someone about my size steps out from behind a wide oak tree, hands raised. I give him the once-over, covertly searching for weapons. Dark hair, faded jeans, ratty gray T-shirt, and lace-up combat-style boots. He takes a step forward. We exchange suspicious glances.
“Thinking about calling the cops?” he asks in a low voice.
“Why? Are you a criminal?”
With a shrug, he turns his attention toward the backyard party. “Huh. Another big bash at the Martins. They hire a ten-piece band just for cocktails.”
I scoff. “Why not hook up an iPod and some speakers?”
A smile appears on his moonlit face. “Wireless speakers don’t have enough juice for a yard that size. Plus, nothing’s better than live music when you’re schmoozing with the rich and famous. Do you come here often?” He grimaces. “Man, that sounded cheesy.”
Admittedly, this is an odd time and place for pickup lines. “Actually, I’m a first-time offender. I’m the new kid on this enormous block, which is more like a small city. My mother married Brian Welsh.”
His expression blanks. “Oh.”
“I live about four houses down.” I point in the general direction. Then I second-guess myself. Should I have given this random guy in the woods so much information? He looks about my age, but all sorts of scary. And from the smell of him, he could use a long, hot shower.
He sticks out his hand. “Welcome to the neighborhood. I’m Connor.”
“Mel.” I keep my hands at my sides.
His arm remains extended. “Nice to meet you.” Our eyes meet and hold. Against my better judgement, I offer my hand, allowing his warm fingers to wrap around mine. A crash of drums, followed by laughter, directs our attention back to the party.

Jennifer DiGiovanni is the author of the School Dayz Series. When she’s not writing or reading, she likes to try new sports and activities from archery to ballroom dancing, with varying degrees of success.


Thursday, 20 October 2016


The international publishing phenomenon and ridiculously funny new parody series that helps grown-ups learn about the world around them using large clear type, simple and easy-to-grasp words, frequent repetition, and thoughtful matching of text with pictures.

Title: The Hangover
Series: The Fireside Guide To ..... (Ladybird Books For Adults)
Authors: Jason Hazeley & Joel Morris
Genre: Hunour
Publisher: Touchstone
Release Date: 11th October 2016

BLURB from Netgalley
Have you been having trouble with the How, Why, and Wheres? Well fear no more. The Fireside Grown-Up Guide series understands that the world is just as confusing to a forty-year-old as it is to a four-year-old. We’re here to help and break down the most pressing and complex issues of our day into easy-to-digest pieces of information paired with vivid illustrations even a child could understand.

A good hangover is a complete mystery. How did this happen? Why do I feed so horrible? In this 
Fireside Grown-Up Guide to the Hangover, we’ll investigate exactly how much debauchery you caused last night and what you can do for that pounding headache today. Filled with practical advice and fun facts—like how your consumption of bacon is totally justified for this morning—this guide might
 even persuade you to drink less next time, but we all know that’s not going to happen.

Goodreads Link

Amazon US
Amazon UK

As I have already read a few of these, I know now, what to expect.I think this one has the potential to be highly amusing. A great chance to make me laugh!

I received an e-arc, e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
The cover on this book shows a man looking rather ill, almost desperate standing on the ledge of a high rise building (perhaps his office building?) Another male seems to be attempting to talk to the man and calm him. It is quite an amusing cover when coupled with the title of the book!
So would the cover make me pick this one up in a bookstore? I can think of that many recipients that I could purchase this book for as a gift that I don't have enough fingers and toes put together to count the amount lol!
So how does the book explain a hang-over? . . .. 
"Sometimes when we drink too much, we get a hangover.
There is no cure for the hangover, but it can be treated with a cup of strong coffee and a couple of fried breakfasts" 
This description did make me really smile/grin. One of the Quotes I thought was really good from this book that I'd like to share with you (I won't share too many, you need to go buy these books for yourselves!). . . . .
"A good hangover should be a total mystery to you. How did this happen? Why do you feel so ill?"
I loved the instructions for the preparation of a hangover first aid kit. . . .and then being too drunk to find it early enough to prevent the hangover.
This anecdote actually made me tear up a little as one of my Uncles (my youngest Uncle) always spoke to his nieces/nephews when they became of drinking age and told us before going out on "a bender" (translation - drinking a lot) always have a drink of milk before going out. Then upon returning home (or where ever you are sleeping) you must drink a pint of water and take another pint of water to drink either during the night or first thing in the morning. Then you do not have a hangover . . . .and I have to say it has always worked for me. (Though admittedly I am not nor ever was a heavy drinker)
The other quote from the book I'd like to share is . . . .
"The morning after consuming alcohol you may find you are more sensitive to noise. Some people can actually "see" sounds. It is almost as if drinking gives you superpowers!"
So once again I found myself having a chuckle or two at this book. A great gift for that person or those people in the family that love to drink and hate the hangover.
So did I enjoy the book? Yes, it was witty, and amusing read.

Would I recommend the book? Yes, it’s a fun read and I’d also recommend it as a gift book, for your friends/family who suffer hangovers or maybe a fun quirky 18th (coming to legal drinking age) birthday gift. Would I read another book in this specific series/type? Yes, please I’m going to be writing a list of the ones I’d like to read. Would I want to read other titles by Jason Hazeley and/or Joel Morris? I have been taking a look at some of their other books, and I do intend to purchase a few for my own book shelves, though I’ll have to narrow down my list as there are so many great sounding ones. I do love this type of witty book to read.

Witty, sarcastic, amusing read!

Tuesday, 18 October 2016


In 2015, Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s debut, SIGNAL TO NOISE, jump started her writing career as one of the best of the year on seven lists including RT, BookRiot, Buzzfeed, io9, Vice, and The debut was also was finalist for the 2016
Aurora Awards, Sunburst Award, and the 2016 Locus Awards. Already highly anticipated, her sophomore book, CERTAIN DARK THINGS (Thomas Dunne Books; October 25, 2016), adds to this emerging talent’s buzz. Set in the dark underworld of Mexico City, Moreno-Garcia spins a fast paced story based on Latin American myth about a dark vampire drug war.

Title: Certain Dark Things
Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Vampires
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books, St Martin's Press
Release Date: 25th October 2016

BLURB supplied by St Martin's Press
Welcome to Mexico City… An Oasis In A Sea Of Vampires…

Domingo, a lonely garbage-collecting street kid, is busy eking out a living when a jaded vampire on the run swoops into his life.

Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drinkers, must feast on the young to survive and Domingo looks especially tasty. Smart, beautiful, and dangerous, Atl needs to escape to South America, far from the rival narco-vampire clan pursuing her. Domingo is smitten.

Her plan doesn’t include developing any real attachment to Domingo. Hell, the only living creature she loves is her trusty Doberman. Little by little, Atl finds herself warming up to the scrappy young man and his effervescent charm.

And then there’s Ana, a cop who suddenly finds herself following a trail of corpses and winds up smack in the middle of vampire gang rivalries.

Vampires, humans, cops, and gangsters collide in the dark streets of Mexico City. Do Atl and Domingo even stand a chance of making it out alive?

SILVIA MORENO-GARCIA is the author of the critically-acclaimed novel Signal to Noise and the short story collection This Strange Way of Dying, which was a finalist for the Sunburst Award in Canada. She was a finalist for the Manchester Fiction Prize, and a recipient of the Gloria Vanderbilt/Exile Award for Best Emerging Writer.


Collecting garbage sharpens the senses. It allows us to notice what others do not see. Where most people would spy a pile of junk, the rag- and- bone man sees treasure: empty bottles that might be dragged to the recycling center, computer innards that can be reused, furniture in decent shape. The garbage collector is alert. After all, this is a profession. Domingo was always looking for garbage and he was always looking at people. It was his hobby. The people were, not the garbage. He would walk around Mexico City in his long, yellow plastic jacket with its dozen pockets, head bobbed down, peeking up to stare at a random passerby. Domingo tossed a bottle into a plastic bag, then paused to observe the patrons eating at a restaurant. He gazed at the maids as they rose with the dawn and purchased bread at the bakery. He saw the people with shiny cars zoom by and the people without any cash jump onto the back of the bus, hanging with their nails and their grit to the metallic shell of the moving vehicle. That day, Domingo spent hours outside, pushing a shopping cart with his findings, listening to his portable music player. It got dark and he bought himself dinner at a taco stand. Then it started to rain, so he headed into the subway station. He was a big fan of the subway system. He used to sleep in the subway cars when he first left home. Those days were behind. He had a proper place to sleep now, and lately he collected junk for an important rag- and- bone man, focusing on gathering used thermoplastic clothing. It was a bit harder to work the streets than it was to work a big landfill or ride the rumbling garbage trucks, sorting garbage as people stepped outside their houses and handed the collectors their plastic bags. A bit harder but not impossible, because there were small public trash bins downtown, because the restaurants left their garbage in the alleys behind them, and because people also littered the streets, not caring to chase the garbage trucks that made the rounds every other morning. A person with enough brains could make a living downtown, scavenging. Domingo didn’t think himself very smart, but he got by. He was well fed and he had enough money to buy tokens for the public baths once a week. He felt like he was really going places, but entertainment was still out of his reach. He had his comic books and graphic novels to keep him company, but most of the time, when he was bored, he would watch people as they walked around the subway lines. It was easy because few of them paid attention to the teenager leaning against the wall, backpack dangling from his left shoulder. Domingo, on the other hand, paid attention to everything. He constructed lives for the passengers who shuffled in front of him as he listened to his music. This one looked like a man who worked selling life insurance, the kind of man who opened and closed his briefcase dozens of times during the day, handing out pamphlets and explanations. That one was a secretary, but she was not with a good firm because her shoes were worn and cheap. Here came a con artist and there went a lovelorn house wife. Sometimes Domingo saw people and things that were a bit scarier. There were gangs roaming the subway lines, gangs of kids about his age, with their tight jeans and baseball caps, rowdy and loud and for the most part dedicated to petty crimes. He looked down when those boys went by, his hair falling over his face, and they didn’t see him, because nobody saw him. It was just like with the regular passengers; Domingo melted into the tiles, the grime, the shadows. After an hour of people watching, Domingo went to look at the large TV screens in the concourse. There were six of them, displaying different shows. He spent fifteen minutes staring at Japanese music videos before it switched to the news. Six dismembered bodies found in Ciudad Ju├írez. Vampire drug wars rage on. Domingo read the headline slowly. Images flashed on the video screen of the subway station. Cops.  Long shots of the bodies. The images dissolved, then showed a beautiful woman holding a can of soda in her hands. She winked at him. Domingo leaned against his cart and waited to see if the news show would expand on the drug war story. He was fond of yellow journalism. He also liked stories and comic books about vampires; they seemed exotic. There were no vampires in Mexico City: their kind had been a no-no for the past thirty years, ever since the old Federal District became a city- state, walling itself from the rest of the country. He still didn’t understand what a city- state was exactly, but it sounded important and the vampires stayed out. The next story was of a pop star, the singing sensation of the month, and then there was another ad, this one for a shoulder- bag computer. Domingo sulked and changed the tune on his music player. He looked at another screen with pictures of blue butterflies fl uttering around. Domingo took a chocolate from his pocket and tore the wrapper. He wondered if he shouldn’t head to Quinto’s party. Quinto lived nearby, and though his home was a small apartment, they were throwing an all- night party on the roof, where there was plenty of space. But Quinto was friends with the Jackal, and Domingo didn’t want to see that guy. Besides, he’d probably have to contribute to the beer bud get. It was the end of the month. Domingo was short on cash. A young woman wearing a black vinyl jacket walked by him. She was holding a leash with a genetically modified Doberman. It had to be genetically modified because it was too damn large to be a regular dog. The animal looked mean and had a green bioluminescent tattoo running down the left side of its head, the kind of decoration that was all the rage among the hip and young urbanites. Or so the screens in the subway concourse had informed Domingo, fashion shows and news reels always eager to reveal what was hot and what was not. That she’d tattooed her dog struck him as cute, although perhaps it was expected: if you had a genetically modified dog you wanted people to notice it. Domingo recognized her. He’d seen her twice before, walking around the concourse late at night, both times with her dog. The way she moved, heavy boots upon the white tiles, bob- cut black hair, with a regal stance, it made him think of water. Like she was gliding on water. She turned her head a small fraction, glancing at him. It was only a glance, but the way she did it made Domingo feel like he’d been doused with a bucket of ice. Domingo stuffed the remaining chocolate back in his pocket, took off his headphones, and pushed his cart, boarding her subway car. He sat across from the girl and was able to get a better look at her. She was about his age, with dark eyes and a full, stern mouth. She possessed high cheekbones and sharp features. Overall, her face was imposing and aquiline. There was a striking quality about her, but her beauty was rather cutting compared to the faces of the models he’d viewed in the ads. And she was a beauty, with that black hair and the dark eyes and the way she stood, so damn graceful. He noticed her gloves. Black vinyl that matched the jacket.

Friday, 14 October 2016


P.C. CAST is the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the blockbuster House of Night series, co-written with her daughter Kristin Cast. With more than 20 million copies in print in over 40 countries, Cast’s novels have been awarded the prestigious: Oklahoma Book Award, YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Prism, Holt Medallion, Daphne du Maurier, Booksellers’ Best, and the Laurel Wreath.  Furthermore, The House of Night series reached number one on the U.S., German, and UK bestseller lists, and remained a fixture on The New York Times Children’s Series bestseller list for over 160 weeks.

This Fall, or autumn for those in the UK, P.C. CAST brings us her much-anticipated new epic fantasy set in a world where humans, their animal allies, and the earth itself has been drastically changed.

Title: Moon Chosen
Series: Tales Of A New World
Author: P.C. Cast
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Shifter
Publisher: St. Martins Griffin
Release Date: 18th October 2016

BLURB supplied by St Martins Griffin
Mari is an Earth Walker, heir to the unique healing powers of her Clan; but she has cast her duties aside, until she is chosen by a special animal ally, altering her destiny forever. When a deadly attack tears her world apart, Mari reveals the strength of her powers and the forbidden secret of her dual nature as she embarks on a mission to save her people. It is not until Nik, the son of the leader from a rival, dominating clan strays across her path, that Mari experiences something she has never felt before…

Now, darkness is coming, and with it, a force more terrible and destructive than the world has ever seen, leaving Mari to cast the shadows from the earth. By forming a tumultuous alliance with Nik, she must make herself ready. Ready to save her people. Ready to save herself and Nik. Ready to embrace her true destiny…and obliterate the forces that threaten to destroy them all.


P.C. CAST is the #1 New York Times and USA Today Best-Selling author of the House of Night Series and a member of the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame.  With more than 20 million copies in print in over 40 countries, her novels have been awarded the prestigious: Oklahoma Book Award, YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Prism, Holt Medallion, Daphne du Maurier, Booksellers’ Best, and the Laurel Wreath. 

Ms. Cast was born in the Midwest, and grew up being shuttled back-and-forth between Illinois and Oklahoma, which is where she fell in love with Quarter Horses and mythology.  After high school she joined the United States Air Force and began public speaking and writing. After her tour in the USAF, she taught high school for 15 years before retiring to write full time.  Ms. Cast lives in Oregon surrounded by beloved cats, dogs, horses, and family.


Mari braced herself, and as she had so many times before, felt her mother stiffen while energy surged through Leda and into Mari, sizzling through her palm, down her arm to swirl around and around inside her, growing in power with each second that passed.  Mari’s heartbeat began to hammer and her breathing suddenly increased until she was panting as hard as was the pup.  In her arms, Rigel whined uncertainly.
“Focus.”  Her mother’s voice was only a whisper, but Mari could feel it through her whole body.  “You can do this.  The power is not yours to keep – your body is merely its channel.  Borrow serenity from the image of the Earth Mother.  Though you may be surrounded by chaos or sickness or injuries, find the true you within. Release that which belongs to the world –fears, worry, sadness, so that the silver stream may wash unimpeded through you. It is a waterfall at night. Rigel is the basin that must hold it.”
Mari stared at the beautiful image of the Earth Mother that Leda pruned and cared for so lovingly.  But, as always, the figure was only foliage and art to Mari.  She couldn’t feel the divine presence her mother revered.  She could not find her true self – her center.  “Mama, I c-can’t.  It’s s-so c-cold.  It- it hurts.” Mari stuttered through chattering teeth.
“Only because the healing power is not meant for you.  Release the fears of your body, Mari.  Focus!  Find your grounding and become a channel for the moon’s energy.  Tonight you must succeed.  If you do not, your Rigel will surely die.”
Her mother’s words exploded through Mari’s body.  “No!  He can’t die.  I won’t let him.”  She gritted her teeth against the cold and tried to focus past the pain – to release the cacophony of emotions that swirled through her body unimpeded – and to be the channel for the moonfall of water.  Yet, still the power was a whirlpool within her.  It terrified Mari and threatened to suck her down to drown in its freezing depths. 
This was when she usually failed.  This was when she dropped her mother’s hand and allowed sickness to claim her so that she vomited, dry heaving misery and moonlight while Leda stroked her back, consoling her with calm, loving words that reminded Mari there would be a next time – she would do better the next time.
But there was no next time for Rigel, and Mari refused to lose him.  Think!  Focus!
“Mari, slow your breathing.  Calm your heart.  This is no longer practice.  You either heal Rigel, or fail and he dies from shock and blood loss.  This is your reality.”
“That’s it, Mama!  I need to make this my reality!”  Mari squeezed her eyes closed.  Could that be the answer?  Could it really be that simple?  Mari imagined that she was in their burrow, alone, sitting at her desk preparing to create a sketch.  Her gulping breath slowed.  Her hammering heart quieted.  Mari found her grounding as she envisioned a blank sheet of paper.  On that paper her imagination began to quickly, easily, sketch an image of herself, sitting crossed-legged with Rigel spread across her lap.  From above her silver light cascaded into her lifted palm, washing through her body in a glistening wave to spout from her other palm, which was pressed against the pup’s bloody chest.  Eyes still tightly shut Mari worked on the scene, creating a picture of Rigel’s body that was washed clean of blood by the liquid light, leaving behind wounds that were neatly closed and already healing.
Suddenly the cold tide within Mari was controllable.  Instead of drowning her, it used her as a conduit, passing through her harmlessly as she let go of the energy.  I’m doing it!  I’m doing it!  And just that quickly her concentration shattered.  The picture she’d been creating disappeared along with the tide of power within her.
“No!  No!  Get it back!  I was doing it – it was working,” Mari gasped, gripping her mother’s hand like a lifeline.
“It’s too late.  The sun is fully risen.  Even with your help I cannot call the moon back to me,” Leda knelt beside Mari, gently disentangling her daughter’s hand from hers.  “But it was enough.  You did it, sweet girl.  I knew you could.  Praise the Earth Mother and the blessed Moon!  You have saved him.”
Feeling dizzy and disconnected, Mari looked down at Rigel.  The pup wagged his tail animatedly and sat up, licking her face.  Even though she felt light-headed, she laughed weakly and put her arms around him.  He nested there, curled against her body and, sending her waves of contentment, Rigel fell sound to sleep in her arms. With a trembling hand, Mari brushed aside the blood-matted fur on his chest.  What had only moments before been deep, seeping, whip-like lacerations were now pink lines of newly joined flesh that had ceased bleeding.
“I knew it was true.  You do have my powers and more.” 

Early Praise for MOON CHOSEN

"While many fantasy series style themselves as epic, this one may actually be worthy of the description. Fantasy lovers who are fans of Cinda Williams Chima's "Seven Realms" novels will fall in love with Mari and Nik." – School Library Journal

“Cast’s spectacular new series kicks off with a unique tale suitable for fans of fantasy both young and old. Earth has completely changed, and the author grants readers a chance to use their imagination as the engaging storyline rapidly unfolds.” – Romantic Times, 4 stars!

Cast's fans should find much to be pleased with in this new venture” – Kirkus

engaging characters and a fast-paced narrative” – Publishers Weekly

Tuesday, 11 October 2016


The international publishing phenomenon and ridiculously funny new parody series that helps grown-ups learn about the world around them using large clear type, simple and easy-to-grasp words, frequent repetition, and thoughtful matching of text with pictures.

Title: The Husband
Series: The Fireside Guide To ..... (Ladybird Books For Adults)
Authors: Jason Hazeley & Joel Morris
Genre: Hunour
Publisher: Touchstone
Release Date: 11th October 2016

BLURB from Netgalley
Have you been having trouble with the How, Why, and Wheres? Well fear no more. The Fireside Grown-Up Guide series understands that the world is just as confusing to a forty-year-old as it is to a four-year-old. We’re here to help and break down the most pressing and complex issues of our day into easy-to-digest pieces of information paired with vivid illustrations even a child could understand.

The husband knows many things. For example, he knows how many stairs there are in his house—in case he arrives home too drunk to see them properly. In this Fireside Grown-Up Guide to the Husband, you can learn about what husbands like (making simple repairs and then droning on about what a struggle they were), what he hates (being wrong), how often he is really listening (only thirty percent of the time), and many other enlightening facts.

Goodreads Link

Amazon US
Amazon UK

So after reading "The Mom" I know what to expect from this series of books. I am anticipating a good laugh about what "The Husband" is expected to do, as well as his likes and dislikes lol.
Again I received an e-arc of this book in exchange for my honest review.
There's a "Husband" featured on this cover, he is doing what looks like a possibly dangerous little bit of welding, perhaps a little plumbing job. Perhaps he is thinking it's a "small DIY job". Would the cover make me pick this one up from a book store shelf? Yes, I think I'd notice it. Being divorced I probably wouldn't purchase it though!
So one of the descriptions of a husband is. . . . "The husband knows a lot of things, for example, he knows how many stairs there are in his house - in case he arrives home too drunk to see them properly".  Yep this one made me laugh though I was thinking back to being a young child hearing my dad counting off the stairs as he drunkenly made his way down them to our downstairs bathroom. I also remember hearing bumps and counting out myself the amount of stairs he had fallen down. (Don't worry he never seemed to hurt himself in this process at all!).
Apparently a husband likes,....making simple repairs and then droning on about what a struggle they were And a husband hates . . .being wrong, (Yeah I remember both of these from my marriage).
Once again this book has great wit, fantastic sarcasm, all accompanied by the cookie cutter photographs of a bygone era. I loved the photographs, the same type that were in my reading books as a very young child. That blissful, perfect image of what a family should look like.
I once again flew through reading this book, so it is a quick read. More to the point I would call this book a "gift book". In this case perhaps a future mother-in-law would jokingly present this to her daughters husband either just prior to the wedding or maybe during the speeches at the wedding. Or maybe this could be a gift to a female you know that is getting married. I think there's lots of scenarios when this could be an amusing gift. Once again the illustrations/photographs are great.
So did I enjoy the book? Yes, it was an entertaining read. I guess I didn't feel the camaraderie as much as I did with The Mom book, but still a good read.
Would I recommend the book? As a gift book, for your friends who are husbands or are about to become husbands.
Would I read another book in this specific series/type? This is the second one of four that I have been given to review and though I found it entertaining, I think maybe the “Dad” one would have been funnier for me to read.

Would I want to read other titles by Jason Hazeley and/or Joel Morris? I have been taking a look at some of their other books, and do intend to purchase a few for my own book shelves.

An amusing read!

Monday, 10 October 2016


Title: Freed
Series: Phoebe Meadows Series
Author: Amanda Carlson
Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 20th September 2016

BLURB from Goodreads
Phoebe Meadows has one thing on her mind: Free her mother.

For the last month, Phoebe has been training in the Valkyrie stronghold readying for battle. But when she stumbles into a secluded valley after a day of grueling practice, she’s given a dire prediction. Phoebe must leave the stronghold immediately with the aid of the giant, Junnal, to rescue her mother from the dark elves. If Phoebe fails, Leela will be transported to a place that can no longer be reached.

Leaving Fen behind threatens to undo her, but Phoebe stays true to the mission. Along the way, she allies with the god Baldur and an old white elf mage. Together, they storm the realm, and with the help of an angry wolf and her Valkyrie sisters, they just might stand a chance to free the valiant shieldmaiden.

But Phoebe soon learns that in order to save her mother, she might lose something too precious to sacrifice…


As I thoroughly enjoyed Struck which is book one in the Phoebe Meadow's series, I freely admit that I do have rather high expectations from Freed. I have read and loved other books by Amanda Carlson. I'm looking forward to catching up with Phoebe and learning how her Valkyrie training is going, as well as catching up with the romantic vibes going on between her and Fen, and her brother Tyr and best friend Sam of course!". Then there is sure to be some more mythology to read and learn about too. Will Phoebe meet either one or both of her birth parents in Freed?

24%   "Oh wow can Phoebe really get her mother back with only Junnal to help her?"
55%     "Can Phoebe break out of her cell using Gram then carry out the mission to rescue Leela successfully? Can she also free Junnal, Callan & Baldur too? Will Phoebe be able to change the course of fate the Skuld had foreseen?"
56%     "Can Phoebe trust Willa? Can she escape and manage to rescue her mother Leela as she set out to do?"

The main colour of this cover is a dark green which I'd say fits well when you read the book and know Phoebe encounters another realm full of dark magic. This cover features Phoebe Meadows who initially seems to be being struck by lightning, though having read book one, I think the lightning is a representation of the pure power she has within her and she does appear to be controlling it too. The large bird is on this cover who we now know is an important character from within the book, called Hugin. 
I still love the font and format of the book title, series title and the Authors name appears in a contrasting colour boldly on the cover but once again as on book one's cover, at the same time compliments the cover rather than dominating it. In the background we can see what looks like a doorway, upon reading the book I'd say it is a cillar . .a portal/doorway to another realm. The byline is changed slightly on this cover saying "Lightening always strikes twice". 
Would the cover make me pick this one up from a bookstore shelf? As I find the cover both eye-catching and colourful I would certainly pick this one up to learn more.

Freed picks Phoebe's story back up as she is still training at the Valkyrie stronghold. Fen and Tyr are being tolerated by those in the stronghold but are not allowed in certain areas, as they are female/Valkyrie only areas. Leela (shieldmaiden and once leader of the Valkyrie), Phoebe's mother is still being held captive by Invaldi and the dark elves. The situation has suddenly become more desperate as there is gossip that Leela is soon going to be moved to another place, somewhere that she cannot be tracked to and will be totally unreachable for those who wish to rescue her. 
As everyone knows there are bullies in every society, and a Valkyrie called Anya seems to be making it her mission to make things as difficult for Phoebe as possible. Rae the leader of the Valkyries continues to push Phoebe to her physical and mental limits as Phoebe must be prepared for anything and everything when she enters Savartalheim, home to Invaldi and the dark elve's.
Phoebe's training is still very much a work in progress and she still has to have a weapon "choose" her. When her weapon finally does choose her it is of no surprise to those around her that her birth father Odin has made sure it found her. The weapon that has chosen Phoebe is a very powerful, dangerous to use and to be the receiving end of. Once she has her weapon Phoebe must learn how to control both the weapons power and her own inner power too.
Extensive plans are made on how to enter Savartalfheim quickly and quietly. They will be entering the realm without the permission of Invaldi and the dark elve's to rescue Leela, but as we all know the best laid plans . . . well Phoebe is visited once again by the large black bird Hugin and is given an impossible choice. Phoebe's difficult choice is, go now with just the mixed blessing of Junnal as a companion in arms, or risk her mother Leela being moved and becoming totally untraceable. Sure Junnal is a large, strong and loyal combatant to have on side in a fight, but that also makes him difficult to hide when you are wanting to slip inplaces unseen!  She is literally given a few seconds to decide, of course Phoebe doesn't want to go into an unknown dangerous realm without the rest of the rescue party but she is left with no other choice really. It is either go now and try to find and rescue your mother or you may never have another chance of rescuing Leela. So now Phoebe is in a strange realm without Fen, Tyr or the Valkyries, she worries if she will be powerful enough to rescue her mother as well as knowing that the rest of the initial rescue party are going to be so annoyed with her going off without them too. Phoebe does manage to pick up  few allies during her search for her mother in Savartalheim. There's a white elf mage, called Callan, whom undergoes an extensive change in appearance and health after drawing energy from Phoebe, though his total transformation occurs a little later in the book, and even Phoebe is stunned by it. Callan proves to be a powerful ally to Phoebe as the dark elves are all afraid of white magic. Phoebe also meets a young mixed elf called Willa that Odin sent to keep an eye on Leela, who is in a cell, and tries to help Phoebe with her mission asking for nothing in return. I admire the way Phoebe stands her ground and doesn't forget this elf as others around her wish to abandon her as not being important enough to fight to rescue.
Another great character we meet in Savartalheim, who is imprisoned there at his mother Frigg's orders for his own protection against his fate, turns out to be the son of Odin. So Phoebe meets more of her family, and this son of Odin, Baldur is so charming too. It seems even those that hold him imprisoned have a respect and awe of him. Phoebe innocently sets Baldur free only for him to fall foul of his prophecy as fate plays out. The Norns take great delight in making sure that Phoebe has now fallen foul of the Gods, especially Frigg. I thought the verbal and physical interaction between Phoebe and the Norn's is so well written, you feel like you are standing there within the scene watching it all unfold. The way the three Norns are verbally arguing with Phoebe yet at the same time have their own little doubts between themselves and disagree with each other too. The fact that fate is always changing, one small action can change everything is a fantastic twist and allows Amanda Carlson to keep us the reader on the edge of our reading seats! I adored the prophecies and the little intricate loopholes there are, to allow things to change course and go off in a different direction than initially suggested.
I really enjoyed reading Freed, even more than Struck. It was great to be going along with Phoebe's journey of learning to fight properly with both Gram and her "special weapon" and the way she accidentally realises that she really does have her very own inner power that she needs to learn how to harness and control. The way Phoebe tries so hard to think like, and do things the Valkyrie way, but no matter how she tries she still has human emotions. Some, like the Valkyrie Anya would call Phoebe's "humanness" a weakness, but during the book you see that that same "humanness" can also be a strength. Phoebe has strong morals and her own thoughts on what is right and wrong as you see when she is trying to free her mother, she does not forget those who have helped her.
I love how the ending of this book has set everything up for what will need to be done in book three yet, the very fact Phoebe, and Fen have only just been called to court in front of the Gods and Goddesses means that fate may yet have other chances to intervene. I enjoyed all the mythology and the whole which Gods and Goddesses are allies and which ones could be counted on as allies depending upon which God or Goddess is going against them.
Although we are yet to meet Odin I feel I have learnt so much about him already and I seriously can't wait to read and visualise what happens within the courtroom setting. Which Gods and Goddesses will side with Odin? and which will be on the side of Frigg? Will the voting Gods and Goddesses be impartial and judge Phoebe on her own actions alone, or will petty arguments between the Odin and the other Gods play a part in the vote.
Another great thing Amanda does is include the remaining human part of Phoebe's life. The way Phoebe checks in with her human parents Frank and Janette Meadows and has to come up with increasingly difficult reasons that she is not going home soon, as well as reasons Frank & Janette cannot visit her! 
So did I enjoy the book? I loved it from beginning to end! Would I recommend the book? Certainly, I should also add you don't need to know everything about mythology as it is all explained as you read the book. Would I want to read another book in this series? Yes! I am already eagerly awaiting book three! Would I want to read other titles by this author? Yeees! I am waiting for the next brilliant installment of the Jessica McClain Series from Amanda!

Brilliant! Looking forward to reading more! Bring on Exiled!!
I want to be totally honest and say I haven't read and loved many books with the Gods and Goddesses in them. I have previously found the mythology parts difficult to remember and even harder to enjoy and understand but the way Amanda Carlson approaches the mythology and explains it as the plot unravels has me thoroughly adoring it and perching right on the edge of my seat as the story unfolds. Amanda has introduced me to a genre I perhaps would have overlooked. I have found myself fascinated with all the mythology.