30 September 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #21 - Book Geniuses

Top Ten Tuesday is a Meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where I will be picking from their top tens and attempting to reveal what my thinking is behind these choices.

This weeks Top Ten Tuesday is on Book Geniuses!

1. Sherlock Holmes
The best detective in existence, whose ideas were the basis of modern police investigation. Obviously he's fictional, so Arthur Conan Doyle gets the credit for that, but still, he's awesome.

2. The Phantom - The Phantom of The Opera
The most misunderstood genius that ever graced the pages of any book. His story is so sad, so real, and yet unbelievably horrible in what can happen to a person who has been tortured and neglected their whole life.

3. Dr Jekyll - The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
This guy invented a potion that made him change not only physical form, but his actual identity. The most interesting case of split personality I've ever read.

4. Hermione Granger - Harry Potter
Everyone's favourite witch and a complete nerd. She reminds me of myself in that she works really hard to achieve her goals, and I admire that.

5. Artemis Fowl
Boy genius extraordinaire, and to top it off, he's a bad guy that turns good! I love it when evil geniuses come around.

6. Victor Frankenstein - Frankenstein
The guy who actually brought the dead back to life. Who could not think of this guy as a genius?

7. Robert Langdon - Angels and Demons, The Da Vinci Code etc
This guy has one of the best memories ever and he is really good with symbols. He's a teacher, and they're very smart, but he also figures out things logically with what little he's given. Very good with puzzles. I do love reading these books :).

8. Matilda
Possibly the first fictional genius I ever knew about... possibly not. All I know is that Roald Dahl's creation of a girl whose mind was so intelligent she could literally move things about is truly magical and very awesome.

9. Lord Asriel - His Dark Materials
This guy is the one who really brought all of the events in Philip Pullman's series into being. He saw Dust and discovered how to use it to cross into other worlds. Identifying something that has never been done before seems to be the genius thing these days.

10. Ariel Manto - The End of Mr Y
This book is so super smart that at some points I could not keep up with it. But hey, Ariel does, so she must be a genius.


29 September 2014

Book Blitz: Ice Massacre - Tiana Warner

Ice Massacre by Tiana Warner 
Publication date: September 18th 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

A mermaid’s supernatural beauty serves one purpose: to lure a sailor to his death.

The Massacre is supposed to bring peace to Eriana Kwai. Every year, the island sends its warriors to battle these hostile sea demons. Every year, the warriors fail to return. Desperate for survival, the island must decide on a new strategy. Now, the fate of Eriana Kwai lies in the hands of twenty battle-trained girls and their resistance to a mermaid’s allure.

Eighteen-year-old Meela has already lost her brother to the Massacre, and she has lived with a secret that’s haunted her since childhood. For any hope of survival, she must overcome the demons of her past and become a ruthless mermaid killer.

For the first time, Eriana Kwai’s Massacre warriors are female, and Meela must fight for her people’s freedom on the Pacific Ocean’s deadliest battleground.

Ice Massacre on Goodreads

Free During the Blitz on Amazon

Author Interview:

Give us the tweet-sized version of what Ice Massacre is about.

A teenage girl is sent to battle the hostile mermaids that are driving her people into poverty. A story of love, secrets, and ass-kicking.

What makes Ice Massacre unique?

First, I haven’t seen a lot out there that portrays mermaids for what they really are: flesh-eating sea demons. But I think what also sets it apart is its almost entirely female cast. This island decides to send female warriors to kill the mermaids that plague them, because women don’t fall victim to a mermaid’s supernatural allure. We end up with an all-female war on a ship in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Meela, an aboriginal girl who’s never been away from the tiny island she calls home, also has a pretty unique journey of self-discovery. I don’t want to reveal too much. But I think a lot of aspects make this story unconventional.

What’s your favourite thing about the book?

I love Meela’s antagonists. Meela’s a tough chick and she has a lot coming at her from all directions. Writing those opposing forces was so much fun.

What’s next for you as a writer?

The sequel! This is the first in a trilogy, and I’m hard at work on book two: Ice Crypt.

Author Bio
Tiana Warner was born and raised in British Columbia, Canada. She enjoys riding her horse, Bailey, and collecting tea cups.

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28 September 2014

Review: Covert Kissing - Laura Pauling

After a disastrous senior year and the prom from hell, Cassidy just wants a nice, normal summer before she begins college. However, things never quite go to plan. Soon, all of her thoughts of kissing go out the window as she contends with the summer job from hell, a very angry Jasper and a worryingly brooding Zeke.

Now, I love Cassidy, and I still do. There's something really real about her; the fact that she babbles (albeit not as much as in the first book) she's still a little bit self-absorbed, but her heart is in the right place and she appears to grow up a little bit more in this book as she tend to worry more about others than herself.

This book actually brings a lot of mystery to an otherwise very teen book concerning the boys and their problems. I actually found myself not really having a clue what they were all worrying about. I also liked how the books tied in very nicely with the first two books in carrying on story lines from most characters perspectives, particularly that of Zeke and his family issues.

This is a quick, fun read very much in keeping with the rest of the series. In fact, the author could do a longer series on Cassidy, as she is such fun that I am dying to know what one earth she will get up to at college. This part has been left unclear, so perhaps that may be the plan. It is very much in keeping with all things teen as it really includes things that any person their age would be doing and thinking about, even if it was kind of reminiscent of High School Musical 2.

There was some good pacing and the read is very engaging. The guys were delved into a little bit, though I still kind of hate Jasper. I loved seeing more of Zeke, and I liked how the romance and kissing wasn't as over the top as it could have been. The book still goes back to its roots in the end with a bit of adrenaline and some family love.


27 September 2014

Author Spotlight - About JD Hollyfield

~*~Author Bio~*~

Creative designer, mother, wife, writer, part time supehero...

J.D Hollyfield currently resides in the Midwest with her husband, son and three doxies. As a Creative Designer by day, she enjoys spending her spare time with her nose in a good book. This obsession inspired her to test out her own creative ability. With her love for romance books and a head full of book boyfriends, this encouraged her to bring her own story to life and create her first novel.

~*~Book List~*~

~*~Author Links~*~

26 September 2014

Author Spotlight - Teaser Post from Melissa Haag


Hope(less) by Melissa Haag 
Book # 1 - Judgement of the Six

Our world is being judged, and we remain unaware.
In a world filled with people, Gabby is uniquely alone. The tiny glowing sparks that fill her mind and represent the people around her, confirm it.
Clueless regarding the reason behind her sight, Gabby struggles to find an explanation. A chance encounter leads her closer to the answers she has struggled to find and into a hidden society where fur is optional. There she meets Clay, the intense werewolf delusional enough to think he has a chance with her.
Gabby escapes back into her old life, but not quite alone. Clay follows her and silently makes a place for himself in her world. As if that isn’t enough to deal with, problems compound when other werewolves, ones with abnormally colored sparks, begin to stalk her.
Instead of gaining answers, her list of questions is growing. What do the other uniquely colored sparks mean? Is she not as alone as she thought?
Judgement has begun...

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About Melissa Haag

Melissa Haag currently resides in Wisconsin with her husband and three children. Touch is her first published novel. She is currently working on book three of a separate five book series.



I stretched, only half awake, and fell off the bed. For a queen-size bed, I must have rolled around on it a lot to work myself so close to the edge. Laughing at myself in the darkness, I pulled myself back up on the mattress and winced at the soreness in my legs. I paused. Darkness? My stomach flipped in fear as I remembered the light I’d left on in the bathroom.
I blindly stretched out my arm. There should have been a wall near this side of the bed. The door to my room swung open. Light flooded in, blinding me.
A shadow moved to block the light, and I suffered a moment of disoriented panic. Was it the man from the front desk? By my third squinted blink, I saw Sam standing silhouetted by light. Behind him, I spotted his foldout bed.
“You okay?” he asked.
“What am I doing here?” I turned and looked at my familiar room at the Compound.
“Dunno,” he mumbled. “He brought you back before dawn. Didn’t say a word, just knocked on the door carrying you. I let him in. He set you on your bed then left.” Sam’s hair stuck up in places, and he absently scratched the hair on his chest, wobbling a bit as he stood in his flannel house pants. He needed his coffee.
I looked down at myself. Dirt stained my clothes as if he’d dragged me all the way back here from the motel...by my feet...through mud. I reached up to comb my fingers through my hair, and a leaf fluttered to the floor. I stared at it in disbelief and let my hands drop back to my sides. He’d left me looking like a wreck. What was going on with this guy?
“What happened after I left? Did he follow me?” I watched Sam closely. If he didn’t respond with complete honesty, I wouldn’t be responsible for what I said next.
“Not right away. When you started walking, he looked up from the truck and watched down the road for a while. Long after you passed from sight anyway. Then, he just took to the woods, leaving my truck in a heap.”
Apparently, he wouldn’t let me go easily. Not that walking half the night had been easy. It also meant he’d left after I’d walked far enough that I could no longer see his spark. He’d probably tracked me by scent, keeping his distance. Clever. But why?
I needed to talk to him and figure out what he wanted. There were probably new rules—his rules—that I needed to learn, too. My impotent frustration grew. Better to get it done now so I could figure out a way out of this mess.
“Where is he?”
“Gabby. Before you do anything else, I’d like two minutes of your time. You need to hear what I have to say.”
My anger at Sam still lay in a dark, dormant pool inside me. I didn’t want to listen to anything he had to say. Some of my anger and frustration collapsed in on itself as I acknowledged the truth. Sam’s dishonesty bothered me, but my brush with freedom, to have it so close and then ripped away in the last few seconds, hurt more. Besides, if I didn’t hear him out, I’d wonder what he had wanted to tell me. Defeated, I agreed.
“Fine, but please hurry.”
Sam turned and walked back to his bed. I followed.
“His name is Clay,” Sam said, sitting on the lumpy mattress. “Clayton Michael Lawe.”

25 September 2014

Blog Tour: Imitation Teaser Post - Heather Hildenbrand

Everyone is exactly like me. There is no one like me.

Ven wrestles with these contradicting truths every day. A clone of wealthy eighteen-year-old Raven Rogen, Ven knows everything about the girl she was created to serve: the clothes she wears, the boys she loves, the friends she loves to hate. Yet she’s never met the Authentic Raven face-to-face. 

Imitations like Ven only get to leave the lab when they’re needed—to replace a dead Authentic, donate an organ, or complete a specific mission. And Raven has never needed Ven . . . until now.
When there is an attack on Raven’s life, Ven is thrust into the real world, posing as Raven to draw out the people who tried to harm her. But as Ven dives deeper into Raven’s world, she begins to question everything she was ever told. She exists for Raven, but is she prepared to sacrifice herself for a girl she’s never met?

Ida turns her back to me as she quickly switches out her plain cotton sleep-shirt for the 
spandex material we are given to exercise in. She is one of the few girls with a penchant for 
modesty. The rest of us, either a result of living together for so long or our DNA programming, 
don’t care. 

I strip off my pajamas and yank my sports bra into place with sure movements while, across 
from me, Lonnie does the same. Both of our bodies are toned and lean but Lonnie’s arms and 
calves are thicker than mine and her skin tone is more olive than my pale flesh and even paler 
white-blond hair. Molecular duplication at its finest. Ida’s milky skin contrasts with the dark 
curtain of hair that ends halfway down her neck. I catch sight of a small scar I’ve never noticed 

“What’s that?” I ask, pointing to a spot just below her hairline. 

“What’s what?” Ida secures her sports bra and turns to me. 

“The scar on your neck.” 

Lonnie and two other girls crowd in to look where I point. Ida strains but can’t quite see it. 
“I don’t remember getting a cut there.” Ida’s brows scrunch with worry. She gives up trying 
to see the affected area and faces me instead. “Why would she have a scar?” Lonnie asks, 
pushing through for a closer look. 

“Maybe her Authentic got one and they had to match it,” Clora offers. 

No one says anything for a moment as we all contemplate that. I don’t say a word about the 
fact that I, too, have a small scar. On my forearm. Under bright lights, it’s just barely visible on 
my translucent skin. I don’t remember where mine came from, either. 

“Girls, quit yappin’ and get a move on,” the Overseer near the door shouts, jolting me out of 
my thoughts. 

The group disperses and the others shove their pajamas into hampers near the gym doors. A 
hand on my arm surprises me. It’s Anna, watching me with hard eyes. 

“You got a letter.” It’s not a question. 

I wonder how she knows. I’ve only told Lonnie and Ida. Am I acting that differently? Anna 
doesn’t wait for me to answer. “What you’ve been told is wrong. Assignments, what happens 
after . . . it’s not what they say.” 

My volume automatically lowers to match hers. I lean in. “What are you talking about? How 
do you know?” 

She casts a quick look toward the door. Her words are rushed. “I can’t explain. You have to 
trust me. Whatever you do, you can’t let them send you to Relocation. Okay?” 

“But why—?” 

Her chin juts. “Just promise me.” 

“Fine. I promise.” 

“Be careful, Ven.” 

Anna removes her hand from my arm and hurries past me into the gym. A few questioning 
stares point in our direction as the others join her. I am about to chase her down, to demand an 
answer, when a voice stops me short. 

Author Bio:
Heather Hildenbrand was born and raised in a small town in northern Virginia where she was homeschooled through high school. (She’s only slightly socially awkward as a result.) Since 2011, she’s published more than eight YA & NA novels including the bestselling Dirty Blood series. She splits her time between coastal Virginia and the island of Guam and loves having a mobile career and outrageous lifestyle of living in two places. Her most frequent hobbies are riding motorcycles and avoiding killer slugs.
Heather is also a publishing and success coach bent on equipping and educating artists who call themselves authors. She loves teaching fellow writers how to create the same freedom-based lifestyle she enjoys. For more information visit www.phoenixauthorink.com and find out how to create your own Outrageous Life.
She is represented by Rebecca Friedman. You can find out more about Heather and her books at www.heatherhildenbrand.com.
Or find her here:


24 September 2014

Wednesday Wishlist #22 - Historical Fiction Edition

This week my wishlist had gone all historical:

The Cure for Dreaming - Cat Winters

A suffragist in America is hypnotised and is given the gift of being able to see people's true natures. She is drawn into a mysterious and strange relationship with the man who hypnotised her and sets to work making her voice heard. I haven't read any books about suffragists before, and this one sounds really cool with the hint of magic in there. I'd also like to see the movement in America compared to how I know it in the UK.

Gilt , Tarnish and Brazen - Katherine Longshore
Not quite a series, but all set in the time of Henry VIII and from the perspective of his wives or other ladies of the court. Intrigue, plotting, romance, betrayal and friendship run as themes throughout the books. Sounds awesome to me.

The Palace of Curiosities - Rosie Garland

Two strange outcasts find refuge in a strange place called The Palace of Curiosities, where they become The Lion-Faced Girl and The Flayed Man. A Victorian-era piece of fantastical fiction that sounds really intriguing.


23 September 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #20 - Authors I Own The Most Books By

Top Ten Tuesday is a Meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where I will be picking from their top tens and attempting to reveal what my thinking is behind these choices.

This week is all about the authors I own the most books by.

1. Joanne Harris: 14
Well, she is my favourite author. Out of these I think Five Quarters of the Orange and Blackberry Wine are my favourites!

2. Carlos Ruiz Zafon:5
Again, a favourite of mine. I am currently in dire need of Marina, a recent YA novel he has brought out.

3. Ben Kane: 5
This guy writes some really good historical fiction based in ancient Rome and Italy. His Forgotten Legion Chronicles were great!

4. Helen Dunmore: 4
Just inching out over the next author because I have all the book in her Ingo series, which is about mermaids.. it's really cool.

5. Kiera Kass: 4
So I was hooked on The Selection series and also bought The Prince (a novella), but strangely not The Guard as I don't care much for Aspen.

6. Cecelia Ahern: 4
I seem to just accumulate these books. I like them, yes, but I can't say I'm a massive fan. They're just very nice to read.

This is all of the books I own in the Peter Grant series.. so far. I can't wait to get my hands on the next!

8. A.R. Kahler: 3
His Immortal Circus Series is awesome. Enough said I think.

9. Shay West: 3
I got so into Dangerous Reflections, I couldn't help but snap up the opportunity to read the next two in the series.

10. Lauren DeStefano: 2
POssibly the woman who brought me into the strange world of YA dystopian fiction, and yet I don't actually own her third Chemical Garden book. Why? I have no idea..


22 September 2014

Blog Tour Guest Post: Seven Seeds of Summer - Chantal Gadoury + Giveaway

Seven Seeds of Summer
Chantal Gadoury
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Waldorf Press
Published: March 15, 2014

Seven Seeds of Summer follows the story of Summer, a college art student who has grown up in a house full of Greek mythology and legends. Summer grew up with a love for the darkest of all Gods: Hades, which caused tension between her and her mother. Summer comes home to Point Judith, Rhode Island, to find a mysterious figure on their family beach. The figure comes to her with questions about a familiar myth of her childhood: of Persephone and Hades. He proceeds to tell her of a new version of the story with a different ending that Summer never knew; an ending that includes herself.

A trip to Greece leads to tragic twists, leaving Summer in the arms of the strange figure whom she had met before. He takes her on a whirlwind through the busy streets of Athens, to the lowest point of Greece where his lair awaits: The Underworld. Determined to find out the secret of herself and her piece in the story, Summer goes with him, and tries to make herself at home in his world.

Summer has to decide to follow her heart or follow the same footsteps of the mysterious woman in her past life.

Seven Seeds of Summer on Goodreads
Seven Seeds of Summer on Amazon.com

Guest Post - For The Love of Hades, by Chantal Gadoury
Have you ever read a story that just stuck with you for the longest time? It almost played like a movie over the few years that you might have thought about it? Faces seemed to etch themselves out slowly, a curve of a line, a smirk, and then finally a face? Perhaps this is how Summer started to discover “Hades” as she imagined him - or rather, “Remembered” him.

For me, the myth of “Persephone and Hades” very much played out like this. When I was 7th grade, we were reading “The Odyssey” and part of the section in our books was more “Greek Mythology.” The first story was Persephone and Hades, and I was completely enraptured by the story. It was beautifully sad, wonderfully romantic and yet, eerie and interesting. It was a story that I knew I wanted to store for later in my memory. This is why, when approaching the story of “Seven Seeds of Summer,” their story was so strong in the book.

When I decided to revisit Persephone and Hades, it was more of trying to come up with a new, fresh idea. I wanted to retell a good, “fairy tale” - but something not a lot of people were familiar with. I took a lot of different books that I loved and tried to weave them into the story and character “building blocks” of “Seven Seeds of Summer.” I was taking a Novel class in college, and wanted to try something different than to the more “modern” novels that were being written in the class. I knew that I wanted to try something at least in a some-what fairy tale world, with an edge of the modern world; thus creating Summer as the character in our time, bringing the element of the past, (Hades) to the future.

For the character of Hades - I put a lot of thought into him. I took novels and stories that I knew, people that I knew in my life, and started to map out this person who at first was going to be very dark, and more cruel; I realized quickly that he needed to have some redeeming parts to him, for others to like. He needed to appeal to not only my readers, but Summer as well. I thought it would be more interesting to have Hades feel more like a human, than this untouchable God. I wanted the audience to feel for him, to understand the conflict of being untouchable and yet relatable. While he knew his power, and knew who he was - he also knew that he felt pain as others did. He loved, just as others did. And he had a love for not only Persephone, but grew a love for Summer as well. The developing love for Summer became the struggle throughout the novel; there would be times that Summer would just insist for me to stop writing; she wanted to know if Hades really loved her or loved her because she reminded him of Persephone. It became an arch to the story, without even trying. Hades is as “Shrek” would say - an onion. He has layers, and I know that I didn’t get to tap into all the layers that creates him; there’s still an element of mystery and surprise that I’d still like to discover - hopefully in a sequel, if I can ever think of a sequel for their story.

Summer was a little easier - I found myself relating to her more than anything. I think now, looking back at “Seven Seeds,” Summer is very much a part of me. She and I have a lot of things in common, and some things - are just things I wish we had in common. We both enjoy to paint, we both love people deeply, and we’re both very stubborn and can be quite determined.

I remember hearing once, “Write what you know” and while, perhaps I don’t know everything there is to know about Greek Mythology - this story reflects on things that I’ve learned in my years of growing, not only as a writer, but a person; a hopeless romantic and a friend. Love and Friendship inspired this novel, and without it, it wouldn't be in the form for others to enjoy.

I hope that everyone who reads Seven Seeds of Summer enjoys it! I hope they fall in love with the characters and ride a long with the story.

Thank you for having me on your blog!
And enjoy!

Chantal Gadoury

Author Bio
Chantal Gadoury is young author who currently lives in a small town in Delaware with her two cats, Theo and Harper and her boyfriend, Robert. Chantal likes anything Disney, plays a mean game of Disney trivia, enjoys painting, and has a interest in British History. Chantal first started writing stories at the age of seven and continues that love of writing today. As a recent college graduate from Susquehanna University, with a degree in Creative Writing, this is her first book.

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Daughters of the Sea Series Promo - Forsaken - Kristen Day

Once you’ve been touched by darkness, it never leaves you…
Abandoned by her parents as an infant; seventeen year old Hannah spent her childhood wading through countless foster families until being adopted by the Whitmans three years ago. Unfortunately, Atlanta’s high society wasn’t quite ready for Hannah…or the strange events that plague her
Chilling visions of murder, unexplained hallucinations, and a dark, mysterious guy who haunts her nightmares all culminate to set in motion a journey of self-discovery that will challenge everything she’s ever believed; not to mention her sanity.
Sent to live at The House of Lorelei on Bald Head Island, NC for ‘kids like her’, Hannah quickly realizes things are not what they seem. Her fellow ‘disturbed’ teens are actually the descendants of mythical Sea Gods and Goddesses. And so is she.
But when Finn, the ghost from her dreams, appears in the flesh; her nightmares become reality and her dark visions begin coming true. Inexplicably drawn to him, she can’t deny the dangerous hold he has on her heart. The deadly secrets he harbors will ultimately test her courage and push the boundaries of her love.
She must decide if she is ready to embrace the ancient legend she is prophesized to be a part of. The fate of all the descendants will forever depend upon it.
Author Bio
I am a southern belle at heart with a crazy streak that desperately tries to escape at every opportunity. I love all things nostalgic, rustic, and quirky. I’ve been told I see the world through rose-colored glasses, but I prefer to think of them as kaleidoscope glasses – swirling and morphing reality into something I can digest (who hasn’t pretended those pasty lima beans were really kiwi strawberry jelly beans?). 
When I’m not writing I’m making jewellery, painting, drinking sweet tea, watching the discovery channel, or going on random adventures in the mountains of North Carolina with my amazing husband.

21 September 2014

Book Release: Raven - Stacey Rourke

I haven't signed up for this tour because I have yet to read Crane and didn't want to spoil it for myself, however, I have to tell you all that this: The second book in The Legends Saga is out today and I cannot wait to get started on the series because it sounds awesome.

Crane, the first book is all about Ireland Crane, descendant of Ichabod Crane, of Sleepy Hollow fame. It seems to be a creepy modern retelling of the story, but it also tells the events from Ichabod's perspective and apparently is rather different than its original story. I love retellings, so this will be top of the list when I finish my review copies.

20 September 2014

Book Banter # 3 - Whatcha-Reading Syndrome

As an avid reader of pretty much anything fictional, I can not bring myself to walk past a person reading and simply not care.

Maybe it's the same for many of you, but as soon as I see a book or an ereader in someone's hands I am immediately plagued with the feeling that I MUST KNOW WHAT THEY ARE READING RIGHT NOW.

We've probably all been there: you're minding your own business when you spot a fellow reader on the train/ in the park/ in a public area and suddenly your only purpose in life is to find out what they're reading. I call it 'whatcha-reading syndrome', because this is all I ever say to any of my friends or family as a conversation starter. If they aren't reading anything, I immediately tut at them and recommend something I just read. This happens on a fairly regular basis, so much so that I know have a list in my head of good book to read for the most frequent offenders. No, I am not ashamed.

On rare occasions it is a disappointment to me. They may be reading a biography, or something equally boring and non-escapish. But at least I can know and accordingly judge that person and whether or not a friendship/ bookish conversation is available to me because of that.

I have a few instances where I must talk to this person at all costs: a. I have read the book before, b. I fricking love that book/author, c. it's on my wishlist, d. it's by a really well-known author, e. it's a best seller and is therefore totally deserving of my attentions or f. it's something that has caught my eye and i'm iffy about reading it. I could talk about books for days. I really could, and it's so great to get other people's opinions of books.

So, what are you reading?


19 September 2014

Review: The Gathering Storm - Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (12 of 14)

Just a quick warning before I start. This review will contain spoilers from the previous books! So if you do not want to know until you have read it I suggest you put off reading this for a little bit.

Rand al'Thor, having lost his hand to an ambush by the Forsaken Semirhage, sets out to bring together the nation of Arad Domon to stop the Seanchan onslaught into the country. A darkness has fallen upon the Dragon Reborn but will it affect his agreement with the Seanchan? And how far will his allies have to go to bring him back to the Light? Egwene al'Vere continues her drive to undermine Elaida's rule from inside the White Tower. But with the Seanchan threat looming ever closer can she achieve her goals in time? Or will the Shadow hold her up long enough to break the Tower beyond repair?

The Gathering Storm is the twelfth of fourteen books in Robert Jordan's fantasy series The Wheel of Time. The book is the first one to not be written solely by Robert Jordan after his tragic death, with Brandon Sanderson chosen to finish the series. Originally planned to be the final book of the series, it was split into three books when it became apparent that a single book would be too large to print. Upon its release the book went to number one in the New York Times Bestseller List, the fifth consecutive book in the series to do so.

Obviously with a change in writer we see a change in the style of the writing techniques. The beautiful descriptive style of Robert Jordan is gone, which is a shame because you always had a picture painted in your head down to the last detail in each chapter. The pace also picks up, becoming a bit frantic in places. However this leads to the book appearing to have more urgency which, considering how close we are to the series climax helps the story along. Some of the main characters become more abrasive and lose some to their subtlety in dealing with the factions of the world. Mat and Perrin do not feature much in this book but we do see them through visions of what Rand sees when he thinks of them. This does annoy me as I believe it unnecessarily gives away the two characters story lines in the next book so you go into it knowing what to expect and not being surprised by what happens. The story lines the book focuses are extremely dramatic and lead you all the way to the huge climaxes at the end of the book.

As mush as I did miss the writing style of Robert Jordan I do feel that this book was a very good read and really helped push the story along towards the inevitable final confrontation. They chose well when they picked Brandon Sanderson to take over from Jordan, seeing that rather than keep the same style they would change slightly to make a more urgent and dramatic final stage as we approach the end.

The Gathering Storm on Goodreads


18 September 2014

Review: Dead Girl Walking - Ruth Silver

Princess Ophelia Dacre is murdered, but instead of going to heaven, she gets the chance to live on as a grim reaper. At first, she welcomes a chance to understand who killed her and to look after her loved ones, but she quickly learns that death isn't fair.

This is a really small book with a lot packed in. I loved the idea of reapers and angels being among us and formerly being human, and the way that the reapers only exist to sever the soul from the body before death to prevent feeling the pain. It is actually quite reassuring, to be honest.

Ophelia, or Leila, as she is known throughout most of the book, is a nice strong character, probably helped by the fact that she is a Princess and therefore ought to have a commanding prescence. She is easily understandable, though I highly disapprove of her rule-breaking ways. She does entirely what she wants, and she is learning, but still has rather a long way to go. After her, the only character who truly stood out at all was Wynter, whose bad-boy rebelliousness and genuine caring attitude leaved you a little confused but warmed all the same.

The book is very pacy with non-stop action and interest, but manages a nice slowish romance too. A few unexpected things happen and I loved that it never once flinched away from the brutality of death even though technically a YA.

As the book was fairly small, I fully expected the ending to be rather abrupt and for the book to feel rather like a first half of a novel instead of a full package, and indeed the book left on a forboding note. I usually prefer first books to act as one whole story and not as simply the first part. Some people may like it though. As of yet, I don't see anything huge on the horizon as no clear baddies were set and no clear storyline is really developing. So far it has been a story about the personal growth of the main character and one of her new friends.

Could it have worked better as one book rather than a series? Possibly, though I haven't yet read the other books. Nevertheless it was a good, quick read.

Dead Girl Walking on Goodreads
Dead Girl Walking on Amazon.com

Thank you to YA Bound and Ruth Silver for the copy of this book.


17 September 2014

Wednesday Wishlist #21 - Fairytale Edition

Oh yes, another fairytale edition.

Heartless - Marissa Meyer

Another Alice in Wonderland retelling, this time a prequel set in the world of Wonderland, telling of how a marquis' teenage daughter becomes the Queen of Hearts.

Atlantia - Ally Condie

A story that appears to be based on The Little Mermaid, only apparently much more grand in scale and a bit more to do with Siren legend as well. I love Ally Condie's writing, so I am really hoping that this is as riveting as her previous books.

Winterspell - Claire Legrand

A mayor's daughter leading a double life, an abduction, a cursed Prince, a faerie Queen and a strange new land. All of this somehow rolls into being an adaptation of The Nutcracker. It sounds really interesting. is it just me, or does the girl on the cover really look like Kristen Stewart?

Shards of a Glass Slipper - Roy A. Mauntsen

Multiple fairytale princesses, a tyrannical version of Cinderella, a war with Wonderland, some murdered fairy Godmothers and a young girl named Patience Muffet who holds the shards of Cinderella's glass slippers. Sounds like a recipe for some awesomeness. This appears to be a fantasy epic and part of a series which I am bound to love.


16 September 2014

Cover Reveal: The Expatriates - Corinne O'Flynn

The Expatriates #1 by Corinne O’Flynn 
(Song of the Sending) 
Publication date: October 15th 2014 
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Seventeen-year-old Jim Wales can communicate with animals, but his animal mind-tap ability isn’t why he lives with a traveling carnival. Turns out his family’s been hiding him there since he was little, when they learned someone was hunting all the Scholars. Jim’s a Scholar, and he has no idea.
When a falcon arrives with a message from Jim’s not-dead father from their not-destroyed homeland, Jim’s whereabouts are discovered and Jim’s brother is murdered in his place.
On the run with a strange glass map and a single coin, Jim finds himself racing to reclaim the father he thought he’d lost, plotting to avenge his brother, and finally discovering the truth about who he is.
But going home isn't the same as being safe, and trust is everything.
The Expatriates on Goodreads

Author Bio:
I write books and stories with fantasy and magic, and sometimes creepy stuff. Ok, a lot of times creepy stuff. I also blog about my adventures over at my website.

Author links:
Goodreads - Twitter - Website - Facebook


15 September 2014

Review: Teardrop - Lauren Kate

Eureka never cries, not even when her mother dies in a freak tidal wave/car crash. She has always kept her emotions in check. What she doesn't realise is that there are a lot of people invested in her emotions, and some would kill just to ensure no tears escape her eyes.

Wow, this is a book with some clout. It has emotion, atmosphere, a bit of slow-burning romance and a lot of high stakes. The idea is really good and something that I have been long pondering writing about myself, as it is all to do with the legend of Atlantis and ancient powers being passed down the bloodlines of descendants from those times, therefore placing it in a thoroughly modern setting.

Speaking of the setting, I loved the fact that it is set on the Bayou. The whole place is so far removed from the landscape I live in that it truly felt magical.. maybe I've been watching too many Disney movies recently, I don't know. Anyway, as someone who has never been there, the descriptions were perfect, sometimes beautiful but never overdone.

Now, Eureka. Weird names are a bit hit or miss for me, but this one I can deal with. She was a nice character, full of passion and quite forthright. She doesn't let anyone tell her what to do and does things her way. Although she is brutally flawed and she struggles with depression, she is so completely human that you truly understand her emotions and her actions. As for the other characters, I very much liked Cat for her vivacity and lightness to an otherwise sullen plot, and Brooks came into his own a bit later in the story. Ander really didn't gel with me though, so I am looking forward to getting to know him a little bit more.

While I'm on the subject of Ander, I am not keen on the love story. Yes, they took a while to get together, and as I said, it was slow burning which I usually like. But there was an element of inevitability and insta-love in there that, to be honest, made me squirm to read.

Considering this is fantasy, the story is very involved with eureka's normal life and delves really nicely into her daily struggles as well as the bigger issues. It never flinches away from uncomfortable or unhappy situations. Betrayal, death, stalking, car crashes, natural disasters and relationships are all in there. So although this is a YA, I think adults will enjoy this too as there is much truly teen-style content.

A smooth pace and a great idea, this book is quite satisfying despite the ending hanging open. Looking forward to the next book, Waterfall.

Teardrop on Goodreads
Teardrop on Amazon.com

14 September 2014

Book Banter #2 - Book vs Film: Which order do they go in?

For a long time, I would have told you to always read the book first. However, since the books are generally more in-depth and emotional then their TV or film counterparts (apart from The Hobbit), I would say go for the adaptations first to avoid disappointment. This way I find I actually value the adaptation as a film because there is nothing to compare it to. You can get a similar feeling if you haven't read the book in an age as well, the only difference being you are forewarned of any twists.

Now, there are quite a few adaptations which may not be the case and it is down to personal preference I think. I have so much trouble reading old books like Dorian Grey, The Phantom of the Opera or Great Expectations, so the adaptations are a nice way to know my classic stories without having to read them.

There are some who only ever watch the adaptations. Shame on them, because mostly the books are far more engaging. I suppose it might be good for someone who is extremely busy, as films tend to take up less time than their papery counterparts.

Then there are the people who only read the books. The issue with that is that there are a lot of incredible adaptations that they will miss. They also won't be seeing too many films from now on, as most of the stuff coming out of Hollywood is derived from books, comics and graphic novels. There aren't too many original films out there nowadays.

I find the best way to live is to just choose carefully. Reviews from us bookish types always help, though be careful for fans who may not be able to see past what the film has missed out. I can tell you right now to leave Robert Pattinson alone in favour of Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants, or tell you that if you want a fairytale, read Neil Gaiman's Stardust first, and then watch the film to see the strangeness seep away in favour of Robert de Niro and classic cliches. OK, I loved the film, but it did suck out all of the Gaiman-ness.

I guess it's all personal preference. I think I'll be reading Gone Girl and Before I Go To Sleep before the films, but will you be?

13 September 2014

Review: Knife of Dreams - Robert Jordan (11 of 14)

Just a quick warning before I start. This review will contain spoilers from the previous books! So if you do not want to know until you have read it I suggest you put off reading this for a little bit.

Rand al'Thor continues his quest for a truce with the Seanchan but will it be him or Lews Therin Telamon that face the Empire? And what say will the Forsaken have in the negotiations between the two sides? With her own Empire and the Shadow after Tuon, Mat Cauthon continues his flight but sooner or later he must turn and fight to secure safe passage home for the Daughter of the Nine Moons. His alliance with the Seanchan General in place Perrin Aybara sets out to defeat the Shaido and rescue his wife, Faile Bashere. Captured by the Aes Sedai under Elaida, Egwene al'Vere discovers a tower more broken than even she had suspected. Can she undermine Elaida from within whilst beginning to heal the many rifts within the White Tower, or will she be beaten into submission before help can arrive? Elayne Trakand continues her quest for the Lion Throne of Andor and Nynaeve al'Meara sends her husband, Lan Mandragoran, north to defend the position deserted by the Boarderland leaders.

Knife of Dreams is the eleventh of fourteen books in Robert Jordan's fantasy series The Wheel of Time. This was the last book written solely by Robert Jordan before his death in September 2007. The book immediately, upon its release, rose to the number one position in the New York Times Bestseller List, making it the fourth consecutive Wheel of Time book to do so. The books prologue, named Embers Falling on Dry Grass, was released as an ebook three months before the books publication. This book takes away from the disappointment of the last book as you realize that the previous book acted to set up all of the events that unfold. The book returns to its fast pace that we are so used to and produces exciting climaxes from almost every plot in the book. With all of our three main protagonists put into situations where their leadership becomes more solid and necessary we see the final growth of the characters from country boys into rulers and generals. This moves the characters along in our eyes as events that have been building over the last couple of books come to fruition with an exciting and unexpected crescendo.

All in all we see the series hit form again after a slowing of pace and plot progression in the last book. All bar one of the main story lines has a huge climactic ending that take up almost one fifth of the book between them. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and was very pleased to see the return to the style of writing that had made me come to love the series in the first place.


12 September 2014

Review: REHO - D.L. Denham

In a world ravaged by nuclear war and taken over by opportunistic aliens called Hegemon, Reho survives. Unlike other humans, he has the ability to withstand high levels of radiation, pain and injury. He can heal at an amazing rate and is stronger than the normal man. What he doesn't know is that his survival skills are about to be tested.

REHO is a science fiction, thriller, adventure mash-up, with a solid plot and even more solid characters. While none truly stood out as noteworthy, we can see that all of Reho's new-found comrades-in-arms have strengths and weaknesses, making them much more multi-faceted than your average side characters. I am expecting much more in the way of development and character arcs in the next book as more is revealed about each character, and was slightly dissappointed that the book didn't create more of a personality in Reho.

However, this was a very plot-driven book, and the way everything was laid out was rather clever. At first the story seems a little bit lost, and this actually echoes Reho as a main character to some extent, as the story begins to take a direction as soon as he figured out what on earth he is doing. It soon find quite an unexpected and intersting direction and really runs with it, revealing a more complex plot than originally thought. At first there was no clear threat, but as the book progressed and you learnt more about the Hegemon, you realise that they are, of course, the enemy, but you also realise the part they play in Reho's life, which is fascinating. In some places the plot could be a little bit slow and information-heavy but in others it moved very fast through action sequences.

Speaking of action, the book is full of it and is therefore a great read for anyone who likes that kind of genre, as well as anyone who likes the war genre. It is interesting to note that the sci-fi element also really comes to the fore nearing the end as we begin to see where the plot is going. This book is doing a great job of raising interest in the rest of the series. You can tell that this is only one part of the story, and there are a lot of unanswered questions concerning Reho's abilities, the aliens and some very dodgy experiments.

A great futuristic imagining with an interesting concept. While it wasn't entirely my thing, I think people with a love of both sci-fi and books involving warfare or subterfuge would love this book.

REHO on Goodreads
REHO on Amazon.com

Thank you to D.L. Denham who kindly gifted me a review copy. This has not affected my rating.