Friday, 23 October 2015

{Review} A Review for Phoenix Rising by Elise Faber

23315714Posted by Melanie
Release Date: October 6th, 2014
Finished Date: October 16th, 2015
Publishers: Blue Tulip Publishing
Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Source: For Review
Format: eARC
Pages: 496
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / Book Depo 
 
A dangerous man with piercing green eyes.

A powerful ability that is rearing out of control.

Daughtry stumbles into a world where magic is real and the possibilities for her future are greater than she’s ever believed possible.

But the road to that future isn’t easy to navigate.

As she engages in a wrenching game of give and take with Cody, the man who’s gripped her heart in his sexy-as-hell fist from the moment she’s met him, Daughtry must decide whether she’s willing to risk it all — heart, mind, and magic — to take a chance on the man she loves.

The Review: Phoenix Rising is the first book in the Phoenix series and I thought it was a pretty good read.
We start the story with Daughtry, a down on her luck woman, her life is in ruins – lost her job, dumped by her fiancĂ©, being evicted and has turned to drink to numb a power she wishes would disappear. After making one of the worst decisions of her life, she is saved by a couple of men who want her to go with them to somewhere safe…..ummm no! but when they are forced to save her again and explain that a brutal enemy is out to get her…..she re thinks that decision and joins them on a road trip to a place full of people like her, a safe haven. The thing is… even with the people like her – she is an anomaly and feels more alone than ever. The one thing that is distracting her however is a gorgeous green eyed man, with emerald magic and the ability to infuriate and infatuate Daughtry all at once. Their connection and chemistry is as wild as both of their magics and also as rare - but there are enemies who will stop at nothing to break them.
I was intrigued by this first instalment of the Phoenix series, there were definitely a ton of questions that were raised throughout the story. I liked Daughtry’s character and it was easy to sympathise with her because she was so pathetic and basically on a path of self destruction – I can’t say that I blamed her to be honest because if you could see everyone’s death and not be able to do anything about it…. Your head would be pretty messed up too. When Cody entered her life, she was at her lowest and all she had was the connection to him but even though it was a sort of instalove, they both still had a way to go before they would be in a place that they would be willing to act on it. They both have issues that get in the way of what they mean or say, hurt on both sides plus they constantly don’t think before they speak which causes a lot of unnecessary bs. For all we don’t really get any sexytime until later on in the book, it still seemed rushed to me – I’m a fan of hate to love, sexual tension and little moments where they could give in that build up to a huge ‘can’t control the desire anymore’ situation that leaves you breathless and whilst the author tried in some ways, it didn’t hit the spot for me but was still appreciated overall.
The story was very interesting, I liked the world that was brought to life – a world filled with people with magic in various forms, a world with a deadly enemy and a world that Daughtry knew nothing about. I like that sort of premise in a book where the main character doesn’t really know their heritage or that they have power and there are others, I like to find out along with the character because I can easily put myself in that mindset and it was very easy here. I really liked the magic aspect and how each individual used their own, how they all had a colour to their magic and the possibilities it brings. As always when you find a group of people that have something others may want…. You get an enemy who is out to destroy you and in this they have a sort of vampiric nature and once were like the magic users but used their magic for nefarious purposes that tainted their souls. They are definitely a formidable enemy and also quite brutal and savage – which Daughtry will truly discover. They are really intriguing and I want to know more about them because from what we see in this – it’s only the tip of the iceberg. The same could also be said for the Rengalla –magic users- I want to know more about them and their origins, it was lightly touched upon but I would like more detail. I definitely want to know more about Daughtry, her parentage is a big question that needs answering and also Codys and how he became to be where he is.
Whilst most of the story is about the relationship, there is also a threat bubbling beneath the surface that has set their sights on Daughtry. Time and time again she is sought after, attacked, forced to run for her life or fight which brings some welcome action to the plot and some awesome action scenes where we can get a good glimpse of what Daughtry may be capable of….. someone wants something from this girl, she is special and even though we get a couple of answers, I have a feeling there’s a whole lot more to come. 

3.5 Stars!

Thank you to the Author and Publisher for gifting me this book in exchange for an honest review.
 

Thursday, 15 October 2015

{Review} A Thousand Nights by E.K Johnston

25244111Posted by Donna
Release Date: October 20th, 2015
Finished Date: October 5th, 2015
Publishers: Macmillan Children's Book
Genre: YA, Fantasy, ReTelling 
Source: For Review
Format: ARC
Pages: 256
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / Book Depo 
 
LO-MELKHIIN KILLED THREE HUNDRED GIRLS before he came to her village, looking for a wife. When she sees the dust cloud on the horizon, she knows he has arrived. She knows he will want the loveliest girl: her sister. She vows she will not let her be next.

And so she is taken in her sister’s place, and she believes death will soon follow. Lo-Melkhiin’s court is a dangerous palace filled with pretty things: intricate statues with wretched eyes, exquisite threads to weave the most beautiful garments. She sees everything as if for the last time. But the first sun rises and sets, and she is not dead. Night after night, Lo-Melkhiin comes to her and listens to the stories she tells, and day after day she is awoken by the sunrise. Exploring the palace, she begins to unlock years of fear that have tormented and silenced a kingdom. Lo-Melkhiin was not always a cruel ruler. Something went wrong.

Far away, in their village, her sister is mourning. Through her pain, she calls upon the desert winds, conjuring a subtle unseen magic, and something besides death stirs the air.

Back at the palace, the words she speaks to Lo-Melkhiin every night are given a strange life of their own. Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. With each tale she spins, her power grows. Soon she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic: power enough to save a king, if she can put an end to the rule of a monster.

The Review: This is a tough review write because when I first heard about A Thousand Nights I was excited to read it. I was not familiar with the original story A Thousand and One Nights and, was looking forward to trying something new but, then a book called The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahideh popped in my lap and that was it, nothing was ever going to compare to that book. That’s so bad to say but honestly it’s impossible to not compare the two books.



With that said, even though the books are based around the same story they are delivered in a completely different way and also told a differently. However, A Thousand Nights in my opinion fails to deliver because it also doesn’t manage to drag you into the story. I found it hard to connect to the characters who had no names. The family members are referred to as her parents or sister. But the main character herself has no name. Am I the only one who finds this strange? I have no idea what to call now even. How can I identity a character with no name? It’s strange. The only one in the story who has a name is Lo-Melkhiin and I didn’t find myself swooning over the bad boy who doesn’t even have much show time in the story.



The story just didn’t hold my attention with it’s slow plot. I had to force myself to finish it and it’s quiet a short story too, being just under 300 pages. But as I’ve said before, the main issue I had was I couldn’t stop comparing it to The Wrath and the Dawn and maybe that’s my fault for not being able to separate the two books and I do appreciate the effort the author has taken to write the book, but for me this just didn’t work.

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

Monday, 12 October 2015

{Review} The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins

25788145Posted by Donna
Release Date: March 6th, 2016
Finished Date: September 21st, 2016
Publishers: HarperTeen
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance
Source: For Review
Format: eARC
Pages: 426
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US
 
Kill the beast. Win the girl.

A strange beast stirs fear in the kingdom of Lochlanach, terrorizing towns with its brutality and hunger. In an act of desperation, a proclamation is sent to all of Eurona—kill the creature and win the ultimate prize: the daughter of King Lochson’s hand in marriage.

Princess Aerity understands her duty to the kingdom though it pains her to imagine marrying a stranger. It would be foolish to set her sights on any particular man in the great hunt, but when a brooding local hunter, Paxton Seabolt, catches her attention, there’s no denying the unspoken lure between them…or his mysterious resentment.

Paxton is not keen on marriage. Nor does he care much for spoiled royals and their arcane laws. He’s determined to keep his focus on the task at hand—ridding the kingdom of the beast and protecting his family—yet Princess Aerity continues to challenge his notions with her unpredictability and charm. But as past secrets collide with present desires, dire choices threaten everything Paxton holds dear.

Inspired by the Grimm Brothers’ tale, “The Singing Bone,” New York Times bestselling author Wendy Higgins delivers a dark fantasy filled with rugged hunters, romantic tension, outlawed magic, and a princess willing to risk all to save her people.

The Review: The Great Hunt is a new fantasy romance story retelling Brothers Grimm tale, The Singing Bone. If like me and you’re not familiar with the story then let me tell you you’re in for a right treat!

When a terrible beast rips through the kingdom of Lochlanach and starts killing people Princess Aerity’s father does the only thing he can think of and offers his daughter’s hand in marriage to the person who can slay the beast, whether they are royalty or not.

Princess Aerity has always known that her kingdom must come first but she never thought she’d have to give up the one thing that was hers – her love. But in order to stop the terrible things happening, she will do as her father asks and marry a stranger. But when Paxton Seabolt arrives at the palace Princess Aerity hopes that he’ll be the one to win.

However, Paxton Seabolt has other ideas. He’s not there to win the princess’s hand in marriage. He’s there to do what he does best and that’s hunt. But the more time he spends with the Princess the more he starts to open up but for Paxton that’s not a good idea, because he’s hiding a secret that could destroy him and his family...

I have to admit I did have my struggles when I first started reading The Great Hunt. I found the first quarter of the book quite slow paced and I did wonder if I have to DNF the book but I’m glad I stuck through because the story really does pick up and to start with I realise now that the author was world-building and so enough I was enthralled and now I only have good things to say about it.

This was such a refreshing read, mainly because I didn’t know anything about the original story and after some web searching and of course reading this book, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Higgins has done a good job on retelling the story but also by making it her own – or so far anyway. I was under the impression this was a standalone story but it’s not, it’s a duology. And after that ending I really wish I had the second part already in my hands.

The story has a great set of characters and some fantastic secondary characters that I’ve found hard to forget. Princess Aerity and Paxton’s relationship is so interesting that I’m dying to know more. I loved their moments together.   

In all, The Great Hunt is a fresh YA fantasy story by a talented author and I only hope, even after the sequel that Higgins has more fantasy stories up her sleeve because I know that this one series is not going to be enough.

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

Thursday, 8 October 2015

{Review} Secret Garden Artist's Edition: A Pull-Out and Frame Colouring Book by Johanna Basford

26521218Posted by Melanie
Release Date: September 14th, 2015
Finished Date: October 5th, 2015
Publishers: Laurence King
Genre: Adult Colouring Book
Source: For Review
Format: Paperback
Pages: 20
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US 
 
From the artist and the publisher that brought you the hugely successful Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest - this special artist's edition features 20 beautiful, pull out art prints for colouring in. 

Colouring fans of all ages will enjoy immersing themselves in a selection of the most popular artworks from the original book, now presented in a new, large-scale format for maximum colouring enjoyment. 

Each detailed illustration is printed on high-quality card and can be removed easily for framing or craft projects.

The Review: I normally receive fiction to review so you can imagine my surprise and glee at getting this! Adult colouring books are really taking off at the minute and I have quite a few, I bet most of the adults who indulge in these books used to love colouring in as a child and I must admit that I definitely did and nothing gave me greater pleasure than getting a new colouring book and felt tip pens in my Christmas stocking. That being said… I have NEVER seen a more beautiful colouring book as this and when I unwrapped it, and looked through, I was really blown away by the quality of it. I have seen the paperback version of this book and I was impressed by it, there are a lot more pages of course but here they seem to have taken the best of those pictures and created an artist’s edition. The images are superb, really wonderful and quite whimsical too; every single page is a work of art and open to interpretation by the individual in how they would like to decorate it. I actually didn’t even want to colour it in for fear of spoiling the book. The artist really excels at the subject of the book and I couldn’t imagine any more images so perfect for the topic.

The quality of the books pages are premium – thick card pages that are easily detached from the spine or left alone in the book. They withstand the pressure of pencils, absorb the colour of pens without seepage and have no doubt that paint wouldn’t make a difference either. It’s like being given a freestyle paint by numbers where you’re given the template and have the freedom to run wild with whatever media and colour you decide plus you can frame the results easily.
I have to say this is the best colouring book I have ever seen, I have shown everyone who has came into my home and they –like me – are well impressed and I’d be very surprised if they didn’t go out and buy their own. No amount of words can describe this, it must be seen to be appreciated and believe me…. You’ll be in awe too!

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

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

{Blog Tour} Daughters unto Devils by Amy Lukavics

26133595Daughters unto Devils
by Amy Lukavics
Release Date: October 8th, 2015
Publishers: Simon & Schuster
Genre: YA, Horror
Pages: 240
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US
 
Sometimes I believe the baby will never stop crying.

Sixteen-year-old Amanda Verner fears she is losing her mind. When her family move from their small mountain cabin to the vast prairie, Amanda hopes she can leave her haunting memories behind: of her sickly Ma giving birth to a terribly afflicted baby; of the cabin fever that claimed Amanda's sanity; of the boy who she has been meeting in secret...

But the Verners arrive on the prairie to find their new home soaked in blood. So much blood. And Amanda has heard stories - about men becoming unhinged and killing their families, about the land being tainted by wickedness. With guilty secrets weighing down on her, Amanda can't be sure if the true evil lies in the land, or within her soul...


Top 10 Horror Films (In No Particular Order)
by Amy Lukavics

The Exorcist- I saw this movie when I was way too young to. It introduced me to a level of terror I hadn't yet known existed- I was literally too scared to move. It didn't help much that when the movie was over, the lamp in my bedroom just so happened to short out, but of course I was certain it was the devil who did it.

Pet Sematary- The Stephen King book that this movie was based off of is, to this day, my favourite horror novel of all time. But I actually saw the movie first, when I was very young. The themes of this story are terrifying on their own; to add a cursed burial ground that raises pets (and people) from the dead just takes the terror that much further.

Alien- This film is just plain artful in its delivery. Everything from the setting to the visuals to the soundtrack work together to create a truly epic horror experience. Ellen Ripley is a hero to us all!

The Others- I saw this when it first came out to theaters, and was blown away by the intensity of the atmosphere. This movie is the definition of chilling. All the actors nailed their performances, and the end twist was quite horrorlicious.

Cabin Fever- This movie is incredibly gruesome, with buckets of blood and an assortment of other crazy things. From the treatment of the title screen to the stomach-turning ending, this movie makes you feel the dirty paranoia around catching a mysterious (and brutal) illness. Effective? I'd say so.

The Babadook- This one lived up to the hype for me- I always tell people that I recommend it to that it's psychological horror done right. I especially love how it doesn't spell things out for the viewer; instead, you are forced to draw your own conclusions as to what exactly is happening in this petrifying tale about a mother and son who are suddenly being stalked by a picture book monster.

The Descent- Like Alien, this movie possesses a setting that is capable of instilling fear on its own. A group of girlfriends get stuck in a complicated and seemingly never-ending system of underground cave tunnels, that also just so happen to be infested with monsters. It's the type of movie where you are gifted with a feeling of immense gratefulness and content once you leave the dark cave of the movie theater, a true indicator of a good, solid horror.

28 Days Later- Never before had zombies been as truly visceral as they are in this movie. They don't just hobble after you, they sprint. They don't just bite, they maul. And while many will argue that 28 Days Later is not a 'true' zombie movie due to its lack of undead subjects, I greatly appreciated the fresh take on a classic horror staple. Even better, the sequel actually holds up to the original fine enough.

It- This wasn't actually a movie, but a mini-series made for TV. Regardless, my child self had never seen anything so scary. A clown that eats kids and causes blood balloons to inflate (and pop) from the bathroom drain? Yeeeah, needless to say, young Amy's heart skipped many beats while watching (and re-watching) this one.

Tremors- Can you say instant classic? This movie is legendary! As an adult re-watching, I can greatly appreciate the funny lines and entertaining effects, but as a child, the notion of monsters that could swallow people or even cars from under the ground was petrifying. The first time I watched it, I had to turn it off for about an hour because the car scene scared me so bad. Of course, I couldn't resist turning it back on as soon as my heart rate slowed back down...