School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins

Fifteen year old Izzy Brannick was trained to fight monsters. For centuries, her family has hunted magical creatures. But when Izzy’s older sister vanishes without a trace while on a job, Izzy's mom decides they need to take a break.

Izzy and her mom move to a new town, but they soon discover it’s not as normal as it appears. A series of hauntings has been plaguing the local high school, and Izzy is determined to prove her worth and investigate. But assuming the guise of an average teenager is easier said than done. For a tough girl who's always been on her own, it’s strange to suddenly make friends and maybe even have a crush.

Can Izzy trust her new friends to help find the secret behind the hauntings before more people get hurt?

Rachel Hawkins' delightful spin off brings the same wit and charm as the New York Times best selling Hex Hall series. Get ready for more magic, mystery and romance!

Brannick women are bred tough, trained warriors, fighting the supernaturals that roam the earth and Izzy is no exception. With her sister Finn missing, Izzy and her mother travel wherever their next case is, from rogue vampires, werewolves or your typical garden variety of monster under the bed. This case should be a piece of cake, banish the ghost haunting the high school and move onto their next hunt.

Izzy needs to enroll in high school, blend and exorcise this ghost all before the end of the month. Sounds simple enough, What she didn't factor was that she would enjoy high school, find friends and meet Dex. Dex is flamboyant, articulate and magical. Izzy finds herself drawn to Dex in a way she's never experienced, she's never been a normal girl, but then again, he doesn't strike her as a 'normal' boy either.

Could he be involved in summoning the now enraged and powerful ghost?

I really enjoyed the Hex Hall series. Even with supernatural themes, the books will appeal to a much younger audience, more so with School Spirits. Izzy is a likeable character, she may be able to fight monsters, but she's a girl who just wants normalcy. She has the weight of her missing sister and her mother's expectations on her shoulders and young teens will be able to relate to Izzy struggling with her first crush, trying to relate to her mother while learning the family trade.

It was lacking that certain spark that Hex Hall seemed to provide, but it was a fun, entertaining read that is perfect for young teens and young adult enthusiasts.

School Spirits
(School Spirits: Book One)
Written By Rachel Hawkins
Published: 14 / 05 / 2013
269 Pages

Flat Out Matt by Jessica Park

Matt is a junior at MIT. He’s geeky, he's witty, he's brilliant. And he’s also very, very stupid.

When beautiful, cool, insightful Julie moves in with Matt’s family, why oh why does he pretend to be his absent brother Finn for her alleged benefit?

It seems harmless enough until her short-term stay becomes permanent. And until it snowballs into heart - squeezing insanity. And until he falls in love with Julie, and Julie falls in love with Finn. But … Matt is the right one for her. If only he can make Julie see it. Without telling her the truth, without shattering them all. Particularly his fragile sister Celeste, who may need Julie the most.

Take an emotional skydive for two prequel chapters and seven Flat-Out Love chapters retold from his perspective, and then land with a brand - new steamy finale chapter from Julie.

Flat out Matt is the companion novel to the infectious Flat Out Love, but as told from Matt's point of view.

We begin with Matt and Finn talking while out on a hike. The two brothers, although different, share a love of the outdoors. Finn is trying to convince Matt to abandon his too thought out, scheduled life and learn to live. Something that seems impossible after Finn leaves.

With Celeste and her very own substitute Flat Finn and a maniacally depressed mother, Julie breezes into their lives and into Finn's room. The daughter of a friend of his mother's, no one wants to explain the delicate nature of their family. Matt included.

Before Matt realises, he's fallen for the intelligent, warm and caring Julie, if only Finn wasn't the one she wanted. Includes a bonus scene that occurs after the sky diving incident at the end of the original book.

I loved Flat Out Love so passionately, and Celeste was absolutely brilliant, the real star of the book. She doesn't feature heavily in Flat Out Matt, as it is a very short novella with only a few scenes. I much preferred the original. Flat Out Matt didn't have the same magic, and where the original novel concentrated on the family dynamics, Flat Out Matt surrounds just Matt and Julie mostly.

I would have loved a Celeste novella, she is what made Flat Out Love brilliant. Easily one of the most enchanting characters of 2012.

Flat Out Matt
(The Companion Novel To Flat Out Love)
Written By Jessica Park
Published: 25 / 03 / 2013
269 Pages

The Collector: Dante Walker by Victoria Scott

He makes good girls...bad.

Dante Walker is flippin’ awesome, and he knows it. His good looks, killer charm, and stellar confidence have made him one of hell’s best - a soul collector. His job is simple: weed through humanity and label those round rears with a big red good or bad stamp. Old Saint Nick gets the good guys, and he gets the fun ones. Bag - and - tag.

Sealing souls is nothing personal. Dante’s an equal-opportunity collector and doesn't want it any other way. But he’ll have to adjust, because Boss Man has given him a new assignment:

Collect Charlie Cooper’s soul within ten days.

Dante doesn't know why Boss Man wants Charlie, nor does he care. This assignment means only one thing to him, and that’s a permanent ticket out of hell. But after Dante meets the quirky Nerd Alert chick he’s come to collect, he realizes this assignment will test his abilities as a collector… And uncover emotions deeply buried.

Dante Walker isn't hot, he's sex on two legs and boy will he make you want to be bad.

Dante is The Collector. He works for the devil himself, nicknamed the Boss Man. He encourages mortals to sin, to blemish their soul. When you've been naughty, he collects your soul to take downstairs, and you're left living an empty life. He's good at what he does, he has a body built for sin, but he has one last assignment before the Boss Man will promote him.


Charlie is a mouse of a girl. She's not popular, she's socially awkward and physically plain, but she is pure of heart and her soul is virtually untouched. So what does Boss man want with her soul? Dante quickly establishes himself as a fixture in Charlie's life, he has only 10 days to collect her soul, but it's not as easy as he expected it to be.

Charlie signs a soul contract under false pretenses, she thinks her soul will be obtained by the big guy upstairs. She's entitled to several wishes that result in sinful seals being added to her pure soul, as she wishes for beauty, Dante starts to realise that Charlie is more than just the natural and socially awkward girl.

This girl is destined to change the world, and Dante. But will she want to when she learns who Dante really is?

Dante is easily one if the hottest young adult characters to date, in the same category as Kaiden from the Sweet Evil series, and Daemon from the Lux series. He's obnoxious, he's overconfident and he'll set your pages on fire. Easily the most anticipated new series of 2013, you'll fall in love with Charlie, she's a beautiful young lady who has a sweet and naive innocence.

The next in the series just can't be released soon enough!

The Collector
(Dante Walker: Book One)
Written By Victoria Scott
Published: 25 / 03 / 2013
269 Pages

With All My Soul by Rachel Vincent

What does it mean when your school is voted the most dangerous in America? It's time to kick some hellion butt...

After not really surviving her junior year (does 'undead' count as survival), Kaylee Cavanaugh has vowed to take back her school from the hellions causing all the trouble. She's going to find a way to turn the incarnations of Avarice, Envy and Vanity against one another in order to protect her friends and finish this war, once and forever.

But then she meets Wrath and understands that she's closer to the edge than she's ever been. And when one more person close to her is taken, Kaylee realizes she can't save everyone she loves without risking everything she has....

Kaylee is determined to lead a normal life, as a living dead girl, as she's affectionately known. But when the demon who wants to possess her soul, takes her father hostage, there is nothing she won't do to have him safely returned from the Netherworld.

Emma is having her own crisis, since taking over the body of psychiatric patient at Lakeside, Lydia. She now has Lydia's ability, to siphon the feelings of others and take them as her own. Her sister is pregnant with the spawn of mister Beck, the incubus sex demon... The former teacher who slashed Kaylee. Nash and Sabine are still together behind closed doors, but in public, they dance around one another, neither wanting to admit how they feel for the other. Sophie is still vain and clueless, but with Luca as a buffer, the gang can tolerate her now... But only just.

They need to formulate a plan. Avari is he'll bent on owning and torturing Kaylee's soul for eternity, but Kaylee has a new acquaintance, Ira, the demon of wrath. But she knows never to make a deal with a demon, right?

Two of the characters are hurt and being hunted in the Netherworld, so when Avari starts possessing students again, Kaylee knows time is running out. Will she give Avari what he wants most to save those she loves?

I've enjoyed the Soul Screamers series. It's unique storyline of banshees that sing to release the souls from the deceased. I've never cared for Kaylee's character, she always seems to make her own rules and decisions, but berates others for doing the same. The other main characters such as Tod, Nash and Emma are likeable and keep the series interesting.

The final in the Soul Screamers series feels longer than the former titles in the series, and the first half feels practically uneventful and painfully slow, it isn't until two characters find themselves in trouble that the action finally begins. We also see snippets of Kaylee's relationship with Tod and Nash still feeling betrayed... But will he move on?

But there is a definite ending for fans who have followed Kaylee and her friends since the beginning, one that the majority of readers will more than thrilled with. Thanks to Rachel Vincent for bringing the banshee to life on our pages.

With All My Soul
(Soul Screamers: Book Seven)
Written By Rachel Vincent
Published: 26 / 03 / 2013
384 Pages

Book Tools: Love Them or Hate Them?

For me, there is nothing worse than a book tool.

You know the type, muscled, man whore, a history of violence or violent acts, foul mouthed, all round bad boy implied. Not to sound stereotypical, but they almost all have tattoos or body art, dimples, a permanent half smirk, long sooty lashes and usually financially comfortable. Now when did we all decide that this Neanderthal, was in fact, our ideal man?

Did I miss that meeting?

We live through our characters when story lines are seen through the eyes of a female protagonist, so surely we must enjoy the sexually suggestive connotations thrown into every sentence that he aims in her direction, seeing our leading lady is typically a virgin or sexually inexperienced. Well, who can blame them, they all seem to come from broken homes, which probably explains why they find themselves ourselves willing to give up their virtue so quickly to the first penis that gravitates towards their vagina.

Yes, I said vagina.

Why are the same books being churned out that are the same tired storyline as the last? Is the young female book reader really that interested in hearing the same story of Travis Maddox again, as one example.

I for one want a polar opposite to grace my pages. The intelligent male, a quirky personality, humorous, with a noble profession. He doesn't need to have bedroom eyes or an attractiveness that makes panties drop... Just a genuine, realistic, down to earth male character.

Is that too much to much to ask?

Fighting For Flight by Jamie Salsbury

What happens when in order to win, you’re forced to lose?

The only daughter of an infamous Las Vegas pimp, Raven Morretti grew up an outsider. Liberated from the neglectful home of her prostitute mother, she finds solace as a mechanic. With few friends, she’s content with the simple life. Flying under the radar is all she knows, and more than she expects.

Until she catches the eye of local celebrity, UFL playboy Jonah Slade.

Weeks away from his title fight, Jonah is determined to stay focused on everything he’s trained so hard to achieve. Undefeated in the octagon, he’s at the height of his career. But resisting Raven’s effortless allure and uncomplicated nature is a fight he can’t win.

Jonah trades in his bad-boy reputation and puts his heart on the line. But when her father contacts her, setting in motion the ugly truth of her destiny, Jonah must choose. In a high-stakes gamble where love and freedom hang in the balance, a war is waged where the price of losing is a fate worse than death.

Will the hotheaded Jonah be able to restrain his inner fighter to save the woman he loves?

Or will Raven be forced into a life she’s been desperate to avoid?

Twenty year old Raven is a down to earth mechanic. She has a passionate love of cars and lives in a dive of an apartment above the garage where she works. She has no interest in men or dating for that matter until womanising, professional fighter, Jonah needs help restoring an old classic car.

Jonah casts an intimidating image, pure muscle, but with a gentle touch. He's never been in a relationship before, just meaningless sex with half the female population of Vegas. He keeps gravitating towards Raven, with her shy smiles, innocent demeanor and down to earth personality.

Raven has no idea what her future holds, hopefully Jonah, but being the result of a forced pregnancy between her prostitute mother and pump father, she lives on borrowed time.
Jonah won't give Raven up... It'll be the fight of his life.

Yawn. At one point I needed to double check that I wasn't reading Beautiful Disaster, overall, it's practically a carbon copy. Male protagonist, makes a living through violence, possessive need to protect girl, moves her into his house. Girl, virgin, but will happily have hot sex with said male protagonist shortly after meeting, from a broken home, father well known in Vegas. Jonah is a more likable character than your average Travis Maddox, but he's also forgettable. The only one that had the remote chance of a personality, was Raven's father, the ever lovely pimp.

Fans of Taking Chances by Molly McAdams, Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire or the Abbi Glines series Too Far, will more than likely enjoy Fighting for Flight.

Fighting For Flight
(Fighting: Book One)
Written By Jamie Salsbury
Published: 25 / 02 / 2013
269 Pages

Hysteria by Megan Miranda

Mallory's life is falling apart.

Her boyfriend was stabbed. He bled to death in her kitchen. Mallory was the one who stabbed him. But she can't remember what happened that night. She only remembers the fear...

When Mallory's parents send her away to a boarding school, she thinks she can escape the gossip and the threats. But someone, or something, has followed her. There's the hand that touches her shoulder when she's drifting off to sleep. A voice whispering her name. And everyone knows what happened. So when a pupil is found dead, Mallory's name is on their lips.

Her past can be forgotten but it's never gone. Can Mallory live with that

Mallory was once a regular girl with a bright future, until she killed a boy. Brian. Brian was the brother of her chemistry partner Dylan. Mallory had always liked the not so single Dylan, so compensated with Brian. He was single and wanted her.

But after a terrifying incident the night if a drunken party, Mallory took Brian's life... And she pays with her own every day. Brian's mother is abusive, tormenting Mallory's family, so for her supposed own safety, Mallory is sent to Monroe, a co - education boarding school. The presence still lingers, she can feel the weight of her actions chasing her down. The vivid night terrors, waking up bloodied and bruised, hearing her name whispered. He's here, she can feel him.

Mallory is tormented by a group of girls who are he'll bent in driving the last of her sanity right out the window. The resident wanker wants to slither his way into her life, thank goodness she has Reid. Family acquaintances, Reid hasn't seen Mallory in two years, since his father's funeral. The two settle into an easy friendship, Mallory confining in the boy she once almost kissed.

But when a student is found dead, in Mallory's room while she slept, will anyone believe that it wasn't her?

I assumed that Hysteria was a supernatural novel, but it was a young adult contemporary thriller, and pretty entertaining. Mallory isn't a strong character, but she's likable and even seems like a magnet for trouble. She believes that she is mentally unwell, the dreams, the voices, so when she wakes up bruised, she tries to ignore it. As her mother says, if you don't see it... It's not real.

Mallory's parents... If they locked her in a dungeon and fed her bread and water, I'd still be of the same opinion. Yes, she killed a boy under duress, but the both emotionally abandoned her. But bad parents aside, it was quite entertaining. It was a light read as you would expect from a young adult novel, but with a few twists and mild suspense, I really enjoyed it.

Written By Megan Miranda
Published: 14 / 02 / 2013
352 Pages


Shattered Soul by Jennifer Synder Review & Giveaway

If seventeen-year old Seth Bradson were to describe his life in two words, those would be the two he’d choose. Seth prefers to cope with his crappy existence by spending his days in a drug induced haze. But when Ali Carson steps into his life, Seth finds something he’s subconsciously been seeking - a new drug, one that consumes his mind unlike any other.


In a moment of unforgivable weakness, Seth allows Ali to try crystal meth, his most addictive temptation. This single event begins the unraveling of both their lives and forces Seth to learn the definition of regret the hard way

Shattered Soul is the story of Seth, high school student and drug user. Seth is bright, charismatic an am addict. He uses to numb the pain in his life. His mother is an alcoholic, when she isn't drunk or has passed out, she's only a few drinks shy of being unconscious. Seth's older brother is a drug dealer, taking after their father who left them when Seth was only seven years old.

Seth lives his life at home trying to blend into the shadows, he knows that one wrong move could mean the difference between living the meager life he has, or his brother beating him to within an inch of his life, so he chooses to take the abuse, for the fear of the repercussions otherwise.

The only bright light in his life is the beautiful Ali. Ali represents purity in Seth's dark world, but the night when she tries Crystal Meth for the first time, neither Seth or Ali understand the true significance, or where it will end.

I was shocked reading Shattered Soul. It's like no young adult novel I've ever read before, and are unlikely to again. It's emotionally draining and Jennifer Snyder is a storyteller not interested in sugar coating her characters. It's confronting, to the point of making you feel uncomfortable, but it's gripping and that's exactly what you expect from a plot that contains heavy drug usage, alcoholism and abuse. I assumed that this was just another book with a bad boy as the main character, meeting the neglected and troubled girl from the wealthy family, who ultimately sets him on the straight and narrow... Oh heavens, was I wrong!

Not for the faint of heart.

Shattered Soul
Written By Jennifer Synder
Published: 14 / 02 / 2012
269 Pages

Available now from Amazon  B & N  Smashwords  and  Amazon Paperback

Jennifer Snyder lives in North Carolina were she spends most of her time writing young adult fiction, reading, and struggling to stay on top of housework. She is an instant coffee lover with an obsession for spiral bound notebooks and smooth writing pens. Jennifer lives with her husband and two children, who endure listening to songs that spur inspiration on repeat and tolerate her love for all paranormal, teenage-targeted TV shows. Read more about Jen at:

Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz

When the Mayflower set sail in 1620, it carried on board the men and women who would shape America: Miles Standish; John Alden; Constance Hopkins. But some among the Pilgrims were not pure of heart; they were not escaping religious persecution. Indeed, they were not even human. They were vampires.

They assimilated quickly into the New World. Rising to levels of enormous power, wealth, and influence, they were the celebrated blue bloods of American society.

The Blue Bloods vowed that their immortal status would remain a closely guarded secret. And they kept that secret for centuries. But now, in New York City, the secret is seeping out. Schuyler Van Alen is a sophomore at a prestigious private school. Suddenly, when she turns fifteen, there is a visible mosaic of blue veins on her arm. She starts to crave raw food and she is having flashbacks to ancient times. Then a girl from her school is found dead... Drained of all her blood. Schuyler doesn’t know what to think.

Could those vampire legends really be true?

Blue bloods is told from several points of view, all surrounding a group of high society teens all attending the same prestigious school in New York. Wealthy, glamorous and dangerous, the core group belong to a secret society, The Committee.

Schuyler lives with her grandmother. Her father supposedly passed away shortly after she was born and her mother is in a permanent state of comatose. Her family is one of old riches, but has rapidly decreased over the years. With only Oliver at her side and loyal bloodhound Beauty, she is asked to join the secret society of the rich and infamous.

Twins Jack and Mimi are two if the beautiful people. Mimi is self absorbed, cruel and commands leadership and attention. So when Jack shows an interest in Schuyler, Mimi shows a jealousy unnatural of just a sibling

Bliss is attracted to the new bad boy Dylan. With his cool demeanor and leather jacket, Bliss's parents would definitely not approve.

All the teens are connected, they are all Blue Bloods, vampires. Vampires that have immaculate beauty, intelligence and grace. They can consume more than human blood and can walk in the sun. They all share a past, being reborn every century, an old soul living a new life. But someone is hunting them, Silverbloods. Hunting to drain them of their own blood and never to be reborn. The council refuse to acknowledge the problem, but with the Blue Blood inner sanctum not warning the chapter, the teens are taking matters into their own hands... Before it's too late.

One word: Boring. Blue Bloods is a tame vampire tale, unique in how vampires came to be, and how the live within guidelines of secret societies. I love the concept, but not the execution.

Told from several points of view, we get a glimpse of each character, but can't connect to any of them. Most if the book is brand name dropping and detailed descriptions of designer outfits, bags, outings, it's all very vain and shallow. I would have preferred to see that better spent in character development. It was too frustrating and although I persisted through Blue Bloods, I won't be continuing the series.

Blue Bloods
(Blue Bloods: Book One)
Written By Melissa de la Cruz
Published: 27 / 04 / 2007
328 Pages

The Deepest Night by Shana Abe: ARC Review

Book synopsis not yet released.

As Lora's tale continues in The Deepest Night, she is grieving for Jesse and has never felt so alone. The only one she has ever truly loved, and he was taken away from her so cruelly. After being injured, Lora is at Iverson, recovering from the wound inflected by Mandy's father. With her place at the school being threatened to be torn out from under her, Lora cannot see a future past the bombing and spoils of war that surround the country... And the death of her beloved Jesse.

As the war continues and the Iverson girls head home for the summer, Lora finds herself aiding fallen soldiers at a makeshift hospital, in Mandy's home, with his father being admitted to a mental institution. When word is sent that Mandy's brother is in fact alive and being held as a prisoner of war... The stars are clear, Lora is so cross the battlelines into enemy territory and rescue him. Why can everyone hear Jesse but her?

Both Mandy and Lora set out on the dangerous journey that neither is prepared for, but when Mandy starts to feel restless and uncomfortable in his own skin, they both know that it's only a matter of time before he sheds his skin and the transformation begins. Lora finds herself conflicted, without Jesse and feeling lonely, should she mourn for the boy who was taken from her, or open her heart to the one that is right in front of her... Holding her hand.

The deepest night was fantastic, even more so than the first in the series. The romantic interludes have been toned down, and the aspects of war have played heavily throughout the storyline. Lora slowly morphs into a strong and courageous young woman, proud of her heritage, while Mandy comes to grips with his new responsibilities and the rescue attempt of his brother.

The story is told in dual points of view from Mandy and Lora, but every few chapters, there are a few passages from Jesse, pining for his beloved and trying to reach her with his song. I love the vivid descriptions of the wartime era, the attire, the lavish surroundings.

I still don't fully understand the concept of dragons, stars and the connection, but completely forgot my confusion during The Deepest Night, it really was entertaining, intense and couldn't out it down until I had read the entire book.

The Deepest Night
(The Sweetest Dark: Book Two)
Written By Shana Abe
Expected Publication: 03 / 08 / 2013
320 Pages
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