Thursday, 30 June 2016

Sutphin Boulevard [Book Review]

Hi there!

Title: Sutphin Boulevard (Five Boroughs #1)

Author: Santino Hassell
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Published Date: 31st July 2015
Rating: 4 Stars

*Thanks to the author for the review copy*


Synopsis: Michael Rodriguez and Nunzio Medici have been friends for two decades. From escaping their dysfunctional families in the working-class neighborhood of South Jamaica, Queens to teaching in one of the city’s most queer friendly schools in Brooklyn, the two men have shared everything. Or so they thought until a sweltering night of dancing leads to an unexpected encounter that forever changes their friendship.

Now, casual touches and lingering looks are packed with sexual tension, and Michael can’t forget the feel of his best friend’s hands on him. Once problems rear up at work and home, Michael finds himself seeking constant escape in the effortless intimacy and mind-blowing sex he has with Nunzio. But things don’t stay easy for long.

When Michael’s world begins to crumble in a sea of tragedy and complications, he knows he has to make a choice: find solace in a path of self-destruction or accept the love of the man who has been by his side for twenty years.


Review: When it comes to this book, if you read my review of Stygian by Santino Hassell, you know I just needed to try another one of his books. I’ve settled for the fact that these NA m/m romances are my little guilty pleasure reads that I’m going to let myself pick up from time to time. But only on the days where I have time to do nothing else but read because this one had me excusing all my duties once again until I had finished the book. It took me only two days to read from beginning to end.

Unfairly though, I kept comparing this to Stygian when I shouldn’t have been because they are quite different books. This one is really based on a friendship which blossoms into love. Well, at least it has done so on one side of the grid, while the other best friend stays incredibly ignorant as to what is happening.

I did want to have a little bit more romantic suspense though. The characters are already getting things on in the first 5% of the book. Nothing wrong with that and it didn’t mean that all the romance related issues were over and solved – they were only just beginning because of that! But it didn’t have the level of suspense that I was looking for, so it was a little disappointing in my own personal want from choosing this book.

That aside though, it was a very good book. It’s not only about the romance story! Michael’s family is definitely dysfunctional. His mother has passed away due to illness and his father who was abusive towards him and drinks/spends money all the time has suddenly decided to return home and is ill as well but refuses to go to the hospital. Double that with the fact that Michael has a good for nothing brother who sits on the couch all day and doesn’t seem interested in finding a job… no wonder Michael is feeling a bit of stress from his home life.

On top of all that, this book manages to somehow find the time to deal with some pretty dark themes of drinking and depression. It really delves deeply into those themes and makes this one of the more meaningful NA novels that I have read.

I really liked Michael as a main character because he seemed to really care about the people he came across, even if he didn’t particularly know how to help them. For example, he’s a school teacher and he really does love the kids and wants the best for them. Nunzo was also an interesting character. He seems all light-hearted and funny and like he doesn’t get offended by anything. But sooner or later you get to know him better and you see there is a lot more to him underneath all those layers.

Both of the main characters are Spanish speakers here, so this book does use a few loan words and throw in bits of Spanish. It’s just a few words so it doesn’t disturb from the story at all, but just adds to the atmosphere and setting. It was a nice little touch.

Seeing as this is the first book in a series, somebody should give me book two already!


Gif Summary: 


New Video!


Links: Goodreads and Amazon!

Olivia’s Question: Can you speak Spanish or a second language well?

Olivia-Savannah x

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Books I Plan to Consume... I Mean Read [Fantasy Favourites Read-a-thon]

Hello everyone!

I'm here today to do my introductory and TBR post for the Fantasy Favourites Read-a-thon! If you still want to join in and sign up, you can do so here :D 

Who are you? 

Well, I'm Olivia-Savannah. Book crazy, nail polish obsessed and I believe you can never play too much basketball either.

Why are you joining the read-a-thon?

I AM sort of hosting it, so it would be rude to host and not really join in, no? As well as that, I love the fantasy genre like the next person, so of course I wouldn't miss a chance to read some good fantasy novels. 

Which books do you intend to read? 

Haha, I'm so over-ambitious. So I intend to start reading all of these, but I don't intend to finish them all. 

Ruin & Rising - Leigh Bardugo 
Winter - Marissa Meyer 
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling
A Clash of Kings - George R.R. Martin

How many pages do you think you'll manage?

I still have school going on and I've chosen books which somehow manage to fit a lot of words on one page. So I'm hoping to read AT THE VERY LEAST 100 pages of each. Which means 400 pages in total, at the very least. Maybe I'll read more of one of them... and try to finish one. I don't know yet. *shrugs*

What's your favourite thing about the fantasy genre?

The creatures. Dragons, mermads and fae... among many more! I love mythical creatures and authors can be so creative in the ways in which they manipulate the qualities of those creatures to suit their novels. I love it. 

Which fantasy books do you always recommend? 

I'll never stop recommending the Lunar Chronicles. Day after day... they are wonderful. 

If you could travel to any fantasy world, which one would it be? (I know it's hard, but try not to say Hogwarts)

I actually wouldn't have chosen Hogwarts so no worries there :D I would choose the world in the Percy Jackson series. I want to be a half-blood going on quests and chilling with other fellow half-bloods myself too!

Link up your posts! 

An InLinkz Link-up

Olivia's Question: What fantasy book would recommend to me?

Olivia-Savannah x

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Planner Junkie ~ Chantilly & Co

Hey everyone!

So this is a long overdue post. I have been using these wonderful planner stickers for about a month now and I wanted to share with you guys about them too!

Chantilly & Co is a wonderful shop where they sell planner stickers. Now, I have not always used a planner. Before I used to make several lists and then I would scatter them all over my room as I was trying to keep organised. It wasn't working - so I knew I needed to have a planner to keep all the things and goals in one place. Likewise, my scheduling for blogging has been lacking and I needed help for that too. But using a planner and some epic planner stickers has changed all that!

Chantilly and Co's stickers are simply so colourful and light. There are two packs, and this one in the above photo is the Sweet Melon package. What I love so much about it is the bright pastel colours that make me so happy just opening my planner. Some people find organisation to be a real downer but it isn't like that here!

I also really like the process of organising things into my planner. It calms me down, knowing that I have a plan and I have steps that are going to get me to where I want and need to be. Organisation and time management is so important and I feel like a lot of people don't realise how helpful it is to have a planner like this.

What also makes their stickers so special is that there are nice motivating ones too. There are some cute quotes like 'summer plans' and 'sweet life' and so on - just little things to brighten your days as you go about your business!

All stickers are designed for the Erin Condren Life Planner vertical , the MAMBI Happy Planner, or basically can be used in any personal planner of your choice. All the stickers are also semi-gloss removable. 

The Woodn't You collection is made of more sturdier stuff, but is just as cute! You get such a range of stickers - from Washi tape to labels, to backgrounds, to quotes and images and so on!

Linky time :D 

Chantilly & Co's etsy shop

Chantilly & Co's instagram.

Chantilly & Co's channel.

Last but not least, some discounts for you!

Want a 15% discount off of 10$+ buys? Then use this code: OLIVIA15

Want free shipping for international buyers for an order 60$+? Then use the code FREESHIP60

And enjoy some photos below ^.^

Olivia's Question: Do you use a planner? How do you stay organised?

Olivia-Savannah x

Monday, 20 June 2016

The Cleansweep Conspiracy [Review, Tour & Giveaway]

Hello there!

Title: The Cleansweep Conspiracy
Author: Chuck Waldon
Publisher: Self-published
Published Date: 8th March 2016
Rating: 3 stars

*Thank you to the iReadTours for the review copy*


Matt Tremain publishes Verité, a modest blog dedicated to writing about the truth and exposing scams. Currently, he’s following up on rumors concerning something called CleanSweep, a mysterious project in Toronto, Canada.
Matt gets his break when a whistleblower connects CleanSweep to billionaire Charles Claussen. Claussen plans to rid Toronto of undesirables, beginning with street people and extending to any citizens who don’t match Claussen’s restrictive screening matrix.
With the help of a high-ranking government official, Claussen plans to incite riots and violent unrest, conning Torontonians into sacrificing privacy and civil liberties for illusionary security and safety. Toronto will be reduced to a repressive city-state.
The information overwhelms Matt, who doubts he has the courage, skill, or readership to take on CleanSweep. But the murder of his source convinces the blogger to take a stand—although he’s too late to prevent chaos from gripping Toronto’s streets.
To get the word out, Matt’s going to need allies. He may have found some in a Toronto police detective and a local TV reporter pursuing the same story—presuming they aren’t allied with Claussen. If they are, Matt’s going to become yet another victim of CleanSweep, and the truth will be buried forever.

Review: The Cleansweep Conspiracy was one that managed to catch my attention because I have been in the mood to read a lot of thrillers lately. This one did not fail to fit the bill. This book had a lot of ties to history, which is a subject I really like and appreciate. The Cleansweep idea is that all the people who don't fit with the image of an ideal person are removed in order for society to be the safest and the best it could be. Sound familiar? Yep, it's almost like the ideologies spread by the Nazis in WWII. Knowing that, I was really curious to know how all of this would be going down. 

As for the thriller side of things, this novel doesn't disappoint in the slightest. I was kept turning pages and on the edge of my seat from the beginning to the end. The climax of this novel was incredibly well built up to. So much so that I didn't stop reading until the end of the book where everything was sorted out. Throughout the whole novel there are a small group of characters who know the truth and want to share it with the public - but of course the villain (the mind behind the whole concept) is after them. They are never safe and of course, that only adds to the suspense. 

At the end of the book there was a plot twist which I won't spoil, but it was a pleasant surprise. At that point in the novel I had thought that everything was set in stone and the book would have a certain ending... almost too certain of it! Because in the end the plot twist shocked me and I'm pretty excited to read more of this author because it suggests there may be a sequel.

I really liked the main characters as well. There are a lot of characters featured here - primarily four of them. And what bothered me a little is that two of these main characters are called Carl and Carling... which is a little too similar for my liking and got confusing at times. But I ended up feeling a certain affinity for each of them and wanted them all to push through and survive. Maybe a little more depth into their characters would have been appreciated, but otherwise it good. 

Also, you see two points of view. Not only are we following the 'gang' of four good guys, but also we follow the villain and his head of security. Now even though some of the characters were on the 'bad' side of things, you get to know their story and I admit I ended up rooting for one or two of them too! I wanted everyone to have a happy ending but that just doesn't happen in these kind of novels. Which made it a little heartbreaking for me!

At times this novel got a little info dumpy in the beginning and it was a little rough getting started and keeping me hooked. But once I got into it, I really was addicted to this thriller and wanted to see how it all ended. A promising read!


Gif Summary: 


Giveaway! Open to USA & Canada only. Enter to win: 

1. Grand prize: Kindle Fire with 7” display from Amazon + copy of CleanSweep (1 winner)
2. 4 copies of CleanSweep (4 winners)
3. 5 copies of author’s previous titles (5 winners)
4. 2 X $15 Amazon GC + copy of CleanSweep (2 winners)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Links: Amazon and Goodreads!

Olivia's Question: Have you ever done any charity work? Do you want to?

Olivia-Savannah x

Saturday, 11 June 2016

The Reluctant Sacrifice [Book Review]

Hello there!

Title: The Reluctant Sacrifice (The Aramithians #1)
Author: Kerr-Ann Dempster
Publisher: Ink City Books
Published Date: 7th August 2015
Rating: 3 stars

*Thank you to the author for the review copy*


Centuries ago, sibling rivalry tore Aramith apart. As punishment, the losers were stripped of their immortal birthright and banished to Earth. There, they wasted away from old age and diseases. However, there is hope… 

If a Shaw child, born on the 12th day of the 12th month offers her soul in a public sacrifice, then the exiles will be forgiven and welcomed home to Aramith. 

Aubrey Shaw is that child, but dying for the exiles is not on her to-do list. Using her gift as a Jumper, Aubrey leaps between bodies to escape relentless shape-shifting hunters. Only, shedding her skin is not enough. Not when Joshua, her best-friend-turned-hunter, is hell-bent on dragging her to the altar. 

Will Aubrey’s love for Joshua change his mind? 

Or, will she have to trust the scarred stranger who shows up out of the blue cloaked in lies and secrets? Doing so means giving up on Joshua. But betting on Joshua's love could do more than break her heart. 

It could kill her. 

 Review: I have quite a lot of mixed feelings when it comes to The Reluctant Sacrifice, so I'll try and discuss them as best I can. I'm going to break the book into stages - talking about the beginning, middle, end, and then lastly, the romance. 

So. The beginning. It took me quite a while to get into this book, and that was mostly because I wasn't really feeling it in the beginning. I liked the main character and the story itself wasn't too bad. It was a bit jumpy and because we were suddenly thrown into this world and the main character had abilities that I couldn't get my grips on, it left me a bit frazzled. And then we slowly started to understand the fantasy/paranormal kind of elements to the story. They were never fully explained, in my opinion, and they didn't entirely convince me. I know fantasy/paranormal can never really be realistic, but it was a little too far-fetched for me? It was beyond what I could really imagine and ground myself in. 

But then the middle happened, and the book quickly picked up for me! I was easily able to really like Aubrey again. She started to show that even though she wanted to be confident and not let life get to her, she was still scared. She still had moments of panic. And I found that to be incredibly realistic. I was able to connect with her through that, and I admired her resilience despite being worried nonetheless. 

In the middle we also get a lot of internal conflict. We start to see the grey area between the people who are supposed to be labelled as good, and as bad. Aubrey starts thinking - if she was in their position, would she do the same thing? We learn more and more about their motives and then we get to see them as true people as well. I started to question who was bad and who was good. I loved the moral dilemma and the way Aubrey was carefully thinking about this. It invested me in the plot and I wanted to know the outcome of things. 

That sort of ties into the romance story. There is a bit of a love triangle here, but then at the same time there isn't one. Josh was who Aubrey really loved since childhood, but now he wants her dead. Sort of a turn off, right? So she is trying to move on, but she can't help the way she feels sometimes. And all the time Coy is there, being patient. But she doesn't know if she can trust him yet. And that created quite a few issues! I liked that romance toss up.

But at the same time, there was the part I didn't like which kind of involved Aubrey doing things because she just "wanted to forget her problems for a while." Yes, we all have our weak moments, but that just seemed a little cliche? I have seen countless girls do the same throughout YA and it's really annoying to have it keep jumping up. >.> So yeah, when I was reading that bit... I was a little annoyed that throughout my favourite section of the book this was included.

And last but not least, the ending. I'm still not entirely sure how I feel about it, although it has been a while since I have finished the book. It tied up well, I guess, but it made me question if I was really satisfied with the way things worked out? I'm not sure. It was a little sudden with thrown in elements you won't be able to predict, but I'm not sure I entirely understand myself. Hm... I think if you read the book, you'll have to make up your own mind on this one!

Overall a pretty decent read, but it left something to be desired in some areas.


Gif Summary:


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Links: Goodreads and Amazon!

Olivia's Question: What do you find hard to let go of?

Olivia-Savannah x

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Behind the Scenes [Blog Tag]

Hello everyone! 

I hope you are all having a good weekend. I'm busy studying for exams.

So instead of review, enjoy a book tag I took way too long getting round to doing. 

I was tagged for the Behind the Scenes tag by Allison @ Allison the Writer

It's a writing tag... but I love writing so much I cowrite at another blog called These Writerly Conundrums about it. So I thought it wouldn't be too bad to share here too.


Is there a snack you like to eat while writing?

Not really. I usually have a cup of tea with me, and the possible odd chocolate biscuit to dip into it. (I'm British, gotta love my cuppa ^.^) But otherwise, I'm way too in the zone to be eating and writing. If I do have dried mango, I might snack on that a little while writing. 

But then again, if I did have dried mango, I would be snacking on it all the time until it was finished. 

What time of the day do you usually write at?

When it comes to novel writing, I really like to do it in the early hours of the day. Any time before midday works for me, especially at 6am when everyone else is still sleeping. I'm very much a morning person and I am the best I can be at anything as long as it is fairly early on in the day. 

When it comes to poetry writing, I write that best from 9-5 I think. Probably because that's when I'm supposed to be listening in school. Oops >.>

Where do you write? 

I usually write in my bedroom. I'm next to my desk in the most cases with my feet propped up on my bed and my laptop resting on my legs because I type fastest that way. In fact, that's how I am writing this blog post at the moment.

But when I'm writing poetry, I can do it anywhere. In class. In a bus. Anywhere really, as long as I have my notebook with me (which I just so happen to carry everywhere, because inspiration strikes me at the strangest of times.)

How often do you write a new novel?

I'm currently editing a novel I have been working on for the past 2 years... so...

But it has ONLY taken that long because I keep getting distracted and side tracked with other new shiny ideas. Which I invest about 30,000 words in before I return to my main novel. I should really work on trying to avoid doing that...

Do you listen to music while you write?

Not really? Sometimes I am so in the zone that I want silence. 

However, lately I've been playing my Thor: The Dark World OST soundtrack while I write. And it's actually nice. 

What's your writing utensil? Paper or laptop?

It depends. As you know, when it's my novel, I'm on the laptop. When it's poetry, I'm writing in my notebook. And when it's a children's novella (I've only written one of those) or a short story, it's just random pieces of paper and written by hand. 

Do you have a special pre-writing ritual?

Not really? I make sure I have everything I need and that I've done everything I need to do in order to avoid as many distractions as possible. I pull out my planning, because I always have (yes, even for poetry.) Then I just get started.

What do you do to get into the writing mood?

Sometimes I read a little before writing. This can be writing tips, or the book I'm currently reading, or even the last part of the novel that I wrote before stopping. But usually the writing mood is the reason why I'm already writing :D 

What do you always have near the place you write?

1. My planning. 
2. Pen and paper. To scribble ideas down. 
3. My mini-idea notebook. When inspiration strikes I save it in there for later. (I think you're seeing that I have a lot of notebooks. 
4. My phone. This may seem like a distraction to some people, but I sometimes need to look things up on the internet to double check I'm not lying to my readers. 
5. A hair bubble/tie because I really dislike my hair getting in the way of my vision when I am writing, or reading. 

Do you have a reward system for word counts?

I don't! But you know what? I should do D: 

Is there anything else about your writing process your readers don't know?

Well, maybe they already DO know this, but this blog started because I want to be an author. Publishers/agents always appreciate an author who can bring an email subscriber list and already have a group of potential readers for their novel. What better way to have that than through a blog? And even better - a book blog?

Yet, if my dream of being an author died away today, I would still keep blogging. I know it helps to have one but blogging has grown to mean so much more to me than that. But yes, one day I do want to publish my novel that I have been labouring over for two years. And yes, maybe you'll be hearing about it on here too when the time is right ^.^
I tag!
Inge & Aly @ Of Wonderland 

Olivia's Question: Do you write? If not, what's your dream job?

Olivia-Savannah x

Thursday, 2 June 2016

The Way to Game The Walk of Shame [Review, Tour & Giveaway!]

Hello there!

Title: The Way to Game the Walk of Shame 
Author: Jenn P. Nguyen
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Published Date: 7th June 2016
Rating: 4 stars

*Thank you to Xpresso Book Tours for the review copy*


Synopsis: Taylor Simmons is screwed.

Things were hard enough when her single-minded dedication to her studies earned her the reputation of being an Ice Queen, but after getting drunk at a party and waking up next to bad boy surfer Evan McKinley, the entire school seems intent on tearing Taylor down with mockery and gossip.

Desperate to salvage her reputation, Taylor persuades Evan to pretend they’re in a serious romantic relationship. After all, it’s better to be the girl who tames the wild surfer than just another notch on his surfboard.


Review: The Way to Game the Walk of Shame by Jenn P. Nguyen was a book I fell in love with as soon as I read the title. Suddenly I was pulling up everywhere to try and get a review copy of this one. Which was why I was so happy to snag a place on this tour here! I was anticipating it like crazy. 

I recently read another fake dating kind of story which was No Love Allowed by Kate Evangelista. I've quickly gone from not having read any of these kind to two! This one had quite a different reason for the couple pretending to get together. I really liked the whole situation of them waking up in bed together, neither of them knowing what happened the night before. Then on top of that, everyone saw them leave together. Taylor hates the gossip trailing after her, and seeing as she is used to being the school nerd who no one dared to even talk about in her presence, she wants to have her status back again. How to do that? Start dating Evan. I loved that premise!

This book quickly became one I wanted to read all day long. The story narration switched between Evan and Taylor so that we got to see things from both of their eyes. Both of their voices were unique and I really liked that they didn't blend into each other at all. I think I liked Taylor's the most - she had so much attitude and even though she appeared confident to most people on the outside, she had her own inner panic moments. She was the kind of girl who really wanted her dreams to come true and chased after her ambitions. But sometimes she also doubted that they would really happen. Taylor was just one of those go-getter girls I could really appreciate. 

Evan was another person who was very confident. Even though he is a player, we quickly get to know him as so much more. The best thing about him is that he never denies the whole player side of himself - he knows that's who he is and the author makes no excuses for him. I would have thought this would have made me dislike him because there was no previous reason for him being that way, but it's more so that he's a guy, y'know? And he accepts that, and with his point of view we learn about there being more to him. As soon as Taylor is introduced into his life, things start to change about his life too. 

This book also spotlighted family conflict. Evan and Taylor both have divorced parents. Although in Taylor's case she loves her stepdad and thinks he is much better for her mother than her biological father was. Evan's biological father spent a lot of time in jail and he really dislikes his stepdad. Together this contradicting portrayals of families caused a lot of turmoil in emotions in this novel. It was never quite the forefront of the novel but it did play its part in the grand scheme of things and I believe it was handled well. 

Primarily, this book is a romance. As it was a clean romance, I ended up very satisfied on this front. It was sweet. It had some miscommunication and some trials and tribulations that the couple had to solve their way out of together, and it also had plenty of banter which made me one happy reader. Banter is the kind of thing I can never get enough of in a novel. 

The ending was super sweet and I really appreciated the bonus chapters at the end. I won't say what they were to do with because the pleasant surprise of what they were made them the best. It was a good way to tie up the novel. 

I did appreciate the friends group that Taylor and Evan both had. Aaron, Carly and Brian all made a gang of unique but good-hearted friends that supported them both with whatever they were trying to do. I do wish there had been a bit more time to deepen our understanding of the secondary characters but that never really happened. And at times, I wished that there were more issues for the couple to overcome than the way their relationship began or miscommunication. At times it felt a little too... easy?

In general though, this was a brilliant romance contemporary that I raced through! It's brimming with voice, character and a romance you'll want to be a part of. Can't wait to see what this author produces next!


Gif Summary: 


Giveaway: Enter for a chance to win a print copy of The Way to Game the Walk of Shame. US only!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Links: Goodreads and Amazon!

Olivia's Question: What's your favourite pizza topping? 

Olivia-Savannah x