Breaking the Gladiator by Nicola Rose

Boasting captivating characters, scenery, and a story line to match, Breaking the Gladiator: An Alpha Attraction novella by debut indie author Nicola Rose was released today on kindle, and, considering this steamy, hot mess is only 99p, you have to have a good excuse not to buy it!

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Cassian
I’m trained to kill… for the amusement of others.
Slave. Fighter. Beast.
Emotions are a weakness, so I have none; except anger and hate. All the good ones were beaten and starved out of me long ago. I barely even feel pain anymore.
But when she touches me? Feelings thrash to the surface, and in my world those are dangerous. She’s poison, feeding off my rage for her own sick pleasures. I hate her. She keeps finding cracks and opening them up, squeezing herself inside my chest.
She’s going to get me killed.

Livia
I’m Domina of the Atticus ludus, where we train gladiators to compete for victory.
Wealthy. Attractive. Powerful husband.
It appears I have it all… and I wish I could make myself feel that way. But I’m numb. Too broken to even care. The only time I feel alive is when I’m with my husband’s champion gladiator. My slave. In the arena, and the bedroom.
It’s disgusting for a woman of my rank to sleep with a man like him. He’s a dirty, worthless animal. His touch should feel repulsive. His gaze upon me should make my skin crawl.
But he’s mine. And I want more.

“Dirty, Senseless, Dangerous, Sinful and Mouth-Watering”

I had the honor of reading the arc of this book in January, in exchange for an honest review, and, it was honestly my first five star read of 2018, and left me all satisfied and full (if not wanting more of Cassian that is!)

With only 20,000 words, Nicola’s characters were so well-developed that you feel as if you’ve already known them for a life time, and with a style of writing that flows off the tongue and immerses you in this wonderful and fantastical roman world; Nicola has done a beautiful job at introducing us in to the worlds she’s made to create!

I, for one, cannot wait for her debut novel later this year if this one is anything to go by!

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Nicola’s favourite things to write about include vampires, fantasy and romance that isn’t always sweet!

Living in the UK with her husband and two boys, when she’s not reading or writing, she can be found walking in the country-side, faffing around on photo-shop and playing board games!

You can also find her obsessing over vampires and bad boys!

You can buy Breaking the Gladiator here
Follow her on instagram @nicolaroseauthor
Visit her website here
Her Goodreads here

Her debut novel Taste the Dark: Elwood Legacy Book 1 is due out on the 30th April!
Pre-order that here!

Mel and Al Word Vomit The Zombie Apocalypse!

Do you think that would be a good title for a book? I think I’d have to add ‘And they whine a lot’ as a slogan, but, yeah!

So, I am currently at 19,062 words!!!

I’m well on track, and I have no idea how! Like, I have literally just word vomited the lot! But, it’s the sort of book that gives itself to that. It revolves around a twelve year old’s diary in the zombie apocalypse, so add in puberty, PMS, loneliness and zombie killing, and you got one poor little kid who has no idea what she’s supposed to do, and all these thoughts and feelings and once-in-a-life-time experiences are happening to her, and the only way she can make sense of it, is by writing the words down on paper (Which is then found by a forty-something-year-old man!)

I’m also in the mind-set that I have to write everyday, and that I can’t edit, which I think is just a feat in itself! If you can get them down, NaNo will be a breeze! You’ll get to 50k or whatever goal your wanting easily!

I’ll be honest though, this ‘book’ might turn in to a novella or even a short story when I edit it (maybe not a short story, but you get the jist), but at least I wrote my word count goal in 30 days, so, yeah! Like NaNo tells us. Quantity gives you Quality!

And, if you love the story enough, if your passionate about it, once all the words are down, you’ll be able to create something beautiful with (or without) them!

I gace had a few set backs, a couple days where not that much was written (in retrospect to the other days), and I’ve made a few changes with the story I’m writing, changes I didn’t think I’d need to do, but, none-the-less, even though my main character goes from third to first to third and to first perspective every time he talks and thinks something, at least I don’t have to worry about it until editing comes along!

Editing might kill you, but at least you can say that you wrote a book!

This first person, it’s so weird to write in! I’m getting the hang of it though, and I think I’ve distinguished between the two voices, but whether it stays first or third in the next draft, we won’t know until it happens!

Anyway, I need to get back to writing said story, so,

Just Keep Writing

And don’t edit nothing till you write ‘The End’ on November 30th!

Jade

A Girly Cut-Throat for Aubrie Nixons Debut (Secret of Souls Review)

Secret of Souls has been on my radar for a while! Since I joined the bookstagram community, I’ve been following Aubrie Nixon and been awaiting the release of her debut novel Secret of Souls! I look a good book with a strong female character in it, and that’s exactly what I got, with a hint of love for cinnamon rolls and dresses!

Summary (Goodreads)

The Empire of Lucent has stood for centuries as a beacon of strength and light. But now an otherworldly realm has unleashed an army of nightmarish creatures upon the peaceful empire, spreading a lethal plague called The Decay which consumes its victims mercilessly from the inside out.
The king of the Empire of Lucent calls upon “Lady of Death” Zephera Travelle—an infamous assassin with a weakness for braided cinnamon bread and a striking aptitude for murder and mayhem. He sends her on an impossible quest to find the one person who can concoct a cure and save the realm from total annihilation. Together with her best friend Zadkiel, mage extraordinaire Brenner, girly city-guard Oriana, and broody warrior Daegan, she embarks on a journey that will test her wits, will, and sanity. Along the way, she discovers that no one—and nothing—is as it seems, including herself.

So, first off, it was fast-paced, but not too fast-paced, I felt like she found the happy medium between and it really kept me engrossed! I love a book that doesn’t ramble and gets to the point, and I think it took me half the day to read it!

Zephera is also not your typical cut-throat, she’s not your typical fearless female. She has a girly side that she likes to indulge in, which I found quite different, and definitely gave her this soft, delicate side as well!

Aubrie also did the impossible! She made me like the childhood sweet-heart/friend guy. Normally, I just see them as the annoying little twits who are just there to cause trouble and be a pain in the ass when you want the protagonist to fall in love with someone else.

Well, to see how that ended, you need to read the book…

I loved the whole concept of this book, but there was something that threw me off a bit, and that was the public displays of affection that Zephera was involved in. Now, this girl ain’t scared to jump over a bar and ravish you for a free drink, but with one of the lovers, it seemed a tad bit out of place, for me, anyway.

Other than that, the only problem I have is that I have to wait for the next one to come out!

This book is a great debut novel for Aubrie Nixon, and I think, if she keeps this up, she can make something great!

Here is a close-up of the swag I received because I preordered Secret of Souls!

Until next time guys,

Just keep reading!

Jade x

Time Travelling with a Hamster by Ross Welford (Book Review)

I enjoyed it, but not in the way I thought I would!

This was a complete cover buy! I needed a second book to make up my 2 for £7 deal and the words ‘with a hamster’ drew me in straight away.

It is the debut novel by Ross Welford, published in 2015! I’ve tried not to include obvious spoilers, but even though this is a childrens book, as an adult, you can delve much deeper.

 The author also published another book called ‘What not to do if you turn invisible’ in 2016! And my crazy hamster lady self comes out a little at the end, and I’m sorry!

On to the review!

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Time Travelling with a Hamster follows 12-year-old Al and his pet hamster – Alan Shearer – as they travel back in time to prevent his dad from dying. They travel back to when his dad was 12 to stop the accident that would eventually lead to his dads death years later, except, it doesn’t go as planned.

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It is marketed as a middle grade book, but it’s not this whimsical adventure you expect it to be. It’s very dark at times and I think, in places, it borders on being adult fiction instead. I enjoyed it in a way, but not in the way I thought I would. It also felt like sometimes, the narrator wasn’t a twelve year old boy, like Albert wasn’t sure if he was a kid or an adult whilst he told us the story. There are references to him telling the story after his grand adventure has taken place though, so maybe he is writing from a slightly older perspective, but we never actually know.

However, what I liked about it was the way it explained time travel in simpler terms, which I think was done tremendously. I liked how it was even made to sound slightly technical, which made me think I was far smarter than I am! I also enjoyed the shorter chapters! I think that helps to break it up a lot more, and make you think, yeah, I can read a bit more before I need to sleep. But, it also felt like a bit of it was drawn out, especially at the beginning. It almost made it hard to get in to, but once I got down to the whole time travelling bit, I couldn’t put it down.

The book is also full of wonderfully fascinating characters which are all three-dimensional, which I think the author pulled off flawlessly. I did have a few tears here and there, I’ll admit, but I think it just shows that the author really got the feel of the book spot on.

However, I think the one thing that did disappoint me the most was the reason I bought it for – Alan Shearer – the hamster, felt more like an add-on just to attract attention, an afterthought (literally) at times, and I felt a little bit betrayed.

There was also another thing that bothered me in this book, but I guess, looking from an adults perspective; looking in to this young boys adventure, I have a completely different view to that of a kid, and a child is much less likely too think the way I do.

This is to do with the pressure put on a twelve-year-old to go back in time and save his dad! After reading it, I just felt like his dad was being a douche – which is the nice way to put it – and perhaps he should have been more concerned with getting his son to understand grief and loss and change, and not thinking of how to bring himself back to life.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s one person in this world that I would do anything to bring back to life, there’s probably somebody you would do anything to get back, but I think, in these circumstances, it’s more important to learn how to cope, how to change and adapt, and all that; instead of going on a terrifying and dangerous mission to alter the past and hope you don’t end up erased from history.

Then again, Al is only twelve, he misses his dad terribly, his life isn’t all that great and I guess, this and his nievity is sort of abused by his own dad in a way.

Although, this theme bothered me, it didn’t make me not like the book. It was really good book – if you take away the whimsical title and the cover and just read it as it is – and it was an interesting read. It was drawn out at some points, especially at the beginning (I thought I was never going to finish it), but it does look at all those themes that are important for kids to look at, like loss and grief and change, and even second-families.

As a children’s read, I can’t say much, but I think I would have really enjoyed this book as a kid because I wouldn’t have looked at the overall picture, I would have just thought about Albert going on this adventure in a time machine and trying to bring his dad back to life! As an adult read, I would recommend it, but just be prepared for it to not be as you expect.

Also, perhaps if you’re going to include a hamster in your book for kids, it should be advised that you probably shouldn’t take your hamster on such an adventure, because, they will probably die. And, you should do a bit more research on hamster and know slightly more about them before they become a part of your title. This is my crazy hamster lady side coming out, but the book was still good! You should still read it!

Rating: 4/5

Ross Welford PFD

Ross Welford’s WordPress

Read more reviews on Goodreads

I guess if I had to go on a time travelling adventure, I would not take Mouse! He screams sometimes and I don’t think he’d be a good partner in crime!

Wonder by R. J. Palacio (Book Review)

A childrens/middle grade debut novel by book jacket designer R.J.Palacio will have you crying one minute and laughing the next. This novel is warm, up-lifting and accessible to all ages! It seriously might be one of my favourite books of the year!

Beautifully written, Wonder follows the coming-of-age story of Auggie Pullman, a young boy with a facial deformity that makes him look a bit different to everyone else. Following his big step in to fifth grade, after being home schooled by his over-protective parents, Auggie is the inspirational young man that doesn’t let anything get to him!

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He’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face!

The book shows us the pulls and pushes of our society, and the problems that even the youngest of us can go through! Bullies litter the playground, but there are some out there that are willing to accept Auggie as he is, and with their help, perhaps he’ll get to the end of the school year without dropping out.

Friendship, kindness and acceptance are just three of the lessons in this book, perfect for all ages; young, old and in between. It’s short chapters make it so accessible to everyone, and so easy to read and want to read more. It’s hard to put down, easily a one-sitter if you have the time, and a perfect read for the summer.

So if you’re looking for something heartwarming, inspirational and extraordinary, look no further than Auggie Pullman. The true wonder of the world.

You can find R.J. Palacio’s website here

Goodreads

Find the book trailer below!

And the movie trailer below! I don’t know how similar it will be to the book, I can already see a few changes here and there, but it still gives off that heart-warming and up-lifting vibe that the book gave me, so it can’t be all that bad! And I believe it comes out in the UK at lest, in December and not November!

 

 

A Dogs Purpose (Book VS Movie)

Simply narrated by an extraordinary dog called Bailey (Josh Gad -OMG it’s Olaf!) who enjoys eating bacon, and is reincarnated multiple times over five decades to learn his purpose in life; with the help of the people he loves and the people who love him back, will be one of those stories that stay with you forever!

This post has spoilers galore, so don’t read it unless you’ve watched/read it or have no intentions to. This is a comparison between the book and the movie, and my thoughts on mostly what they should have kept in.

(This post will not comment on the negative press the movie has got. I just suggest that you do a bit of your own research on the matter, and ask yourself why a video taken during filming, a year before, was not released until eleven days before the original release date if the recorder was so worried about the animals in questions welfare)

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The book and the movie both start off as Bailey (or Toby) being a feral puppy who is caught by the dog catchers. The book goes on to show how Bailey is introduced to life with other dogs, and to people (who aren’t as bad as he thought), and he is able to learn an important life hack of opening a gate, which allows him in his second life (after his first life is cruelly cut short by an injury that makes him unadoptable) to escape from the puppy farm and wind up stuck in a hot lorry where Mrs Montgomery comes to his rescue.

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And thus, the love affair between a boy and his dog begins. I felt all the same feels from the Ethan and Bailey I met in the book and the Ethan and Bailey I met on-screen. However, I think it is here that the movie and book go off course a bit. A scene in the book where as Ethan swims to the bottom of his grandparents pond and Bailey jumps in to ‘save’ him, is replaced by trick in the movie where as Bailey just jumps off Ethans back for a football. I think, for the transfer in to his next life, the scene should have been kept in.

I also think that the whole Todd thing should have been explored more. In the book, there are references to Todd having a disability and a lot more events that lead up to his decision to burn the house down, whilst in the movie, I believe they just paint him as this boy with no proper motive.

I think, out of all the lives Bailey lived, the Ellie life was my favourite. I think it was then I realised what a dogs purpose is, even if Bailey hadn’t yet (Although, Ellie’s purpose was to find and show), and I think they skipped out on it. Ellie had this long, amazing life where she continued to save people up until her last day, including Jacob, which isn’t really shown at all in the movie. There’s also a character we never properly meet from the books called Maya who takes on Ellie after Jacob get’s shot and can’t be a police man anymore, and I think they swapped this out for Tino and Maya, but even though Tino sort of acted like an Ellie where as he brought two people together, I think it would have been better if it had stayed with Ellie, because we find that in the long run, even though Jacob is shot, one of the people Ellie saves with Maya is the one who saves Jacob from the sadness of losing his wife.

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So, in his second to last life, in the movie he’s a corgi and in the book, he’s still Ellie and he learns how to bring two people together, and that’s exactly what he has to do when he winds up back in Ethan’s grandparents town. This time, he’s called Buddy and is a black Labrador(in the book) whilst on screen, he’s some sort of mix that looks similar to a golden retriever, which I think is done more for what happens in the movie, than it does for the book.

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There are a lot of things I think they should have mentioned or done in the movie as they had the book. For example, once he gets dumped, he’s a stray for a while, and he uses his feral origins to forage for food and stay away from the dog catchers. It almost feel like it comes full circle, which is referenced in the movie, but I don’t think it’s referenced enough to make it as significant as it should be.

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Once he’s back with Ethan, he needs to find a way to bring him and Hannah back together, and with the help of Hannah’s daughter dog Carley, and his infatuation with her, he does it easily. The book and the movie go off-course here, again. In the book, Ethan passes away at a grand old age and only at the very end does he say Bailey, but there are signs that it’s just the last thoughts of an old man, and not because he realised that Buddy is now Bailey, whilst in the movie, he has a realisation that Buddy is actually Bailey, which I guess is a lovely way to end it really, but does turn it in to a more of a fantasy, than almost like real-life.

The whole thing though, is simple, light-hearted and hilarious, but I love how W. Bruce Cameron adds in all those things people have negative connotations about, such as death, euthanasia, puppy farms, abandonment, murder and disabilities, which I think was skipped upon in the movie in some respects.

If comparisons weren’t made, and the movie had not been adapted from a book, I believe it could be a great movie in it’s own right. However, I think both me and the movie have different views on what a dogs purpose is. Movie Bailey says it’s to be in the here and now, but I think a dogs purpose is to save people. Whether it’s just one person, or a hundred, a dog does it without even knowing.

I can also imagine my Springer Spaniel looking at me and thinking the exact same things as Bailey does, and my Shih tzu being a stuck up snob! Enjoy your dogs, maybe they come back to you every time they pass, just like Bailey does, but just know that even if they don’t, they will love you more than anyone else ever could. Same goes with some cats…

I Finished my Novel…

I’ve been writing for years, and although, I’ve made tons of first drafts, I’ve finally finished a peice that I am happy to share! It took seven years, god knows how many drafts and 105,477 words to finish and I can’t explain how fulfilled I feel.

Now, my next aim is to get it published.

I’m not sure if I’m ready for the rejection letters to start coming, but even world-class authors were rejected at first, so maybe I have a chance!

Although, it does depend on whether or not I find the right words to put in to a synopsis. I’m sure someone said once that writing is a breeze compared to writing the synopsis…

However, I’ll be sure to share it with all of you! Here’s to the next step. Hopefully it doesn’t take as long this time!

Although for the moment, I’m going to try and rest my brain, read some books and maybe start writing the next tale in the story.