Review: Frostbitten by Heather Beck

Frostbitten by Heather Beck

Series: First in the Frosbitten series
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult
Publisher: Enchanted Publishing
Release Date: 13 September 2014
Length: 247 pages (PDF)

Great beauty hides dark secrets…

Blurb: Seventeen-year-old Anastasia Lockhart has never led an easy life, but when she starts getting into serious trouble, she’s sent to live with her grandparents in Cedar Falls. The small, picturesque town hasn’t changed since she visited four years ago, with one exception – the presence of a handsome, mysterious boy named Frost. Despite warnings from her grandparents and friends to stay away from Frost, Anastasia can’t deny their attraction, and the more time they spend together, the deeper in love they fall. Unfortunately, Frost has a secret that is beyond Anastasia’s wildest imagination, and she soon finds herself in the midst of a supernatural legend that has haunted Cedar Falls for years. Can Anastasia and Frost’s love really overcome anything, or are their fates much darker? 

*** I received an ebook in exchange for an honest review***

In Short: A quick book, full of feels.

This review is long overdue. At first I didn’t know how to react. There is definitely room for a second book but we, the readers, aren’t left hanging on by a thread! That’s what is good about the end. Now, let me go back to the beginning.

Poor Anastasia. She gets shipped off to live with her grandparents because her mother doesn’t want to look after her rebellious daughter anymore. It felt like she was just wanting a little attention. Anastasia definitely gets it from her grandmother though who takes on that motherly role. Anastasia is lucky enough to have her childhood friend to help her through school.

Grandpa would be my favourite character though. He sticks to his guns. He knows everyone, attends the town meetings and goes shooting with his friends but when push comes to shove he is there for his grand-daughter. You know what to expect from his character.

The author gives a lot of detail about the dangers of the forest, whether through sounds, dreams or people giving Anastasia warnings. There was even the incident when the girls go peeping at Frost through his window and plenty goes awry in that scene.

There is that underlying theme of “friendship and first love”, knowing who your true friends are and fighting for what you believe in. Parents aren’t always right, but they will do almost anything for their children whether or not. It’s heartwarming, and this book is perfect as a winter read.

My rating:

4 Leaf

Book Buy Links: Barnes and Noble | Amazon

Author Stalker: Goodreads | Website | Youtube

Heather Beck is not new to the Writing scene with about 50 titles under her belt. Heather, a Canadian Author and Screenwriter, began writing professionally at 16 years of age. Since then, Heather has written eleven well-reviewed books, including the best-selling series, The Horror Diaries, which has sold in six continents!

Heather received an Honors Bachelor of Arts from university where she specialized in English and studied an array of disciplines. Currently, she is working on the Frostbitten series and has a middle grade anthology slated for publication. As a screenwriter, Heather has multiple television shows and movies in development. Her short films include: Young Eyes, The Rarity, Too Sensible For Love, Circular, and the forthcoming Witch’s Brew.

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Review & ARC Excerpt: Breakfall (Fall Trilogy, #1) by Kate Pavelle

Breakfall Cover

Breakfall by Kate Pavelle

Series: The Fallen trilogy
Genre: Contemporary, Erotica, LGBT, Romance
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: 27 June 2014
Length: 270 pages (paperback)

» Book blurb
Sexual assault doesn’t discriminate. Aikido instructor Sean Gallaway learns that when he falls prey to a violent stalker. Asbjorn Lund, a karate sensei on campus and a Navy vet, yearns to teach Sean how to survive. How to overcome. How to recover. Sean feels hunted and alone as the stalker escalates, testing his boundaries. With the entire dojo at his back, Sean resolves to play bait. He will catch the predator stalking him and reclaim his sense of self if it’s the last thing he does. Yet Sean’s hunger for justice clashes with Asbjorn’s protective streak, and their budding romance might not survive their war of wills.   

» My Review
Breakfall is narrated in third person and follows two men, Sean & Asbjorn. I’ve been so used to reading individual chapters for each character that this was a welcome change. I found myself stumbling over the name Asbjorn. I still don’t know how to pronounce it. I just went with a silent Y and read it as As-born. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

I don’t recall reading a specific city or town that this book was set in. However, the local martial arts club is located near or on an MIT University campus. To be honest, location isn’t important. The karate, aikido and other martial arts plays a vital role in the book and in their lives. Sean & Asbjorn have learned from masters of their chosen art. They live by it and are passing that knowledge on to others. Martial art language is used in phrases like “extend ki” and ‘kiai shouts”. Some phrases aren’t explained as well as others but you get the gist.

Because of their passion for martial arts, we learn about different styles of falling or breaking a fall. The ‘Breakfall’ isn’t gracious at all. No roly-poly or walk in the park! It’s hard, it hurts and can leave you battered and bruised. But your still alive and you have to learn from it. Both characters experience breakfall in different ways: Asbjorn through the death of a loved one and Sean suffering the sexual abuse. I didn’t really understand the book title until after I had read it.

Breakfall is a Contemporary Romance. I don’t think it’s labelled New Adult fiction, but they are both still in University and Sean fits that age range. This was my first LGBT romance, and it doesn’t disappoint. The sexual aspect of the relationship is new to these characters, It starts in the eyes, longing gazes, then increases to heavy petting and moves towards a life-long romance.

In terms of theme, Sean is dealt a difficult hand with a sexual predator stalking his every move and taunting him with phone calls. The abuse isn’t glossed over, it reads as very realistic. Alongside the martial arts connection, dealing with the PTSD following the abuse really bonds these two men together.

This is the first book I’ve read by Kate Pavelle. She has other romance publications. Steel City, released in 2013 is LGBT and also M/M so I might look into that series. I’m also the kind of person who needs to know the end of the story, and will definitely be picking up the rest of the Fall trilogy as its released.

Breakfall is a truly compelling story, that brings out your emotion. Sexual abuse must be hard topic to write authentically, but Kate Pavelle has written it well. I really liked this book. If you’re big on romance, and haven’t read LGBT before, I recommend reading Breakfall. Read the teaser excerpt below. If it leaves you wanting more, make sure you enter the giveaway below!

» My Rating

4 Leaf

IndieSagelogoDisclaimer: I received an ARC for an honest review.

» Book Buy Links
Book DepositoryAmazon | B&N | KOBODreamspinner Press

» An Excerpt
THE QUALITY of silence around him awakened him. Sean strained his ears in vain for familiar sounds. The car traffic of Cambridge was replaced by the gray, early morning stillness of nearby woods. There was no sound of a clock ticking, no popping of ancient radiators, no footsteps of fellow students overhead. The silence was like a blanket of cool, morning fog, comforting and private.

He turned toward the source of breathing to his right. This was Sean’s first-ever opportunity to observe Asbjorn at leisure. His eyes, deep like the ocean blue, were closed, their pale eyelashes stretching down in a graceful arc. It amused Sean to find faded, sun-kissed freckles on Asbjorn’s nose and cheekbones—a testament to his heritage as well as to his lifestyle. The scar splitting his right eyebrow was still angry and red, a reminder of his bout with Don, a fight without a victor. Sean let his gaze travel down the chiseled planes of Asbjorn’s exquisite, sharp cheekbones, his lovely and defined jaw blurred by morning stubble, his stubborn chin. Above his chin, his lips: lush and generous and tinged pink with promise.

Sean leaned forward, sharing his breath with Asbjorn, feeling the stirrings of air on his nose. He brushed his lips against the stubbly jaw with a soft caress.

Asbjorn opened his pale lids. “What time is it, Sean?”

“I dunno. Early.” Sean reached for his cell phone, only to realize it was still in police custody.

“What day is it?” The pressure-cooker of recent events had left him disoriented.

“Uh, Thursday. Thanksgiving.” Asbjorn’s voice was still clogged with sleep.

“Shit.” Sean hit his head back against the pillow. The lab. He never handed in his stupid physics lab report.

Asbjorn reached for him with his large hands. “Shh. Don’t worry about anything right now.” Asbjorn’s voice soothed him. The strength of Asbjorn’s arms filled him with strange awareness as he was pulled in closer. The warmth was comforting, and he did not resist. He felt a cool nose nuzzle his neck.

“Bjorn!”

“Hmmm?”

“You’re not helping.”

“Not helping what?”

Sean blushed. “My morning situation.”

Sharp teeth worried the tan skin of his shoulder. Soon, a warm, wet tongue laved the nibbled skin smooth again. He felt sensuous lips taste of his arm and neck, and Sean felt himself arch. His morning wood was now a fearsome force of nature.

He felt Asbjorn press into his lower back, feeling his heat and the smooth hardness trapped between their bodies.

“Good to know I’m not alone in my predicament.”

» About the Author & Stalker Links
Kate PavelleJust about everything Kate Pavelle writes is colored by her life experiences, whether the book in your hand is romance, mystery, or adventure. Kate grew up under a totalitarian regime behind the Iron Curtain. In her life, she has been a hungry refugee and a hopeful immigrant, a crime victim and a force of lawful vengeance, a humble employee and a business owner, an unemployed free-lancer and a corporate executive, a scientist and an artist, a storyteller volunteering for her local storytelling guild, a martial artist, and a triathlete. Kate’s frequent travels imbue her stories with local color from places both exotic and mundane.

Kate Pavelle is encouraged in her writing by her husband, children and pets, and tries not to kill her extensive garden in her free time. Out of the five and a half languages she speaks, English is her favorite comfort zone.

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

» GIVEAWAY

Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

If I StayIf I Stay by Gayle Forman

Series: #1 in the If I Stay series
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: 
Doubleday Children’s
Release Date:
This edition was published in 2009.
Length: 210 pages (paperback)

» Book blurb
Just listen,’ Adam says with a voice that sounds like shrapnel. I open my eyes wide now. I sit up as much as I can. And I listen.

‘Stay,’ he says.

Everybody has to make choices. Some might break you.

For seventeen-year-old Mia, surrounded by a wonderful family, friends and a gorgeous boyfriend decisions might seem tough, but they’re all about a future full of music and love, a future that’s brimming with hope.

But life can change in an instant.

A cold February morning . . . a snowy road . . . and suddenly all of Mia’s choices are gone. Except one. As alone as she’ll ever be, Mia must make the most difficult choice of all.

Haunting, heart-rending and ultimately life-affirming, If I Stay will make you appreciate all that you have, all that you’ve lost – and all that might be.

» First sentence
Everyone thinks it was because of the snow.

» My Summary
Talk about a vague first sentence. It’s obvious something has happened but you have to read the next chapter to know what. It’s fast paced. The first chapter Mia’s family are at home on a snow day. The next chapter Mia is standing in the ditch on a roadside. But that’s what sucks you in. Something is always happening. The words tore me to shreds, literally crying all over my library book because the story is so emotional, but I was nicely put back together on the very last page!

» My Review
This story is set in Oregon and told through the eyes of Mia Hall. Gayle hasn’t forgotten about the secondary characters because we learn so much about them in Mia’s memory moments. Her parents, the little bro Teddy, her boyfriend Adam, and BFF Kim. My favourite scenes are the quiet times with her grandparents. Gramps is my favourite character, he fights for Mia in his own way while others seem to be falling apart around her.

“It’s okay,’ he tells me. ‘If you want to go. Everyone wants you to stay. I want you to stay more than I’ve ever wanted anything in my life.’ His voice cracks with emotion. He stops, clears his throat, takes a breath, and continues. ‘But that’s what I want and I could see why it might not be what you want. So I just wanted to tell you that I understand if you go. It’s okay if you have to leave us. It’s okay if you want to stop fighting.”

I’m finding this so hard to write because its such a beautiful story. I don’t think I’ve read anything that I can compare this to. I love If I Stay! It’s fast paced and will have you in a mess in mere minutes! The only downside is the tiny cliffhanger. It’s not the kind you throw your book across them room. You just have to accept it because Mia’s story can’t end there. But after such a gripping story, you WILL pick up the second book Where She Went in a flash!

Gayle Forman

Gayle Forman has written other works though. I Was Here, expected to be released in 2015, sounds like another emotional journey of two besties who are quickly torn apart and one is left to pick up the pieces. Just One Day, another series, looks similar to If I Stay, but sounds like a much lighter story line. I think its about Allyson, a post-grad student who has been travelling around Europe to find the boy of her dreams on the very last day.

I can easily recommend this to all YA fans. Probably gonna get shot for this, but I was moved by this more than The Fault In Our Stars.

If I Stay has been adapted to film and will be in theatres later this month. Chloe Grace Morets looks like the perfect Mia Hall. Read the book before the film! It’s always better 🙂

» My rating
This was a fast read that had me in tears! Totally worth each & every leaf.

5 Leaf

» Author Stalker Links
Website: http://www.gayleforman.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/GayleForman
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GayleFormanAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/gayleforman
Tumblr: http://gayleforman.tumblr.com/

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Review: Ink by Amanda Sun & GIVEAWAY

Ink (Paper Gods, #1)Title: Ink by Amanda Sun
Series: Paper Gods #1
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance, Japanese Fiction
Publisher:
Harlequin Teen
Release Date:
 2013
Length: 369 pages (paperback)

» Book blurb
On the heels of a family tragedy, Katie Greene must move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn’t know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks, and she can’t seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building. When Katie meets aloof Tomohiro, star of the school’s kendo team, she is intrigued by him… and a little scared. His tough attitude seems meant to keep her at a distance, and when they’re near eachother, strange things happen. Pens explode. Ink drips from nowhere. And unless Katie is seeing things, drawings come to life. Somehow Tomo is connected to the Kami – powerful ancient beings who once ruled Japan – and as feelings develop between Katie and Tomo, things begin to spiral out of control. The wrong people are starting to ask questions… and if they discover the truth, no one will be safe.

» First sentence
I made it halfway across the courtyard before I realized I was still wearing my school slippers.

I had to comment on this. It sounds so random but we are introduced to Katie’s new life in one sentence. She brings in learning a new culture from this get go.

» Summary
The story is narrated by Katie, the main character, in the first person. The book is set in Shizuoka, Japan. There seems to be quite a lot of detail in the setting, from the school, gardens, shops, local transport. Of course, these might be fiction (I’ve never been to Japan) but it’s written really well.

Japanese culture was a main feature in the book as Katie learns new customs and the language, we learn with her. I took Japanese for a couple of years at high-school so I recognised the phrases and it made me appreciate how the author has included some simple words, like:

“Itterasshai. 
Go and come back safely.”

The use of Japanese mythology in young adult fiction isn’t something I have read before. It’s really interesting to learn a new culture and it’s stories. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how the story progresses in the next instalment, Rain.

I don’t know much about the author. I believe this is her only series. I would compare this to the likes of Percy Jackson, just because it’s YA mythology. That’s probably where comparisons end. I haven’t read anything like this before.

I really loved this book. She makes a couple of friends at her new school & once a boy comes on the scene, she puts all her attention into it. People might tell you that isn’t the case, but really it is. She lies to her Aunt that it’s a different boy, one that she might approve of. The story seems realistic.

I would guess that the locale is pretty correct too. Lots of people, Sakura not lasting long, the transport, even the not so good side of town. Every city has one of those suburbs don’t they?

There is an emotional side of the book too. Katie feels a connection through the loss of parents and she gets the best advice from the least expected place, when she really needs it. This was one of my favourite moments.

“They tell you you’ll forget how it used to be. You’ll get used to it, that it’s better to move on. They don’t realize you can’t. You’re not the same person anymore.”

Secondary characters really play a big part in giving you information. Like her BFF’s brother who works at a monastery, and Jun, the Kendo champ. All the characters have a role to play. No-one is unnecessary, right down to the pregnant girl drawn on the page.

I’m really looking forward to reading the next book. Ink was really easy to read, even with the use of Japanese, it’s simple to understand and the culture shines through. I have a secret Japan crush. I wanna go there one day.

I would encourage people who want to try a different mythology to read this book. Also people who have lived in their own country who have a secret passion for travel, read this. I do think this is best suited for young adults, or early teens. Older readers might not enjoy or appreciate the high-school crush story as much.

» My rating

5 Leaf
» Author Stalker Links

Facebook: facebook.com/AmandaSunBooks
Twitter: @Amanda_Sun #ink
Website: http://www.amandasunbooks.com/
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Blog: http://amandasunbooks.blogspot.ca/

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