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Author Archives: Kristal

Loves & Loathes – December 7th

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Love Love Love

1. We are having an EPIC Christmas giveaway!! There are so many awesome prizes for you guys! We will be giving prizes away every day for a week. It’s going to be stupendous. Keep an eye on the blog! 

2. It’s my eye surgery week! And NO I’m not excited about lasers hacking up my eyeballs BUT I am excited about being able to be glasses and contact lens free! Wish me luck! – C

3. Two things – It’s so summery here at the moment! LOVE. IT! Also, if we don’t count Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday (no one counts the first days in the week anyway) then it’s only TWO MORE WEEKS UNTIL CHRISTMAS!!! Wooo! – K

4. Well, since we’re talking about Christmas……….After a late start to my Christmas shopping, I’m almost finished!!! And….we’re going to buy our Christmas tree tonight!! Yay! I love having a real Christmas tree!!! -A 

5. I am also on a Christmas buzz. We’ve bought a new tree decoration, hung up a gazillion lights, visited Santa, I play the TV music channel that has Christmas songs all day long (which the kids and I sing along to.) Pretty much it’s Christmas galore at my house, possibly because this is the first year my big boy has understood what it really means. Next up on my festive list is shopping and gingerbread house creating! – C

Loathes

1. I loathe that I’ve been so busy with end of year business I haven’t had nearly enough reading or blogging time. Argh!!! – C

2. My twins turned three this past weekend. I don’t loathe this – I love it. Babies are beautiful but I prefer older kids.. Aaaaanyway, after three ‘sometimes awesome and sometimes completely hideous’ years at home with them, I’m headed back to work! But don’t worry (hahaha) – I’m still going to be blogging! – K

3. I loathe that my buddy will no longer be at home when I have a life crisis and need to come a die on her couch…Although I’m guessing I can just go and die on her office floor… So maybe I loathe the fact that now if I need to address a life crisis during business hours I’m going to have to pay for inner city parking! – C (LOL! omfg. There is free parking right outside the office 😉 And GREAT places to have lunch that are just a short walk away. Priorities. -K)

4. So, as you guys know, I’ve been sick for what feels like the last month 😦 Well, last week, I actually cracked a rib coughing. Yes, you heard correct! Coughing! I am beyond over this cold season!!!- A

5. I have the dinosaur of iphones. I’m pretty sure that my phone is how Fred and Barney kept in touch. It’s a 4S, which is practically ancient these days, but I absolutely refuse to upgrade because my 4S is still working (for now) and iPhones are just ridiculously expensive for a phone. But lately (sincI did the stupid Apple update actually…conspiracy?), bad things have been happening and I fear my phone is on its way out. If this happens, I’m going back to an old-school brick phone. It will save me so much money! It’s a GREAT idea!! (Reality check: this will probably last for about 2.5 days before I’m running into Vodafone begging for a new iPhone. FML.) – K

Book Review – Bad Romeo by Leisa Rayven

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WOW! wow wow wow. Bad Romeo put me through the emotional wringer from start to finish and I absolutely LOVED it. It was a true romance in every sense of the word, both heartbreaking and swoon-worthy in equal parts. But beware – it is pretty angsty. I am an angst lover so this suited me down to the ground. 

“My body is against his, and my hands are in his hair, and every single reason I should stay away melts as our mouths open to each other. It’s rough and desperate and full of passion I don’t want to feel. But this…this is where all the best memories of him live.”

The story switches back and forth between the past and the present day. The past tells us the story of how Cassie and Ethan met and came to be, and the present day revolves around their reconciliation after a period of around three years. I LOVED following their journey from the beginning and getting to experience those first precious moments of when they met, as well as all of their trials and tribulations along the way. 

Cassie and Ethan first meet in acting school, where they are cast as the star-crossed lovers in Romeo and Juliet. Sparks fly and tensions rise between them until they finally beak through the barriers they have set in place and fall into a passionate relationship. Cassie is a sweet girl with a positive outlook on life, and Ethan is a typical bad boy with a huge chip on his shoulder. Bit by bit they fall madly and deeply in love, until Ethans issues come to the surface and tear them apart leaving Cassie a devastated and heart-broken shell of herself.

Three years later they are once again on-stage playing young lovers, however, this time it is Cassie with the issues and Ethan is the one determined to make up for his past mistakes and win back Cassies love. It may be too little too late for Cassie though who struggles daily to cope with the gaping hole Ethan left in her heart.

“I want things to be different. If you want me to apologize, I’ll do it until I lose my fucking voice. I just want things to be right between us. Talk to me. Help me fix this.

“You can’t.”

I absolutely LOVED how well the author has captured the tension, heartbreak and passion between Casssie and Ethan. I could feel every moment and was completely absorbed in their story. Angsty? Yes, but it is also such a beautiful and believable story of young love and loss, and how to cope when the person who crushed you beyond repair suddenly reappears in your life. 

Bad Romeo is Part One of a two part book series and it DOES end on a cliffhanger (I know, I know), but trust me; you want to read this story. Lovers of romance everywhere will be a puddle of emotion on the ground by the end of it. Book two, Broken Juliet, is out in April 2015, so not long to wait. And I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the rest of Cassie and Ethan’s story. 

*ARC received via Netgalley

 

New Release – The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon!

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The Law of Moses

By Amy Harmon

The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon is out TODAY! I have been looking forward to this release for awhile so I’m ridiculously excited about this. Our friend, Kris, over at Pretty Words Book Blog was lucky enough to read an advance copy of The Law of Moses and she has been teasing me with amazing little tidbits of information. This book sounds EPIC.

One of the themes in this story is ‘Five Greats’, which is basically five things that are great about today & life in general. Such positivity! I love it so much that I’m going to share my Five Greats with you guys. Here goes –

1. My children. They are the greatest things in my life. 

2. Books. I can’t imagine not being a reader. Reading brightens up every day!

3. …which leads my to my ‘Book Buddies’. I have a few awesome book buddies that I can talk and talk to about books and it never gets old! Charm (BFF) and Amy (of course), but also Kris (Pretty Words Book Blog), Kay (we met on Twitter and now she’s stuck with me). Thank god for Whatsapp 😉

4. New Zealand. Decent public education system, decent health-care system, no giant-ass man-eating spiders, no snakes, and best of all….we have Richie McCaw. Reow!

5. Blank Space by Taylor Swift – that song is my JAM! 

Synopsis: 

If I tell you right up front, right in the beginning that I lost him, it will be easier for you to bear. You will know it’s coming, and it will hurt. But you’ll be able to prepare.

Someone found him in a laundry basket at the Quick Wash, wrapped in a towel, a few hours old and close to death. They called him Baby Moses when they shared his story on the ten o’clock news – the little baby left in a basket at a dingy Laundromat, born to a crack addict and expected to have all sorts of problems. I imagined the crack baby, Moses, having a giant crack that ran down his body, like he’d been broken at birth. I knew that wasn’t what the term meant, but the image stuck in my mind. Maybe the fact that he was broken drew me to him from the start.

It all happened before I was born, and by the time I met Moses and my mom told me all about him, the story was old news and nobody wanted anything to do with him. People love babies, even sick babies. Even crack babies. But babies grow up to be kids, and kids grow up to be teenagers. Nobody wants a messed up teenager.

And Moses was messed up. Moses was a law unto himself. But he was also strange and exotic and beautiful. To be with him would change my life in ways I could never have imagined. Maybe I should have stayed away. Maybe I should have listened. My mother warned me. Even Moses warned me. But I didn’t stay away.

And so begins a story of pain and promise, of heartache and healing, of life and death. A story of before and after, of new beginnings and never-endings. But most of all…a love story.

LINKS: 
Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23252517-the-law-of-moses 
Website: http://www.authoramyharmon.com/ 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authoramyharmon?fref=ts 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/aharmon_author 
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/authoramyharmon/ 
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Amy-Harmon/e/B007V3HXUY 
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5829056.Amy_Harmon 
 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Amy Harmon knew at an early age that writing was something she wanted to do, and she divided her time between writing songs and stories as she grew. Having grown up in the middle of wheat fields without a television, with only her books and her siblings to entertain her, she developed a strong sense of what made a good story.
Amy Harmon has been a motivational speaker, a grade school teacher, a junior high teacher, a home school mom, and a member of the Grammy Award winning Saints Unified Voices Choir, directed by Gladys Knight. She released a Christian Blues CD in 2007 called “What I Know” – also available on Amazon and wherever digital music is sold. She has written five novels, Run-ning Barefoot, Slow Dance in Purgatory, Prom Night in Purgatory, the New York Times Best-seller, A Different Blue, Making Faces and most recently, Infinity + One.  
Her newest book, The Law of Moses releases November 27, 2014.

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Love & Loathes – November 23rd

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Love, Love, Love

1. Book mail!! I have received two awesome pieces of book mail this week. One was a postcard from Amy Harmon to celebrate the release of The Law of Moses which is out on November 27th, and the other was an EPIC hard cover of Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Liani Taylor, which was sent to me by our very own Amy! I LOVE IT! Book mail is the best kind of mail ❤ – K

2. My hubby and I celebrated our 11 year wedding anniversary on Friday!! And if that wasn’t amazing enough, we went and saw Mockingjay -A (11 years! HUGE congrats! I have only been married for 5 years and I congratulate myself every day for not yet ending him 😉 – K)

3. I have recently started using all natural Essano products on my face. I use the cleanser and moisturizer daily, and the oil and night cream when my skin needs a boost. This stuff is absolutely INCREDIBLE. My skin feels clean and soft without that tight, dry feeling and it smells gorgeous too. I love that it has no nasty chemicals in it as well because god knows I use enough make-up and crap on my face without adding even more chemicals.. It’s everything I ever wanted in a skin care product! – K

4. Sorry I have to squeeze LOTS of loves in this one space! I LOVED my trip away with my big boy to Australia. We had the best time and got to do and see so much. I LOVED my very good friend Carly’s wedding that was held on the weekend, it was truly perfect and I LOVED that I was lucky enough to be one of her bridesmaids. And finally, I LOVE that now I’m home again with both my kids and husband and we can get back to normal(ish) routine, there really is no place like home ❤ -C

5. We LOVE it when you guys tell us how much you have enjoyed a book we have recommend. Knowing we have helped you to find a new book love is STUPENDOUS! 

 

Loathes 

1. This is going to be a little long so bear with me. I recently read a book that I loved. I’m not going to say which book it was because I don’t want to start an online riot with what I’m going to say next. This book was many things, but above all else it felt like it was a ‘coming of age’ story. There wasn’t a love triangle as such but it’s basically about a young girl was taken from her home, grew to love her captor, and end up spending many years with him before he was caught and punished. Aside from watching this girl from a very young age and then kidnapping her when he felt she was ‘old enough’, the man was a criminal, a torturer and a cold-blooded murderer. Eventually, once the man had been caught and the girl had been released, she ended up married to another man who was closer to her age. There were many unresolved story-lines and a Book 2 is on it’s way. What has shocked me is that on online groups and social media, people have been begging for the older man to still be alive and for the girl (who is now a grown woman) and older man to ‘get their HEA’. And I feel like….did we read the same story? A story of a young girl who was watched from the age of six by a grown ass man, kidnapped and told if she tried to leave her family would be murdered? A story of a young girl who was kidnapped and then developed Stockholm Syndrome to deal with her shitty life? That is the story. Aaaand….now we are all hoping this guy is somehow alive and they end up together? The MAJORITY of readers are hoping for this. It just blows my mind. Is it possible to get Stockholm through a book? Maybe it’s all a social experiment. THERE’S GOT TO BE A REASON FOR THIS MADNESS! It’s creepy and wrong. So wrong. Did I miss the boat on this story? Am I over-looking something amazing that everyone else saw and I didn’t? Maybe, I guess. Yes – he treated her pretty well most of the time, but I had no regrets at the end of this book. He got what he deserved. He is NOT redeemable. – K

2. Ugh!!!! I am still sick!!!! Enough is enough! This feels like the longest cold in the history of colds! There has to be an end to this madness in sight! -A

3. I loathe that I have probably the most annoying neighbours ever next door. Neighbours at war anyone? – C (I’ve had some pretty horrible neighbors! I totally understand -A)

4. Weather Unpredictability! Colorado seriously has the strangest weather. Last week, it was COLD and we had snow on the ground! Today it was in the 50’s and it’s actually supposed to get up into the 60’s over the next few days!!! Come on Colorado, make up your mind! -A

5. My daughter decided to get one of our strawberry scented candles and draw a picture on the wooden coffee table with it. The entire cough table is covered in a giant wax drawing. Do you THINK I can get it off? Nope.  – K

SUPER EXCITING COLLEEN HOOVER NEWS!!

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Some of you would already have read about this, but for those who haven’t I’m about to share some SUPER EXCITING news with you…

UGLY LOVE BY COLLEEN HOOVER IS BEING MADE INTO A MOVIE!!!!

So that’s ridiculously exciting, right? But wait, there’s more! Nick Batman will be playing Miles Archer. Nick. Mother-lovin. Bateman. For those of you who don’t know who Nick Bateman is, do yourselves a favour and google image his name. You won’t regret it. Nick Bateman = Male Perfection. 

It looks like we will be waiting until 2016 to see Ugly Love come to life on the big screen, so in the meantime I’ll leave you with this little taste to keep you going –

Be still my heart….

With a DOGGY! I just can NOT….stop NB , just stop!! Sigh…

SWOOOON….I’m dead. My ghost is typing this. (Side Note: How does he get his hair so perfect??)

Shut. The. Front. Door.

So there you have it. The best news of the year. Go ahead and follow Nick Bateman on Twitter and Facebook and show him some love. Bonus – He appears to take a shit-ton of topless selfies so your Twitter and Facebook feeds will become just that little bit more attractive. That’s never a bad thing. Enjoy!

Book Review – Play (Stage Dive #2) by Kylie Scott

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The Stage Dive series is one of the best ‘rock-star romance’ that I have read and I think one of the biggest draws for me, the ‘point of difference’, is that the leading character is a complete individual. Often when you read a book series all the male personalities blend into each other. It’s too same-same. With the Stage Dive novels EVERY ONE IS DIFFERENT, and I think Mal might be my absolute favourite. 

When Mal and Anne meet, their circumstances have forced them both into difficult positions. Mal comes up with a great plan to help them both out – a fake relationship. But the best laid plans often go astray and Mal’s manic personality and Anne’s refusal to put up with any bullsh-t is sure to send sparks flying. 

“It’s fate, Anne. Written in the stars. Leave it the fuck alone.”

“You’re crazy.”

It did take a little while for Mal to grow on me. My first impression of him  was “Uh, who the hell is this fool?”, but slowly and surely he snuck up on me until I found myself completely embracing his quirks and loving him for it. Much like Anne did. Anne was a great heroine. I loved her independence and fierce loyalty. She had the good girl thing going on but it wasn’t over done – she was a nice girl without being a complete Mary-Sue. I never felt the need to throw my kindle into on coming traffic, which is a nice change in a rock-star romance. 

“Mal: When are you on the rag? Davie said to find out if you want cupcakes or ice cream.

Anne: I want to not talk about this ever.”

Over-all, Play was a quick and fun read, perfect for a weekend. I enjoyed my time with these characters and I am looking forward to reading Lead (the third book in the series) when the rock-star mood strikes me again!

Book Review – Nine Minutes by Beth Flynn

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WOW. I have just finished this book after absolutely devouring it in a day and I have SO MANY FEELINGS. This story was so much more than a romance. In fact, I would say that the romance came second to the characters and their story. Which was perfect for this particular story. 

Going into this book I had been warned by several people that it was a ‘dark’ read and I would need a friend (or therapy) afterwards. To be totally honest I didn’t find it that dark. Yes, some of the violence was pretty brutal, but it wasn’t described with a lot of detail so I didn’t find it particularly disturbing. Maybe I’m a weirdo? I just didn’t find it that difficult to read. 

The story spans over a long period of time – twenty-five years. We start off getting to know Ginnys day to day life as a fifteen year old and from there we follow her, her thought process, and her journey as she is kidnapped by a notorious motorcycle gang and ‘gifted’ to their leader. It’s a completely unconventional story of courage, obsession and love. 

Nine Minutes was absolutely full of deeply complex characters. Nobody was exactly as they seemed and everyone had secrets. There was so much ‘grey area’ within this book. Nothing was black and white, it was never a simple matter of god or evil. You don’t even truly realize the complexity of each character until the final chapters of this book, which threw me through the biggest loop.

Nine Minutes is gripping, captivating and brutally beautiful. There is no cliffhanger in the traditional sense of the word but you are definitely cut-off halfway through the story. I feel desperate to get to the bottom of this story and uncover all it’s secrets. There is so much more to be told and I’m looking forward to Book Two.

And if you need a buddy to talk you through that ending, then I’m your girl! 

The Big Surprise!!!!

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For those following the blog, and specifically our weekly Love & Loathes, you may remember a few weeks ago when Charmaine teased us all about a big surprise she had for me. Over these past few weeks it’s fair to say that I almost EXPIRED from wanting to know what the hell this big surprise was. We don’t have secrets…WHAT IS THIS TRICKERY?!?!??!!!! Well, last night all was finally revealed and it’s amazing. EPIC! Drumroll please….

My bestest of all best friends got us……ED SHEERAN TICKETS FOR MY BIRTHDAY!!!! 

To say the I am excited is an understatement. There may or may not have been screaming when I opened the surprise. BEST. PRESENT. EVER. Earlier this year we swore that if Ed Sheeran came back to NZ anytime soon we would go. Sadly we missed out on tickets…or so I thought. However, my sneaky sneaky amigo totally had this under control. Sigh. This is just another reason why I love my bestie more than the world. More than my husband even hahaha jokes….(not joking).

This is the perfect time to revisit this –

AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! THANK YOU, CHARMAINE!!! We are going to have the BEST time xx

 

Loves & Loathes – 9th November

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Love, Love, Love

1. We LOVE our new blog picture! It’s made by Kristin over at Pretty Words Book Blog, and it’s everything we ever wanted in a blog picture 😉 Masterpiece! Thanks, Kris!! x

2. One of my dear friends is getting married next week and I’m one of her bridesmaids. We threw her a hens night to remember on the weekend and it was so nice to do something so completely girly! – C

3. So, I went to the dentist last week, as I’m sure you all know from the way I have been going ON AND ON about it. And….it wasn’t as horrific as my previous experiences. I was surprised. The dentist was LOVELY and repeatedly told me to relax during the drilling, which was great because I needed the reminder, hah! He also left mid drill to play a prank on his workmate which was quite a nice reprieve from aaaaaall the dentist-ness.  The other thing that I think helped a lot was bringing my headphones and listening to music throughout the treatment. Music is life, yo! (That’s right, I’m a gangster now. a tough, bad-ass, non dental-phobia gangster). So if you’re into music and have a dental phobia, listen to Aunt Kristal and try out the music thing…it really helps! – K

4. I am getting my eyes lasered!!! I’m so excited to be rid of all of my eye issues even though I’m ridiculously nervous for the procedure. I’m thinking of making Kristal come and hold my hand since she’s so tough! – C

5. It’s only seven-ish more weeks until Christmas. SEVEN!!  I am soooo excited. I absolutely LOVE Christmas! Hopefully is a beautiful, warm, sunny Christmas day this year! (I can’t wait! I LOVE Xmas!- C)

Loathes

1. I’m away for a week soon between family trips & weddings & while I’m SO excited, I’m also going to loathe not being able to on the blog a whole lot during that time. I’m going to miss everyone so much! – C

2. Rain…Sun….Rain…Wind…Sun….MAKE UP YOUR DAMN MIND THANKS WEATHER!!!!! – K (It’s so frustrating! – C) (It was 70 here yesterday and it’s supposed to snow later today! Talk about crazy weather!-A)

3. Why is my hair just not behaving at the moment. It’s like each strand has a mind of its own and it’s driving me insane! – C

4. Back to the doctor today. I swear to god, Google knows more about medical shit than actual GPs. Sigh. – K

5. Colds that just won’t go away. I swear my daughter has been sick for over a week now and it’s like enough is enough. Between her asthma and now having her ears hurt, I just want her to feel better and it’s only the beginning of cold season 😦 – A

 

Book Review – Nocte by Courtney Cole

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Save me and I’ll save you…

My name is Calla Price. I’m eighteen years old, and I’m one half of a whole. 
My other half– my twin brother, my Finn– is crazy. 

I love him. More than life, more than anything. And even though I’m terrified he’ll suck me down with him, no one can save him but me.

I’m doing all I can to stay afloat in a sea of insanity, but I’m drowning more and more each day. So I reach out for a lifeline. 

Dare DuBray. 

He’s my savior and my anti-Christ. His arms are where I feel safe, where I’m afraid, where I belong, where I’m lost. He will heal me, break me, love me and hate me. 

He has the power to destroy me. 

Maybe that’s ok. Because I can’t seem to save Finn and love Dare without everyone getting hurt. 

Why? Because of a secret. 

A secret I’m so busy trying to figure out, that I never see it coming. 

You won’t either

Our Review

None of us here at Once Upon a Book Blog knew what to expect when we began reading Nocte. We all went in totally blind, not reading any spoilers or having a clue what we were getting ourselves into.  And honestly, that is the way to go into it, completely clueless. The blurb itself doesn’t give a single thing away but still manages to be utterly attention grabbing, inducing within a burning NEED to read this book as soon as possible. And WHOA, what a book. Beautifully written, totally captivating, and completely spellbinding, Nocte solely held all of our attentions from the start. Even now, nearly twenty four hours after we finished reading this book, we are still finding ourselves discussing theories and contemplating what’s to come next. 

Amy– For me, this is one of those books that I am so glad I had someone to talk to and freak out with as I was reading. When I first started reading Nocte, I had no idea what to expect. I knew from the synopsis, that it was going to be one crazy ride. I found myself completely captivated by what I was reading. There was so much mystery and suspense with little bread crumbs of answers dropped along the way. Nocte is definitely one of those stories that will have you questioning everything that you are reading and then when you finally get some answers, you are completely blown away. If the twists and turns weren’t enough to scramble your mind, you were left with one brutal cliffhanger. One that won’t let me stop thinking about this book and anticipating the answers that lie ahead in the next story……

Charmaine- This is a book best read with a buddy or two. Trust me when I say that you’re going to need someone to be hysterical with more than once! From the very first page of the prologue I was completely and utterly lost to the story. There was no chance at me spinning this book out, I needed to finish it… I had to know what was going on. My brain wouldn’t stop working until I did! What I didn’t realise was that at the end I was going to be left bereft of a conclusion, because although there were some answers, it turned out that there was nothing neatly packaged about this ending. There is a question that 2 days on I am still wracking my brain to piece together. If ever a book is both enthralling and torturous at the same time then this is it. Well executed, skilfully written and fascinating to read, I am absolutely hooked…

Kristal – I think I almost lost my mind within the pages of this story. I’m not joking. I was frantically flipping pages and my thought process throughout can only be described as ‘frenzied’. I’d almost feel sorry for Charmaine and Amy (who were on the receiving end of my madness), if we weren’t all in the same boat. The burning need to KNOW, the trickery within the pages, and the perfectly compelling tale being told, all contributed to me being unable to function for an entire day while I devoured this book. And that ending…oh my god, that ending. Is it February yet???