Tuesday, 24 November 2015

{Blog Tour} The Iron Warrior (The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten #3) by Julie Kagawa

25269825The Iron Warrior
by Julie Kagawa
Release Date: October 27th, 2015
Publishers: Mira Ink
Genre: YA, Paranormal, Fantasy 
Pages: 384
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / Book Depo 
The Iron Prince—my nephew—betrayed us all.

He killed me.

Then, I woke up.

Waking after a month on the brink of death, Ethan Chase is stunned to learn that the Veil that conceals the fey from human sight was temporarily torn away. Although humankind's glimpse of the world of Faery lasted just a brief moment, the human world has been cast into chaos, and the emotion and glamour produced by fear and wonder has renewed the tremendous power of the Forgotten Queen. Now, she is at the forefront of an uprising against the courts of Summer and Winter—a reckoning that will have cataclysmic effects on the Nevernever.

Leading the Lady's Forgotten Army is Keirran himself: Ethan's nephew, and the traitor son of the Iron Queen, Meghan Chase.To stop Keirran, Ethan must disobey his sister once again as he and his girlfriend, Kenzie, search for answers long forgotten. In the face of unprecedented evil and unfathomable power, Ethan's enemies must become his allies, and the world of the fey will be changed forevermore.

Julie Kagawa’s bookshelf post
The bookshelf in my office is where I keep a few of my favorite books, to-be-read books, research books, and of course the myriad of foreign editions of my own books.  They're arranged in no particular order, but shelf by shelf it goes like this: 

Top shelf: My books. From The Iron King to The Iron Warrior and all the books in between, this shelf is where the Julie Kagawa novels are proudly displayed. A few copies, anyway. There are literally dozens more scattered throughout the house, hiding among the other books, especially the foreign editions.  Good Lord, I have so many foreign editions, and I'm fast running out of shelf space.
Middle shelf: A few favourites that I like to go back to from time to time, and a few To-Be-Read books that I have moved to the top of the stack.  Someday, when I take a break, I will do nothing but sit back and read all those books calling my name. Someday.
Bottom shelf: How-to-write books, history books, non-fiction books, travel books. This is basically my research shelf.  Since several of my novels take place in real cities and I can't go gallivanting off to London at the drop of a hat, I do the next best thing and buy a travel guide with lots of pictures.  Not perfect, but better than getting some fact completely and totally wrong because of scanty research.  

Trophy bookshelf:  This is a special shelf where I like to keep a few unique items, such as my RITA trophy for The Iron King, or a few Grimalkin bookmarks from Japan.  The very first ARC of The Iron King, with a completely different cover, is also housed here.
The Iron Warrior is in shops now! Share your #TheIronWarrior experience

@Jkagawa @MIRAInk juliekagawa.com

Monday, 23 November 2015

{Review} Satyr from the Shadows (The Cursed Satyroi #3) by Rebekah Lewis

25753595Posted by Melanie
Release Date: July 31st, 2015 
Finished Date: September 22nd, 2015
Publishers: Self Published
Genre: Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy
Source: For Review
Format: eBook
Pages: 358
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US 
Long ago, a nymph fell in love with a mere mortal destined to become a legendary hero. Until the gods saw fit to tear them apart and tamper with fate.

Everyone has heard the story of Daphne and Apollo, of her transformation into a laurel tree to escape his obsession. If only it were so simple. Held prisoner for thousands of years, Daphne is close to death until a last minute rescuer smuggles her out of Olympus and to Melancton, the satyr she loves.

Melancton has always preferred to be on his own, keeping to the shadows and maintaining a stoic appearance. Only Daphne can be the light to his darkness, and now that she's returned, the fear of losing her again shakes him. With grave danger lurking on the horizon, Melancton and the satyrs of The Aegean Inn prepare for battle, but the odds are stacked against them.

Meanwhile, Apollo enlists the aid of Dionysus in his determination to reclaim Daphne and punish those responsible for her disappearance. Is it possible to survive the fury of the gods?

The Review: This is the book in the series that I had been waiting for! Throughout the series we have been given snippets of the relationship between Melancton and Daphne – but never did I see the tragedy that their relationship was. I think readers of this series always knew that there was something more to Melancton than being one of Dionysus’s puppets and in the last book we see him make a devastating sacrifice for the sake of one of Pan’s Satyrs; he swore that he would stop trying to rescue Daphne (the nymph he loves) from Apollo otherwise he would forfeit his life. Hermes sees that Melancton has doomed himself for the sake of anothers’ happiness and decides to take matters into his own hands, goes to Olympus and frees Daphne from her prison and delivering her straight into Melancton’s bed. Obviously Apollo is furious - even if he doesn’t know who really took her – and with the help of Dionysus, he gains the aid of someone who track down anything. So he sets out to find Daphne, return her to his temple and kill Melancton in the process for reneging on their deal. Will the lovers survive or will Daphne be doomed to become one with the tree again? So, as I said – I have been waiting for this book. Melancton is quite the multi-layered man/satyr; He loves Daphne and would do anything to protect her – especially from Apollo – but has sort of given up hope of ever having her back in his arms. Some of the lengths he goes to for that love are totally heartbreaking which shows the depth of his love and faithfulness. He has spent centuries without her and that has made him a shell of what he could truly be. The same with Daphne; rather than give into Apollo and sleep with him, she starts to become one with a tree that she has been chained to for over 1500 yrs, longing for Melancton but determined never to be with Apollo for the wrong reasons. She too suffers for her love in a heartbreaking way and has given up because she doesn’t see a way out. When they are reunited , you see a change start to happen in both of them; first of all they must learn to be with each other again; then they both have some hang ups to clear up between each other. It’s clear that they love each other and that is shown in the good amount of sexytime between the pair. The story was really good. One of the things I loved was that we are given their full story, told through flashbacks that give a real insight into how they both found themselves to be in their current predicaments. I also liked that we see some of the time that Daphne spent with Apollo too, definitely a battle of wills. We have two major threads going on in the book – Melancton and Daphne reuniting – that was really good, they had to learn through each other and make exceptions for what each had gone through and there were some very sad moments that really pulled at the heartstrings. Then we have Apollo and his mysterious helper, traipsing about the world in an effort to find the lovers. When we are in Apollo’s POV we learn about his reasons for taking Daphne and why he wouldn’t let her go. It felt like he was going through some sort of precess to be able to let her go. I enjoyed the insight into Apollo’s mind but nothing will prepare you for the final showdown… it was shocking, it was brutal and violent with a solemnness that will affect most involved. I’m curious to see where things will go now especially for the new comer and a certain satyr – could that be the next couple? The author sure knows how to reel a girl in with these smexy satyrs! This was a great addition to the series though and I enjoyed it very much. 

4.5 stars!  

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

Friday, 20 November 2015

{Review} Breaking Measures by Emma Raveling

26791896Posted by Melanie
Release Date: September 24th, 2015
Finished Date: October 2nd, 2015
Publishers: Self Published
Genre: Mystery, Contemporary
Source: For Review
Format: eARC
Pages: Unknown
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US 
On the fast track to international success, acclaimed concert pianist Leila Cates is close to achieving her dreams. But her path to certain stardom comes to a crashing halt when the body of her boyfriend, a world-renowned conductor, is discovered on the eve of her New York debut. When rumors about their relationship surface, Leila quickly becomes the primary suspect.

Desperate to clear her name, Leila sets out to uncover the truth. Enlisting the reluctant help of Orion Frazier, the lead detective on the case, their investigation soon entangles her in a world of secrets and lies.

With everything on the line, can Leila find the strength to face what she finds?  

A taut suspense thriller of dark secrets and even darker ambitions, Breaking Measures is a stand-alone prequel novella to A Woven Silence.

The Review: Who doesn’t love a good murder mystery filled with suspense? Well that’s exactly what you are getting with Breaking Measures…. And it’s soooo good!
We have an extremely talented pianist in our heroine – Leila Cates – and she is on the verge of huge success. Unfortunately she stumbles across her boyfriend in the act of the ultimate betrayal and it sends her into a tail spin. What should be the most important week of her life turns out to be the worst when after a very public spat with her boyfriend….. hours later, she finds him dead! Murdered in fact and Leila immediately becomes the prime suspect. Determined to find out the truth about Carlos and why someone would want him dead, she sets about looking for clues but ends up in danger herself when the murderer sets their sights on her.
This is a little different from what I’m used to from this author but her writing skills are evident as she captivates us with an edge of the seat thriller this time. I can’t say that I am totally in the know about all of the dealings of classical music, concerts, recitals and the business of running those things but I appreciated how it was used in the story. I thought Leila’s character was very likable and she seemed very genuine in a world where people’s egos are on show everyday. She was very dedicated to her art and had a very driven nature. She had an innocence about her and came across as a tad na├»ve for her age – possibly to do with her overbearing parents.
The story was very intriguing and as I mentioned – who doesn’t love a good whodunit? The story was set up really well before the murder when the public spat showed that more than one person could have motive for what was to happen. As Leila starts looking for clues, she uncovers more than she bargained for and her world is turned upside down and even though she finds one ally, she has to keep it together because as the saying goes – the show must go on. Obviously we aren’t going to find the culprit until the very end and the final showdown but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a line of suspects throughout the story, I was constantly trying to work out who it was an accused everyone she came into contact with. When Leila finds herself on the killers radar, there became a danger and urgency to solve the case that came across very well to the reader and really kept me on my toes. She did seem to share a connection to one of the policemen investigating Carlos’s murder, so I wonder if that would evolve into something – but there wasn’t any romance to be had.
When we finally have the reveal, there are a few twists and turns in Leila’s life too, bringing out many a skeleton from her closet and making her doubt everyone and this definitely gave the ending a bigger impact.
The story definitely had me intrigued all of the way through, trying to work out what was going on, who did it, what was the motive etc. I really didn’t see any of the reveals coming and thought it was a great mystery set against an interesting background of the professional classical music/musician/business. I thoroughly enjoyed it and read it all in one go, I couldn’t put it down until I knew who did it and why. It would also make a very cool movie. 

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

Thursday, 19 November 2015

{Review} Angel Dares (Benedicts #5) by Joss Stirling

24685472Posted by Donna
Release Date: October 1st, 2015
Finished Date: October 30th, 2015
Publishers: Oxford University Press
Genre: YA, Paranormal, Romance
Source: For Review
Format: Paperback
Pages: 272
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / Book Depo 
Angel is impulsive. Disguising her savant ability to control water doesn't come easily to her. Then she meets the broodingly handsome Marcus at a music festival where they're both performing, and finds herself all at sea. For when he sings, her soul answers with its own music. Like the tide, their mutual attraction cannot be held back, but Marcus's mistrust of Angel's gift is even stronger. 

How can they ever be together if Marcus is unable to accept who Angel is or what they could mean to each other? And with the net closing in on the Savant community it's time for everyone to choose a side. 

A stunning new novel from the best-selling author of the Savants series: Finding Sky, Stealing Phoenix, Seeking Crystal and Misty Falls .

The Review: As soon as I finished Misty Falls I just knew that I had to start Angel Dares next because although Misty’s story was over, I was excited to see what would come next the Savant world and of course I wanted to get to Angel more and find out about her story. If I’m honest, I’m not really a massive fan of stories because based around music so I tried not to judge this book too much before reading and give it the benefit of the doubt and I’m surprised I enjoyed as much as I did. I think it definitely helps that the book is written by Joss Stirling though.

Like I said before, I really enjoyed reading Angel Dares. It's a great addition to the series and makes you more invested in these characters and their lives. Angel is such a fun character that you see all different sides to her personality during the story. She can be fun and honest at times but she can also be a little rash and by being so, leads her into trouble. But that's what makes this story so good. Angel is an unpredictable character so you just don't know what kind of trouble she's going to get into but you can guarantee, it'll be dangerous.

When Angel meets Marcus it's definitely a love-hate relationship but with a slight twist. Most of the other stories in the series have been about people that already know about the savant world because they're aware of their gifts. But what happens if someone doesn't know their a savant? And that's the case for Marcus. I really liked that Marcus didn't know anything about his gifts - it definitely put a strain on his and Angel's relationship but as a reader it was interesting to read. I also liked that Marcus' story brought new characters into the fold that weren't aware of their savant status. It makes me interested to know more about them! 

It's clear the savant world is becoming more and more dangerous but with every book I read, I can't help but wanting more. I'm eagerly awaiting details on Stirling's next book in the series and I can only hope she doesn't stop there either.

In all, Angel Dares is a daring and page-turning read and a story that you should definitely read! 

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

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

{Feature} Waiting on Wednesday (#129)

"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
The Rose and the Dagger (The Wrath and the Dawn #2)
by Renee Ahdieh
Release Date: May 6th, 2016

The much anticipated sequel to the breathtaking The Wrath and the Dawn, lauded by Publishers Weekly as "a potent page-turner of intrigue and romance."

I am surrounded on all sides by a desert. A guest, in a prison of sand and sun. My family is here. And I do not know whom I can trust.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse—one that might keep them apart forever. Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, she should be happy. But Tariq now commands forces set on destroying Khalid's empire. Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But she refuses to be a pawn and devises a plan.

While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn't yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but sage young man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true love.

  Donna's thoughts: The Wrath and the Dawn is one of my favourite books for 2015 so I guess you could see why I'd be excited about the sequel!

Melanie's WoW
25530110 Morrison (Caldwell Brothers #2)
by Chelsea Camaron 
Release Date: December 1st, 2015

The sizzling-hot Caldwell Brothers series—perfect for readers of J. S. Scott and Emma Chase—hits the Vegas strip as a bad-boy gambler from Detroit Rock City shows a single mom what it means to play for keeps.

For Morrison Caldwell, life is a game of chance. A high roller with a legendary poker face, he’s the wild card of the family, always chasing the next thrill and never staying put for long. The one place that always lures him back is Las Vegas, with its hot tables and even hotter women. He’s perfectly content to live his life as a series of one-night stands. But when a parking lot confrontation with a cocktail waitress takes a naughty turn, she leaves Morrison aching for another round. 

After a long losing streak in Sin City, Hailey Poe is ready to get lucky. A steamy tryst with a cocky, mysterious stranger is the kind of no-strings encounter she’s been craving . . . until Morrison Caldwell asks for more than she’s willing to offer. But when Hailey’s controlling, soon-to-be ex-husband tries to take her daughter away, she can’t afford to turn down a helping hand. In this winner-takes-all game, Morrison is gambling with Hailey’s life—and her heart.

Includes a special message from the editor, as well as an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

Melanie's thoughts: I don't read many non paranormal books but I loved the first in this series so I can't wait for this.

<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, 17 November 2015

{Review} Reawakened (The Reawakened #1) by Colleen Houck

24740629Posted by Melanie
Release Date: August 13th, 2015
Finished Date: October 11th, 2015
Publishers: Hodder
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Source: For Review
Format: ARC
Pages: 400
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / Book Depo 
From COLLEEN HOUCK, New York Times bestselling author of the Tiger's Curse series, comes the first book in a series about a teenage girl entangled in an epic Egyptian quest full of romance, adventure, and mythology!

When seventeen-year-old Lilliana Young enters the Metropolitan Museum of Art one morning during spring break, the last thing she expects to find is a live Egyptian prince with godlike powers, who has been reawakened after a thousand years of mummification.

And she really can't imagine being chosen to aid him in an epic quest that will lead them across the globe.

But fate has taken hold of Lily, and she, along with her sun prince, Amon, must travel to the Valley of the Kings, raise his brothers, and stop an evil, shape-shifting god named Seth from taking over the world.

From New York Times bestselling author Colleen Houck comes an epic adventure about two star-crossed teens who must battle mythical forces and ancient curses on a journey with more twists and turns than the Nile itself. 

The Review: Reawakened is the first book in the series of the same name. We have a 17yr old heroine in Liliana Young, a girl from a privileged home that feels trapped by expectations of how her life must pan out. Her passion is art and she often finds herself in museums but on this particular trip to the Met she finds more than she bargains for. Amon has reawakened as he has done every thousand years since the task befell him and his brothers but this time he faces a dire situation – he isn’t in his usual country and something major is missing from his sarcophagus that he needs to survive – with no other options and a quest to fulfil, he binds himself to Lily so that he can complete his mission to save the earth. They both head off on a world wide quest, learning about modern times and old, sharing experiences and maybe falling a little in love…. But what happens to Amon when it’s over – win or lose?
This is my first foray into the work of Colleen Houck and it was sort of a mixed bag for me. I liked the characters of Lily and Amon, they were both very different obviously with one being ancient but I liked how they came together. Lily showed Amon what it was like to live in the modern world whilst Amon shared with her some old world wisdom and customs. I thought Amon assimilated to modern times really well considering how technology has moved on since the last time he was awoken, he willing to learn, willing to give everything a go and more than willing to have Lily guide him. Lily was quite sweet and I had sympathy for some of her home life but saying that, she had opportunity to rebel had she wanted to and that made her seem like a person who was a people pleaser so it was good to see her get some sass and realise how much bigger the world could be if she took a chance. When a romance did blossom through them, it was sweet and even though I wouldn’t class Lily as anything other than demure, she came across as the more dominant because of Amon’s background and morals on what should happen between a couple which brought a nice bit of tension to the story and gave a will they won’t they feel but in a totally PG way.
The story is split up into three parts with part one being nearly half of the book and the part I had the most struggle to stay interested in. In this part there was lot of getting to know you and your world stuff which is ok but when you have Amon needing to be brought up to date and Lily being told about his time etc……it bored me. I know why it was there, I appreciate it was needed for the story but it bogged the story down when all I wanted to do was get to some action and adventure. That definitely changed in the latter 2 parts when things got a whole lot ‘Indiana Jones’ where quests amongst the pyramids were the order of the day, the pacing really picked up and I loved it! I really like all of the Egyptology that was intertwined with the story, yeah I get that some of it isn’t factual but it was woven with the real stuff really well and who doesn’t love knowing more about that civilisation? There were some great chapters with descriptions of them in the tombs, secrets passageways and traps that were laid in them and that definitely gave the adventure/quest impression a boost. I loved how Amon – along with Lily – had to go and find his brothers resting places in order to summon them and like him, they too had been moved; so again with the quest feel.
The enemy and danger fit in really well with the story and used a real god from Egyptian times as the ultimate enemy but it wasn’t all him – he had ground forces too, people who were determined that the brothers would not finish their ritual and this brought plenty of danger, action and excitement to the plot causing all of our characters to have to run for their lives on numerous occasions. So what started as a borefest turned into an all action adventure that I couldn’t stop reading and because of that super slow start, what would have been a 4* book is now a 3* - but….saying that, the latter half of the book was redemption enough that I have been left with enough interest in it to read the sequel. 

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

Monday, 16 November 2015

{Review} Misty Falls (Benedicts #4) by Joss Stirling

18857916Posted by Donna
Release Date: October 4th, 2014
Finished Date: October 24th, 2015
Publishers: Oxford University Press
Genre: YA, Paranormal, Romance
Source: For Review
Format: Paperback
Pages: 288
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / Book Depo 
Misty is a one-girl disaster zone. Born with a Savant 'gift' that means she can never tell a lie, her compulsive truth-telling gets her into trouble wherever she goes.

So when she meets Alex: gorgeous, confident, and impossibly charming, Misty instantly resolves to keep her distance . . . Someone so perfect could never be hers, surely?

But a dark shadow has fallen across the Savant community. A serial killer is stalking young people who have these special mental powers. 

Soon one of them will be taken to the edge of death . . . and beyond.

The Review: The Benedict series by Joss Stirling is one of my favourite YA paranormal series so I hate that it’s taken me this long to get to Misty Falls – it’s definitely the case of too many books, so little time. But I’m really glad I took the time to catch up with the series because it reminds me just why this is one of my favourite series. 

Misty Falls is about Misty, a teenage girl who has a Savant gift for truth-telling. She can never tell a lie and her gift can also extends to the people around her. So without complete control of her gift sometimes it gets a little out of control – which was see more than once in the story. And although it shouldn’t have been fun, at times it was fun to read because although we always encourage people to tell the truth, sometimes little white lies don’t hurt. I did feel sorry for Misty at times because you can see her struggles with her gift. It makes almost every day life hard for her so I definitely felt bad for her. 

I loved when Misty meets Alex because she doesn’t immediately recognise him as her soulfinder. And if you’re wondering what a soulfinder is it’s the other half a savant. Almost like soulmates but more intensive and with special gifts involved too. The two characters almost seem at war with one another and neither can understand why. I love the added suspense to the story and how it’s not an immediate connection. Alex though is a little hard to love at times though. Just because he is so guarded but that’s down to his troubled past which once we discover, I’m guessing anyone could see why he is the way he is. 

Uriel Benedict’s story is also an added bonus. I love the Benedict family and I was sad to see they would only be secondary characters in the next three books but Stirling did a good job with making them a big part of the story still so the readers don’t feel like we’re missing out on too much with them.

Misty Falls isn’t just about the two people finding each other it’s also about the troubles that come with being a savant. And in this case it’s about humans trying to expose the savants but by twisting what their really about and trying to claim they are the bad people. It added to the danger and excitement of the story and also brings new twists to the savant world. 

So if you’re looking for a new YA paranormal series to read then I’d highly recommend this series. And although each book could be read as a stand-alone, I’d highly recommend you start with book one – Finding Sky because why wouldn’t you want to start right at the beginning to see where it all began?

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