Hearts On Hold by Gracie MacGregor

The strongest sunshine casts the darkest shadows...

Cate Boyd is searching for a place where nobody knows her name. The sleepy Maltese village of Xlendi offers privacy, anonymity, and the serene life she craves, far from her former world. But her peace is shattered when monolithic development company Vena announces its plans to level her village, and threatens to expose Cate’s secrets if she stands in its way.

Her peace is shattered when monolithic development company Vena announces its plans to level her village, and threatens to expose Cate’s secrets if she stands in its way.

The arrival of seductive, nosy professor Brandon Blackshaw seems too coincidental for comfort — especially when she discovers that Vena is his research partner. As the pressure mounts, Cate must decide which is more important: her hard-won privacy, or the future of her beloved Xlendi

Cate wanted nothing more than to disappear, to lead her life with no distractions, no accusations and be free. Moving to the little quaint coastal town of Xlendi in Malta was just the distraction Cate needed. It isn't until the charismatic, witty and handsome professor falls into her life, literally, that she releases how lonely she truly is.

Charming, yet clumsy, the illustrious Brandon, injured, finds himself unable to walk, with no available motels suitable to cater to his injury, ends up checking into the lavish accommodations that is Cate's couch. It's awkward to say the least. Cate is a private person, having to protect her identity, hiding from a past that she simply cannot move on from.

The tiny historical village is set for a major redevelopment at the hands of a ruthless corporation, obtaining permits to vacate the centuries old villas that dot the Xlendi landscape. Cate enlists the help of Brandon, and his vast knowledge of history and the support of Cambridge university. With the two working together, living together, Brandon releases he knows nothing of the woman that he finds himself falling for... The artist, the passionate savior of the lazy village she calls home, or the woman that is hiding away, waiting for her life to return.

Cate wants to love again, but will Brandon still feel the same after her secret is revealed?

I thoroughly enjoyed Hearts On Hold. I wasn't sure what to expect, I admit, I've never read an adult contemporary romance before, but I couldn't pass on the opportunity to support a new Australian author. I was swept away in the romance of the quaint seaside village, the Mediterranean breeze and the beauty of the community. 

It was beautifully written, a story of love, grief and acceptance, and finding the one that can make you feel whole again. First time author Ms. MacGregor is a magical storyteller.

Hearts On Hold
Written By Gracie MacGregor
Expected Publication 01 / 07 / 2013
196 Pages 

Thank you to Polina at Harlequin and Gracie for the opportunity to review an eARC

Gracie Macgregor shares a houseful of chaos with her teenage son and two ridiculous dogs. While her heart belongs to her hometown of Brisbane, Australia, her mind is frequently elsewhere, biding its time until her travel‐itchy feet can catch up. Her idea of bliss is a big romance novel, a cool breeze, and a balcony overlooking Burleigh Beach...unless there’s a chance the balcony can overlook Paris! She’s been in love with love for as long as she can remember, and believes absolutely in happily ever after...as well as in taking responsibility for finding happiness in the everyday.

Gracie loves interacting with readers and writers online, contact her via

The Forever of Ella and Micha by Jessica Sorensen

Ella and Micha have survived tragedy and heartbreak. When they're together, anything seems possible. But now they are thousands of miles apart, and managing their long distance relationship will put their love to the test.

Ella is back at school, trying hard not worry so much about her future. But with her father in and out of rehab, she's having a hard time making it through the days. All she wants is Micha by her side, but she refuses to let her problems get in the way of his dreams.

Micha spends his days touring the country with his band, but deep down he knows something is missing. Being away from Ella is harder than he thought it would be. He wants her closer to him - needs her with him. But he won't ask her to leave college, just to be with him.

The few moments they do spend together are intense and passionate, but it only makes it more difficult when they have to part. They know they want to be together, but is wanting something enough to get them to their forever?

Ella has always been broken, but now she is at the length of her rope. Her alcoholic father blames her for her bipolar mother's suicide, her brother is cold and distant, but she has boy next door Micha, even if he is half way across the country.

Ella is struggling with depression, Micha has been on tour with his band and the young couple are struggling with the long distance relationship. As Ella's mental health sends her into a breakdown, she starts to push away the only person that has ever loved her unconditionally, she wants to protect Micha from the inevitable, that eventually she'll develop bipolar, like her mother.

Micha can't move on, he's been in love with Ella since he was fifteen years old. He knows Ella has issues, but Micha is facing his own demons, with his father back on the scene and the beginnings of alcohol abuse. Ella needs time to work through her sadness and guilt, but is Micha willing to wait forever?

I enjoyed The Secret of Ella And Micha and you can read my review HERE, this one felt more like a retelling of the original story, with added drama. Ella is a broken girl that has been starved for affection her entire life, but as a young adult, she seems to be sexually driven. I can understand how it relates to the relationship between Micha and Ella, but it seems excessive in the general context. 

That seems to be the current basis for the majority of new adult novels, the female protagonist is inexperienced, but as soon as the main character has sex, it then seems to be the only thing she wants as she suddenly morphs into a sexual kitten on the prowl.

Like the original in the series, the characters don't communicate, relationships are based on assumptions and lack any meaningful conversation. Ella is attempting to become a better person, but the two immature young adults don't seem to be healthy for one another regardless, and I can't see how that can be a positive relationship.


The Forever Of Ella and Micha
(The Secret: Book Two)
Written By Jessica Sorensen
Published 28 / 05 / 2013
336 Pages

Those Four Letter Words by Christina Channelle: ARC Review

Eighteen-year-old Jade Reamer is a tough girl with a reputation to prove it. She loves three people and three people only: her brother, her boyfriend, and her best friend. Everyone else is irrelevant.

That is … until Reed enters the picture again.

Suddenly things start to spiral out of control and things aren’t as they seem. Life is no longer simply black and white, love versus hate. Suddenly, it’s hard to figure out which of those four letter words is true.

Especially when she can’t look away from those devil eyes.

I love you. I hate you. I love you. I hate you. Which is it? I don’t even know anymore.

Well, let’s find out.

This 15,000 word novella contains coarse language, angst driven young adults, and a lot of pent-up frustration.

Oh yeah. Plus love and a little bit of hate

Eighteen year old Jade may not have the perfect life, but it's good enough. A senior at high school, dating the popular, likeable - but possessive Connor, a loving - abet alcoholic brother and a blunt best friend Nina. She's angry, trying to rein in her temper, and learning not to lash out. It's become increasingly difficult since Reed walked back into her life.

It's been three long years since he left, since he left Jade and never looked back. It destroyed then fifteen year old Jade, and she hasn't been the same since.

As she battles with old resurfaced feelings for the man that left her shattered, her life is falling apart around her. It seems everyone is hiding a secret, devastating enough to destroy what little of Jade's spirit is left.

She only ever has enough love for three people at any one time, with Reed in the picture, does she have room for one more?

I really enjoyed Those Four Little Words, and devoured it within one sitting. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to be the first person to read this angst driven, emotionally charged book in it's entirety.

Jade is genuine, her persona is realistic and true to life. I spent the first half of four letter words on edge, the tension is unbearable and you know something is coming. It was an emotional read, my only complaint is that I want more! Christina Channelle seemed to hint at there being another book... There had better be lady, I need to know!

Those Four Letter Words
Written By Christina Channelle
Expected Publicaton July 2013
A dreamer, Christina Channelle holds two degrees in health sciences but has always had a passion for writing. You will find her reading other young adult novels, or typing up a new story on her computer. She resides in Ontario, Canada. 
You can find Chrissy via her Facebook page  or  her awesome blog

Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza

Mila 2.0 is the first book in an electrifying sci-fi thriller series about a teenage girl who discovers that she is an experiment in artificial intelligence.

Mila was never meant to learn the truth about her identity. She was a girl living with her mother in a small Minnesota town. She was supposed to forget her past—that she was built in a secret computer science lab and programmed to do things real people would never do.

Now she has no choice but to run—from the dangerous operatives who want her terminated because she knows too much and from a mysterious group that wants to capture her alive and unlock her advanced technology. However, what Mila’s becoming is beyond anyone’s imagination, including her own, and it just might save her life.

Mila isn't your average sixteen year old girl. In fact, far from it. After moving to the lazy town of Clearwater after her father's death, memories of the traumatic experience have been erased, another sign of her grief and loss, or so she's told. Mila starts high school, with the memory of previously being home schooled, and attempts to make friends. The vindictive, mean spirited girls she can do without, but with one easily excited and enthusiastic friend, life in Clearwater may not be all that bad after all... Until new kid Hunter arrives.

Tall and brooding, the handsome out of state boy takes an interest in Mila, even if he is off limits. When your only friend lays claim to the new kid, Mila has every intention of stepping aside... Until she turns into one of the vindictive girls. After what is seen to be a deliberate accident that could have killed Mila, she's strangely... Fine. Unhurt even. Apart from the deep gash to her arm, but when instead of blood, Mila sees a series of wires and metal.

Mila is an android. A weapon created by the government, an artificial life form, a machine. So how does she remember a deceased father, how can she see and hear far beyond average capabilities, how can she feel so much for hunter, when she isn't a living, breathing person? And who is the woman, who is the only mother she's ever known?

It isn't until she is deemed as stolen property, that she needs to run before her creator forces her back to the secret government facility. They will do anything to have her in their possession again, to keep Mila out of the hands of rivals, looking to sell government secrets on the black market. Evading capture, Hunter on her mind, the threat of termination and trying to keep her mother safe, it isn't until after she meets Lucas, when she starts to believe that she's more than the monster, she believes herself to be.

Mila 2.0 was slow to begin, telling the story of what seemed to be a regular teenage girl, coping with loss and grief, while finding her feet in a new town. Once the storyline starts unraveling the secret of who Mila really is, the reader is thrown into the heart pounding action.

It was brilliant. Mila's inner struggle between being an android and holding onto her humanity, is comparable to teens needing a sense of identity. I didn't understand the significance of Hunter, apart from being Mila's love interest, but I'm assuming that it will come to light in the next in the series. I was surprised that this was the debut novel from Debra Driza, not only was it well written, but it was unique, and nowadays that is a rare commodity in young adult novels.

Mila 2.0
(Mila 2.0: Book One)
Written By Debra Driza

Published 12 / 03 / 2013
480 Pages

The Catastrophe Of You And Me by Jess Rothenberg

Brie's life ends at sixteen: Her boyfriend tells her he doesn't love her, and the news breaks her heart—literally.


But now that she's D & G (dead and gone), Brie is about to discover that love is way more complicated than she ever imagined. Back in Half Moon Bay, her family has begun to unravel. Her best friend has been keeping a secret about Jacob, the boy she loved and lost—and the truth behind his shattering betrayal. And then there's Patrick, Brie's mysterious new guide and resident Lost Soul... Who just might hold the key to her forever after.

With Patrick's help, Brie will have to pass through the five stages of grief before she's ready to move on. But how do you begin again, when your heart is still in pieces?

They say Brie passed away from a broken heart, literally. After boyfriend, and supposedly love if her life, Jacob, tells Brie that he doesn't love her, Brie's world ended. She suddenly finds herself as a spectator at her own high school memorial service, watching loved ones, best friends and those she barely knew, mourn her passing.

Where do souls go when they are no longer bound to this earth? The pizzeria. Brie finds herself in her local pizzeria, on a plain parallel to her previous life. Where local children who also lost their lives... Wait. For what? Brie hasn't a clue, until the charismatic, and no longer living, Patrick, guides her through the afterlife.

Patrick, with his bright smile and Top Gun inspired pilot jacket, shows Brie the afterlife isn't all bad, starting with the very person who broke her heart, Jacob. Working from the Dead and Gone handbook, Brie learns how to relive her memories, cast revenge with those that have hurt her, and an alternate future her revenge has created.

A lying best friend, a cruel and unkind boyfriend, a broken family, a tortured soul, a cheating parent and attempted suicide, nothing is what it seems. With Patrick by her side, Brie needs to learn to forgive, or she may never know the truth as to what lead to her heart breaking or why Patrick has been waiting in limbo.

The Catastrophe of You and Me was a beautifully written story of loss, acceptance and living in the moment. Brie tells the reader her story, starting from the moment her heart broke, and she passed away. Surprisingly, there are far more poignant, witty and heartwarming moments than sadness and grief. The concept of a novel depicting the afterlife, didn't sound entertaining, but thankful I didn't trust my own judgement, it was worth the chance and thoroughly enjoyed it.

The Catastrophe Of You And Me
Written By Jess Rothenberg
Published 02 / 02 / 2012
400 Pages

Ice Country by David Estes

Dazz, a hard-edged, fun-loving Icer, likes fighting, particularly while at his favorite watering hole. However, while recovering from a particularly bad break up, his decision to engage in a brutal pubroom brawl leads to a series of events that thrust him into a dark and mysterious scandal involving King Goff, the ice country ruler.

When his sister is abducted in the dark of night, Dazz pledges to do whatever it takes to get her back, embarking on a quest that threatens to rip apart the very fabric that's barely holding his shattered family together.

Along the way he meets a group of unlikely allies in the form of a travelling group of fire country natives. Can Dazz, when joined with his best friend, Buff, and new tan-skinned friends, defeat the King and his guards before it's too late for his sister?

Brawling in bars, gambling and drinking, landed Ice country native Dazz, working for the king. Along with best friend Buff, the two unemployed bar regulars are recruited to deliver and retrieve goods to the citizens of Fire country. Until little sister Jolie is kidnapped.

Dazz discovers that Jolie isn't the only child to be taken, when he is asked to deliver a group of Fire Country children directly to the castle. Was Jolie taken as insurance for his silence? When Dazz stumbles across a group of Fire country dwellers, he knows something is wrong. It's illegal to travel through districts, as a precaution to stop the rampant illness that kills the country citizens before their time.

Dazz enlists the help of brother Wes, who has taken over the fatherly duties after his father passed and his mother became drug dependent to numb the pain. Along with Buff, the three find themselves locked inside the palace dungeons, alongside the girls from the Wildes, a Marked and Heater from Fire country. Sharing information and theories. The king has been taking and trading children, keeping them locked within the palace, but why?

Nothing could prepare the new group of unlikely friends for the civil war, brought on by the dark warriors on horseback, the Stormers. Can they reach the castle to save Jolie and the Heater children before the Stormers take out everything in their path, including the castle and Ice country king?

I love the Country Dwellers series, it ties in with David Estes original Dwellers series, but with a new perspective. It tells the story of a dystopian world, after a meteor struck the planet, and how differing communities survived but are now segregated by their differences. We have the Dwellers, featuring segregated classes and living beneath the Earths surface, the Glassies, who are Dwellers living within a dome on the surface, an experiment on survival for the dwellers. Heaters living within the baron, hot sandy landscape, and the Icers, who live within the snow capped mountains, with the Stormers being introduced in the third book soon to come in the series.

Currently, David is my favourite author by far and I love escaping to the harsh, dystopian worlds he creates... And I'm not above groveling for an advanced copy of the next book in either series.

Ice Country
(Country Saga: Book Two)
Written By David Estes
Published 04 / 04 / 2013
348 Pages

Darker Days by Jus Accardo Cover Reveal

Scroll down for an excerpt from Darker Days, from the author of the awesome Denazen series. 

GoodreadsJessie Darker goes to high school during the day, but at night she helps with the family investigation business. Cheating husbands and stolen inheritances? They’re your girls, but their specialty is a bit darker. Zombie in your garage? Pesky Poltergeist living in your pool? They’ll have the problem solved in a magical minute. For a nominal fee, of course...

When gorgeous new client, Lukas Scott, saunters into the office requesting their help to find a stolen box, it sounds like a simple case, until the truth comes out. The box is full of Sin.

Seven deadly ones, in fact.

They’ve got five days to recapture the Sins before they're recalled by the box, taking seven hijacked human bodies with them. Easy peasy, except for one thing...

There’s a spell that will allow the Sins to remain free, causing chaos forever. When the key ingredient threatens the life of someone she knows, Jessie must make the ultimate choice between love and family, or lose everything.

“So not your biggest fan at the moment,” I said, closing the office door behind me. The run off from my jeans had soaked my sneakers pretty good. With each step, I gave a slight squishing noise accompanied by an annoying squeak against the old tile floor. 

From across the room, Mom stared. “What happened to you?”
       “It attacked me.” Tossing my bag on the couch, I sank into her chair and made sure to grind my butt into the cushion. Got it nice and wet. I was all about sharing the love, and right now, the love was soggy. 
       She laughed, waving a folder in my direction. “Surely you’re overreacting. It was one little zombie. They don’t attack people.”
       “I’m serious, Ma. It tried to drown me. And the client assaulted me with ugly footwear. As far as punishments go, I’d say we’re probably square. I’ve learned my lesson.”
       “You’re serious?” Amused expression now replaced by concern, she crossed the room and leaned over her desk to get a better look at me.
        “As a coronary.” Once I was sure the chair had sponged up all it could, I stood and huffed past her. Pulling at my favorite T-shirt—the word Fate inside a blood red heart, is a four letter word on the back—I said, “Child welfare would not be happy to hear you tried to feed your only child to a walking corpse…” “But why would it attack? Did you provoke it?” Folding her arms, she frowned. “Insult it, perhaps?”
       I winked at her. “Provoke it? Sure. I went and wiggled my ass in front of it yelling lunch just to see what’d happen.” I’d called it Stinky, but that didn’t count as an insult. Something couldn’t be considered an insult if it was true, right?
       Right eyebrow twitching, she fought against a smile. “But you’re okay, right? No bites, broken bones, head injuries, possessions…?” I smiled and did a little twirl. “All in one piece and still me.”Mom had a checklist she went through at the end of each job. I was known for taking almost as much damage as I inflicted. “Oh, and you’re probably going to get a call from the client. I sorta smashed her fence in the process.”
       Mom groaned. “I told you to be more careful.”
       “It’s not like I tried to break anything.”
       “Something tells me you didn’t try hard enough not to break anything, either.” 
       “In my defense, it wasn’t a simple trap and slap…” 
       “We can’t afford this.” She reached down and pulled a white envelope out from under a stack of papers. “This is the bill for that Mercedes you smashed.” 
       “Oh! So not my fault. How was I supposed to know that Spring Heel was gonna land on the car? If it makes you feel any better, I think he was aiming for my head…” 
       “If you keep this up, we won’t even be able to afford the rent.” 
       She was right, of course, and it made me feel horrible. “I’m sorry. I guess I’m a wrecking ball wrapped in blue jeans. Take my cut of this job and put it toward the repairs. Keep my paycheck for the next month, too.” A good start, but it didn’t feel like enough. Sure, it would cover the damages—I hoped—but I felt guilty about upsetting her. The bills that were piling up kept her awake at night. This was only going to make things worse. We got a fair amount of business, but the overhead in our line of work was sky high. 

As much as I hated the idea, I knew what would cheer her up. “I’ll even throw in pet possessions for the next month.”

JUS ACCARDO spent her childhood reading and learning to cook. Determined to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps as a chef, she applied and was accepted to the Culinary Institute of America. At the last minute, she realized her path lay with fiction, not food, and passed on the spot to pursue writing. Jus is the bestselling author the popular Denazen series from Entangled publishing and is currently working on the first book in a new adult series due out summer 2013. A native New Yorker, she lives in the middle of nowhere with her husband, three dogs, and sometimes guard bear, Oswald.

Touching Melody by RaShelle Workman

Maddie Martin's first weekend at college is nothing like she's used to. It's wild, like the wilderness on which the University of Bellam Springs sits. Roped into going to a fraternity party, she literally runs into Kyle Hadley. The boy she's loved since she was nine. The boy she promised all of her firsts to. But that was before his father killed her parents.

Determined to stay away from him, she throws herself into her music. Practicing piano eases her heavy heart, calms the sadness, and pushes away images of Kyle's face.

Until it doesn't.

Her music professor asks her to play a duet for their annual Winter Gala. Doing so means she'll be assured another full ride scholarship. It's an opportunity she can't pass up.

But Kyle is the other half of the duet. And that means hours and hours of practicing. Weeks of seclusion - just the two of them. And it's more than just music. It's passion like Maddie never believed was possible. The inevitable happens. She falls in love with him all over again. But, will loving him be enough to erase all the hate in her heart for his father? Can she look at him, and not see the evil in his family tree?

And maybe it's all a set up. Maybe Kyle is only pretending to care so he can finish what his father started, and kill her too

How do you move in with your life, after witnessing your parents murdered? Not only knowing who had brutally taken their lives, but pretending you saw nothing. Maddy's parents were killed almost a lifetime ago. Maddie arrived home to witness the man who destroyed her life, take those of her parents. He wasn't a stranger, and this was no random home invasion gone wrong.

Maddie has tried to come to terms with the heinous crime. She subjects herself to new tattoos to represent the stages of grief. She grieves for the crime that goes unpunished, that she lives her life with fear, and for leaving behind the boy next door that she has been saving all if her firsts for. 

Maddie begins college in her former hometown, so she shouldn't be surprised when she runs into Kyle. Kyle remembers Maddie, the girl he affectionately called freckles, the girl that nursed him after his father's violent outbursts, the girl he fell in love with. He doesn't know why she never returned his calls, why she never wrote back and why she left to live with her aunt and uncle, and never said goodbye.

All he knows now is that he wants to be part of her life again.

What neither of them realise, that Maddie's parents deaths were part of something far greater than the horrific crime, and this time, they may not leave any witnesses.

I quite enjoyed Touching Melody, it was a slightly different twist than the regular New Adult novels that are being spun out constantly. Although the plot left no surprises, I enjoyed the crime aspect. Maddie is a likeable character, you can't fault her for being broken after the horrific murder of her parents, considering who committed the crime.

My only complaint is, what happened to Gina? Her social activates and hobbies were disturbing, to put it mildly. I'm assuming that maybe she is the motivation for the second novel.

Touching Melody
(Forever First: Book One)
Written By RaShelle Workman
Published 14 / 05 / 2013
ARC Provided by: Netgalley

Fire Country by David Estes

In a changed world where the sky bleeds red, winter is hotter than hell and full of sandstorms, and summer's even hotter with raging fires that roam the desert-like country, the Heaters manage to survive, barely.

Due to toxic air, life expectancies are so low the only way the tribe can survive is by forcing women to procreate when they turn sixteen and every three years thereafter. It is their duty as Bearers.

Fifteen-year-old Siena is a Youngling, soon to be a Bearer, when she starts hearing rumors of another tribe of all women, called the Wild Ones. They are known to kidnap Youngling girls before the Call, the ceremony in which Bearers are given a husband with whom to bear children with.

As the desert sands run out on her life's hourglass, Siena must uncover the truth about the Wild Ones while untangling the web of lies and deceit her father has masterfully spun.

It's tough living in Fire Country. The Heaters are a village run by the Greystones, they live off the desolate land, live in rustic tents that provide no shelter against the grueling and deadly sandstorms. Girls are seen as breeders and start after they turn sixteen, their mate is chosen for them. Siena knows she isn't ready to become a mother, to fulfill her role in the Call, as it's known, but with her father being head Greystone, she has no other choice.

Circ and Sie have been friends since they were both toddlers, making mischief and causing mayhem to entertain themselves. Circ is a hunter, he's fast and athletic, The Call wouldn't be so bad if Circ was old enough. It isn't until the two friends are seen embracing by Siena's father, when all hell breaks loose.

The Greystone laws are to ensure survival, but grossly unfair. It isn't until Siena finds herself sent to confinement, that she realises that there is something awfully amiss with those who rule the village with an iron fist. Siena is beaten into submission, with her chosen Call being the very man who enjoys violent tussles with his women. Siena isn't ready and can't be coerced, surely women have rights, they have a choice of who they give themselves to, and when. Escape is her only option... If only Circ was with her.

Siena escapes into the wild, the barren land where the stories if wild animals, kidnappers and cannibals lurk, just waiting to snatch her. She's on a mission, following in the footsteps of friends, honoring the memory of loved ones and rebelling against all she's ever known, and what she believes in.

The girl may be scrawny, but she's a fighter.

I loved Fire Country, it reminded me of Blood Red Road by Moira Young. It's the ultimate tale of feminism, set in a barron, dystopian world. Siena is a strong character, willing to stand up for what she believes in, regardless of the gender roles. I loved Perry and is 'inner dialogue', Perry's sarcasm brought a sense of humor to the storyline.

She's feisty, fierce and one of my favourite young adult characters to date. David Estes is brilliant, his female protagonists are always strong and sassy, not to mention likeable. He's fast becoming one of my favourite authors.

Fire Country
(Country Saga: Book One)
Written By David Estes
Published 29 / 01 / 2013
398 Pages
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