Saturday 30 June 2012

A Review for Article 5 (Article 5 #1) by Kristen Simmons

Posted by Jess
Release Date:  January 31st, 2012
Finished Date: June 6th, 2012
Publishers: Tor Teen
Source: Bought
Format:  Hardcover
Pages: 362
Buy : Amazon UK / Amazon US / The Book Depo

New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., have been abandoned.
The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.
There are no more police—instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior—instead, there are arrests, trials, and maybe worse. People who get arrested usually don't come back.
Seventeen-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren't always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it's hard for her to forget that people weren't always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. It's hard to forget that life in the United States used to be different.
Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs, like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes, and how to pass the random home inspections by the military. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow.
That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings—the only boy Ember has ever loved.

The Review: “He put a hand on his throat, as though trying to stop the words, but they came anyway. "You're home. To me.” -Chase 
It's taken me a while to write this review. Firstly because I really couldn't decide if I enjoyed it enough to actually write one. I was so looking forward to reading this book. I love Dystopia so much, it's one of the genres that I enjoy immensely, because of the 'this could happen one day' element of it. Even though the future is incredibly unpredictable, I still enjoy reading about possible future situations. 
I'm not really sure what to say. At first I thought it was good, and I found myself enjoying it, but it was slow for me and nothing much seemed to happen until the arrests came. I find that when writing Dystopia you need to make sure that the author creates the history on how the world came to be like this. This is where Article 5 lacked for me. I understood there was a did this war start? Why did this war start? What happened to the victims? Etc. I may have missed it, but I'm pretty sure there was no explanation as to the reasons for this. And that's where it failed a little for me. As fan of Dystopia I need to know the history of how this world came to be, without that it's just a telling of something tragic with no background. Now I don't know if this was intentionally done by Kristen Simmons by keeping us in the dark ready to be revealed in book 2, but I feel that this shouldn't be done in the first book in a new dystopia series. There needs to be a background history from the start, that, I believe is fundamental in Dystopia.
On to the things I did enjoy...Chase Jennings. He's pretty much the only reason I kept reading. I felt he was probably the only genuine character. I didn't like Ember, she really bugged me. She was terribly naive in her way of thinking. Although it may come across as strength, it's really stupidity. I caught myself shouting at her not to be so stupid. And I can't connect with a female protagonist if she annoys me.
Article 5 read as a road trip story. There wasn't much action, lots of talking in a car, lots of tension, the romance lacked (for reasons of the history in the characters). There was very little I enjoyed except for Chase. It's a shame, Donna had raved. I really didn't mean for this review to sound that bad. I'm not abusing Kristen's writing. As a writer she has an excellent talent for story telling, but I believe this to be her first novel, it's very risky to write a Dystopia as a debut novel, Dystopia if not written right can work out badly. And sadly, although her writing and the flow of it was good Article 5 fell flat for me. With only elements of things I enjoyed and more elements of things I didn't, I only gave this 2 stars. 
Will I continue with this series? Well I liked it enough to want to carry on to see how things work out, but I most definitely won't be rushing for book 2. If I enjoyed this as much as I was hoping it would I would be extremely excited to read book 2.
Overall, not the most fantastic read, but I like it enough to carry on with the series...eventually. By all means, read it guys, don't let me one not so good review deter you from it. But just be prepared for a Dystopia that I feel lacks any Dystopia at all.

A Review for Anna Dressed In Blood (Anna #1) by Kendare Blake

Posted by Jess
Expected UK Release Date:  July 5th, 2012
Finished Date: June 20th, 2012
Publishers: Orchard Books
Source: For Review
Format:  Paperback
Pages: 367
Buy : Amazon UK / Amazon US / The Book Depo

Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story...
Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.
So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.
When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn’t expect anything outside of the ordinary: move, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, but now stained red and dripping blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.
And she, for whatever reason, spares his life.
The Review: “I’ve been Obeahed by an Obeahman? Is this like how the Smurfs say they smurfing smurfed all the time?” -Cas 
Well this was deliciously creepy. This is the second ghost story I've read, and frankly the creepiest of the two. It very much reminded me of Supernatural. Cas is a fantastic character and you're pretty much sucked into his life from page one. He's a strong character who does his job well. I always enjoy male protagonists, I find them refreshing because there are so few in YA these days. And to have a male protagonist who is witty and smart, cute and strong pretty much sells the book. He's like a young Dean Winchester. (I know).
Kendare has managed to creep out and intrigue the reader from the get go and as a reader that's pretty much what I want. With all it's creep-tasticness the book was a fab read.  If you enjoy creepy YA novels then this is pretty much the book you want to pick up. Anna Dressed in Blood is full of all the gruesome descriptions, all the ghosts and the spooky descriptions of the atmosphere surrounding Cas and his friends. Kendare Blake has a way with words. Her writing seems almost poetic with her dark descriptions and gory details. It really does just flow, you're never really left feeling denied with anything and you're always left with a shiver along your spine.
As far as romance goes. There is some, but it isn't the sole focus of the story. And if anything I was sort of relieved. This may sound a little weird considering I enjoy reading vampire/human romances (they're dead too) the idea of a ghost being a love interest never really got me. I just never understood how that relationship would even work? However, having said that, when the romance between Cas and Anna does start to kindle it is executed beautifully. Which brings me to the ending. One hell of an ending that will pretty much have you thinking WTF?! It's going to make you want to read the next book. Sadly for the UK it isn't released until early next year I believe but US residents will have it in August. 
Overall I enjoyed Anna Dressed in Blood a lot more than I thought I would. I wasn't scared like I thought I would be just thoroughly creeped out a lot along the way. If you want to read something fast and are looking for some new YA horror than definitely give Anna a go. You may be pleasantly surprised. Or pleasantly scared.
Note: Thank you to Orchard Books for sending me an advanced copy. Please also note although this is for YA there is some coarse language and a fair bit of bloody horror that may not be for the easily scared or offended. 

Friday 29 June 2012

A Review for Clarity (Clarity #1) by Kim Harrington

Clarity (Clarity, #1)Posted by Donna
Release Date: June 4th, 2012
Finished Date: June 24th, 2012
Publishers: Scholastic 
Source: ARC For Review
Format: Paperback 
Pages: 264
Buy : Amazon UK / Amazon US / The Book Depo

Clarity “Clare” Fern sees things. Things no one else can see. Things like stolen kisses and long-buried secrets. All she has to do is touch a certain object, and the visions come to her. It’s a gift.
And a curse.
When a teenage girl is found murdered, Clare’s ex-boyfriend wants her to help solve the case—but Clare is still furious at the cheating jerk. Then Clare’s brother—who has supernatural gifts of his own—becomes the prime suspect, and Clare can no longer look away. Teaming up with Gabriel, the smoldering son of the new detective, Clare must venture into the depths of fear, revenge, and lust in order to track the killer. But will her sight fail her just when she needs it most?

The Review: Clarity “Clare” comes from a family who have special gifts. Her mother can read people’s minds, her brother is a medium and Clare is a physic.  Coming from this family sounds cool right? Wrong! Clare doesn’t like it because her family are labelled as freaks or con artists from the local people. When a teenage girl is found murdered, Clare’s ex-boyfriend;  Justin, convinces his dad that Clare can help them solve the murder, so she’s teamed up with him and the hot new guy; Gabriel. But with the more information they uncover, all the evidence is pointing to her brother Perri, so Clare sets out to prove everyone wrong.
I really enjoyed this book. It was an interesting, quick and intense read, one that captivated me from start to finish. Even though I’ve read books similar to Clarity, Kim Harrington did a great job putting her own personal touches on it that made the story thrilling, entertaining and loveable. There is a ton of twist and turns through-out this story that really keep you on your toes. It’s hard to predict who the killer is leaving the ending quite a shocker.
The characters were a joy to read about. I loved every one of them. Clare is very down to earth and she always tries to do the right thing. She’s not afraid to stand up for herself to the school bullies – which I loved. I’m glad she didn’t hide away from them. The boys were just as great. Firstly we see Justin and even though he is Clare’s ex, he’s still a very likeable character. He’s made a mistake but he seems genuinely sorry about it.  The author makes it hard to not like Justin. And then there’s Gabriel, who you instantly like, but then hate, and then you really like. So it’s a tough love triangle but I have to say I think I’m Team Gabriel. I loved finding out his back story and I have high hopes that maybe one day, Clare will be able to help him find his sister. 
Overall, Clarity is a thriller, mystery and paranormal story all wrapped in one and it really works well together. Kim Harrington has entered the YA market with a storm and I can’t wait to see what comes next. 
A huge thank you to Scholastic for giving me the opportunity to review this book. 

Thursday 28 June 2012

Blog Tour for Second Chances by Rita Oberlies; Author Interview + eBook Giveaway (Int)

Second ChancesSecond Chances by Rita Oberlies
Release Date: May 15th, 2012
Publishers: Indulgence - Entangled
See Donna's Review: HERE
Follow Rita: Twitter / Website / Entangled / Goodreads

Will the past keep them apart…

High-powered attorney Luke Braden knows that perfection only comes once in a lifetime, and for him it came and went in the form of his college girlfriend, Brenna Morgan. Circumstances beyond his control separated them before, but now that she’s back in Boston, Luke won’t let her slip away again.

…or give them a second chance at love?

For Brenna Morgan, returning home is the very last thing she wants, especially when it means facing the man who once became her salvation—and then dumped her at the first sign of trouble. But Luke is determined to make up for his past mistakes, and Brenna finds herself weakening against him. A decade of deceit lies between them, and he’ll have to fight if he wants to keep his second chance at love.

1) What inspired you to write “Second Chances”?’
I have a mild obsession with second chance romances. They are sort of my ‘go to’ theme.  This story first popped into my head when I was reading my college alumnae magazine. I saw an update on a couple that I had known years ago. They had an on-again, off-again relationship back then but wound up getting married.

2) How long did it take to write?
The original story probably took about four months. I ended up scrapping the whole thing because I decided to go in a completely different direction with the core conflict. That was the first time I’ve ever done that with a book.  My next attempt took even longer – maybe six months before I felt it was ready for submission.

3) Who was your favourite character to write?
I think I enjoyed writing Luke most of all. In my mind he was a perfect mix of alpha and beta hero. Brenna was more difficult because she came from a dysfunctional family and while I wanted her to be a sympathetic character, I also wanted her to be strong and independent.

4) Are the characters based on anyone in real life?
No. I’ve never actually written a character based on a real person.  I think that might inhibit my ability to flesh them out in my head. To be honest I’m more apt to pick up a kernel of a storyline idea from a headline in the paper or a two second scene from a television show.

5) What’s your favourite quote from the book?
That is a wicked tough question. Reading my own work puts a knot in my stomach. Maybe this exchange because it shows Luke’s vulnerability:
“I’m not kicking you out,” she said, shrugging her arms into her discarded shirt.
“Sure you are.” He brushed his index finger across her lower lip to stop her from responding. “And if that hurts my feelings...well, that’s my problem.”
“I don’t regret having sex with you.”
He lowered his head, breaking eye contact with her. “Fair enough. And I don’t regret making love with you tonight.”

6) What are your thoughts on the book cover?
Book covers are tricky because it’s almost impossible for the artist to recreate what was in your head. I won’t lie – it’s easier to be disappointed than it is to be happy. Second Chances is the first cover I’ve had that I’ve genuinely loved without reservation. In my mind it fit the mood of the story and captured the image I had of both Brenna and Luke.

7) What are you working on now?
I am desperately trying to wrap up a sports themed story that I’ve been tweaking for the past month. As soon as I reached the final chapter I realized I wanted to rewrite an important secondary character. For better or worse it’s having a huge impact on the plot, which means some major revisions.

Fun questions:
Favourite Season?
Spring. I love the promise of summer even more than I like the actual season.
Favourite Ice-cream flavour?
Watermelon Sherbet
Favourite Movie?
Say Anything
Favourite Song?
“I’ll Stand By You” from the Pretenders
Favourite Outdoor Activity?
Visiting the zoo. I’ve had a membership for the past eight years because my husband and I take our boys there all the time.
Favourite Food?
Chicken Fajita Wraps from Applebees
Favourite Drink?
Diet Dr. Pepper

Thank you for joining us Rita and good luck with the book. 

Rita OberliesAbout the Author: Rita Oberlies grew up in the Boston area, the youngest in a family of six children.  At an early age she developed an addiction to books, baseball and the beaches of Cape Cod.
After graduating from Villanova University with a degree in English, Rita spent almost a decade pursuing a professional career in Employee Development.  With the arrival of two children, Rita began writing stories during those brief periods of time when her young sons were sleeping.
Today Rita resides in Western New York with her husband, their young boys, and a pair of adopted shelter dogs. Despite her best efforts, she remains addicted to books, baseball and the beaches of Cape Cod. Her novel, Second Chances, is her third published book.
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Wednesday 27 June 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (#21)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. 

Jess's WoW
Deeper Into You (Crossfire #2)
by Sylvia Day
Release date: October 2nd, 2012
Gideon Cross. As beautiful and flawless on the outside as he was damaged and tormented on the inside. He was a bright, scorching flame that singed me with the darkest of pleasures. I couldn't stay away. I didn't want to. He was my addiction... my every desire... mine.
My past was as violent as his, and I was just as broken. We'd never work. It was too hard, too painful... except when it was perfect. Those moments when the driving hunger and desperate love were the most exquisite insanity.
We were bound by our need. And our passion would take us beyond our limits to the sweetest, sharpest edge of obsession...
Jess's Thoughts: Very excited about this. I loved Bared To You. Although I'm not a fan of this cover I can't wait to get to Gideon Cross and all his flaws. I simply cannot wait until this book is released. I'm so excited. I love the series so far and I can't wait for more from Gideon and Eva.

Donna's WoW
Scent of Magic (Healer, #2)
Scent of Magic

by Maria V.Synder
Release date: 2013

Hunted, Killed - Survived?
As the last Healer in the Fifteen Realms, Avery of Kazan is in a unique position: in the minds of her friends and foes alike, she no longer exists. Despite her need to prevent the megalomanical King Tohon from winning control of the Realms, Avery is also determined to find her sister and repair their estrangement. And she must do it alone, as Kerrick, her partner and sole confident, returns to Alga to summon his country into battle.
Though she should be in hiding, Avery will do whatever she can to support Tohon’s opponents. Including infiltrating a holy army, evading magic sniffers, teaching forest skills to soldiers and figuring out how to stop Tohon’s most horrible creations yet; an army of the walking dead - human and animal alike and nearly impossible to defeat.
War is coming and Avery is alone. Unless she figures out how to do the impossible ... again.
Donna's thoughts: I adored the first book and totally fell in love with the characters, so I'm dying for this book. Maria did a great job with Touch of Power, so I know this will be fantastic plus more Kerrick!!
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 26 June 2012

A Review for Deadly Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock

Deadly HemlockPosted by Donna
Expected Release Date: July 5th, 2012
Finished Date: May 23rd, 2012
Publishers: Simon & Schuster UK
Source: For Review
Format: Paperback
Pages: 416
Buy : Amazon UK / Amazon US / The Book Depo

Mackenzie and Amy were best friends. Until Amy was brutally murdered.
Since then, Mac’s life has been turned upside down. She is being haunted by Amy in her dreams, and an extremist group called the Trackers has come to Mac’s hometown of Hemlock to hunt down Amy’s killer: A white werewolf. 
Lupine syndrome—also known as the werewolf virus—is on the rise across the country. Many of the infected try to hide their symptoms, but bloodlust is not easy to control. Wanting desperately to put an end to her nightmares, Mac decides to investigate Amy’s murder herself. She discovers secrets lurking in the shadows of Hemlock, secrets about Amy’s boyfriend, Jason, her good pal Kyle, and especially her late best friend. Mac is thrown into a maelstrom of violence and betrayal that puts her life at risk. Kathleen Peacock’s thrilling novel is the first in the Hemlock trilogy, a spellbinding urban fantasy series filled with provocative questions about prejudice, trust, lies, and love.

The Review: 4.5Deadly Hemlock is one of them books that I went into with no expectations,  so I was thrilled that this book utterly surprised me. It threw me so many amazing surprises that overall, it was a fantastic read. 

In Deadly Hemlock werewolves are no longer in hiding after being discovered by the government. The werewolf gene called the ‘Lupine Syndrome’ is being spread to other people by bites or scratches.
Mackenzie lives in a town called Hemlock and she is trying to deal with the death of her best friend, Amy who was brutally murdered by a werewolf. However, Amy isn’t the first person to be killed, and a man hunt is starting to take place, to wipe all the werewolves out. Mackenzie however, believes there is more to Amy’s death than what she’s been told, and takes it upon herself to find out the truth. But what she isn’t prepared for are the secrets and lies that come out, and thing turn dangerous very quickly for her. Can Mackenzie solve Amy’s murder without getting herself killed? And can she protect the people she loves?

Finally – another werewolf story that is on par with Andrea Cremer’s Nightshade series. I love werewolf stories, but the one’s I’ve read recently all tend to have the same story line, so I’m so pleased that Deadly Hemlock is completely and utterly unique. In my opinion this story has quite a dystopian feel to it – especially with the werewolves being so out in the open, so I was shocked to find out it’s being classes as an urban fantasy, however dystopian or urban fantasy, it was fantastic nonetheless.

The characters were a joy to read about too. Mackenzie, Jason and Kyle have all lost their way since losing Amy – some more than others, but with Mackenzie’s strong personality trying to keep them all together, it was nice to see how tight their friendship was. Mackenzie really was a stand out character for me, I adored both her relationships with both boys and I think the author did a great job with the love triangle too.  I’m usually one that isn’t keen on love triangles, but the author didn’t make it the key point in the book; it was more a back-story and it was great. She really left me battling with who I wanted Mackenzie to end up with and overall, I’d be happy with either one of them.

Kathleen Peacock really has created a thrilling, suspenseful and captivating read with Deadly Hemlock. It's filled with secrets, lie’s, hope and love, and I loved every minute of it. Highly recommend to paranormal fans that are looking for a new and exciting series. 

A huge thank you to Simon & Schuster UK for giving me the opportunity to review this book.

Monday 25 June 2012

US vs UK - Special 50th Edition Giveaway! (Int)

Welcome to Book Passion for Life's 50th US vs UK book cover battle. 

The idea of this battle is once a week we'll post 2 sets of books of our choice, one US cover and one UK cover, and we'll just give our opinion on which one we love the most. Which cover captures the story, which one would catch our eye if we saw it on the shelf in a shop. The US cover will be on the left, and the UK cover will be on the right.

The Scores so far are:
US: 13  UK: 16  Draw: 20

US vs UK Round 50

 The Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Masque of the Red Death (Masque of the Red Death, #1)VS  Masque of the Red Death

Jess says: Ooh a book I want to read! I love both of these covers. The US is beautiful but I think I'm going with the UK just because it's matched the cover with the title of the book, having the mask there with blood splatter it's super cool.

Donna says:  I really want to read this book - which I have but haven't gotten around to it yet. Cover wise though, I'd have to pick the US. It's stunning! I do like the UK one but the US really tops it. 

Add it to your Goodreads TBR list:

Clarity by Kim Harrington

Clarity (Clarity, #1) VS  Clarity (Clarity, #1)

Jess says: Both pretty covers, but I think I'm going with the UK. I like it a lot more. Something about it just attracts.

Donna says: Oohh the UK wins this one. I love the different colours of blue in the back ground and you can see the girl on the cover a little better. The US one is pretty but it almost hurts my eyes to look at it because it's so bright.   

Add it to your Goodreads TBR list:

Which do you prefer? Leave us your comments below!! =) 

Okay guys, this weeks US vs UK goes to........UK!

Special 50th Edition! 
Since starting the blog back in March 2011, US vs UK is the longest running weekly meme on our blog, so to celebrate our 50th battle, we're doing a giveaway. We've looked back through the old battles and found the top 5 battles with the MOST comments from you guys, so the books from the battle will be the books used for the giveaway. 
So ONE lucky winner can pick ONE book from the list below. 
Some of the books are pre-orders, so it maybe a few weeks before you actually receive it. AND you can pick between the US and UK edition (Providing we can order them in the UK)  So if you want to enter then as normal, fill out the rafflecopter form below.
Abandon (Abandon Trilogy #1) Angel Fire (Angel, #2) A Million Suns (Across the Universe, #2) Stolen Night (Vampire Queen, #2)
Hemlock (Hemlock, #1) Seraphina Pushing the Limits
Graffiti Moon Insurgent (Divergent, #2) Fated (Soul Seekers, #1)

Giveaway will run until the 30th July 2012
It's International - PROVIDING The Book Depo ships to you.
There are tons of extra entries. Of course, they're not required to win but it will help your chances. 
So what are you waiting for? GO ENTER NOW and don't forget to come back next week for more US vs UK! 
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Sunday 24 June 2012

A Review for The Golden Lily (Bloodlines #2) by Richelle Mead

Posted by Jess
Release Date:  June 12th, 2012
Finished Date: June 17th, 2012
Publishers: Razorbill
Source: Bought
Format:  Paperback
Pages: 418
Buy : Amazon UK / Amazon US / The Book Depo

The second thrilling instalment in Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy spin off series
Tough, brainy alchemist Sydney Sage and doe-eyed Moroi princess Jill Dragomir are in hiding at a human boarding school in the sunny, glamorous world of Palm Springs, California. The students--children of the wealthy and powerful--carry on with their lives in blissful ignorance, while Sydney, Jill, Eddie, and Adrian must do everything in their power to keep their secret safe. But with forbidden romances, unexpected spirit bonds, and the threat of Strigoi moving ever closer, hiding the truth is harder than anyone thought.
Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, Richelle Mead's breathtaking Bloodlines series explores all the friendship, romance, battles, and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive. In this second book, the drama is hotter, the romances are steamier, and the stakes are even higher.

The Review: "Nice blouse, Sage," he told me, deadpan. "It really brings out the khaki in your pants." -Adrian
Well, Richelle Mead never disappoints. I loved Bloodlines when I read it last year, and I loved this even more. Richelle, like with all her books always finds a way to suck you in from the start. Her characters get right in there, and you connect with them from the get go. There was nothing different about The Golden Lily with regards to that. It was amazing, and it felt really good to get back with the characters. 
Sydney has come a long way from the days of Vampire Academy. Back then she wasn't overly likable. But now having seen her story from the beginning in Bloodlines to now, she's very likable. She isn't Rose, but that's fine. To begin with Sydney is against vampires, but this is based on what she has been taught all her life by the other Alchemists. She follows the instructions and the rules. She tries not to get emotionally involved but from working so close with Jill, Eddie and Adrian she learns that maybe vampires aren't all that bad, but human can be just as evil.
Adrian is back. Oh boy is he back. He's still his witty self. Full of charisma and charm. I didn't realise how much I really missed him until he came back in the book. As most of you will know I've always been Team Dimitri, but reading this series will make you love Adrian just as much. He doesn't take away the love I have for Dimitri, but he's a perfectly good substitute for it. You'll be pleased to know that Dimitri does in fact make an appearance, he's very much a secondary character now, and that's fine, because there's enough story and enough Adrian to help you through it.
The plot itself went from strength to strength. Like all Richelle Mead they're never predictable, and always full of shocks and revelations that leave the reader reeling and wanting more. This was no different. I was completely enthralled. Although it had been a while since I'd read Bloodlines, and I probably should have done a re-read, but in all honesty, Richelle adds refresher hints through out the book that it all eventually comes swinging back to you. There was constant action, new characters, old characters and well thought out plot that leaves you interested and keen to go on reading. 
The ending to this book...killed me. You'll find out why when you read this. It made me want to scream, but this is what Richelle does best with her books. She leaves you wanting to scream and also wishing that the next book was right there. And the ending to The Golden Lily is no different.
Overall, The Golden Lily, was wonderful. I couldn't get enough of it. With it's mystery, unpredictability and witty repartee between the characters, provides for a very addictive read that will simply leave you wanting more and more.
I look forward to reading book 3 The Indigo Spell, February 2013 cannot come soon enough.

Saturday 23 June 2012

Guest Post: Sirenz Back in Fashion + International Giveaway

Sirenz Back in Fashion
Sirenz Back in Fashion 
by Charlotte Bennardo & Natalie Zaman
Expected Release Date: June 1st, 2012 
Buy : Amazon UK / Amazon US / The Book Depo
For more details click HERE

In Sirenz, boarding school roomies Meg and Shar learned the hazards of making a deal with Hades, Lord of the Underworld. 
The wearing of a Tiffany's diamond ring in Sirenz Back In Fashion reactivates their contract, they find themselves back in his employ as sirens. And things are a little different this time; Shar is whisked off to the Underworld to play hostess as the dark god attempts to win her affections, while Meg is stuck topside, obligated to send spoiled rich girl Paulina Swanson to the Underworld. Hot gods, mere mortals and the Underworld have their secrets. 
Will Meg and Shar ever ditch Hades, and keep their wardrobes and souls intact?

Do writers name their characters after people they actually know—friends, relatives… potential targets of vengeance? Some do, and some don’t.
Cynthia Leitich Smith (Tantalize Series, Diabolical) does. “Yes, I’ve used a handful of family and friends’ names. In my first book, Jingle Dancer, “Cousin Elizabeth,” “Great Aunt Sis,” and “Mrs. Scott” were all named after family members.
While Jay Asher (Th1rteen R3asons Why, The Future of Us), Medeia Sharif (Bestest. Ramadan. Ever.), Amalie Howard (Bloodspell), and Shannon Delaney (13 To Life Series), Lia Habel (Dearly Departed) and Jon Skovron (Misfits, Struts and Frets, Manmade Boy) all avoid it. “No, it would feel too weird, I’m writing fiction, not a memoir,” says Sharif. Howard adds, “No, I totally make them up. I like my names to be unique but relatable.” Delaney feels that “I don’t want anyone to think they know who influenced the personality of which character. Skovron feels that people are “already reading into everything to see if they’re ‘in there.’” Also, he adds, there ‘is a danger, when choosing a name loaded with meaning that you might not be able to see the character clearly.” He cites naming a character after a son, could you kill that character off? Habel, too, says no. “I’m deathly afraid of insulting anyone [if character is dealing with same issues as a person.]”
But even if you sometimes use the names of family and friends for main characters, you need others. How do these authors choose names? “I choose names based on their sound for where they appear in the manuscript,” says Asher, “and next to other names in the scene. I check the baby names on the Social Security Administration website for the year that my character was born. At least a few of my characters need names that appear in the top twenty in order for the book to sound realistic.”
Sharif likes to “peruse baby name websites. I always go to those first and usually don’t have to look elsewhere.”  Says Howard, “…Most times, it’s a version of a name someone already knows…especially the shortened, non-popular form of Victoria—Tori.” For her novels, Delaney says “Mostly I use sites like www.Behind The to come up with names—especially since my characters names usually have a meaning that hints at their true self or the plot.” And Smith, who’s always searching for names, says “I make a note of them when I meet waiters, young readers, anybody. In framing out a cast, I try to vary by number of syllables, first and last letters, and dominant vowels—to make them easier for my readers to keep track of.” Habel says that “Names generally come to me quite randomly on the fly and later I find out that they’re perfect.” Like others, she looks at the meanings of the names, links to biblical, mythological or even literary references besides the actual meanings of the names. Neither does Skovron have what he calls a “strict method,” but has used biblical monikers. Dagon, Astarte and Belial are names and characters “lifted directly from mythology” and he’s put his own spin on.
How do we pick our characters’ names?
Char: In Sirenz Back In Fashion, I named my character Sharisse’s grandmother after my own, Estelle. It’s done in a complimentary way, and my grandmother approved before the book was printed, so that worked out.
And feeling mischievous, I gave Sharisse my maiden name, Johnson. Sharisse was chosen because I wanted a ‘fluffy, girly’ name that wasn’t Heather, or Tiffany. Funny thing is, I had a friend with a horse named Cherie, and I always thought I would have named the horse ‘Sharisse’ (or Cherise) for a little more flair.
In other novels, I’ve used the first names of my mother, sister, and sons. I generally avoid using the names of friends because a) if they don’t like one thing about the character, it could cause problems; b) do one, and all my friends will be wanting a character to have their name and it’s bad enough with the relatives; c) they have names I hear all the time, so I want something different; and finally, d) if I use their names, I associate their characteristics—unintentionally—to my character. My character has to be free to tell me what they’re like, and that includes what their name is.
Nat: Char will tell you that I’ve driven her and the rest of our critique group insane with my character name changing. Sometimes a name will just stick, other times it takes a while for it to come out. My current works in progress are somewhat historical, so I’ll dig into my history books and hit up period websites for name ideas. Graveyards are also interesting places to find names.
For Sirenz, Meg’s name was based in two people—well, one person and one… character. Meg was named for Meg White of the White Stripes. Her real name is Megan Martha White, and in my brain, which is often muddled, I condensed Megan Martha to Margaret. I know, crazy. Her last name, Wiley, is for Wile. E. Coyote, my favorite cartoon character. He and Meg share a kind of underdog determination, but she never gets pianos dropped on her head (she and Shar have bigger problems!).
And I maintain the opinion that Char named Shar after herself  > : )

 About the Authors:
Nat: When not playing with pointed objects, Natalie Zaman is usually writing. She lives in central New Jersey with her family and several fine looking chickens.Visit Natalie:  Website / Blogspot 
Char: Lover of sparkly things, Char doesn't have as many shoes as she'd like, but wouldn't have time to wear them anyway with her three boys, husband, cat with issues, demented squirrels and insistent characters all demanding her time. She is represented by Natalie Lakosil of the Bradford Literary Agency and is hoping to get all her characters into print just so they'll be quiet. Visit Char: Website / Blogspot
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