Monday, 22 October 2012

Something Wicked Comes stop [Review, guest post and giveaway]: The Forever Girl Series, Vol. I: Sophia's Journey (Volume 1) by Rebecca Hamilton

I am beyond excited to be a part of Something Wicked Comes, a month long blog event hosted by Heidi @ Rainy Day Ramblings and Lila @ Babbling About Books! As a part of the hop, I am thrilled to post my review of The Forever Girl: Sophia's Journey (Volume 1), an AMAZING paranormal romance that made a pretty awesome Halloween read along with a guest post by the author, Rebecca Hamilton and giveaway of one paperback and FIVE e-copies of The Forever Girl!


Hi everyone! I’m Rebecca Hamilton, and I’m super excited that Pooja invited me over to his blog this Halloween for a guest post! I wasn’t sure what to blog about, but seeing as I’m in a nostalgic mood as I sit down to write this, I’ve decided to share the things I think no one should miss on Halloween.

Pumpkin Picking/Carving

If you’ve never gone pumpkin picking before, well, what rock are you living under? I think this is one of those festivities that not enough people participate in. Really, WHEN ELSE can do this? I guess it seems like a lot of work . . . finding a pumpkin patch, picking out a pumpkin, taking it home to gut it and carve it . . . but it’s an experience! And it’s something you only get to do once a year. Well, I suppose you could do it more often, but it’s all in the spirit of the holiday. Don’t miss out. In fact, if you do decide to carve a pumpkin this year, I hope you’ll email me a picture (theinkmuse [at] gmail [dot] com). I’ll feature it on my blog!

Halloween-themed Food

Candy is a given, off course. You even have your Halloween staples, like candy corn (when ELSE do you eat candy corn). And if you’re having a party, maybe you buy a Frankenstein mug, fill it with candy corn, and have all your party guests guess how many pieces of candy corn are in the mug. Winner gets the candy—and the mug! But there’s a lot of other cool Halloween-themed foods out there, and I recommend not settling for candy.

Why not have BRAINS for dinner? (Spaghetti!) Or prepare your guests some SLIME punch! If you’re feeling really festive, use a witch’s cauldron as a serving bowl! Or if you have kids, check out one of the billion articles on the Internet with fun Halloween recipe and treat ideas! I’ll even make it easy for ya, and get you started. Check these out!

The bottom line is, don’t miss out on the chance to be festive with your food! Find the perfect recipes and indulge!

Halloween Houses and Haunted Hayrides

When I was growing up, one of the BEST parts of Halloween was the haunted hayrides and haunted houses. But no one said adults can’t enjoy the same kind of activities, with or without kids. Halloween only comes once a year. Do a little research and find out what is available near you! If you live near any amusement parks, they might have some kind of Fright Fest for you to attend. But often there are other activities that are local as well to participate in. If you aren’t sure how to look these things up, simple type in “Haunted House (your zip code)” or “Haunted Hayride (your zip code)” and you should be able to find something local to you. I personally prefer the Haunted Hayrides because there is nothing more enjoyable than experiencing the outdoors in the fall!

Scary Movies!

If you’re a forward thinker, you rented all your favorite horror movies a week ahead of time, or already own them all! But there’s always television freebies. You simply CAN’T have Halloween without scary movies! If you’re the type to like to stay in instead of go out, why not have a horror movie marathon?

And if you’re a book nerd like me, looking for some scary books to get lost in this holiday, I’ve put together a small recommendation list for you!

Jack Ketchum’s Girl Next Door

R.P. Krauls Mirrors of Anguish

Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House

Joe Hill’s Heart Shaped Box

So, what are your plans this Halloween? Do you have a list of must see Halloween movies?

Thank you so much for the awesometastic guest post, Rebecca! I'm stoked for Halloween! :)

Publication date: 26th January, 2012
Publisher: Immortal Ink Publishing
Links: Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads
Source: e-copy obtained from author
Rating: 4/ 5 stars
[from goodreads]

Sophia's family has skeletons, but they aren't in their graves.

At twenty-two, practicing Wiccan Sophia Parsons is scratching out a living waiting tables in her Rocky Mountain hometown, a pariah after a string of unsolved murders with only one thing in common: her.

Sophia can imagine lots of ways to improve her life, but she'd settle for just getting rid of the buzzing noise in her head. When the spell she casts goes wrong, the static turns into voices. Her personal demons get company, and the newcomers are dangerous.

One of them is a man named Charles, who Sophia falls for despite her better judgment. He has connections that might help her unveil the mystery surrounding her ancestor's hanging, but she gets more than she bargains for when she finally decides to trust him.

Survival in his world, she learns, means not asking questions and staying out of the immortal council's way. It's a line she crossed long ago. If Sophia wants to survive the council and save the people she loves, she must accept who she is, perform dark magic, and fight to the death for her freedom.

The Forever Girl is a full-length Paranormal Fantasy novel that will appeal to lovers of paranormal romance, urban fantasy, witches, vampires, ghosts, paranormal mystery, and paranormal horror.
Halloween is round the corner and I cannot think of a better paranormal romance to curl up with than The Forever Girl. Gorgeously written, with great attention to detail and a well thought out backstory- I felt a part of Sophia's journey and couldn't put it down till I hit the last page. It's creepy, fun and the story behind the title that is revealed piece by piece blew me away.

Sophia, a girl of Wiccan faith, is stuck in a town she wants to escape, dealing with her bipolar mother who's off her meds and heavily influenced by their neighbour, Mrs. Franklin, who will not rest until Sophia sells her ancestral property to the Church for a pittance. The buzzing in her head has now morphed into a scramble of voices, possibly enhanced by the positive energy ritual she had performed. A night out at Club Flesh with her friend Ivory only strengthens her conviction that there is something more to her not-so-coincidental presence in the midst of a killing years ago, documents left by her grandfather and the creatures who are now after her.

I loved how the author gives us a clear, clean account of the Wiccan faith; dispelling all the myths associated with it. The paranormal creatures and their origins in the world created by Hamilton are also well fleshed out. She takes her time to lay out all the pieces in the puzzle in front of us; making us truly feel a part of Sophia's journey. The first paragraph alone gave me the chills and from then on, I was hooked.

Charles, Sophia's paranormal love interest, also immediately endeared to me. Their relationship made sense and while it followed a pattern reminiscent of Twilight, Charles and Sophia approach the dilemmas in their relationship way more logically and as for their chemistry... let's just say mind blowing is an understatement! Some quotes that made me laugh out loud:

“I must be pretty special to have followed you here but arrived first.”

"You're not so interesting that I came to watch you sleep, darlin'."

The Forever Girl  is an amazing take on all things paranormal; set in a world with vampires, shape shifters, witches and fire elementals with back-story that incorporates the Salem witch trials. It is an intricately woven and well written gothic romance of obsession, creation and purpose that transcended generations; filled with twists and turns that took me by surprise! Definitely a great Halloween read. I cannot wait to read the second book in the series!

Rating: 4/5 stars

And do not forget to enter the giveaway for a chance to win a paperback copy or one of five ecopies of The Forever Girl, Vol 1 (Thank you so much, Rebecca, for donating the copies for giveaway!):

a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Review: Forgotten by Catherine McKenzie

Publication date: 16th October, 2012
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Links: Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads
Source: ARC from publisher
Rating: 3/ 5 stars
[from goodreads]

When everyone thinks you’re dead, how do you start your life over again?

Emma Tupper, a young lawyer with a bright future, sets out on a journey after her mother’s death: to Africa, a place her mother always wanted to visit. But her mother’s dying gift has unexpected consequences. Emma falls ill during the trip and is just recovering when a massive earthquake hits, turning her one-month vacation into a six-month ordeal.

When Emma returns home, she’s shocked to find that her friends and colleagues believed she was dead, that her apartment has been rented to a stranger and that her life has gone on without her. Can Emma pick up where she left off? Should she? As Emma struggles to recreate her old life, everyone around her thinks she should change – her job, her relationships, and even herself. But does she really want to sacrifice everything she’s working so hard to gain?
Forgotten by Catherine McKenzie puts its central character, Emma Tupper, in a situation far more horrific than a near-death experience. Emma returns from Africa five months later than she should have... after falling sick and surviving an earthquake only to find out that she had been presumed dead. Her apartment has been rented to a stranger, her bank account has been frozen, her position at work has been taken over by her arch nemesis and her boyfriend has moved on; having dealt with her supposed passing on.What do you do when you're pushed back into a life where everyone has moved on without you?

Emma realises that maybe fate has presented her with a fairly twisted way of starting afresh. Now she's starting at the very bottom of the law firm she was about to be made partner in, rooming with the man living in her apartment who has scars of his own and questioning the aspects of her life that she previously took for granted; making her reevaluate herself and the relationships forged around her.

As someone who has loved every Catherine McKenzie book she's read, I was itching to read Forgotten since the day I read about the premise. While it didn't fall short of my expectations, I didn't enjoy it as much as Spin and Arranged. It seemed to lack the spunk and spice I found in McKenzie's previous books though as the story progressed, I enjoyed the understated way in which the conflicts were dealt with.

Emma is smart and probably one of my favourite lawyer characters ever... I loved that she loved her job; heavy workload and all. This was also one of the few books in which I actually looked forward to the flashbacks that shed light on Emma's African vacation that changed her life. With Catherine McKenzie's trademark witty and fun writing style, this book was a poignant and compelling read. A bit of a letdown compared to McKenzie's other books but can nevertheless be picked up based on the premise and author's breezy writing style alone.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Monday, 8 October 2012

Review: Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Publication date: 14th August, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Links: Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads
Source: NetGalley
Rating: 2.5/ 5 stars
[from goodreads]

The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance from the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University's Walking One-Night Stand.

Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby needs—and wants—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match.
 Um, this book... just wasn't for me.

I hate starting my review on such a note but it just wasn't. It wasn't like I had ridiculously high expectations for Beautiful Disaster or anything. I've been told that it's quite the guilty pleasure. But I wasn't looking for more than a college romance I could escape into. I found the university setting, instead of the usual high school setting, pretty refreshing. And yes, the chemistry between the characters was mind blowing. There were times when I was chortling and at other times, completely taken in by the emotional roller coaster that was Abby and Travis's relationship.

But half way into the book, I was just... bored.

I started rolling my eyes at almost every plot device; from the bet to Vegas to the fiery climax.

And eventually, I got really annoyed.

Abby and Travis are complete opposites. Abby is projected as the prototype of a "good girl" while Travis is a mountain of issues vented out in a floating fight ring through which he earns money to pay for his tuition. But at times, I didn't think Abby and Travis were all that different at all. Travis may be a walking One Night Stand but Abby had an equal amount of issues with commitment. I cringed every time she led Parker -a privileged boy who had the hots for Abby as well- on.

Abby, despite her past and fears, didn't have to go hot and cold with Travis either. It broke my heart every time Abby switched gears in their relationship without any prior warning. It didn't help that all the "obstacles" in Abby and Travis's relationship felt cliched and manufactured.

Yes, Beautiful Disaster is well written and nothing more or less than what it promises to be: a guilty pleasure. The secondary characters aren't all that bad. I really liked Abby's best friend, America. But I couldn't stomach the main character and illogical twists and turns in the plot.

Abby and Travis's story was more of a "disaster" than a beautiful disaster for me: filled with cliches and well, Abby.  I was in fundamental disagreement with almost every decision she made throughout the book. If you're looking for a sexy drama-filled romance set in college, Beautiful Disaster might be for you. It's just not something I loved or would personally reccomend.

Rating: 2.5/5 stars