Saturday, 30 May 2015

{Review} Love Monster and the Last Chocolate (Love Monster) by Rachel Bright

22732032Posted by Donna
Release Date:  March 24th, 2014
Finished Date: May 10th, 2015
Publishers: HarperCollins
Genre: Children's Picture Book 
Ages: 3 - 6 years old
Source: For Review
Format: Paperback
Pages: 32
A delicious new story about Love Monster, the only monster in Cutesville, from phenomenal, award-winning picture book talent Rachel Bright!

When Love Monster finds a mystery box of chocolates at his door, he can’t believe his luck. But he’s soon thrown into a whirlwind of turmoil. Should he keep the chocolates for himself? Or risk the perils of sharing his good fortune with his friends?

This super-funny-rumbly-tummy-sherbert-explosion of a story shows that when faced with the selection box of life, following your heart will bring you the best treats of all.

The Review: This is just the perfect type of story I love reading with my daughter. A story that teaches her about real life emotions and Love Monster's story is a good one. 

When Love Monster returns from home from holiday, he finds a box of chocolates on his door step and he then has to decide if he should keep them all for himself or if he should share them with his friends. 

Like I said before it's a good message for children, mainly because we can all agree we've been in the same situation as Love Monster where you have something you want to keep all to yourself but you know deep down that you need to share with others. Sharing is really important to anyone's life, especially children because you don't want them to become spoilt. So reading Love Monsters story and being able to relate to him, I think children will clearly understand the message behind it. My daughter certainly did. 

Rachel Bright has done a great job with Love Monster and the Last Chocolate. We have a beautiful story with beautiful and bright illustrations that pop from the pages and every page has added extra details that really helps bring this story to life.

Thank you to HarperCollins for giving us the opportunity to review this in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, 29 May 2015

{Author Interview + UK/IRE Giveaway} The Territory by Sarah Govett

The Territory
by Sarah Govett
Release Date: May 14th, 2015
Publishers: Firefly Press
Genre: YA, Dystopia
Pages: 202
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / The Book Depo

Limited Space requires Limited Numbers

The year is 2059. Noa Blake is just another normal 15 year old. Except in the Territory normal isn’t normal. The richest children can download information and bypass the need to study. In a flooded world of dwindling resources, Noa and the other ‘Norms’ have their work cut out to compete. And competing is everything – anybody who fails the TAA exam at 15 will be shipped off to the disease-ridden Wetlands, to a life of misery, if not certain death.

But how to focus when your heart is being torn in two directions at once?

‘Brilliantly plotted, utterly gripping... This is a book you won’t be able to put down. I can’t wait for part two!’ Gemma Malley (The Declaration)

‘A page-turner with cinematic qualities... I gasped an involuntary “No!” when I turned the final page; I really want to find out what happens next!’ Zoe Tuft (Playing by the Book)

‘The Territory had me hooked from page one... The tension was almost too much to bear ... an accomplished and compelling debut.’ SB Hayes (Poison Heart and Don’t Look Back) 

Sarah GovettAuthor Interview with Sarah Govett.

1) Where did you get the idea behind the story?
I think the biggest influence has been working as a tutor these past 12 years. I’ve taught some incredibly bright and talented pupils at low performing schools, who, without additional input, have no chance of competing against their often less able peers at more spoon-feeding, exam-factory style schools. I wanted to take this unfairness and heighten it to a life or death situation.

2)How long did it take to write?
It took about two and a half years to write, but I wasn’t writing consistently (or even frequently). I had the idea just after my first daughter was born and then typed away in stolen half hours while she slept. She wasn’t a very good sleeper!

3)What was the most challenging thing about writing this book?
Finding the time to write. I’d have an idea that really excited me and then have to try not to forget it before I had a chance to write it down.
4)Do you have a favourite moment in the book?
That’s difficult without including any spoilers so for now I’ll go with the Anne Frank moment. I think one of the things that draws me to dystopia is that when the issue is one of survival, conventional morality collapses and you’d do anything to protect those closest to you.

5)What’s your favourite quote from the book?
It’s not really a quotable book but I do like the phrase, ‘limited space means limited numbers’. I truly believe we’re heading towards a global tipping point and unless we take drastic action to reduce carbon consumption and population, dystopian scenarios may become reality.

6)What’s next for you? 
I’m working on book 2 at the moment and loving being back in the world of The Territory again.

Fun Questions:
1)What would we find in your refrigerator right now?
Let’s have a look: Cheese (lots of cheese), some cold cottage pie (I’m a big cook-loads-then-heat-it-up-er) and a red felt tip pen. Hmmm that’s the trouble when your four year-old has figured out how to open the fridge door.

2)List 3 books you have recently read and would recommend?
Bone Clocks by David Mitchell, The Girl with all the Gifts by M R Carey and The Son by Philipp Meyer

3)If you were deserted on an island, what three favourite things would you want with you?
If I had my girls, a Frisbee and a guide to Desert Island Foraging I’d probably be quite happy. 

Thursday, 28 May 2015

{Review} Retribution by Katie Reus

25291997Posted by Melanie
Release Date: May 12th, 2015
Finished Date: May 21st, 2015
Publishers: KR Press Ltd
Genre: Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Source: For Review
Format: eARC
Pages: 350
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US
She sees brief glimpses of the future…

Nika and Alena Brennan will do anything to kill a vicious Russian crime boss and they’re using his only son to get to him. Yet when the time comes to execute their plan, psychic Nika hesitates due to an unexpected entanglement with sexy security expert Declan Gallagher. When her sister is kidnapped and all their carefully laid plans go awry, Nika must depend on Declan and her mortal enemy’s son to get her sister back.

He invades her dreams and teases her with sensual pleasures…

As a dream walker, Declan is capable of seeing anyone’s innermost thoughts as they sleep. With Nika, however, he finds himself playing a deadly, seductive game. He knows she’s not who she says she is and he’s determined to find out the real reason she’s in Miami before she gets herself or someone else killed.

Time is running out…

Nika’s window of opportunity is closing to save her sister and find a way to protect their secrets without landing them both in jail. With innocent lives at stake, Nika must decide if the retribution she’s waited a lifetime for is worth losing the man who has won her heart.

The Review: Retribution is definitely the name of the game in this latest offering from Katie Reus.
This book could really make a great movie because it has all of the elements I would look for in pnr. We have a pair of sisters –Nika & Alena Brennan - who have taken on vigilante roles against someone who has done them wrong, but this someone happens to be one of the biggest crime bosses going and is known for his wickedness. The girls befriend his son in the hopes of getting close enough to the father so they can take their revenge but what they don’t know is….someone is onto them.
Declan Gallagher is a security expert, he is also a dream walker – someone who can enter a persons’ dreams and find out their darkest secrets. When he is approached to look into Nika & Alena he has no problems becoming involved because he will be on a job for the crime lord’s son Andre anyway and that is exactly how the girls plan to get to their target. Whilst doing a little delving into Nika’s dreams he is confronted with the fact that she has a special power too and that’s not the only thing they share……
Upon meeting things take a sudden turn for the worst when Alena is kidnapped and held for ransom. Nika is left to deal with everything but with Declan and even Andre on her side… can they piece the puzzle together? What will happen to their plan now? And just who knows what they’re up to?
I really enjoyed this book, as I said – it would make a great movie without the paranormal element but the fact that it was there gave the book that much more of an edge. I love these type of stories, anything to do with psychics and investigations etc. I don’t know why but they always draw me in, I want to believe in this stuff, I want to believe that they can help spirits find peace and this satisfied everything I love about it. Most of the characters are likable, you can empathise with Nika & Alena straight away even though we don’t get the full tragic story until much later, they were easy to like and understand. Declan too was a great leading man, hot, sexy and more than capable of protecting anyone. I loved how they came together in dreams and had no inhibitions but in real life it was different and it was up to each other to tear down the walls between them. They had great chemistry and the sexytimes were steamy.
The storyline had plenty of action by way of car crashes, kidnappings, escapes, rescues & ambushes …. These scenes were great and you could feel the tension & anxiety of the situations. I thought the author brought a believable story to the reader and everything seemed plausible. It seemed as though most everyone had some secret they didn’t want others to know and throughout the book they are revealed with some disastrous consequences. All in all, I was very satisfied with this book, it kept me interested and involved right up until the very end and I hope there will be more from either Declan’s brothers or his security employees. 

Thank you to KR Press for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

{Feature} Waiting on Wednesday (#114)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. 

Donna's WoW
18006496 Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4)
by Sarah J. Maas
Release Date: September 1st, 2015

Sarah J. Maas's New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series reaches new heights in this sweeping fourth volume.

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she's at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past . . .

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen's triumphant return.

Celaena’s epic journey has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe. This fourth volume will hold readers rapt as Celaena’s story builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

Donna's thoughts: Need I really give you a reason as to why I've picked this as my 'waiting on'? You guys all know this series rocks! 

Melanie's WoW
21414439 Truthwitch (The Witchlands #1)
by Susan Dennard
Release Date: January 6th, 2016

On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery”, a magical skill that sets them apart from others.

In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble—as two desperate young women know all too well.

Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.

Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her—but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.

Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

Melanie's thoughts: This sounds really good and because I like the author's Midgard series, I'll definitely be giving this a go - shame it's not out until 2016 though.

<What's your "waiting on" pick this week?
Want to participate? 
Grab the logo, post your own WoW entry on your blog, and leave your link at Breaking the Spine. 
Happy Reading!

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

{Review} Chaos and Moonlight (Order of the Nines #1) by A.D. Marrow

25070804Posted by Melanie
Release Date: May 6th, 2015
Finished Date: May 17th, 2015
Publishers: Full Fathom Five Digital
Genre: Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Source: For Review
Format: eARC
Pages: 323
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US

The Nines, an elite group of vampires, was established to stand as protection for their race. Fractured by centuries of betrayal and loss, the group is now little more than myth, its remaining members scarred and shattered.

Taris, the oldest living vampire, is no stranger to loss and heartbreak. He is all that holds the Nines together as they struggle to save themselves from total extinction.

Enter the beautiful and briliant Dr. Sarah Bridgeman, whose medical research has resulted in a breakthrough for both humans and vampires. Her work may be the salvation this weary band of guardians has been looking for.

Taris needs to reach Sarah and enlist her help—before those aligned against him can act. Can a vampire king convince a stunning young scientist to save a species that isn’t even supposed to exist?

For now, only one thing is certain: no science can explain the explosive chemistry between them.

The Review: Chaos and Moonlight was a great introduction to the new ‘Order of the Nines’ series and I thoroughly enjoyed it!
I thought the premise for the book was great – Vampires on the edge of extinction looking to find a cure so that more vampires can be created. Our leading man – Taris – is the oldest living vampire, one who started a group of vampires known as the Nines to protect both humans and vampires alike from each other. That all changed when they were betrayed by their own and Taris lost interest in saving people, leaving the rest of the group leaderless. Now, Taris is looking for a cure for the vampires so that their race can survive and live on but there is another who wants the cure for more nefarious reasons and will stop at nothing to get it.
When a bright, young and brilliant doctor brings her discovery to the media, it grabs the attention of all vampires but there are two sides that are really willing to do something about it….. both are on the hunt for Dr. Sarah Bridgeman whose brand of research could save more than she thinks. Luckily Taris gets to her before the enemy and must do everything in his power to protect her and the hope she unknowingly brings to the vampire race. He may be getting the cure to the vampire curse but will she also be able to defrost his cold heart?
I really enjoyed this book, everything about it in fact because I’m always on the lookout for a great vampire story. As I mentioned, I loved the idea behind the story and it brought something fresh to the table from a typical love story. I liked all of the characters in the book and even though Taris & Sarah were the main focus, I still became invested in all of the characters throughout the book. The romance is a major draw for me in these books and I enjoyed what we got here, I thought Taris and Sarah made a great couple, they shared some good chemistry and a nice dose of sexytime. Sarah was just what Taris needed, someone to be there for him, to challenge him and of course the bond they shared was great. I liked how she frustrated him and how their preconceived notions of each other were challenged but they definitely were a couple you could route for.
There was plenty of action in the story as Sarah is the target and both sides want her, one will fight to take her and the other to protect her and this brought about some great fight scenes and some even better reveals. The story is told in multiple povs which includes the enemies take on things and I always appreciate the all round view we get from this, I like to know what is going on in everyone's head so that’s always a plus. I said that all of the characters were likable and I’m hoping that we will find out more about these, we find some things out but only the basics but the characters really grab you attention with their own battles. I like the idea of the ‘Nines’ and I think it would be great if they could start it back up and get back into the thick of things for future books…but as far as this goes…. It’s a great start! 

4.5 flowers!

Thank you to Full Fathom Five Digital for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Monday, 25 May 2015

{Review} Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J. Maas

20617636Posted by Donna
Release Date: September 11th, 2014
Finished Date: May 20th, 2015
Publishers: Bloomsbury Children's Books
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Source: For Review
Format: Paperback
Pages: 562
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / The Book Depo

She was the heir of ash and fire, and she would bow to no one.

Celaena Sardothien has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak—but at an unspeakable cost. Now she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth...a truth about her heritage that could change her life—and her future—forever.

Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. To defeat them, Celaena must find the strength to not only fight her inner demons but to battle the evil that is about to be unleashed.

The king's assassin takes on an even greater destiny and burns brighter than ever before in this follow-up to the New York Times bestselling Crown of Midnight.

The Review: I'm so glad I decided to read Heir of Fire straight after Crown of Midnight and I finished it just in time for Sarah's book signing in Birmingham - which was fantastic! It was so great meeting her and it's made me even more excited to get my hands on Queen of Shadows. 

After the ending in Crown of Midnight, Celaena is on a new journey for the King but once again realises she can not carry out the tasks he wishes and therefore she finds herself seeking out her long-lost aunt who rules the fae kingdom with hopes that Maeve can provide her the information she needs to destroy the Kings plans. But upon arrival Celaena is not given entry and instead must prove her fae heritage with a series of tasks set out by Rowan - one of Maeve's personal fae guards. But as Celaena tries to do what is asks, its hard for her because of the pain and guilt that still surrounds her and, in order to prove who she is, she needs to conquer her fears for once and for all.  

I didn't think anything could be as good as Throne of Glass or Crown of Midnight but Heir of Fire brings some truly remarkable, emotional and heart-breaking times that made me love this book even more than the previous ones. Reading this was like watching the author pour her heart and soul over the pages so that she could reflect Celaena's emotions perfectly. A lot does happen but mainly it focuses on Celaena's self discovery and I truly loved it. I felt that it was time for Celaena to come to terms with who she really was and to try and let go of all the guilt that she carried out from the people she's lost. I loved that this felt like a more of a set up book - where the author focuses more on Celaena's personal journey while trying to set up everything for the next book. Don't let that put you off. There is enough action, secrets and romance to keep you going but it really leaves you wanting more. But overall, I was glad for the journey that Celaena takes because we definitely get to see a different side to her. She's almost broken where she's willing to give up everything and that was emotional because that's not the Celaena we've seen before. She really has to fight to become the person she was, to the person she is, by trying to merge the two together and finally become the person she is supposed to be. 

In this book we see our favourite characters - Celaena, Dorian and Chaol whom all have their own journey's to take so unfortunately they don't get much or no time together. But it also brings new characters forward such as Rowan, Aedion & Manon. All three of these new characters definitely add a spark to the story and don't slow it down one bit. If anything, they add to the excitement and depth of the story and I'm definitely looking for to reading more about them. Rowan definitely has to be my favourite from the new addition and you'll see why once you read the book for yourselves. 

Heir of Fire is without a doubt a fantastic read! It's one that will make you laugh and cry and really pull on your emotions but one that also leaves you breathless because it's full of epic details and you just know that the next three books aren't going to easy for your most beloved characters. I'm almost scared to read them but I know it's going to be worth it. 

Thank you to Bloomsbury Children's Books for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Saturday, 23 May 2015

{Review} Tracking The Hunter (USG Constellation #2) by H.A. Fortman

23845987Posted by Melanie
Release Date: December 14th, 2014
Finished Date: May 15th, 2015
Publishers: Self Published
Genre: Sci-Fi, Paranormal, Romance
Source: For Review
Format: eBook
Pages: 326
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US 

Palee "Tracker" Stalvik had one simple mission: Go and save Sandy, then bring her back to California where she would be safe. Little did he know that his mission would be anything but simple as he is thrust into a future he did not expect.

Carl "Rex" Dreven had no goals left in life other than to seek out a meager living in his mountain home. His self-imposed seclusion was lonely, even boring. He would purposely keep out the excitement, until one fateful night when his past came back to haunt him. It ripped him from one of the few nights of sound sleep and thrust him into a whirlwind of activity.

Sandy Constance was trapped, strapped to a table with a maniac looming over her head, spewing nonsense to her. She had no idea how she got there, the last thing she remembered was getting ready for a surprise trip to visit her friend Elisa in California. One thing she was sure of however, she had to get out of there and fast!

The Review: Tracking the Hunter is the second book in the USG Constellation series and had a very different feel to book one.
At the end of book one we find that Elisa’s best friend Sandy has been taken by someone and Elisa wants her found – so Chase sends his brother & second in command Tracker to save her. Tracker sets off to find Sandy but ends up trapped in his shuttle when it crashes into the side of a mountain, pinned and with no way to get out or send an SOS to the Constellation, his outlook is bleak.
Rex is guy who lives off the grid in the mountain range, he just survives, forages for food and hides away. After fighting in Vietnam and his wife was murdered – he just couldn’t face life anymore and bailed on society. Things were fine but boring until he hears a crash and he heads out to see what’s going on.
What he finds is a plane like craft that has crashed into the mountain and does what any decent person would do….. look for survivors. He comes across Tracker who is in a bad way and helps free him and his ‘dog’ from the wreckage. He has no idea why he feels so drawn to this man, why his survival is so important to him and he stirs feelings in Rex that he has never had before…… and it looks like the feeling is mutual.
Rex assumes that Tracker is part of a government scientific research programme, testing new planes and such but that doesn’t account for his strange furry, claw tipped ‘hand’ or the weird ‘dog’ but knows he needs help. They are ambushed on their way to Rex’s dwelling and end up finding out just what Tracker’s circumstances have all been about and also tying Rex’s past into the story….. but they still have a woman to find and an enemy to track… which brings even more surprises to all involved.
I enjoyed Tracking the Hunter quite a bit but I have to be honest and say – this is my first M/M book and I didn’t know that at the start.
Even though this is the second book in the series, it felt like a totally different world from what we were introduced to in book one. That is not a bad thing because I rather enjoyed the setting and premise of this book. A lot of it was set in the forests surrounding the mountain and a good part of that was dedicated to rescuing Tracker. It was good getting to know Tracker and he had an elvish feel to him for me, he was very alpha and masculine as well and has a couple of little secrets up his sleeve. I really liked Rex and thought his portrayal as a Vietnam vet was believable and endearing, I totally got why he isolated himself and lived the way he did. I liked that Rex’s training had come in handy for rescuing Tracker and showed him to be intelligent and resourceful and as we got to know Tracker, see that it compliments his assets too. Now, it becomes clear that they are fated mates and I was dumbstruck, I was wondering where Sandy was but went with it although it did feel really strange for me with them both not having any inclinations to the same sex before meeting –Yes, I know love has no bounds but it was weird ‘for me’. That’s not to say that I didn’t like them together or that they had no chemistry - because they did – they were just both so Alpha and masculine that it took some getting used to.
I enjoyed all of the getting to know you that they went through and when we got to the truth of the crash…. That brought my interest even more, we have a clear enemy and a mission to get going. Again about 2/3rds of the book is dedicated to Tracker and Rex, the rescue, the getting to know you, the bonding, the coming to terms with the feelings they were having and it was really addictive, I was engrossed by this and the book had a fantasy/sci fi feel that I really liked. The introduction of the enemy brought a burst of action and also a means for them to be on with their mission as well as the progress of the relationship in which we see Rex begin to accept and act on his feelings. I enjoyed Tracker teaching Rex about the alien technology, he was truly like a child and was in awe. I also loved Tracker’s dog, it would be great to actually see one.
The action starts up again once the men reach civilisation and then the investigation side kicks in, which changed the feel of the book again and kept it fresh. We are given multiple POVs from Chase and some others so that we are aware of what is happening elsewhere because obviously someone has noticed Tracker’s not responding and that lets us know what to expect and what they all think is going on. When we eventually get to the rescue of Sandy – we are in for a couple of twists and turns, spooky atmosphere and plenty of action leaving me very satisfied at the ending. I like this series, it’s not scared to be different, it challenges me as a reader and I lapped it up – so I’ll be looking out for more. 4*s

Thank you to H.A Fortman for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review.