Friday, 29 November 2013

Review ~ Impostor (Variants #1) by Susanne Winnacker

Impostor (Variants, #1)
eARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: Jan 2nd 2014

Publisher: Hodder Children's Books

Description:
Tessa is a Variant with extraordinary abilities. She could be a hero, but all she wants to do is fall in love ...

Tessa is a Variant, able to absorb the DNA of anyone she touches and mimic their appearance. Shunned by her family, she's spent the last two years with the Forces with Extraordinary Abilities, a secret branch of the FBI. There she trains with other Variants, such as long-term crush Alec, who each have their own extraordinary ability.

When a serial killer rocks a small town in Oregon, Tessa is given a mission: she must impersonate Madison, a local teen, to find the killer before he strikes again. Tessa hates everything about being an impostor - the stress, the danger, the deceit - but loves playing the role of a normal girl. As Madison, she finds friends, romance, and the kind of loving family she'd do anything to keep.

Amid action, suspense, and a ticking clock, this super-human comes to a very human conclusion: even a girl who can look like anyone struggles the most with being herself.

My Opinion

I can't help but feel really let down by this book. The blurb sounded really interesting. Superpowers, romance, murder, mystery? I couldn't ask for more from a description. However, I just feel that it was a really average read now I have finished it. For me there wasn't much originality in the book and it seemed like Sophie McKenzie's Medusa Project with a slight serial killer twist.

For me, the main issue was that it was all just very predictable. I felt that the author kept trying to lead you in certain directions to believe who the killer was but in the end it was so blatantly obvious that it was a false set up, it only left one possible conclusion which I figured out at forty per cent. For that reason there wasn't much suspense in this book for me. The fact that there was a relatively small cast who weren't developed that well with background also made it easier to figure out. I feel that if the author had gone into more depth about each suspect then it would have been less predictable.

As well as this, I found the book to be kind of sick and twisted. A gilr pretending to be a dead girl and lying to her parent??? And then at the end they have to lose their daughter all over again??? I know it says it in the blurb but reading it is different when you get dragged into the story. I just felt it was twisted and wrong. Like why did she have to turn into Maddison, she could have investigated just as well as some one else.

The other thing was the irritating unrequited love that was added to the story. It was painful to read. It doesn't make Alec likable and it switched from romance to murder, romance to murder. It rendered the book jumpy and I just didn't like it. Tessa seemed naive and had a lack of common sense which drove me insane.

The one thing I couldn't figure out was everyone's motives. I knew that Alec and Kate were keeping from Tessa but the author gave no clue as to what that was. However, when everything comes together at the end I did feel it was a bit anti-climax and a let down. I finished on a 'was that it?' which is never good for a book.

Overall the premise was interesting but for me Impostor lacked development and structure. It was too jumpy and predictable. It was a quick and short book but I feel it needs more development in the mystery and character aspects to turn it into a good mystery/suspense. For me, Impostor is average.






Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Review ~ Allegiant (Divergent #3) by Veronica Roth

Allegiant (Divergent, #3)Paperback purchased by myself

Release Date: 22nd October 2013


Publisher: HarperCollins


Description:

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories. 

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

My Opinion - I have tried to keep spoilers out but there may be subtle hints due to my rant.... please excuse my anger :)

Wow...where do I even start with this review? It took me a while to read Divergent but I fell in love with both book one and two quickly. They were gritty, edgy and full of brilliant action. They were worthy of five stars to me. So, because of this, I purchased them all in paperback because I wanted to display them in my collection of books rather than just have an ebook. I also shipped the box set over to the UK so I could get Allegiant in paperback before it's released here - with in my opinion a better cover. However, now that I have read it I just feel severely disappointed. For me this is book was a perfect example of how to ruin a great series. And it wasn't just the final few pages that I hated, it was the whole thing!

I won't say to much about what goes on as, even though it's bad, I don't want to ruin it for those who haven't yet read it. I saw a comment that ruined the book for me before I even started and from that point on I knew I wasn't going to like Alligent. Basically I read it for closure. 

Allegiant lost all of the gritty action and toughness that I fell in love with in the first two books. Instead, it is just page after page after page of talk about genetics and I found myself skimming easily. I was so tempted to give up but had to see the series through. Seriously, it was painful to read. As well as that the first person narrative just didn't work for me. There was not enough on Evelyn throughout the middle section and I got bored of reading about what Tris and Tobias were doing.

The major annoyance, disappointment with this book though was the ending. Seriously who does what Veronica Roth did!!!??? It was ridiculous, stupid and in my opinion a waste of time. For me it rendered all of the other books pointless and I was left disheartened. It has even put me off wanting to see the movie which looked amazing from the trailer.

Overall this book was a perfect example of how not to end a series. It was disappointing, lacked everything that made it unique in the first place and was just plain stupid. I'm not a die-hard fan who has followed this series and has been eagerly anticipating this release either but it still has irritated me a lot. I don't think I've ever had such a variation in ratings for a series. If you want closure, read Allegiant but it's not a book I would recommend.


Monday, 25 November 2013

Review ~ Echo Bay by Gina Robinson

Echo Bay ChristmaseARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 17th September 2013

Description:
SOME MEMORIES ARE TOO PAINFUL TO FACE
Tara Clark is spending her first Christmas at her grandparents' resort lodge since herbrother died near there in a snowboarding accident on Christmas Eve ten years ago. When her matchmaking grandma sets her up with tiny Echo Bay's newest resident–none other than her ex-fiancé Ryan Sanders–not even a record snowfall can dampen the rekindling of a love that wouldn’t die.

SOME LOVES ARE TOO STRONG TO DENY

When Ryan Sanders returns to the small town he grew up in, his life feels nearly complete. But as the snow piles up in the week before Christmas, and his ex-fiancée Tara shows up, Ryan has to face the truth that he has never really gotten over her. And with Christmas Eve fast approaching, all he wants for Christmas is Tara.

My Opinion

I've had this book on my iPod for a few months, yet I've been putting off reading it because of the Christmassy and festive theme. I just couldn't muster the energy to start thinking that far ahead but now coming to the end of November I decided it was okay to start reading it finally!

I'm not sure this is going to make sense but this book felt like it had a homely, Christmas feeling and atmosphere that just enveloped you in the beautiful landscape and setting the author creates. Everyone in the book pulls together, knows each others business and I liked the over all effect the author gave the lodge. It was a friendly and welcoming vibe that almost made me fall in love with the place in my head.

I loved reading books set in ski resorts in the winter. For me they are the perfect fireside reads, especially when they involve romance and this book had both. I liked that the book included struggles that Tara had to face by moving back to Echo Bay and I liked she was strong enough to face the fears on the slopes. The ski sections were a nice change of pace in the book.

As well as this I loved some of the sweet moments in the romance - especially the first one in the forest. They were playful, sweet and put a smile on my face. They were the moments that felt most realistic and natural in the book for me, in regards to their emotions. I really wanted more of these sections as for me, the build up to the romance is always better than the actual romance. This was was of the problems I had with the book. There wasn't much of a build up. Tara and Ryan were a very much hot and cold couple and I found some of the shifts in personalities slightly annoying. 

When Ryan and Tara weren't together, there are a lot of thoughts and for me this slowed the pace of the book dramatically. As well as this sometimes they could be quite repetitive as the book would switch from Tara and then to Ryan. I like seeing inside a characters mind but for me that's all this book seemed to be. I wanted a bit more action, whether on the slopes or interaction in the romance. 

The only other issue I had was the meddling grandparents. At the start of the book it was cute and sweet. However, when Margie was still interfering towards the end I found myself starting to dislike her. I just wanted her to let the relationship unfold by itself, and I felt it lessened the romance.

Overall though, Echo Bay was an enjoyable winter read. It made me feel Christmassy and although it's a bit slow and stiff in parts, the sweet heart warming moments and HAE makes up for it.





Saturday, 23 November 2013

Release Blitz: Deadly to Promise by Mia Hoddell




Deadly to Promise (Elemental Killers #2)
by Mia Hoddell

Genre: YA/Romance/Paranormal/Fantasy

Blurb:

A broken promise is all it takes.


Becoming an E.K isn’t a choice for Serena – it’s a necessity to survive. To destroy the Elementals she has to leave her old life behind. She has to train and follow a strict regime. But with time against her, she has only a few weeks to master the skills Kai spent his whole life perfecting.

The knowledge passed down from her ancestors is crucial to the Elementals demise and the success of their mission. However, the path they must follow is lined with riddles, each more confusing than the next. It doesn’t matter how close to succeeding they get, it’s never enough. The Elementals are one step ahead at every revelation and that can only mean one thing – the E.Ks have a traitor among them.

For one week only, both Deadly to Love and Deadly to Promise are 99c / 77p!
Buy Now: Amazon | Amazon.co.uk

Excerpt

“Have you ever been swimming here?” I asked moving my head to watch his reaction as I brought my feet up out of the water and folded them beside me.
“Yeah, most summers when I came here. We all used to use it as a way to cool off or just have some fun in between training.”
“How about skinny dipping?” I asked my grin growing due to the thoughts running through my head.
“Why? You want to try it?” he challenged.
“Only if you go first,” I laughed but stopped instantly when he removed his shirt and tossed it behind us. My eyes widened in surprise and I started to regret my words. “You’re not being serious are you?” I stuttered as he pulled off his shoes, throwing them over to where his shirt was crumpled.
“You can’t chicken out now Rea. It was your idea,” he said smiling as he removed each sock, teasing me as they ended up with the rest of his discarded garments.
I just stared at him, my lips moving but not making a sound as I tried to find an excuse.
He laughed at me. “Relax Rea, I’m just teasing you. Well unless you’ve changed your mind. In that case I’m being deadly serious.” He had a cheeky grin on his face as he spoke and I pushed him hard, toppling him into the water below.
There was a lot of splashing but Kai surfaced finally, taking a deep breath as he flicked the hair out of his eyes. I was clutching my stomach in fits of laughter as I bent over. The shock on his face was priceless.
“Oh you are so dead Rea, so, so dead,” he said, his voice ragged as the cold water and shock affected his half naked body. I just continued to laugh as he floated in front of me, his head bobbing up and down in a comical way.


Deadly to Love (Elemental Killers #1)
by Mia Hoddell


Genre: YA/Romance/Paranormal/Fantasy
ASIN: B00BDQ3QGA
ISBN: 978-1-291-41025-9

Blurb

The world is dangerous – but love will kill you.
Little did Serena Jackson know that one simple, flirty remark to an anonymous guy online would lead to her world being changed forever.

She doesn’t know him, but inexplicably, is drawn. She knows it is wrong but she agrees to meet.

His real name is Kai. He is beautiful. And immediately Serena feels herself blindly falling for him even though she senses a lie. She knows he is hiding something and it terrifies her.

What she doesn’t realise is that her entire life has been built on secrets and lies. The people she loved left her in the dark for a reason.

She trusted them. She trusts Kai. But as he pulls her straight into the heart of the danger the lies and deadly secrets are revealed. They overwhelm her, and the person she once was no longer exists as she is thrown into a ruthless world of elemental forces. The price of truth is her life—and now the world wants her dead.
Buy Now: Amazon (Kindle) | Amazon (Paperback) | Lulu


Praise:

“I couldn't put it down. So I finished it last night and all I can say is WOW! This book was amazing and different.” Brianna (Book Blogger)

“I loved how the author took a different approach to writing a love story in modern times with the paranormal element present. I thought it was absolutely wonderful and refreshing. Marvelous!” Kathy H (Amazon Reviewer)

“In the end I had fallen in love with this story…completely untraditional it was a very original idea, not to mention modern. This story had such a good plot and the story structure was sound.” Kacii – The Kooky Bookworm (Book Blogger)

About the Author

Mia Hoddell lives in the UK with her family and two cats. She spends most of her time writing or reading and loves anything paranormal. Mia always had a love of writing but never reading. She was more interested in sports and hated sitting still - despite getting three poems published before the age of sixteen. Finally though, she found some novels that captured her interest and developed a love of reading which is now one of her favourite hobbies.

Mia began with poems before moving on to short stories. Although she enjoyed this, Mia found she had too much to tell with too little space, so later on she created her first series 'The Wanderer Trilogy' and from there other ideas have emerged. With a total of nine books planned at this moment, she is busy working on her second series 'Elemental Killers' before moving onto the next idea on her ever growing list.
Links: 




Goodreads Book Giveaway

Deadly to Love by Mia Hoddell

Deadly to Love

by Mia Hoddell

Giveaway ends December 06, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Friday, 22 November 2013

Policy

OK, so I am getting an increasing number of requests from authors/publicists on a daily basis who have clearly never read my policy - that is if they have even visited my site to begin with. I want to make this clear: if you send a request that does not match my guidelines you will receive a standard email with an automatic 'decline to review.' It may also sound quite frustrated because that's how I'm feeling right now. I woke up this morning with 20 requests and only 1 matched my policy. 

If you are asking me for a favour the least you can do is read and send everything I ask for in my policy and address the email to me! Sienna doesn't take long to type and trust me you will get a better response. My guidelines aren't that hard to follow either, it's just general information you you be sending out in your query anyway. It's stuff I need to make a decision.

One thing you should always include when contacting bloggers is the description! How am I meant to decide if I don't know what your book is about? Leaving a link is just lazy and I refuse to follow them unless all information is provided. I have a life you know. I don't get paid to review your book, I do it out of a love of reading.

Please remember that when sending me a request. It is a favour you're asking and I am under no obligation to accept. 

Want the best response? Read my policy and stick to it!

Monday, 18 November 2013

Guest Post by Petrea Burchard

About the Book

Description:
Telling lies is second nature to Casey Clemens, whether she's talking to strangers on national television or to her mother on the phone. Casey's got a cushy Hollywood condo, an efficient cleaning lady and a rich boyfriend. (Never mind that he's married.) When Casey feels dissatisfied she fantasizes: about winning an Oscar, about finding real love or about her childhood hero, King Arthur.
It feels like an acting career, sort of, until the day before Casey's 40th birthday when she loses everything she never cared about, falls through a gap in time and lands in the 6th century war camp of King Arthur himself. He mistakes her for a wizard and takes her in. But as she finds her feelings warming to him she also finds enemies. War is fast approaching, and the Dark Ages are a perilous time for an actress with an honesty problem. That is, if she wants to make it back to the 21st century alive. Not that she could if she wanted to. Not that she wants to.


Guest Post ~ Falling in Love with Your Book


Writing a book is like being married. First you have to fall in love, then you have to make a commitment.

I was working as an actor in Hollywood, doing the occasional commercial or small role on a TV show. I was getting nowhere, and supplementing my income with typing jobs. The most fun I had was writing a humor column about acting, and I loved doing that. But was I an actor? Was I an artist at all? Without career success could I be in love, and stay in love, with acting?

I made a last ditch effort.

At the British American Drama Academy's four week summer program at Oxford, I began to answer my questions about my abilities and dedication. And it was after the course ended, during two weeks of being a tourist in England, that I began to see other possibilities.

On a visit to Glastonbury, my friend and I climbed the famous Tor with our guide. The damp, cloudy day was almost dark. We moseyed around the top of the Tor, not a big area. To the southeast was a huge, low mound, and I asked the guide what it was. "That's Cadbury Hill," he said. "Legend says it was Camelot."

Camelot! I knew there had never been a place so-named, or at least we had no historical record of it. But could King Arthur have lived there, or someone on whom the Arthurian legends are based? If so, what had his life there been like? When? What if I could go there? I mean really go there, back to the Dark Ages, back to King Arthur? And off went my mind, imagining.

Once again I was in love——this time, with the idea that would become my novel, Camelot & Vine.

Back in Los Angeles I began reading about Cadbury Hill: its present, its history and its archaeology. A great warlord had indeed lived with his entourage atop Cadbury Hill in the early 6th century. Geoffrey Ashe has written three books on the historical possibilities of an Arthurian figure. There was no person named “King Arthur,” but there were people on whom such a mythic figure could be based, and he would have been around in the late 5th or early 6th centuries. Basically, 500AD.

Though I wanted to go I couldn’t send myself to the Dark Ages, so I sent my heroine, Casey Clemens. She and I have little in common: she’s an actress who lives in southern California, but beyond that she’s a much different person and not always likeable (unlike me!). But I fell in love with her and all her flaws.

I fell in love with the Arthur I created, and the Guinevere and the Lancelot, and all the other characters. I fell in love with 6th century Cadbury Hill (Cadebir), a setting I was able to research in detail. And I fell in love with the story of how Casey learns from her fears, her powers and her loves.

It wasn’t easy to get it right. I wrote draft after draft. But I was committed to my characters and my story, and eventually I had a novel I could be proud of.

When it was finished my heart broke a little. I knew I would miss living in that story, and I do.

I’ve started on the next novel. I like my characters. I haven’t fallen in love with them yet but I will, as soon as I get over my relationship with Camelot & Vine.


About the Author

Petrea Burchard started as an actor. Then she wrote about it.

She began her acting career in Chicago at The Second City, Steppenwolf and Victory Gardens Theaters, later moving to Los Angeles to work in television, film, and voice-over. Auditions, jobs and the people she met (famous and infamous) became fodder for her popular Act As If humor column at NowCasting.com.
Petrea also drew on her acting experience to write her first novel. During a summer Shakespeare acting course at Oxford, she fell in love with the English countryside, and the idea for Camelot & Vine began to take shape.

Other published works include a short story, "Portraits," in "Literary Pasadena: The Fiction Edition," a new anthology from Prospect Park Media, articles for Patch online newspapers, flash fiction like "Belinda's Birthday," and an essay in "A Cup of Comfort for Christmas," an Adams Media paperback.

Petrea writes mostly full-time now, and continues to work as a voice actor. She's known as the original English voice of Ryoko, the sexy space pirate in the animé classic, Tenchi Muyo!. She is currently the radio and TV voice of Stater Brothers Markets in southern California.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Guest Post by Chris Reardon

ObstaclesAbout the Book

Description:
A child will die. You're afraid to live. Would you go to all lengths to save him? Darkness knows no bounds, as Alcott, an African American doctor sees all too well. The man is petrified by death. His fragile existence rests at the mercy of the universe. This fact is far too much for him to handle. From unyielding nightmares to elevator terrors, he's lost in paranoia.

Assigned to look after an ill child, Alcott's horrors only heighten. Gari is a nine-year-old boy with a fatal disease. He will surely pass on within the year. Alcott bonds with him more and more each day. Part of him knows this grim fate just isn't right.

Alcott befriends a hospital patient. This lunatic forces him to lug home an ancient text on bringing back the dead. Despite the man's obvious dementia, Alcott attempts the scheme. Charging up a cliff, he recites the chant over ocean gusts.

A god woman glides in from the horizon. She instructs Alcott on the trials to save Gari's life. These fearsome Obstacles require true strength. From battling sharks to wielding a flail, he must prove fortitude against genuine danger. Alcott decides his fate at this moment.

Death's claws shall not grasp Gari's soul.

Guest Post

Have you ever wanted to write a book? I did, but had absolutely no idea what I was getting into! At first, I figured, everybody seems to have written one, so it can't be that hard, can it? I was completely wrong! After I felt like I had written a ton, I decided to peek at the word count. I was shocked to discover; only 10,000 words! Wow. All of that work just for a measly 10,000 words. I could not even fathom the people that seem to bust out 120,000 word novels like it's nothing.

At this point, I had to ask myself if this was seriously going to happen. My efforts and determination had to multiply 100x if I was going to accomplish this. After thinking long and hard, I decided I was going to do it. I had worked this hard already, and I was sick of quitting things halfway through. So, I kept going.

I am so glad that I did. I learned things that I could do with storyline, characters, people, and circumstances that I never would have before. I took my characters and twists in new directions that I would have never thought of initially. When it was actually complete, I could not even believe it. I was so happy I could finish something I put my mind to.

So, I would tell anybody that wants to write a book; GO FOR IT! Just make the decision up front if you are in it for the long haul. It's not something that happens easily. You have to go through tons of writer's block, lack of patience, and outlines keeping the story in check. Through all the hard work, determination, and patience, I guarantee you won't regret it.

Here's where you can reach me! email

Chris ReardonAbout the Author

Christopher Michael Reardon is a writing fellow at a Michigan College where he's currently a student. He says you always learn something new about writing when tutoring other students. Reardon is always searching for exciting books to read, especially new authors.

Reardon graduated with Honors from Lumen Christi High School in Jackson, Michigan. He's also an avid tennis player, being on the varsity tennis team for four years. He received the honor of most valuable player his senior year at number one and two singles.

Obstacles is Reardon's first novel. He says fantasy adventure books have always been an interest, because they challenge the mind and send you on an epic journey.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

ARC Review ~ The Last Kiss by Brigid Coady

The Last Kiss (The Kiss Collection, #1)eARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 14th November 2013

Publisher: HarperImpulse

Description:

First kisses are the ones that every one celebrates, the ones you remember. The ones you hope to treasure as it happened, storing up your memories to take out and relive.

But what about the last kiss?

The first in The Kiss Collection, an exciting new series of short stories from Brigid Coady & HarperImpulse.

*Please note this is a short story, approx. 1000 words in length designed for reading on your mobile phone or tablet.*

My Opinion

I requested this as after meeting the author I was intrigued to read her work. This was a quick short story and because of that, I don't have a lot to say. Although short stories don't have a lot of detail, The Last Kiss gives a great view of the author's potential. It was the concept that intrigued me - last kisses and remembering them. I also liked the concept of books you can read quickly on your tablet or phone. I think this is great, especially for travelling as I wouldn't have to get lost in a long book, only to have to stop mid way through when, for example I got to my stop on a bus.The Last Kiss was short and sweet but I think if I were to have to buy it there would have to be a collection of stories in one book rather than a load of short stories sold separately. I don't know what HarperImpulse have planned for the releases but that's what it seems like they are doing at the moment for me.
Visit

Monday, 11 November 2013

Book Tour ~ Protector of the Flame by Isis Rushdan - Excerpt


Paranormal Romance
Date Published: 10/22/2013

Description:
Before Serenity and Cyrus can embark on a romantic honeymoon, one of their gifts from an immortal comes to life and unleashes a devastating series of events that forces them to make an unthinkable sacrifice. To undo the evil of dark magic, Serenity must travel to the immortals’ hold in Iceland. Alone.

Her journey leads to an island shrouded in mystery, where secrets from her past come to light…and she forms an inexplicable connection with a handsome, tempting healer who maypose the greatest risk of all.

Cyrus comes close to unraveling without his mate, but refuses to let honor or duty keep themapart, even if it means the bloodshed of his own kinsmen.

As the Great Council prepares to convene to determine their fate, friends become enemies, enemies become allies, and soul mates are pushed right to the edge—where love and faith is theironly hope of survival.

Warning: Contains soul mates put through the grinder, dark magic drama that will leave you reeling, angry sex that crumbles concrete, an alpha hero pushed over the edge, and a roller coaster full of twists.

Buy: Amazon
Visit: Website

Excerpt


Serenity rushed down the hall, her mind a flurry of scattered thoughts. She had to find a way to salvage this mess. If she chose the right words, she might be able to repair some of the damage.

Turning the knob, she pushed the door to their room open and after hesitating a fractured moment, stepped inside. The door slammed shut behind her, and she whirled.
Cyrus had been waiting in the corner. Eyes a roiling blaze, he barreled toward her.

All of his dark, savage beauty twisted in a raging storm. He was her love, her life, and he had the power to tear her apart with his bare hands if he wanted.

Stumbling back, heart punching at her sternum, she opened her mouth to explain.

He wrenched her from the floor by the shoulders, stealing her breath. His fury scorched to her core and she feared she’d lost him. She’d played with fire, hidden too much, and deserved to burn. He glared at her as if deliberating whether to shake her or scream at her or worse. She braced for anything, but he seized her lips in a ruthless kiss, crushing her against his body.

Locked in the steel embrace of his arms, she fastened her legs around his waist.

He rotated, spinning their bodies, and smashed into the wall. She gasped in his mouth. His arms and hands had safeguarded her from colliding with the concrete crumbling behind them.

Sliding along the wall to an undamaged section, he fisted his hand through her hair, forcing her to look up at him. Her heart throbbed in her throat as he thrust his tongue into her mouth. He kissed her with cruel lips that sought to ravage and possess. He kissed her, hot and fierce, searing her with his rage, branding her with his passion. He kissed her until all thought burned to ash, until she melted in the blistering fire of his body, until she swooned in the ache of needing him.


Sunday, 10 November 2013

Review ~ These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

These Broken Stars (Starbound, #1)
eARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 10th December 2013

Publisher: Disney Hyperion

Description:
It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone. 

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help. 

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.

My Opinion

When I started reading this I hadn't realised it still hasn't been released so I was excited to get into it as soon as possible. This book was a lot different than I expected - in a good way - and so far it has met all of my expectations.

I'm not normally a fan of sci-fi but something about These Broken Stars caught my eye. I think it was the beautiful cover that hooked me to begin with. Anyway, as I started reading I was a bit wary, especially as it was on a spaceship. I didn't know where the authors were going to go with the story but I was pleasantly surprised with the revelations. Most of all I'm glad the book isn't written on the confines of the ship all the way through. In fact, even for me the technology and terms were kept to a minimum which was great.

I liked that Tarver was a soldier and had that strong, determined and disciplined mindset to him. I especially like him in the snippets of interrogation we get at the end of every chapter. For me, the wit he used to answer questions was amusing. Also because of the soldier aspect it made everything a lot easier to follow as it didn't feel so spacey and out-of-this-world. For me it gave the book an earthy feel.

I will admit I did groan as the love/hate relationship started. I found Lilac's attitude to be annoying and pretentious. I know that she was acting her superior role but for me there wasn't enough consistency in her character in the way her thoughts were directed at Tarver. One minute she likes him the next she's cold. It went back and forth for too long. Saying that though, by the end I had fallen in love with both of them and just wanted the best for their future. I liked how Lilac grew stronger and was thankful she quit moaning so much.

One other thing I liked was how the authors set it on another planet. They described the landscape brilliantly so I could picture everything clearly however I found myself wanting more answers. It wasn't until around 91% that some of my questions were answered and personally I felt it was a little too late. I would have liked more information in drips rather than a big info dump t the end.

Overall though, These Broken Stars is unlike any other book I have read. It's an enjoyable read once you get into it and I would recommend checking it out when it's released.


Thursday, 7 November 2013

Review ~ Insurgent (Divergent #2) by Veronica Roth

Insurgent (Divergent, #2)
ebook received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: May 1st 2012

Publisher: HarperCollins UK

Description:

One choice can transform you, or destroy you.

Every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves, and herself, while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.




My Opinion

I started Insurgent straight after I finished Divergent as I needed to know what was going to happen and I still can't believe I have waited so long to get a hole of this series! I do wish I had waited a little longer to read this one because now I have to wait for the third to arrive but it can't take that long to post can it?

Anyway Insurgent was just as fast-paced and gripping as the first book. Now I knew what I was letting myself in for with reading Veronica Roth's work I think I enjoyed it even more because I was excited to see how Tris developed and where the author was going to take the story next.

I liked that the author let Tris stay true to herself. She was strong but also doubted herself and the emotions that she went through came across as believable and realistic. I could sympathise with Tris and for me her doubt added another level of uncertainty to the writing that had me turning pages to find out what was going to happen. 

Once again, I loved the action. Everything is described perfectly and I like how now of it is muted. People die and it adds to the realism as I've read so many books where death is covered up so it was a nice change. 

The only thing I want more of was the romance but that is because I love romance books. I don't think the book needed it but Tris and Four are great to read about when they are together that I enjoyed those scenes most. In no way do I want the book to be total romance, I love the fact that it is mostly action but maybe a tad more. 

Overall Insurgent was all that I expected to be and more. I can't believe the author left it on such a cliffhanger which is now annoying me because I have to wait to finish the trilogy. Go read these books before the movie comes out - you won't be disappointed!




Monday, 4 November 2013

Review ~ Divergent (Divergent #1) by Veronica Roth

Divergent (Divergent, #1)ebook received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 28th Feb 2012

Publisher: HarperCollins UK

Description:
In the world of Divergent, society is divided into five factions – Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful) and Erudite (the intelligent). Every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice Prior, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is. Her choice shocks everyone, including herself.

During the initiation that follows, Tris and her fellow initiates undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them, Tris must determine who her friends really are – and where the boy who seems to both threaten and protect her fits into the life she's chosen.

But Tris also has a secret, kept hidden because she's been warned it can mean death. As unrest and growing conflict threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris learns that this secret might save those she loves… or it might destroy her.

Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the scene with the first book in the Divergent trilogy – dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences and unexpected romance.

My Opinion

I have been meaning to buy this series for a while but of course being a reviewer I get a lot of books sent to me that I end up reading those first. So when the first two (Divergent and Insurgent) became available on NetGalley because of the release of the final book Allegiant, I knew I had to request them immediately and was so glad that I got accepted!

I knew this series was big but I never really knew what it was about or what was involved so going into reading this, I didn't know what to expect. I assumed it was going to be like most YA out there but boy was I wrong. It was so different to anything else I have read before - especially in terms of violence. I was expecting it to be quite muted and tame but I love that it wasn't. The author created the characters brilliantly and I loved the strong mindedness of Tris, especially towards the end. 

Divergent was action packed from start to finish and it kept m hooked all the way through. Honestly, there was a moment where I wanted to skim read a section. The writing moves at a fast pace and everything is described vividly. The fights were choreographed well so you could see what was going on. The world building was great and I liked the unique idea of Factions. I did find parts of Tris' revelation towards the end a little predictable but I was more interested in enjoying the book as I read it than think ahead. The writing just immersed me in Roth's world.

I think my favourite part of the book was the training and the development between Four and Tris. I liked how she grew into her role and became more herself. I also thought some of the technological side of things such as simulations were inventive and different.

Overall Divergent was a great read and I can't believe I waited so long to finish it! I've already read Insurgent and my review will be up in a few days so now I'm just waiting for the paperbacks to arrive so I can finish the trilogy! I would highly recommend you read them if you haven't already, especially before the movie comes out next year!


Saturday, 2 November 2013

Review ~ Stage Daughter by Sheryl Sorrentino

Stage DaughterPaperback received from the author in exchange for a fast track, honest review

Release Date: August 1st 2013

Publisher: Self-published

Description:
Every unmarried woman fears unwanted pregnancy (just as every married man dreads discovering he fathered an unknown child). Sonya Schoenberg dreamed of someday becoming a famous actress, but instead, a hapless, one-time tryst with a Muslim man lands her the lifetime role of single mother. 

Alone and forsaken by her family, Sonya tries to keep her dream alive through her “stage daughter,” Razia, now a precocious pre-teen enrolled in a competitive performing arts school. But Raz prefers drawing to drama and has no problem defying her mom to get what she wants—be it piercing her own ears, doing a dumb dare, or hunting down her biological father, Aziz. While Sonya struggles to keep a tenuous hold over rebellious Raz, she stubbornly sets her sights on transforming her mom’s “sperm donor” into a doting dad. Meanwhile, Aziz (the father of two in an arranged marriage) follows a script all his own trying to convert his newfound daughter to Islam. Can this troubled threesome improvise a successful “second run” despite deep-rooted animosities and seemingly insurmountable barriers? Or will bitterness and bigotry forever steal center stage? 

A daughter's determination, a mother's mistrust, and a father's faith collide in this witty and powerful story of healing, forgiveness, and family.

My Opinion

I was intrigued into accepting this book because I was curious about how the author was going to deal with so many factors. It had the promise of rebellion, a teen trying to find herself, family values and religious conflict by which the two parents do not agree. I was interested to see how she entwined all the themes.

What I liked about Stage daughter was that it moved at a fast-pace. The chapters were kept relatively short but were filled with quite a bit of detail. The author didn't hang around in one scene for too long so this made the book easy to continue and I managed to finish it in around five hours. 

As well as this, the story did have realistic elements to it. You could clearly see the emotions of the characters being true and although I didn't really connect with them, it was believable. You could see it happening in real life so it did make the book feel authentic in that sense. The strongest emotions that were believable and for me crafted well was the love of Razia. The worry, love, anger and determination for her to have the best life possible was clearly there and easy to recognise, even if Sonya was a bit controlling.

Another thing I liked was the fact that the author included more to the story than just a rebellious child. She showed different aspects of both Sonya and Aziz's lives so the book did have more depth to it. Also because the who book was written in first person it was easy to see things from the character's POV. I will admit the writing style did confuse me slightly though as each chapter brings a new view point - either Razia, Sonya or Aziz and I feel that if you are going to write in first person like that you need to state the name of the character who is narrating at the beginning of each chapter. Because Stage Daughter did not do this I found myself turning the page to a new chapter thinking "oh no, who's POV is it going to be from now." and when it first happened I even read chapter 1 again thinking I had misinterpreted who was speaking. By naming each character this problem would have been avoided.

My biggest issue with this book however is the age of Razia. The author places her at twelve years old, however because of her attitude I imagined her to be more around fifteen or sixteen. For me everything she did felt wrong for her age. I'm not saying twelve year olds don't go through these types of things but in a book it felt slightly weird to read. I mean Razia was cursing, smoking weed, piercing her own ears, running away, becoming an emo and nearly getting suspended. Her language also seemed a bit mature and stiff. In my opinion that is a lot for a child to go through in such a short time. I can understand wanting to rebel and find herself but I think the author went a bit over the top with her reactions - it just didn't feel right for her age in my opinion.

As well as this Sonya didn't strike me as the best parent. Her love for Razia was obvious but then she would go around f-ing and blinding inn the school playground and at times used violence. She also said things that made me think "would you really say that to a 12year old?!" For me it was these parts that made the book a bit far fetched for me. There was too much going on. I think the author needed to narrow down the issues and focus of a few rather than trying to cram as many as she did in.

Moreover, because there was a lot going on in the book I did feel the story was a little jumpy at times. I did read one chapter about Aziz and it seemed to come out of nowhere. There was no hints (except one and it wasn't obvious until you skim back), build up or anything - the information was dumped on you. I can see how it linked and was part of Aziz's story but I would have like more build up to that moment so it didn't seem so random.

OK, now before I go any further, I want to state that this is purely my opinion on the book. It is not meant to offend anyone so please don't take it that way, it's just how I felt when reading.

When I accepted Stage Daughter I knew there was going to be religious elements, however I didn't realise how heavy it was going to get. I will admit that at times it became overbearing and I felt like I was being lectured on matters of Islam when Aziz was speaking. He was always quoting the Quran or trying to be a good Muslim. I also feel that the author was deliberately picking on the most extreme laws in the religion. I don't know whether it was to show a cultural difference between westerners and Islamic beliefs but for me, once again it was too over the top and was a bit unbelievable. I know Islam is stricter in certain regions and I'm not saying the author didn't do her research, but I came away with a lot of questions from the book about whether Muslims really do some of the things the author listed. Although some of them were true, after checking with my friend (who is Muslim) he informed me that a lot of it was not and that they were the extremist cases which did leave me slightly annoyed as it seemed like a bit of a generalisation and stereotypical.

Overall Stage Daughter was a fast-pace read that touched upon many issues. There were parts I liked and parts I found let it down. I would have liked more on Razia wanting to become an artist as I felt besides at the beginning and end that issue disappeared and I would have liked a bit more action. For me the same thing of Sonya getting angry at Aziz and insulting him became old quickly and I would have liked more diversity. Stage Daughter is an interesting book but for me there were too many factors that stopped my connecting with it.


Friday, 1 November 2013

Review ~ Vendetta Nation (Enigma Black #2) by Sara Furlong Burr

Vendetta Nation (Enigma Black, #2)ebook received from the author in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 18th Oct 2013

Publisher: Self-published

Description:
What if you gave up everything you knew and loved for a lie?

Nearly one year ago, Celaine Stevens made the choice to leave her life behind to join The Epicenter, an organization charged with bringing down The Man in Black - a terrorist and the one responsible for the murder of her entire family. Battling conflicting emotions and the pain her decision caused, Celaine tells herself that her sacrifices will all have been worth it when The Man in Black is finally apprehended. 

But, instead of hunting the elusive entity, Celaine and her partner Ian Grant find themselves preparing for a war looming on the horizon. Angered by President Brook’s ever-tightening restrictions, a rebellion has formed, leading the charge against the President and anyone who stands in their way. Caught in the middle, Celaine and Ian are forced to choose sides, having to decide whether to align themselves with the rebellion, whose motives they question, or obey the orders given to them by an organization they are steadily growing to distrust.

A war is sparked by deceit, new alliances are formed, an unexpected love begins to blossom, and true identities are revealed in Vendetta Nation, the second installment of the Enigma Black trilogy.

My Opinion

I loved Enigma Black when I first read it. It was different, full of actions and Sara definitely delivered with the sequel Vendetta Nation. It was fast-paced and gripping from beginning to end. I want the final book now!

Vendetta nation did take a while to get back into as I was trying to remember what happened in Enigma Black and who everyone was. The fact that the author started with Celaine going in and out of consciousness as well, did confuse me slightly me as it brought up characters I couldn't remember in her mind. However, as I got into the story things soon came back to me and after that I couldn't stop reading.

Sara describes the action brilliantly and I like that the books have an edge to them. They are gritty and tough and I love that Celaine is strongwhen she needs to be but also has a vulnerable and human side. It makes her easier to sympathise with and connect to. I love how she strives for good but also has to do bad to get there, it's like she's skirting a fine line between good and bad and it keeps you on the edge of the seat and turning pages.

As well as this I like that the book drip feeds you information. I will admit some of it was a bit predictable and I found myself just waiting for certain events to happen but it still was enjoyable. I think the author got the balance of information right, if she had left it longer I think it would have been too late and the reader would either become confused or disinterested as it added another level of questions to the book.

Another thing I liked was the fact that the book was written in first person from Celaine'd POV, but the author added other character's view points with situations happening in other places as well. This gave a great over view of different situations and also created the situation where the reader knows more than the character which I like.

There are only 2 things I have as slight annoyance with in this book. The first is I found some of Celaine's actions a little far fetched. I know she wanted to do good but one action she performed didn't seem real to me seeing as it jeopardised her survival chances. The second issue I had was the same as the first book: it ended too soon and I have to wait too long for the next installment! Seriously this book leaves you on a bigger and more torturous cliffhanger than the first and I can't wait for the release. :)

Overall this book delivered on all of my expectations. If you're looking for an action packed dystopian book with super humans check out this series. It even has a slight hint of romance too. What more could you want?

4.5

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