Friday 28 February 2014

***Review*** What Once We Feared by Carrie Ryan

What Once We Feared by Carrie Ryan

Released:  14th May 2013
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Series: Yes, #0.5 in the Forest of Hands and Teeth series
Format: Kindle e-book
Source: Bought
Find at:  Goodreads | Amazon UK

Goodreads Synopsis:

When the zombie apocalypse hits and the dead begin to rise, Jonah and his friends are on a class field trip downtown.  Panicked, they make a split-second decision to seek shelter in the Overlook, an apartment complex built like a fortress on the edge of town.  But as they begin to face the realities of what it will take to survive, they realize that while making the decision of where to run was easy, living out the consequences of that decision may be impossible.  From Carrie Ryan, the New York Times bestselling author of the Forest of Hands and Teeth books, What Once We Feared is an original digital short story about facing a world that is forever changed and in which survival means more than merely escaping the undead.

My Review

Imagine being given a big bar of chocolate, taking one bite and then having someone snatch it away from you.  This is how I felt.  I absolutely adore the Forest of Hands and Teeth series, my friends get so sick of hearing me rave about it.  So when I came across this short story, I didn't think twice about buying it.  But back to the chocolate, even though the bar got snatched away the tiny square tasted lovely.  Just having a taste of this series again was lovely.  I am disappointed the short story was very short, and I felt it very rushed.  Now give me more chocolate Carrie Ryan!!!!!

Back to the story..... it was nice to see another side to this series, it kind of made me wonder how I would cope in these circumstances.  I think I would be the first one to fall prey to the zombies.  Dani at Pen to Paper can vouch for that as my sprint across London trying to catch our train was enough to nearly kill me off.  Had there been zombies chasing us....... maybe I might have run a bit faster, but I certainly wouldn't have dropped my bag with my 14 books in it.  Sadly I may have to have bashed a few zombie brains with it.  I liked the characters in this book, they were a good mixed bunch of teenagers who have to pull through an zombie invasion.   The first part was detailed and exciting the last part almost felt like the author had been called to eat her dinner and had to sign off quickly.  

The question is would I have bough this book knowing how short it was and how rushed it was at the end?  The answer is yes, because I love this series so much even a small taste of chocolate is better than none at all.

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I love this series, still my favourite but felt this short story was too short and rushed at the end.

My Thoughts on the Cover
Dark and creepy and certainly suits the book.  I would be drawn to this cover! 

***Review*** Gravity by Melissa West

Gravity by Melissa West

Released: 18th December 2012
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Series: Yes, #1 in The Taking series
Source:  Netgalley
Format: Digital ARC
Find at: Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US | The Book Depository

Author Site: Melissa West

Many thanks to Netgalley and  the Publisher for my review copy, this is in exchange for an honest review.

  Goodreads Synopsis:

 In the future, only one rule will matter:

Don’t. Ever. Peek.

Seventeen-year-old Ari Alexander just broke that rule and saw the last person she expected hovering above her bed — arrogant Jackson Locke, the most popular boy in her school. She expects instant execution or some kind of freak alien punishment, but instead, Jackson issues a challenge: help him, or everyone on Earth will die.

Ari knows she should report him, but everything about Jackson makes her question what she’s been taught about his kind. And against her instincts, she’s falling for him. But Ari isn’t just any girl, and Jackson wants more than her attention. She’s a military legacy who’s been trained by her father and exposed to war strategies and societal information no one can know — especially an alien spy, like Jackson. Giving Jackson the information he needs will betray her father and her country, but keeping silent will start a war.

My Review:

This one started off really exciting but somewhere just after quarter of the way through I stared to disconnect with the characters.  Past that point it went off the boil really quickly, which is a real shame as it had such promise.  I feel so gutted actually. I was really looking forward to getting my teeth into this one.

The synopsis sounded just up my street, ticked all the boxed.  But sadly I won't be carrying on with this series as I barely struggled to finish the first book.  And that is not a good sign.  I normally find that book one wows me and book two has a hard time following up.  But I'm not going to even go there.  It took me such a long time to will myself to get through this first book.

I'm afraid I didn't really like the main character Ari and I failed to connect with her.

Sorry Melissa West I didn't like this book.

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Very disappointed and even more so as it was about aliens, and I love aliens!!

My Thoughts on the Cover
I do love the cover, I would certainly be drawn to this in the book store.  The only thing I think could be improved was the font type and maybe make the writing stand out more.

Tuesday 25 February 2014

Book Blitz: Unraveled by Julie Daines

Unraveled by Julie Daines

Release date: February 2014 
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc. 
Genre: YA Fantasy/Farytale 
ISBN: 9781621086277 
Buy Links: AmazonB&N (audiobook) | Covenant Communications


When sickness swept through Bronwen’s family, it took the life of her father, brother, and sister, and left her permanently crippled. On the stormy eve of her sixteenth birthday, a faerie-witch gifts her a pair of enchanted shoes. Bronwen slips them on and is healed--but only when the shoes are on her feet. Her grace and beauty catches the eye of the king’s son--Urien, a handsome young man who prides himself on having everything perfect. When Rhys, an old acquaintance and Captain of the Guard, recognizes Bronwen, he threatens to tell Urien her secret. Desperate to keep her deformity hidden and not to lose the love of handsome Urien, Bronwen quickly finds herself tangled in a web of lies and deceit.

This or that Question

Beach or Pool? Neither. There’s a reason I’m so white. Give me a forest or mountains.

About Julie Daines: 
Julie Daines was born in Concord, Massachusetts, and was raised in Utah. She spent eighteen months living in London, where she studied and fell in love with English literature, sticky toffee pudding, and the mysterious guy who ran the kebab store around the corner. She loves reading, writing, and watching movies—anything that transports her to another world. She picks Captain Wentworth over Mr. Darcy, firmly believes in second breakfast, and never leaves home without her verveine. Social Media Links: Twitter: | Facebook | Blog  | Book on Goodreads: Unraveled Author on Goodreads

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Monday 24 February 2014

***Review** Scent of Magic by Maria V Snyder

Scent of Magic by Maria V Snyder

Released: December 2012
Publisher: Mira - Harlequin
Series: Yes, #2 in the Healer series
Source: From Netgalley
Format: Digital ARC
Find at: Goodreads | Amazon UK | The Book Depository

Many thanks to Netgalley and  the Publisher for my review copy, this is in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads Synopsis:

 Hunted, Killed—Survived?

As the last Healer in the Fifteen Realms, Avry of Kazan is in a unique position: in the minds of her friends and foes alike, she no longer exists. Despite her need to prevent the megalomanical King Tohon from winning control of the Realms, Avry is also determined to find her sister and repair their estrangement. And she must do it alone, as Kerrick, her partner and sole confident, returns to Alga to summon his country into battle.

Though she should be in hiding, Avry will do whatever she can to support Tohon’s opponents. Including infiltrating a holy army, evading magic sniffers, teaching forest skills to soldiers and figuring out how to stop Tohon’s most horrible creations yet; an army of the walking dead—human and animal alike and nearly impossible to defeat.

War is coming and Avry is alone. Unless she figures out how to do the impossible ... again.

 My Review:

As this is the second book in the series I am not going to give and plot lines or spoilers. 
The first book Touch of Power scored pretty high for me, so Scent of Magic had pretty much a heck of a lot to live up to.  I did enjoy it very much, but I have to admit I much preferred the first book.  

I think this is because a lot of book two is basically battle and strategy, whilst this was interesting I did miss the humour that I found in book one.  It is definitely a darker book.  I wanted the characters to develop a bit more too, there are some I find really interesting but they get a bit lost in the story.  I certainly do not dislike the book, I just hope book three lives up to the standard of these two.  The author certainly knows how to build a whole new world, I find the description excellent and can almost feel like I'm in the forest with Kerrick and Avry.

I really like Avry and also have a soft spot for Kerrick, so it will be interesting to see where the story goes for these two.  I love this series and have immediately moved on to book three, Taste of Darkness.  I'm quite sad there are only three books as I do love the characters.  I've only read one other series by Maria V Snyder and that is her Glass series.  The Healer series is by far my favourite and I haven't even read book three yet!
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A great addition to the series, lots of battle and strategy in this one.  You do lose a bit of humour and playfulness you had with the "monkeys".

My Thoughts on the Cover:
I do like this cover, it definitely suits the book and I love the colour scheme.

Saturday 15 February 2014

Guest Post: Melika Dannese Lux

I'm really thrilled to have author Melika Dannese Lux stop by the blog and give an awesome guest post!

Guest Post: Melika Dannese Lux - Genesis of Corcitura

Be honest. You’re wondering what on earth a Corcitura is, right? Well, I’d be more than happy to slake your curiosity! ;) Corcitura is the Romanian word for hybrid. It has no vampiric connotations whatsoever, but before I tell you why I chose this as the name for my new creature, how about a little backstory?

A year before I even got the idea for the Corcitura, I had seen a painting that sent my mind reeling with all the possible implications behind it. The painting was “Oh, what’s that in the hollow?” by Edward Robert Hughes.

 I took one look at that painting and screamed “VAMPIRE!” There’s something so morbidly entrancing and enigmatic about that painting. Is he dead? The sheen of his nearly translucent eyes certainly seems to suggest it. But what if he’s just resting until the moon rises? I only recently found out that he is dead! But back then, I was still in the dark, and so I did what all good storytellers do: I totally ignored the inconvenient facts behind the painting and ran roughshod with my inspiration. Those translucent eyes were never far from my mind and inspired me so much that they found life in the book’s eponymous creature.

 So, why vampires, after all? Out of all the monsters of myth, vampires had always been my favorites. I had always been fascinated by how they could be suave and alluring on the outside (or when the sun wasn’t up), but with the flick of a barbed tongue, turn into slavering, fang-toothed, bloodsucking beasts! The juxtaposition fascinated me, since in original folklore almost all vampires are essentially plagues. Some just know how to mask their true nature better than others.

I knew if I was going to write about vampires, they’d better be different and intriguing, and since I have always been crazy for folklore from different parts of the world, this idea gave me an excuse to explore vampire mythology. It’s fascinating reading, freaky, but fascinating. Up until this point, I had the makings of a novel, but my vampire wasn’t being cooperative at all and just stayed hidden in the background, kicking through my mind until he finally got his act together and distinguished himself enough to set the story in motion. Until then, I had nicknamed him “Our Combo,” since he was going to be a hybrid—created after being bitten by two vampires of differing species. I knew I couldn’t continue calling him by such a McDonald’s Value Meal sounding name forever, so I took the next step in finding out what the word “hybrid” in Romanian was (since Stefan’s family has a long and torturous history deep in the soil of that country). I have Romanian ancestors, so digging into the country’s myths and legends was an added bonus. When I discovered that corcitura meant hybrid, I thought about it, and since I didn’t like any of the names I’d made up in the interim, it eventually stuck.

 One huge thing that was clear in my mind from the outset was to make certain my novel took place before Dracula was even published. Dracula was such a tremendous milestone in vampire literature…and I didn’t want my characters to know about it at all. I wanted to create new myths, new ways of dispatching the creatures of the night, new fears and horrors—all things which would have been greatly hindered by a post-1897 setting. Where would the suspense be if my characters could fall back on what they’d read in Stoker’s novel? When they came up against pointy-toothed demons, I wanted no little lights going off in my characters’ heads, and definitely no saying, “Ah ha! This is exactly like what happened in Dracula! Quick, get some garlic!” I wanted my characters to have absolutely no frame of reference for dealing with the horrible situations they found themselves in, which is why all the action in the novel takes place from 1888 (there is also a very ripping reason for choosing that year, but you’ll have to read the book to find out why ;) through 1895.

Sunday 2 February 2014

***Review*** That Burning Summer by Lydia Syson

That Burning Summer by Lydia Syson

Released: 3rd October 2013
Publisher: Hotkey Books
Series: No
Source: From Publisher for review
Format: ARC
Find at: Goodreads | Amazon UK | The Book Depository

Author Site: Lydia Syson

Many thanks to the Publisher for my review copy, this is in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads Synopsis:
Romney Marsh, July 1940. When invasion threatens, you have to grow up quickly. Sixteen-year-old Peggy has been putting on a brave face since the fall of France, but now the enemy is overhead, and the rules are changing all the time. Staying on the right side of the law proves harder than she expects when a plane crash-lands in the Marsh: it's Peggy who finds its pathetic, broken pilot; a young Polish man, Henryk, who stays hidden in a remote church, secretly cared for by Peggy. As something more blossoms between the two, Peggy's brother Ernest's curiosity peaks and other secrets come to light, forcing Peggy and Henryk to question all the loyalties and beliefs they thought they held dear.

In one extraordinary summer the lives of two young people will change forever, in a tense and gripping historical drama from Lydia Syson, the author of the acclaimed A WORLD BETWEEN US.

 My Review:

This is my first book by Lydia Syson and I have to say it has been a while since I've read any historical fiction.  It's a nice break from the YA and paranormal books I've been reading lately.  I've not really read many books on WW2, so when I had the chance to review this book I jumped at the opportunity.  It was lovely to have a fresh perspective of life during the war.  Peggy is such a delightful character and it was really nice to see how her feelings develop for Henryk, especially under such troubled times.

I shamefully did not realise of the Polish involvement with the RAF, there is such a minefield of information I do not know about this era.  So as well as being a good story, this book is factual and helped me learn more about WW2.

A very interesting and information packed book. It really does set the scene for the time period and the way the war affected people and their beliefs. I like the tension and the secretiveness of the love story, who is not a sucker for love that has to push boundaries.

I am really pleased I have read this book.  I will definitely read more books by this author as I love her writing style, it's easy and descriptive without bogging you down with too many facts.

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A great insight into rural England during WW2, loved the forbidden romance element

My Thoughts on the Cover
I have been drawn in by shiny covers recently, so this cover is the complete opposite of what I normally go for.  It has a very vintage feel to it, but then again it suits the time period this book is set in.

Saturday 1 February 2014

***Review*** Requiem by Lauren Oliver

Requiem by Lauren Oliver

Released: 5th March 2013
Publisher: Harper Collins
Series: Yes #3 in the Delirium series
Source: Bought
Format: Kindle e-book
Find at: Goodreads | Amazon UK | The Book Depository

Author Site : Lauren Oliver

Goodreads Synopsis:

They have tried to squeeze us out, to stamp us into the past.

But we are still here.

And there are more of us every day.

Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.

After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancĂ©e of the young mayor.

Maybe we are driven crazy by our feelings.

Maybe love is a disease, and we would be better off without it.

But we have chosen a different road.

And in the end, that is the point of escaping the cure: We are free to choose.

We are even free to choose the wrong thing.

Requiem is told from both Lena’s and Hana’s points of view. The two girls live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.

My Review:

I'm going to point out straight away this is a spoiler free review.  

I managed to read Pandemonium and Requiem very close together as I feel that you really do need to plough straight into the final book.  I struggled to get into Pandemonium because I had left a huge gap between that one and the first book Delirium.  I was not going to make this mistake again.

Where do I start......?  I feel  a bit sad and bereft, not from completing the series, but for well the ending. The story seems to go rather well and it's exciting but bam I'm hit with the end and it feels just like someone has pulled the rug from under me.  So much more could have gone on.  I was not finished and I feel like the door has been slammed in my face.  This story was sailing into the four star review section until right at the end.

I have invested so much time in the characters and loved them and championed some of them.  But I feel that they have been shortchanged.  I actually feel quite aggrieved.

Other than that it was a really interesting series.  Lena was a fantastic character, you could see her developing throughout the book.  And the boys, well I loved Alex and Julian and I must admit I kept changing my mind who I liked the most, even though I think Alex sneaked back in first place.  Great selection of characters.  Loved the writing style but it's just the end, I think I'm going to be harping on about it for years to come.

Despite my grumblings I would love to check out more books by this author.

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Loved the series, just shame it fell at the last hurdle.

My Thoughts on the Cover
I think the earthy natural feel to this cover suits the book.  The flowers are subtle but effective around the girls face.  I do like the cover.

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