A Shadow Bright And Burning by Jessica Cluess {SST Review + Giveaway}

Title: A Shadow Bright And Burning (Kingdom On Fire #1)
Author : Jessica Cluess
Genre : Young Adult, Fantasy
Publication Date : September 20th, 2016
Publisher :  Random House Children’s
| Goodreads | Amazon |


I am Henrietta Howel. The first female sorcerer. The prophesied one. Or am I?

Henrietta Howel can burst into flames. When she’s brought to London to train with Her Majesty’s sorcerers, she meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, young men eager to test her powers and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her. As Henrietta discovers the secrets hiding behind the glamour of sorcerer life, she begins to doubt that she’s the true prophesied one. With battle looming, how much will she risk to save the city—and the one she loves?

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For Better Or Worse by Lauren Layne {Review}

Title: For Better Or Worse (The Wedding Belles #2)
Author : Lauren Layne
Genre : Adult, Contemporary
Publication Date : August 30th, 2016
Publisher :  Pocket Books
| Goodreads | Amazon |


When small-town girl Heather Fowler finally gets promoted from assistant to actual wedding planner, she’s determined to make it as one of Manhattan’s elite Wedding Belles. Unfortunately, her first client demands an opulent black-tie affair at the Plaza…in five months’ time. Heather’s days quickly become a flurry of cake tastings, dress-fittings, RSVP cards, and bridal tantrums. But what she’s really losing sleep over is the live music blaring from her playboy neighbor’s apartment all night.

Five years ago, Josh Tanner was an up-and-comer on Wall Street, complete with the penthouse and the migraines. But a grim cancer diagnosis made him realize there is more to life than the corner office. If only he could convince his pretty, workaholic neighbor to let loose, too. As Heather lets down her guard, Josh is surprised when he starts falling for the sweet, vulnerable woman hiding beneath those power suits. Soon, it’s Heather’s turn to convince Josh to take the biggest risk of all: love.



Seriously.  Seriously.  This series only gets better, and I know not what to do with myself until the next books comes out in October.  Anyhoo, without cribbing too much (for now) I’d like to quickly take you through the amazingly, ridiculously, cute story that is For Better Or Worse.  And yes, I do realise calling an Adult story “cute” is not exactly the best way to introduce it, but bear with me here, I’m onto something.

With For Better Or Worse, we come back to the Weddings Belles’ and meet Heather Fowler.  She’s a small-town girl with big dreams, and successfully making it in Manhattan’s elite wedding planning agency takes centre post.  She’s almost there, but to work as hard as Heather wants to, a girl’s gotta get her sleep.  And Heather’s sleep has been terrorised by her bad boy neighbour Josh Tanner.  Cranky requests to tone down his rather loud band practice turns into fun banter and flirty conversations, and arouses Heather’s interest in Josh greatly.  But of course, Josh has secrets of his own, and he’s not going to give them up to Heather very easily.

Now, while we’re on the subject of Josh, here’s the thing:  He wasn’t my favourite hero.  There.  I said it.  Like ripping a fucking band-aid.  The thing is, for me, first impressions do matter, and Josh didn’t make the best of first impressions.  He was quite crude and at the cost of giving away a little too much, he actually kissed Heather to “shut her up.”  That’s…well, weird and not normal is one thing, but it’s also, technically, assault.  Again, I wasn’t too impressed by it, and even though it was pretty hot, (at least for Heather) I was a little turned off by that kind of behaviour.  It fit into his character profile, definitely, but just no.  Okay?

Apart from this slightly psycho behaviour in the beginning, I liked Josh.  He was a typical bad boy, but not the type that would make you roll your eyes and punch something.  He was a happy-go-lucky kind of guy, he used to be a big deal on Wall Street so he’s obviously not an idiot, and the guy can sing.  Musicians > Non-Musicians any time, so my irritation with Josh’s behaviour died a comfortable death.  On the other hand, Josh was, well, a guy, and we know guys can be dense, so he took his own sweet time with his relationship with Heather.  I wouldn’t exactly call it slow-burn, but I did feel like romance took its own sweet time to get to that sweet spot we all love.

Heather, by God, was an angel.  LL writes exactly the kind of women that I want to be when I grow up, and Heather was no different.  She was smart and talented and gorgeous, but she was also this kind-hearted girl, whose depth you could see when she was faced with difficult situations.  The book follows the Robinson wedding that Heather was planning, and it was clear how much Heather’s dream meant to her through it.  She was determined, a force to be reckoned with, and maybe a little obsessed with not taking anyone’s help.  It was amazing to see how she kept herself together, no matter what.

LL obviously knows what makes her audience tick, because she hits the nail on the head each time, bang on.  She is a talented writer, no doubt, but For Better Or Worse also proves that she can handle a plethora of emotional issues in a book, without compromising the two things readers flock to her for—banter and romance.  The only thing that you can do next is A) Rock yourself back and forth waiting for To Love And To Cherish and B) Wait for someone to pick up movie rights, because GODAMMIT it’s about time!

PS – I want to know exactly whom to contact about the two month gap between this book and the next, why, Publisher WHY?


Georgia Peaches And Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown {Review}

Title : Georgia Peaches And Other Forbidden Fruit
Author : Jaye Robin Brown
Genre : Young Adult, Contemporary
Publication Date : August 30th, 2016
Publisher :  HarperTeen
Goodreads | Amazon


Joanna Gordon has been out and proud for years, but when her popular radio evangelist father remarries and decides to move all three of them from Atlanta to the more conservative Rome, Georgia, he asks Jo to do the impossible: to lie low for the rest of her senior year. And Jo reluctantly agrees.

Although it is (mostly) much easier for Jo to fit in as a straight girl, things get complicated when she meets Mary Carlson, the oh-so-tempting sister of her new friend at school. But Jo couldn’t possibly think of breaking her promise to her dad. Even if she’s starting to fall for the girl. Even if there’s a chance Mary Carlson might be interested in her, too. Right? Continue reading

Rock Wedding by Nalini Singh {Review}

Title : Rock Wedding (Rock Kiss #4)
Author : Nalini Singh
Genre : Adult, Contemporary
Publication Date : July 19th, 2016
Publisher :  TKA
Goodreads | Amazon


After a lifetime of longing for a real family, Sarah Smith thought she’d finally found her home with rock star Abe Bellamy, even if she knew Abe didn’t love her the way she loved him. But their brief relationship, filled with tragedy and heartache, nearly destroyed her. Alone, emotions in turmoil, and already shaky self-esteem shattered, Sarah struggles to pick up the pieces in the wake of their divorce.

Abe knows he’s to blame for the end of his marriage. Caught in a web of painful memories, he pushed away the best thing in his life – the sexy, smart woman he adores – breaking them both in the process. Then fate throws him a second chance to get things right, to prove to Sarah that she means everything to him. Abe desperately wants that second chance at love…even if he knows he doesn’t deserve it.

But can he convince Sarah – now strong and independent without him – to risk her wounded heart one more time?



I am a disgruntled, disappointed, highly frustrated potato sitting six feet under the ground in my field of high expectations.  You see, Rock Wedding was supposed to be the book that takes the Rock Kiss series out with a bang.  But Rock Wedding turned out to be the weakest book of the series—I’ve given this much thought, and unfortunately, it’s true.  

Rock Wedding is the story of Abe Bellamy—the member of Schoolboy Choir that we know the least about—and his ex-wife Sarah Smith.  The gist of the story is that while they were married, Abe had these phases where he was everything Sarah wanted, but also a nightmare when he was on drugs and booze.  Basically, one of those men who make you feel on top of the world and in the same breath push you six feet under with only their cruel, cutting words.  Now, at the cost of sounding hella immature, I’m going to say that Abe was a complete tool.  He was an asshole, most definitely, but he also played the role of dumb, mindless alpha male perfectly.  The only reason I continued to read the book is because of my love for all things Nalini Singh and Rock Kiss.

Sarah was probably the character that disappointed me the most.  She was clichéd and from what I read about her, she was also quite the Mary Sue—which is a surprise because all of the previous ladies in the series have brought their own unique personalities to the table.  In what might one of the lamest moves to make as an ex-wife of a drunk and doped up rocker, Sarah let Abe’s manipulations guide her into taking him back.  He was a dick to her, an inattentive husband, and had there been more angst and more begging for forgiveness, I might have even been convinced of their “love.”  But sex was made out to be the unspoken healer of all old wounds, and Sarah went on doing exactly everything that I didn’t expect she would.  She also had the story of a woman who stood up on her own two feet and against all odds with little to no education, became a successful entrepreneur.  Obviously, nothing but passing references were made to this.  WHY?!  WHYYYYYYY

Abe, on the other hand, was as insufferable as his counter-part, so these two were made for each other in that way at least.  He was all “I’m so sorry,”  “I was an asshole,”  “I’ll never do that again,” but he was not above using sex for manipulation.  It grated on my nerves majorly and took away all my excitement for this series.  I was not convinced by this character, not convinced by his motivations, and unfortunately, I blame the poor writing.  The Abe of the past occupied too big a part in my mind while I tried to reconcile him with the change Abe of the present, but it just didn’t happen.  Also, the boys seemed to be on a hiatus, and while I understand that they wanted a break and some time with their women, damn it made me sad.  I wanted to see them make some music, jam together, anything.  Rock Wedding, instead, turned out to just be a collection of weddings, this huge, muscular guy Abe, and neatly tying all plot holes with hot pink ribbons.

Giving this book a two star rating makes me reconsider and want to read the entire story again—but sadly, this is what I feel.  I was expecting so so much, and what I got was a rush ended book from an author whose work I usually adore.  I have heard all about a spin-off series featuring Gabriel’s rugby brothers—and I am looking forward to it—but sigh.  Somehow, the magic of the first two books was majorly AWOL in the follow-ups and here’s me being miserable about it.