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Danielle

What Danielle Did Next

A YA and NA book review blog

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The Fellowship of the Ring
J.R.R. Tolkien
The Girl of Fire and Thorns
Rae Carson
Prep School Confidential
Kara Taylor
When the World Was Flat (and we were in love)
Ingrid Jonach
Never Too Far
Abbi Glines
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Sarah J. Maas
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A Little Too Far
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Treason - Jo MacAuley Read more reviews at What Danielle Did Next It’s been a while since I’ve read a middle-grade book but since the years are passing far too quickly and my nephew is rapidly approaching that age category I’ve been mentally making a note of books I hope we can enjoy together once he realises that while yes Lego is full of awesome, books are even cooler as is his bookworm aunt…wishful thinking? Let’s not go there. So I was excited to have the opportunity to review the new SECRETS & SPIES series by Jo MacAuley.In book one we meet Beth Johnson. 14 years old, she is already making waves on the stage as one of London’s most talented young actresses, taking advantage of Charles II’s decree allowing females take to the stage. She also has other hidden talents and is a spy tasked with ensuring the safety of the King himself.When a mysterious ship drifts up the Thames sparking rumours of an impending War Beth must team up with fellow teen spy Ralph and young naval clerk John to ensure the safety of the King and England.I really enjoyed Treason. Beth is a spunky, intelligent and courageous heroine, keen to look out for her friends and meet any task set by the mysterious spy master Sir Alan Strange. I enjoyed her relationship with fellow waif Maisie and how protective she was of the young girl. Her unwillingness to be pushed around by fellow Thespian Benjamin Lovett and her quick wit was enjoyable to read.I liked how MacAuley weaved the plot around the infamous Gunpowder Plot and Guy Fawkes, it introduced just enough history to spark an interest for the age group the books are aimed at while not overwhelming the reader with too many facts that might take away from the overall adventure.The characters of Ralph and John were equally as entertaining as Beth and their exploits together were thrilling for middle-grade readers.TREASON is the first in a series of exciting adventures featuring an irrepressible heroine and her fellow cohorts filled with an unquenchable thirst for mystery and brimming with courage. Highly recommend for the pre-teens!

Against All Grain: Delectable Paleo Recipes to Eat Well & Feel Great

Against All Grain: Delectable Paleo Recipes to Eat Well & Feel Great - Danielle Walker Excellent compilation of grain free/paleo recipes. Written in a friendly easy to read style. Strictly a recipe book, for background on paleo diet I recommend Balanced Bites or Paleoista.
Walking Disaster  - Jamie McGuire, Dan Bittner DNF at 50% I enjoyed Beautiful Disaster despite my issues with it. One of its biggest draws was the character of Travis Maddox. He was equal parts sweet and frustrating so I was interested to read the love story of Abby and Travis from his perspective. Sadly however Travis's point of view was not enough to compel me to continue reading and I DNF'd at 50%. The story with the exception of the first couple of chapters was a straight retelling and while interesting to read Travis's thoughts and actions in his own words, the fact that as a character he was more than willing to let his feelings be known in Beautiful Disaster meant that the insight I craved into his behaviour was lacking. I enjoyed the prologue where we got to meet his mother and it was heartbreaking to read his exchanges with her but overall I was left dissatisfied and unwilling to continue.
Fallen Too Far (Too Far, #1) - Abbi Glines Read more reviews at What Danielle Did Next4.5 stars! I was approaching a reading slump of epic proportions when I picked up FALLEN TOO FAR. I had read and enjoyed Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines so was familiar with her work but my feelings about New Adult were rapidly edging towards “jaded” and “If I eye-roll anymore my eyes may fall out” territory so it was with some trepidation that I finally decided to hang out with Rush and Blaire. I know for a fact some fellow blogger besties also winced more when I cracked open this book than they do getting a bikini wax! There’s a REASON why when you think of New Adult you think of Abbi Glines. She does this shizz well y’all! No question about it! This is her playground and I was one happy bookworm playing on her swing set. You know I’m excited about a book when I make NO SENSE but you get what I’m saying!In FALLEN TOO FAR we meet Blaire, not even twenty and has already gone through more than most. I have to say how refreshing it was to meet an NA heroine that while she had gone through some serious pain wasn’t “damaged” and clearly in need of a man to “heal” her. Blaire was awesome. She was chock full of sass and determination and SENSIBLE! Praise the Lord! I immediately felt sympathy for her and was rooting for her as I felt the pain and uncertainty that ran through her as she got up the courage to confront her dad for the first time in years after he left when her sister died and she has just buried her mom by herself (swell move dad). It really upset me how she had been dealt such a harsh hand that she had to think about rationing food and gas and selling her granny’s house while her dad lives the high life. What I loved though was while she struggled, she made the best of a situation. She may have $20 in her back pocket but she’ll do more with that $20 than most people would do with $200. It reminded me of my mom and how she struggles yet always makes sure we don’t go without. It really touched me and I didn’t expect it but I loved how Abbi injected moments like that into the book that are seemingly so simple yet can touch your heart and to be honest bring tears to your eyes (it did to mine!)Blaire arrives at her Dad’s new house to find that he’s left for Paris with his new wife and is immediately confronted by Rush, son of dad’s new wife who is in no way pleased to see her. After a few barbed comments, Blaire leaves but Rush seeing something special in this little firecracker has a change of heart and offers her the maid’s bedroom under the stairs. Thanks Rush…I guess. Blaire, always finding a silver lining dusts herself off, making a home for herself and getting a job in the local country club. As time goes by, Blaire and Rush’s circles start to merge into one and the two are drawn to each other. Can Blaire and Rush find a way past the pain, the secrets and the family drama and find love? Or will it all end in heartbreak?I was immediately pulled into the undeniable chemistry Rush and Blaire had and was captivated as I hungrily devoured page after page, aching for their first flirtation, first kiss, first…everything! I wrote in my notes while reading “Gosh it’s soooo freaking HAWT!” Abbi Glines knows how to write romance and boy can she write a love scene! Needless to say reading those pages I clearly didn’t need to add blusher to my make-up routine for about THREE days ;)I adored Blaire from the first moment I met her and while it took me a while longer to warm up to Rush, I did fall for him especially during sweet moments where he got Blaire to open up about her life. You could clearly feel the stirring emotions Rush struggled to deny he felt and subsequently failed. When a notorious sex god like Rush can make you swoon by simply holding pinkies with Blaire you know you’re onto a winner.I loved that while the developing friendship/romance was central to the plot, Glines didn’t neglect to introduce some awesome secondary characters and make their involvement in Blaire and Rush’s story just as intrinsically vital. I adored Bethy, she could have been a shallow afterthought there to simply be slut-shamed but she developed into an awesome support for Blaire and it was nice for her to have a female friend to fill the void left by her mother and sister. Equally Grant and Woods (who I cannot wait to read about in Twisted Perfection) while initially seemed to be romantic foil, genuinely cared for Blaire, protecting her and ensuring her life in Rosemary Beach was happy.The character of Nan, our quintessential villain will not be written off by me as simply a bitch. I’ve counselled enough friends through break-ups, crises and bitch fights to ever take one side over another. The idea that Nan shouldn’t behave a certain way because she grew up with money so clearly having emotional problems is not allowed is BS in my opinion. While she’s unpleasant, I sympathised with the underlying reasons. I won’t champion her because she made life difficult not only for Blaire with some unbecoming behaviour but equally for herself but I challenge anyone to grow up like she did and not have issues (especially knowing more of the story in Never Too Far).The myriad of emotions I went through reading this book has made it all the more unforgettable. Throughout the book we are given hints to a family mystery and while I confess I did work it out pretty early, it didn’t lessen the impact of the gut punch I felt as Blaire’s world came crashing down. I was bereft as Blaire’s chance of happiness seemed to have ended before it even began and I immediately reached for NEVER TOO FAR to find out what happened next. Well after I made a stop at the cupcake store to comfort myself and wail like a banshee.I did have one issue with the book and I don’t want to sound like a PSA but I couldn’t let it go without referring to it. Blaire and Rush’s indifferent attitude to contraception bothered me. At first they use it but then are so caught up in their love making they neglect to use a condom. This I can reconcile with as it happens, it’s not big or clever but it *can* happen. However another instance where Rush actively encourages not using a condom bothered me. Its 2013, even if you’ve been tested, it’s still not cool. That was my one gripe and I had to get it out there.FALLEN TOO FAR was addictive, compelling, romantic and gave me major FEELS. I adored every minute and ached to pick the book up on the rare occasions that work/eating/showering meant I had to abandon it most unwillingly. I’m in love with Rosemary Beach series and cannot wait to read more. Abbi Glines, I am firmly your fangirl and you are firmly my guiding light in the murky waters of New Adult fiction! High five girlfriend!

Lucy Sullivan Is Getting Married

Lucy Sullivan Is Getting Married - Marian Keyes The one book I've read over and over again of Keyes! Loved it!

Girl on Tour: 2 (Kylie Ryans)

Girl on Tour: 2 (Kylie Ryans) - Caisey Quinn Read more reviews at What Danielle Did NextIn Girl with Guitar we’re introduced to Kylie – just a small town girl (I won’t do it, I won’t quote Journey this time…ya’ll are totally singing it tho, It’s in your head mwahahahahahaha…oh hell “LIVING IN A LONELY WORLD!!!).Grieving the death of her father, she packs up her life, moves to Nashville and through a stroke of luck ends up touring with country music star and resident asshole (I can say this because I was a fan from the start) Trace Corbin. Trace and Kylie don’t get off to the best start or middle or pretty much end but through all the drama and emotion they find they can’t live without each other and a new country music power couple is born!When we meet them in Girl on Tour, Kylie is preparing to go out on tour with two other up and comer’s – Lily, a Taylor Swift style cherub and Mia, a former American Idol winner with a chip on her shoulder and founder of the “I hate Kylie Ryans fan club”. Trace is sitting in the Last Chance Saloon. His bad boy behaviour has finally caught up to him and his record company is giving him one more tour. If he screws this up – his career is over. The addition of Gretchen Gibson – Country Music’s bad girl who’s in a similar predicament puts a spanner in the works. Can you smell that? No not the whiskey…the DRAMA!Despite the career troubles – Trace and Kylie are in a good place. Literally from page one of the prologue the chemistry sizzles more than a Summer time cook out. I love the passion that Trace and Kylie have for each other. Despite their age difference and relative experience you can tell it’s a first time love groove for both of them. It’s all encompassing and Quinn really makes the blood roar in your ears as you read about their “exploits”.For all the passion tho there’s always the threat of heartbreak. This book was intense for me, it was triggering in a way and I really felt emotional reading it. I expected a book full of romance and I did get that but Quinn added a deeper level of emotion as we are thrust into the pain and heartbreak that addiction causes to both the person suffering from it and the people affected by their behaviour.On first glance Trace is an asshole – personally I never felt that about him. Maybe it was because of my own personal history dealing with the trauma and pain that alcoholism brings on a family but I recognised the behaviours instantly and I was put squarely into Kylie’s shoes as she tries desperately to solve things and prays that she can be the one to pull Trace out of his darkness.The devastating thing about addiction is you can’t save the person. They have to save themselves and it’s not about you – it’s about them. Instead of being angry with Trace, I only felt sympathy and was rooting and willing for him to recognise what was happening and be strong enough to pull through. This is why I really liked Gretchen. While I do think the “They understand what I’m going through because they’re going through it too” is a cop out in situations like these, no-one should have to apologise for not being weak, I did like that Trace had Gretchen as a mirror, the reflection may have been fuzzy at times but when the mist cleared the image showed Trace that in order for his love for Kylie to survive and for him to be a better man he needed to take care of business. Helping Gretchen cleared the road blocks in his mind so as a reader I’m grateful for her character and not going down the road of “Ugh she’s just a skanky bitch”I adore Kylie despite the fact that she frustrates the hell out of me at times. I love her confidence in her opinions and the fact that she won’t compromise herself for anyone although I did want to shake her when she attempted to do that for Trace to keep the peace. I want her to be the person her daddy knows she is so she can become the strong, passionate woman full of awesome that she’s slowly learning to be as she shrugs off her youthful naivety.I loved the sisterly dynamic she developed on the bus with Lily and Mia. I thought they were great additions to Kylie’s world, Mia in particular. As much as Gretchen was a mirror image of Trace, I felt that Mia was Kylie’s – both stubborn, strong, fearless – they’ve dealt with pain and heartbreak and while they don’t escape unscathed, their scars are badges of honour and the friendship they may loathe to admit is developing will only make both of them even more awesome than before.This review got a little deep but this book touched me on a level beyond the glamour, the sex and the romance, it helped me to work through some pain of my own and great literature does that so I’m grateful for Quinn and Kylie and Trace for touching my heart in a way I never thought a New Adult Contemporary would.One final thought -“I was broken. Dead inside,” she whispered. “You made me feel alive”Kylie’s admission here that the hopelessness she felt at the beginning of Girl with Guitar kills me as it is mirrored in the hopelessness that Trace feels now. Kylie was the one who felt she wasn’t good enough, who had nothing but a dream and a prayer and clawed hope out of the darkness.Trace has everything yet can only see the darkness. He needs Kylie as much as she needs him but where she had belief in herself, he only has doubt. It’s heartbreaking to witness. His decision at the end of Girl on Tour was the right one. It’s the best and only way possible for them to survive as a couple and I personally cannot wait to join them on that journey, I’ll be buying a hat for the ceremony!Just remind me to buy more chocolate!

Darker Days (The Darker Agency, #1)

Darker Days (The Darker Agency, #1) - Jus Accardo Read more reviews at What Danielle Did Next3.5 stars One of my all time favourite TV shows is Supernatural so when I read the plot of DARKER DAYS and I figured Jessie Darker sounded like a kick-ass female version of Dean Winchester, I thought hey what’s cooler than that?Jessie and her mom Klaire run the Darker Agency in the small town of Penance, USA. Most of their cases are the run of the mill cheating spouses and insurance fraud but occasionally things take a turn down weird street and Jessie needs to line her pockets with powders, potions, and crystals to dispense with Zombies, Ghosts and all manner of ghoulish things. When handsome stranger Lukas walks into the Darker Offices claiming that the Seven Deadly Sins have been unleashed unto the world and there are only seven days to capture them before the innocent humans they are possessing are condemned, weird just doesn’t begin to describe Jessie’s day! Oh and btw…Lukas is one of the sins.I enjoyed DARKER DAYS! I adore Paranormal fiction and aching to fill the void until Origin by JLA was released, this was a solid addition to the genre. Mostly because of Jessie. I thought she was an awesome MC. Strong, confident with a healthy dose of snark, she and her mom make a great team. They know how to fend for themselves and how nice is it to read a book where the parents (Dad makes an appearance later on) are active members of their kids lives? No YA parental disappearing acts here!Lukas was an interesting character. Chained to the sin of wrath by a vengeful witch back in the 1800′s, he’s a fish out of water when it comes to modernity which led to some hilarious moments of interaction with Jessie. He was sweet and respectful with an edge and I liked his connection not just with Jessie but the secondary characters in particular Jessie’s mom.There is hints of insta-love which I’m a bit meh about. The book takes place over 7 days and by day 4 Jessie and Lukas are firmly entrenched in “I can’t live without you” territory! While I enjoyed their chemistry and the romance was quite sweet, that was my main issue with the book and I admit to eye-rolling at times.The non-romance plot strands were highly enjoyable however and I really liked the concept of the Sins embodying regular people and the utter chaos they caused. The book is chock full of action and chugs along at a nice pace. The connection with the past was another favourite aspect of mine and I liked the deeper threads of the plot and look forward to seeing how they develop later in the series.While there was plenty of humour, there was also a darker side to the book, Jessie may be quick with the quips but she goes through some harrowing experiences that made for some uncomfortable reading but overall I think the author handled it with sensitivity and it did add a deeper emotional level to the book rather than just slapstick humour.If you’re looking for a fun,paranormal read with a sassy heroine and plenty of hijinks then check out DARKER DAYS!

Noah (5th Street, #1)

Noah (5th Street, #1) - Elizabeth Reyes It took me a while to warm up to this. At the start the characters seemed a bit cheesy and I felt detached. As Noah and Roni's relationship deepened tho I really connected with them as a couple and was rooting for them. I really liked Noah, he was really sweet and caring and I liked how Roni developed, clawing her way out of her depression and regained control over her life. Would have got four stars except the ending weirded me out, even tho it was a decision they both wanted, Roni's actions felt a bit deceptive to me *shrug*. Still better than I expected, nice read for a lazy evening on the sofa.

Masque of the Red Death

Masque of the Red Death - Bethany Griffin So much potential but overall disappointing, another victim of the hype. Review to come
Waiting on the Sidelines - Ginger Scott Read more reviews at What Danielle Did NextI was in a reading slump of epic proportions when Ginger emailed me requesting a review of her book. I accepted despite my initial reaction being less than enthusiastic (JK Rowling could have announced a new Harry Potter book and my reaction would have been “eh”) but something about the premise intrigued me and I desperately hoped this book would pull me out of my slump.It did more than that…it touched my heart. From the first pages to the last lines I was consumed by this book and its wonderful story of true teenage love. There’s no insta-love here! It’s a journey from those initial fluttering butterflies evolving into a deep and connected friendship that naturally progresses to consuming true love with all the ups and downs of life in between.Spanning all four years of high school (I missed that part in the blurb lol) I was taken on a roller-coaster accompanied by realistic, compelling and wonderful characters that I grew to love as I watched them develop into adults over the course of this book.Nolan Lennox is a tomboy, exceptional at sport and intelligent, she’s more interested in making the team than what the newest fashions are. When Reed Johnson transfers to her school as the hotshot new quarterback Nolan’s head is turned. Struggling to find her place in this new world filled with flirting and hormones, Nolan gradually opens herself up to the idea that there’s more to life than sport and grades and maybe love is just around the corner.Nolan was without a doubt one of my favourite MC’s. Despite developing a crush on Reed pretty quickly she doesn’t automatically dump her friends and sacrifice her happiness and dreams for his. She holds her head. Their first encounter is less than impressive and Nolan doesn’t let it fester, she confronts him about it and at all times is more than capable of levelling the playing field and not letting him have the upper hand. Taking part in a school project, the two slowly develop a caring and mutually beneficial friendship.Because the book takes place over such a long period we get a wonderful insight into high school life and friendships in small town America. Every character Scott writes is rounded and developed with exceptional care. As a foreigner I appreciated the meticulous care and detail Scott takes in developing her plot and world.The story is a romance but it is so much more than that. It’s the story of a young girl becoming a woman and all the heartache and triumph that must be endured to succeed. Scott touches on some heavy subjects such as bullying, teen drinking, sex and shattered dreams with a sensitivity that is lacking in many other YA/NA novels.The path to true love is never easy and obstacles are thrown in their way but at all times Nolan and Reed manage to work through their issues with maturity and find their way back to each other. Nolan, like any girl at times does hesitate when she’s treated not so nicely and contemplates sacrificing her self-worth to keep the peace but happily her level-headedness prevails with the help of her friends and family. The support network that is so vital for teenagers is displayed really well in this book and the cast of characters are recognisable in their roles that I remember myself and my own friends taking on when we were teens.At times I admit I wanted to punch Reed when he allowed his emotions to dictate his behaviour, pushing Nolan away at times when both of them were clearly hurting and my heart raced as their world appeared on the brink of crashing down around them. The emotions stirred in me evoked memories of both teenage years and also more recent times as heartbreak, uncertainty and confidence wobbles aren’t over once you turn eighteen! The little moments, texts, whispers and hand-holding gave me butterflies (if you know me at all you know it’s the sweet romances that are my undoing) and I loved how everything was kept age appropriate. The characters behaved like teenagers rather than a bunch of forty-year-olds. There were a few gut-punching moments where I audibly gasped and wailed and flung the kindle down only to pick it up immediately hoping that all would turn out okay.It’s rare to read a book where you feel you know these characters so well you can almost call them friends. It’s even rarer to read a book where a female character is so well-rounded and given the chance to develop into someone truly exceptional without sacrificing her worth, where love is not the end game but the icing on a cake made of individual dreams, success and confidence to be shared with someone truly worth the wait.WAITING ON THE SIDELINES was a very special book for me; it tore me apart at times but always filled me with hope. It was comforting, captivating and truly a treasure.
This Northern Sky - Julia Green Read more at What Danielle Did NextThis Northern Sky was a sweet, quiet, unassuming tale of family life and the struggles a teenager must go through on a daily basis. There are no vampires, shadow hunters or magic powers. Kate and her parents are on a summer trip to the Hebrides islands. It's a last ditch effort to save their marriage and keep the family together. While my parents split up later in my adult life I could relate very much to Kate and the helplessness she felt as tension snaked through even the happiest of moments. That awful feeling of inevitability that strangles your outlook despite desperately trying and wishing things to be okay.Kate does what I did. She escapes, trying her best to ignore the hurt and pain that awaits her when she looks into her parents eyes and sees what's reflected back in hers. Exploring the remote islands and the stark beauty of the most northern parts of the UK, Kate connects with the islanders in particular Finn and his family. The descriptions of the island are beautiful, the evocative images stirred emotions in me especially the depiction of the threats to it's natural beauty by outsiders wishing to push "progress" upon the land. As Kate gets involved with Finn's efforts to stem the tide, Green reminds us how important our land is to us, the connection our souls have with nature and it's unyielding power. Green's compelling writing captivated me from start to finish and I found myself rooting for Kate, her family, the islanders and the island itself. A beautiful, elegant work - the characters are realised and develop naturally over the pages.At times my heart hurt with the sorrow, the love, the happiness and hope -THIS NORTHERN SKY is a haunting and exquisite coming of age novel.

Keeping Her

Keeping Her - Cora Carmack I can’t explain how nervous I was when I picked up Losing It. Still a novice when it came to New Adult, my introduction to the category hadn’t always been…successful. I was wary of certain themes particularly virginity and the idea that it was something wrong to possess after a certain age and it’s apparent need to be dispensed with as quickly as possible in order to be considered “normal”. So when I picked up LOSING IT, a book based around the topic I was certain this was a car crash waiting to happen. Happily Cora Carmack’s sensitive, warm and evocative writing quickly dispelled my fears and I fell in love with her realistic,charming and all-round loveable characters. Following Bliss and Garrick’s path towards true love was captivating and the sneak peak we got into their lives in the equally amazing FAKING IT wasn’t enough. Thankfully Cora Carmack is all sorts of awesome and gives us KEEPING HER – an update on how Bliss and Garrick are getting on.Set approximately a year after LOSING IT, Bliss and Garrick are firmly ensconced in domestic bliss, living in Philly, super busy and successful in their respective careers in the theatre. An upcoming trip to London to finally meet with Garrick’s parents and friends weighs heavily on the couple’s minds. Bliss is terrified that she’ll make a bad impression and probably set her hair on fire and Garrick is nervous about facing his past and the collision of the man he used to be with the man he is now.Despite the (TOO) short length of this novella, Carmack really packs it in. We get a clear picture into how Bliss and Garrick have grown and connected as a couple, becoming a solid team, totally in love but still susceptible to both their own insecurities and outside pressures. I loved reading how they sorted through their issues and came out stronger in the end. There’s a major plot-line which causes all the chaos which I CANNOT spoil because it was so exciting and had me on tenterhooks and clicking desperately page after page to find out how it would all end up and I can only say when you come to the end you’ll probably scream NOOOOOOO that CC would leave you there…right there! Seriously can’t we have like a monthly newsletter or something? This cannot be the end!Packed full of awesome pop culture references (If you don’t know who Alex Mack is you need to plan a DVD marathon like yesterday!) and fab new characters including the irrepressible Rowland and mischievous Graham and let’s not forget the chilly (I called her a cold fish) Mrs. Taylor! Eek! KEEPING HER is the perfect companion to Carmack’s amazing LOSING IT series. With FINDING IT’s release day around the corner it was just enough to keep us Bliss and Garrick fans both satisfied and asking (begging) for just.a.little.bit.more…please?READ THIS SERIES NOW!
In Stone - Louise D. Gornall 3.5 starsRead more reviews at What Danielle Did Next Gargoyles are the hot new paranormal entities in YA fiction these days it seems so I was really excited to read IN STONE and I'm glad to say it didn't disappoint.Beau Bailey has just been dumped and is wallowing in the park when she's attacked and a stranger forces her to take a mysterious knife home with her. Stunned by what she's just witnessed she is eager to hand over the knife and get on with her life. When gorgeous new boy in school Jack shows up demanding the knife which turns out to be the only weapon capable of killing immortals Beau unwittingly finds herself the key player in a centuries old war between the Demons and Gargoyles.IN STONE was a fun, witty paranormal romp with a kick ass heroine. I adored Beau, she was feisty, hilarious, with tons of attitude and her instant chemistry with Jack, a Gargoyle who does NOT look like the creepy dudes on top of the Notre Dame was sizzling. I was literally jumping up and down waiting for them to kiss as their flirty ways got more and more pronounced.I loved the introduction to this new world and characters. Gargoyles were not creatures I could ever imagine myself rooting for but Gornall does a great job in representing them as wise, caring and honourable characters. Jack is an old soul, he's courteous, sweet and well able for Beau's snark which is exactly what she needs after suffering a broken heart. Their friendship blossoming into a budding romance is the perfect accompaniment to the fast paced action as Beau and Jack race to ensure the knife is deposited safely away from the dangerous hands of the demons on their tails.The secondary characters especially Beau's mom were great and I loved the dynamic between Beau and her mom particularly after the revelations that whet the reader's appetite for book two!IN STONE is an hilarious read full of hijinks, passion, mystery and suspense that will draw you in from start to finish!

Confessions of an Almost-Girlfriend

Confessions of an Almost-Girlfriend - Louise Rozett Read more at What Danielle Did Next Is it wrong that a sixteen year old girl is my hero? If it is then I don't want to be right! Rose is back and more awesome than ever! She's got an upgrade, Rose 2.0 and she's determined that this year will be different...yeah that's going to go soooo well!I adored Confessions of an Angry Girl and was so excited to catch up with my fave hormonal teen. When we last met Rose she had just clawed her way through a pretty tough year. Grieving the loss of her father in Iraq, then having to start the eternal torture that is high school, dealing with her friends turning into social pod people and a family that's desperately trying to patch the bullet wound of pain and failing - Life was rough. Finally on a somewhat even level, she just got her best friend back from under the spell of mean girl Regina and things were finally starting to make sense with JAMIE FORTA!!! (Sorry I cannot write his name without me representing my excited squeal) when Regina stuck her oar in and it all went to hell again.At the start of COAAG2, Rose has spent the summer wondering whether Jamie has dropped off the planet after his mysterious note saying he wasn't good enough for her but being the awesome chick she is - she's not going to let it get to her. She's a sophomore now and ready to take on the world. That lasts for about five mins until her innate ability to interfere (read: be cool, mature and responsible) means she ends up in the pool "saving" nemesis Regina's younger brother Conrad from a vicious Swim Team hazing and being yanked out by JAMIE FORTA!!!(#sorrynotsorry) - It's looking like Rose's second year at high school is about to be as tumultuous as the last!One thing I adore about Rozett's writing is how "real" her characters and situations are. Again she has nailed the teenage voice and experience beautifully. While there is definite growth by the characters in particular Rose, at all times we get that undercurrent of uncertainty and fear prevalent yet skilfully hidden beneath the surface the way only teenagers seem to know how.Emotion is heightened in this book - they say that the second year of grieving is always the hardest as hope fades and the reality comes crashing in and this is so true in the Zarelli household. While Rose and her mom who spent freshman year at odds with each other are slowly making headway, Peter - the man of the house is flailing and succumbing to the darker temptations in an attempt to ease his pain.The youthful naivety of Rose really comes into play here as she struggles to understand how those who should be wiser and more capable of dealing with grief appear to be failing at it while she cannot reconcile why her attempts at healing aren't always met with enthusiasm. Her tribute site to her father provided an outlet that was both positive and negative to her recovery progress however the pain she inadvertently causes her mother when she prefers to reach out to the mom of one of her dad's friends sticks a spanner firmly in the works and throughout the book Rose and her mom are like the ebb and flow of the tide, constantly pulling in different directions, occasionally maintaining a harmonious rhythm only for the delicate balance to be upset by outside forces. In particular new characters - Robert's new girlfriend Holly and her dad both provide simultaneous support to Rose and her mom and the debilitating panic when people appear to be moving on quicker than Rose again cripples her causing her to rail against those who love her. At times the pain and strife is so piercing that it hurts to read the words but Rozett has a beautiful way of reassuring her readers that all will be well.The themes of this book are definitely darker. In addition to grief, Rose comes into contact with bullying yet again, along with homophobia and abuse. While she and Regina may never be friends there was a definite understanding however unwilling both are to acknowledge it publicly and it was interesting to see that dynamic shift and I'm aching to see what happens next in Rose's junior year.A person's sophomore year is the one where things appear to have settled. The dramatic shift to a more adult setting while still being the smallest fish in a big pond eases and this is the year when individuality and identity are shaped as one is more comfortable to take risks whilst still somewhat invisible. Rose is compelled by her friends settling into their own grooves to seek out her own place in the world and we see glimpses of the woman we know she will become in between the agony and ecstasy of teen life.Which brings us to JAMIE FORTA!!! Seriously what is it about this boy? Frustrating, kind, ambiguous, handsome, idiotic, wonderful...SWOON. Rose and Jamie are just as confusing in this book and it was both my favourite and least liked aspect of this book. Jamie is wonderful yet at times I wanted to shake him as his tendency to draw Rose in and then push her away was frustrating as hell. By the end of the book my nerves were on tenterhooks and all I can say is he *better* pull it out of the bag and woo the heck out of my little super hero because he has got some `splaining to do!Never one to shy away from the issues, Rozett has once again delivered a story packed with emotion, action, sass and love and reminds you of that utter jumble of emotions and crap that happens when you are a teen and despite what people tell you...never.goes.away.Loved it!

The Heiresses

The Heiresses - Allison Rushby DNF at 53%I had really high hopes for this book but unfortunately we didn't mesh. I adore the 1920's era and the idea of a New Adult book set in my favourite period of social history was compelling. From what I read the story of these triplets intrigued me especially the character of Clio who was the most sympathetic. However Thalia was wholly unpleasant and vapid but it was the combined force of Ro and Vincent who ultimately made me make the decision to discontinue. Vincent's misogynistic views towards women and Ro's agreeing with him in order to claim him as her own was too much to bear. I thought the writing was good and the overall idea was intriguing but in the end I didn't care enough about the characters to continue.

Dangerous Girls

Dangerous Girls - Abigail Haas, Abby McDonald Read more reviews at What Danielle Did NextIt's taken me three weeks to calm down enough to write this review and then I had to go and open the book up and the panic and crazy eyes are back people!This book is just the most epic mind f**k ever and I LOVED every minute! I love to read but I also love my sleep so even if the book is THE BEST BOOK EVER, you can pretty much guarantee that when the clock chimes 11.30pm this chica is looking for her sleep mask and getting snuggly - NO exceptions. So when I was on twitter freaking out at 2.3o in the morning about the fact that I may be a bit of a psychopath because of how much I adored this book then people...that is what we call a winner! We may also need to call a therapist...just sayin' O_OI now get why Joey puts his books in the freezer and while I'm aching to get my hands on a physical copy of this, it won't live on my night-stand. It's going in the freezer. Seriously I can't wake up and have it looking at me. It's already given me too many ideas...Watch out enemies! Danger Dani is about! So there are 3 major players in this book, Anna, her boyfriend Tate and her best friend Elise. Anna wasn't the most popular girl around when she transferred to a posh new private school. When Elise takes notice and befriends her, Anna's life changes. Suddenly she's part of the IT group at school and hottest guy on campus, Tate is courting her something fierce. Anna and Elise quickly fall into that deep, all consuming, straight girl love...you've probably experienced it at some point if you're a chick, where you are joined at the hip, feel like no-one knows you better, get crazy jealous when you find out she went to the movies with that bitch you hate! Sound familiar? No...Oh so maybe I AM the only psychopath in the room! Let me tell you about the extreme awkwardness when me and my girlfriends went to see that Jessica Alba movie "Honey" and we forgot to text...never mind!Back to spiralling over this book. Anyway if you've ever seen that movie "Heavenly Creatures" with Kate Winslet then you have an idea of Anna and Elise's friendship. Throw a boy into the mix and things are going to get cray cray! When Elise turns up bludgeoned to death - (It's so wrong that it gave me a happy isn't it? WAIT...Who are those men in white coats outside my door?? Did you sell me out? What do you mean who am I talking to? YOU! Right there! I'm looking at you! Am I scaring you? Please don't take me away!) Anna and Tate are prime suspects. Haas played this story beautifully. She kept me guessing from page one to well I'm still guessing because the ending is just utter brilliance! The FEELS, the myriad of emotion that shot through me, my pulse raced, I got that feeling of extreme heat throbbing through my head as I thought I would pass out from twist after twist after twist. The plot has many similarities to the Meredith Kercher murder trial starring Amanda Knox (yeah I really just wrote that) and it was utterly compelling to see it play out. As Anna's character is dragged through the mud by people she thought she could love and trust who then committed the brutal crime of betrayal was beyond difficult to sit and read. I was jumping and flailing around as my blood literally boiled in seething anger as the simplest of scenarios were twisted into sickening, incriminatory evidence of Anna's wrong doing. It made me wonder how I would cope being in the same scenario (NOT being accused of murder, I'm crazy not stupid! I'd totally get away with it...do the FBI read blog posts??) But having all your friends, the people you trust, abandon you like that. At times this book felt like Game of Thrones, who's going to fall next??Okay let's be serious for a minute. The book gave a great insight into the legal system in Aruba and just how utterly skewed it would be for a trial that would gain such notoriety and international attention. The fact that the investigator was also the prosecutor was baffling to me particularly in relation to certain aspects of Anna's case. Having followed a similar trial involving the murder of an Irish girl visiting a neighbouring Island, it became clear just how easily evidence could be tampered with. There are not enough adjectives to describe the feelings and reactions this book will stir in you. Utterly compelling, intense, fascinating, DANGEROUS GIRLS is one amazing novel and a must-read! Just make sure you take your crazy pills before hand!