**News Flash** Waiting on Wednesday (#4) - Elemental: The Circle of Fire by Alexandra May



Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


The blurb from Goodreads:

Rose Frost discovers from Aiden Deverill, the bad boy around town, that she’s a Primord Elemental in hiding and just like him, sort of. Rose always knew there was something off when he was around. She can never get a reading or feel his essence like she can other people. Her sensory abilities just won’t work.

Instead she has to use her female intuition which isn't always a good thing. He may be dazzlingly gorgeous with his sapphire blue eyes and black hair, and he may be from the same group of ancient races that her ancestors come from.
But it doesn't mean she has to like him. Until he tells her that he never wants to see her again.

Rose realises she’s on her own once more, she must find her missing grandmother, and some strange crystals to prevent the worst from happening - an apocalypse, the end of mankind. But a tragedy immediately happens for which Rose fears she may never recover from fully, and emotionally she plunges to the depths.

Her weird dreams of Nerído Xipilé make her second-guess Aiden once more. Is he really as evil as his grandfather? Does Rose have the ability to cure the black hatred that lies in his heart?

On this non-stop and fast paced journey, Rose comes into her own, discovers new abilities and the reason why she's considered The First. She faces new enemies and must deal with unexpected obstacles particularly when her gift is caught on camera exposing her to the world media.

But the only person who can truly rescue her in the end plays with fire.

Her time for the Unburdening and Integration into Halika Dacomé draws near, she only has seven days to find out the truth, once and for all, before it’s too late.

I contacted Alexandra May recently to ask when the cover would be available. Due to personal circumstances the book will be delayed again. The Circle of Fire was originally due to be published in January 2012 but was put back to May 2012 and now its a TBC. This is Alex's message that she allowed me to share with you:
Dear Charlotte

Thank you so much for featuring Elemental: The Circle of Fire as your 'Waiting on Wednesday' feature.

People say that art emulates life and none could be so true as this book and my Rose Frost stories! It took me 18 months to finally complete Elemental: The First. I had to continue every day life while I wrote every night and it was a labour of love in the end.

Since its publication in July 2011 I've written 2 more books, one being Elemental: The Circle of Fire and the other The Lost Dacome Files: The Battle of Arcanon Major. Both are still incomplete and its been difficult to get them to a finished state because of what's happening outside of my writing.

I live in Southern Europe with my boyfriend of 12 years. In September 2011 he was offered a new position in Saudi Arabia, Middle East (who knew?). All of a sudden everything had to be put on hold. Would he take the job? Should he take it? In December, just before Christmas last year, he left to take up his new role. It was a lifetime opportunity that we couldn't turn down.

To say that I went through dark days following his departure is an understatement. For anyone who has been in a long term marriage or relationship they will understand that. I was afraid of writing anything because what I would put down on paper would be akin to lemmings jumping off a cliff. And Elemental: CoF didn't deserve any more darkness than is included already. 

Today, my partner is incredibly happy, settled and waiting for me, except I'm unable to join him in KSA because we're not married. Saudi Arabia is a difficult country to get into. They don't allow tourists and its effectively a 'closed country'. So now I'm packing up my house, arranging for 2 dogs to be vaccinated, sponsored, visa'd, and I'm getting married (to the delight of our parents) and I can finally join him once the Saudi authorities allow me entry. My life is hectic beyond belief, full of bureaucracy and endless paperwork but I'm hoping I'll be able to relocate to Saudi Arabia around June/July of this year.

Elemental: The Circle of Fire will be rescheduled for a release date towards the latter part of the year. The readers who enjoyed Elemental: The First don't deserve a book churned out just to be published. They deserve a story that's had my full attention. I'm a perfectionist so until I'm 100% happy, the story will have to wait. Being self-published isn't always easy but the upside of that is I'm in control.

For all my readers out there who are waiting to find out if Morgan and Rose make it, let me tell you this. Elemental: The Circle of Fire will be worth the wait!

Charlotte, once again, thank you for your ongoing loyalty and keep up your blogging!

With best regards

Alexandra May

Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

My Rating: 4 out of 5

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket -- a gifted inventor -- steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

My Review:
This was a whole lot different from Anna and the French Kiss, and almost a role reversal to that story. Lola is a gifted designer with a rock star wannabe boyfriend, two dads, no significant mother figure in her life and a fantastic best friend. Life is complicated enough with her boyfriend being so much older than her (her fathers don't approve wholeheartedly), but she expresses herself through her clothes and the costumes she wears, and she never wears the same outfit twice!

Everything's hunky-dory and not so different from any other teenagers life. But when the Bell twins move back next door, Lolas life begins to unravel, like the seams of her creations and everything changes.

What I loved about this book is my wrong preconceptions. When I first started it I thought Lola dressed the way she did becaue her mother was a non-existent entity in her life and she was brought up by two loving fathers. Possibly a reaching hand to empower the woman inside her and show off her feminine side. But a little way into the story we find out that Lola has always been this way. Wanting to create beautiful designs and wear them with pride. It's part of who she is - Lady Gaga style.

Another preconception was that the Bell twins were almost perfect. As we examine the story we realise that Calliope as insecure as Lola despite her perfect skin and perfect body. Her achievements as a figure skater have diminished Cricket's significance in the family, he goes where she goes, and because of this I feel even more sorry for him as he really is a genuine nice guy.

Max started off as a great character, going through all the right motions of being a great older boyfriend while staying sensitive enough that family-life is important to Lola and abiding by her father' rules. But gradually his shine wears off and we see his rebellious side peeking through that can only drag Lola down. When he started taking time away from her and revealed his nasty side to her friends he showed his true face.

Lola's fathers, Nathan and Andy, were what held this book together. Being brought up by two fathers is nothing new these days and I loved that Lola was a really happy person from a loving home. This isn't something you see very often in YA books and made a nice break. Norah also proved to be exactly what we envisaged from the beginning. But Lola gave her hope, and for people who are in unfortunate circumstances, she really gave us a glimpse of her maturity.

Overall, there are so many little stories going on within this book. All of the characters have their weaknesses and troubles and I loved how everything, through the heartache and the pain, finally came together at the end. Stephanie Perkins is now one of my favourite authors and I can't wait to read more from her.

You can reach Stephanie Perkins here:

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Dusty Reads #4 - Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

My Dusty Read is the very popular Anna and the French Kiss.
My paperback had so much dust on it before I started reading.
Why did I wait so long?




Dusty Reads is a weekly meme hosted by Giselle at Xpresso Reads where we spotlight a book sitting in our TBR pile.
My twist is that I actually, finally, read them!

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris - until she meets Etienne St. Clair: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.

As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near - misses end with the French kiss Anna - and readers - have long awaited?

Final Review: 5 out of 5
If you've read my previous contemporary reviews you'll know I'm not fond of the contemporaries. Thats just me. The reasons this has been sitting on my shelf for so long is that a) yes, it's contemporary and b) I've read a lot of school based books and I needed a break and c) I love the Paranormal genre and would gladly put those first. Sadly for me I missed out on reading a great book since I received it in March 2011!
So, you've read the synopsis and possibly even read the book. The first thing to say is that the first preson present tense really works well with this style of book. It's a style I'm getting more and more used to but learning to enjoy all the more.
So, Anna moves to a new school in Paris because of her horrid father and his insistance that she'll gain worldly wisdom from attending a school in a foreign country. Why Paris is chosen as that school is never really discussed. Probably because its a School of America. At the end of the day this isn't relevant at all as all of the characters are American origin.
Anna as a character was extremely likeable, and her new friends were easy to relate to. She fell into a group of friends quickly and stayed being herself, and they immediately included her.
Etienne St Clair is also a likeable character but certainly insecure when it comes to girls. His reluctance to end his previous relationship but be so friendly towards Anna gave me concern. Mainly because if it was me I would have insisted that he make a choice. Not straight away but especially after the Christmas holidays. Sadly Anna and Etienne face that age old problem that we all suffer from. The inability to really talk about their feelings. Yes, they play and joke around one another, they enjoy each other's company when they're in Paris and remain close friends. But the barrier is always there and Anna waited almost a whole school year before exploding at him after a drunken night out. Kudos to her for finally venting her feelings but I was frustrated it took so long! Although I did also cheer a little!

Of course there's no end of complications that occur throughout. They start building up from the beginning when Anna realises her first friend Meredith has unspoken feelings towards Etienne. And Dave comes into the story early on as a would be rival. Josh and Rashmi have problems with their relationship that sink further and Rashmi's upset because of Etienne's girlfriend.

But what I loved most besides the gradual growth of tension was Anna's acceptance that she isn't a perfect person, or a perfect friend. From the beginning we see her flaws and watch them grow but she makes amends when she realises them. Anna is couragous and towards the end we see her determination to help those around her, especially Etienne.

Overall, you've probably guessed it - I loved this book. So much that I'm going to buy Perkins other book very soon! I can't wait!
You can reach Stephanie Perkins here:

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Review: Allegiance (Legacy #2) by Cayla Kluver

My Rating: 4 out of 5



Only I saw Narian for who he truly was: a young man with courage and an independent mind, and made to pay for what was outside his control. He couldn't help his past any more than he could help the way those intense, deep-blue eyes pierced me and held me captive.

An eighteen-year-old queen in love with the enemy as their countries pass the point of no return...

Bound to a man she cannot love, Queen Alera of Hytanica must forget Narian, the young man who holds her heart. For Narian is destined to conquer Hytanica at the behest of his master, the powerful magic-user known as the Overlord. Alera doesn't truly believe Narian will fight against Hytanica-until Cokyrian troops attack with Narian commanding the charge.

Faced with the greatest betrayal a heart can know, Alera must set aside personal feelings and lead her kingdom through its darkest time. And when all hope, will and courage seem lost, she must find strength and remember that even the blackest night must have a dawn...
My Review:
This review is really a 4.5 stars. I enjoyed this story as much as Legacy, the writing was still exemplary, rich and absorbing while a darker tone took over the book towards the end as war engulfed Hytanica.

The only problems are with the story itself. Parts were slightly annoying and others had me cheering.

But firstly, lets talk about Alera. I still love her. I think she's completely inept at acting like a Queen, although when she is forced to head functions she does it well in a queenly manner. This surprised me as frequently her mother, the previous Queen comments on how much training she was given yet Alera doesn't appear to have received much. Outside of Palace functions, Alera falls apart. Her marriage to Steldor is a sham, more of a marriage of convenience. No matter how many times he tries to show affection she shies away, unready and unsure of herself and her feelings. Once or twice I thought she would cave in. Her narration constantly tells us that she's allured by his eyes and his scent however she's still holding on to her feelings for Narian and they haunt her.

Steldor changes a great deal in this book. No longer arrogant and completely chauvanistic, he begins to show a great deal more compassion towards Alera. Now that they're married he believes that eventually she will drop her guard and allow him into her life as her husband. He forgives her actions and her rudeness with selflessness, and this alone lead me to believe that Alera would forget Narian and actively become the queen that Steldor dearly wants by his side.

Narian is not in this book a great deal, but he is constantly in Alera's thoughts. When they do meet there are only a few sparks of their love. I felt a little let down here as I wanted a little more secret romancing between them but it was mainly just a few words here and there. Nothing greatly concrete to make you understand if his feelings towards Alera had changed or remained as they were.

A few problems I had with the story was repetiveness. Towards the end, in the cave scene, the constant toing and froing between talks with the enemy was wearisome. London went to meet the Overlord and came back, then he went again and came back, then someone else went and came back. Plus Steldor being sickened from his gruesome wound dragged the scenario out for too long. Yes, I understood that this was vital for Alera to grow up and become a stronger woman but did it have to take so long?

Also, when Miranna went missing Alera showed grief in short, sporadic moments but then her thoughts flittered to Steldor or Narian and I wondered how she could be thinking these things when her most beloved sister was being held, possibly tortured, by the enemy.

In the beginning we see Alera as a spoilt brat. She sits in her room for days, crying and reclusively shying from her public duty but by the end she's definitely a different person with responsibilities so great that the future of Hytanica now rests on her shoulders.

I can hardly wait for Sacrifice to come out to find if Alera is up to the challenge!
You can reach Cayla Kluver here: 
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Review: Legacy (Legacy #1) by Cayla Kluver

My Rating: 4 out of 5

I noticed his eyes. They were blue, sharp and intense. Despite the youthful glows of his suntanned face, his eyes were cold and unfriendly, suggesting he had great experience in the world and was now expecting the worst.

In her seventeenth year, Princess Alera of Hytanica faces one duty: to marry the man who will be king. But her father's choice of suitor fills her with despair.

When the palace guard captures and intruder—a boy her age with steel-blue eyes, hailing from her kingdom's greatest enemy—Alera is alarmed…and intrigued. But she could not have guessed that their clandestine meetings would unveil the dark legacy shadowing both their lands.

In this mystical world of court conspiracies and blood magic, loyalties will be tested. Courage won't be enough. And as the battle begins for everything Alera holds dear, love may be the downfall of a kingdom.
I'm a sucker for the princess story. I love to read about all the sumptious silk, satin and brocade gowns and sparkly tiaras and jewellery. Add a few princes (of sorts) to bring a little spicy romance, plus an unwanted royal wedding and this book had everything I wanted.

I was surprised to read a few bad reviews for Legacy. I understand it isn't to everyones taste but if you like being immersed into a story with lots of descriptives and direction then you will enjoy this one. The writing tone is very mature and typical with adult historical romances (Philippa Gregory, for instance), the descriptions of clothing, scenery, and back story are indepth but for me this was perfect as some authors tend to be a little vague when writing so I enjoyed imagining exactly what the author wanted me to.

The characters are really, really good and Kluver did an excellent job of portraying Steldor as the chauvanistic would-be-king. His attitude whenever he was in vicinity of Alera set my teeth on edge, his friends weren't much better, making me feel sorry for her predicament. Her selfish, weak, and demanding father, who happens to be the King of Hytanica, has put Alera into a position where she doesn't have an alternative to marrying Steldor, and a woman cannot rule Hytanica so Alera must marry a man worthy of being King. Her father's sees no other choice more worthy than Steldor.

When Narian/Kyenn comes into her life she falls for him, but as his life has been enemy Cokyrian, and most of the Palace won't trust him Alera finds ways to meet in secret. The war outside the palace walls is getting nearer and more and more depends on finding a new King for Hytanica, and fast.

Alera, as a character, was lovely. I wanted her to have a bit more attitude at times, but I had to keep remembering that she's been brought up with no responsibilities other than wear a nice gown and look pretty. Every now and then I saw a spark that she'd break away from Palace rules but her upbringing got in the way every time.

And the ending? The book didn't end on a high, and certainly leads straight into the next book. Alera is at her lowest point and has obeyed all protocols but what happens next? And will Narian rescue her? We shall have to wait and find out!
You can reach Cayla Kluver here: 
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New YA Book Publications - week ending 24th February 2012

Week Ending 24th Feb

 ** HOT PICK  **

Out 20th February 2012

The last thing Dawson Black expected was Bethany Williams. As a Luxen, an alien life form on Earth, human girls are…well, fun. But since the Luxen have to keep their true identities a secret, falling for one would be insane. Dangerous. Tempting. Undeniable.

Bethany can’t deny the immediate connection between her and Dawson. And even though boys aren’t a complication she wants, she can’t stay away from him. Still, whenever they lock eyes, she’s drawn in. Captivated. Lured. Loved.

Dawson is keeping a secret that will change her existence...and put her life in jeopardy. But even he can’t stop risking everything for one human girl. Or from a fate that is as unavoidable as love itself


also out this week

Fever - Lauren DeStefano - 21st February 2012 A Beautiful Evil (Gods & Monsters #2) by Kelly Keaton - out 21st February 2012 Darkest Mercy (Wicked Lovely #5)by Melissa Marr - 22nd February 2012
The Catastrophic History of You and Me - by Jess Rothenberg - 21st February 2012
Faery Tales & Nightmares by Melissa Marr - out 21st February 2012
Entangled (Spellbound Book One)by Nikki Jefford - 20th February 2012 AInside: Inside Out\Outside In (Insider #1-2)by Maria V. Snyder - 21st February 2012

Review: Life Eternal (Dead Beautiful #2) by Yvonne Woon

My rating: 3 out of 5

Renée Winters has changed. When she looks in the mirror, a beautiful girl with an older, sadder face stares back. Her condition has doctors mystified, but Renée can never reveal the truth: she died last May, and was brought back to life by the kiss of her Undead soul mate, Dante Berlin.
Now, her separation from Dante becomes almost unbearable. His second life is close to an end, and each passing day means one less that she will spend with the boy who shares her soul.
Just when Renée has almost given up hope, she learns of the Nine Sisters--brilliant scholars who, according to legend, found a way to cheat death. She can't shake the feeling that they are somehow connected to her dreams, strange visions that hint at a discovery so powerful, and so dangerous, that some will stop at nothing to protect it.
Renée thought she knew the truth about life and death. But there is a secret woven through history that holds the only hope for Dante and Renée. Unless they find answers soon, their time together is doomed to be cut short.
I can't remember the last time I read a sequel and was so underwhelmed. Which is a shame because I loved Dead Beautiful and the prospect of reading more about Renee and Dante made me buy this book as soon as it was out.
Firstly, it isn't until a good way into the book that Renee really figures out that she must find out the secret of the Nine Sisters and hopefully find a cure for Dante.
Now, Renee and Dante have both changed a great deal since the last book. If you remember, Renee saved Dante and gave back his soul. Then he kissed Renee and returned it back. This must explain (although its never confirmed) Renee no longer tastes food, has no sense of smell, and constantly has the window open. As far as Dante is concerned he's aged, but is still recognised as Undead. So my only opinion is that they have both experienced and changed due to both being a little bit Undead but have also both grown up due to the passing on of Renees live soul. Hmm. Quite complicated.
The writing of this book is as good as the first with the descriptions of the new school and Montreal really making you feel like you are there.. A new history is told to us about the beginnings and reasons why Montreal became as it is.
Apart from that Renees narration is just average and full of 'woe is me' moments, even when it comes to Dante (who doesn't feature much in the book anyway). She has no spark, and felt like she was just going through the motions rather than eagerly grasp this new chance for Dante and her to be together.
We have a new third wheel, Noah, but I didn't really feel a great deal of chemistry between him and Renee either.
When the treasure hunt started I really hoped the book would pick up a bit, but such random places were implanted into the story such as the house with all the undead children, that it gave the story a not-so-real element.
The only character I really would have wanted to learn more from was Anya, Renee's new Russian school friend, who has a few secrets of her own.
All in all, I felt that a lot of the story was ground work for the next installment, there was only a flicker about the Liberum so I'm sure we'll get more from them in book 3.
And the ending? Much too fast and over with loose ends left hanging...
You can reach Yvonne Woon here:
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Review: The Vanishing Game by Kate Kae Myers


My rating: 4 out of 5

Seventeen-year-old Jocelyn follows clues apparently from her dead twin, Jack, in and around Seale House, the terrifying foster home where they once lived. With help from childhood friend Noah she begins to uncover the truth about Jack's death and the company that employed him and Noah.

My Review:
This is a book that will have you thinking and pondering different scenarios even while you're reading it. So much that I, while pondering, just could not put it down. I had to keep going. I had to find out the truth.

Even from the first page I was pulled into Jocey's world. Firstly wondering what had happened to make her sneak into Noah's car and stay hidden rather than let him know she was there. Noah was her and brother Jack's best friend while they were foster kids at Seale House. A house that to this day still gives Jocey nightmares.

But things are quite right when Jocey gets into Noahs car. She's received a letter from Jason December, a code name for her dead brother, and its a name that only Jocey, Jack and Noah know about. Of course, Noah eventually finds Jocey hiding and from here on in the plots thicken and thicken, the puzzles keep coming, and the back story fills in the details as this mystery, and very intriguing suspense story continues.

I did get it (you'll know what I mean) about 80% into the story. And I realised I'd read all the clues but hadn't put them together. The characters from Seale House and all the history suddenly made sense, and the whole story was absolutely believeable right until the final page.

This book is creepy, horrifying, heartbreaking, but equally brilliant at the same time. I can't even begin to think how the author came up with all the tiny details that made this book such an amazing read.

The only reason I'm marking this down a star and not giving it 5 out of 5 is the small paranormal aspect which felt like it was thrown into the story just to make it a little more quirky. It wasn't really necessary, there were certainly ways of explaining such things without it.

Overall, I'm so glad I read it. It will have your mind thinking about the story for days after, and if that happens you know you've read a good book.
You can reach Kate Kae Myers  here:
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Here's the Book Trailer! Enjoy!

Review: A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young

My rating: 4 out of 5

We all want to be remembered. Charlotte's destiny is to be Forgotten...
Charlotte’s best friend thinks Charlotte might be psychic. Her boyfriend thinks she’s cheating on him. But Charlotte knows what’s really wrong: She is one of the Forgotten, a kind of angel on earth, who feels the Need—a powerful, uncontrollable draw to help someone, usually a stranger.
But Charlotte never wanted this responsibility. What she wants is to help her best friend, whose life is spiraling out of control. She wants to lie in her boyfriend's arms forever. But as the Need grows stronger, it begins to take a dangerous toll on Charlotte. And who she was, is, and will become--her mark on this earth, her very existence--is in jeopardy of disappearing completely.
Charlotte will be forced to choose: Should she embrace her fate as a Forgotten, a fate that promises to rip her from the lives of those she loves forever? Or is she willing to fight against her destiny--no matter how dark the consequences.

My Review:
What I loved about this book mostly was that it went against the grain of most YA books. Firstly she is in a very healthy and loving relationship with Harlin. She's happy with her adoptive mother, Mercy, who loves her. Her brother, Alex, is great and openly gay. And she had a father figure in her life who looks out for her, Monroe. Everyone in her life, including her best friend Sarah, are great, lovely, fantastic.
Except Charlotte's been hiding a secret from them for years claiming that its asthma attacks that cause her pain.
When her Need (her word for the strange sensation she gets when she needs to help people she's never met) starts getting worse, and more frequent Charlotte starts to panic. And when her skin starts revealing gold patches underneath she turns to Monroe for help.
But Monroe is also keeping his own secrets and eventually Charlotte learns the truth. A truth that is more horrible than she could ever imagine. She is one of the Forgotten and will soon meet her own demise.
The writing of this book is amazing, I loved the authors flow and quick storyline. I was so engrossed before I realised that I'd read 70% of the book!
This is an Angel book but one that's very different. That is, we don't actually know whether she's an angel yet but I'm assuming she is. All of the characters were fantastic, really fleshed out and believeable to the point that I wished Charlotte and Harlin had had more of a chance to say goodbye. The ending is really sad but is left open for the next installment which will be released on June 26th. I can't wait!

You can reach Suzanne Young  here: 
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Review: Deadly Little Voices (Touch #4) by Laurie Faria Stolarz

My Rating: 4 out of 5

High school junior Camelia thought her powers of psychometry only gave her the ability to sense the future through touch. But now she’s started to hear voices. Mean voices. Berating her, telling her how ugly she is, and that she’d be better off dead. It’s a troubling development that has Camelia terrified for her mental stability, especially since her deranged aunt with a suicidal history just moved into the family house. More torturing, ex-boyfriend Ben, who has similar psychometric abilities, has been spending more time with their classmate Alejandra, even as her own feelings for Adam grow stronger. Still, the bond between Camelia and Ben is palpable.

With the line between right and wrong fraying, Camelia turns to pottery to get a grasp on her emotions. She begins sculpting a beautiful figure skater, only to receive frightening premonitions that someone’s in danger. But who is the victim? And how can Camelia help them when she is on the brink of losing her own sanity?

My Review:
I have to revert back to what I wrote about the first Touch book, Deadly Little Secrets - "This was a very quick, light read. I'm giving this a 3 out of 5 because that's all it really deserves, there was no real wow factor."
Oh boy, has this series come a long way since then! The books just keep getting better and better and this must be the best one yet. We don't have so much of the romance angling from the previous books. Camelia's resolved to accept her relationship with Ben will never be what she wants. But Adam, even though he was a complete idiot in book 2 really stepped into his own in this one, so much that I wanted Camelia to finally give him a break and settle for him instead.
But the premise of this book is much darker than the others. Now Camelia's hearing voices and her Aunt Alexia is staying for a while but this only complicates matters even more. Camelia wants to get to know her Aunt better but her mother is still popping the pills and excessing negative vibes where Alexia is concerned. Camelia knows that her mother feels a whole lifetime of guilt with regards to her sister, but still her mother thinks that Alexia is schitzophrenic. Something that Camelia doesn't believe any more.
The creep factor gets even more alarming in this book and for the first time I felt truly afraid for Camelia. Especially when Danica causes an upset between her and her best friend, Kimmie. Ben is still on the edge on Camelia's life, not wanting to get too close but still wanting her friendship, which mixes Camelia's head a little. 
Overall, I couldn't put this one down. The letters between Jack and Jill were thrilling and a nice diversion and the author did another brilliant job of creating the mystery and suspense right until the end.
If you haven't tucked into this series yet then you must. Now I can't wait for the 5th book out this autumn!

You can reach Laurie Faria Stolarz  here: 
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Review: Deadly Little Games (Touch #3) by Laurie Faria Stolarz

My Rating: 4 out of 5

High school juniors Camelia and Ben have discovered a powerful bond: They both possess the power of psychometry, the ability to see the future through touch. For Ben, the gift is a frightening liability. When he senses a strong threat or betrayal, he risks losing control. Camelia's gift is more mysterious. When she works with clay, her hands sculpt messages her mind doesn't yet comprehend.
Before either one has a chance to fully grasp their abilities, a new danger surfaces, but this time, Camelia is not the target. Adam, a familiar face from Ben's past, is drawn into a puzzle he can't solve...and his life is on the line. As the clues pile up, Camelia must decide whether to help him and risk losing Ben or do nothing and suffer the consequences. But in these games, who can be trusted?

My Review:
So, add the basics from the first book, the love triangle from the second book and a few mean college students and you get Dirty Little Games with all the jealousy and teenage angst included. Still packed with the same mystery and intrigue with the author trying to throw you off the scent this time with therapy session transcripts of an unknown patient and crossword puzzles with creepy solutions, and Camelia has another serious case of the Pyschometrics in her pottery!
Adam, the sly ex-best friend of Ben is appearing in Camelia's art sculpture this time. She's convinced he's in danger which doesn't go down to well with Ben, who is just about getting over the last stint of betrayal from Adam.
But this time Camelia's open to helping Adam and Ben doesn't object as much as he should. Adam is as receptive as ever to Camelia which makes things a little more difficult for our heroine.
But when Ben starts backing away and staying tight-lipped on things he's sensing, Camelia gets annoyed. Once again something or someone is driving a wedge between them but who is it? And who is sending the weird cryptic messages?
If you like high school mysteries then this is definitely a great series to read. The only thing that really sticks out now when I read these books is how many times Camelia and Ben/Adam/Kimmie need to talk and they always have to go some place different. Also how many times did she actually sneak out of her bedroom window in this one?
The banter between Wes, Kimmie and Camelia is still funny and light-hearted and kept the flow of the story pacy.
This is another great book. All the way through I had my suspicions of who and this time I nearly had it right! CBx
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Review: Deadly Little Lies (Touch #2) by Laurie Faria Stolarz

My Rating: 4 out of 5

Last fall, sixteen-year-old Camelia fell for Ben, the mysterious new boy at school who turned out to have a very "mysterious" gift--pyschometry, the ability to sense the future through touch. But just as Camelia and Ben's romance began to heat up, he abruptly left town. Brokenhearted, Camelia has spent the last few months studying everything she can about psychometry, and experiencing her own strange brushes with premonition. Camelia wonders if Ben's abilities have somehow rubbed off on her. Can the power of psychometry be transferred?
Even once Ben returns to school, Camelia can't get close enough to share her secret with him. Despite the romantic tension between them, Ben remains aloof, avoiding contact. Then when an unexpected kiss leads to a frightening argument, Camelia makes the painful decision to let Ben go and move on. Adam, the hot new guy at work, seems good for her in ways Ben wasn't. Adam is easygoing, and seems to really care about her.
But when Camelia and Adam start dating, a surprising love triangle results. A chilling sequence of events upturns secrets from Ben's past--and Adam's. Someone is lying, and it's up to Camelia to figure out who--before it's too late.
My Review:
This book was so much better than the first. The mystery and intrigue gets better and better throughout the book, and towards the end I had no idea who was the bad guy. Camelia is still being secretive with her parents, some thing I'd hoped she'd get over. But her parents have enough on their plate with Aunt Alexia being in hospital, then wanting to meet with Camelia's mum finally.
Kimmie and Wes prove to be true friends still but I was surprised how little they helped Camelia out. Apart from school lunches where they discuss pending doom and disaster, neither of them openly offer to walk Camelia home or stay with her in case of danger. Again, after the kidnapping in the first book I thought her friends would be a little more vigilant.
Camelia and Ben still have a very strained relationship. The new guy Adam is pushing Ben's buttons from afar and vise versa but little does Camelia know the true story from them.
The ending was a happy one though, and all loose ends tied up nicely. Even a glimmer of hope awaits our heroine....
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Review: Deadly Little Secret (Touch #1) by Laurie Faria Stolarz

My Rating: 3 out of 5

Until three months ago, everything about sixteen-year-old Camelia's life had been fairly ordinary: decent grades; an okay relationship with her parents; and a pretty cool part-time job at an art studio downtown. But when Ben, the mysterious new guy, starts junior year at her high school, Camelia's life becomes far from ordinary.

Rumored to be somehow responsible for his ex-girlfriend's accidental death, Ben is immediately ostracized by everyone on campus. Except for Camelia. She's reluctant to believe he's trouble, even when her friends try to convince her otherwise. Instead she's inexplicably drawn to Ben...and to his touch. But soon, Camelia is receiving eerie phone calls and strange packages with threatening notes. Ben insists she is in danger, and that he can help – but can he be trusted? She knows he's hiding something...but he's not the only one with a secret.

This was a very quick, light read. I'm giving this a 3 out of 5 because that's all it really deserves, there was no real wow factor.
But I still liked it. It was quick and pacey, the story was entertaining and mysterious. The characters were all pretty good too. The author brings in more intrigue with the alternate points of view, spaced throughout the book. Camelia's relationship with Ben is unusual and the ending was sad though not one to really pull at my heart strings.
All in all a pleasant read to fill the time.

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Review: Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer

My Rating: 3 out of 5
Calla has always welcomed war.
But now that the final battle is upon her, there's more at stake than fighting. There's saving Ren, even if it incurs Shay's wrath. There's keeping Ansel safe, even if he's been branded a traitor. There's proving herself as the pack's alpha, facing unnamable horrors, and ridding the world of the Keepers' magic once and for all.
And then there's deciding what to do when the war ends. If Calla makes it out alive, that is.

My Review:
At last, the Saga draws to a conclusion, and will they all make it out alive? Hmm, maybe not.
Some of you who've read the first two will no doubt have read reviews giving most of the plot away. Key characters kick the proverbial bucket, and the adventure closes on a suitable ending. This, for me, was much better that the Shiver series which I found a little too bland. The Nightshade series offers nastier characters, lots of history and enough paranormal oddities to shake a stick at. But lets start at the beginning...

In Wolfsbane, Book 2, we learned that Shay is the Scion. The only person who can wield the Elemental Sword and defeat the bad guy, Bosque Mar. But Shay needs the help of the Searchers, the Guardians and a rogue Keeper who may or may not be playing both sides of the field.
In this book the search for the missing parts of the cross lead the characters on an adventure around the globe, fighting the defenders of the hidden pieces. There's loss all the way through, and not necessarily in a deadly way.

I liked this book but I didn't love it. So far, all the 'series' books I've read have drawn to a thrilling conclusion but this one just seemed to lack, for want of a better word, atmosphere.

Calla as a lead role continued to flit between Ren and Shay, at an alarming rate. She's consumated her new Alpha but still leads the other on. Even at the beginning when she finds Ren to bring him over to the other side I found her motives lacked honesty. Ren was promised more than he got and I didn't like Calla for deceiving him all the way through. She constantly implied that she loved Shay, he was The one, but then flipped her decision whenever Ren was in the same room. As role models go I didn't think her Alpha moniker held up to much. She didn't seem to be able to lead any of her pack very well. Mostly they made decisions without her say so and she just went with it.

Shay, who I loved in the first book, was a little disorientating. His quirky demeanour didn't shine like I expected. As a character he was flawed and only seemed to find himself when he was in wolf mode. As a human I didn't think he held the charisma for being the chosen one, the Scion, he just came across as a very arrogant boy.

I had a lot more respect for Ren. His own flaws were redeemed countless times and his superiority was deserved as he began to be accepted into the world of the Searchers. He held more power and deserved to be Alpha once again but Calla dealt with him wrongly time and time again.

Again, the Searchers were all over this book and again they would have come across as nicer people if the characters had a little more flare rather than the bickering that we saw in Wolfsbane. Yes, they all live together and take each day as it comes and as warriors they rock, but as people I just wouldn't want to be in the same room as them for very long.

It was nice to have the pack back together, even if it was a little disjointed. Each pack member had their own role. I would have liked more of their wolf sides to come into the story more than they did.

And in the end, I couldn't get to grips with the final battle scenes. It wasn't an epic ending by any means. If I wrote down what I thought would happen before the ending, it would have appeared exactly as I'd written. There weren't that many twists and turns as promised. It all just fell away towards the end to tie up all the loose ends and let the story filter out. The epilogue was horrible. Once again, several pages of random chit-chat that could have been so much more.

Final conclusions: As a trilogy I have to say that my favourite book was Nightshade. It had spark and fire that the next two seemed to lack. The characters were all gutsy and had attitude. All was a little lost when the human side of the Paranormal world took over. I'm glad I read the trilogy to the end and didn't give up. As wolf books go it is a much better series than I'd hoped.
But in the end I can't help feeling that the it was too safe and Calla got her perfect ending without too much of a battle.
If you like love triangles and wolf-shifter stories then you'll love this series.


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Review: Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer

3 out of 5
This thrilling sequel to the much-talked-about Nightshade begins just where it ended. Calla Tor wakes up in the lair of the Searchers, her sworn enemy, and she's certain her days are numbered.

But then the Searchers make her an offer,one that gives her the chance to destroy her former masters and save the pack and the man she left behind. Is Ren worth the price of her freedom? And will Shay stand by her side no matter what? Now in control of her own destiny, Calla must decide which battles are worth fighting and how many trials true love can endure and still survive.

My Review:
I must admit, at the end of Nightshade I really didn't like Ren. I knew Calla wanted to be with Shay so it all seemed like alls fair in love and war. I'm not sure whether I liked Wolfsbane as much. For one thing there was an awful lot of info-dump. Every other page felt like someone was churning out some more history of this and that and why and when. I know most of this will be because Bloodrose is the last in the series so I stuck with it nonetheless!

At the end of Nightshade Calla made the choice to rescue Shay leaving Ren to create a diversion, giving them time to escape. However since then things have changed. The Searchers found Calla and Shay and have now promised to rescue the rest of the pack.

In Wolfsbane both these lead characters annoyed me immensely. Shay, who I wanted to like, came over as caveman Alpha whenever Calla was concerned. Whenever a discussion was being had, Shay would jump in unnecessarily to protect her. Lets remember that Calla is a seasoned wolf, a warrior and an Alpha herself. I understand that Shay is new to the idea of a wolf pack, he's known as a lone wolf, but I just wanted him to cool it a little and stop trying to defend her the whole time.

So to Calla. First she likes Shay, then she's wants Ren, then she's back to Shay, then she's thinking about Ren...the whole mental picture got exhausting. Calla is an extremely brilliant character, I loved her in Nightshade, I understand that love triangles are all the rage, and that she's a wolf underneath her own skin, but did the author have to give the impression that she was constantly on heat! For both boys! Ren features very little in this book, something I was glad for, but this isn't going to bode well for the next installment, Bloodrose.

The Searchers were an interesting concept and gave something different to the story.. They're the good guys who know their weapons and history, more than the Guardians do. I liked that they wanted to help the Guardians and was cheering as they retrieved them from the holding cells. Monroe was a true hero and a great character. The other Searchers? I liked Adne but the rest blended into the pages. The constant bickering and chit-chat got boring and annoying too. I skipped a few pages just to get to the action.

Overall, I still liked the story and must admit that this is one of the best wolf series I've read in a while. I hope Bloodrose meets my expectations now that I know the full history. All in all, its the middle book and met my middle book standards of great but not as good as the first.

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Here's Andrea Cremer talking about Wolfsbane! Enjoy!

Waiting on Wednesday (#4) by Bookworm Blogger - Struck by Jennifer Bosworth

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


The blurb from Goodreads:
Mia Price is a lightning addict. She’s survived countless strikes, but her craving to connect to the energy in storms endangers her life and the lives of those around her. Los Angeles, where lightning rarely strikes, is one of the few places Mia feels safe from her addiction.

But when an earthquake devastates the city, her haven is transformed into a minefield of chaos and danger. The beaches become massive tent cities. Downtown is a crumbling wasteland, where a traveling party moves to a different empty building each night, the revelers drawn to the destruction by a force they cannot deny. Two warring cults rise to power, and both see Mia as the key to their opposing doomsday prophecies. They believe she has a connection to the freak electrical storm that caused the quake, and to the far more devastating storm that is yet to come.

Mia wants to trust the enigmatic and alluring Jeremy when he promises to protect her, but she fears he isn’t who he claims to be. In the end, the passion and power that brought them together could be their downfall. When the final disaster strikes, Mia must risk unleashing the full horror of her strength to save the people she loves, or lose everything.

My View: I love a good disaster book but this one sounds a little different. A lightning addict for one with warring sides, a love interest and a crumbling wasteland - what more could you ask!!
This one I can't wait for!
Expected publication:  May 8th 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux BYR
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Dusty Reads #3 - Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Dusty Reads is a weekly meme hosted by Giselle at Xpresso Reads where we spotlight a book sitting in our TBR pile.

This week:

This has been in my Dusty Reads pile forever! Mainly because of the subject of wolves. I went through a phase of reading so many werewolf books I just didn't want to pick another one up!

But I finally read it and finished it today, and I'm so pleased I did. I loved the simplified unit of wolf packs in this story. It isn't all about packs reading each others minds or snarling and growling between pack members. There is a sense of unity as the two main packs merge to become the new unique pack. The Banes and the Nightshades become the Haldis pack.

I felt a little bit sorry for Ren at times, other times I think he deserved it. Calla was a great female lead although again at times I just wanted to scream at her about the way Ren treated her. He was all over the women at the first few chapters in this book, and Calla let it go. But then he got the hump when Calla paid any attention to Shay. 

Shay was an intriging character who showed a lot of courage right up until the end. I'm still amazed that in about a ten minute timeframe he turned into a wolf for the first time and was completely unphased by it. Even changed back and forth into human fom with no trouble at all. I thought the process was supposed to hurt considering bones get longer and shorter etc.

All in all the story is amazing and well thought out. I can't wait to read Wolfsbane and Bloodrose now! 


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Here's the Book Trailer! Enjoy!