Monday, 21 December 2015

{Review + Christmas Special} All Wrapped Up (Geek Girl #1.5) by Holly Smale

All Wrapped Up (Geek Girl, #1.5)Posted by Donna
Release Date: November 5th, 2015
Finished Date: December 6th, 2015
Publishers: HarperCollins Children's Books
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Source: For Review
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 220
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / Book Depo 
 
All I want for Christmas is… a new GEEK GIRL story!

Harriet Manners knows a lot about Christmas.

She knows that every year Santa climbs down 91.8 million chimneys.

She knows that Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer was almost definitely a girl.

She knows that the first artificial Christmas trees were made out of goose feathers.

But this Christmas is extra special for Harriet, because four days ago she had her First Ever Kiss.

Now she just needs to work out what's supposed to happen next…

A romantic festive treat from the internationally bestselling award-winning author of the GEEK GIRL series. Also includes a BONUS previously unpublished GEEK GIRL short story TEAM GEEK!

The Review: All Wrapped Up is the perfect holiday novella to get you in the festive mood and it's also an added bonus for all of the Geek Girl fans!

Could we love Harriet and Nick any more? Well this special novella gives some special insight to the their first ever date along with their first kiss. I did wonder why we missed it in between Geek Girl ending and Model Misfit starting but this was a fab way to flash back in time, but also if you're all up to date with the series and are Team Lion Boy then this could be a little bit heart-breaking too. 

All Wrapped Up has a little bit of everything for the festive holidays and it's full of swoon-worthy moments and not only that, it felt real. Harriet's personality shone throughout this novella more than ever and it just made me love her even more. If you're a fan of this beautiful couple then it's definitely a must-read this year.

Thank you to HarperCollins for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review. 
 
 THE GEEK GIRL GUIDE TO CHRISTMAS
by Harriet Manners  

 
The word mistletoe comes from the Old English word mistletan, which means poo twig, because it spreads itself through seeds in bird droppings that land on tree branches
 
The biggest Christmas tree in the world is in Rio de Janeiro – it is 278 feet tall, and floats on the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon
 
In the Ukraine, Christmas trees are decorated with spider’s webs
 
In Scandinavia, they leave porridge out for Santa instead of cookies
 
The First Ever Christmas stamp was issued in 1962 and featured a wreath and two candles
 
The First Ever Christmas card was sold in 1843 and depicted a family drinking wine
 
The First Ever Christmas song sung in space was Jingle Bells
 
Ice skating is the oldest human-powered means of transportation on earth, invented 3,000 years ago in Finland where skates were made from animal bones and leather
 
The most romantic Christmas fact ever - in 1913, a couple were fined fifteen dollars for kissing in the streets of New York City on Christmas Day
 
All the gifts in the Twelve Days of Christmas would equal 364 separate presents 
 
The World’s biggest stocking is 106 feet and nine inches long and holds a thousand presents 
 
Approximately three billion Christmas cards are sent every year in the US alone
 
The average age of a Christmas tree is fifteen years old 
 
For more Festive Geek Girl facts, check out All Wrapped Up by Holly Smale, published by HarperCollins Children’s £9.99,  out now
Displaying Geek Girl Xmas facts.pdf.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

{Review} The Magical Snow Garden by Tracey Corderoy, Jane Chapman

The Magical Snow Garden - Corderoy, TraceyPosted by Donna
Release Date: September 1st, 2015
Finished Date: November 29th, 2015
Publishers: Little Tiger Press
Genre: Children's Picture Book 
Ages: 3 - 5 years old
Source: For Review
Format: Paperback
Pages: 32
Far away, where snowflakes twinkle like stars, Wellington penguin dreams of growing a garden. "Impossible!" say his friends. "You can't grow a garden in the snow." But Wellington is determined to create something truly magical...Snuggle up and share this heart-warming picture book about refusing to give up on a dream. Written by Tracey Corderoy (Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam) and with enchanting illustrations from Jane Chapman (The Little White Owl), The Magical Snow Garden is a must for any child's Christmas stocking.

The Review: This story follows Wellington the penguin who has dreams of growing a garden. The problem is he lives where it snows so it's impossible to grow plants and flowers. However, Wellington has another idea. He thinks he can create a garden from recycling old pieces of material, buttons, sea shells and many other objects. And he's set to prove everyone who told him he couldn't wrong. It's a story about determination and always believing you can create anything you want. And Wellington's personality really shines through out the story and his big ideas are definitely something to marvel at. 

This book went down a right treat with my Daughter. As soon as the pile of books arrived The Magical Snow Garden was the first story my Daughter picked to read. With it's beautiful illustrations and it's touching and magical story this was definitely a perfect story to read around the holidays. And as a parent it was so much reading a story that was so perfectly well put together.

In all, The Magical Snow Garden is a fantastic story with even better pictures that will definitely capture any child's attention.   

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

Friday, 18 December 2015

{Review} All that Glitters (Geek Girl #4) by Holly Smale

23296910Posted by Donna
Release Date: February 26th, 2015
Finished Date: December 6th, 2015
Publishers: HarperCollins Children's Books
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Source: For Review
Format: Paperback 
Pages: 400
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / Book Depo 
 
My name is Harriet Manners, and I have always been a geek.”

The fourth book in the award-winning GEEK GIRL series.

Harriet Manners knows many things.

She knows that toilet roll was invented by the Chinese in 600 AD.

She knows that a comet’s tail always points away from the sun.

And she knows that the average healthy heart beats 70 times per minute. Even when it’s broken.

But she knows nothing about making new friends at Sixth Form. Or why even her old friends seem to be avoiding her. And she knows even less about being a glittering supermodel success. Which she now is – apparently.

Has Harriet’s time to shine like a star finally arrived, or is she about to crash and burn?

The Review: **Possible spoilers from the first three books** 

As soon as I finished Picture Perfect I started All that Glitters straight away. How could I not? With that ending I needed to read more but was it me or was this one just not as good as the other books? I’m still rating it 4 stars though because I still love Harriet but I just didn’t enjoy the plot of this story as much. It might be the fact that I’m still trying to deal with the fact that Harriet and Lion Boy are no more. I’m absolutely devastated. I was still clinging onto hope when I started this book but by the end I was left in ruins and screaming at Harriet for her choices. 

With Harriet starting at Sixth Form we don’t see much of Nat but more surprisingly Toby didn’t have much time either. They’re trying to give Harriet room to branch out and make new friends but if anything it just confuses Harriet and makes her feel lonely. I felt sorry for her. Especially when it seems hard for her to make new friends and with Alexa breathing down her neck but I was pleased for the arrival of India’s character and I’m hoping we will get to see more of her through the series. I wasn’t overly keen on any of the new people Harriet chose to hang around with other than India but then I loved seeing what Harriet got up to because this girl is a walking disaster most of the time but it’s just so lovable and entertaining that you can’t help but love her. Even though we see Harriet struggle with the type of person she should but, once again she realises that she needs to be happy with who she is and the old Harriet is back. 

And do I smell a new potential romance blossoming with new boy Jasper? I don’t know how I feel about this right now. I’m still #TeamLionBoy and I believe that he and Harriet should be together – even though their ending felt pretty final I’m still holding out hope. I’m invested in them too much as this stage to give up. 

I’m excited to see what Head over Heels will bring though. As much as I’m scared that I won’t get the ending I want for Harriett I’m looking forward to reading more and hopefully the series doesn’t end with book five. 

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

Thursday, 17 December 2015

{Review} Dark Heart of Magic (Black Blade #2) by Jennifer Estep

24402674Posted by Melanie
Release Date: October 27th, 2015
Finished Date: December 4th, 2015
Publishers: K-Teen
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Source: For Review
Format: eARC
Pages: 368
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / The Book Depo

There Be Monsters Here. . .

It's not as great as you'd think, living in a tourist town that's known as "the most magical place in America." Same boring high school, just twice as many monsters under the bridges and rival Families killing each other for power. 

I try to keep out of it. I've got my mom's bloodiron sword and my slightly illegal home in the basement of the municipal library. And a couple of Talents I try to keep quiet, including very light fingers and a way with a lock pick. 

But then some nasty characters bring their Family feud into my friend's pawn shop, and I have to make a call--get involved, or watch a cute guy die because I didn't. I guess I made the wrong choice, because now I'm stuck putting everything on the line for Devon Sinclair. My mom was murdered because of the Families, and it looks like I'm going to end up just like her. . .

The Review: I really enjoyed the second book in the Black Blade series, even more than the first!
Now that we know a little more about this world, it was very easy to slip right into it again and pick up where we left off. Lila has officially become part of the Sinclair family and has learned a good few things about herself and her parentage. She is still honing her abilities whilst trying to keep them secret which could become problematic when her boss chooses her to compete in the Tournament of Blades. In the tournament she will be pitted against not only her enemies but also her friends and that includes Devon whom she is still having mixed feelings about.
Weird things are beginning to happen around town though, demons are being forced out of their homes and into the city or worse! Murdered! Then once the tournament is underway – people start turning up dead, drained of blood…. Lila must get to the bottom of it all whilst keeping an eye on her charges, keeping an eye on herself and keeping an eye on Victor Draconi who has a few plots and plans up his sleeve that need to be revealed.
Lila became more self assured throughout this book and more mature, she seemed to weigh everything up, considered the outcomes and made decisions, which is unlike many characters we read about in this age range. For all she had made a connection with Devon in book one, I was glad that they didn’t just dive bomb into a relationship because I enjoy the simmer, the little moments where attraction and chemistry comes to the forefront of their minds and gives those special scenes that really get your heart invested in them. I do like them together, as I said, they have great chemistry, she seems to be on a very equal footing with him in her capabilities and that it nice to see – they complement each other rather than being dependant on each other.
I thought this was a fab sequel in the series and I loved the tournament storyline which gave it a very fantasy like feel. I like the mysteries that arose throughout the story, first off we have the dead demons that need seeing to – it may feel like this is not much of a story but just wait for the tie in. Then we have super spy/thief Lila in action as she goes in search of information and to see what certain people are up to…. What she discovers will be quite the eye opener and I really liked who we met because of that. We also have the tournament which would be awesome in its self, seeing the characters wield their powers in a combatant way and finding out who is the best amongst them but when you add to that someone sabotaging the challenge, contestants turning up dead…. It became excellent! and! To top it all off, Lila will learn some huge secrets about herself and her family which makes me really excited for the next book. Loved this! 

4.5 Flowers! 

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

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

{Feature} Waiting on Wednesday (#132)

 
"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
26094860Head over Heels (Geek Girl #5) 
by Holly Smale
Release Date: February 25th, 2015

“My name is Harriet Manners, and I will always be a geek.”

The fifth book in the bestselling, award-winning GEEK GIRL series.

Harriet Manners knows almost every fact there is.

She knows duck-billed platypuses don’t have stomachs.
She knows that fourteen squirrels were once detained as spies.
She knows only one flag in the world features a building.

And for once, Harriet knows exactly how her life should go. She’s got it ALL planned out. So when love is in the air, Harriet is determined to Make Things Happen!
If only everyone else would stick to the script…

Has GEEK GIRL overstepped the mark, and is following the rules going to break hearts all over again?


  Donna's thoughts: I adore this series and I'm so excited that I don't have to wait much longer for the fifth book!

Melanie's WoW
22065067Sword and Verse 
by Kathy MacMillan
Release Date: January 19th, 2016

Raisa was just a child when she was sold to work as a slave in the kingdom of Qilara. Despite her young age, her father was teaching her to read and write, grooming her to take his place as a Learned One. In Qilara, the Arnathim, like Raisa, are the lowest class, and literacy is a capital offense. What’s more, only the king, prince, tutor, and tutor-in-training are allowed to learn the very highest order language, the language of the gods. So when the tutor-in-training is executed for teaching slaves this sacred language, and Raisa is selected to replace her, Raisa knows any slipup on her part could mean death.

Keeping her secret is hard enough, but the romance that’s been growing between her and Prince Mati isn’t helping matters. Then Raisa is approached by the Resistance—an underground army of slave rebels—to help liberate Arnath slaves. She wants to free her people, but that would mean aiding a war against Mati. As Raisa struggles with what to do, she discovers a secret that the Qilarites have been hiding for centuries—one that, if uncovered, could bring the kingdom to its knees.

Melanie's thoughts: Sounds really good and I love a good fantasy book.

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

Monday, 14 December 2015

{Review} Spiral of Need (The Mercury Pack #1) by Suzanne Wright

25390016Posted by Melanie
Release Date: September 29th, 2015
Finished Date: December 4th, 2015
Publishers: Montlake Romance
Genre: NA, Contemporary, Romance
Source: For Review
Format: eBook
Pages: 322
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / The Book Depo

Ally Marshall isn’t just a wolf shifter — she’s a Seer.

But a girl doesn’t exactly need special powers to know that Derren Hudson despises her entire kind. Disdain practically rolls off the Beta of the Mercury Pack . . . disdain mixed with a healthy dose of desire. And no matter how much the ruggedly handsome male appeals to her, this is one call of the wild she’s determined to ignore.

After one betrayal too many, Derren doesn’t have much use for Seers — except for Ally.

Forced into acting as her protector, he finds himself intensely and passionately drawn to the woman who incites his primal instinct to claim.

And when enemies target the pack, Ally’s gift may be just what the Mercury Pack needs.

Can he put his distrust aside, or will he force himself to turn his back on the one woman who makes his inner beast howl?

The Review: If you’re reading this series then you’re probably aware of the author’s Phoenix Pack series and that is where you will have met most of these characters and whilst it’s not important to have read that series, it helps to know who everyone is and the dynamics of the two packs and what had caused it…. Needless to say, this was just as awesome an opener to the series as the previous series. I really liked the characters in this and thought Ally was a very capable heroine, her circumstances weren’t great and I really felt for her situation – her boyfriend found his true mate and that mate was alienating Ally from her whole pack – she was really stubborn and determined and I liked that about her. We all love a good hate to love scenario and that is what we get here because with Ally being a seer, Derren being prejudiced against seers – someone is going to have to work on their preconceptions. To be fair, it isn’t just Derren that hates seers, it’s the whole pack…. So Ally has some hard work cut out for her in changing their minds and the only reason Derren took her to his pack is because he owes a favour to someone. It was fun to read about them both fighting their attraction, with Ally being a seer, she is very empathic and actually feels the emotions of those around her so it can’t have been easy in the beginning when all she felt was distrust and animosity. Obviously they get down and dirty with each other and they certainly steam up those pages both believing that they aren’t forever but as always…. Fate has other plans.
I really enjoyed the story line in this, it was exciting and dangerous with multiple attacks on the Mercury pack that brought some action and violence to the plot. We know the problem the pack has had with seers so Ally is there to remedy that and make them see that they aren’t all self serving, it was good of her to challenge their misconceptions and I liked how it was handled. The reason she ends up with the Mercury pack was really good and totally set the tone of the book so that we don’t exactly know if it’s the pack or Ally that is being targeted because the attacks come strong and fast. Ally has a protector who more or less ordered Derren to take her in until he was able and what a great addition he was to the plot – I would LOVE his book and his brothers! There are a lot of shifting dynamics between neighboring packs plus Ally’s old pack as the Mercury pack really go all out and make an impact. It was great to see some healthy sized cameos from the Phoenix pack and I loved what they injected into the story too. I’m just as excited about this series as I was about the other so it promises to be more good stuff!


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

Friday, 11 December 2015

{Review} Picture Perfect (Geek Girl #3) by Holly Smale

18665259Posted by Donna
Release Date: June 14th, 2014
Finished Date: December 4th, 2015
Publishers: HarperCollins Children's Books
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Source: For Review
Format: Paperback 
Pages: 400
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / Book Depo 
 
"My name is Harriet Manners, and I'll always be a geek."

It's the hilarious third book in the No.1 bestselling, award winning GEEK GIRL series!

Harriet Manners knows more facts than most. She knows that New York is the most populous city in the United States. She knows that its official motto is "Ever Upward". She knows that 28% of Americans believe we never landed on the moon.

But she knows nothing about modelling in the Big Apple, and how her family will cope with life stateside. Or how to "become a brand", as the models in New York put it. And, even more importantly, what to do when the big romantic gestures aren't coming from your boyfriend...

Does geek girl go too far this time?

The laugh out loud follow-up to award winning GEEK GIRL and MODEL MISFIT will have you in stitches.

The Review: Picture Perfect is book three in Holly Smale’s Geek Girl series and after reading the previous two book within a matter of days, I just knew I couldn’t stop there. I knew I needed to read the remaining books because so far these books have gotten better and better and I was excited to find out what happens next. 

This time around we see Harriett head to New York but it’s not just for modelling. This time it’s because her father had been offered a new job and their family needed the money – especially with a new baby in the family. Harriett has a bit of a rough time during this book. Moving away from her house and everyone she knows really hits her hard and I did feel sorry for her. But then I also felt she made certain situation worse for herself. This book was definitely Harriett’s rebellious stage – she gets grounded and just makes everything worse for herself by sneaking out the house and running away to New York and she takes advice from the wrong people and jeopardises her relationship with Nick with serious consequences. Harriett just did not have a good time during this book. But the good thing was I also found she grew a lot. By her making mistakes she learnt from them and her journey throughout this book was still entertaining but it also pulls on your heart.

With Harriett in the USA for most of the book we don’t see much of our favourite secondary characters like Nat and Toby but we do see Wilbur and Nick with them being at New York Fashion Show. I love Wilbur. He makes Harriet’s story so fun. And Nick. I just love him *sobs* - I’m praying for him to be in the next book. 

In all, Picture Perfect was a pretty great read. I did enjoy Model Misfit more but this was still a fab instalment. I can’t wait to see what comes next! 

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

Thursday, 10 December 2015

{Review} Model Misfit (Geek Girl #2) by Holly Smale

18065780Posted by Donna
Release Date: September 26th, 2013
Finished Date: December 1st, 2015
Publishers: HarperCollins Children's Books
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Source: For Review
Format: Paperback 
Pages: 356
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / Book Depo 
 
“My name is Harriet Manners, and I am still a geek.”

Harriet knows that modelling won’t transform you. She knows that being as uniquely odd as a polar bear isn’t necessarily a bad thing (even in a rainforest). And that the average person eats a ton of food a year, though her pregnant stepmother is doing her best to beat this.

What Harriet doesn’t know is where she’s going to fit in once the new baby arrives.

With summer plans ruined, modelling in Japan seems the perfect chance to get as far away from home as possible. But nothing can prepare Harriet for the craziness of Tokyo, her competitive model flatmates and her errant grandmother’s ‘chaperoning’. Or seeing gorgeous Nick everywhere she goes.

Because, this time, Harriet knows what a broken heart feels like.

Can geek girl find her place on the other side of the world or is Harriet lost for good?

The Review: Our favourite geek is back! Model Misfit is the sequel to Holly Smale debut YA book Geek Girl and what a fantastic follow up it was!

I loved Geek Girl and I definitely wasn't expecting the sequel Model Misfit to be better than it but it certainty was. Model Misfit had more romance drama in it than the first book. I'm a firm believer that romance always make a book better and with Harriett's relationship problems during this book, it  definitely added to the emotional factor of the story. I was deeply hurt for Harriett throughout most of the story - the Nick drama - so when it happened I felt everything along with Harriett. I was devastated for her. She's just one of them characters you can connect to and it doesn't matter that she's fifteen, I almost feel like she's older than she seems. But anyway, adding this emotional drama into the story for me made me enjoy this book all the more. It wasn't just school drama or parent drama it was another layer to Harriett's story and I really enjoyed every minute of it.

I loved that Harriet stayed true to herself through-out all the crazy events that happen in this story. She's not the perfect model. She makes mistakes but I love that about her. She's completely oblivious to the modelling world and I loved seeing what trouble she'd get herself into. And with the story taking place in Japan there is so much more adventure and so many gorgeous scenes and oh, how I wanted to travel to Japan after. And let's not forget that all my favourite characters were back too so it made the story even better. 

In all, Model Misfit definitely has a little bit of everything for ever reader. And this has definitely been my favourite book so far and I can't wait to see what Picture Perfect has in store.

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

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

{Feature} Waiting on Wednesday (#131)

 
"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
23612994
United as One (Lorien Legacies #7)
by Pittacus Lore
Release Date: June 28th, 2016

The epic conclusion to the New York Times bestselling I Am Number Four series!

The Mogadorian invasion has come to Earth, and they have all but won the battle for our planet. Their warships loom over our most populous cities—like New York City, Tokyo, Moscow, Beijing, and New Delhi—and no army will risk making a move against them. The Garde are all that stand in their way . . . but they are no longer alone in this fight. Human teens from across the globe, like John Smith’s best friend, Sam Goode, have begun to develop Legacies of their own.

The Garde have always known there is power in numbers. If they can find these new allies and join forces with them, they just might be able to win this war. The time has come for the Garde to make their final stand.

  Donna's thoughts: I can not wait to see how this series ends. Bring it on!

Melanie's WoW
23430471 Riders (Riders #1)
by Veronica Rossi
Release Date: February 26th, 2016

For eighteen-year-old Gideon Blake, nothing but death can keep him from achieving his goal of becoming a U.S. Army Ranger. As it turns out, it does.

Recovering from the accident that most definitely killed him, Gideon finds himself with strange new powers and a bizarre cuff he can't remove. His death has brought to life his real destiny. He has become War, one of the legendary four horsemen of the apocalypse.

Over the coming weeks, he and the other horsemen--Conquest, Famine, and Death--are brought together by a beautiful but frustratingly secretive girl to help save humanity from an ancient evil on the emergence.

They fail.

Now--bound, bloodied, and drugged--Gideon is interrogated by the authorities about his role in a battle that has become an international incident. If he stands any chance of saving his friends and the girl he's fallen for--not to mention all of humankind--he needs to convince the skeptical government officials the world is in imminent danger.

But will anyone believe him?

Melanie's thoughts: This sounds interesting, four horsemen of the apocalypse in an urban fantasy.

<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, 8 December 2015

{Review} Nightwish (Echoes of Eternity, #1) by Sydney Bristow

26081611Posted by Melanie
Release Date: August 9th, 2015
Finished Date: November 9th, 2015
Publishers: Self Published
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasty
Source: For Review
Format: eBook
Pages: 258
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US 

Serena Sykes just discovered that the mother, identical twin sister, and niece she never knew existed…are the last remaining witches on the planet. That is, except for Serena, who recently received her own limited, albeit wildly erratic supernatural abilities.

But her newfound family isn’t interested in helping her master those gifts. After all, Serena’s mother has been communicating beyond the veil with the first witch in their line, a sorceress named Zephora who hopes to return to this dimension and destroy an ancient curse that would unleash paranormal creatures across the globe.

To help guide her in this new landscape, Serena turns to her grandmother, an elderly woman suffering from dementia and the only vampire in existence, a man who has his own mysterious agenda. With less than 48 hours to prevent her family from triggering a supernatural wasteland, Serena must learn to control her abilities…if she hopes to save the world!

The Review: Nightwish is the first instalment of the ‘Echoes of Eternity’ series and we’re in for some witchy shenanigans.
In Nightwish we meet Serena Sykes, recent graduate from college with big ideas for her Grandmothers shop. Her world is rocked completely when she discovers that her Grandmother hasn’t totally been honest with her….. for a start – her mother is very much alive, she has a twin sister an also a niece but to top it all off … they are all witches with lineage traced back to the Salem witch trials. As Serena tries to come to terms with this knowledge, she realises that her grandmother is not quite herself, could the dementia be getting worse at a faster rate? She needs answers and the old womans mind is in no fit state to give them and considering she is the only one who can give them – Serena is lost. When a mysterious ‘vampire’ turns up and tells her that he must protect her, she has to learn who to trust on her own but when events begin to escalate and all hell threatens to let loose – it’s up to Serena to master her abilities and save them all.
So, I really enjoyed this book and found it easy to read and become involved with the characters. Serena was easy to route for as we follow her in her new discoveries. I liked her outlook on life and how she handled all of the revelations that came her way especially when she finds out that her mother kept her twin sister and left her behind – that has to do something to a persons self esteem – thank goodness for her Grandma though who loved her enough that it counted. I enjoyed seeing her powers manifest and how she used them, I have a feeling she will be very powerful. She has a love interest that definitely brought the heat to her life but that wasn’t really delved into here, it was more about the discoveries. I have to mention that her mother is a class A b*tch and her sister is one of those characters that you can see has hidden depth that needs coaxing out of her and her niece is adorable, at least the niece is happy to have Serena in her life and she balanced out the other influences.
The storyline was a very good start, definitely a getting to know you and your world scenario but with plenty of twists and turns to keep you on your toes. Not only do we discover Serena’s new family, we discover her heritage and her power – I liked that we discovered everything at the same time as the character, it endears me to her more as I imagine how I would react too. Her heritage was very interesting and plays a big part in the story – so pay attention – I always liked stories about witches. Her powers are different, they aren’t cut and dried like usual witches and there are limits to who gets what in the family hierarchy – for instance, the oldest always gets more power and that is a plot thread here to. It’s hard to know who to trust throughout the book, there are so many people with agendas that it always has you on edge and I really liked that I couldn’t trust people 100%. I think this book just shows the tip of the iceberg of what potential it has as a series and I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

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

Monday, 7 December 2015

{Review} Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan

24657660Posted by Donna
Release Date: February 9th, 2016
Finished Date: November 25th, 2015
Publishers: Harper Teen
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Source: For Review
Format: eARC
Pages: 304
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / Book Depo 
 
Seventeen years ago, an eclipse cloaked the kingdom of Relhok in perpetual darkness. In the chaos, an evil chancellor murdered the king and queen and seized their throne. Luna, Relhok’s lost princess, has been hiding in a tower ever since. Luna’s survival depends on the world believing she is dead.

But that doesn’t stop Luna from wanting more. When she meets Fowler, a mysterious archer braving the woods outside her tower, Luna is drawn to him despite the risk. When the tower is attacked, Luna and Fowler escape together. But this world of darkness is more treacherous than Luna ever realized.

With every threat stacked against them, Luna and Fowler find solace in each other. But with secrets still unspoken between them, falling in love might be their most dangerous journey yet.

With lush writing and a star–crossed romance, Reign of Shadows is Sophie Jordan at her best.

The Review: Reign of Shadows has such a beautiful cover that you can’t help wanting to know more once you first see it. And with a synopsis that sounds intriguing and deliciously good, plus it’s a YA fantasy story so I was definitely on board with that! 

I really love the concept of this story. I really do. I mean who wouldn’t want to read a story about a Princess who has lost her kingdom to an evil chancellor and has been in hiding for the last seventeen years? A kingdom that is encased in darkness with man eating monsters crawling around? And a romance brewing with a mysterious guy? This book was right up my street but as much as I wanted to love Reign of Shadows I can’t help feeling the whole book was very underwhelming. I clearly enjoyed the book enough to finish it but I didn’t finish it with excitement or the need to have the sequel in my hands straight away like I was expecting to. It was just like meh. And that’s disappointed me the most because I was expecting to love this story. 

I actually really liked Luna to start with and the twist with story was something I was expecting but the more the story progressed the more she started to grate on my nerves. She didn’t act the way a person would with a disability. If anything I tended to forget she even had one because the story is written in such a way that makes you second guess if she a one or not. I also didn’t like how she had no drive to regain control of her kingdom. Although she wanted to experience the outdoors and the world around her, she didn’t seem to have much desire to want her kingdom back. She didn’t seem to want revenge on the person who killed her parents. She just didn’t seem believable as a character. Even though she’s strong and has many talents, you would think she’d want to help her people? I couldn’t believe that she was really that oblivious to why the new King was killing young girls. And when she finally figures it out, with the click of her fingers she decides she needs to stop him. But if anything she just seemed willing to have her life sacrificed rather than help the people that needed not just a select few but her whole kingdom. You could say that’s because she’s been hidden in a tower for seventeen years and wasn’t brought up like a princess but considering she didn’t enjoy her life locked away, you’d think she’d want more? She’d want to keep her parents memories alive? I just didn’t get that vibe from her, it was more a self-centred one.

The rest of the story was up and down for me. I enjoyed parts but it was slow going and there really wasn’t much of a plot to the story. I also had to keep reminding myself this was a fantasy story because it didn’t really feel like it at times. There isn’t much explanation to why the Dwellers are there. Why the eclipse happened. Why it happened when Luna was born. Is she connected to it and is that why she is blind? All these questions kept going around in my head and I got no answers. I also kept waiting for Luna to want to reclaim her throne but that just never came. I think the story definitely lacked progression especially if as a writer, you want people to want to read more. It’s open for debate whether I’ll read the sequel or not at this moment. I guess it’s a case of curiosity nearer the time. But I do think the series has a lot of potential so who knows. 

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

Friday, 4 December 2015

{Review} Darkest Misery (Miss Misery #4) by Tracey Martin

24982956Posted by Melanie
Release Date: August 25th, 2015
Finished Date: October 30th, 2015
Publishers: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: For Review
Format: eBook
Pages: 279
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US 
 
Red sky at morning, satyr take warning.

Jessica Moore is about to lose her you-know-what. She did the impossible by convincing the Gryphons, the magi, the satyrs and the goblins to work together to stop an apocalyptic prophecy from coming true.

The one thing she can’t do? Make them trust each other—which means their plans are already falling apart. With Gryphons and satyrs making plays for her loyalty, Jess is ready to cut the crap and kill everyone herself.

The tentative alliance disintegrates even faster when a key member is murdered and Jess’s supposed allies turn on her. Grieving will have to wait. Right now, she’s forced to work closely with her least trusted coworker to flush out the culprit, even as she pushes Lucen away to keep him safe.

Dangers that will test her freakish powers await in the Alps, and this time Lucen isn’t there to guard her back. Even if she finds what she’s looking for, it’ll come with a fury-ous heap of trouble.

Warning: Sticking four enemy groups into a conference room is the definition of hell. Throw in a murder, a kidnapping, and a not-so-fabulous trip to France, and you know what? The apocalypse isn’t looking so bad. As long as it doesn’t involve PowerPoints.

The Review:  Darkest Misery is the fourth book in the Miss Misery series and for me, they just keep getting better and better.
In this Jess’s hard fought alliance with all of the clans and the Gryphons is put to the test big style. It’s hard to trust people when they all have hidden agendas and they don’t trust as easily either. Whilst Jess is tied to both the Gryphons and the Satyrs, they may not be able to keep her safe this time around when a manhunt starts on her brought on by one whom she should have loyalty. There are murders happening that seem to be linked to a certain group of people, the alliance will crumble as soon as someone starts pitting the clans against each other and someone is controlling all of the pieces on the board. It’s up to Jess to stop the bad guys from unleashing hell… but is she just a pawn in the game too?
I really enjoyed this fourth instalment of the series and the progression of both characters and storyline were fab! I thought we saw a more vulnerable side to Jess especially when the status of ‘what’ she is was brought up often and in an unsavoury manner. Others might have felt rejected and hurt and sat with it but Jess took that and made it work for her in other ways, spurring her on to get to the bottom of things. There is a love triangle going on here but that is all consensual because of the nature of their selves, this has always been a sticking point for me but it didn’t bother me much here, probably because they didn’t emphasise the addict relationship so much, I like her choice of men and both share good chemistry with her – one is meant to be her partner in love, the other to show that sex can just be sex…. The thing is – both relationships are deepening and both are asking for her time, I think it may get messy done the line.
The story was fab as usual, and leads to a totally jaw dropping conclusion that I didn’t see coming. We have a lot of things going on in the plot – murders, with Jess as a possible target and the reason that the alliance is assembled in one place. A clash of clans, with everyone having a piece of the puzzle but not willing to share what they know. Misdirection that causes the alliance to collapse as blame is placed everywhere and also forcing Jess to leave in search of answers leading to quests and adventure for her and her companion with an astounding finale that will change everything….. and of course there’s always time for some sexytime too. There is tons of action and excitement so that you can really become immersed in this world and the lives of its characters. This definitely had a feeling of being a game changer, politics between clans was also brought to the forefront and opened up the world even more as we are introduced to more characters and agendas placed firmly on the table, so I feel like its exciting times ahead for this series and I look forward to more.

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