Saturday, 31 May 2014

{Giveaway} Wide Open Trilogy by Deborah Coates

18490670Strange Country (Wide Open #3)
by Deborah Coates
Release Date: May 27th, 2014
Publishers: Tor Books
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 336
STRANGE COUNTRY (A Tor Hardcover; $26.99; May 27, 2014) by Deborah Coates is the final book in a haunting supernatural murder mystery trilogy set in the vast rural backroads and byways of the American Midwest, a setting and way of life that is rarely explored in contemporary and urban fantasy.

After facing Death himself and banishing a reaper bent on the destruction of Sheriff's deputy Boyd Davies, Hallie had hoped things would finally settle down; that she and Boyd would find more time to spend together, that ghosts would stay in cemeteries where they belong. But hopes are so easily dashed.

On a wintry night in mid-December, someone shoots and kills a woman with a high-powered rifle. Not long after, another of West Prairie City’s citizens is killed in exactly the same way, drawing the attention of federal investigators. But the connection between the victims is not easy to uncover....

Meanwhile, Hallie Michaels finds a note pinned to her front porch. “What do you fear most?” it asks, accompanied by a set of map coordinates. Over the next few days she receives an anonymous phone call, an unsigned letter left for her at the local ag supply, and finally a note stuck to her kitchen table with a carving knife, all asking the same question and with the same set of coordinates. The mysteries are piling up, and time is short...Will Hallie be able to get to the bottom of this, before the body count rises again?

To celebrate the release of Deborah Coates final book in her Wide Open series, the lovely people are Tor Books are offering ONE lucky US/CAN winner the chance to win ALL three book in the trilogy. The giveaway bundle will include a copy of each of the following pictures below;
12074933 15793093 18490670
(Click on the pictures to view the books)

All you need to do is fill in the rafflecopter details below. 

Good Luck! 


AUTHOR BIO
I grew up on a farm in western New York. I currently live in central Iowa. I work in IT by day and train dogs and write books by night. I live with a Rottweiler, a German Pinscher and a lot of books.

I am a fan of flyover country, wide open spaces, weather, books, working dogs, gutsy heroines and steadfast heroes.

My first novel, Wide Open, was published by Tor on March 13, 2012. My second novel Deep Down is out March 5, 2013.

Friday, 30 May 2014

{Review} Binding the Shadows (Arcadia Bell #3) & Banishing the Dark (Arcadia Bell #4) by Jenn Bennett

13630629Posted by Melanie
Release Date: May 28th, 2013 
Finished Date: May 27th, 2014
Publishers: Bloomsbury UK 
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: For Review
Format: Paperback
Pages: 366
Buy: Amazon UK / Amazon US / The Book Depo

In the third book in this beloved and “riveting” (Romantic Times) urban fantasy series, demon-friendly tiki bar owner Arcadia Bell discovers more about her own evolving, and possibly destructive, magical abilities when her bar is the target of a demonic crime wave.

Renegade mage and bartender Arcadia Bell has had a rough year, but now the door to her already unstable world is unhinging. When a citywide crime wave erupts, Cady's demon-friendly tiki bar is robbed by Earthbounds wielding surreal demonic abilities that just flat-out shouldn't exist. With the help of her devilishly delicious boyfriend, Lon Butler, Cady sets out to find the people who wronged her—but her targets aren't the only ones experiencing unnatural metamorphoses. Can Cady track down the monsters responsible before the monster inside her destroys everything—and everyone—she loves? If she survives this adventure, one thing is certain: it's last call for life as she knows it.

The Review: Binding the Shadows is the third book in the Arcadia Bell series and this time, Cady might not get out alive!
As the synopsis tells us – There’s a crime wave happening in the city and it comes knocking on Cady’s bars door, injuring Kar-yee in the process and for some reason… Cady couldn’t do a thing. She knows the people who are doing it are Earthbounds but something isn’t right with their powers – they’re amplified in some way, being able to be used without the transmutation usually needed – and she’s seen it before. So off Cady & Lon go, on a mission to find the punks that robbed her bar and hoping that when she finds out what is going on, it can tell her more about her changing powers too because some freaky stuff is happening to her….and she needs to know what. To top it all off, Lon’s in laws are coming for the holidays and she needs to make a good impression….. let’s hope she can hold it together.
This was a great addition to the series and Cady is again at her best but she is changing, evolving into something and it’s strange and unsettling for her, she seems more emotional in this, like she is doubting herself a lot and showing some insecurities too - not just in her powers but in her relationship also. Lon is as supportive as ever and I liked the direction their relationship took, especially with the arrival of his ex in laws, he showed that he was in it for the long run and that she had nothing to worry about regardless of the fact that Yvonne – his ex wife – showed up too.
The storyline was really good, I liked the idea of a drug interfering with and amping up an Earthbounds power, when you see how it affects them you understand that it could have disastrous consequences for both user and victim and with the fact that it comes to Cady’s bar – she was always going to get involved. I always enjoy the process of the ‘missions’ in these books, things are never straightforward and even though they always seem to be chasing their tail, it all comes right in the end. This is also a book where I can never guess where it’s going or who done what – which is always a good thing in my opinion. Cady definitely gets herself into some scrapes in this and it is perfect to show how she is changing and her powers are evolving, it’s all very strange and unusual but compelling and you want to know the answers alongside her. The action & danger grows and grows throughout the book, building towards a terrifying climax when Cady bites off more than she can chew and peoples true colours are shown. We also get Lon & Jupe’s family in this which only complicates things for Cady, making her feel like she is an outsider and when Yvonne showed up, it got harder. I have to say, I loved the Cady/Yvonne showdown…. I hate confrontation between exes/new lovers but this is really not what you’d expect but shows how awesome Cady is and how much she thinks of Lon & Jupe. The ending is both happy but heartbreaking and I’m really glad I have the final book to move straight onto because with the re appearance of a couple of characters, Cady’s ever changing powers and a couple of secrets to rollover into the next book…. I can’t wait! 
15837539Posted by Melanie
Release Date: May 27th, 2014
Finished Date: 23rd May, 2014
Publishers: Pocket Books 
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: For Review
Format: Paperback
Pages: 384
The fourth and final installment of a "riveting" (RT Book reviews) urban fantasy series about a renegade mage and the demons who love her.

Complicated does not begin to describe Arcadia Bell's life right now: unnatural magical power, another brush with death, and a murderous mother who's not only overbearing but determined to take permanent possession of Cady's body. Forced to delve deep into the mystery surrounding her own birth, Cady must uncover which evil spell her parents cast during her conception…and how to reverse it. Fast. As she and her lover Lon embark on a dangerous journey through her magical past, Lon's teenage son Jupe sneaks off for his own investigation. Each family secret they uncover is darker than the last, and Cady, who has worn many identities—Moonchild, mage, fugitive—is about to add one more to the list.

The Review: Well, I’m sad that it’s over – but what an awesome end to an amazing series!
Following the huge cliffhanger that ended book 3, Cady is trying to come to terms with her new self, come to terms with an unexpected surprise and recovering from her near death beating… but things are never going to be simple for Cady because her mother is still manipulating her from the Aether, putting everyone Cady loves in danger. What does she want? It’s simple really – she wants to possess Cady and live through her permanently…. meaning Cady’s soul will die – and each time Cady taps into her moonchild powers, is another step into the clutches of an insane woman, hellbent on gaining power for her own ends and is prepared to sacrifice her own daughter to do just that. The only hope Cady has is to find the original spell that was used at her conception and hopefully reverse it or find out what was used so that she work out just what she is…. Leading to strangest most random road trip ever! Whilst Cady & Lon are off on their mission, Jupe has decided he won’t let Cady go without a fight either – let’s hope they can all uncover what Cady Needs before Enola Duval can reach her end game.
So, as I said – this was an awesome end to an amazing series, breathtaking to the very end!
I have always loved Cady’s character, I love when I can connect to a character and can become invested in their lives, routing for them in their trials & tribulations, from book one she was just so capable and admirable, having been through so much and living a double life through no fault of her own. She had such a great attitude and I think through her relationships with Lon & Jupe we get to see more diversity in her – with Lon being older, the relationship is more mature and you don’t feel the years between them whereas with Jupe, she can get down to his level as a teen and not only be parental but also someone he can confide in and turn too without judgement – giving us a well rounded female. I love her relationship with Lon and that it isn’t what brings the drama to the story, I like a couple to complement each other and they really do, I mentioned that you can’t feel the age gap and that’s true, we get the same amount of passion and smexiness as ever, making it a total nonissue. I also loved that Lon & Jupe gave Cady a sense of family & belonging which is something she was lacking.
There was only ever going to be one true ultimate enemy for Cady and that is her mother, so it stands to reason that in the final book of the series, Cady will face her nemesis and finally shed light on her conception and what she has become. To do this there is a cool road trip and lots of mystery and intrigue, uncovering clues, tracking down people who don’t want to be found, dealing with people who could be friends or enemies and it is a tough journey of self discovery for Cady, putting her in danger time & time again – at a time when she least needs it! – and we discover just how manipulative & evil Enola Duval is and what lengths she would go to for the ultimate power. There is something that it done to Cady in an attempt to throw her mother off some sensitive information that makes this book quite fun and also gives her & Lon’s relationship a different feel which I thought was genius and brought some great moments to the book. I also loved that we got some chapters from Jupes POV and we get a good feel of how he thinks and how he feels about Cady, making him a good player in the jaw dropping conclusion. This book has it all – great characters, mystery, intrigue, danger, magic and romance – just as every book in the series has and I have loved every single one! 

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

Thursday, 29 May 2014

{Review} Queen of Swords (Sanctify #1) by Katee Robert

13586316Posted by Melanie
Release Date: July 10th, 2012
Finished Date: May 7th, 2014
Publishers: Entangled Select
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance 
Source: For Review
Format: Paperback
Pages: 416
When the cards tell Ophelia Leoni she's supposed to marry the Prince of Hansarda, the gunrunner grits her teeth and boards the starship that comes for her. It doesn't matter if the ship's commander is the gorgeous stranger she just spent a wild, drunken night with. As a Diviner, she’s painfully aware the cards don't lie. Ever.

Boone O’Keirna knows Ophelia is trouble the second he sees the way she moves. Not about to let the deadly little hellcat marry his sadistic half-brother, Boone pretends to be the Prince’s emissary and kidnaps Ophelia. Too bad they can’t be in the same room without him wanting to throw her out an airlock–or into bed.

Even as they fight each other–and their explosive attraction–Ophelia and Boone sense something is wrong. Too much is going their way. Soon, they realize while the cards may never lie, the truth is sometimes hidden between them...and the future king of Hansarda is not one to take defeat lying down.

The Review: You know what? I loved this book… it was sci fi, it was fantasy & it was refreshingly different.
We meet Ophelia Leoni as she is getting smashed, grieving for the loss of her crew and ship, all she wants is oblivion and what better way to achieve it that through alcohol and anonymous no strings sex with a one night stand…… what she doesn’t bank on is the one night stand she has just left, turning up at her home on the same day to cart her off to marry the Prince of Hansarda – something she wouldn’t be doing if not for her gift & her cards telling her it was the right direction for her life to take – for she is a Diviner, a seer/clairvoyant of sorts and she knows now that the cards don’t lie.
Boone O’Keirna is scouting out his brother’s intended, why does he want her so badly? Is it because she has a massive arsenal of weapons at her disposal or does he know her true nature? Whatever it is, when Boone realises that the woman is Ophelia - the woman he spent an amazing night with last night – he knows that he can’t allow his brother to have her….. so he kidnaps her and stows her aboard his starship and hopefully, she might come around to his cause….OR they could always use her as a bargaining tool. What neither of them is prepared for is the connection they seem to share or what fate has instore for them – hidden amongst Ophelia’s cards.
So yeah, I loved this book and as I said, it’s different to what I normally read. I really liked the book as a whole, the characters were great; I totally loved Ophelia, she was kick ass, dominant, assertive & not afraid to take what she wants – at first it was a bit overwhelming as she seemed too tough but as the book progressed, we got to see a softer side to her but also a woman who is constantly alert to danger. I loved her gift, it again was different to the usual and I loved the way she used the Tarot cards. Boone was great too, just as dominant as Ophelia and yep, that made them clash like hell! Which was great to read; I love a good power struggle and Boone was not lying down for any one! I love a good love/hate clash between couples and these two really went for it, which not only created some hot moments but also some sweet moments that made me like the characters even more. I wanted them together and that feeling grew throughout the book, which to me is the sign of a good coupling. I was also invested in the secondary characters – Jenny & Cole are a pair to look out for and Sadie also caught my interest, so I’m hoping for more from those too.
The storyline was good and I really liked the initial set up of Boone kidnapping Ophelia after a one night stand, the connection between them was set up from the start and when they were confined in the starship, it started to kindle into something bigger. The relationship had a big influence in the overall story and I liked that it connected a lot of things together and not just there for the ‘romance’ part but was integral to the story. I liked the world building that set up a multi planet universe, accessible through starships and warp tunnels giving the travel and universe a very star wars/star trek feel plus it is filled with different species or people with abilities which could be limitless. There is the immediate threat of Boone’s brother to contend with in this but it also brings what I feel is the ‘series threat’ in the form of a religious like zealot group that put humans above all else and their job is to eradicate any ‘other’ life forms as being blasphemous to their religion – we’re talking the wiping out of whole groups using methods of torture and fire etc. – they come across as very sinister, single minded people & so they pose a massive threat to everyone not human and none moreso than that which Ophelia is – a Diviner – who are practically extinct, which will make you understand just how precious and special she & her talent really are. You really get a good feel for the world and dynamics of it all and I love the way the tarot is used throughout, I thought it brought a certain mysticism to the story and Ophelia and her mother sort of reminded me of the Bene geserit from Frank Herbert's Dune with their gifts and varying stages of power – which was not a bad thing. I loved where the story went though, the ending was very satisfying but promises bigger & better things, with more danger and battles on the horizon and really cannot wait for the sequel. 

Thank you to Entangled Select for the opportunity to review this book, in exchange for an honest review. 

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

{Review} Fool Me Twice (If Only #1) by Mandy Hubbard

Posted by Donna
Release Date: May 6th, 2014
Finished Date: May 11th, 2014
Publishers: Bloomsbury UK 
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance 
Source: For Review
Format: Paperback
Pages: 235
Mackenzie and Landon were the perfect couple . . . until he dumped her and broke her heart. Fast-forward a year and they're back where they first met—Serenity Ranch and Spa, where they are once again working together for the summer. Talk about awkward.

Then, Landon takes a nasty fall and gets amnesia. Suddenly, he’s stuck in the past—literally. His most recent memory is of last summer, when he and Mack were still together, so now he’s calling her pet names and hanging all over her. It's the perfect chance for revenge. The plan is simple: keep Landon at arm’s length, manipulate him so he’s the one falling love, and then BAM, dump him. There’s just one problem: Mack can’t fall for Landon all over again.

The If Only romance line is all about wanting what you can't have, and Mandy Hubbard's hilarious break-up/love story is sure to captivate anyone who has ever wished for a second shot at love.

The Review: Fool Me Twice is an incredibly cute read, courtesy of teens and even adults who love YA books too!

Mackenzie and Landon have worked together at Serenity Ranch during the summer for the last few years, however, this year won’t be the same because last year they were dating, and this year they are not because Landon dumped Mackenzie. Mack’s been trying to get over Landon but so far, she’s had no luck. When Landon take a fall, gets amnesia and believes it’s still last summer – where he is dating Mack, Mackenzie hatches a plan with her best friend…….revenge is a dish best served cold and Mackenzie is determined to get it.
Fool Me Twice is a perfect summer read. It’s so easy to get lost in this story especially with the setting at the Serenity Ranch. All the way through the book I was wishing I had an experience like Mack got – maybe not the relationship experience – but definitely the work experience. I would have loved to have worked away for the summer and I found myself slightly jealous of Mack. I just loved the whole setting…..and the pranks the girls played on Mack were full of laugh-out-moments.
The story wasn’t at all predictable and I was slightly worried at one point that there would be no happy ending for the characters. There’s a few twists to the story which I really enjoyed too.  My problem was from the start was that I fell for Landon. Even though he’s portrayed as the ‘bad guy’, there is just something about him that makes you root for him and Mack all the way through. So I was completely worried for the outcome at the end of the book. Their scenes together were fun and sweet and their relationship, while not perfect, was certainly very entertaining and touching. It was a fun relationship to read about and it even left me wanting a little more after I’d finished.
In all, a very well done to Mandy Hubbard!
Favourite Quote: “I thought I loved him before, and I did, but this, what I feel for him now, it’s all-consuming. Maybe because now I know what it’s like to lose him.”

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

{First Loves Global Blog Tour} Wish You Were Italian (If I Only #2) by Kristin Rae


Posted by Donna
Release Date: May 6
th, 2014
Finished Date: May 21st, 2014
Publishers: Bloomsbury UK
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance 
Source: For Review
Format: Paperback
Pages: 323


Pippa has always wanted to go to Italy … but not by herself. And certainly not to sit in art school the entire summer learning about dead guys’ paintings. When she steps off the plane in Rome, she realizes that traveling solo gives her the freedom to do whatever she wants. So it’s arrivederci, boring art program and ciao, hot Italian guys!



Charming, daring, and romantic, Bruno is just the Italian Pippa’s looking for—except she keeps running into cute American archeology student Darren everywhere she goes. Pippa may be determined to fall in love with an Italian guy … but the electricity she feels with Darren says her heart might have other plans. Can Pippa figure out her feelings before her parents discover she left the program and—even worse—she loses her chance at love?

The Review: 
Wish You Were Italian is a light and cute read but one that is easy to fall in love with. 

Pippa has always wanted to visit Italy, but when her parents enrol her in a summer art course in Florence Pippa is less than happy. She doesn’t want to spend her summer learning, but instead she wants to be exploring. Upon arriving in Italy, Pippa makes the choice to take a detour from her planned route and go experience the sights of Italy on her own…but no sooner than stepping out of the taxi, she meets Darren, a American boy who she finds extremely cute and an Italian boy who is ever-so romantic. As Pippa want to fulfil her dream of falling in love with an Italian boy, she struggles with her feelings for both boys. Can Pippa find love in Italy or is she doomed to return home alone? 

Wish You Were Italian is an extremely enjoyable read that I easily devoured within a few days. As soon as I started I knew it was something I was going to end up enjoying and what better way when the setting of this book is based in ITALY! I plan to travel to Italy one day and this book didn’t help my craving – if anything it made me want to go even more. There is so much detail in this book and felt as though the author really took the time to explain the sights of Italy so much – without it I think this book would have fell flat but Kristin Rae did a fantastic job and I could easily imagine myself walking the streets of Italy.

Pippa is a lovable character – one that grows through-out. She takes a big risk by detouring from her planned route and taking control of her holiday, but I was thankful she came across Darren. He really helped her take in the sights of Italy and of course, he provided the sweet romance to the story too, and of course we can’t forget Bruno…he bought a lot of entertaining moments too. Although I did have a clear choice of who I wanted Pippa to be with. 

In all, Wish You Were Italian is a lovable story that  many YA Contemporary fans will love. 

We asked Kristin Rae ONE BIG questions and that was..... Do you believe in love at first sight?

Kristin’s Answer:
I believe in "incredibly strong attraction at first sight," but love? That comes with time. From conversations, sharing meals, taking long walks, learning about each other's quirks. I was REALLY attracted to my husband the first time I saw him when we were eighteen, but we let our friendship grow for nearly two years before taking that next step, and I couldn't imagine it happening any other way.

Kristin RaeAUTHOR BIO

Lover of books, music, chocolate, and crafty things. My young adult contemporary debut WISH YOU WERE ITALIAN is out now from Bloomsbury. 
Represented by Marietta Zacker of the Nancy Gallt Literary Agency.

Follow the author:
twitter username: @kristincreative

Monday, 26 May 2014

{Blog Tour Review} Out of Control by Sarah Alderson

16080353Posted by Donna
Release Date: May 22nd 2014
Finished Date: April 14th, 2014
Publishers: Simon and Schuster UK
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Thriller 
Source: For Review
Format: Paperback
Pages: 320
When 17 year old Liva witnesses a brutal murder she’s taken into police custody for her own protection. But when the police station is attacked and bullets start flying it becomes clear that Liva is not just a witness, she’s a target.

Together with a car thief called Jay, Liva manages to escape the massacre but now the two of them are alone in New York, trying to outrun and outwit two killers who will stop at nothing to find them.

When you live on the edge, there’s a long way to fall.

The Review: You all know how much I adore Sarah Alderson’s work – she’s definitely one of my favourite authors and with each new release I find myself anticipating it so bad, I can hardly wait. And waiting for Out of Control was no different!

Olivia known as Liva has just moved to New York City when the people she is staying with are brutally murdered and Liva witnesses. Taken into police protection custody, Liva is doing her best to recount the events that happened but no sooner than she starts, the police station is hit and more people die. Liva’s only hope is; Jay a car thief. Together Liva and Jay run for their lives but they cannot seem to shake the people following them. How did Liva get herself mixed up in this mess and can she and Jay make it out alive? 

Engaging, fast-paced and full of action, Out of Control is a smashing story that will leave you guessing through out. Admittedly it was a little different than I was expecting. I’m not one for action films and this has a very action driven plot – it was almost like a movie, there’s something constantly happening whether it’s at the front of the story or in the background. But even though it was different to what I was expecting, I still thoroughly enjoyed it. There were several big twists to the story that kept you guessing throughout and even I was surprised with who was behind it all. 

I liked both Liva and Jay – I could see why they clicked together as characters and it was fun and sometimes terrifying watching their story play out. Liva was very trusting in Jay; I don’t think she had much choice if she wanted to say alive. She didn’t know anyone else in the City and was basically on her own. Jay stepping in to help her was a very admirable quality. He kept putting himself in danger for her and did anything he could to protect her. 
Their romance was very minimal but I could understand why it was for this story – especially with the book only being based around a few days, but I would have been extremely happy for more. 

In all, Sarah Alderson writes another fantastic story and I cannot wait to see what this marvellous woman comes up with next! 

Thank you to Simon and Schuster for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review. 
Sarah AldersonAUTHOR BIO
Having spent most of her life in London, Sarah quit her job in the non profit sector in 2009 and took off on a round the world trip with her husband and princess-obsessed daughter on a mission to find a new place to call home. After several months in India, Singapore, Australia and the US, they settled in Bali where Sarah now spends her days writing by the pool and trying to machete open coconuts without severing a limb.

She finished her first novel, Hunting Lila, just before they left the UK, wrote the sequel on the beach in India and had signed a two book deal with Simon & Schuster by the time they had reached Bali.

A third book, Fated, about a teenage demon slayer, was published in January 2012.

The Sound, a thriller romance set in Nantucket, was published in August 2013. She has a further three thrillers due for release in the next few years.

You can find Sarah on facebook and at www.sarahalderson.com or follow her blog atwww.canwelivhere.com

Saturday, 24 May 2014

{Book Blitz + Giveaway} Mary Hades by Sarah Dalton Blitz


20935599
Mary Hades (Mary Hades #1)
by Sarah Dalton 
Release Date: May 4th, 2014
Genre: Horror, Young Adult
Buy: Amazon UK /  Amazon US / B&N / Smashwords

Not many seventeen year old girls have a best friend who’s a ghost, but then Mary Hades isn’t your average teenager. 

Scarred physically and mentally from a fire, her parents decide a holiday to an idyllic village in North Yorkshire will help her recover. Nestled in the middle of five moors, Mary expects to have a boring week stuck in a caravan with her parents. Little does she know, evil lurks in the campsite… 

Seth Lockwood—a local fairground worker with a dark secret—might be the key to uncovering the murky history that has blighted Nettleby. But Mary is drawn to him in a way that has her questioning her judgement. 

Helped by her dead best friend and a quirky gay Goth couple, Mary must stop the unusual deaths occurring in Nettleby. But can she prevent her heart from being broken?

The first in a series of dark YA novels, Mary Hades follows on from the bestselling Kindle Single 'My Daylight Monsters'. A spine-tingling tale with romance, readers will be shocked and entertained in equal measure.

Five ways Mary Hades is different to your average YA series

I'm pretty excited about this project. I find Mary the easiest character to write because she is such a free spirit. However, there's a part of me that's nervous about this series. I've mixed things up. Mary Hades doesn't follow a formula. 

Here are five things you can expect, and five examples that are a little different to most YA books.

1. It’s not a trilogy: 
At the moment, the series is open ended, which means I’m planning to keep it going for as long as I enjoy writing it. To me, this is almost like a long-running television series, where each book will focus on a specific challenge. I will be bringing in long-arc storylines at some point, but the first few books are almost standalones.

2. Each novel is a snapshot: 
Like the novella that started it all—My Daylight Monsters—each novel, and each story, is a snapshot into Mary’s life. That means that not all the books will link on from each other. The first book has a resolution and no cliff-hanger, but it sets up the rest of the series, because it shows Mary what she wants to achieve with her life. This is going to continue throughout the series. Think of them as brief instalments into her very interesting life. Characters will come and go. Not all of the novels will be set in the same place. There is a lot of scope for the series. It could go on as Mary goes to University, or a spin off with different characters could occur. There are no set rules here. Think of it as an urban fantasy series, but more contemporary.

3. The novels are short:
The main reason I write Mary Hades at a shorter length is because the tone is very deep first person POV present tense. The books are meant to be all-encompassing. I want the reader to be drawn into Mary’s world, and that is an intense ride. These sorts of novels are almost always short. Think of the wonderful How I live Now, or the engrossing Never Let Me Go—they are both short novels and that suits them very well. The first instalment of Mary Hades will be about 280 pages. On the plus side, shorter novels means I can write the instalments quicker, so you won’t have to wait long for the next book. And, as the books are shorter, I’ve decided to charge less for them, so you won’t be paying more for a shorter novel. However, quality almost always beats quantity. ;)

4. This is dark fiction:
When I started writing My Daylight Monsters, I was very influenced by Gothic literature. That’s a very broad brush. I always loved Victorian Gothics, like Dracula and The Picture of Dorian Grey. These novels always have a supernatural element and always have some sort of dark, looming presence. In My Daylight Monsters, that presence is the hospital, and the deepest fears we harbour there. In Mary Hades, that looming presence is the Yorkshire moors—of course, inspired by Wuthering Heights. Other influences could include Daphne Du Maurier. I had a few scenes from Jamaica Inn playing in my mind as I wrote this book. Mary Hades is much more grown up than my other novels. In the past, my books like The Blemished and White Hart have been more suited to younger YA. Mary Hades is best for older teens and adults.

5.Horror AND Romance? 
Yup, you better believe it. In the midst of fighting a really scary ghost, Mary manages a holiday romance. Hey, call me a romantic, but I think a girl needs to take some time off from her ghost hunting once in a while.

In all seriousness, I want the books to be scary AND uplifting. There’s a definite contemporary feel to the writing, and hopefully that ties in with the romance.


Sarah DaltonAUTHOR BIO
Sarah grew up in the middle of nowhere in the countryside of Derbyshire and as a result has an over-active imagination. She has been an avid reader for most of her life, taking inspiration from the stories she read as a child, and the novels she devoured as an adult.

Sarah mainly writes speculative fiction for a Young Adult audience and has had pieces of short fiction published in the Medulla Literary Review, PANK magazine and the British Fantasy Society publication Dark Horizons. Her short story 'Vampires Wear Chanel' is featured in the Wyvern Publication Fangtales available here:

Sarah's debut novel The Blemished is a fast paced young adult dystopia set in a fractured Britain. It follows the events of Mina Hart, a young Blemished girl who has a dangerous secret, as she tries to escape the dreaded Operation and get out of Area 14.
Author links: 
https://twitter.com/sarahdalton
https://www.facebook.com/sarahdaltonbooks
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4720363.Sarah_Dalton
http://www.sarahdaltonbooks.com/
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Friday, 23 May 2014

{Review} Inked Armour (Clipped Wings #2) by Helena Hunting

21170685Posted by Donna
Release Date: May 8th, 2014
Finished Date: May 8th, 2014
Publishers: Orion
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance 
Source: For Review
Format: Paperback
Pages: 272
In this follow-up to Clipped Wings, the emotional love story continues between Hayden and Tenley; two young people who desperately want to love and be loved but are afraid to completely let go of their pasts.

In the wake of losing Tenley Page, tattooist Hayden Stryker's tumultuous past is haunting him. Plagued by nightmares about the murder of his parents, Hayden reaches out again to Tenley. Having run from the man she doesn't believe she deserves, Tenley finally lays her guilt to rest. Despite their intense physical attraction, Hayden and Tenley struggle to repair their fragile emotional connection. As Hayden gets closer to the truth, he must find a way to reconcile his guilt over his parents' death in order to keep the woman who finally cracked his armor, and found her way into his heart.

The Review: Inked Armour is the follow up to Helena Hunting’s debt novel Clipped Wings where we witnessed the love and struggles between Tenley and Hayden. This time around we see the aftermath of Tenley leaving and how both characters try and repair their love for one another that literally consumes their every waking day, but also try and overcome their terrible pasts. Can their love survive or will they be forced to live in the past? 

I absolutely loved Clipped Wings so as soon as Inked Armour became available I knew I needed it straight away, and boy was I in for an emotional ride. I was guessing the insensitivity and the emotions would be churning during this sequel, but I just didn’t know how much and I was surprised by how many times I was brought to tears. I’m not one to cry during a novel, I well up but, this did me over! Tenley and Hayden’s pasts darken their future so much and their issues are so delicate and fragile, that just one little thing can bring it all down on top of their heads – and this was the case a number of times. Even though Tenley and Hayden’s love shone throughout this story, their relationship isn’t easy – it’s a constant battle and I was rooting for them to get the happy ending they both deserved, because they both deserved to be happy. Their story is quite simply heart-breaking at times.

I did really enjoy Inked Armour though, even though I’ve made it sound like an emotional mess, it was just great to be back with these characters no matter the struggles. I love both of them and I adore the dual narrative. I think that’s why their story is so powerful because you get the impact of both characters issues and their feelings. I don’t believe it would have been the same if it was told from just one characters point of view. 

In all, Inked Armour was an absolute pleasure to read and I will definitely be keeping an eye out for more work from Helena Hunting! 

Favourite Quote: "Sometimes I feel guilty for having you," I whispered. 
"I get that. And I wish I could make that feeling go away for you. You know your family wouldn't want you to be alone, right? They'd want you to have people in your life to love you and take care of you. I don't know that they would have chosen me to be that person, but I want to be if you'll let me."

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

Thursday, 22 May 2014

{Book Blast + $100 Giftcard Giveaway} A is for Abstinence (V is for Virgin #2) by Kelly Oram

21479168 A is for Abstinence (V is for Virgin #2)
by Kelly Oram
Release Date: May 12th, 2014
Genre: Romance, Young Adult
Buy: Amazon UK /  Amazon US / B&N

Six-time Grammy Award wining musician Kyle Hamilton has it all—money, fame, talent, good looks, and a job he loves. His only regret in life: walking away from a certain notorious virgin because he was too prideful, stubborn, and even afraid to give her the only thing she asked of him—his abstinence.

Four years and a broken heart later, Kyle realizes that sex isn’t everything, and he suddenly can’t stop thinking about the girl that got away. Virgin Val Jensen got under is skin like no one else ever has. He wasn’t ready for her then, but things are different now. He’s grown up, he’s learned a few things, and he’s finally figured out exactly what he wants, or, rather, who he wants.

Kyle Hamilton wants a do-over, and this time he’s willing to do—or not do—whatever it takes.
Excerpt from A is for Abstinence by Kelly Oram
I’d never seen Val so upset before. I’d flustered her on a regular basis back in the day. I’d always pushed her to her limits on purpose, trying to get her strong fa├žade to crack and she never once had. She was the strongest person I’d ever met. It said something about her emotional state of mind that she’d asked for a few moments to collect herself before having to do the signing with me.
I knew she probably wanted these few minutes alone, but I couldn’t pull myself away. I couldn’t leave her like this. I cleared my throat to gain her attention, and she jumped at the intrusion. She whirled around, hastily wiping away a tear or two as she forced her emotions down and reverted back into the calm, controlled woman I’d seen onstage.
She opened her mouth as if to explain herself but shut it again, realizing that there was no hiding what I’d just witnessed. Instead she decided to ignore it. “Kyle Hamilton.” It was a warm greeting and a sigh at the same time.
Her smile was sincere, and her eyes held genuine pleasure, but there was a wariness about her that made me afraid to approach her. We stared at each other in silence, both cataloging the changes four years had brought. I wasn’t sure what to do or how to break the silence between us, so Val took the initiative. “I didn’t think I’d ever see you again,” she said with a small shake of her head.
“Me, either.” I finally broke from my stupor and managed a small smile. “Hug for an old friend?”
I held out my arms, still not taking any steps further into the room, letting her come to me on her terms. It took her a moment to decide, but eventually she pushed her smile up into her eyes and crossed the room to me.
We sank into the embrace and simply held each other as the tension left our bodies. Her arms were low around my waist and mine tight around her shoulders. Thanks to her heels she was only a few inches shorter than my six-foot-three inches, putting her at the perfect height to rest her head on my shoulder, which she did with the smallest sigh. My eyes drifted shut and I enjoyed the moment. It was a long time before I whispered, “Are you okay?”
She sucked in a sharp breath and pulled herself out of my arms. “I’m fine.”
I didn’t believe her. The words sounded too much like a personal pep talk. “Val, if you’re not up for sticking around to sign autographs with me, I’ll understand. I’ll tell them you’re not feeling well.”
Val gaped up at me, stunned by the offer. She was shocked that I’d let her off the hook. Normally I wouldn’t, but the image of her crumpling to pieces alone in this room was not one I was going to forget anytime soon.
“The thing about surviving fame,” I told her, “is knowing when to say no. The public will always take everything you give them. They’ll take and take and take, and it will never be enough. You have to remember that ultimately you come first. If there’s ever something you need, you have to put your foot down.”
For instance, not singing your most popular song again no matter how much it pisses people off and lets them down. I didn’t voice the thought, but I wondered if she was thinking about that, too.
“If you’re not up for it today, then go.”
Val studied me for a moment, and her nerves melted away. Giving her the chance to say no had apparently been what she needed to say yes. “It’s okay, Kyle, I don’t mind staying.”
She sounded much more confident, but I still asked, “You sure?”
“I’m sure,” she promised. A smile crept over her face, reaching all the way up into her eyes and she said, “I can’t let you go out there alone. Who knows what kinds of rumors you’d start. I’d probably wake up tomorrow and learn that I’d been hospitalized after going into severe shock when you kissed me backstage.”
 Surprised, I burst into laughter. “That does sound like something you’d do,” I teased.
She laughed with me and we headed back to the main studio and our waiting fans. “It may have been four years, Kyle, but that doesn’t mean I don’t remember how you operate.”
I snatched her hand as she reached to open the door to the studio. I wasn’t ready to end this moment alone with her. “You don’t think I’ve learned a few things since then?”
She smirked and shook her head. “New tricks. Same dog.”
It was impossible not to take her words as a challenge. I pushed her back until she was pinned against the door and leaned in close enough that our breaths mingled. Her eyes snapped wide the same way they always had whenever I’d invaded her personal space, and I watched, satisfied, as she sucked in a lung full of air and held it.
“That mentality will be your downfall this time around, Val.” I leaned in, letting my lips linger at her jawline for a moment too long before bringing them to her ear. “Same old tricks,” I whispered. “New man.”
With that, I kissed her cheek and breezed past her into the studio, leaving her flustered and in need of another moment to collect herself all over again.
Kelly
Author Kelly Oram
Kelly Oram wrote her first novel at age fifteen–a fan fiction about her favorite music group, The Backstreet Boys, for which family and friends still tease her. She’s obsessed with reading, talks way too much, and loves to eat frosting by the spoonful. She lives outside of Phoenix, Arizona with her husband and four children.

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