Tuesday 30 July 2019


Title: A Pack Of Love And Hate
Series: The Boulder Wolves
Author: Olivia Wildenstein
Publisher: Twig Publishing
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance,                                 Shapeshifter, Werewolf
Release Date: 13th August 2019

BLURB from Goodreads

Volunteering to duel alongside Liam Kolane against the ruthless Creek Alpha could get Ness killed, but the alternative, leaving her hot-headed Alpha to die alone in the dueling ring isn’t an option. Not even when he places ridiculous conditions on her, like not spending time alone with August, her intended mate.

Ness didn’t want a mate, but that was before August stepped back into her life, before he picked up the scattered pieces of her heart. Between their shared history and the magical tether that binds them, Ness finds herself falling dangerously hard for the sexy shifter.

But Liam’s heart is on the line. A heart that still beats for Ness.

Only one man can win her love, the same way only one Alpha can rise from the duel.

Let the fight begin...

Goodreads Link

Amazon US
Amazon UK

So as soon as I knew this was available to read, I knew I had, yes, I had to read it. I loved the first two books and although I was super sad that this was the last book in the trilogy but was really eager to find out what would happen in the Alpha duel!

At the end of bk2 Ness had volunteered to be at Liam’s side throughout his duel with Cassandra the Creek Alpha. Naturally people are shocked by this offer especially after Cassandra killed Julian the Alpha of the Pine pack so easily. As Ness and the Boulder Wolves had watched the awful defeat of Julian, they think that Cassandra had cheated in some way. They are up against time to try and find out what Cassandra used to defeat Julian, in time to be able to avoid or counteract it during Liam’s fight with her. Liam has accepted Ness as his second on the condition that she trains with him and stays away from August. If she is going to help and support Liam, he says he needs her 100% attention. Cassandra’s second is a Pine wolf called Justin and he is known as a dirty fighter and makes it clear he wants to put Ness “in her place”.

Ness’s training involves long runs, fitness and building muscle. As well as fighting in both forms and learning to protect herself. Liam, along with Lucas and Matt put her through her paces. Liam still holds out a hope that Ness may turn back to him romantically and is not above using the guise of training to keep her away from his love rival. Even taking her on a private jet to visit the River’s Pack. It’s whilst there that Ness and Liam first fight together as a team. Ness discovers a couple of other things too. Firstly, being this far away from August means she cannot feel the mating link, which on one hand its great to be free of it, yet at the same time she worries if August is okay and wonders if he may be taking advantage of the lack of the bond and finding someone else. Ness also learns of Ingrid, the River Alpha’s eldest daughter who reveals she has a crush on August, in fact the River Pack Alpha asks Liam if a marriage between packs would be acceptable, which has Ness worried. 

There’s so much going on in this book. Some loose ends tied up. A shock pregnancy that may seem to have been at the worst time possible but does actually turn out to be what a certain character needs to shoulder the fact they are going to be a parent and to shoulder the future responsibility that comes with a child. I usually makes notes as I read but I was so eager to read this book I just curled up with it and read the first chunk without a break. Then picked the book back up and read the remainder without stopping to take any notes, which I think is better, as note taking can slow the pace of the book, and boy this one is fast paced. I feel the majority of the questions that have been raised throughout the series have been answered. The series comes to a natural end, but never say never, maybe Olivia Wildenstein will revisit the Boulder Wolves again in the future. I’d certainly love some more shifter fiction even if it isn’t the Boulder & Pines we have come to love.

To sum up, what more can I say, it’s a perfect ending to brilliant shifter series. This series had everything, inside the Boulder pack problems, the need for a new Alpha of Boulder Wolves, Boulder Wolves set in their ways, Boulder Wolf secret of always having male wolves rather than any female ones and so much more! Not forgetting the amazing love triangle between August, Ness and Liam.
And my very last thought.....where on earth am I going to get my shifter reading fix now?!

Friday 26 July 2019


Title: A Pack Of Vows And Tears
Series: The Boulder Wolves
Author: Olivia Wildenstein
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Shifters
Publisher: Twig Publishing
Release Date: 28th May 2019

BLURB from Goodreads
She thought the fight was over but it was only just beginning.

Ness Clark's place amongst the Boulders and at Liam’s side is compromised. First, when her cousin claims Ness helped him elude his death sentence. And then, when August Watt, Ness’s childhood friend, comes home to Boulder.

Although August’s plan was to pledge himself and return to active duty, he finds himself incapable of leaving. This becomes problematic for Liam and Ness, because a mating link has clicked into place between Ness and the ex-marine. If not consumed, the link will fade, but that’ll take months. How long and hard can two people fight a physical attraction that renders their bodies unreceptive to anyone’s but their mates?

Ness is tired of fighting, tired of having to prove herself worthy of her pack’s trust and of her Alpha’s affection. But when an enemy pack arrives and threatens the Boulders, she has two choices: step aside and let the wolves who have pushed her away fend for themselves, or step up and help them fight the newcomers.

Ness has never stepped aside…not for anyone.

Why would she start now?

Goodreads Link


Amazon US
Amazon UK


As I read and thoroughly enjoyed A Pack Of Blood And Lies and loving it so much I gave it 4 stars, I knew I had to read book 2! The cover would certainly catch my eye even more that bk1 as the orange on this cover is even brighter than the first book.

This picked up right where book one left off. I found that I slipped right back into the plot with the characters I already loved. Poor Ness Clark is continuing to try hard to both prove herself to her pack and settle in finally becoming one of them. Ness is also still stuck between two mate shifters, but if you thought that was bad enough it very quickly becomes even more complicated when Ness and August realise, they have been blessed the old and rare “mating bond”. It also becomes apparent very rapidly that Liam is most certainly not happy about this latest development. Just as all that is kicking in, there is a larger problem for new Alpha Liam! It seems Everest has run off rather than face what he has done. Even worse he has stolen the packs supply of Sillin. Sillin is a medication that prevents a shifter from actually shifting. It can also be used if a shifter has ingested silver so is a vital thing to have when there are so many threats around to the pack. When the “love triangle” learn that distance/absence can make the mating bond lessen and eventually end it seems everything will be solved when August goes back to the marines. Sadly, for August and his family, his mother, Isobel is seriously ill and he decides despite the mating bond she needs him to stay close to both help his father, Nelson, run their furniture business. Ness ends up helping out at the furniture business her father helped to build, though the Watts insist on paying her a good wage for doing so. It also aggravates Liam, thinking Ness is spending more time with August Watt. Naturally Ness and August reminisce about when they were younger, they share a lot of history together from when both families went on picnics etc. The job also helps to take Ness’s mind off the fact that the pack have voted to punish Everest by death at the hands of his own pack!  
Soon Liam has more ammunition to throw at Ness when he finds an incriminating text which suggest Ness tipped Everest off that the pack were after him. Naturally all this puts extra stress on the relationship between Ness and Liam. The mating bond also makes it difficult to even kiss and get a little steamy between Liam and Ness so they break up. Things go from bad to worse in terms of any possible future relationship between the pair when Liam vows he will wait for Ness, and she happens to walk in a room as he is walking into from a bedroom with his hair all tousled having just slept with another girl.

The Inn is put in a kind of limbo with Everest gone and Ness’s Aunt Lucy being questioned in pack elder Eric’s basement, the rather large task of running it falls on Ness. Despite knowing she is integrating with the pack she is shocked when some of the females married into the pack turn up at the Inn to help her. Everything is once again upset when it is revealed that in the event of Everest, Ness’s cousin the Inn has to be handed over to Shifter Hunter and murderer of Ness’s father, Aidan Michaels!! There is also something else even bigger and more shocking revealed about Aidan Michaels but....my lips are sealed you need ...yes need to read this book!

Another strain on the pack is the fact various of its members have smelled Creek Shifters in the area. In fact, when there is a car accident and yellow paint is found on the vehicle all signs point to the Creek pack running the vehicle off the road.  The Boulder pack and the Pine pack manage to coexist with each other so its not great surprise when they join forces to meet the Creek Pack Alpha…..the Female Alpha!! When the Pine Pack Alpha, Julian Matz challenges the Creek Pack Alpha. . . things become dangerous very quickly.

The characters I loved the most in this book were Ness and as I think we got the chance to see and learn more about August I adored him even more in this book than the last one! I enjoyed being offended on Ness’s behalf by Liam who clearly didn’t believe her when it came down to her word about the fact, she hadn’t text Everest to warn him Liam and some other members of the pack were coming after him. I really wanted him to be wrong about Ness texting Everest which according to Liam was a betrayal of him and the pack. However, when needed later in the book, it is Ness who ends up putting herself on the line for the pack.
Another character I came to feel a fondness for in this book was Uncle Jeb. All he had to go through, being embarrassed and ashamed of his only child, Everest. Yet at the same time knowing it is not him that will decide on his son’s fate. He accepted the pack would decide, vote and carry out whatever sentence and punishment thought appropriate. Throughout all this upheaval Ness thinks she needs to sort out her living arrangements herself, knowing with being under 18 she needed to be with an appropriate adult. Ness was both happy and grateful, when Evelyn told her she and Frank wanted her to move in with them and they would be her guardians until she was 18. Ness is pleasantly surprised when her Uncle Jeb announces they are moving into another place he owns. It is also rare that shifters divorce, preferring to mate for life, but Uncle Jeb announces he is divorcing his wife Lucy!

So how did I feel when I finished reading A Pack Of Vows And Tears? My reaction was Oh wow! What an ending.....when can I read more? I started this one with a clear idea of who I wanted Ness to end up with, but now I am all the way back to being confused and torn about which shifter should end up with Ness! Maybe whoever doesbt and up with Ness could pair up with Sarah. ( that is unless Sarah is paired off with Lucas) So many hot shifters making Oodles of 'book boyfriend' material!

One last word if you love shifters (like I do!) you seriously need to start reading this series now!

Monday 22 July 2019


Title: The Passengers
Author: John Marrs
Genre: Sci-Fi, Thriller, Mystery
Publisher: Ebury Digital
Release Date: 1st April 2019

BLURB from Goodreads
Eight self-drive cars set on a collision course. Who lives, who dies? You decide.

When someone hacks into the systems of eight self-drive cars, their passengers are set on a fatal collision course.

The passengers are: a TV star, a pregnant young woman, a disabled war hero, an abused wife fleeing her husband, an illegal immigrant, a husband and wife - and parents of two - who are travelling in separate vehicles and a suicidal man. Now the public have to judge who should survive but are the passengers all that they first seem?


As I had read and loved The One by John Marr previously and this book was on offer for just 99p so I thought I would give it a go. Initially I was really struggling with this one, it seems the last couple of lines is repeated on the next page every now and then, surely this is not meant to be like this, but would such a thing be missed in the editing/printing procedure. (I have been assured by the author who I contacted via Instagram that it was some sort of download issue) The One is actually mentioned on more than one occasion within the plot of this book too. So, The Passenger is set around the same futuristic era that The One is also set in. There are various covers for this book but my favourite is the one I have chosen to go with my review. (pictured above).
I think the byline on the book cover “Eight intended victims, Who lives, Who dies? You decide.” I also like the dashboard feel to the cover with the skull warning light illuminated. The genres I have seen listed for this book are Sci-Fi, Thriller which fit well though after reading the book I would add futuristic and dystopian to the list.

The book has two groups of major characters, jurors and passengers. Those that have been called for a modern, futuristic version of jury service all in a locked room. They are there to give judgement on accidents that have occurred as a result of the new driverless cars. These new cars are fantastic! You don’t need a drivers licence. You get into your vehicle, put in your destination in something like our present sat navs and sit back. The car does all the work. You are just a passenger, you are free to take telephone calls, do your emails, or paperwork on the way to work or just enjoy the scenery as you go past. This type of car has lots of special additions to what a normal car would have such as accident prevention software. However, what happens when there is an accident who is at fault, the car or the passenger? This is what the jurors have been called together to decide. The evidence is presented in a way that they are steered towards not blaming the cars. Of course, there are lots more details within the book about the cars. This book had me seriously thinking of what the future in cars is going to be in reality. I mean most people have sat navs, parking assist things in their cars and there is so much more to compare to this book such as the car that parks itself. There are different levels of driverless cars from ones that only park for you perhaps, that you can still override to the level that you have no control of at all. You can also hire these driverless cars too, kind of like using them as a taxi. The car arrives, you input your destination and off it goes. The dashboard in these cars allows you to do anything from watch TV, to doing your emails, checking social media or even reading. Passengers as young as fourteen can be a passenger alone in a fully automated driverless car! The government are certainly encouraging people to change to this type of vehicle, such as tax breaks, free charging and cheaper insurance!

The other group of eight main characters are the ones that are basically trapped in their cars and at the mercy of a very clever group of people who have chosen them to make a point. It soon becomes apparent that the man talking to the jurors is in charge and they will listen to him and do as he tells them to. The passengers are introduced in the book via their own chapters. You could say there is a wide range of passengers to represent different age groups, sexuality and races. The hacker lets the passengers introduce themselves and he tells them that they are all set on a collision course and will die in two hours thirty minutes. The hacker also continues this countdown throughout the book. As each passenger realises they are not heading to the destination they inputted into the cars system, their reactions vary from pressing any and every button they can find, to screaming and crying. In turn all the vehicles windows turn a kind of opaque so no one can see in to the vehicles and their panicking passengers. Passenger One is Claire Arden, who is pregnant with a baby boy. I thought the fact the baby had a nickname and reason behind the baby’s nickname “Tate” made you kind of count the baby boy as a “passenger” within his own right. Passenger Two is Jude Harrison who turns out to be the guy that Libby (one of the jurors) has been looking for since meeting him in a bar when out with friends one evening. Jude is a single, good looking male who had purchased a driverless car at the beginning of the governments hyped “Road Revolution” Passenger Three is a 78year old actress called Sophia Bradbury who is on her way to one of the many charity events and is in the process of trying to revive her flagging career….
Each passenger is given the opportunity to introduce themselves, then the hacker reveals a dark secret about them to the public. It is the jurors and the public watching everything as it happens via the internet who will vote and decide who lives and who dies! Each Juror is given the chance to champion one of the passengers and talk to them. Then in turn try to influence public opinion on them. Things may seem very black and white but it turns out they really aren’t.

My favourite character was Libby who had her own views on driverless cars coloured by the accident she saw happen quite recently. I also adored Claire Arden, her husband Ben and their unborn baby Tate. Claire begs for her unborn child and seems to have both the jurors and the publics support. That is until her dark secret has been revealed, which leaves the question of should her unborn child suffer because of his parent’s poor choices. The character I loved to hate was Jack who came across uncaring, bullish and in favour of the driverless vehicles no matter what the risk to the public was. He only reveals the information he wants to.   

This really is a rollercoaster type of read. Being totally honest, I got really irritated with the whole download issue but the book is so good and such compulsive reading that I had to continue with it. I felt I had to know who lived and who died and why. I also wanted to find out the identity of the hacker and the group behind him and what their agenda was.

I would recommend reading this book and also The One by John Marrs too. I will also still be checking out other books by this author. You can really easily imagine this scenario happening not too far in our future.

Friday 19 July 2019


Title: A Dress For The Wicked
Author: Autumn Krause
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: 6th August 2019

BLURB from Goodreads
Nothing much happens in the sleepy town of Shy in Avon-upon-Kynt. And for eighteen years, Emmaline Watkins has feared that her future held just that: nothing.

But when the head of the most admired fashion house in the country opens her prestigious design competition to girls from outside the stylish capital city, Emmy’s dreams seem closer than they ever have before.

As the first “country girl” to compete, Emmy knows she’ll encounter extra hurdles on her way to the top. But as she navigates the twisted world of high fashion she starts to wonder: will she be able to tailor herself to fit into this dark, corrupted race? And at what cost?

Amazon UK

I absolutely adore this book cover and immediately fell in love with it along with the blurb and promise of what was to come in the book. This book makes me think of the following series that I have actually read, The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton, The Lone City by Amy Ewing, and The Selection by Kiera Cass. Interested in A Dress For The Wicked by Autumn Krause now? Or still not sure? You can read my review of the book on it's release date of 6th August 2019!

Tuesday 16 July 2019


Title: The Best Gender-Neutral Baby Name Book
Author: Melanie Mannarino
Genre: Non Fiction, Parenting
Publisher: Tiller Press
Release Date: 16th July 2019

BLURB from Goodreads
What’s in a name? A lot. For generations, they’ve indicated a lot about a person: their family history, personality traits, and qualities—and let’s not forget about nicknames, both good and bad. But while a name may have special significance to the parents who choose it, when you stop and think about it, there’s little else it can reveal about a baby, or the adult that child grows into.

Try to accurately imagine what a kid named Frankie looks like...he could be a preschool boy who loves to paint or a teenage girl who is the star of her track team. Same goes for Casey, Jamie, or Taylor. Just as we no longer automatically choose “girl” (pink) or “boy” (blue) colors, today’s parents want their child to have a unique name that defies stereotypes.

Amazon US
Amazon UK

As I also enjoy reading non fiction books I decided it was time to read and review another one and chose this baby names book. I remember the whole process of trying to choose names for my children. Sadly, I miscarried my first child, a boy, but I had a boy’s name I liked from the moment I found out I was pregnant. (Though I didn’t find out I was having a boy in advance.) I hadn’t decided on a possible girls name at all! The name I chose was Ryan Michael, though my husband didn’t agree and wanted Ryan Andrew (Andrew being after him!). With my daughter I was dithering not having chosen a name for a boy or girl to begin with. Then when my daughter was born everything seemed to pop into my head and I chose Rachel Marie! The concession for the now ex husband was the spelling of Rachel as he could not remember which way the a and e went in the other spelling! I did buy magazines with lists of baby names in them and I think I bought two baby name books with their meanings too.

Anyway, enough about me! I think you do have to think carefully about choosing a name for a baby. Do you name the baby after a family member? Do you choose a name for its meaning? Or the question that comes with this book. Do you choose a gender-neutral name?? Whatever you decide on you really should think carefully about what you pick. This name needs to suit a baby an then the whole way through this humans life. Can the name be shortened into a nickname you will approve of? Does it go with your surname? Do you give one, two or even three fist names?

What is a gender-neutral name? A name that would equally suit a male or female child. Before reading the book, I sat and thought about any gender-neutral names I could think of. Here’s a few I thought of that I think would fit the “gender-neutral” criteria, Ashleigh, Bailey, Harley, Jamie, Mackenzie, and Parker. I discovered many more gender-neutral names and also nicknames that could be for a boy or girl.

The nicknames I like are Rae which for a man would be spelt Ray. I wanted my daughter to use Rae as a shorter version of her name Rachel but she chose to use Rach. I think whatever name you give a child it will be shortened. Some of these gender-neutral names also have slightly different spellings such as Julian for a boy and Julianne for a girl.

So, I will share some of the listings I discovered in this book that I personally think do work for male/females as well as also being spelt the same: Addison, Ash, Bailey, Blaze, Casey, Jesse, Logan, Morgan, Quinn, Spencer, and Tate.

However, there are other names that work for both sexes but in my opinion are more nicknames such as: Dani, Frankie, Jamie, Joss, Lane, Nicky, Ollie, Ray, Stevie, Tony, and Val. The book also lists, Bernie, Charley, and Sam.

The book goes on to list other names which I would honestly say are “more unusual”, some that celebs have made popular and some that are very old and making a come-back. Examples of Celeb influenced names: Apple, Clove, and Sage. According to the book Chris Martin & Gwyneth Paltrow chose the name Apple, from the well known sentiment of “being apple of our eye”! Sage is both a plant and has the meaning wise.

More modern names could come from your favourite:
Author: Fielding or Blake
Rockstar: Bowie, or Dylan.
Cars: Aston, or Ford

There are many other categories featured in the book such as Trees, Months, Days, Colours, Cities ….it seems that names can come from all sorts of different and unusual things around us every day.

If you are pregnant and want to go down the route of a gender-neutral name then this is the book for you. It has lots of idea’s, whether you choose something from the book or it just gives you inspiration to think of something yourself.
The book does list some names that to be totally honest I would only give to a female or male. I did enjoy discovering the different choices of names and it’s a great book to have a bit of fun with too. I guess like everything else it is an individual choice, just remember your child is the one that has to live with the name you give him or her.

To sum up I found it Interesting read for anyone wanting to go down a more unusual gender neutral name for their offspring.
Though to be honest some of the names in the book are...a bit "way out their for any child!!
I also think that some of the names in the book that claim to be gender neutral are more suited to one gender than the other...

Saturday 13 July 2019


It's time to share a selection July titles, some of which I would love to read and some others books that are also being "Released in July".

It's been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty's life out from under her.

It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don't dare wander outside the school's fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.

But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there's more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.

After moving to Mexico with her parents, Winter Gutan had been hoping the local alternative medicine doctor would cure her mother’s illness. When her mother does not survive his controversial treatments, Winter’s life spirals in despair. Her father, a software engineer, insists his computer program, Fractalistic, will enable them to communicate with her mother’s spirit. But as his sanity begins to slip, Winter confides in her friend Rafa, a computer wizard, who tells her he’s found information about using fractal technology to treat false memories—nothing paranormal about it, leaving Winter confused and without hope. Will she lose her mother forever?

Suspecting her dad is hiding a deep secret, Winter runs Fractalistic behind his back, unveiling a sea of computer-generated imagery swirling on the screen. Her mother appears to her…begging for help! But is this all just Winter’s imagination?

Fractalistic may enable Winter to communicate with her deceased mother, but it might also unleash more mysterious memories buried within Winter’s mind. To figure it all out, Winter must hack into her father’s system to uncover a horrifying truth...or remain in the dark forever.

Vesper Montgomery can summon your worst fear and turn it into a reality—but she’s learned the hard way that it’s an addicting and dangerous power. One wrong move and you could hurt someone you love.

But when she earns a spot in the Tournament of the Unraveling, where competitors battle it out for a chance to rewrite the past, Vesper finally has a shot to reverse the mistakes that have changed her forever. She turns to Sam Hardy, a former MMA fighter who’s also carrying a tragedy he desperately wants to undo. However, helping heal Sam’s heart will mean breaking her own, and the competition forces her to master her powers—powers she has been terrified of since they destroyed her life.

Beneath the stars, on a stony beach, stand two brothers.

They are wearing lifejackets that are too big for them and their most precious belongings are sealed in waterproof bags tucked inside the rucksacks on their backs.

Turkey is behind them. Two or three kilometres' swim away is the Greek island of Samos, now only a smudge in the moonlight.

Their feet are blistered from walking, their energy is failing.
They wade forward into the Aegean Sea and count one, two, three.
This is the story of what happens next.
This is the story of Mohammed and Zain.
Brothers. Sons. Refugees.

The Bathory Academy series by internationally bestselling and award winning Young Adult author, Katie M. John, promises you a darkling romantic adventure that lovers of Twilight, Vampire Academy, Vampire Girl, and A Shade of Vampire will fall in love with. 


Alexander Augustine's secret has been revealed. He nearly killed a human girl. Now there's no choice but to run, and there's only one place to go… 

Bathory Academy, home to the next generation some of the world's most notorious vampire families, is a college like no other. It offers Alexander both sanctuary and a very different kind of education; a place where he can truly be. 

As Alexander begins to slowly accept his supernatural life, and all the needs that go with it, he is drawn towards the beautiful, but potentially deadly, Scarlett Bathory, soon discovering their history is as tightly knotted as their present. 

With revolution, bloodlust, and desire for vampire world domination taking hold, Alexander starts to fear he’s nothing but a pawn in a very dangerous game. 

Enter the world of Bathory Academy and find yourself enchanted under the spell of the vampire.

A one-night stand becomes much, much more in this sexy, lighthearted romance.

Maid of honor Kelsey Peterson is disappointed when the bride-to-be bails on her bachelorette party—especially since Kelsey’s already ordered the stripper. Desperate for a break from her romantic woes, Kelsey goes through with the party. After all, why let a good stripper go to waste?

Dr. Aaron Baucus is definitely not a stripper. He’s a legit doctor with a PhD in neuropsychology. But when his friend calls him over to a bar to meet a bunch of tipsy, flirtatious bridesmaids, they assume otherwise. After all, their stripper was supposed to be dressed like a doctor. Aaron isn’t much for pretending, but with Kelsey, he’s willing to be whatever she wants him to be. At least for one night.

But fate has a wicked sense of humor: Aaron and Kelsey are the maid of honor and best man at the same wedding. And after their one-night stand, Kelsey’s pregnant, but she doesn’t know how to tell him. Aaron wants to start a relationship, but he doesn’t think Kelsey wants something long term. Can their fragile romance survive all the half truths and secrecy?

'You make me feel like there's something good in the world I can hold on to,' Aaron says. He kisses me again, draws me so close it's almost hard to breathe. 'I love you, Gem. And I promise I'll hold your heart forever.'

When Gemma meets Aaron, she feels truly seen for the first time. Their love story is the intense kind. The written-in-the-stars, excluding-all-others kind. The kind you write songs about.

But little by little their relationship takes over Gemma's life. What happens when being seen becomes being watched, and care becomes control?

Told in both Gemma's and Aaron's words, this is a raw, moving exploration of gaslighting in teenage relationships that skewers our ideas of what love looks like.

The ultimate collection of unique, unisex baby names—from traditional to modern—including the origin and history of the name, and any cultural icons (men or women) who share the name.

What’s in a name? A lot. For generations, they’ve indicated a lot about a person: their family history, personality traits, and qualities—and let’s not forget about nicknames, both good and bad. But while a name may have special significance to the parents who choose it, when you stop and think about it, there’s little else it can reveal about a baby, or the adult that child grows into.

Try to accurately imagine what a kid named Frankie looks like...he could be a preschool boy who loves to paint or a teenage girl who is the star of her track team. Same goes for Casey, Jamie, or Taylor. Just as we no longer automatically choose “girl” (pink) or “boy” (blue) colors, today’s parents want their child to have a unique name that defies stereotypes.

This one-of-a-kind book compiles the best gender-neutral baby names for your child, along with fun “Top 5 Lists that Make Unique Baby Names” sprinkled throughout (including foods, mythological places, surnames, and more). Use as a guide or read it cover to cover—or dip into specific chapters if you’ve already got a first letter in mind. Have fun, be creative, and know that whatever name you choose, your baby will be a unique and amazing person who defines themselves.

Thursday 11 July 2019


Title: I Hold Your Heart
Author: Karen Gregory
Genre: Teens, YA, Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing (UK & ANZ),                                Bloomsbury YA
Release Date: 11th July 2019

BLURB from Goodreads
'You make me feel like there's something good in the world I can hold on to,' Aaron says. He kisses me again, draws me so close it's almost hard to breathe. 'I love you, Gem. And I promise I'll hold your heart forever.'

When Gemma meets Aaron, she feels truly seen for the first time. Their love story is the intense kind. The written-in-the-stars, excluding-all-others kind. The kind you write songs about.

But little by little their relationship takes over Gemma's life. What happens when being seen becomes being watched, and care becomes control?

Told in both Gemma's and Aaron's words, this is a raw, moving exploration of gaslighting in teenage relationships that skewers our ideas of what love looks like.


It was the cover that first attracted me to this book, which is ironic when it is actually labelled as being a “draft cover”. I actually like this cover and when you have completed reading the book, you know it does really fit it well. Its main colour is red which is associated with love & passion. Then there’s the barbed wire in a heart shape, which beautifully represents what the relationship between Gemma and Aaron becomes. The byline of "When Does Love Become Possession"....this also describes what Gemma and Aarons relationship comes.

The book is basically begins as a boy meets girl, the whole too and fro, of asking for a date and so on. Everything is fine to begin with, however all that soon changes.

We meet Gemma at the beginning of the book, a young girl who loves playing her guitar, writing songs, she works at the local beach café with best friend Esi and is part of a loving family. As part of this loving family she supports her younger brother Michael in his hopes for becoming a professional footballer by attending all his home games, her rather football obsessed father usually attends the away games too. Gemma has a best friend is Esi, but also has other friends like Cal who shares her love of music. Then there’s Phoebe, Beth and Rachael who she also hangs out with at college. It’s the first year Gemma and Esi have not had exactly the same classes with each other. Its because they have made different A level subjects. At least they can all meet up in the refectory at lunch time.

Aaron is a couple of years older than Gemma which makes him all the more exciting as it means he has a car so can give her lifts to and from college. Aaron stays in a flat with his dad, though his dad is around at his new girlfriend’s house more than at the flat. He used to live in London with his mum. So, Aaron is alone quite a lot with no company other than his golden Labrador, Moonshine. It soon becomes apparent from little things Aaron says that he has been hurt in a previous relationship. Aaron keeps mentioning his ex Cherine and how she betrayed and cheated on him.

It is one of Gemma’s friends that shows her the music competition called “From Nashville With Love”. The makers of the show want to discover the UK’s best country singers. The prize is £10,000-worth of promotion, time in a recording studio, the chance to sing in front of all the major record labels, and what Gemma considers the best part of the prize, which is, a year’s mentoring from The Greenwoods! Who are Gemma’s favourite country singers. The competition has three rounds, Auditions, Regional Finals, Then the winners from the twelve regions go on to a televised national final to find the ultimate winners! Gemma decides to enter and puts her everything into writing the songs and as Cal often sings along when Gemma plays her music, he becomes the perfect partner to enter the competition with.

As the relationship develops between Aaron and Gemma he starts turning up at the café when she is working. Then he starts making little comments how he doesn’t understand why Gemma isn’t attending Portsmouth College as that has a dedicated programme for performers etc. Gemma just explains it was too far for dad to take her and that she doesn’t mind and so on. Nevertheless, Aaron manages to acknowledge what Gemma is saying but puts his own spin on it. Saying her whole family seem to revolve around Michael, why does Gemma have to attend all of his home games? Why aren’t her parents supporting her in the music competition? Aaron also show extreme jealously when he sees the good friendship Gemma has with Cal. Gemma explains he is singing in the competition with her and they need to rehearse. Aaron then quietens but becomes reticent giving the impression of the “little boy lost” element he had that had originally attracted Gemma’s attention to him. Aaron has all the "right line" and seriously knows how to play on Gemma's emotions. Beginning with the whole "As You Wish" Princess Diaries references he uses when he is with her. Then that moves up to "I love You" and the rather poetic "I Hold You Heart" which turns out to be a spin on an old piece of poetry.

Gemma becomes more and more aware of what she is doing and whether Aaron would approve or not. Aaron manages to pressure Gemma into having sex, telling her she is beautiful, yet then giving her vouchers for a salon for waxing treatment. She doesn’t normally was but again feels compelled to use the vouchers so she doesn’t offend Aaron by not using them. The once on time or organised early person to the lesson/meeting, Gemma becomes tardy both at school and in her job. Her eagerness to rehearse her songs with Cal turn into excuse after excuse for not turning up. Even when she does attend lessons, she is often too tired to function and take part as she used to. Her friends try to explain to her what she is doing, cutting them off, to the point of not having time to have a chat about something important to Esi. 

Things all come to a head and Gemma at age 17 decides to move out of her family home and live with Aaron. By this time, she has handed her notice in at the Beach Café as she is sick of talking to Esi. The reason she is “sick of” Esi is that she is the voice of reason. Telling Gemma she is cutting off all her friends just because she has a boyfriend. Aaron does a lot of underhand, controlling things like taking possession of Gemma’s mobile phone so “she can rest undisturbed”. By doing this he can edit and delete any messages, text or voicemail that Gemma’s family or friends send her. Aaron has his own idea of what Gemma should be like, what she should be doing as well as what she wears etc. It comes to the point that without Aaron, Gemma simply cannot function on any level. The relationship becomes more and more claustrophobic until Gemma has to leave the flat and goes walking, even contemplating suicide as a way out. Gemma has sacrificed everything for Aaron.

I won't go into anymore details or what happens after Gemma's walk to "clear her head". Gemma has to ask herself some really difficult questions and answer them in a brutally honest way like, What does she have if she doesn't have him anymore? Where can she go? How can her life go on? and the classic What will people say?

This book is really well written, possibly by someone who has been through this kind of relationship or has done an abundance of research. The story is told from the point of views of Gemma and Aaron. To be honest I was a good partway through reading this book when I noticed the realistic and purely honest writing style reminded me of another book I had read some time ago which I guess would fall into a similar category or genre to this book. When I managed to remember the title of the book and looked it up was when I realised both books were by the same author. When choosing books to read I try not to be swayed to read books by a small range of authors which is why I don’t take much notice of the authors name when checking out my next books to read. Don’t get me wrong if I love an author, I will read more of their books but it won’t be the specific reason for choosing a certain book.

What an amazingly realistic honest depiction of how a controlling relationship begins, takes hold and progresses. It took me back and reminded me of a past relationship. I kind of wish I had had this book to read. Definitely thought provoking and a possibly great way to educate about such relationships. You feel like you are right there, like a fly on the wall watching the relationship of Gemma and Aaron.