Stephanie Dougan Writes

Writer, reader, yogi and avid tea drinker.

Confess by Colleen Hoover

— feeling hypnotized
Confess: A Novel - Colleen Hoover

Anyone that's read more than one Colleen Hoover book can probably agree with me here: she's the queen of romance. 


I was immediately drawn in by Colleen's writing style and characterization. Her style is conversational, and easy to read. Her characters are real and have depth, it wouldn't be hard to put yourself in their shoes in one way or another, or to picture them as your best friend or as a family member. They feel human in a sense that Colleen never seems to portray one of her characters as 'perfect' as I have often found when reading YA/NA novels. They have scars and imperfections, and they have had plenty of highs, and the lowest of lows. Maybe it's for these reasons alone that I want to keep picking up every Colleen Hoover book that I can get my hands on. But let me tell you a bit about why THIS story in particular was a win win for me.


Aside from the romance which, by the way, was perfect, this story had so many layers to it. I love it when an author can tie together parallel paths within a story and make them come together so beautifully at the end, which is exactly what happened in Confess. 


What made this book a special item to have was that there was art work throughout its pages. The images shown all had a meaning and a place within the story. It was like Colleen decided to write a book, but then did it even better than anyone could have hoped for. It was an experience to say the least. On the one hand the reader is following this story, which was a delight for the imagination. And on the other hand, we're being shown these colorful and exiting images to delight our other senses. Did I mention that I think all books should have artwork in them? Well I'm saying that now. I was blown over by the creativity of this book inside and out. Colleen and her publishers really did a stellar job of this one. 


Now for the characters. Auburn and Owen are the kind of people that I wish were real. I think both were equally as well developed in the telling of the story. One didn't fall short of the other. Auburn was maybe a little innocent for my liking, but a well rounded lead for the story nevertheless. Owen was a little more my cup of tea in a sense that he had a bit more grit to his personality. But both worked well together as a fictional duo because of their differences. I think this book was perfectly balanced in all aspects, which I think is a pretty hard thing to come across in YA/NA books sometimes. They're either full of hormonal teenage angst that detracts from the actual story line, or it lacks that spark completely. There was just enough of everything to leave me wanting more, and then to be completely satisfied with the ending because Colleen looked into my soul and wrote it exactly how I wanted it to be.  


All in all, I think this was a wonderful read. I've already got my next Colleen Hoover book sitting on my shelf, waiting for me to devour it soon!


More to come.


Steph x

Publishing My First Book

— feeling amazing
The Luminous Illusion - Stephanie Dougan

So, my book reviews fell by the wayside. Sorry about that. But to be fair a lot has been happening. I got a new job, I discovered The 100 and Game of Thrones, and my debut novel got published. 


The Luminous Illusion was my baby, it still is. When my contracts arrived one Saturday morning, everything else faded into the background. For a year I worked with my editors to get the manuscript up to a standard that everyone was happy with. For me this was extremely hard. Not because editing spelling and punctuation is hard, but because I am without a doubt my harshest critic. I had severe moments of panic and doubts about actually releasing my book to the public. I knew that one day, critique would inevitable, and that I would just have to grit my teeth and grow a thicker skin. I think I'm getting there, slowly but surely I'm building up my social media pages, tweeting about my book in an attempt to raise awareness of its existence and growing in confidence. And it's all getting a little easier as each day passes by. 



I do plan to dedicate more time to this blog. I want to spend more time actually reading as that also fell by the wayside. I will post more reviews and keep you updated with writing and the whole publishing experience in general.




Stay with me people!


Steph x

These Broken Stars

These Broken Stars - Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner This was more of a 3.5 for me. I enjoyed it, and I liked the mystery to the plot and how it unfolded. However I thought it was a bit of a slow burner for me. It didn't lack adventure, and the stages between the characters was more realistic than other books were there's insta lust or insta love. It was slow and well developed. But it did take me about 2/3rds through the book before I got excited about it. I can't put my finger on why...
I really thought that the almost-paranormal twist was interesting. I wasn't expecting that from this book.
Overall, I liked the characters, even though Lilac annoyed me at first. And I will be reading the second book, which I do believe is more of a companion novel.
Nicely written!
Would recommend it.


Branded - Abi Ketner, Missy Kalicicki This book held my interest from start to finish, I finished it in one day.
It was fast paced and the plot was thrilling and unique.
The characters were really well developed, Lexie's more so because of the use of flashbacks and dreams to tell her story prior to her life in the Hole.
The relationship and intimacy between Lexie and Cole was just enough to leave you wanting more, the book ended at just the right moment that I'm sure readers can't wait for the sequel, myself included.
Overall it was a fantastic read and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good dystopian novel :)
Well done Abi and Missy!

An Autumn To Remember

An Autumn To Remember - Joy Galloway This book follows the story of Jamie and Chelsea, two childhood friends who are torn apart when Chelsea's family move to England in her teens.

Eight years later, their worlds collide again when Chelsea moves back to Elmtown. It's at this point that their friendship begins to turn into something more, something deeper.

The two characters in this book are worlds apart, social standing and years of distance has altered both of their lives. The story is driven by a connection that time or space cannot erase, and a drive to follow one's passions.

An overbearing mother, dark secrets and one jealous boyfriend all stand in the way of Jamie and Chelsea's relationship, but can they survive the struggles along the way? You must read it to find out.

I found this book to be enjoyable and light hearted. It was easy to read, the dialogue was easy to follow, and in a relatively short book, the characters began to feel real as well as very relatable.

For a young adult reader, who loves romance, I would suggest this book.

This is Joy Galloway's debut novel, the first in what I hope to be a very long series (fingers crossed).

Liked it, I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a romance, and I cant wait to read more.


Untitled - Marie Rutkoski The plot thickens... The sequel to The Winners Curse did not disappoint. The characters became deeper, the setting became more vivid, and the lies and secrets became more dangerous.
Kestrel plays a very risky game in this book and I really enjoyed her character development. She takes more responsibility and while she has even more titles and wealth, she does become more down to earth and likeable.
Arin has a much bigger part to play in this book and the relationship development was so well done, it was just what I was wanting to see in this book. The ending left me so mind blown and craving for more!
Well done Marie Rutkoski on a an amazing sequel. Roll on the 3rd book!

The Sweet Evil Trilogy by Wendy Higgins


The Sweet Evil Trilogy is a gorgeous collection of well written, witty, romantic books that I just couldn't put down.


The story is told from Anna's perspective, half angel, half demon. Anna stumbles into the world of demons, Dukes and Nephilim when she meets Kaidan Rowe, son of the Duke of Lust at a gig one evening. From this moment on, her life changes for ever, when she becomes the only hope for the Nephilim to rid the world of their fathers, the evil Dukes.


Every single relationship in this trilogy was so well developed, Wendy Higgins never spared a single detail. It was fast paced, but also hugely descriptive and that kept my interest throughout the trilogy.


Her relationship with Kai is the main focus of course. It is both heart warming, touching and cheeky that of course it will appeal greatly to the young adult market. It has enough teenage/young adult angst in it to keep you completely entertained.


I was not disappointed throughout the final battle against the Dukes, Wendy took her time, drawing me in with every single word. There were plenty of losses and causalities as I would have expected, but the ending was just perfect.


This is the perfect trilogy for you if you love fantasy/paranormal books, and especially if you love romance. You will not be disappointed.


Also, the actor Adam Gregory is exactly how I pictured Kai the whole way through.



The Shatter Me Series by Tahereh Mafi


This month, I read the Shatter Me trilogy by Tahereh Mafi.


I will start off by first saying, that I thoroughly enjoyed this series, and even more so now that Tahereh Mafi has said 'maybe' to writing a fourth book, set after Ignite Me.


Fingers Crossed.


The whole trilogy was fast paced from start to finish. I felt that the pace was both easy and enjoyable to read.


Although the main character Juliette's challenge is to overcome the boundaries of her physical condition, which is in fact in many ways, a gift, it was not the challenge that I felt Tahereh focused on.


I felt like Juliette struggled with her relationships more so, although yes, her relationships and power go hand in hand, as she can't touch anyone without killing them. But I felt that the author focused a lot more on her romantic struggles between the two boys Warner and Adam.


This worked for me though, I will read anything will a really kick ass romance in it, especially with a love triangle. I didn't feel that it stood in the way of the story going on around it, the battle between the Reestablishment and Omega Point.


The third and final book, I felt, came to a bit of an abrupt end however. I did think that the final battle was somewhat rushed and pushed into the last eighty pages or so, considering that the rest of the book was about her relationship with Warner in particular. That is why I would be so happy if she wrote a fourth book, continuing on from where she left off.


But this trilogy held my interest, I stayed up late to finish it, I missed the characters when it was over, and I truly felt like I was with Juliette on her journey.


It was a great read, a fine piece of writing and a trilogy that I think every YA reader should read.



 Bloomsbury Books very kindly sent me The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon to review. This is the sequel to The Bone Season.


Thank you Bloomsbury, I look forward to reading this and reviewing it!

Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins

Sweet Evil (The Sweet Trilogy, #1)

Sweet Evil (The Sweet Trilogy #1)

Embrace the Forbidden

What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences?

This is the reality for sons and daughters of fallen angels.
Tenderhearted Southern girl Anna Whitt was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She's aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn't until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage and her willpower is put to the test. He's the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.

Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?
Kaidan, Kaidan, KAIDAN!
This book was so, so good, I couldn't put it down. I say that about most books, but I didn't want to stop reading this story.
Demons, angels, forbidden love, daddy issues, this book has it all.
The main character Anna is a character that I was fond of from the get go! She's socially awkward, caring, and sensitive. She's the girl that everyone knew from their high school days, in my case... me. 
And of course, enter Kai. The hot, bad boy with a demon father. I loved the relationship between these two characters. Wendy didn't spare any detail when it came to Anna and Kai, it is perfect! In my opinion...
I could not fault this book. It's a typical YA Fantasy/Love story sure, but it's so well written, it's got humor and adventure, and I can't wait to read more.

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1)

Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1)

I have a curse
I have a gift

I am a monster
I'm more than human

My touch is lethal
My touch is power

I am their weapon
I will fight back

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.
Praise for Shatter Me, I loved this book! I immediately bought the next two in the trilogy. 
It's hard not to be taken in by the world that Tahereh has created, it's descriptive, the characters are interesting and well developed, and there is some wonderful writing in it.
The relationship between Juliette and Adam is what made me want to read on, they have a past, and I am so hoping that they have a future together in the next two books!
If you like Dystopian books, Check. If you like a good romance, Check. If you love a handsome villain, Check Check!
It's an easy book to read, and it was over far too quickly. 
I gave this book 4/5 stars on Goodreads. 


I'm currently contemplating joining the Booktuber community... Has anyone else had experience with reviewing books over YouTube?? 



Enjoying Sweet Evil, a lot!
Enjoying Sweet Evil, a lot!

I've never read anything by Wendy Higgins, but I am thoroughly enjoying Sweet Evil. 

Has anyone else read it? 


Also! My review of Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi will be up soon! 

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare Review, and what I'm currently reading.


Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1)

Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters—including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them....
Clockwork Angel is the first installment in Cassandra Clare's prequel trilogy, The Infernal Devices, 
I was a huge fan of the first series The Mortal Instruments, so I have wanted to read this trilogy for a while. 
The story is set in 1878, and it follows Tessa, an American who travels to London after receiving a letter from her brother, and a ticket.
Of course, in true Cassandra Clare style, the lead character finds herself in otherworldly trouble. Tessa is forced to find out the truth about herself, and also the Shadowhunter world.
I couldn't put this book down. It's over 400 pages long and I finished it in 2 days. I took it with me to work, I gave up sleep just to finish it. And I quickly ordered the books sequel off of amazon. 
In many ways, it's very similar to The Mortal Instruments. There seems always be some sort of love triangle in Clare's work. First it was Jace, Simon and Clarissa. Now it's Will, Jem and Tessa. 
What I did particularly enjoy more about this book was the Gothic setting. The clockwork elements in the novel were very steampunk, and I thought that this gave it an edge over the previous series.
The relationships are well written and well developed. I can never find a fault in anything this wonderful woman writes! She sets the scene immensely well, and I couldn't help but be absorbed by the shadowhunter world, yet again.
And, MAGNUS BANE makes a reappearance in these books! Which I'm so happy about because he was one of favorite characters in the first series. YAY for Magnus! 
I'am so excited to read more from Cassandra Clare and the Infernal Devices trilogy.  
I'am currently reading Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, and I just know that I'm going to HAVE to buy the rest of the trilogy. 
How beautiful is this CAKE?
How beautiful is this CAKE?

I wouldn't be able to eat this, this is art!



2015 TBR and reading multiple books at the one time.

Today I received another Amazon package with gorgeous goodies inside.




Now this came after having went wild in my local bookstore, and then I felt a great sympathy for my bank balance. 




But let me tell you, it was well worth it. Now, usually if there's a trilogy or a series that I like the look of, I have usually bought all or as much as I could buy at once, of that series. But often at times I've been disappointed. So I decided to buy the first book in each series instead. 


My TBR collection is growing bigger AGAIN because of this. 



And it's only January...


Which leads me to my next topic: Reading multiple book's at once. 


Can you really do this and get the same enjoyment from each book as you would if you had dedicated your time to only one?


I'm currently reading Yes Please by Amy Poehler, and I also have two ebooks that are begging for my attention, as well as my new hard copies that just arrived today. What's a book lover to do?


So, for investigative purposes, I thought that I would at least try.


Has anyone else successfully managed to read multiple books at once? Have you enjoyed it, or not?