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“Burning Bright” – Melissa McShane

Posted by on Sep 8, 2016 in Books, Reviews | 4 comments


“Burning Bright”

By Melissa McShane

Published August 15th 2016 by Curiosity Quills Press
Format: EBook
Goodreads | Amazaon

I’ll be honest, I was browsing Netgalley when I saw this pretty, shiny cover, briefly browsed the summary, realized it was a regency involving ships and magic and I had to have it.

Elinor is the eldest daughter in a fairly wealthy family, but wants nothing to do with all the flair that comes with being a young, unmarried woman in society. But when she discovers she has an Extraordinary fire burning talent, her father thrusts her back into society to marry well and raise the family’s status. But when she finds herself with the option of marrying a total lech, or her being under her father’s miserable rule for the rest of her life, she takes the third option: join the Navy! Then the adventures begin.

I’ve found myself on a bit of a ship kick ever since I read “The Girl From Everywhere” by Heidi Heilig. And now I just want all the sail boats!

There are so many things that I adored about this book. Elinor is just awesomely tough and resourceful, the Captain is such a gentleman and resourceful leader (so dreamy!), and the magic is unique. I like all the different talents (especially Jumpers, what a cool concept!) and how the Navy has implemented them to their advantage.

Overall I think I just loved that it was an adventure, there are pirates, a girl putting misogynistic creeps in their place, sea battles, magic battles and a cute little romance to top it off.

The one downside is that I struggled a little in the beginning. I’m not sure if it was intentional, but I don’t like how the author revealed some of the magical elements of the world. Things were mentioned, but not explained for a little bit, and I felt myself wondering if I’d missed something, or was just dumb. An example would be the “Extraordinary” part of the talents. At first I assumed that was just what those with abilities were called, but then it’s revealed that it’s those with exceptional abilities, and I don’t think that was really properly explained because I still don’t know where the distinction is other than, they’re really good.

This also happened with a couple of characters with abilities where they did something magical, and I was confused, thinking I’d missed an explanation of their ability, but then it’s explained a little later ( I thought one character was a mover at first, then jumpers were explained). But once everything was established, everything flowed smoothly and it was easy to forgive the miscommunication in the beginning.

I’m really excited for this series. It sounds like each book will focus on a different female character in the world with an extraordinary talent.

Oh, the worst thing about this book? That it’s only available in ebook so I can’t buy a pretty hardcover to go on my bookshelf *pouts*

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Europe 2016 – Italy Part 2

Posted by on Sep 2, 2016 in Photography, Travel & Adventure | 3 comments

View Italy Part 1 here.

The second day was a freebie day. It was so hot in Rome, so we decided to get on a train and go out to the coast for a beach day. We went out to St Marinella Beach as it’s the easiest to get to from Rome according to everything we read.

Except for catching the freaking train at Termini. They don’t tell you what track the train is on until a few minutes before and this one happened to be on the furthest track possible. Queue us running like crazy to try and catch the train in the heat and I thought I was going to die (we weren’t the only ones thank goodness). But we made it! I’m sure the guy I was profusely sweating next to didn’t appreciate it.

The beach experience in Rome is quite different from what I’m used to. Most beaches are privately owned, so to use them you have to pay to rent chairs/umbrellas. It was crazy crowded but we finally found somewhere that had available spots.



Our view of the beach from our rather expensive chair rental.


It was a much needed, relaxing day.

On our final morning in Rome we headed over to The Vatican. I had done the full tour when I was last in Rome, and Zack wasn’t all that interested to do it, so we just went over there for a quick look around.




Then it was right back to the hotel to get packed up and head off to Munich.

Even after two trips to Italy, I would love to go back again one day. It probably won’t happen cause Zack wasn’t in love as much as me. I’d love to do more traveling around, go to Venice. I also LOVE the food. Italian has always been a fav.

I’ll be back soon with an insane amount of photos from London.

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Samantha Lately #7

Posted by on Sep 1, 2016 in Books, Samantha Lately, Television & Movies | 11 comments


Heyo! This Samantha Lately I’m linking up! I’ve been meaning to join in on this forever, but life happens.

What's New With You



A few weeks ago we celebrated my nephew Rylan’s baptism. Zack and I are his godparents!




And then a couple of days later I officially became a US Citizen! Now I just need to get a US passport, change my name in Australia, then get my Australian passport updated with my married name. UGH.



The Vampire Diaries

This is my current binge watch. I’m about half way through season 3 (Team Damon obvs. I’m so over Steffan).

Vampire Diaries

Is “The Originals” any good?



Ahhh! Their new CD is out next week!

I quite like their most recent single “Good Grief” even though the music video is weird AF


Currently Reading

You're never weird150I just finished “You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)” by Felicia Day on audiobook and adored it. I love Felicia Day, even more so after reading this! I’m not quite sure how audible works when there are pictures? Are they available somewhere to download?? Thankfully I have a copy of the book too cause there are some funny pictures that go with it.

But she talks a bunch about her crazy upbringing and finding her way to internet videos, as well as some more serious topics like depression. I highly recommend the audiobook, Felicia Day narrates it and makes it so much more Felicia.

Anywho, have I mentioned that I’ve also met Felicia? She’s so adorable!




Woooo!!! We’re heading to Disney again in November!!!! I can’t wait!


What have you been up to lately?

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“The Crown’s Game” – Evelyn Skye

Posted by on Aug 16, 2016 in Books, Reviews | 3 comments


“The Crown’s Game”

By Evelyn Skye

Published May 17th 2016 by Balzer + Bray
Format: Audio Book
FullStarFullStarFullStarFullStarEmpty Star
Goodreads | Amazon

Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the Tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love… or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear… the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.

This book wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, and I’m delightfully pleased.

I thought the Crown’s Game contest would be a crazy, fiery, magic-filled battle for glory. But it ended up being more graceful and a contest of beauty. The two enchanters Nikolai and Vika each take turns performing a magical exhibition to impress the Tsar. But only one of them will make it out of the competition alive, the loser must give up using the magic of the world, and therefor their life.

I want to read all the Imperial Russia books. I loved the Russian reality in of “A Thousand Pieces of You” by Claudia Gray and I adored the setting of “The Crown’s Game”. Apparently the author took real historical figures and added a magical flare (another recurring them for me lately: My Lady Jane).

There are three main characters in this book: There are the two enchanters Vika and Nikolai who each have their own magical strengths. Vika has a strong control of natural elements, while Nikolai has a stronger grasp on fabricated materials. The third character Pasha, the heir to the Russian throne, is just a young man who wants to go on adventures, not rule an empire.

Yes there’s a love triangle, and I really liked it. It was actually well written. There’s a bit of insta-love, but hold the phone, it’s not on the girl’s side. Whaaaat? (in fact I think she’s the least invested in these relationships and I love her more for it) And I liked all sides of this triangle: Pasha/Vika, Vika/Nikolai and even the adorable friendship of Nikolai/Pasha, especially the romantic sides, as evident by my goodreads updates:

But don’t worry triangle haters, It didn’t overwhelm the story, there’s plenty of magic and trying to kill each other.

Oh and that ending! I just don’t know where the next book will go and I can’t wait.

This book definitely deserves a prettier cover.

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