Friday, 31 July 2015

{Review} Fireborn (Souls of Fire #1) by Keri Arthur

19486426Posted by Melanie
Release Date: July 4th, 2014
Finished Date: July 24th, 2015
Publishers: Piatkus
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: For Review
Format: Paperback
Pages: 400
Buy: Amazon UK / Amazon US / The Book Depo

From New York Times bestselling author Keri Arthur comes a brand-new series featuring heroine Emberly Pearson—a phoenix capable of taking on human form and cursed with the ability to foresee death....

Emberly has spent a good number of her many lives trying to save humans. So when her prophetic dreams reveal the death of Sam, a man she once loved, she does everything in her power to prevent it from happening. But in saving his life, she gets more than she bargained for.

Sam is working undercover for the Paranormal Investigations Team, and those who are trying to murder him are actually humans infected by a plaguelike virus, the Crimson Death—a by-product of a failed government experiment intended to identify the enzymes that make vampires immortal. Now all those infected must be eliminated.

But when Emberly’s boss is murdered and his irreplaceable research stolen, she needs to find the guilty party before she goes down in flames....

The Review: Fireborn is the first book in the Souls of Fire series and broaches the subject of the Phoenix.
Emberly Pearson is a Phoenix in human form. She has lived many lives, always resurrected with her phoenix spirit time and time again. Each phoenix has a soul mate, another phoenix who sustains them with their energy and without them, they would die but they can never love each other. Each lifetime brings them one true love, one person who will always break their heart and stop their love once again….. it’s a never ending cycle and Emberly has had her share – this lifetime included. Phoenix also have extra powers and Emberly’s is that she can foresee death and where it will strike…. And that is how we meet her, as she saves her ex-lover Sam from death. Sam is a cop with a couple of secrets up his sleeve and when Emberly crashes back into his life he is forced to let her in on his investigation – especially seeing as they are chasing them to kill them. He lets her in on the fact that there is a plague-like virus turning people into vampire like creatures with less vulnerability than normal vampires. Thinking she has done her good deed and having saved Sam, she heads off only to discover that her Boss has been killed and his research has been stolen. She then becomes the target when the enemy discovers that she has more research in her possession….. and they want it… at all costs.
I really enjoyed Fireborn, I’ve read about the Phoenix before but never with a female as the phoenix and I have to say…it was a nice change. I liked Emberly’s character, she seemed very wise but slightly jaded and accepting of her situation. I really like how she evolved throughout the book and got her groove back. Now, there’s always a love interest in a book like this and this had more than one which is a pet peeve of mine but I’ll explain. As a phoenix, she has a soul mate in another phoenix that she can’t fall in love with but is essential to her life because she would die without exchanging energy with him…. So he is her room-mate/f-buddy when she so chooses - because of how they exchange energy. She has an ex who was the love of THIS lifetime that is fated to break her heart; which he has done. This is Sam and he is very present in the story but so is another person who she decides to scratch an itch with on a casual basis but also work with. Don’t let this put you off, yes, it irked me – I hate love triangles/quadrangles….whatever but… she is only sexually involved with one person in the book but the soul mate thing was weird because he was like a husband waiting at home whilst she was out and about doing the nasty. Argh, I don’t know how I felt about it…. Let’s just say it’s the only part I didn’t like about the book.
The storyline was great! I love UF books and this has a great scenario with a virus mutating people and supernaturals alike. It is bringing something new to the characters and something new to the reader. I always like an investigative angle to what happens in books and on one side we have Sam in an official capacity and the other side we have Emberly and a PI whom ends up being a major character who drags a willing Emberly into his investigation. As I mentioned, romance comes from an unexpected source and whilst there was chemistry, there was no feeling and I didn’t get any butterflies from their connection. There is plenty of action from the beginning – whether they’re being chased by the hard to kill Red Coats, Vampires, Werewolves etc. and having to fight for their lives using every trick they know, or being kidnapped and given ultimatums – they aren’t going down without a fight. Emberly has a few tricks up her sleeve, especially considering most don’t know exactly what she is or what she is capable of – so that definitely gives her the element of surprise in quite a few situations. I did like the way they worked together, I liked the way she had Sam on edge, always seemingly a step behind her which makes him take some pretty harsh risks that could put her in danger. She does have chemistry with Sam, there is something still there and of course that will come to a head eventually – which I look forward to! For a first book in a series it was a great introduction with some even better potential, plenty of drama and action, interesting world and characters and never a dull moment… I will be reading more.

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

Thursday, 30 July 2015

{Review} The Book of Ivy (The Book of Ivy #1) by Amy Engel

20640755Posted by Donna
Release Date: November 4th, 2014
Finished Date: June 7th, 2015
Publishers: Entangled Teen
Genre: YA, Dystopia
Source: Gifted
Format: Paperback
Pages: 282
Buy: Amazon UK / Amazon US / The Book Depo

After a brutal nuclear war, the United States was left decimated. A small group of survivors eventually banded together, but only after more conflict over which family would govern the new nation. The Westfalls lost. Fifty years later, peace and control are maintained by marrying the daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winning group in a yearly ritual. 

This year, it is my turn. 

My name is Ivy Westfall, and my mission is simple: to kill the president’s son—my soon-to-be husband—and restore the Westfall family to power. 

But Bishop Lattimer is either a very skilled actor or he’s not the cruel, heartless boy my family warned me to expect. He might even be the one person in this world who truly understands me. But there is no escape from my fate. I am the only one who can restore the Westfall legacy.

Because Bishop must die. And I must be the one to kill him…

The Review: It’s been a long while since I’ve read and dystopian book and enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed The Book of Ivy. Saying the word enjoyed is putting it mildly because this book completely blew me away and left me desperately wanting more!

Ever since the nuclear war happened fifty year ago it left everything destroyed but a group of the survivors joined together and have now created some kind of peace. But even though everything appears peaceful, in secret a revolution is brewing and Ivy Westfall in stuck in the middle of it. Ivy is forced to marry Bishop Lattimer who is the son of the president and the person who her family are trying to overthrow. Ivy’s task is simple. She must kill Bishop in order to weaken the President. But the more time Ivy spends with Bishop the harder things become because he isn’t the boy that he has been portrayed to be and soon her feelings towards her new husband become very muddled. Can Ivy do what is asked of her or will she betray the only family she’s ever had?

I’m so glad I finally made time to read this fantastic book. Ever since it first released I’ve heard such positive reviews from it so I did go into the book with a few expectations and I’m pleased to say that Amy Engel delivered them all.

What I enjoyed about The Book of Ivy is the love story. And no, it’s not just about a romance. There are plenty of other aspects that I really enjoyed as well but, what kept me completely captivated from start to finish was the relationship between Ivy and Bishop. It was just so sweet. They’re two people that have never met until the moment they are due to be married and then have to act as married couples do like live together. At first they’re both nervous and unsure of the other but slowly they start to build this relationship and it’s beautiful to watch. They’re both patient with each other and take the time to get to know one another. The turned a bad situation into a good one and by the time I made it to the half way point of the story, I was completely rooting for these too. Ivy and Bishop were great characters. And of course I have a soft spot for Bishop because he is a true gentleman. It was simply impossible not to love him.
I really liked Ivy too. She’s torn between what she’s been brought up to believe in and now she’s with the enemy (as her family would call them) she really starts to see things for how they truly are. But she still feels this sense of loyalty to her family. She was torn. It would be the same for anyone I would think. But I feel as though she was mature enough to sort things out herself.

The story itself is full of political events that are important to the story and as a reader its’s really hard to see who is on the right or wrong side. Because for me, both sides had valid points. But I had a clear cut vision on who I would run the country and that would be Ivy & Bishop. I think they’d do right by the people while creating a fair system. I guess time will tell when the sequel is released which I’m waiting impatiently for. I’m so glad I’ve already pre-ordered my copy because I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

{Feature} Waiting on Wednesday (#121)

 
"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
25293695 The Beast (Black Dagger Brotherhood #14)
by J.R. Ward
Release Date: April, 2016

His name is Rhage—the deadliest fighter and most voracious lover of all the Brotherhood, whose inner beast could never be tamed. 

But Rhage found his eternal love in Mary Luce, a woman who once bore a life-threatening curse, while dreaming of eternity with her vampire warrior and protector.

They’ve made it to hell and back. Now their story continues in a new novel sure to draw fans back into the “frighteningly addictive” (Publishers Weekly) world of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

Donna's thoughts: I need this book! There simply aren't enough Black Dagger Brotherhood books released since year. I need more. I'm dying to see what comes next for Rhage. And I want more John in this book! 

Melanie's WoW
20640268 Nightbloom (Nightwing #3)
by Juliette Cross 
Release Date: September 1st, 2015

The love between a human and a Morgon, the dragon-hybrid race, tempts fate once more…

All her life, Ella Barrow has allowed others to make her decisions. Forced to stifle her artistic talents and stay in a loveless relationship with Clayton Kerrington, the man her mother believes to be her perfect match, Ella’s life may be safe—but it’s not her own. Paxon Nightwing, on the other hand, is anything but the safe choice. 

A charming and alluring Morgon, Paxon sees Ella for the woman she truly is. His bold confidence and protective nature ignites a passion she’s never felt before. But a dark family tragedy forces their secrecy—until Clayton makes it impossible to hide their clandestine affair. Will Ella be strong enough to fight for herself at last? Or will she succumb once more and risk losing the only man she’s ever loved?

Melanie's thoughts: 
I love this series! It's a shame they arent full length books but they are awesome.

<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, 28 July 2015

{Review} Maxon (Angelbound Offspring #1) by Christina Bauer

22732140Posted by Melanie
Release Date: May 12th, 2015
Finished Date: July 17th, 2015
Publishers: Ink Monster 
Genre: YA, Paranormal 
Source: For Review
Format: eBook
Pages: 400
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US 

Prince Maxon may be twenty-two years old now, but he’s still haunted by his boyhood abduction and torture in Hell. To deal with his past, Maxon limits his present-day activities to killing demons and seducing women. No long-term relationships. No combat too dangerous. No problem, right? 

Wrong.

Maxon’s life has stalled out. The old thrills aren't there anymore, either on the battlefield or in the bedroom. While staking out his next fight, Maxon meets what seems like just another girl after a good time. What he gets is a close encounter with Lianna, a lady warrior with ties to the mysterious elemental rulers called the monarkki. It’s love at first fight. Trouble is, Lianna’s running from a dark history of her own, and her elemental enemies are closing in. When Lianna gets taken, Maxon realizes that after years of wrong choices and dead ends, the right woman is worth risking it all.

Book contains adult language and sexuality. Can be read as a standalone or after the Angelbound Origins series.

The Review: Maxon is the first book in the ‘Angelbound Offsprings’ series and is a spin off from the Angelbound series.
At the end of the Angelbound series we have already been introduced to Maxon because as the series title suggests, he is the offspring of the H/h of that series and played quite a starring role in that final book. That gives us a connection to him already because I loved his parents story and knew I would like this too. We fast forward nearly two decades to find Prince Maxon is as powerful as everyone assumed he would be and the only thing stopping him from becoming the Scala Heir is that he hasn’t yet fell in love and become Angelbound. Maxon is rather bored with his life of late, he can have any woman he wants, he wins any battle he goes into and at the moment that is all he does but he wants more, he wants some excitement in his life that doesn’t involve staking out demon hotspots…..but it is there that he will find the excitement he so desires.
Lianna is from the elemental world, she is apprentice to a water Monarkki and has been training for some time. The elemental world is in trouble and a lethal enemy is killing off the Monarkki for their power which leads Lianna into serious trouble and straight into the hands of Prince Maxon. After a turbulent first meeting, Maxon is quite taken with Lianna and takes her back to his home to keep her safe but when trouble comes to the door of the Thrax, Maxon has some decisions to make.
I really enjoyed this book, as I said – we already know Maxon and who he is so it was great to see a more mature version of him and see how his life has turned out. I liked that he referenced what happened to him when he was younger, how he still fought the trauma of what was done to him and what he had to do in return – it showed him to be very level headed and aware of consequences, it also endeared him more to me because I know what he had been through too but also gave a new angle as he shared some things we didn’t know that make you understand why this still bothers him. Even though he had a ‘play boy’ image and that of a privileged Prince, I don’t think he came across as arrogant – he actually seemed well grounded for his status. I loved when he and Lianna met, she makes a great impact straight away and I knew I was going to like her. Even though we know from the get go that she is very capable of handling herself, there are times when she comes across as a bit of a doormat and someone who has been or could be manipulated by people of power – thankfully Maxon did not treat her like this, in fact her attitude is one of the things that drew him to her. Obviously they will fall for each other but it’s not instalove, there is a connection, they feel instantly different but that just amps up the tension between them and it took both of them a little while to realise what they were feeling.
The storyline was great and definitely of the same quality of the other series. I really appreciated that the author opened up the world a bit more and introduced more magical people that we hadn’t heard of in the other series, it gave something new to the book with familiar faces so we weren’t starting from scratch. I like the idea of the elementals, they have leaders of the elements - Monarkki – and they give power to their apprentices, teach them in the ways of that element and make warriors out of them. When passing power to others, it goes through a special stone that stores the energy to be taken by others and that is how the enemy is introduced to us. We see straight away just what he is up to and how he will go about doing it but he didn’t bank on Lianna being as adept as she was, then when you factor in Maxon as well…. he has a serios battle on his hands. Lianna doesn’t just have to deal with the guy chasing her, she also has to deal with other issues involving other water users, an ex and being thrust into a position of power. She is constantly trying to evade the man after her power, keep her people well, keep alive and of course… see what her bond with Maxon will bring. There are some great action scenes throughout this, some great use of the elements and magic and I really got into it. I was thankful for a good few cameo appearances from some of our favourite characters from Angelbound but I really missed Myla’s humour. There are a couple of surprises by the end of this that sets up the next book which I will definitely be looking out for. 

Monday, 27 July 2015

{Review} The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles #2) by Mary E. Pearson

21569527Posted by Donna
Release Date: July 7th, 2015
Finished Date: July 11th, 2015
Publishers: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Source: Bought
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 470
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / The Book Depo

Intrigue abounds in this hotly anticipated sequel to The Kiss of Deception!

Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape. Desperate to save her life, Lia's erstwhile assassin, Kaden, has told the Vendan Komizar that she has the gift, and the Komizar's interest in Lia is greater than anyone could have foreseen.

Meanwhile, nothing is straightforward: there's Rafe, who lied to Lia, but has sacrificed his freedom to protect her; Kaden, who meant to assassinate her but has now saved her life; and the Vendans, whom Lia always believed to be barbarians. Now that she lives amongst them, however, she realizes that may be far from the truth. Wrestling with her upbringing, her gift, and her sense of self, Lia must make powerful choices that will affect her country... and her own destiny.

The Review: YA fantasy has fast became a favourite genre of mine over the last two years and the more fantasy books I read, the more I want to discover new books. It was only last year when I discovered The Kiss of Deception and it was an instant hit and so, I’ve impatiently been waiting for the release of the sequel, The Heart of Betrayal and even though the wait was torture the book was so worth the wait! 

After Lia was kidnapped by Kaden and taken to his home land in Venda she is now being held captive by the Vendan Komizar who looks at using her for his own game. But when Rafe followed Lia he is also being held captive and so Lia must do everything in her power to not only keep herself safe but also Rafe’s. But while Lia is in Venda she realizes that not everyone is as brutal as the Venda warriors or the Komizar. It’s there that she makes friends who open her eyes to the Venda way of life. But as Lia’s life is ruled by the Komizar and she is trying to understand her gift she knows one thing, she must escape Venda and the only person who can help her is the one she’s trying to protect the most. 

I love this series and I was so pleased that The Heart of Betrayal is a worthy sequel to The Kiss of Deception. It has a slow start just like its predecessor but it’s one that held my attention all the way through because of how invested I am in the characters stories. I loved that there were still chapters from the three main leads and this time we also had Pauline’s chapter – small as it was – but it’s a welcomed addition to the series. 

I love how much Lia grows through-out this book but overall, she’s still the same strong and feisty girl. Being in Venda helps her see things from a different perspective but she still knows deep down what’s right and wrong. I’m glad Rafe and Kaden were still a part of the story. The love triangle in my eyes is none existent. Lia has time and time again stated her choice throughout this book – I’m just hoping she doesn’t change her mind! 

There so much going on in this book with Lia trying to figure out her gift, to trying to escape while trying to keep everyone she loves safe. But most importantly because this book is set in Venda we are introduced to a new country and a new way life including it’s people that live there. It was a nice change from Terravin. And I enjoyed getting to know it’s culture but, if I had to choose, I’d choose Terravin over Venda. See that this book took place in Venda and seems we’ve already saw Terravin, does this mean that we will see Dalbreak next? I hope so! I’m intrigued to know more about this country. 

It’s easy to say The Heart of Betrayal is a great read. It’s rich in detail and well written with a fantastic set of characters and love story to root for. Me personally, I would love to see Lia come into her gift more in the next book. But otherwise I have no qualms with this book whatsoever. 

Amazing! And I can’t wait for more. #TEAMRAFE 

Saturday, 25 July 2015

{Review} Grandad's Island by Benji Davies

25409794Posted by Donna
Release Date: July 2nd, 2015
Finished Date: July 4th, 2015
Publishers: Simon & Schuster 
Genre: Children's Picture Book 
Ages: 4 - 8 
Source: For Review
Format: Paperback
Pages: 32
After the phenomenal success of The Storm Whale and On Sudden Hill, this new book by Benji Davies deals with the emotional topic of losing a grandparent. Subtly told, this beautifully illustrated book tackles a difficult subject with great sensitivity and depth.


The Review: Grandad's Island is a beautiful story about a young boy who is trying to understand why his Grandad father won't be in his life anymore. It's a story about losing a loved one and while this might put some people off from reading, it could actually help you more than you think.

This book couldn't have come at a more perfect time. My 4 year old has recently started questioning a lot of the normal day to day things and losing a loved one or even knowing that she could at some point die, it was an emotional thing for her understand and she would keep getting upset and asking more and more questions. So like I said, when Grandad's Island arrived - and we honestly didn't know much about this book before hand - while reading it I noticed that everything slowly came into place for her and I could see she could understand it that much more. Someone dying is definitely a difficult subject to tackle but I have to applaud Davies for doing it so subtly and in all honestly, in such a clever way that this story can really help your little one understand a hard subject.

In all, Davies has created a honest and touching story that is rich in detail with vibrant illustrations that capture the story perfectly. For me, this was definitely a win of a story and it's one that we'll keep for a long time. 

Thank you to Simon & Schuster for giving us the opportunity to review this in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, 24 July 2015

{Review} Witch Hunter (The Witch Hunter #1) by Virginia Boecker

24886378Posted by Donna
Release Date: June 2nd, 2015
Finished Date: July 14th, 2015
Publishers: Orchard Books
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Source: For Review
Format: Paperback
Pages: 368
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / The Book Depo

Witches, watch out... Half Bad meets Kill Bill in this incredible new supernatural series.

Sixteen-year-old Elizabeth Grey doesn't look dangerous. A tiny, blonde, wisp of a girl shouldn't know how to poison a wizard and make it look like an accident. Or take out ten necromancers with a single sword and a bag of salt. Or kill a man using only her thumb. But things are not always as they appear. Elizabeth is one of the best witch hunters in Anglia and a member of the king's elite guard, devoted to rooting out witchcraft and bringing those who practice it to justice. And in Anglia, the price of justice is high: death by burning.

When Elizabeth is accused of being a witch herself, she's arrested and thrown in prison. The king declares her a traitor and her life is all but forfeit. With just hours before she's to die at the stake, Elizabeth gets a visitor - Nicholas Perevil, the most powerful wizard in Anglia. He offers her a deal: he will free her from prison and save her from execution if she will track down the wizard who laid a deadly curse on him.

As Elizabeth uncovers the horrifying facts about Nicholas's curse and the unwitting role she played in its creation, she is forced to redefine the differences between right and wrong, friends and enemies, love and hate... and life and death.

The first book in an incredible new series set in a fantastical medieval world.

The Review: Elizabeth Grey is sixteen-year witch hunter and she revels her job. She finds nothing more satisfying that bringing the witches to justice by capturing them and then turning them over to the King. But when Elizabeth is put in a tricky situation that she can’t say no to, she finds herself turning to the witches that she’s supposed to capture. However by turning to the witches, she’s accused of witch craft herself and is sentenced to death by burning – the most gruesome death of all. But hours just before her death, she’s rescued by one of the strongest and most powerful wizards in Anglia because he needs her help. As Elizabeth makes a deal with the wizard she soon discovers that her life has been based on lies and the witches might not be the enemy after all.

Witch Hunter is a story that immediately drew my attention from when I first heard about it and once I started, I found myself quickly interested. However, once I got about halfway through I did notice my attention started to wavier. 

I enjoyed how the story started, I was intrigued by Elizabeth’s struggles and what she goes through with the king but as the story progresses, I found that the story wasn’t explored as much as I would have liked. This part of the story is brushed under the rug and I found that disappointing. 

I also liked most of the characters introductions but again, once I got to halfway I felt they’re journey was just this big race. Running around looking for this item they needed in the dark. The slow pace of the story was also an issue for me also. I just wanted the story to get going and it wasn’t really until the last few chapters that some action happens but at that point, I wasn’t completely invested in the story. 

This story wasn’t all bad though. I did really like Elizabeth and some of the secondary characters. Some of their banter back and forth was entertaining. And the romance was a slow burning one – one that you slowly grew to like. There were a few twists to the story that I didn’t see coming, but even with this, I don’t think it was enough for me to want to read more. 

2.5 stars! 

Thank you to Orchard books for giving me the opportunity to review this in exchange for an honest review. 

Thursday, 23 July 2015

{Review} Pirate's Alley (Sentinels of New Orleans #4) by Suzanne Johnson

20623254Posted by Melanie
Release Date: April 21s, 2015
Finished Date: July 18th, 2015
Publishers: Tor
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: For Review
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 352
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / The Book Depo

Wizard sentinel DJ Jaco thought she had gotten used to the chaos of her life in post-Katrina New Orleans, but a new threat is looming, one that will test every relationship she holds dear.

Caught in the middle of a rising struggle between the major powers in the supernatural world—the Wizards, Elves, Vampires and the Fae—DJ finds her loyalties torn and her mettle tested in matters both professional and personal.

Her relationship with enforcer Alex Warin is shaky, her non-husband, Quince Randolph, is growing more powerful, and her best friend, Eugenie, has a bombshell that could blow everything to Elfheim and back. And that's before the French pirate, Jean Lafitte, newly revived from his latest "death," returns to New Orleans with vengeance on his mind. DJ's assignment? Keep the sexy leader of the historical undead out of trouble. Good luck with that.

Duty clashes with love, loyalty with deception, and friendship with responsibility as DJ navigates passion and politics in the murky waters of a New Orleans caught in the grips of a brutal winter that might have nothing to do with Mother Nature.

War could be brewing, and DJ will be forced to take a stand. But choosing sides won't be that easy.

The Review: Pirate's Alley is the fourth book in the Sentinels of New Orleans series and it was great to be back with this cast of characters. Things are about to get all political for DJ as her personal and professional lives are about to clash and force her to re-evaluate every relationship she has with various people. We begin with the fallout from book three, those responsible are to face a trial and DJ is required to be there but there’s a twist straight away when they try to pin the blame on her and when she responds….she opens up a whole can of worms that leads to a power struggle between the council of elders. Not only that but she is forced to officially babysit Jean Lafitte to be sure he can’t exact revenge on those who betrayed him and her best friend Eugenie makes things more complicated when she shares her news – leaving DJ stuck between a rock and a hard place.
I thought this was a turning point for DJ, she has many issues in her life that she didn’t have before she let people in and now she has to make a stand and sort out who and what she can be to these people. Her relationship with Alex is in a weird state,  Alex is all about rules whereas DJ likes to bend them and where he is a black and white, kinda guy – she totally sees all of those shades of grey… and that is becoming a problem between them which will reach critical here. I still love these two together, I hate the drama between them because it seems like the author is letting us down gently, so that we can see it isn’t going to work and I’m actually a little nervous that these two might not survive what’s coming which would be such a shame considering how long it took them to get together.
Then we have Eugenie her BFF and her little drama is about to cause all sorts of problems for DJ, not only is she forced to be a mediator for her but she could also be forced to end the problem in a way that wouldn’t be good for anyone involved. When she lets one person in on the secret, she gets betrayal in return and puts her in a spot she doesn’t want to be in, making her make yet another choice.
Jean Lafitte is next in line for DJ when she is made to babysit him so that he doesn’t go after vengeance – which he feels is his right. DJ understands where he is coming from and the Elders don’t understand how the Historical Undead do things, so her relationship with Lafitte comes to a turning point also. DJ owes him her life, she shares a bond with him and also a friendship and before she makes any sacrifices for him – they need to know where they stand with each other. I really like the relationship these two have, it’s a weird part of a love square that hasn’t been acted on but gives DJ options. TBH I wouldn’t mind seeing where these two go but Alex is the best for her without a doubt. It was good that they finally clear the air between them and he makes her see things in a different light. He’s a dark horse is Jean Lafitte and I really want to see where his story goes.
Then we have Rand, DJ’s husband/not husband/pain in the ass! We get to see a couple of sides to him throughout this and poor DJ is forced to deal with him a lot. I don’t trust him as a character, he is part of the love square but has no chance other than the fact that he tricked her into bonding with him. He’s sly and manipulative and I could have throttled him by the end of the book but there were times when we saw a vulnerable side to him – just not enough for me to like him.
Now, all of that relationship drama is weaved into the story of a power struggle. Following the revelations of the trial, the accused and some others are fugitives and that has left the council leaderless and the alliances with each magic sect in ruins. There is a lot of manipulation going on and more than one person will be left wondering whether to do what they know is right or what they have been ordered to do. There are multiple assassination attempts on multiple characters that will definitely rock their world and send the powers that be into a tail spin. Jean Lafitte tells DJ that war is coming and you can believe it with all of the strife caused in this book and whilst it may seem that DJ is the one to come to a turning point on where she stands with people, there are a lot of people who make themselves and their agendas known. Things are going to totally change for DJ from this moment on and I can’t wait to see what’s next for her. 

4.5 Flowers

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

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

{Feature} Waiting on Wednesday (#120)

 
"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
23174274
Glass Sword (Red Queen #2)
by Victoria Aveyard
Release Date: February 9th, 2016

The thrilling second book in the #1 New York Times bestselling Red Queen trilogy follows Mare Barrow on her mission to defeat the traitorous Maven.

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control. 

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors. 

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat. 

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever? 

The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness of her own heart.

Donna's thoughts: That cover! WOW! I'm super excited to read this book. I seriously can't wait!

17333171Melanie's WoW
Magic Shifts (Kate Daniels #8)
by Ilona Andrews
Release Date: August 4th, 2015

In the latest Kate Daniels novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews, magic is coming and going in waves in post-Shift Atlanta—and each crest leaves danger in its wake…

After breaking from life with the Pack, mercenary Kate Daniels and her mate—former Beast Lord Curran Lennart—are adjusting to a very different pace. While they’re thrilled to escape all the infighting, Curran misses the constant challenges of leading the shapeshifters.

So when the Pack offers him its stake in the Mercenary Guild, Curran seizes the opportunity—too bad the Guild wants nothing to do with him and Kate. Luckily, as a veteran merc, Kate can take over any of the Guild’s unfinished jobs in order to bring in money and build their reputation. But what Kate and Curran don’t realize is that the odd jobs they’ve been working are all connected.

An ancient enemy has arisen, and Kate and Curran are the only ones who can stop it—before it takes their city apart piece by piece…

Melanie's thoughts: 
I'm a bit behind with this series but plan to catch up when this releases

<What's your "waiting on" pick this week?
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Happy Reading!

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

{Review} Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin #3) by Robin LaFevers

22509751Posted by Donna
Release Date: November 14th, 2014
Finished Date: July 19th, 2015
Publishers: HMH Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Source: Bought
Format: Kindle
Pages: 464
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / The Book Depo

Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. 
But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. 

Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own.

She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin. Just because the convent has changed its mind doesn't mean she has. 

The Review: This book….this book is amazing! I’m so glad I decided to carry on with this series because then I would have missed out on the beauty that is Mortal Heart and, it has an amazing conclusion to this fantastic series. 

Annith is a daughter of St Mortain and has been at the convent ever since she was a baby. She has trained and excelled in every task and test that she has been given but, for some reason, she has had to watch her sisters go out on assignments to carry out St Mortain work and she still remains at the convent. When Annith discovers that the abbess has plans for her to become the convent’s next seeress, Annith does everything in her power to change the plans and leaves the convent to confront the abbess about the secrets she that is hiding. And as Annith embarks on her journey she discovers more than she originally thought she would…

Wow! I’ll be honest right now when I say I totally did not expect the amaziness that came from this book. I adored both of the other books in the series and while Grave Mercy was my favourite out of the two, I wasn’t expecting Mortal Heart to be better but it was. It really was! 

Annith’s story captured me from the very first page. I’ve always liked her from her times I’ve seen her in the other stories so, I’ve always been interested to see her own story and it was such a good story. Annith is such a strong character whom has gone through so much from such a young age. This makes her the person she is today. She’s stronger and braver for it. She has such a strong will and she’s determined to the right thing, even if that means being torn by her beliefs. Her dedication to Mortain is just as strong as her other sisters and I loved how much she relied on his strengths to guide her. 

While Annith’s story isn’t as action packed as the previous stories, it does offer a very a satisfying conclusion and where we see all of the other stories tied up nicely. More importantly it brings in new characters that were impossible not to love. Balthazaar is definitely one of them. Aw, why wasn’t he in this series more? I feel cheated. There simply wasn’t enough time with him. But he really made this story. He and Annith were such a great match and the romance between was a slow burning one. And there were times throughout this book where my jaw literally hit the table. I wasn’t expecting some of the events that happened but the main secret – which I’m keep quiet about because otherwise it will spoil it for you – it’s simply stunning. It’s such a good twist and I can only applaud LaFevers for it! Bravo. 

In all, Mortal Heart is easily my favourite out of this trilogy and it’s safe to say that LaFevers definitely saves the best until last. I’m only disappointed that there isn’t more to come. I’m sad to leave these characters goodbye! 

Monday, 20 July 2015

{Review} Soul of Smoke (Dragonsworn #1) by Caitlyn McFarland

25273071Posted by Melanie
Release Date: July 27th, 2015
Finished Date: July 11th, 2015
Publishers: Carina Press
Genre: NA, Urban Fantasy
Source: For Review
Format: eARC
Pages: Unknown
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US 

On a hike deep in the Rocky Mountains, Kai Monahan watches as a dozen dragons—actual freaking dragons—battle beneath a fat white moon. When one crashes nearly dead at her feet and transforms into a man, Kai does the only thing a decent person could: she grabs the nearest sword and saves his life.

As the dragon/man, Rhys, recovers from the attack, a chance brush of skin against skin binds him inextricably to Kai. Becoming heartsworn to a human—especially such a compelling one—is the last thing Rhys wants. But with an ancient enemy gathering to pit dragons against humanity and his strength nearly depleted, Kai has just become the one thing Rhys needs. A complete bond will give him the strength to fight; a denied bond means certain death.

Kai is terrified at the thought of allowing any dragon into her mind…or her heart. Accepting the heartswearing and staying with the dragons means sacrificing everything, and Kai must decide if her freedom is worth risking Rhys's life—a life more crucial to the fate of humanity than she could possibly know.

The review: Soul of Smoke is the first book in the Dragonsworn series and I have to say – I’m impressed!
I think the synopsis is spot on in its description and if that doesn’t tempt you to read this then nothing will.
I thought the author came up with a great premise for the book and series, Dragons living alongside us but separately, cloaked against discovery and very little interaction with humans…. Until now. Kai is thrust straight into the battle of two sets of dragons after rescuing a girl who she finds injured on a cliff. When she gets the girl to her friends it quickly becomes an escape mission as they come under attack from dragons and turn into dragons themselves. Kai defends one of the dragons and finds herself in danger from repercussions, so the group have no alternative but to take her with them to a safe haven. Although they try to assure her that she is not a prisoner…she sort of is, even if she does get along with them. What she doesn’t realise is that with one touch of skin on skin, a human can becomes heartsworn to a dragon, a fated mate of sorts who can amplify the dragon’s powers and take on some magic for themselves. Kai ends up heartsworn to Rhys and although she is completely drawn to him, she wants nothing to do with the situation but Rhys wants her to commit willingly and not just because he will suffer if she chooses not to bond with him.
I really liked Kai’s character, she is more than capable of looking after herself and I love that she didn’t just lie down and accept what was happening to her; she challenged it! She refused to compromise who she was and what she wanted just because she was drawn to Rhys. They did share a lovely bond even before the ‘touch’ but it’s good to see them both try to work for it & get to know each other – even if it went against Rhys’s instincts. I also liked that she was willing to jump in and help complete strangers; that showed her characters’ integrity from the start which also tied in with her refusal to be a victim and helping herself to find a solution to her situation.
The storyline was great but a lot of it could be spoilery so I will do my best to explain. There are two opposing sides of dragons which are feuding against each other. One side wants to kill the other side and will stop at nothing to do so. The ‘good’ side is forced into a safe haven after being discovered with minimal guards and support. The feud has been coming to a head for a while and has a whole history that you will learn about. We are introduced to all different kinds of dragons, most have gifts that enhance their natural abilities and they are from a place where magic is common place. They have a soul mate principal called heartsworn that is activated by skin on skin contact and sealed with a kiss that totally brings out the alpha in our dragons. There are quite a few secrets being kept that will be revealed throughout the story and will definitely change the way you view more than one character but have the potential to turn the whole game on its head.
The story is also filled with lots of action and fighting from the start; if we haven’t got people shifting into dragons we have dragons carrying people then we have awesome battle scenes with dragon on dragon fighting, human on dragon fighting, in air battles, on the ground battles, fire breathing, mind controlling….. you name it and it’s in there. All of this creates and awesome read and it left me desperate for more – as all good books should. 

4.5 flowers! 

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

Friday, 17 July 2015

{Review} Ultraviolet (Ultraviolet #1) by Jessica Sorensen

24641825Posted by Melanie
Release Date: May 26th, 2015
Finished Date: June 22nd, 2015
Publishers: Self Published
Genre: New Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Source: For Review
Format: eARC
Pages: Unknown
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US 

Episode 1

Hidden in the Red Hill Mountains is the quiet town of Hollows Grove.

In that town, there is a field where a secret is buried deep beneath the ground.

And in that field is where Mila was found abandoned with no memory of her past and haunted by visions of the future.

Nine years later, Mila’s life is almost as normal as any other eighteen-year-old. That is until she starts foreseeing the murder of Nyjah Bradley, a guy she’s never met before, but whose face is branded into her mind. 

Constantly plagued by the vision, Mila decides to track Nyjah down and warn him of his impending death. But when the search leads her back to Hollows Grove, she learns there’s more to the sleepy town than meets the eye.

This story takes place over multiple episodes. Each episode is approximately 20,000 words.

The Review: Ultraviolet is the first instalment of a serial novel that any reader could devour in one sitting.

We start the book with a girl awakening in a field with no memory of how she got there or who she is/was – all she knows is that it’s her birthday. Fast forward nine years and we meet Mila (the girl in the field) and we see that she has had a great life after being placed with foster parents elsewhere, she’s just graduated high school and she and her best friend are heading off on a road trip before they head off to college.
Just before she leaves however, she starts have dreams about the murder of a young man that seems so real. What is also startling is that she feels like she knows him and that his name is Nyjah, she also knows that there is a connection to Hollows grove, the place she was found in all of those years ago. She knows what she has to do, she has to go to Hollows Grove and warn him that he will die but whilst something is telling her to go – something is also telling her to stay away.
As the girls set off on their trip Mila unconsciously makes the decision to head for the place…. But what will they find there? Does Nyjah even exist? If he does, how do they plan on saving him?
So, I really enjoyed this and for all it is only 81 pages, it’s sets the full book up perfectly. I was reeled in by the mystery of it all, at first when the girl wakes up in the field, I wanted to know who she was, why was she there? My curiosity was awoken straight away and I wanted to know more. With the fast forward it was nice to see that Mila had been happy where she ended up, life seems great for her and although she is a little bit of a loner her friend had brought her out of her shell. Mila also has a gift where she knows things will happen before they happen and we get a glimpse of how that works in her daily life and sort of introduces her to her BFF too which I thought was cool. I always like a paranormal element in my books and this fit in well with the feel of the book. Mila has a great friend in Novela, she’s cool but cooky too and I love how she accepts all that is Mila without question, there camaraderie is felt throughout the book so that when risks are taken, it’s no surprise that they have each-others backs.
Obviously, Mila is going to end up right in the place she doesn’t want to be – Hollows Grove – and it’s everything you would expect it to be; Small town in the middle of nowhere; Practically empty; Mysterious and full of eeriness…. In fact, it was perfect and the atmosphere was palpable plus you get the feeling that this place has a LOT of secrets of which I will remain silent about. We do learn quite a bit in this but obviously it’s just an introduction but sets up the scene for a very intriguing story and everything that seems to be going on – all focuses on Mila. In such a short story this book did the business by reeling me in and making me want more, I really wish this wasn’t a serial novel though because I hate waiting for things so maybe I will wait until all of the parts are out so that I can fully immerse myself in the whole book. Brilliant start though. 

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