Tag Archives: bad boy with a heart of gold

Book Reviews Reading

Review: Salvage by Keren David

Okay, so I’m on the verge of turning into a Keren David fangirl.

I’ve already mentioned how I loved When I Was Joe, and now I’ve fallen for Salvage.

I was in Paper Plus, with a $5 voucher in my hand when I spotted it on the shelf. I don’t normally buy books I haven’t read (unless I’m really obsessed with the author *cough* Brigid Kemmerer *cough*) because I don’t have enough money to match my reading obsession. That’s why I’m a huge fan of our local library. It gives me a chance to try new authors out.


Salvage was expensive. $27 is quite a bit for a YA novel, and even my $5 voucher didn’t reduce the sting much. But I read the first page and it was fan-frigging-tastic. There are two POV characters in the book, so I flicked to a chapter with the second voice and holy moly did it suck me in. I had to have this book.

And now I’m sad because I’ve already finished reading it.

What is it?Salvage by Keren David

Salvage by Keren David

First published 2014

A contemporary, young adult, family-relationship novel.

Why should I read it?

Because it’s a heart-wrenching story that charts the different paths life can take.

My one suggestion is to ignore the blurb on the back, it really doesn’t tell you what to expect and, if anything, actually led me in the wrong direction.

This is the story of Aidan and Cass, a brother and sister who were taken away from their mother at a young age. Cass is adopted by a wealthy couple, while Aidan suffers through the foster system. They find each other as teenagers and try to get to know each other again as they deal with issues in the present and secrets from the past.

The voices are so clear and distinct that it felt like the book had been written by two different people. I absolutely ached for Aidan, but by the end–and just like the tattoo on his neck–we had hope.

I am definitely adding Salvage to my re-read list.

Find out more about what Keren’s written, at kerendavid.com


Freedom of Will

So, I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately (again). I’m waiting on some feedback about Grow (which I’m super nervous about, in case it totally sucks) and I’m a bit stuck on Spellbound Haze (because I think the main character is a bit flat, and I trying to fill in some holes which are a bit boring).

To give myself a rest and a bit of a lift, I’ve been reading through Freedom of Will. It’s the third one in the Series with the Punny Titles and I love it. It’s not finished yet (LOL – nothing ever is) but it was another one that just flowed out of me. It’s fun to read through and immerse myself in those characters without the pressure of trying to get it done. But I decided to make a bit of a change to one of the main characters and as I was reading through I tweaked a couple of scenes to pull that part of his personality out.

And I thought I’d share a little with you.

Meet William and Jamie. They’re on a date that came about through unusual circumstances.


They made the long walk from school to McDonald’s and joined the queue.

“Order anything you like, up to…” William fished in his pocket and pulled out a handful of coins. “Nine dollars sixty.”

“I can pay for myself.”

“That’s not how a date works.”

“So the man has to pay?”

“The asker pays. Not the askee.”

“So if I asked you on a date?”

“You’d be buying me crayfish and champagne.”

At the counter Jamie ordered a chocolate shake, and William got a coffee, then he looked at the coins in his hand and added some fries. He led her to an empty table near the kids’ playground.

Jamie snagged a fry and pointed at his cup. “How can you drink that?”

“What? Black coffee?” He shrugged. “I guess you just learn to take it as it comes. Plus, I don’t need sugar.” He leant forward and his voice became a sexy growl. “I’m sweet enough.”

Jamie pulled back, then felt like an idiot. It wasn’t like she was scared of him. He wouldn’t try anything in a busy McD’s. He probably thought he’d scored a point.

“I’m not,” she said. “That’s why I need so much.” As far as comebacks went, it was totally lame, but she took a huge slurp of her shake to prove her point.

A shadow loomed over them. Jamie didn’t have to look up to know who it was.

“What do you want, Roger?” she asked.

Roger—broad, beefy, and not the brightest sparkler in the box—ignored her and spoke to William. “Is this chick bothering you?”

William’s eyes widened briefly before his cool, nice guy expression came back. “No, not at all. We’re on a date, actually.”

Roger leant forward, resting his meaty hands on the table. “Do you know what she is?”

William tuned to Jamie, his face neutral as he raised one eyebrow. “Beautiful? Smart? Brave? Am I getting warm?”

“She’s one of those magical freaks.” *

There was a flash of distaste in William’s eyes, but his expression remained unchanged. “Really?” He turned to Roger. “Filthy scum, they should ship them all off to a special camp. Nazi style.”

“Yeah,” Roger said. “Like in the war.”

Jamie was kind of stunned that Roger had even a passing knowledge of what the Nazis had done. He seemed to sleep through History.

William leant forward, fixing Roger with a hard stare. “Don’t worry, there’s only one reason I’m dating her, if you know what I mean.”

Roger let out a huge laugh that had the other diners turning to look at them. “Yeah, I getcha.”

William smiled, and it was only because Jamie was studying every expression, that she caught the calculated cruelty behind it. “Hey, mate, I’m a bit short on cash. Could you lend me five bucks?”

“Uh…” Roger took a minute to process that. Then he dug into his pocket and fished out a crumpled note. “I’ve only got a tenner.”

“That’ll do.” William slipped the note from Roger’s hand, stood up, and tucked it into his pocket. Then he held out his hand. “Nice to meet you, and thanks for the warning.”

Roger shook William’s hand and muttered a confused “You’re welcome?”

William pulled Roger in for a hug. Jamie sucked in a breath. It wasn’t a manly chest bump, or a solid thump on the back, it was a full-contact squeeze. He whispered something in Roger’s ear and Roger jerked back. William grinned, and gave Roger a smack on the arse to send him on his way.

Jamie didn’t know if she should laugh or run screaming.

William grabbed his coffee. “Let’s get out of here.”

Jamie shuffled out of her seat and picked up her shake and fries. William placed a gentle hand on the small of her back and guided her to the door.

When they got outside she shook him off. “So, what’s the one thing?” She tried to keep her voice even, unsure if she was mad or not.

“What one thing?” He cast a frown over his shoulder towards the restaurant.

“The one reason you’re dating me.”

He smiled, and it was full of genuine warmth. “Who says there’s only one reason?”

“You did.”

“That’s what I told Douchey McDouchebag.”

“So, there’s more than one?”

“Did you forget beautiful, smart, and brave? And that’s just for starters. I’ve only known you one day.”

Jamie told herself not to fall for a cheesy line like that even as she felt the warmth spread across her cheeks.



* This is urban fantasy — magic is real, baby!


photo credit: www.CourtneyCarmody.com via photopin cc

What goes on in my brain

A couple of months ago I was watching Once Upon a Time and was quite intrigued by the character of Hook.  Not because he’s a total hotty (which he is) but because he’s a “bad guy” who seemed to do “good things” that should’ve been out of character, but somehow fit.  Wow, a bad boy with a heart of gold, I wonder why that piqued my interest.  (You can probably hear me rolling my eyes.)  Anyway, I wondered what it would be like to write a character who is a bad guy, but mixed in with the good guys, and this is the scene that immediately played on the movie screen in my head.

Imagine if you will, a dungeon of a castle belonging to some sort of despotic ruler, aka a big bad guy (this may have been influenced by too much Game of Thrones).  The cells of the dungeon are full of good people who have been unfairly imprisoned.

A kerfuffle breaks out above as an army of good guys storms the castle to overthrow the despotic ruler.  A few come down into the dungeon to free the prisoners.  One of the prisoners is a stranger (ie. not one of the villagers who live around the castle – I hadn’t worked out the details) but the good guys free him too, because they’re good guys, it’s what they do.


photo credit: Pensiero
via photopin cc

Now, this stranger is our bad boy with a heart of gold.  He’s grateful for the rescue, of course, but his first priority is still to look out for himself.  And if push came to shove, he wouldn’t feel any loyalty to the good guys who rescued him … except he finds himself falling for one of the girls in the group.  And he’s torn between doing what he’s always done – trusting no one and looking out only for himself – or letting this girl in.

End scene. 🙂

Don’t ask me why it come out with a high fantasy (or possibly Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves) feel.  I can’t really control what goes on in my brain.  But the idea stuck.  So I tweaked it.  Ditched the high fantasy for a modern setting, made the bad boy with the heart of gold and his rescuer-slash-romantic interest both teenagers, and decided it actually fitted quite nicely into the series with the punny titles.  Then I sat down and wrote 20000 words.

That’s when I know an idea has the potential to become a story – when I write longhand and fill up an entire 1B5 exercise book.  I have other ideas that might turn into one page, or a few pages, and only occasionally will I write the entire plot almost nonstop.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s still very much in the skeletal stages, and since it’s #3 in the series with the punny titles, I have to finish #1 and #2 before it will ever see the light of day, but I’m having a lot of fun writing it.