Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Bluff [Book Review & Giveaway!]

Hello everyone!

Title: Bluff
Author: Julie Dill
Publisher: Amberjack Publishing
Published Date: 7th February 2017
Rating: 3 Stars

*Thanks to the Xpresso Book Tours for the review copy*


Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Chelsea Knowles is surrounded by the privileged. Michael Kors gym bags and designer shoes are part of her daily scene, but the talented cheerleader has a secret: she and her dad can barely pay the bills. Broken by his wife walking out on their family, Chelsea’s father ignores his responsibilities. Between cheer costs, grocery bills, electricity, and other regular financial burdens, it’s no surprise when a cut-off notice arrives in the mail. Chelsea knows it’ll be up to her to keep the lights on.

With the deck stacked against her, Chelsea decides to bet their future on the dubious poker knowledge she learned from her father before he gave up on parenting. Nervous but determined, Chelsea heads to a casino with very little security and wins big. Thrilled by her win, she’s quickly drawn to the casino again and again. She risks it all, especially when the attractive, young pit boss takes an interest in her.

Chelsea’s life, no longer filled with cheerleading, school, and hanging out with her friends, is now consumed by smoky casino floors and the ups and downs of a gambler’s life. True gamblers know when to fold, but Chelsea keeps betting long after her needs are met. The complicated web of lies soon begins to spin out of control, threatening to expose everything. Will someone see through her bluff?


Review: Bluff was a book I decided I wanted to read on a whim. I don’t do that too often anymore because I have plenty of books that I own which I should read already. But the cover and the synopsis intrigued me. It was also a book about something I don’t read about often at all – gambling, and the addiction that comes with it. I was intrigued.

The story here was pretty straightforward. Chelsea needs the money, so she pretends to be someone that she isn’t in order to get it. However, she makes a life for herself out there. She makes friends, she starts to date this older guy, and she’s still struggling to balance her usual, everyday life as well. There aren’t too many characters to the story, and the plot focuses on this alone. But it was enough to have me hooked, and I flew through the book quickly.

I was mostly wondering when everything would fall to pieces for her, and when her lies would catch up with her. It’s quite realistic with how everything goes down. The most interesting thing was to see how she kind of separated herself from her real life to trade it in for the addiction one. She really doesn’t realise how addicted she is, and how she is ending up in over her head. As someone who doesn’t play cards at all as well, I kind of enjoyed reading and learning more about the game from this one.

The writing was straight forward and simple, but I didn’t mind. The style suited the novel appropriately and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. It was definitely descriptive enough when it needed to b, and simply met all of my needs when it comes to writing styles.

I wished for a wider range in characters at times, or more of a subplot to liven things up a bit. But it was okay without one. Oh, and I felt like the ending was a bit rushed. It was a bit disappointing, because I really believed the main character had achieved something in particular. Yet, at the same time, I do believe the ending was realistic as well. Despite it being all those things, it could have been a bit more slowed down and developed, like the rest of the novel was.

All in all, this was a quick, nice read which maintained my interest all the way through. It may not have had that wow factor to make me fall in love with it, but not every book needs that to work out well.


Gif Summary:


Giveaway: Enter to win a Bluff themed prize pack! Open internationally!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Links: Goodreads and Amazon!

Olivia’s Question: Do you like gambling, lotteries and that sort of thing?

Olivia-Savannah x

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Banana Bread is my Best Friend

Good day :3

So today I am sharing the recipe for the banana bread I have been making like crazy. If you know me, you know I like to have fun making things in the kitchen, but I am not creative when it comes to cooking and baking. Which means I need to follow a recipe in most cases. So actually, I am sharing a recipe which I found online. But when it comes to online recipes, sometimes they sound so good when you read through them, but they simply don't work out when you make them. I've decided to make a bunch of things from recipes I find on the internet, and let you know if they are Olivia's Catastrophe approved or not ;)

First up, Moist Banana Bread! The original recipe is here!

I've followed this recipe multiple times, so believe me when I say that the result is not as moist as the recipe will let you believe it is going to be. However, it is still moist enough to be very good and appreciated by the people who try it (again, has been tested by my mums work mates and my classmates.)

I've followed the original recipe, and it worked out pretty good. Occasionally, I added a half glass of milk when I thought the mixture looked a bit dry and I knew I wanted it to turn out a bit more moist after being in the oven. So that is something else you can add to the bowl if you want to lean a bit more on the moist side. 

Also, as I have been trying to eat healthier, when I made this recipe a couple of times, I halved the amount of sugar that went into it. It actually tasted almost the same and was still pretty good. So that's another adaption you can include if you want to!
Following this recipe left me a result which had me pleased and I love it. I also have learned how to make this off by heart since - that's how much I've fallen in love with it. I hope you enjoy making this one too!


New Video! A mini book haul.


Olivia's Question: What's your favourite dessert?

Olivia-Savannah x

Friday, 24 February 2017

Christmas in February? ~ My Hoarding Catastrophe

Good morning! 

My Hoarding Catastrophe is my book haul meme here on Olivia's Catastrophe! I'm going to be showing you all the books I've acquired in the past month... 

Physical Books: In this haul I am finally including the books I got for Christmas from friends and family. I've also got some here which I bought at a Winter book fair... where all the books were second hand but some were in really good condition. My favourites have to be the two beautiful classics from my lovely sister and the beautiful white Twilight collection from my parents ^.^

A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khaled Hosseini 
Green Juices & Smoothies - Fern Green 
Dangerous Pilgrims - Lawrence Swaim (For Review)
Article Three - Anna Jakobsson Lund (For Review)
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood 
Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury 
War Nurse - Sue Reid 
The Suspicions of Mr Whicher - Kate Summerscale 
The Twilight Saga - Stephanie Meyer

For Review: I may have taken on a few more books than I wanted to this month >.>

Magpie Murders - Anthony Horowitz 
Cold Summer - Gwen Cole 
Numbers Game - Rebecca Rode
The White Aura - Felicia Tatum 
That Thing We Call a Heart - Sheba Karim 
If Birds Fly Back - Carlie Sorosiak 
Bluff - Julie Dill
The Night Mark - Tiffany Reisz 
Birthright - Jessica Ruddick 
He Will Be My Ruin - K.A. Tucker 
Grace and the Fever - Zan Romanoff 
Fyre - Katherine Bogle 
Starr Fall - Kim Briggs 
The Last Gate - Michael W. Garza

And those are all the books I've hauled in during Christmas and winter!

Olivia's Question: What new books have you acquired/bought lately?

Olivia-Savannah x

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

He Will Be My Ruin [Book Review]

Hello there!

Title: He Will Be My Ruin
Author: K.A. Tucker
Publisher: Atria Books
Published Date: 2nd February 2016
Rating: 4 stars

*Thank you to the publisher for the review copy*


Synopsis: A woman who almost had it all . . .

On the surface, Celine Gonzalez had everything a twenty-eight-year-old woman could want: a one-bedroom apartment on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, a job that (mostly) paid the bills, and an acceptance letter to the prestigious Hollingsworth Institute of Art, where she would finally live out her dream of becoming an antiques appraiser for a major auction house. All she had worked so hard to achieve was finally within her reach. So why would she kill herself?

A man who was supposed to be her salvation . . .

Maggie Sparkes arrives in New York City to pack up what’s left of her best friend’s belongings after a suicide that has left everyone stunned. The police have deemed the evidence conclusive: Celine got into bed, downed a lethal cocktail of pills and vodka, and never woke up. But when Maggie discovers a scandalous photograph in a lock box hidden in Celine’s apartment, she begins asking questions. Questions about the man Celine fell in love with. The man she never told anyone about, not even Maggie. The man Celine believed would change her life.

Until he became her ruin. 

On the hunt for evidence that will force the police to reopen the case, Maggie uncovers more than she bargained for about Celine’s private life—and inadvertently puts herself on the radar of a killer. A killer who will stop at nothing to keep his crimes undiscovered.


Review: If I was Maggie Sparkes in this novel, I think I probably would’ve done a lot of the same things she had done.

K.A. Tucker is an author who I have heard a lot about. It has been on my TBR for a while that I should try one of her novels. I was so happy to receive a review copy of this one to celebrate its paperback release! And boy was this one really good murder mystery.

In this novel a best friend has died, and Maggie is sure it wasn’t an accident. What I liked most about this novel is how in depth we get to the main characters. I was sure by the end of the novel I was not going to know much about Celine’s (the one who gets murdered) history, but more so about what happened to her in the last moments of her life. But Tucker insists that we get to know her. First, we get to know her as Maggie knows her. But as we go through the novel we learn that there was a lot more to her than even Maggie knew. It must be hard to find out your best friend’s thoughts and actions are slightly different than you would have ever expected.

Maggie is also working with a private detective. I don’t know how, but a combination of the prologue and the clues had me second guessing everything. At first, I was pretty certain I had been able to predict who the killer was and their reason for it. But the detective, Maggie and the clues all lead me to believe it had to be someone else, then someone else, until I had no idea and I began second guessing everyone. I think that’s something which shows it was a good murder novel.

I also quite liked Maggie as a main character. She’s someone who has a lot of money, but in the novel I gradually grew to like her because she also has passions which drive her. Maggie’s particular passion is helping those in need with her money. Celine’s was antiques. I like how the author gave them both something they were incredibly passionate about. I don’t know why I really enjoy reading from points of view of driven characters, but they seem more realistic to me, and more enchanting.

The writing style was lovely. From the very beginning I was pretty much hooked because of the way this author writes. I practically drank in her words and wanted more until I didn’t do anything but read the novel. I just had to know how it ended. The suspense slowly built up, and there was quite a bit of action at the end as well.

For some reason I had the misconception that K.A. Tucker was a YA writer. As I mostly review YA on Olivia’s Catastrophe, I feel like it is worth mentioning that she is not. There are some explicit scenes in this novel, especially when it comes to sex. It’s never in a lot of detail but there is enough for me to let YA readers know there are some mature moments ^.^

I really enjoyed reading this first novel by K.A. Tucker and cannot wait to pick up another one of her novels in the future now.


Gif Summary:


Links: Goodreads and Amazon!

Olivia’s Question: How trusting are you of people you’ve just met?

Olivia-Savannah x

Monday, 20 February 2017

This Savage Song [Book Review]

Hello everyone!

Title: This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity #1)
Author: Victoria Schwab
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Published Date: 7th June 2016
Rating: 4 Stars

*Thanks to the publisher for this review copy*


Synopsis: There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.


Review: I have wanted to read a book by Victoria Schwab for the longest time possible. Everyone is always raving about how wonderful they are. When I received this one for review, it took me a while to get to it because I was wary. What if the hype was misplaced? But don’t worry, it isn’t. This author is probably going to end up being a new favourite of mine with the more of her books that I read. Her writing style is so easy to sink into, and I loved almost everything about this book.

I was most impressed with the world when I started to read. We are transferred into this world where monsters exist, and they can hurt you. There are three different types. One which is violent, one which is made of shadows, and the rarest type, which if they play you a song, they can consume your soul. I loved the idea of this. I loved how the society had been built around it – how there were curfews to avoid the shadows, and how a city had been divided. Where one side had a ruler who worked in tandem with these shadows, and used them to their advantage. And the other side hunted these monsters and was fighting against them. Both sides simply trying to survive. It’s creative genius, right?

But the best thing about the world? The monsters are created because of human violence.

I really, really liked that aspect most of all. I do believe that violence and the pain we inflict on the world has its consequences. I thought it was significant and also unique to bring those consequences into a physical form in the novel. The worse your violent crime is, the worse of a monster you create. Which is why the Sunai (the monsters who steal your soul with music) are so rare. It’s because you need to have done something truly horrific in order for them to come into existence.

Monsters have their own problems as well. This novel doesn’t only focus on the humans. However, if you want to know about what problems the monsters themselves face and what consequences that can have, I’ll leave you to discover that by reading. I wouldn’t want to spoil the experience of sinking into the world for you!

I also really liked the two main characters. There’s Kate, who is the daughter of the criminal mastermind who runs one side of the city. She feels the need to be tough, and on top of her game all the time, in order to gain his respect. I did like her, but I didn’t feel for her particularly. I felt like it was a statement to make her so over confident and so unwilling to trust anyone else. In my opinion, I felt like it was a little bit overdone… but I did still like her character. However, it was the other point of view that I loved most of all. August is a monster. He wants to be human, and wants to be normal. He wants to be able to call himself ‘good’. Ironically, he has plenty of his own demons and monsters to face. I really, really loved him. But I won’t tell you too much about him, because that’s the fun in reading.

Kate and August have a whole rivalry-but-friends thing going on. I kind of ship them as well. I really loved that game of rivalry, and how things kind of turn on them and force them to have to help each other as well. It was very well done.

If you’re tired of romance in your novels as well, this one doesn’t really have romance? It has hints of it, and hints of them possibly becoming something more. But the romance definitely takes the back burner in this story, as the plot hikes up.

When starting this story, I was not hooked for the first 50%. I kept reading because I was enjoying the world, and was enjoying the characters, but it is probably a little over halfway when the plot really starts to kick in. I really liked the plot, but it took a while in coming. I wouldn’t say not to read this because of the time it takes for the plot to appear, but I would say to be patient :D It’s worthwhile waiting for.

I’m so looking forward to the sequel. It’s a duology, so I know it will be the end of everything. I just need more!


Gif Summary:


Links: Goodreads and Amazon!

Olivia’s Question: Do you play any instruments?

Olivia-Savannah x

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Nails Extravaganza ~ Be-YOU-tiful

Hi there!

Nails Extravaganza is a meme here on Olivia's Catastrophe where I share my latest nail art designs with you all. 

It's been quite a while since I've shared a nails extravaganza post. Mostly because I was having some difficulties when it came to nail art. I don't usually have this with many things, but I started to get in my mind that I wasn't any good at nail art, and that I shouldn't even bother trying. It started with doing a couple of designs and mucking them up. But then, even when I was doing my nail art well, I was so unsatisfied. I would look at it, notice one little imperfection or so, and then remove it. I don't know why it bothered me so much, but I decided I had to give up nail art. 

I still did paint my nails in colour though, just without designs. I actually got into nail art because I'm not such a huge fan of my nails. I loved nail polish because I could cover them up :P But yeah, I was still doing nail colour, but not nail art. 

But I have this nail art buddy, and we share a nail art account. After a couple of months of only her posting, she started to boost my confidence. She encouraged me to do my nails, give it a try, and actually show her before I removed it. And so I did. Because of her kind words and motivation, I managed to get back into it... slowly. 

There are some changes. I am going to be working on doing more simple designs and improving my skill before I go back to some of the complicated designs I was able to do before. I'm not going to be making anymore nail art videos. I just don't want that kind of pressure. But I will still be sharing here and on instagram. It'll work out, I hope :)

And that's why the first design I decided to do when I got back into sharing my nail art was this simple message. It's a reminder that you are beautiful. But at the same time, it's a reminder to be YOU. 
Thanks for reading ^.^

If you want to see more of my nail art make sure you follow our shared account on instagram!

Olivia's Question: Have you ever doubted your ability to do something well? What was it, and how did you overcome it? 

Olivia-Savannah x

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Dracula's Heir & The Crimes of Dr. Watson [Mini Reviews]

Hello there! Two mini reviews for you all today :D

Title: Dracula’s Heir
Author: Sam Stall
Publisher: Quirk Books
Published Date: 1st August 2008
Rating: 4 stars

 Title: The Crimes of Dr. Watson
Author: Duane Swierczynski
Publisher: Quirk Books
Published Date: 1st November 2007
Rating: 3 stars

*Thank you to the publisher for the review copy*


Synopsis: In 1897, Archibald Constable & Company published Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the most famous horror novel of all time. For reasons still debated by scholars, the first chapter of Dracula was cut from the book just weeks before publication. Here, it becomes the central clue in a spine-tingling original interactive mystery.

Dracula’s Heir begins 10 years after the horrific events described in the original novel. Jonathan and Mina Harker are happily married and enjoying life in Bixby, England. Meanwhile, their friend Dr. John Seward is tracking a string of crimes that seems eerily familiar. A 14-year-old girl sleepwalks out of her parents’ house and disappears into the night. Two “accident victims” are found drained of their blood, yet there is no crime scene evidence to explain its loss.

When Seward shares his discoveries with the famous vampire hunter Abraham Van Helsing, all the evidence points to Jonathan Harker. After all, Harker spent weeks imprisoned in Castle Dracula as a guest of the Count – was he infected without anyone realising it? Has the mild-mannered English solicitor spent the last decade lurking in the shadows as a nosferatu? Or is someone (or something) else getting away with murder?

This chilling mystery novella features 8 removable clues, including a newspaper, a death certificate, Renfield’s private journal, and the original first chapter of Bram Stoker’s Dracula When you think you’ve solved the crime, you can open the final signature (sealed at the printer) to test your powers of deduction.


Review: I absolutely loved reading this lovely little interactive mystery!

An interactive mystery is a mystery novel where the reader is the one solving it, alongside the main character. I loved how it had clues which you had to pull out and unfold, such as scrunched notes, envelopes which needed opening and little notebooks. It also had its own newspaper. Alongside all that fun, there were beautifully detailed illustrations that went along with the story. I just had to love that aspect of the novella.

I also really liked the writing style of the novella. I was pretty worried before I started reading this one because Dracula is a classic I have come to adore. I was anxious about someone else writing those characters, and trying to fit into Stoker’s style. But Stall does a wonderful job. Believe me, if I hadn’t known better, I would’ve been able to believe that Bram Stoker wrote this himself as well. Kudos to the author for mastering his writing style and writing it in a way I could love.

Then we have the mystery itself. Dare I say it was a better mystery and more so intriguing than that of the original novel? I did not guess the culprit myself, although I should’ve been able to, now that I know what the answer is. I really liked how it involved the previous characters and how they were accused as well. In fact, the evidence is so convincing that it’s hard to believe otherwise. But the clues were clever, and tricky, and it was just fun to read. I especially liked that we get to play along and try to figure it all out ourselves before the answer is given.

There were some new characters, and I did like them. I liked how they moved the time on ten years down the line, and how that played into the story. The ending was definitely haunting – the perfect atmosphere to leave with the reader after having read such a chilling read.

I’m so glad I had the chance to read this one!


Synopsis: After the rooms at 221B Baker Street are set ablaze—and a mutilated corpse is discovered in the wreckage—Dr. John H. Watson is arrested and imprisoned at Coldbath Fields penitentiary. Writing from a cramped and dimly lit cell, Watson describes the mysterious events leading up to his arrest. Someone has been mailing him a series of cryptic warnings. His lifelong friend Sherlock Holmes has vanished in the raging waters of Reichenbach Falls. And Professor Moriarty’s criminal empire is expanding across Europe and throughout America.
In a desperate attempt to clear his good name, Watson has compiled twelve clues that may prove his innocence, including:
     •  The front page of a newspaper from Thousand Oaks, California
     •  A catalog of Victorian fashions and merchandise
     •  An empty matchbook containing cryptic handwritten notes
     •  The complete text of “The Final Problem,” Watson’s famous account of the death of Sherlock Holmes
     •  Plus a theater ticket, an arrest report, a railroad timetable, and more
All twelve clues have been painstakingly reproduced for this volume, along with the complete text of Watson’s manuscript and specially commissioned illustrations by Homes aficionado Clint Hansen.


Review: This was another interactive mystery, but this one was told from the point of view of Dr. Watson. The novel is about those who find clues to a mystery which apparently was supposed to be secret, buried and hidden. However, when new documentation is brought to light, the reader can try and solve the mystery with some of the clues which are given. This is brilliant for those who are fans of Sherlock and enjoys these kind of mysteries!

I really loved the interactive side of things once again. Perhaps even more so than the Dracula novel because these were even more interactive. For example, there is a paper which has been cut up and burned, and you get the pieces and have to put them together. Although there are still notes, newspapers and so on, this has a bit more than the Dracula one did.

The illustrations are still intricate and so well drawn. I will say that I preferred those in the Dracula mystery more, but these ones were still able to take my breath away with their beauty. When you have interaction and beautiful illustrations, it’s hard to label this book as anything other than a winner.

However, for some reason when reading this book I felt a bit confused. Not when we were getting things from Watson’s point of view, but when we weren’t. When it was set in the present day, I got all mixed up with the characters and whose perspective I was reading from. I wish a little more time had been taken to describe who these people were so I would’ve gotten a little less mixed up. That took some enjoyment from my reading, but that could simply be something personal. Maybe others found it easier to follow, so make sure you go to Goodreads and check out other reviews to be sure!

All in all though, it was another fun, quick read which I flew through in a couple of hours. It’s well worth the fun!

Gif Summary:


Links: Goodreads and Amazon for Dracula's Heir! And then Goodreads and Amazon for The Crimes of Dr. Watson. 

Olivia’s Question: Which classic do you wish had a sequel to it?

Olivia-Savannah x