Monday, 10 December 2012

Goddess of the Rose - Book Review

Goddess of the Rose – Book Review
P.C Cast
Romantic Fantasy
16+ readers
Synopsis:

It's not green fingers that have kept the Empousai family's roses blooming for centuries - it's the drops of blood that their women secretly sacrifice for their gardens. But Mikki would rather forget this family quirk and lead a normal life. Until the day she unwittingly performs a ritual and ends up in the strangely familiar Realm of the Rose. As its goddess, Hecate, reveals to her, Mikki has the blood of a high priestess running through her veins. And the realm has been waiting for her ...In a long ago flash of temper, Hecate cursed her Guardian beast with a slumber that only her priestess can undo - and Hecate is counting on Mikki to set things right. At first the beast terrifies Mikki - but soon he intrigues her more than any man ever has. But the only way he and the realm can be saved is for Mikki to sacrifice her life-giving blood - and herself ...
Review:
“This book is for everyone who fell in love with the Beast, and then was truly disappointed when he turned into a handsome prince.”
This is the dedication P.C Cast wrote at the beginning of this book and as soon as I read those words, I knew this would be a story I would love. While I haven’t read all the books in the Goddess Summoning series – I have read most, and without doubt Goddess of the Rose has definitely been my favourite so far!
When modern day women Mikado (Mikki) finds herself transported to the ancient realm of the Rose, she at once steps into her destined role as Hecate’s high priestess. But as she learns how to carry out her scared duties, Mikado cannot stop her ever increasing desire for the realms guardian beast. Imbued with the soul of man, he appears half animal/half God and under his ever watchful eyes, Mikado starts to discover more and more about the man that lies hidden within the beast. But the Guardian guards a deadly secret.
Even as his lonely heart yearns for someone to love him, he knows he must resist Mikado’s feminine charms at all costs, as the day is fast approaching when Mikado must truly fulfil her purpose as high priestess. Yet clueless as to what fate has in store for her, Mikado is relentless… and the beast finds himself tamed. But are they willing to pay the price their love will cost them…?
I must admit that while I really enjoyed this book, it did take me a couple of chapters to get into. But trust me when I say it is worth persevering. Not only does P.C Cast once again create a world that sparks the imagination, but her characters are rich with personality and full of life-like emotions.
Mikado is feisty and sarcastic, yet caring and unknowingly selfless. Her attraction to the guardian may begin on a purely primal level, but I like how she never once considers him as ‘just’ a beast.
As for the Guardian… he is simply heartbreaking. His desire to be accepted, to have someone just speak to him with neither fear or disgust is heart-wrenching. Cursed for his father’s crimes, the Guardian is certain that he is destined to spend eternity alone, never to know love or friendship – only duty. And I truly love how Mikado’s entrance to the realm of the rose truly shakes up his beliefs and – for lack of a better phrase – literally rocks his world! ;)
However while I found the pacing of the plot to be rather slow, it does give plenty of time for romance between Mikado and the Guardian to grow, moving from a slow simmer to a full on scorching burn.
Magical and full of fairytale goodness, Goddess of the Rose is a fantastic read and one I would recommend to anyone to anyone who loves happy-ever-after endings, Beauty and the Beast retellings, or just gushingly romantic stories. 4 stars!



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Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Beautiful Creatures - Movie Cover & Giveaway! (UK ONLY)

 
 
On 21st November 2012, following publication of Beautiful Redemption, the final highly anticipated instalment in Garcia and Stohl’s Beautiful Creatures series, Puffin Books announces new acquisitions to the best-selling series. Anthea Townsend, Editor at Puffin Fiction has acquired UK and British Commonwealth rights from Little Brown US for Beautiful Creatures: The Manga (A Graphic Novel) and Beautiful Creatures: The Official Illustrated Movie Companion. The Movie Companion is due to publish alongside the film tie-in paperback edition of Beautiful Creatures on 3rd January 2013 and The Manga will follow on 5th February 2013.
You can also check out the Movie Trailer for Beautiful Creatures below, which will hit cinemas on Febuary 13th 2013! Directed by Richard LaGravenese (P.S. I Love You) the film features an all star cast including Emma Thompson, Jeremy Irons, Viola Daviesand hot young Hollywood talent Alice Englert, Alden Ehrenreich and Emmy Rossum.



 
Giveaway!
 
 
 I really really love this series and can't wait to see the film! And thanks to the lovely people at Penguin, I have one complete set of the Beautiful Creatures Series to giveaway to one lucky winner! Sadly, you need a UK postal address to enter. But all you have to do is fill in the raffle copter below by midnight on the 28th November, and you could be in with a chance of winning these amazing books.
 
Good luck and also feel free to share the trailer!
 
 


Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The Love of Reading - Why do you Read?

For the love of Reading… Why do people read?
On holiday in Scotland, I spent last Friday exploring Wig Town, a delightful little place on the western coast of Scotland that is completely devoted to books.  It was here, while I was quite literally lost among the shelves of one of the (very deceivingly) large book shops, my other half lurked, bored and heavy sighing behind me, and posed the question:
“Why do people read? It’s so boring!”
Naturally, my response was to call him a douche then ignore him for the rest of day.  Yet it did get me wondering – why do I read so much? And better yet, how could I explain my love of books to someone who doesn’t read and just doesn’t understand the magic behind it. So anyway – one week later – here is my response to his question.
“For me, reading is an adventure.”
Stories have let me walk through the jungles of India, explore long lost cities and live among a dozen different cultures. Through books I have travelled to many countries and discovered worlds vastly different to this one.
 I have fallen in love countless times and experienced a hundred first kisses. I’ve had my heartbroken and shared a character’s tears. Books make me laugh; some make me cry, but all books share an experience, if only through another’s eyes.
I’ve suffered from deafness and blindness, been both disfigured and whole.  I’ve been a queen and a merchant, a courtesan and a beggar. I’ve had myths and legends come alive, walked through history and journeyed through futures both near and far.
Books have taught me manners and opened my eyes to the world. They have made me the person I am and continue to teach me about the kind of person that I want to be. They let me escape the mundane and leave my troubles behind.
 That is the magic of reading, and I can’t wait to see what tomorrow’s story will bring…
So I put it to you all, why do you read? Feel free to share in the comments below !


Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Witchstruck - Book Review


Witchstruck – Book Review
Victoria Lamb
YA Historical

Synopsis:
Meg Lytton has always known of her dark and powerful gift. Raised a student of the old magick by her Aunt Jane, casting the circle to see visions of the future and concocting spells from herbs and bones has always been as natural to Meg as breathing. But there has never been a more dangerous time to practise the craft, for it is 1554, and the sentence for any woman branded a witch is hanging, or burning at the stake.

Sent to the ruined, isolated palace of Woodstock to serve the disgraced Elizabeth, daughter of Henry VIII and half-sister of Queen Mary, Meg discovers her skills are of interest to the outcast princess, who is desperate to know if she will ever claim the throne. But Meg's existence becomes more dangerous every day, with the constant threat of exposure by the ruthless witchfinder Marcus Dent, and the arrival of a young Spanish priest, Alejandro de Castillo, to whom Meg is irresistibly drawn - despite their very different attitudes to her secret...
Review:
I’m a big fan of historical novels, particularly anything set during the Tudor period. Therefore, when I first heard about Witchstruck – a historical YA about a young witch working as a maid to Princess Elizabeth – I just knew I had to get my hands on this book! And I’m pleased to say, it turned out to be a very good read.
Written in the first person, the story follows Meg Lytton, a witch in training who is sent to the Palace of Woodstock to serve the Princess Elizabeth – who at this time, remains imprisoned under house arrest due to the treasonous charges brought against her by her sister Mary, Queen of England.
Therefore when two priests from the Spanish inquisition are sent to Woodstock to report on the Princesses faith, Meg knows that if she is caught doing magic, it will guarantee that both she and her royal mistress are sent to the noose. However, the temptation to call upon her power is too great and Meg soon finds herself in a great deal of trouble.
With a notorious witch hunter determined to see her hang, and Elizabeth on the verge of losing both her life and claim to the throne, Meg knows she must find help fast. However, abandoned by her family and shunned by her fellow servants, Meg is soon to learn that help can come from the most unlikely of people… even from those who fate has dubbed her enemy. Yet what hope of love could the future possibly hold for an accused witch, and a Spanish catholic priest…?
I really enjoyed Witchstruck as not only was it full of danger and intrigue, but it was thick with political plots, betrayals, and of course – forbidden romance. Also while purely fictional, the story contains elements of history and I particularly liked that characters such as John Dee got to make an appearance in the story.
All the characters were very engaging, yet my favourite character had to be the young Spanish Priest, Alejandro. Struggling between following his faith and his heart, his mixed signals towards Meg created a romance full of anticipation and heart-thumping goodness.
Yet on the flip side to Alejandro, the antagonist, Marcus Dent was a truly horrid character and I hated him from the get go. A man of the church, he abused his power for his own purposes and all in all, he made a fantastic villain who portrayed the corruption of the church magnificently.
However it was the atmosphere of this book that really held my attention. I thought Victoria Lamb did a brilliant job in capturing the fear and mistrust of an era when danger lurked everywhere, where no one was certain of which religion to up hold, nor which royal princess would lead their country. It was a time when rebels, non-Catholics and witches alike were all sentenced to death, yet I admire how the author showed how people – so desperate for someone to blame for their misfortunes – encouraged and supported these witch hunts where so many innocent women were sentenced to such horrific deaths.
Also I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Meg. Inheriting the gift of magick from her mother, witchcraft is very much a part of who she is, and she feels compelled to use her gifts to help where she can. Although she is nearly always in trouble, Meg is a strong and brave heroin and I’m looking forward to seeing how she will develop as a character.
So overall I thought Witchstruck was a great read. It is a book I would recommend to fan’s of authors such as Mary Hooper and Ceila Rees, along with anyone who enjoys historical fiction with a bit of fantasy thrown in. 3 stars!



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Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Dreamless - Book Review

Dreamless – Book Review
Josephine Angelini
Starcrossed book #2
YA Mythological
Synopsis:
Can true love be forgotten?

As the only scion who can descend into the Underworld, Helen Hamilton has been given a nearly impossible task. By night she wanders through Hades, trying to stop the endless cycle of revenge that has cursed her family. By day she struggles to overcome the fatigue that is rapidly eroding her sanity. Without Lucas by her side, Helen is not sure she has the strength to go on.

Just as Helen is pushed to her breaking point, a mysterious new Scion comes to her rescue. Funny and brave, Orion shields her from the dangers of the Underworld. But time is running out--a ruthless foe plots against them, and the Furies' cry for blood is growing louder.

As the ancient Greek world collides with the mortal one, Helen's sheltered life on Nantucket descends into chaos. But the hardest task of all will be forgetting Lucas Delos.
Review:
So I’ll say upfront, I thought Dreamless was a fantastic read and totally on par with its predecessor, Starcrossed. Yet like most of the people on the blogsphere, I had heard about the dreaded love triangle and while I was initially worried that Dreamless would turn into another stereotypical kind of read, I’m pleased to report that it didn’t and I enjoyed every minute of it.
This book sees Helen making nightly trips down into the underworld in search of the furies. Determined to end the blood debt between the houses, she endures every nightmare imaginable but even with her health failing, she refuses to give up the quest, even if it will cost her life.
Yet when she stumbles upon Orion (a gorgeous and powerful scion from the house of Rome), Helen finally begins to believe she may succeed after all. With Orion there to protect her, Helen learns how to navigate the unpredictable landscape of the underworld and together, they begin to unlock its secrets. But as the two of them grow closer, the danger to everyone around them grows greater, and Helen risks losing the people she cares about most...
I must admit, I thought that this book got off to a slow beginning however by the time I reached halfway, I was completely hooked. Here the story really picked up the pace and with the plot full of twists and turns, Dreamless became an impossible book to put down.
Helen I thought really developed as a character. Now in full control of her powers she can be pretty kick-ass. However she is also very selfless, determined to break the furies curse, even when each night she loses more and more of her health and sanity to the underworld.  Also despite her attraction to Orion, she is still completely in love with Lucas and her inner turmoil as she struggles to stay away from him is heartbreaking.  
Lucas on the other hand, is much darker in this book. Consumed by anger and frustration, he tries his best to help Helen from afar, even at the cost of alienating himself off from the rest of his family. This gave his character much more depth and took off some of his ‘nice-guy-shine’ which if possible, only made me love him more.
As for Orion, when he first appeared I was sceptical of whether or not I could like him - but to my surprise, he turned out to be a really fabulous character.  Charming and witty, he is a generally nice guy and brings out a more confident and self-sufficient side to Helen. However while I am still definitely team Lucas, Orion is impossible to hate and I can’t wait to see how things between the trio progress.
So overall, I really enjoyed Dreamless. If you haven’t read the series, I whole heartedly recommend you find yourself a copy of Starcrossed and give it a try – especially anyone who is a fan of YA romance or Greek Mythology.  4 stars!
As for me – I can’t wait to find out how the series concludes in Goddess, the final instalment of the trilogy which will be out in 2013! You can also check out my review of Starcrossed, the first book of the saga HERE.

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Thursday, 25 October 2012

By Royal Command - Book Review

By Royal Command – Book Review
Mary Hooper
YA Historical
(Book 2 ‘At The House of the Magician Trilogy’)

Synopsis:
Lucy has become a firm fixture in the household of Dr Dee, Court magician and consultant to Queen Elizabeth I. In return for saving the queen’s life, Lucy has been told that she is to work as a spy for Her Grace and is to remain where she is and await further instruction… And then Lucy hears ghostly cries in the house. Convinced that the doctor and his shady companion, Mr Kelly, are planning some new deception, Lucy sets out to uncover the magician’s dark secrets.

Review:
I really enjoy Mary Hooper’s writing. She has such a subtle way of weaving historical facts into the storyline, immersing the reader so completely into the time period that I can’t help but fall in love with her books. With this story set within the household of John Dee, Elizabeth the first’s famed court magician, ‘By Royal Command’ is a sweet read full of magical deceptions, court gossip and dark intrigue.
In this second instalment of the trilogy, we see Lucy settling into her new life as nurse maid to Dr Dee’s daughters. But as she is starting to learn, nothing stays normal for long within the house of John Dee.  With ghostly cries coming from under the floorboards and plots to overthrow the queen lurking around every corner, Lucy must put her spying skills to the test and accept her own unique powers if she is to be of help to England’s queen...
The descriptions in this story are so beautiful, the frost fair on the Thames, the courtly dresses and festivities, all of them written with such detail that I could easily imagine myself there at that place and time.
However while I thought the plot was a little slow paced and slightly anti-climatic, the characters were all very intriguing. Every one of them having their own motives and secrets – especially the queen’s fool Tomas. I think this book brought him and Lucy a little bit closer but he is still quite an elusive character. I’m really looking forward to seeing how their relationship develops in the next and final book of the trilogy.
So overall, I thought By Royal Command read as a sweet, filler-sort of novel – although it could quite easily be read as a stand alone – that truly brings the time period to life. I can easily recommend it to all fans of YA historical fiction.  3 stars!



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Monday, 8 October 2012

Happily Ever After Giveaway Hop - International


Hi guys. So as any of you who follow my blog know, I'm a huge fan of fairytales and fairytale retellings - therefore it seemed only natural that I took part in this blog hop :)
 
As always the rules are simple, you don't have to be a follower to enter but if you do like the look of my blog and decide to follow, I promise it is very much appreciated it!
 
All you have to do is fill in the rafflecopter below.
Open to anywhere the book depository ships to and the winner may big 1 book up the value of £10 and will have 48hours to respond to my email - otherwise a new winner will be chosen.
 
Goodluck!
 
 
Also please check out all the other amazing blogs taking part in the hop!
 
 



Monday, 1 October 2012

Touch Of Power - Book Review

Touch Of Power – Book Review
Maria. V. Snyder
YA Fantasy

Synopsis:
Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan absorbs their wounds and diseases into herself. But rather than being honored for her skills, she is hunted. Healers like Avry are accused of spreading the plague that has decimated the Fifteen Realms, leaving the survivors in a state of chaos.


Stressed and tired from hiding, Avry is abducted by a band of rogues who, shockingly, value her gift above the golden bounty offered for her capture. Their leader, an enigmatic captor-protector with powers of his own, is unequivocal in his demands: Avry must heal a plague-stricken prince and leader of a campaign against her people. As they traverse the daunting Nine Mountains, beset by mercenaries and magical dangers, Avry must decide who is worth healing and what is worth dying for. Because the price of peace may well be her life...

Review:

Ever since I read and fell in love with her Poison Study series, Maria V Snyder has remained a favourite author of mine. Just like the rest of her books, A touch of power was a brilliant, intriguing and intensely magical read that is the start of what promises to be yet another fantastical series.

The story follows Avry, a twenty year old girl who has spent the last three years living life on the run. Ever since the great plague spread through the land, those blessed with the gift of healing have been blamed and persecuted for the unstoppable disease. Now as the world’s last healer, Avry’s only goal is survival.

But when she is rescued from the guillotine by a band of rouges, she trades one death sentence for another when she is tasked with curing a Prince from the last ravages of the plague – A feat Avry knows that even with her magical powers, she will not survive. However with the nobility fighting for power, the fate of the fifteen realms remains uncertain and Avry must make a choice. Travel to the other side of the world, to save the man who brought about the demise of her people? Or live the rest of her life hunted for what she is? But with war looming, Avry must quickly learn just who, and what is worth dying for…

This book really is fantastic. A high fantasy novel, it blends together elements of drama, intrigue, magic and self-sacrifice. With vivid descriptions and unique characters, A touch of Power takes the reader on an epic adventure making it a truly riveting read that had me transfixed up until they very end.  

Avry is a great protagonist. Brave and kind hearted, she is also smart with a sharp and sarcastic wit. I loved the way she baits and undermines Kerrick. With his depth and dark edge, he hides been a cold mask of uncaring but I really enjoyed watching their feelings for each other develop. For me Maria V Snyder remains the queen of slow-burn romances and watching her characters fall reluctantly in love was simply delicious.

However the other characters were also unique individuals – each one bringing a new element or twist to the story. Flea and Belen were particular favourites of mine and I loved the close-family feeling the group formed on their journey.

The plot is gripping and holds some intriguing concepts and ideas such as the death and peace lilies, and I’m also curious as to the source of the Plague. I really can’t wait for the next book! What with the adventure of this story fully concluded, it left just enough questions unanswered and hinted at plenty of drama to come to keep me wanting more.

Never once did this book drag for me and I happily devoured it all in one night. Utterly fantastical, A Touch of Power is easily a 5 star read!


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Saturday, 29 September 2012

Sweet Venom Blog Tour - Tera Lynn Childs on inspiration and writing!


Sweet Venom Blog Tour

I’m lucky enough to have Tera Lynn Childs on the blog today! With the release of her latest YA novel Sweet Venom now available in the shops, I asked if she would write post and tell us all a little bit about where she gets her inspiration from. And also what her general day-to-day writing process is like for each book. Hope you enjoy! Over to Tera.
 

Tera

My ideas come from everywhere. Ask a writer where she gets her ideas and chances are she’ll reply, “Where don’t I get my ideas?” I’ve found inspiration in a reality TV show title, another book, a newspaper article… everywhere. Getting ideas is the easy part. The hard part is turning them into books.

The process is a little different for each book, but it generally goes something like this:

·         Think up with most brilliant idea ever.

·         Brainstorm. Make notes about scenes and characters, plot points and black moments, kisses and side kicks. (Note: This usually involves lots of post-its, index cards, highlighters, and white boards. And lots of gazing out windows, staring at ceilings, and drinking caffeinated beverages. This part is the most fun.)

·         Decide that enough time has been wasted on thinking.

·         Finally start to write.

·         Write blissfully for about two and a half minutes.

·         Come to a difficult word/sentence/paragraph/scene/all of the above.

·         Start at blinking cursor until inspiration strikes or coffee runs out.

·         Push through the tricky part using self-bribery, Write or Die, or sheer willpower.

·         Keep writing until it feels there are 50 pages written.

·         Check page count.

·         Realize there are only 12 pages written.

·         Get frustrated and stop writing.

·         Feel guilty for not writing.

·         Make character collages instead. Cutting up magazines and pasting images onto paper is way more fun than writing. Plus, productive!

·         Get inspired by finished character collages. Remember why idea seemed so brilliant in the first place.

·         Go back to writing, pushing through the horrid parts and making notes about how to fix them later, until The End.

·         Print it all out and start revising from the beginning.

·         Revise and repeat until novel is as close to brilliant original idea as humanly possible.

·         Click send.
 
Some books make this process easier than others. And some make me want to pull my teeth out with a tweezers rather than write another page. Sweet Venom was somewhere in between. Writing three first person characters in a trilogy (with three individual stories and three overarching stories told across three books—eep!) was probably the hardest writing project I’ve tackled yet.

Every time I got frustrated or stuck or generally freaked out about the scope of it all, I pulled out my character collages and reminded myself just who Grace, Gretchen, and Greer are and why I’m telling their stories.

You can check out her character collages below:
 
 
 
How awesome are they? Thanks for sharing this with us Tera - and for those of you who haven't yet had the chance to read Sweet Venom, what are you waiting for? It is another faboulous, light hearted read that that is full of fun, adventure and fiesty heroines! Deffinetly one to check out!


Wednesday, 26 September 2012

The Swan Kingdom - Book Review


The Swan Kingdom – Book Review
Zoe Marriott
YA Fantasy
Synopsis:
Shadows fall across the beautiful, lush kingdom after the queen is attacked by an unnatural beast, and the healing skills of her daughter, Alexandra, cannot save her. Too soon the widowed king is spellbound by a frightening stranger, a woman whose eyes reflect no light. In a terrifying moment, all Alexandra knows disappears, including her beloved brothers, leaving her banished to a barren land. But Alexandra has more gifts than she realizes as she confronts magic, murder, and the strongest of evil forces, and is unflinchingly brave as she struggles to reclaim what is rightfully hers.
Review:
As many of you may know, I’m a huge fan of fairy tale retellings and I’m ashamed to say that The Swan Kingdom has sat patiently on my bookshelf for far longer than it should have. It truly is a magical read and one that I wish I had picked up much sooner.
The story follows Alexandra, a princess of a prosperous kingdom who – when she’s not learning healing and magick - spends her days frolicking around with her three older brothers. Yet after her mother is murdered and her father be-spelled by a strange young woman, an evil magic corrupts the kingdom and zaps the life from the land. But with her brothers missing and her father’s mind broken, there is no one to protect Alexandra from her new step-mother and she finds herself cast aside and sent to the far corners of the country where she can no longer be a bother.
But as time passes by, Alexandra stops feeling helpless and begins to unlock the door to her own incredible powers. Knowing she alone has ability to restore balance to the world, she takes up the burden and sets off on an epic journey to banish the evil, save her brothers and reclaim the land that is rightfully hers. But with each passing day the evil grows stronger and with time against her, Alexandra will sacrifice everything she has to protect those she loves, even if the cost is her life…
I’ll say now that I’ve read other books by Zoe Marriott and loved each and every one of them. Her prose is beautiful, with vivid descriptions and colourful imagery but what I love most about her writing is the flaws and vulnerability of each of her characters.
For example The Swan Kingdom is told from the view point of Alexandra and I found her to be a very relatable protagonist. Born the fourth child of the king, she is overlooked by her father, outshone by her brothers and falls short when compared to the beauty of her mother. Therefore it is no wonder that Alexandra feels small and trivial, an ugly duckling within a family of swans. However this also makes her both humble and shy and I loved watching how her character developed as slowly, throughout the book she became more independent and confident in herself.
The other characters were also very compelling. The relationship between Alexandra and her brothers was very poignant and real. The love interest Gabriel was sweet and charming and everything that a prince should be. And Zella (the wicked stepmother) was simply chilling and despite her character having been built out of classic clichés, Zella also came with a history and a reason behind her maliciousness to the point that, in the end, I felt deeply sorry for her. She really was a fabulous antagonist.
The plot takes place over a two year span and shows the compassion and bravery of a young girl who has only just started to grow into the great woman she is to become. With elements of love, trust and self-discovery, Zoe Marriott has put a new spin to ‘the wild swans’ fairytale while keeping true to the original story with her fairytale like prose and meaningful story.
Overall, a magical book that will keep you turning the pages until the happily ever after end! 4 stars!

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Also for those of you who are unfamiliar with Zoe Marriott’s books, she is an author I would definitely recommend to any lovers of YA Fantasy. You can also check out her blog HERE which is always worth a visit – particularly for any aspiring writers as her advice is priceless and her posts inspiring.



Monday, 17 September 2012

Immortal Beloved - Book Review

Immortal Beloved
Cate Tiernan
YA Paranormal
Book #1 of the Immortal Beloved trilogy
Synopsis:
Nastasya has spent the last century living as a spoiled, drugged-out party girl. She feels nothing and cares for no one. But when she witnesses her best friend, a Dark Immortal, torture a human, she realizes something's got to change. She seeks refuge at a rehab for wayward immortals, where she meets the gorgeous, undeniably sexy Reyn, who seems inexplicably linked to her past.

Nastasya finally begins to deal with life, and even feels safe--until the night she learns that someone wants her dead.
Review:
This book is truly amazing and I really, really enjoyed it. While I must admit, it’s very different to anything I’ve read before and it did take me a few chapters to get into - I was soon completely hooked by the story. Based around the idea of immortality, the book contains elements of tragedy, drama, romance and self-discovery. A really fascinating read.
The story follows Natasya, a 559 year old immortal who has forgotten what it means to live a normal life. Going from party to party, she has spent the last few hundred years in an alcohol/drug induced haze that keeps each day fun and interesting – but lately she’s finding even her wild lifestyle a little monotonous. But then Natasya witnesses her best friend torture a mortal human for no reason other than for entertainment, and it wakes her up to the kind of life – and the kind of people - she’s choosing to have and spend time with.
Telling no one where she is going, Natasya decides enough is enough and runs away to America in search of a fellow immortal who she met many years ago. She soon finds herself in a small rural town and ends up at kind of sanctuary for wayward immortals. Here she learns to reacquaint herself with life and for the first time in years, she allows herself to remember the tragedy of losing her family. But her dark past will soon catch up her present and when Natasya accidentally befriends the person responsible for making her an orphan…
There were many great things about this book but my favourite would have to be Natasya’s character. At first I thought she was quite a shallow and party loving kind of person but as the story unfolds, you learn about the horrors and trials she’s suffered. The history she has been a part of and the many different lives and disguises she has lived in. They all shaped her into this sarcastic, clever and often, very sad and lonely person who in this story – just wants to find meaning in living life again.
The plot is very character driven and as the storyline is fairly complex, I did find the pace a little slow at times but ultimately I remained engaged in the story. I liked watching Natasya evolve as person and I enjoyed seeing how she overcame each new trial. The other characters were also very unique and interesting individuals – each trying to deal with their own problems and histories.
The romance in the story was also well written. From the beginning, Natasya’s attraction to sexy ex-Viking Reyn is undeniable – but unlike many YA romances, this one is a slow burn and comes with plenty of drama and shocking revelations. I can’t wait to see how things will develop between them in the next book.
So overall, a really great read and a fabulous start to what promises to be a fantastic new series. Dark and dramatic, Immortal Beloved is truly an amazing read! 4 stars!

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Wednesday, 5 September 2012

My Soul to Take - Book Review


My Soul to Take – Book Review
Rachel Vincent
Soul Screamer Series Book #1
YA Paranormal

Synopsis:
She doesn't see dead people. She senses when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally.

Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about her need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who'll be next.

Review:
It’s been a long time since I first read this book and recently re-reading it made me remember what a truly awesome book it is. With a fast paced story line, great characters and a steamy romance – My Soul to Take is a hard book to put down and offers a great start to the soul screamer series.
For the most part, Kaylee Cavanaugh has led a pretty normal life. Yet the night she and her best friend sneak out into a club she spots a girl and feels the overwhelming and unexplainable urge to scream (not the best reaction to have when the hottest guy in school is currently talking to you). But as Kaylee is to discover, her reaction is perfectly normal… for a banshee.
Now a whole new world of supernatural oddities opens itself up to Kaylee as she discovers the truth about what she is and, more importantly, what she’s capable of. Coming from a long line of Banshees, Kaylee has the power to sense when a person is about to die – a handy gift – considering that recently girls around town are dropping down dead from a seemingly unknown cause. So, aided by the mysterious bad boy Nash, Kaylee makes it her mission to discover just what, and who, is causing these girls to die, but it is a mission that may cost her her life…
There are so many great things about this book! Firstly, I think it’s refreshing to read a paranormal romance that isn’t about vampires or werewolves – and I have to say I loved all the banshee myth and legend that comes with this story. Additionally I also liked how Rachel Vincent portrayed the idea of grim reapers, writing that reaping is nothing more than a job, and like most job’s, it comes with both its perks and limitations.  (Also I think Tod sounds like a total hunk!)
The characters were also brilliant. Kaylee is fun heroine, full or moral obligation and teen hormones – she is very realistic and entertaining to read. Nash on the other hand is in many ways your typical bad boy, deep and dangerous with plenty of secrets with hints of a troubled past. Yet the chemistry between him and Kaylee is so obvious, and I loved the slow build up of their romance… they make a great couple J
Also the secondary characters were all interesting, each with their own troubles and secret agendas. Particularly within Kaylee’s family which was a mix of complicated relationships, hidden pain and half-truths. All of which tangled together with the plot to create an engaging and dramatic story.
Therefore if you haven’t all ready I totally recommend that you check out this book along with the rest of the soul screamer series. Rachel Vincent has truly taken the paranormal genre to a whole new level.  Freshly tantalizing, dramatic and completely addictive, My Soul to Take is screamingly good! 4 Stars!
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