Frost on my Pillow – Leah Hamrick

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A book that you wouldn’t give the ‘cold shoulder’…

Whenever I go away on holiday I always bring a book with me (or two!) to escape reality even when I’m on the other side of the world. This was exactly what I did with ‘Frost on my Pillow’ by Leah Hamrick! I got lost in this book so much that I couldn’t put it down, the genre is one I truly enjoy and the story itself was breathtaking! I am glad this was the book I had taken with me on my holiday and now two weeks later I can write my review…

Firstly the genre of the book is one that is in my top favourites (paranormal, romance and NA) so I had no issue getting stuck in! The book really shows these elements in a clear and creative way, whether that be the love triangle Lyla has that is full of passion and lust or the magic within the characters (even those that don’t know it!) – Firebringer, Icebringer and Demons are some of the paranormals you can find within this book. Safe to say the story has something for everyone, I couldn’t wait to turn the next page and continue the journey Leah Hamrick had given me.

The characters themselves were a treat to discover, from the protagonist Lyla who isn’t just an ordinary girl, she is a Firebringer (can control fire!) – she shows herself as a strong minded girl that goes for what she wants, but everyone has their weaknesses. The character development is very well done and you can relate to each of them in your own way, or better yet aspire to be like them (personally I would love to control fire). Rylan is also a great example of an epic character, everyone loves a bad boy! Swaying Lyla away from a monogamous relationship with Ethan showing the reality of teenage lust and hormones!

This book has been written in such a way that you can honestly imagine some of the scenes playing out in your head, it is a story that takes twists and turns keeping you on your toes. The creativity of this story makes you feel as if you are going along Lyla’s journey with her, feeling the way she does and creating a bond with the characters. The way this is written really highlights the teenage qualities without losing an adult audience. Another plus is that the chapters move smoothly with this page turner of a book and quite frankly I didn’t want it to end, it does leave you wanting to know more (hopefully the next book will answer my questions!).

For my first blog post back after my holiday I am glad that it was ‘Frost on my Pillow’ – It is always easy to write a review about a good book and my words probably can’t do it justice but it had me captivated from the beginning! I can’t wait to see what Leah Hamrick has in store next as her writing style is something special!

Until next time…

If you want to read ‘Frost on my Pillow’ yourself you can purchase it on Amazon by following the link here.

Bio: Leah Hamrick
Leah Hamrick lives in Michigan with her partner in crime husband Jon, young daughter Khloey, and plethora of reptiles, fish, and a tree frog named Sticky. She can always be found with her nose in a YA book, daydreaming and thinking up new ideas for a story, and trying to figure out how to make a character’s chemistry clash with one another’s. She is a fan of romance, and anything paranormal. She gets the inspiration for her stories from things that have happened in her real life—except the paranormal/fantasy aspect… She wishes she were that awesome! She enjoys listening to heavy metal music, traveling, watching bad reality TV, and everything pink. She hopes that one day she can be become a well known author, and to keep writing stories for everyone to enjoy for years to come.

Letters to Eloise – Emily Williams

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Such a small thing can change your life forever…

Firstly I must admit to being apprehensive about reading this book as you’ve probably guessed the main theme is ‘pregnancy’ – even though being a woman I still didn’t know if I could get into this book due to this… Oh how wrong I was! This book drew me in straight away with it’s beautiful narrative, wonderful characters and by the end it had me crying into my pillow!

This story follows the character of Flora (a university student who has fallen pregnant in her last year). The way in which the book is written is in a series of letters to her unborn child, going through the stages of her pregnancy and explaining her journey towards motherhood. My first impression of this writing style was admiration! It is such a unique way of writing that flows perfectly and keeps the story alive without feeling as if you’re reading a history textbook. You can really feel the love that Flora has for her unborn child, with every letter it just creates this unbreakable bond that leaves you breathless with awe.

The relationship between the characters is another reason the book flowed so well, it was also something that I could relate to… Having been in university and knowing what halls are like just made this book one step closer to home! Flora, Brooke and Brian are such close friends and you really feel the love they have for each other as this book progresses, they have no secrets between them. At the beginning of the book when Flora finds out she is pregnant her friend Brooke is the one that purchased the tests for her and supports Flora throughout her pregnancy showing the signs of true friendship.

The relationships that Flora has/had herself with the few men in her life was lovely to discover, from going back in the past to present with her tales of romance always kept me on my toes (especially when I really wanted to know who the father was at the very beginning). Her ways of explaining each love to her unborn child was as if a little girl was writing in her diary about her first crush, it was pure, honest and raw. Pulling you in and even had me rooting for my favourite man!

There are parts in this book that left me shocked (without giving away spoilers!) and as I went through the story I felt I was with Flora every step of the way, so for me when the book came to it’s final pages and what was revealed at the end really hit me hard! Don’t let that fool you into not reading this book though, every story needs a little heartbreak and knowing Flora’s journey with her pregnancy is something I would never want to miss.

I honestly couldn’t put this book down (to the point of reading it on the bus to and from work) as I was captivated with Flora’s journey. I laughed, cried and loved with every page of this book and thought that it was a wonderful creation that Emily Williams has made, I cannot wait to read more of her work as she’s shown such a beautiful writing style and a book that I will never forget!

Until next time…

If you want to read ‘Letters to Eloise’ yourself you can purchase it on Amazon by following the link here.

Bio: Emily Williams
Emily Williams lives by the seaside in West Sussex with her family and large menagerie of small pets. After graduating from Sussex University with a BA in Psychology, Emily trained as a primary school teacher and teaches in a local school. Letters to Eloise is her debut novel. For more information about Emily and her upcoming novels, please follower her on Twitter @EmilyRMWilliams.

Awarded Top 100 Book Review Blog!

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Couldn’t have done it without you…

I was extremely humbled this week to find out that I have been awarded a position on Feedstop’s Top 100 Book Review Blogs For Book Readers and Authors list. Honestly I didn’t think that I would even be considered for something like this but when I have such loyal followers, who share the same love of books as I do then maybe I can accomplish even the wildest of dreams!

I was awarded position 80 on the list, which considering I’ve only started my blog 3 months ago I felt extremely proud to get that position. Honestly, I would not have been able to achieve this without the constant support of all my viewers (whether that be directly on my blog or on my social media) and the authors that have considered me to review their work and have been so wonderful throughout the review process.

So I would like to say a big thank you to all of you, for the ongoing growth of my followers and the positive reactions to my reviews that all of you have given me. Without you I wouldn’t be following my passion in life and blogging. I hope to continue to write my book reviews and give you all great insight to the books, my thoughts and opinions and give recommendations on any future reading you wish to do.

Hopefully my blog will grow, giving me the opportunity to explore even more books and continue to connect with all of you. I look forward to sharing every step of my journey with you all!

Maybe next time The Book Box can get into the Top 50?

If you wish to view the full list, you can by clicking here

Until next time…

The White Raven – Carrie D. Miller

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Do you believe in magic?

Before I even begin with my review of The White Raven I must admit to being very excited to read it (little kid at Christmas kind of excited) as this book follows a similar genre to one of my all-time favourite books! As soon as I started to read The White Raven, I couldn’t put it down. It captivated me right from the beginning (as if by magic) and all the way through I couldn’t stop smiling as I went on this amazing journey Carrie D. Miller provided!

Now, on with the review…

Firstly, we follow the life of Aven Dovenelle (a real witch) who is cursed to live life after life with all her memories of her previous lives (including her horrific deaths). Straight away Aven’s character is so intriguing, wanting to know more about her curse and her new life in Salem I didn’t have a problem in following her story word for word. In her thirteenth life she seems to have found some peace with her endless curse, having her own shop to sell magical items and true friends by her side, I loved reading about Aven’s journey and truly felt as if I knew her, understood her pain, her frustration, her love and friendships.

The prospect of this book turning into a romance genre wasn’t entirely a bad thing (who doesn’t love a good romance) but as it already has fantasy, magic, friendship and tragedy muddled within, it gave this book a perfect mixture to satisfy all readers. The relationships that Aven encounters (Calvin being one) really proves that love can be hard to come by when you are different, but Aven inspired me by proving everyone wrong that a strong independent woman (witch) can have happiness and I was swept up with the romance that blossomed between her and Cal (even if there were a few rocky patches!).

One part I thoroughly enjoyed throughout (it is very hard to pick just one!) was the chapters where the White Raven (Ren) had an inner monologue, it was a very unique writing style and quite frankly a brilliant way to tie up the relationship between Aven and the White Raven, showing a softer side to her as well as giving us some insight into how she felt about Aven and the struggle they both must go through! How there relationship whilst somewhat a mystery proved to be something much more powerful and inspiring. It broke up the usual narrative perfectly and really gave me a different side to the story that I was very grateful for!

Learning about the curse was a huge shock! Although a few twists were put in place which completely threw me. I honestly didn’t see it coming and I couldn’t imagine it being announced any better, no spoilers will be mentioned but I was completely in awe of how the whole book finished…

I think that the book was written beautifully and honestly I don’t think my words can do it justice, I do feel as if The White Raven is a perfect read if you wish to escape reality and enter a world of magic, curses and friendships. My only downside would be that it wasn’t longer (but fingers are crossed for a sequel). I will most definitely be looking out for any other books Carrie D. Miller brings out because her writing is truly wonderful!

Until next time…

If you wish to read The White Raven by Carrie D. Miller yourself you can pre-order it on Amazon here. The official release date is April 1st.

Bio: Carrie D. Miller
Carrie D. Miller was born in Hutchinson, Kansas, on October 31, 1970. She credits her vivid imagination, as well as her sugar addiction, to being a Halloween baby. In a former life, she was an executive in the software industry for many years. Her career in the technology world included software product management, website design, training, and technical writing just to name a few. Although Carrie’s written a great deal over the decades which has been read by thousands of people, software documentation allows for about as much creativity as pouring cement. At the age of 45, she decided to chuck it all to become an author which had been a life-long dream.

There Is Always More To Say – Lynda Spiro

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Love and friendship never really end…

For a lazy Sunday afternoon I couldn’t have asked for a better book to get lost in! This book really does make you think and even got me to reminisce on my own past friendships. Before reading this book I had done some research into it and discovered that it wouldn’t be written in a way that I have come across before, however this just made me even more intrigued to see a different style of writing and what it could have in store for me.

Firstly I must point out the use of inspirational quotes that are used at the beginning and end of each ‘chapter’ – they really enhance the reading experience but also compliment that which has been discussed in the chapter. After reading this book you really do feel a sense of enlightenment and the quotes just make it that little bit extra to stand out from the crowd of ‘normal’ book writing styles. Safe to say I may have to use some of them in any future writing I do!

The literary style almost feels as if it is a memoir of the narrator (or even a diary) as the book follows a stream of thoughts, feelings and past experiences that seem deeply personal to the narrator. However this is done in such a way that you feel you’ve gone on this journey with them and laughed, loved and cried through every step. This book could be challenged as a typical love story but digging deeper it is so much more, you really feel connected to the characters and can relate to experiences they’ve had regarding ‘first love’ and ‘true friendships’.

As for the characters there is an air of mystery as you never get to know their names, always keeping you guessing and allowing your own imagination to take off, which personally is a very clever writing strategy. I kept wanting to know more, as my questions never got fully answered, but throughout this journey of a book it really brought a smile to my face as it was just on a level that everyone could enjoy.

Being quite a short story you would have no problem curling up for an afternoon and really getting lost in it (I most certainly couldn’t put it down!). I can’t wait to see what Lynda Spiro does next as her writing style has most definitely captivated me!

Until next time…

If you want to read ‘There Is Always More To Say’ yourself you can purchase it on Amazon by following the link here.

Bio: Lynda Spiro
Lynda Young Spiro is a mixed media artist whose love of textiles, found objects and recyclable materials are incorporated into her colourful work. Lynda was born in 1959 in Hampstead, London, where she now lives with her husband and two sons. Lynda’s previous book Latch-Hooking Rugs is published by A & C Black. There is Always More to Say is her award-wining first novel, which has since been recognised by Chill With A Book, Shelf Unbound, and Hollywood Book Festival.

Dying Valentine – Calvin Demmer

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Don’t forget the chocolates and flowers…

This is the first time I’ve read a Calvin Demmer short story and from my research ‘Dying Valentine’ is the latest version in his Dark Celebrations collection, it is safe to say that I will be reading the rest of his collection! As a short story I was worried that I wouldn’t get into it but truth be told I was hooked from the beginning and wished there was more!

Straight away you are brought into the story, not much background information given but with the way it is written I’d say you wouldn’t need it. The story follows Daniel Hill who is nervous about meeting his girlfriend Julia’s parents on Valentine’s Day (what a day to meet them!) but little does he know that this particular Valentine’s Day isn’t going to be a pleasant one.

This book is a very typical ‘horror’ genre which is the type that I enjoy reading, however it starts out almost as a romance and takes an unexpected twist towards the end. With only a few characters mentioned in this book they all are very memorable and created so that you could fully relate to them. Daniel being the ‘nice nervous young guy’ for example, everyone knows a ‘Daniel’ in their lives which really brought this story to life for me. Being a short story you’d think that you couldn’t get invested in a character but oh how I thought wrong, I really felt for Daniel every step of the way.

At first I was very suspicious of the mysterious girl in the middle of the night, and honestly thought that the story was going to go down a different path when he invited her back to his place *without giving away too much! – however Calvin Demmer managed to completely shock me with the way the story ended! I wasn’t expecting it but I think the way it was done was amazing.

The only fault I have with it is that I wished it could have been longer, leaving me hanging like that at the end was just so unfair! That said, I will be reading more of Calvin Demmer’s work as I’m sure they are just as gripping, gruesome and entertaining as Dying Valentine.

Until next time…

If you want to read ‘Dying Valentine’ yourself you can purchase it on Amazon by following the link here.

Bio: Calvin Demmer
Calvin Demmer is a crime, mystery, and speculative fiction author. He has had over thirty stories published in various magazines and anthologies. When not writing, he is intrigued by that which goes bump in the night and the sciences of our universe.

Can’t Buy Forever – Susan Laffoon

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You can buy an escape…

Getting lost in a good book is something that I look forward to doing the most, especially when the weather is miserable and I can stay inside warm and happy with a cup of tea and a new book. It is safe to say that ‘Can’t Buy Forever’ was most definitely a book that I couldn’t put down. I was taken back in time to the 1950’s, experiencing the tale of Odessa Drake and holding on to every word.

My first thoughts on this book was that it would be a historical romance, I was happy as this would be a genre I am quite interested in. However as you journey further in the genre evolves and twists making this book a highly intriguing read. Speaking of journey’s the way that Odessa Drake (Dessa) narrates her story really feels as if you are there with her along every step. The level of detail in this book not only ‘paints a picture’ of Dessa’s life it brings you in so that you could almost feel exactly how she does in every surrounding.

The characters I felt were shown with such depth that you could really imagine what they would be like as people, Dessa as the young (slightly naive) girl with not much life experience and Nicolas the mysterious stranger who lures you in from the second you see him. Personally from the outset I was suspicious of Nicolas, with a hidden past you can never be too careful and at times I felt that he may have taken advantage of Dessa but the more you learn about him, my guard fell along with it. I do feel that I could connect with all the characters on some level and the way that the characters connect with each other really brings this story to life.

This book really made me go through so many emotions, I fell in love, laughed and cried along with Dessa’s journey and for me when you get that involved with a book you know that it is skillfully written. As mentioned before you are taken back to a time where you wouldn’t have even known, shown the ways of life of women in that era and taken across county on a journey that you will never forget.

As mentioned before this isn’t your typical historical romance, the twists and turns that this book takes you on are utterly brilliant! The plot twist at the end was so unexpected yet it fit so perfectly. Honestly I didn’t want this book to end, every page I turned I couldn’t wait to see what happens next. A beautiful book by Susan Laffoon, I can’t wait to read more of her work!

Until next time…

If you want to read ‘Can’t Buy Forever’ by Susan Laffoon yourself you can purchase it on Amazon by following the link here.

Bio: Susan Laffoon
Susan Laffoon knows whereof she writes having been raised in Glens Falls, in upstate New York. There, the Hudson River and the boulders that lie in its path, is Cooper’s Cave, a hide-a-way made famous in James Fedimore Cooper’s novel, ‘Drums Along The Mohawk.’ She visited this impressive attraction often growing up and listened to the rushing waters that echoed in the cave. There she decided to one day write romantic adventures. Thus as a young girl, while friends played with dolls, she imagined and scribbled stories of adventure to escape childhood responsibilities and unhappiness. She continued to journal through the years occupied with her husband, Greg, and seven children. It was discovered her love of storytelling was predisposed from a Scandinavian father who died young, a journalist for the Denver Post, a half century earlier. This passion is being fulfilled by his daughter, since putting aside her stethoscope and career as a registered nurse. “Writing has always been in the shadow of my heart”.