Monday, December 11, 2017

Review: Quicksand by Malin Persson Giolito

Quicksand by Malin Persson Giolito
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Goodreads Summary: 
There could be two sides to Maja Norberg that shift silently like quicksand: the question is, which one do you believe?

Is Maja a normal 18-year-old, the poster girl next door, popular and excelling at her schoolwork, caught in the middle of a terrible tragedy? Or, is she the most reviled teenager in the country?

Either way, everyone knows her name. She has spent nine excruciating months in jail, awaiting trial for a mass murder that killed her boyfriend and her best friend, and now the time has come for her to enter the courtroom. What did she do? Or is it what she didn’t do that brought her here?

Is Maja a cold-blooded murderer or is she just a girl who has lost her way and, as a consequence, now lost the ones she loved?
Rating: 4 Stars
Review: 
How far would you go to save someone? Eighteen year old Maja Norberg's life was falling apart when it happened. Her life couldn't get any worse, but it did. Now she sits in a jail cell, awaiting a high profile trial. But is she really guilty of everything State Prosecutor Call-Me-Lena says she is?

I stumbled upon Quicksand by chance, but I'm glad I did, for this book needs to be read. Quicksand gives you deep insight into the Swedish criminal justice system. It also highlights how horrible people can be when they don't know the full story. The whole book screams about injustice, and I love that something which isn't mentioned nearly enough has a main feature in this book, but I hate that Maja's story could easily be real.

The characters are brutally honest representations of modern teenagers, and I enjoyed reading of their unique flaws. Maja is the main focus of the novel, her voice coming in the form of present day recounts and flashbacks. Other than her, Samir is my favourite character. I can't decide whether I hate him or love him, for he is perfect, except for his crucial flaw. Regardless, he adds so much to the story. Sebastian too is an intriguing character, though deeply tormented.

As you can probably tell, I like a lot about Quicksand, so this negative section will be short and sharp. The only thing I consistently disliked about the book were the long sections of important information. I couldn't deny that they were valuable to the story so I read them even though my speed reader self screamed at me to skip it. Perhaps if it was written in a more interesting way I would've enjoyed it more.

Quicksand is a critical perspective on crime which will be enjoyed by all fans of thrillers. It tells us of rich Swedes, injustices toward immigrants, and how the Swedish court is run. The teenagers are realistic and well developed, creating a sad, beautiful tale about what neglect can lead to. This is no ordinary Scandinavian crime novel, but something quite different.
Purchase Location: Borrowed From Library
Edition:
 Hardcover/Paperback
Buy the book:
Book Depository
Recommended for: Fans of Scandinavian thrillers.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Stacking the Shelves (91)

Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews

Books:

The Perfectionists by Sara Shepard
The Good Girls by Sara Shepard

TV/Movies:

How I Met Your Mother S5 Ep19-24
The Next Step S1 Ep10-24
Riverdale S2 Ep8



Friday, December 8, 2017

Release Day Blitz: Dragon Guardian by Ophelia Bell (Excerpt + Teaser Image + Giveaway)



Dragon Guardian
Ophelia Bell
(Immortal Dragons, #5)
Publication date: December 8th 2017
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Time isn’t on Aodh’s side when he gets trapped in a magical prison on an island thousands of years in the past. The only people who can save him are an old lover he didn’t exactly part on good terms with, and the innocent ursa female whose true power has yet to be unleashed as long as she remains a virgin.
Aodh’s Fated Mates, Neph and Vrishti, have never met. When the ancient satyr and ursa princess finally do, they aren’t quite sure they can trust each other. Will they be able to overcome their misgivings enough to pool their powers and rescue the man they both love?
But even reunited, their journey isn’t over. Their mortal enemy is on the loose, and her hunger for power threatens to tear their entire world apart.
EXCERPT:
Are you prepared?
Vrishti took another long swallow of wine, her eyes wide and intense. “What if I told you I could give you a link to the Source? I know an ursa spell that lets me access that power.”
The hesitance in her voice was the only thing that kept him from jumping up and demanding that she show him now. He spread his fingers and pressed his palms flat on the surface of the table, staring across at her.
“If you have a spell that does that, I want to see it. Then we can decide if I can reach Aodh.”
“I can’t,” she said. “Not yet. I haven’t reached my estrous yet, and I won’t have enough power for the spell until I do.”
“The spell is tied to your fertility, isn’t it?” he asked, beginning to understand her fear of divulging all the details. If she hadn’t reached her estrous, there was a strong chance she was a virgin. More than strong, judging from her behavior. The power wasn’t just the simple command of the life energy that permeated the world and all living things—a power even a male ursa like Cade could access at will, if they were trained for it.
“I have to … um,” she began, then shot a fearful look at them both as though she’d just realized she was sitting in a room alone with two very virile males.
Cade was the first to break the silence, and he did so with a loud laugh. “Kiddo, you’ve dug yourself into a nice little hole here, haven’t you? I’ll help you out, since you’re very new to the whole ursa gig. All that sweet power that builds up inside females before their estrous comes straight from the Source. That’s why it’s so damn dangerous. But the only way to let it out is for you to have an orgasm. Or even better, a whole lot of orgasms. I never knew it could be harnessed and reused … Mostly us males just channel it back to Gaia. So you’re telling us that you have a spell that lets you do that?”
Cade’s clinical explanation did nothing to cool Neph’s rising lust. Vrishti had come to him with this request, one that she knew required her to give herself to him. Or did she know?
“You understand this means we’ll have to fuck?”
Gaia’s tears, simply saying the words made his cock painfully hard.
Cade cursed. “Let the kid get her bearings, for fuck’s sake. Nobody’s fucking anybody.”
“It’s all right, Cade,” Vrishti said. “I … I’m aware of how I access the power. I only had an idea of how you would access it, but now I know. If it means rescuing Aodh, then I’m prepared.”
Neph let out a sardonic chuckle. “I don’t think you are.” He stood up from the table. “Let me show you exactly what you need to be prepared for, because the only way for me to use my full power is in my primal form.” He swiftly unbuttoned his shirt, then his jeans, stripping deliberately out of each item of clothing, ignoring Cade’s fountain of profanity. She had to see.
Vrishti sat stock still, her mouth slightly open and her eyes growing wider.
“You don’t have to …” she started. “I mean, I get it …” She raised a hand when he stood naked in front of her after walking around the table.
“This isn’t what I need to show you,” he said, then summoned his primal shape and shifted. In a smooth flow of magic, his body grew. Giant horns sprouted from his head, curving back from his temples in coiling ram’s horns, and his lower body spawned a coat of thick, black fleece. “This is.”
Even in his human shape, it’d been impossible not to be aroused by her. His simple nakedness a moment earlier had heightened her reaction to the point that he could easily scent her desire. But now his cock had grown in both size and need with the surge of his primal instincts. The thick length protruded from its nest of fleece at his groin, massive shaft curving up in a smooth arc that pointed directly at Vrishti.
“Are you prepared for this, girl?” he asked, voice dripping with every ounce of lust that filled him. He gripped his shaft and gave it a long stroke, enjoying how she licked her lips. He’d happily bend her over the table and fuck her now, but despite that wild craving, he still knew better—though he would have tormented her more with his satyr shape if Cade hadn’t stepped between them and shoved Neph backward.
“You fucking son of a bitch! Get yourself under control, man. I said, nobody is fucking anyone in this house. Not tonight. Not after all that goddamn wine, and especially not without her saying she’s good and goddamn ready for it.” He turned to look at Vrishti, and in a more comforting tone said, “He is right, though, kiddo. You are far from prepared for his crazy ass.”

Author Bio: Ophelia Bell loves a good bad-boy and especially strong women in her stories. Women who aren't apologetic about enjoying sex and bad boys who don't mind being with a woman who's in charge, at least on the surface, because pretty much anything goes in the bedroom.
Ophelia grew up on a rural farm in North Carolina and now lives in Los Angeles with her own tattooed bad-boy husband and four attention-whoring cats.
If you'd like to receive regular updates on Ophelia's publications, freebies, and discounts, please subscribe to her mailing list: http://opheliabell.com/subscribe/

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Thursday, December 7, 2017

Book Blitz: The Second Window by Erica Kiefer (Excerpt + Giveaway)


The Second Window
Erica Kiefer
Published by: CTP Pulse
Publication date: December 5th 2017
Genres: Romance, Suspense, Young Adult
As her senior year flies by on cruise control, seventeen-year-old Olivia Cole yearns for excitement—something her upscale private school no longer provides. Her job as a grocery store bagger isn’t much help…until the day she has a bizarre exchange with the cagey town recluse. When the woman abruptly surrenders to the police, Olivia feels compelled to dig deeper into her perplexing story. But the investigation stalls when Olivia receives another piece of news—Andre Steele, the golden boy of Westmont and her previous tormentor, has unexpectedly returned from his four-year stay in Brazil—and the whole school is buzzing! All at once, Olivia’s dull and predictable life is uprooted, and she wonders if “boring” was so bad after all.
EXCERPT:
A stranger to me, I knew nothing about Jodie except that she lived on the outskirts of town. People referred to her as a hermit because she rarely ventured from her home, and when she did, it seemed only long enough to purchase groceries. She was nobody important to me—just the occasional name carried through the wind when there was nothing else to talk about. However, like clockwork, I bagged her scant items every Thursday at four PM. The odd interactions I’d have with the woman would sometimes be the most interesting part of my shift at Wayland’s, a discounted store that served as employment during the summer, and now into my senior year.
I met her eyes again, which seemed to never leave mine, peering at me with an intense silence that I couldn’t explain. She didn’t frighten me, exactly. On the contrary, there was a meekness about her that suggested her gentle nature. While she hardly smiled, she didn’t have a mean face. It was more like the bland expression of a person who had little to smile about. Yet I wondered at her reservation, certain she had more to say than she ever allowed.
Jodie’s slender fingers pulled cash from her wallet and she handed over the bills. When she turned to me once more, her teary eyes alarmed me. She swallowed hard, like she was washing down emotions that rose against her will.
“Are… are you okay?” I asked, hesitating as I placed her grocery bags into the cart. Her hand fell swiftly on top of mine, squeezing my palm. Startled by the sudden physical contact, I jerked my hand away. I regretted my actions the moment her expression shifted.
Eyes wide, she shook her head, her mouth opening as though horrified by her behavior. A tear slid down her cheek, and she brushed it away in haste. “I’m sorry.” Sniffling, she snatched her three bags from the cart and scurried toward the exit. “Hey!” I called after her. I exchanged a look of confusion with Marlene before following Jodie to the automatic sliding doors. “Wait! It’s Jodie, right?” She paused, sniffing once more. She looked back at me over her shoulder, eyes red and sorrowful. “Um, can I help you to your car? I really should have double-bagged that one.” I pointed to the bulging bag containing the heavy soups, grasping for an excuse to stall her from leaving.
The tiniest smile crept along the corners of her mouth. Her green eyes brightened beneath the sheen of tears. Relieved, I smiled back. Her next words fell from her lips in a low, quiet tone. “You take care of yourself.” Then she walked out into the cool air.
I stood there perplexed, watching this strange woman escape to the parking lot. Jodie had been a consistent presence in my life for months now, a once-a-week visit in which she spoke no more than a murmured, Thank you. Why did I feel a sudden permanence to her goodbye?
A familiar female voice called out from behind me. “I need a bagger on lane three please!”
I rolled my eyes and flipped around to see my friend Jordyn standing at the other end of the store, hollering into her cupped hands. I glanced at Marlene. My grey-haired co-worker pushed out her lips with a frown, throwing a hand onto her plump hip. I cringed and held up my index finger. “One minute,” I mouthed, and hurried toward Jordyn before she could garner anymore unwanted attention from my employers.
“You know Marlene hates when you stop by, right?” I said to my best friend. She beamed confidence at me with her wide smile, her lips stained in a bright coral that I could never pull off. Though only one-eighth Native American, the tan skin she’d inherited helped her get away with wearing colorful makeup combinations that I would never attempt on my fair skin. Jordyn also relished in the theatrics that I shied away from.
“I’m a paying customer,” she said, grabbing a box of powdered donuts off the shelf. She held them up to make her point, waving wildly at Marlene’s scowling face. Jordyn raised her voice again, like she was hollering at the deaf elderly. “She’s just gonna bag these for me and I’ll be on my way!”
I shook my head at her. “You’re going to get me fired.”
“You’ve got other problems to worry about.” Jordyn put her hands on my shoulders, and spun me around.
“What am I looking at?” I asked, not seeing anything out of the ordinary. Leave it to Jordyn to make me guess, rather than just tell me. She rotated me forty-five degrees.
“Not what. Who.” She dropped her voice to a whisper. “Past the cashiers. Aisle twelve.”
I loved her to death, but sometimes her games were a bit much. “Jordyn, come on—” I stopped, suddenly very aware of just who she was pointing out to me. I caught a glimpse of his smile first, gleaming brightly against his bronzed skin—a deeper brown than I remembered, and a compliment from his Brazilian mother. I’d almost missed him, hidden behind the cluster of kids clamoring for his attention. But then I heard his laugh, boisterous and infectious. Unique.
And stirring memories I resented.
I crossed my arms over my black apron. “What is Andre Steele doing back in Arizona?”
Jordyn inhaled noisily, letting out her breath as she spoke. “I don’t know, but Brazil sure did a nice number on him.”
I scowled and nudged her with my elbow.
“But we still hate him,” she corrected, giving a nod of solidarity.
“Of course we do.” We watched him disappear down aisle nine with his posse. Another burst of laughter trailed behind him, coupled with giggles from the girls hanging on him and the other guy slapping Andre’s back like they’d never heard someone so funny.
“Then again,” Jordyn added, “Four years can change a person. Maybe he’ll surprise you.”
I stepped away from her, returning to my position at the end of the register. I grabbed the boxes of toothpaste and floss sliding past Marlene and tossed them into a fresh bag. “I never liked his surprises.”

Author Bio: Erica Kiefer’s debut novel Lingering Echoes was published by Clean Teen Publishing in November 2013. She continued the series with Rumors (A Lingering Echoes Prequel) and her newest release Vanishing Act. All of her books can be read as stand-alone contemporary YA fiction, touched with romance, emotional drama and suspense. With a degree in Recreation Therapy from Brigham Young University, Erica’s experiences working with at-risk youth have influenced the realistic and relatable nature of her writing. Her first inspirational non-fiction entitled Borrowed Angel (published in April 2014 with Currawong Press) describes the loss of her infant son and her journey towards healing.
Married since 2005, Erica resides in Las Vegas, Nevada with her four children and can often be found satisfying her sweet-tooth with chocolate-chip cookies and a glass of milk. Now and then, she dusts off her collegiate rugby skills and dives back into the game.
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Saturday, December 2, 2017

Stacking the Shelves (90)

Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews

Books:

Frostblood by Elly Blake
Release by Patrick Ness

TV/Movies:

How I Met Your Mother S5 Ep10-18
The Next Step S1 Ep6-9
Riverdale S2 Ep7
Stranger Things S1 Ep1