Tag Archives: vanessa garden

Review: Impulse

impulseImpulse by Vanessa Garden

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Source: eARC courtesy of publisher

Please note this is a review of the second book of Submerged Sun and there may be spoilers in respect to the first book, Captivate (my blurb)

You know that feeling when you see the sequel of a book you’ve read being published? Yes, almost always an excitement and then you’d automatically purchase (in this case, a request on NetGalley) the book before you realised that you really weren’t that keen on book 1. Oops! It was unfortunate that I wasn’t quite that keen on Captivate but I didn’t hate it plus I was somewhat curious about Miranda’s return to Marin so I gave Impulse a go.

There’s definitely no denying it now, Miranda is really really really annoying. Her tendency to think the best of some people or her naivety or blindness, whatever you want to call it, has really got to me this time. More than it was with Captivate because with Lauren around, this happened again and again and again… I would very much like to get my hands around Lauren’s throat, pick her up and bash her against the wall then I may shake Miranda a bit to get some sense into her. Or have I fallen into the author’s trap…? Is there some convoluted twist to be revealed later on? Am I reading too much into this… who knows!

Setting aside all the annoyance, I actually enjoyed the story. There were a number of unexpected twists which are always great in books and a couple of new characters which I’m very curious about. The romance wasn’t bad though I cringed a bit at some soppy-ness. I still, however, adore Marko and Robbie.

Impulse and I aren’t the best fit but I do know that some people love it so if you loved the first book, you would probably love this one too. If you were like me, you will find Miranda exasperating.

Thank you, Harlequin Books Australia for copy of eARC via NetGalley

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Review: Captivate

captivateCaptivate by Vanessa Garden

My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

Source: ARC courtesy of Harlequin TEEN

It seems that I’ve been drawn to underwater worlds lately and with such a gorgeous cover, a promising premise, plus being written by an Aussie author, Captivate was a definite pick for me. I also participated in the blog tour recently (see: blog tour post) so I really had to read this for myself.

The mysterious beginning of being kidnapped into another world was really intriguing. Miranda, to me, was quite average. I like her but I don’t love her. There were admiring traits and some really frustrating traits. Robbie, however, I loved! He was (aside from being the said kidnapper) really a considerate, kind, and loyal kind of boy whilst Marko –well, who doesn’t just fall for the broody passionate guy? This book was all about the boys for me.

The underwater kingdom was quite unbelievable. There was enough glitter to appeal but unfortunately, not quite well developed. There were parts that really stumped me and parts that I just didn’t like. An example is a particular thing Miranda had to do which I kind of relate to animal or cavemen (maybe) behaviour but really not one a modern society would adopt. The kingdom may not be as modern as our world but it’s not primitive. There appears to be a somewhat gothic feel as well which was barely touched though I have a feeling this might be something for the next instalment. If it is, I really would love to see this explored.

Miranda is, I found, a tad confusing, especially when it comes to her feelings. I thought there might be something with Robbie, then maybe a love triangle, then maybe not, then… *gah*, you know what I mean. It was just completely bewildering. With Marko, on the other hand, it was pretty obvious that she felt something for him though he was in and out too many times with ‘out’ being predominant that I feel his character wasn’t quite built up and therefore, the potential relationship was a little flat.

I’d like to see where Vanessa Garden will take the next book to. I am keeping my fingers crossed for all my wishlist (I know I most probably won’t get them all) but I think I may just read the next instalment before I shelf this series away. Totes read this book for the boys, peeps!

Thank you, Harlequin TEEN, for ARC in exchange for my honest review

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Blog Tour: Captivate – Q & A with Vanessa Garden


An absolutely gorgeous cover to capture your eye

A glittering underwater world to intrigue your imagination

A beautiful love to romance your heart

I say, how can you say ‘no’ to this book?!  Not a chance!  I’m so very privileged to have received a review copy and be part of the blog tour.  My thanks to Harlequin Books Australia and Vanessa Garden for having me on board.

The Book

captivateCaptivate (Submerged Sun #1) by Vanessa Garden

In a glittering underwater world, nothing is as it seems…

For the past twelve months since her parents’ death, seventeen-year-old Miranda Sun has harboured a dark secret — a secret that has strained the close relationship she once shared with her older sister, Lauren. In an effort to repair this broken bond, Miranda’s grandparents whisk the siblings away on a secluded beach holiday. Except before Miranda gets a chance to confess her life-changing secret, she’s dragged underwater by a mysterious stranger while taking a midnight swim.

Awakening days later, Miranda discovers that she’s being held captive in a glittering underwater city by an arrogant young man named Marko…the King of this underwater civilisation.

Nineteen-year-old Marko intends to marry Miranda in order to keep his crown from falling into the sinister clutches of his half-brother, Damir. There’s only one problem. Miranda is desperate to return home to right things with her sister and she wants nothing to do with Marko. Trying to secure her freedom, Miranda quickly forms an alliance with Robbie — Marko’s personal guard. However, she soon discovers that even underwater, people are hiding dangerous secrets…

Booktopia  |  Amazon  |  iBooks

The Author

vanessaVanessa Garden lives on the coast of Western Australia with her husband, their three chatty children, and three calming goldfish. When she is not  writing, Vanessa can be found at the local bookstore where she works part-time. Being a bookseller as well as an author, Vanessa loves nothing more than immersing herself in the exciting world of books. When she is not gushing about her favourite reads to customers, or dreaming up  her next novel, she enjoys spending time with the people she loves most.

Blog  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

Q & A with Vanessa

G’day, Vanessa, it’s lovely to have you as guest on my blog today.

I have to Googling your name but all I found is that your Western Australian & the author of ‘Captivate’ – would you mind sharing a little bit about your self?

Thanks so much for having me!

I have been writing seriously for nearly twelve years. I started writing after my first child was born and I was home looking after her. An idea for a novel came to me and I’ve never looked back. That novel will never see the light of day but it was a great practice book and so were the next two that followed. Funnily enough, when I started writing Captivate, I had a feeling it was the one that had a good chance at getting published because I simply could not stop writing it. It was an exciting time and, because I’m a pantster, I could hardly wait to find out what my characters would do next.

A few quick fun questions:

Vegemite or Nutella? Vegemite

Cats or Dogs? Can I say both?

Bushwalk or Beach? Beach

Favourite read of 2013? Bridged Kemmerer’s ‘Spark’ – I love her Elemental series.

Favourite reading spot? Outside on the outdoor couch near the garden or in the school car-park while I’m waiting for my kids to finish for the day

Favourite accompaniment to reading (eg. Chocolate, coffee, etc)?

I have a little three course ‘snack’ menu. First I’ll have something savoury like a small handful of potato chips or cheese and crackers, then chocolate, then maybe a piece of cake or a biscuit. A coffee is also a must!

What would be a “perfect novel” for you (ie. what do you think makes a perfect novel)?

A nice balance of love and danger – in a setting I’m unfamiliar with.

How do you think ‘Captivate’ rates against your standard of a ‘perfect novel’ [above]?

Actually, it ticks all the boxes. I guess I wrote the book I wanted to read 😉

What was your inspiration to write ‘Captivate’?  Was there a particular incident which first gave birth to this idea of ‘Captivate’?

Yes. A gorgeously romantic song gave me a scene inside my head (of Miranda and Marko standing in a beautiful garden) and the story quickly developed from there.

Was there a scene in the book that is based on something that’s happened to you in life?  Which part is it (please let me know if it’s a spoiler and I’ll make sure warnings are included)?

Well, Bob’s Bay is actually based on a real place called Bob’s Hollow – a place on the South-West Australian coast.  Also, I love to play the card game, War. My cousins in Slovenia taught me to play when I was a kid.

As part of your writing mode, do you doodle or draw particular scenery / characters / scenes or listen to particular music?  Could you share with us a snippet of your drawing or your playlist?  If you do neither, please share anything that helps your creative juices going

I love to make a cup of coffee and play particular music suited to the story I’m writing at the time. I also have a really daggy cardigan that I love to wear when I write during the colder months. It really makes me feel like a writer when I wear it.

Do you have a favourite writing spot?  Would share the view with us, please?

I move all over the house and write in different chairs and rooms (my writing desk is too messy to work from!) If I get stuck, then a quick trip to the local café with my laptop usually does the trick and the words start flowing again.

Lastly, would you share a couple of your favourite quotes…

From the book:

‘In all my visits to the mainland, to your world, I’ve only seen the rain once,’ he said. ‘When I stood beneath it and looked up at the sky, it was as though all the stars were falling.’

– Marko Tollin, Captivate

Of life / writing

‘Who loves, raves’

– Lord Byron

Thank you, Vanessa, for sharing some of your time with me today.  Best of luck for your future writing projects and I look forward to where you’ll be taking us to next!