{ARC Review} Be My December by Rachel Brookes

Title: Be My December
Author: Rachel Brookes
Published: 28th September 2014
Age Group: New Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: eARC provided by author for fair & honest review
Rating: 5/5
Goodreads  |  Amazon

I knew the exact moment I’d become a ‘yes’ girl. 
December 16th, a cold winter’s night, four years ago. 
The night my innocence was stolen, the night I made the mistake of saying no—a mistake I’d never make again. 
The dream of a ‘happily ever after' was now a locked away myth. I promised myself that I’d never return to the place of my worst nightmare, that I’d never let anyone get close, but then again, I never thought I’d meet someone like him. 
The intense, confident and beautiful Ky Crawford.

I had no plans to become someone’s Prince Charming. 
I couldn’t be. I refused to be. My plan was simple—do whatever it takes to correct my biggest mistake, my one regret that now controlled my life. 
I was on track. I had plans, but then everything changed when I saw her—the girl in the red jacket, the girl who I was told couldn’t say no. 
The reserved yet stunning Eden Rivers.

A girl who can’t say no.
A guy who craves redemption.
A chance encounter?

It all comes down to this.
One question.
One month.

Be My December?

Be My December is an incredibly powerful and emotional journey and for me is Rachel's best novel yet!

The story:
Well this book was an incredibly intense and emotional journey. From the very first scene we are thrown into a scene that effected me so powerfully. What Eden goes through is something no woman should ever experience. Ever since her traumatic experience she's been hiding herself away from the world, only giving people a small glimpse of the amazing woman she really is. She's become what she calls a 'yes' girl - someone who never says no to anyone, afraid of the consequences and pain that will follow.

Ky has also been struggling with his own torment. He's been punishing himself for years, for not being able to protect Eden, and now that he's hiring her as a photographer for the magazine we works at, he sees this as an opportunity to make amends for his mistakes and bring Eden out of her shell. In Ky's words:

"I will make you realise that saying no is your given right and that saying yes can still be a beautiful thing." ~Ky

Together Ky & Eden embark on what they agree is a month long…shall we call it…experiment, believing that Eden will move away again after the month of December and her photography contract is over. But come January, will they be able to deny the feelings they have for each other?

The characters:
Eden was one of those characters that you know has so much vibrance and personality, but is so afraid and fearful of the world, that she doesn't let it shine. At first get to see glimpses of the real Eden, but it's not until she starts to spend time with Ky that the sassy lady starts to shine through. It was beautiful to see her grow and learn to be her true self.

Ky, is 'self-blamer'. He continually blames himself for not being there for Eden and now he is relishing the opportunity to put the spark back in Eden eyes. What was great to see was that Ky also grows as a character, becoming stronger and rock for Eden to lean on.

The romance:
Ky & Eden are exactly what each other need. They both need someone to help them overcome their past and create a better future. They have an undeniable attraction between them, but there is also so much more than that. They have an understanding and deeper emotional connection that was evident in every scene together, and it was lovely watching them fall madly in love.

The writing:
Rachel hasn't shied away from the very difficult topic of sexual assault. There are some very graphic scenes depicting what Eden went through. There is no sugarcoating, which gives us an insight into what Eden has had to endure. And although they are tragic & heartbreaking, they have been handled very tastefully. Rachel has also balanced the heavy storyline with some humour and sexy scenes, which was very effective.

Be My December is an incredibly powerful and emotional journey and for me is Rachel's best novel yet!

Sexuality: medium-strong / several sex scenes
Violence: very strong / graphic descriptions of sexual assault
Language: medium-strong / frequent f words
Drugs & alcohol: mild

{New Release} The Write Stuff by Tiffany King






Available August 25, 2014

Twenty-two-year-old historical romance writer Nicole Blake, or N.S. Blake to her readers, hasn't taken an official poll, mind you, but she is convinced she may be the only romance author on the planet who is still a card-carrying member of the virgin club.
Not that she hasn't tried to end her membership. Life just keeps finding pesky ways to interfere. With no prospects on the horizon, Nicole begins to feel like the closest she will ever get to experiencing a man is within her own stories.
Opportunity presents itself in the form of hot-as-sin-on-a-lollipop-stick bartender/premed student Alec Petropoulos, who agrees to be the cover model for her upcoming book. Sparks fly instantly between them, and Nicole begins to entertain the possibility that she's finally found the right guy to hand over her tattered V-card. Alec has all the makings for a perfect one-night-stand candidate except, much to Nicole's surprise, he seems to be the only man in existence not interested in bagging a virgin.
Stuck between a rock and a stubborn male, what's a virgin to do? Seduce him, of course. How hard could it be? If it works for the characters in her stories, why wouldn't it work for her? 
After all, what happens under the cover…stays under the cover.

USA Today Bestselling author Tiffany King is a lifelong reading fanatic who is now living her dream as a writer, weaving Young Adult and New Adult romance tales for others to enjoy. She has a loving husband and two wonderful kids. (Five, if you count her three spoiled cats). Her addictions include: Her iPhone and iPad, chocolate, Diet Coke, chocolate, Harry Potter, chocolate, zombies and her favorite TV shows. Want to know what they are? Just ask. 
For information on any of Author Tiffany's titles, visit her blog at www.authortiffanyjking.blogspot.com
Where to connect with Author Tiffany
Twitter- @AuthorTiffany
Pinterest- Tiffany King 
Goodreads- Tiffany King
Email- authortiffany@yahoo.com
"Dreams do come true...Dream big."


{Stacking The Shelves} The Birthday Edition!


Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves.

So it was my birthday recently and when it comes to gifts, basically all people can think to get me are books or book vouchers (maybe a few DVDs). And that makes me pretty happy! 
I usually like to get books that I've been wanting to read for a while and just haven't had the chance to buy yet.


Pivot Point by Kasie West
Origin by Jessica Khoury
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
 Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood
My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Reached by Ally Condie

Physical ARCs for Review:

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
Thanks so much to Harper Collins!
I am so extremely excited to read this one!!

Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover
Dark Skye by Kresley Cole
Misbehaving by Abbi Glines
Thanks to Simon & Schuster for these lovely surprises!

eARCs for Review:

Talon by Julie Kagawa
Thanks to HarlequinTeen via Netgalley
I may have squealed...LOUDLY...when I saw this was on NG

Make It Right by Megan Erickson
Thanks to William & Morrow via Edelweiss
The first book in the series, Make It Count, is one of my favourites for 2014!!

Let Me Know by Stina Lindenblatt
Thanks to InkSlinger Tours
Just finished this one and it was so emotionally awesome!

Alex by Sawyer Bennett
Thanks to Random House via Netgalley

The Only Answer by Magan Vernon
Thanks to WordSmith Publicity

Have you read any of these books? 
What books did you add to your shelves?

{Review} The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet

Title: The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet
Author: Kate Rorick & Bernie Su
Published: 24th June 2014
Age Group: General
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Paperback provided by Simon & Schuster for honest review
Rating: 4.5/5

Based on the Emmy Award–winning YouTube series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.

Twenty‑four‑year‑old grad student Lizzie Bennet is saddled with student loan debt and still living at home along with her two sisters—beautiful Jane and reckless Lydia. When she records her reflections on life for her thesis project and posts them on YouTube, she has no idea The Lizzie Bennet Diaries will soon take on a life of their own, turning the Bennet sisters into internet celebrities seemingly overnight.

When rich and handsome Bing Lee comes to town, along with his stuck‑up friend William Darcy, things really start to get interesting for the Bennets—and for Lizzie’s viewers. But not everything happens on‑screen. Lucky for us, Lizzie has a secret diary.

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet takes readers deep inside Lizzie’s world and well beyond the confines of her camera—from the wedding where she first meets William Darcy to the local hangout of Carter’s bar, and much more. Lizzie’s private musings are filled with revealing details about the Bennet household, including her growing suspicions about her parents’ unstable financial situation, her sister’s budding relationship with Bing Lee, the perils of her unexpected fame, and her uncertainty over her future—and whom she wants to share it with.

Featuring plenty of fresh twists to delight fans and new readers alike, The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet expands on the web series phenomenon that captivated a generation and reimagines the Pride and Prejudice story like never before.

An intelligent, modern retelling of Pride & Prejudice 

For those of you that haven't heard of the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, they are a Youtube Vlog series, retelling Pride & Prejudice in the modern world. You can watch the videos here (which I would highly recommend you watch first - but I wouldn't say it's essential) The benefit of watching the videos first, is that they show the characters strong personalities and enhance the entire story.

The story:
So most of you would probably be familiar with the story of Pride & Prejudice. Well, in this retelling, Lizzie fundamentally learns the same lessons as Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, but she learns in a contemporary setting that is more relevant to today's society.

As part of her uni studies, Lizzie has started a video blog where she discusses her everyday life and the people around her; her parents, sisters Jane & Lydia, new neighbours Bing Lee & of course William Darcy. As Bing & Jane hit it off right away, Lizzie's opinion of Darcy is not a positive one. I found it so interesting to watch how the modern world affected the way Lizzie and Darcy's relationship progresses. The way in which she discusses all her family & friend's lives on her vlog, and most importantly the consequences of her sharing personal details online. I can actually see this book being studied in schools in conjunction with Pride & Prejudice to highlight the relevance this story still has in today's society.

The characters:
Lizzie is quite a judgmental person, but not in an irritating, nasty way. Whether we like to admit it or not, everyone judges each other and Lizzie is no different, just a little more outspoken. But what was really interesting was seeing how her use of social media effected her views of the world. I loved seeing her admit to her mistakes and learn from them to become a better person

William Darcy is in intriguing character. We all know that Jane Austen's Mr Darcy initially comes across as a stuffy arrogant snob and in this book it's much the same. At first, when we see him through the eyes of Lizzie, he appears to be a quite boring, but as we slowly get to know him, it becomes clear that he's actually shy and a socially awkward sweetheart. He's absolutely adorable! 

Jane & Lydia are two very different sisters. Jane is the softly spoken level headed one, who doesn't have a bad word to say about anyone. Lydia is the loud, impulsive youngest sibling who isn't afraid to speak her mind. All three sister's personalities compliment each other perfectly.

The romance:
Much like in Pride & Prejudice, we must suffer through Lizzie's judgmental misconceptions of Darcey before she finally sees the 'real' Darcy. But it's this judgement by both Darcey & Lizzie that adds to the romantic tension between them, and by the end your desperate for these two to get their HEA!

Also we can't forget the positively adorable romance between Bing Lee & Jane! These two are just too sweet for words!

The writing:
I have to admit I was a little concerned before I started reading this book, that it would be an exact retelling of the video diaries but in a written format. But I was extremely happy to discover that the book offers so much more! We actually get to discover a lot of what happened 'off camera' from the videos.

I'm also not usually a fan of diary format novels, I often find it stilted and the lack of dialogue often results in the problem of being 'told' not 'shown'. But that wasn't the case here at all. The writers have cleverly included dialogue in Lizzie's descriptions, so that we actually SEE all the events and conversations actually happening - very effective!

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet is an intelligent, modern retelling of Pride & Prejudice, with fun and quirky characters, which makes for an entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable story!

Sexuality: medium / discussions of sex
Violence: none
Language: mild
Drugs & alcohol: medium / main characters get drunk in some scenes 

What's your favourite retelling?

{Review} Every Word by Ellie Marney

Title: Every Word
Series: Every #2
Author: Ellie Marney
Published: 1st June 2014
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Mystery Romance
Source: Paperback provided by Allen & Unwin Australia for fair & honest review
Rating: 4.5/5

James Mycroft has just left for London to investigate a car accident similar to the one that killed his parents seven years ago...without saying goodbye to Rachel Watts, his 'partner in crime'.

Rachel is furious and worried about his strange behaviour - not that Mycroft's ever exactly normal, but London is the scene of so many of his nightmares. So Rachel jumps on a plane to follow him...and lands straight in a whole storm of trouble.

The theft of a copy of Shakespeare's First Folio, the possible murder of a rare books conservator, and the deaths of Mycroft's parents...Can Watts help Mycroft make sense of the three events - or will she lose him forever?

Sparks fly when Watts and Mycroft reunite in this second sophisticated thriller about the teen sleuthing duo.

This series is a cross between Sherlock & Veronica Mars!! 
A sexy and intelligent story with gritty & heart stopping action!

The story:
For starters, you know any book that has the heroine playing roller derby is going to be great, and it was!

In this 2nd instalment, we go on another crime solving adventure with Mycroft and Watts, and this time we get to travel to Mycroft's homeland, England. Mycroft may be there to consult on a murder case of a rare book conservator, but he's interest in the case runs much deeper. Believing there is a link between it and the 'murder' of his parents, Mycroft will stop at nothing to find any clue that can lead him to the truth. But dredging up all the painful memories of his parents is harder than he anticipated and it's not until Watts turns up that he realises just how much he needs her support. 

Together they follow the clues to solve the murder case and uncover and new leads over his parent's deaths. But the people their dealing with are even more dangerous than they could have imagined and they'll have to work together in order to stay alive.

The characters:
Mycroft is a wonderfully complex character. He's past has had a huge impact on his life and has changed the way he looks at the world. After seeing his parents die, he believes he's got all these horrid thoughts and images in his head, that he starts to doubt what he can really offer Rachel. He desperately needs someone to help him see how wonderful he truly is.

Rachel is such a 'regular' relatable girl. She may not have super powers or a supernatural ability, destined to save the world. But she possesses an inner strength that I envy. She's strong and committed and is a loyal friend and sister. I kind of wish I had of had a friend like her when I was in school.

And Mike, oh he is an awesome older brother and I simply loved how adorable he was with his girlfriend. I will admit it, I have a little crush on Mike <3

The romance:
The relationship develops beautifully in this sequel. I loved the innocence of their relationship and the sometimes awkward moments that I think most people can relate to. But now they know how each other feels, they start to explore the attraction between them, and boy do things get all nice and steamy! They are also challenged by the extreme and often dangerous situations they find themselves in. Overcoming those challenges together is what makes their relationship stronger.

The writing:
Marney's writing is so naturally and just flows so beautifully. The dialogue in particular, was excellent. Each character has their own 'voice' and their personality shines through. I can hear Rachel's country roots in how she talks, and I'm not sure how, but I swear I can hear Mycroft's accent!

A fantastic sequel to this brilliant urban mystery romance! Every Word is a sexy and intelligent story with gritty and heart stopping action!

Sexuality: medium / some heavy kissing & some references to sex
Violence: medium-strong / descriptions of autopsy
Language: medium / some f words
Drugs & alcohol: medium / main character smokes regularly & some minor underage drinking

Have you read many YA crime/mystery novels?

{ARC Review} The Only Answer by Magan Vernon

Title: The Only Answer
Series: The Only #2
Author: Magan Vernon
Published: 25th August 2014
Age Group: New Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: eARC provided by author for fair & honest review
Rating: 4.5/5

The sequel to the international hit, The Only Exception.

A boy burdened with a family legacy.
A girl haunted by a shattered past.
Both searching for answers to a future threatened by the unknown.

Three years ago, conservative Trey Chapman and liberal Monica Remy met their match in one another - and made the only exception that would change their lives forever.
Now, Trey's father is running for president, forcing Trey and Monica to put aside their personal beliefs to be the model of perfection.

But fate has other ideas, casting the family in scandal.

Some seek to use that disgrace to further their family legacy, while others refuse to let go of the past. Trey and Monica soon find themselves lost among questions that challenge their true feelings. Will they be able to rediscover that the only answer lies with one another, or will they lose each other forever?

A fabulous continuation to Trey & Monica's story!

The story:
I absolutely loved Monica & Trey when we first met them in The Only Exception, and it was so lovely to catch up with them 3 years on to see how their relationship has progressed. They are now engaged and are faced with lots of new challenges to overcome, all while dealing with the pressures of public life due to Trey's father's political campaign.

At first Trey & Monica struggle to deal with the media constantly hounding them and judging every move they make. With all the lies and scandals circulating around them, a few crack start to appear. They both need to learn how to trust each other and their loved ones before the media circus tears them apart.

The characters:
Trey is still the sweet 'good guy' that I fell in love with in The Only Exception. He's kind and always does the right thing by his family and friends. But Trey learns a lot in the book. He realises that doing the right thing by his father in terms of his political career is not always the right thing for his relationship with Monica.

I love Monica, the kick ass outspoken woman who is not afraid to speak her mind. On the surface she appears unbreakable, but around Trey we got to see a more fragile side to her, and although she's overcome a lot of her fears surrounding her sexual assault, facing the media frenzy challenges her in a whole new way.

There are also cameos from John Boy & Melanie, who I absolutely adore (you can read their story in The Only One). And we also get to properly meet Trey's 'troubled' brother Tripp, who I seriously hope get's his own book, because oh boy does he have a story to tell! (hint hint Ms Vernon)

The romance:
Trey and Monica could not be more different on paper. With many differing opinions, especially in the political arena, they have a lot of colourful debates, but nothing that these two can't overcome. What I love about their relationship is that they show it's okay to have different opinions and ideas and still be in a loving relationship. They make it work by respecting each other's differences, and it was so lovely to watch these two continue to grow as individuals and as a couple.

The writing:
I always love Magan's novel's and Trey & Monica's story is still one of my favourites for hers. The characters are well developed with strong individual personalities. Her writing is always full of sassy wit that you are sure to snort at while reading. 

The Only Answer is a fabulous continuation to Trey & Monica's story. Full of humour and plenty of drama, fans of The Only Exception won't be disappointed!

Sexuality: medium / some sex scenes, discussions of abortion/pro life etc
Violence: mild
Language: mild-medium / occasional f word
Drugs & alcohol: medium / some drinking, discussions of addiction & rehab 

Have you read any of Magan's books?

{ARC Review} Let's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

Title: Let's Get Lost
Author: Adi Alsaid
Published: 29th July 2014
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary
Source: eARC provided by Harlequin Australia for fair & honest review
Rating: 4/5

Five strangers. Countless adventures. One epic way to get lost. 

Four teens across the country have only one thing in common: a girl named LEILA. She crashes into their lives in her absurdly red car at the moment they need someone the most. 

There's HUDSON, a small-town mechanic who is willing to throw away his dreams for true love. And BREE, a runaway who seizes every Tuesday—and a few stolen goods along the way. ELLIOT believes in happy endings…until his own life goes off-script. And SONIA worries that when she lost her boyfriend, she also lost the ability to love. 

Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia find a friend in Leila. And when Leila leaves them, their lives are forever changed. But it is during Leila's own 4,268-mile journey that she discovers the most important truth— sometimes, what you need most is right where you started. And maybe the only way to find what you're looking for is to get lost along the way.

This Book Was Like Reading 5 Companion Novellas

The story:
Reading this book was like reading 5 companion novellas rather than 1 regular novel. The story follows Leila on her road trip to see the Northern Lights and along the way she meets 4 strangers, and we see how Leila affects each of their lives in very different ways.

First we meet HUDSON, a young mechanic on the eve of an important college interview. Leila and Hudson spend the day & night on a fun and romantic filled adventure, leading Hudson to question his future.

Next up we meet BREE, a runaway free sprit. Bree is still very much a child, not wanting to accept responsibilities for consequences. And as a result Bree gets Leila into some sticky situations!

We move along to ELLIOT next, a sweet as can be 'good guy' out on his prom night. He's all set to tell his best friend he's in love with her, but things don't got according to plan. Enter Leila. Together they set out to get Elliot his HEA movie ending. So sweet!

SONIA's story was next, and her's was probably the most well developed. With an interesting backstory it allowed for stronger characterisation. After her boyfriend died over a year ago she's struggled to move on with her life despite meeting a new love. She's ridden with guilt over falling for a new man and is afraid others will judge her for moving on. I loved seeing her grow in the short time we get to spend with her.

And finally we get to hear LEILA's story. After helping all her new friends in their lives, it's time for Leila to address her own issues and take control of her life. It's very difficult to say much about her story without revealing a major spoiler, but it was definitely worth the wait to find out what motivated her road trip.

The characters:
All the character's were unique and fun (albeit a little unrealistic), but what I found the most interesting was seeing how Leila affected each other their lives as she travelled through. However for the majority of the book I felt very disconnected from Leila, knowing very little about her life or her personality. Leila's characterisation was very subtle and it's not until the last section of the book that we really get to know her. I loved her vibrant personality and just wish we could have seen more of her.

The romance:
There was a little romance sprinkled in here and there, with Leila & Hudson, Elliot and his best friend and Sonia with her new boyfriend. But the book really focusses on the relationships between Leila and each of the strangers she meets on her road trip, rather than romance.

The writing:
Told in a slightly unconventional way, I was left undecided about the writing style for the majority of the book. While I enjoyed the unique approach of having 5 different 3rd person POVs focussing on each character I felt that it limited the character development and most importantly the plot development for Leila's story. The first half of the book is very slow and it took me a while to really get into the book. After reading Leila's POV in the last section, I think I would have preferred the book be told from her perspective all along.

I'm still a little torn about my feelings with this book. It was quite slow to begin with and a little difficult to connect with the characters, and a lot of what happens is quite unrealistic, with characters not really acting their age. However, it was a still a fun and lighthearted summery read. If you like a light contemporary YA, then give this one a go!

Sexuality: mild-medium / some heavy kissing and mention of sex
Violence: none
Language: mild-medium / occasional f word
Drugs & alcohol: mild-medium / mentions of drug use and 'stoners' 

Have you read any books with 5+ mini stories?
What are your favourite road trip novels?