Paradise City Hotness... Win a Signed Copy!

Paradise City
Paradise Book One
Written by C. J Duggan
Contemporary, New Adult
339 Pages
Check out my review for Paradise City here
There's bound to be trouble in Paradise...
When her parents decide a change will be good for her, seventeen year old Lexie Atkinson never expected they'd send her all the way to Paradise City. Coming from a predictable life of homeschooling on a rural Australian property, she just knows that Paradise will be amazing. But when she's thrust into a public school without a friendly face in sight, and forced to share a room with her insipid, hateful cousin Amanda, Lexie's not so sure.
Hanging out with the self proclaimed beach bums of the city, sneaking out, late night parties and parking with boys are all things Lexie's never experienced, but all that's about to change. It's new, terrifying... And exciting.

And when Lexie meets Luke Ballantine, the swoon-worthy, bad boy leader of the group, the chemistry between them is electric. Trouble with a capital T, Luke is impulsive, charming and answers to no one, and he's sexier than any guy Lexie has ever known. Lexie begins to wonder if Luke is going to be good for her... Or very, very bad?
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Reckoning by Barry Jonsberg... A Worthy Finale!

May contain spoilers. Check out my review for Book One and Book Two

Reckoning Pandora Jones Book Three
Written by Barry Jonsberg
Apocalyptic, Australian
Published April 2015
336 Pages
Thank you to Allen & Unwin
Pandora Jones's problems appear insurmountable. She must convince her team that nothing is as it seems and that they must escape and expose The School to save the world from the plague she unwittingly inflicted on it. The only thing Pan has on her side is her gift of intuition, and her belief in the people she cares about.

But with the clock ticking, can she find a way to stop the plague, and should she do it at any cost?

Pan and her friends face off against the might of The School as the final pieces fall into place in the hugely compelling Pandora Jones series.
Yet again, Pandora finds herself back at The School, her adventure with Jen coming to an abrupt halt when the duo were recaptured... But not before confirmation that their world is a lie. But the vision The School holds will come to fruition in less than three months, a man made virus released into society and sure to kill their families and loved ones. But before she can gather the support of her team, Pandora must again convince Jen of the world outside the walls, The School imbedding new memories into her mind of the destruction and devastation that is yet to exist.
But with her ability to manipulate memories, Pandora shares her visions of their escape with her team. With their new found knowledge, the team gather to take on The School, angry at their plan to not only eradicate life from the world but taking the teens from their families and manipulating them to do their bidding. The School have trained and honed their skills, now the group of teens must use it against those who have kept them captive.

It's a suicide mission. Not everyone will make it out alive, but will the teens make it back to their families and stop the spread of the virus before it's too late?

Kelly's Thoughts

The Pandora Jones series has been yet another example why Australian young adult is leading the charge into a new era of reading. Barry Jonsberg has crafted a series that puts romance on the back burner, features an intelligent heroine in Pandora and is supported by a brilliant cast of secondary characters, all incredible in their own right. There's no messy romance or love triangles, it's characters are diverse and it breaks the mould of what we've come to expect in young adult, with no excess drama or angst.

Teens were pulled from the streets during an epidemic, which the population of Australia had fallen victim to. The flu like symptoms were said to have killed entire communities, including the families of the teens now housed behind the vast walls of The School. But where the newly formed compound seemed to obey without question, it was Pandora who's intuition screamed The School wasn't the safe haven they claimed to be, and she was right. She questioned authority and used what The School has instilled in the students, against them. I adored her character and in Reckoning in particular, Pandora morphs into an incredibly tough and determined young woman. I cheered her on and championed her cause, using her abilities against those who manipulated her and leaving me feeling like a proud parent.

The final Verdict

It's one of the first character based apocalyptic series I've read, and it was incredible. It allowed me to connect with the characters foremost, before exploring their wonderfully constructed world around them. A brilliant finale that had me completely hooked, with one exception. To sedate my inner need for complete conclusion, it needed an epilogue. I'm hoping it may be leaving room for a novella or fourth book in the near future.

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

Written by Maria Dahvana Headley
Fantasy, Paranormal
Expected Publication April 27th 2015
320 Pages
Add to Goodreads
Aza Ray Boyle is drowning in thin air. Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak, to live. So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn't think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.

Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who's always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more than friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world, and found, by another. Magonia.

Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power, but as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war between Magonia and Earth is coming. In Aza's hands lies fate of the whole of humanity, including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?

The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey... Beautifully Lyrical

The Girl at Midnight
The Girl at Midnight Book One
Written by Melissa Grey
Fantasy, Magic, Paranormal
Published April 28th 2015
361 Pages
Thanks to Hachette Australia
Add to Goodreads
Beneath the streets of New York City live the Avicen, an ancient race of people with feathers for hair and magic running through their veins. Age old enchantments keep them hidden from humans. All but one. Echo is a runaway pickpocket who survives by selling stolen treasures on the black market, and the Avicen are the only family she's ever known.

Echo is clever and daring, and at times she can be brash, but above all else she's fiercely loyal. So when a centuries old war crests on the borders of her home, she decides it's time to act.

Legend has it that there is a way to end the conflict once and for all: find the Firebird, a mythical entity believed to possess power the likes of which the world has never seen. It will be no easy task, but if life as a thief has taught Echo anything, it's how to hunt down what she wants... And how to take it.

But some jobs aren't as straightforward as they seem. And this one might just set the world on fire.
It's been ten years since The Ala found the orphaned Echo living in the library, the young girl forced from a home that neither seemingly wanted or cared for her. Ala is an Avicen, living underneath the city with plumage for hair and a race living under the threat of violence in a centuries old war. The Avicen are the only family that Echo has ever known, but not all within the magical community welcome a human into the fray. So Echo still chooses to live within the library walls, hoarding words like treasures and making a living from picking pockets. But when she steals a music box for Ala's birthday, they seem to have uncovered a centuries old fable that paints a mythical Firebird as a means to end the tension between the Avicen and Drakharin, or dragons.

Caius is The Dragon Prince, a leader among his kingdom and on the verge of conflict with the Avicen. He's heard the rumours about the human girl working with the Avicen. He needs to find the Firebird before it falls into enemy hands, it may be their only chance at finding peace for his kingdom. But within the Drakharin ranks, a coup is forming. His blood thirsty sister planning to take over the kingdom and send their soldiers to war.

Both Echo and Caius want a peaceful resolution, and it isn't long before the two cross paths on their search for the Firebird. Together, they are now on the run from both the Avicen and Drakharin, avoiding capture while following a series of clues to find the once mythical entity. The Firebird is within grasp. Tensions will erupt, alliances will shatter and neither will be prepared for the aftermath.

My Thoughts

The Girl at Midnight was absolutely stunning. The magical prose was delicious and completely captured my attention from the very first page. Beautifully written, it's comparable to the fantasy of Daughter of Smoke and Bone, the sassy nature of The Mortal Instruments series, and the slow burning romance of Throne of Glass. Imaginative and taking on a whimsical quality, it follows the story of Echo and Caius respectively, along with their counterparts in best friend Ivy and Caius's royal guard in Dorian who are all searching for the mysterious Firebird. Some more reluctantly than others. I simply loved it. 

The most striking aspect of The Girl at Midnight was the quality of writing, especially being a debut novel. It was absolutely immaculate. I loved the lyrical prose, it gave the magical storyline a romantic and whimsical flair. 
The distant sound of a birdsong gave way to the gentle chirping of crickets in the dark and the lonely hoot of an owl in the distance. A chill was beginning to set in. It was late spring, but remnants of winter clung to the forest like a lover reluctant to say goodbye.
It made my heart ache with it's beauty.
Where flowers bloom, you'll find your way, through the darkness and the flames, but beware the price that you must pay, for only the worthy will know my name.
The Girl at Midnight is absolutely glorious. A mixture of adventure, fantasy and the whimsical. Not often does a book leave you completely spellbound, but Melissa Grey and her debut is a force to be reckoned with. Book two can't come soon enough.

Mini Review: Havoc by Jane Higgins

May contain spoilers. See my review for The Bridge

Southside Novels Book Two
Written by Jane Higgins
Dystopian, War
Published February 25th 2015
368 Pages
Thank you to Text Publishing
Add to Goodreads
The ceasefire is barely holding. Southside waits, with a kind of hope that feels like defeat. Then Cityside blows up the bridge. And amid the chaos and rubble Nik and Lanya are drawn into a complex web of power, fear and betrayal.

Who is the girl found crying out from the bombed bridge? What is her connection to the secret experiments taking place at Pitkerrin Marsh? And why does she cry Havoc? But before Nik can find out he must find his father, and face the hardest decision of his life.
Nik is now living in Southside, living with the consequences of the prisoner exchange that neither side will claim responsibility for. His estranged father is missing, assumed to be over the river when the first missile struck the bridge. Cityside has retreated on the strained ceasefire and is hungry for conflict. But amidst the rubble lies a strange young woman, from neither South or Cityside and warning of Havoc.

Southside is in lockdown, Cityside now holding those who survived as prisoners within their own city. Along with Lanya and Breken swindler Sandor, Nik takes it upon himself to flee the war torn community for answers on Cityside, finding his father in the process. But what he uncovers will change the way this unbalanced war is fought, who he can place his trust in and why the mystery girl is crying Havoc.

Kelly's Thoughts

Havoc is a brilliant follow up to The Bridge, but darker and more enthralling than the original. Tensions between Southside and Cityside have never been higher, and Nik with the blood from the failed exchange on his hands. His former life is in tatters and he now lives in limbo, no longer welcome in Cityside and not quite a Southsider either. In Havoc, the reader is introduced to One City, where the community is believe to be working with Southside and now a target for a Cityside infiltration. Nik isn't the leader of a revolution, but is determined to play a hand in finding the truth beyond the war torn landscape, discovering who he is along the way.

The biggest drawcard of the Southside series is the characters and political unrest. It's tense and provides the reader with a sense of rightness as Nik emerges from once a brainwashed teen, into a brave young man who isn't afraid to ask the difficult questions, no matter the answers.

It's simply an intelligent read for dystopian readers. Jane Higgins doesn't follow the usual tropes, but creates her own path. The political aspects are suspenseful and delicious. I adored it. It's hard to fathom that Southside stems from a debut novelist, and I can't wait to see what Jane brings out next. She's definitely an author to watch out for. 

The Last King by Millicent Nankivell COVER REVEAL

Hold Me Closer - The Tiny Cooper Story by David Levithan

Hold Me Closer
The Tiny Cooper Story
Written by David Levithan
Contemporary, Musical
Published March 18th 2015
224 Pages
Thank you to Text Publishing
Larger than life character Tiny Cooper, from John Green and David Levithan’s bestselling novel Will Grayson, Will Grayson, finally tells his own story the only way he knows how, as a stupendous musical.

Readers will experience all of Hold Me Closer, the autobiographical musical written by and staring Tiny Cooper. Filled with humour, pain, and big, lively, belty musical numbers, readers will finally learn Tiny’s full story, from his birth and childhood to his quest for love and his infamous eighteen former boyfriends.

The Haunting of Sunshine Girl by Paige McKenzie

The Haunting of Sunshine Girl
The Haunting of Sunshine Girl Book One
Written by Paige McKenzie
Paranormal, Horror
Published April 1st 2015
288 Pages
Add to Goodreads
In that place where you're more asleep than awake any more, I hear something else. A phrase uttered in a child's voice, no more than a whisper. Night Night.

Something freaky's going on with Sunshine's new house... There's the chill that wraps itself around her bones, the giggling she can hear in the dead of night, and then the strange shadows that lurk in her photographs. But the more weird stuff that happens, the less her mum believes her. Sunshine's always had a quirky affiliation with the past, but this time, history is getting much too close for comfort...

If there is something, or someone, haunting her house, what do they want? And what will they do if Sunshine can't help them?

As things become more frightening and dangerous, and the giggles she hears turn to sobs and screams, Sunshine has no choice but to accept what she is, face the test before her and save her mother from a fate worse than death.

Review Tour... Weightless by Sarah Bannan, A Must Read!

Written by Sarah Bannan
Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Published April 1st 2015
352 Pages
Thank you to Bloomsbury Australia
Adamsville wasn't a place that people came to. It was a place you were from, where you were born, where you were raised, where you stayed...

Before Carolyn Lessing arrived, nothing much had ever happened in Adamsville, Alabama. Each week, at dinner tables and in the high school assembly, everyone would pray for the football team to win. Each year, the Adams High Hotlist would be updated, and girls would rise and fall within its ranks. Each day, everyone lived by the unwritten rules that cheerleaders did not hang out with the swim team, seniors did not date freshmen and the blistering heat was something that should never be remarked upon. But then the new girl came.

All Carolyn's social media could reveal was that she had moved from New Jersey, she had 1075 friends, and she didn't have a relationship status. In beach photos with boys who looked like Abercrombie models she seemed beautiful, but in real life she was so much more. She was perfect.

This was all before the camera crews arrived, before it became impossible to see where rumour ended and truth began, and before the Annual Adamsville Balloon Festival, when someone swore they saw the captain of the football team with his arm around Carolyn, and cracks began to appear in the dry earth.

Paradise City... Restoring My Faith in New Adult

Paradise City Paradise Book One
Written by C. J Duggan
Contemporary, New Adult
Expected Publication April 28th 2015
339 Pages
Thank you to Hachette Australia
Add to Goodreads 
There's bound to be trouble in Paradise...

When her parents decide a change will be good for her, seventeen year old Lexie Atkinson never expected they'd send her all the way to Paradise City. Coming from a predictable life of homeschooling on a rural Australian property, she just knows that Paradise will be amazing. But when she's thrust into a public school without a friendly face in sight, and forced to share a room with her insipid, hateful cousin Amanda, Lexie's not so sure.

Hanging out with the self proclaimed beach bums of the city, sneaking out, late night parties and parking with boys are all things Lexie's never experienced, but all that's about to change. It's new, terrifying... And exciting.

And when Lexie meets Luke Ballantine, the swoon-worthy, bad boy leader of the group, the chemistry between them is electric. Trouble with a capital T, Luke is impulsive, charming and answers to no one, and he's sexier than any guy Lexie has ever known. Lexie begins to wonder if Luke is going to be good for her... Or very, very bad?
All Lexie has ever wanted to do is to escape the lazy town of Red Hill for the lights of the city. The home schooled seventeen year old has dreamed of Paradise City, since estranged cousin Amanda sent her a postcard. But Lexie had never expected her parents to agree to the move, and she certainly didn't expect that moving into her aunt and uncles house would result in a surly cousin who sees her as nothing more than tragic.

Determined to find her place, Lexie tried to ignore the boys tapping on Amanda's window in the middle of the night, even with her cousin having done nothing to deserve Lexie's silence. Still, she won't breathe a word to Amanda's parents. The boys being the local beach bums, not known for their intelligence but rather being ladies men who know their way around a woman's body. And none more so that the luscious Ballantine. But even being on the outer, Lexie still manages to find herself in detention with none other than Ballantine himself. Their chemistry is undeniable, the sexual tension between the two is palpable and Lexie realises that capturing Ballantine's attention may just be her downfall.

Kelly's Thoughts

As most of you know, I rarely read new adult, never mind actually enjoy it. It's the same tropes over and over and often sexually based with barely a hint of a storyline. Paradise City not only reinvents the new adult genre, but sets the standard that all new adult authors should strive for. Set in the fictional town of Paradise City, Lexie is the girl next door looking for a big city adventure. Originally from the sleepy town of Red Hill, Lexie has been home schooled and longs for the high school experience. Having moved years prior, her cousin Amanda and her parents agree to take the seventeen year old in, but where Lexie and Amanda were once as thick as thieves, now their relationship strained even further with the vapid and arrogant Amanda wanting her gone.

But Lexie is a tough as boots country girl and refuses to let Amanda win. She digs in her heels and is determine to make the most of her opportunity. But starting a new school isn't easy especially when Ballantine seems to be staring her down, the attraction and sexual tension can be cut with a knife. Ballantine isn't the playboy that his reputation leads everyone to believe and he and Lexie form a tentative friendship, bonding over shared detentions and late night rendezvous.

More mature young adult than new adult, C. J has crafted a sizzling storyline that could be considered to be a coming of age for the realistic, every day girl. Lexie is not only likable, but incredibly relatable and wants to find her place in the social hierarchy of Paradise City. She isn't perfect, but awkward, clumsy and naive. Her budding relationship with the sinful Ballantine is tense, but the banter and awkwardness of Lexie navigating her first real crush was absolutely charming.

I loved every moment. Uniquely Australian, Paradise City was simply brilliant. C. J is a born storyteller that breathes a realism into her characters and situations that we've all found ourselves in. But the biggest difference is, that her books span across the ages. Generations of yesterday, today and tomorrow will relate to not only Lexie, but her plight. But be warned, Paradise City does end of a cliffhanger. I can't wait to see what will become of Lexie and Ballantine and head back to Paradise City in the next installment. It can't come soon enough.

Purchase Links

Preorder Paradise City by clicking the links below

Diva By Design #2: Go Font Yourself.. The How To Guide

We're in the midst of a font revolution. Gone are the boring fonts that offered little variety, and even less style options. And welcome the multitude of font designers that are creating luscious and opulent fonts that will have you adding to your cart in no time. But some fonts can be expensive, and rightly so considering the amount of work and creativity that goes into creating them. But not everyone can afford lavish fonts, so what are the alternatives? Today we're exploring free commercial use and Google fonts, and most importantly, how to use them in conjunction with your Blogger blog or your free design programs.

My Apocalyptic Bucket List... We All Looked Up Review

We All Looked Up
Written by Tommy Wallach
Contemporary, Apocalyptic
Published April 1st 2015
394 Pages
Four high school seniors put their hopes, hearts, and humanity on the line as an asteroid hurtles toward Earth in this contemporary novel.

They always say that high school is the best time of your life.

Peter, the star basketball player at his school, is worried 'they' might actually be right. Meanwhile Eliza can’t wait to escape Seattle, and her reputation, and perfect on paper Anita wonders if admission to Princeton is worth the price of abandoning her real dreams. Andy, for his part, doesn’t understand all the fuss about college and career,the future can wait.

Or can it? Because it turns out the future is hurtling through space with the potential to wipe out life on Earth. As these four seniors,along with the rest of the planet,wait to see what damage an asteroid will cause, they must abandon all thoughts of the future and decide how they’re going to spend what remains of the present.
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