Monday, June 6, 2016

Review: Evernight (Darkest London #5) by Kristen Callihan

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Toe curling romance which will leave you breathless
Title: Evernight
Series: Darkest London
Author: Kristen Callihan
Publisher: Piatkus, UK
My ratings: 5 out of 5 stars
Released: 26th August, 2014
Being quite particular about my Paranormal Romances, every time I pick a Darkest London Book, I know I will enjoy it. Kristen Callihan is my auto buy author and her Darkest London Books are PNR gems. (Read my review of Firelight, Moonglow and Shadowdance here, here and here)

Evernight is no different. Holly Evernight is a SOS operative with a genius and inventive mind. But her past catches up with her in the form of Will, the man whose heart she replaced with one of her inventions. While she is suffering from the affects of her abduction in the previous book, the deranged Will is determined to kill her. With a set up like this, how could I not be invested in this book.

This couple had been hinted in the previous book and even then I was rather intrigued by Will, the Sanguine Demon. Needless to say that he completely won me over in Evernight. He had a dirty mind and even dirtier tongue. Someone like him paired with the prim and composed Holly, promised to have fire and it delivers. I loved the fact that the only way Will could stave his madness by physically touching Holly. Ha! From the get go we had a touchy feel-y couple who almost hated each other. Filled will palpable sexual tension which will have you licking your lips, Evernight was extremely enjoyable.

I am amazed at how deftly Kristen Callihan has expanded the Darkest London world. It is even more incredible that it all started with a mysterious man with a mask. Archer will forever be my favourite hero written by her, even if Will came close, Archer will always have a special place in my heart.

If you a fan of Paranormal Romance, the Darkest London series is a must read. In fact if you haven't read a single book in this series I would ask if you have been living under a stone? Evernight has toe curling romance, awe inspiring world building and character who are not only complex but broken and real. Do yourself a favour and pick this series.

Review copy provided by the publisher


Thursday, June 2, 2016

Review: Paper Butterflies by Lisa Heathfield

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Raw and powerful, this story will stay with you for a long time
Title: Paper Butterflies
Author: Lisa Heathfield
Publisher: Electric Monkey, UK
My ratings: 5 out of 5 stars
Released: 30th June, 2016
R eading Seed by Lisa Hetfield had been an experience and an eye opener for me. Tugging at my heart string the ending had left me wanting more. So I went in to Paper butterflies with a little trepidation and hope that she will blow my socks off with her writing. And I’m pleased to report she successfully does.

Paper Butterflies is the story of June who lives with her step mother and stepsister along with her busy father. On the surface it may look like a happy family, but it’s hiding dark secrets just under its surface. Amongst it all June’s ray of light in her life is Blister, her secret friend who belongs only to her and is untainted by her life.

I adored this book, in a way even more than Seed. It is clear that Lisa Heathfeild is coming into her own with her writing because each book is getting better than the last. I left the premise vague as I believe some of the emotions you feel from the plot is derived from the slow unveiling of June’s life.

Paper Butterflies is not for the faint hearted as it deal of a lot of issues life, racism, abuse, bullying and neglect. At many instances I found myself tearing up and getting angry, balling my fists and ready to exact some revenge on June’s behalf. I’m a person with coloured skin but fortunately I have never experienced racism or bullying yet.

But what is so special about this book you ask as there are a dime a dozen books with address similar themes you ask? Well, it’s the authors writing. She writes with such gentleness for her characters that I feel, she genuinely cares about them. Horrific events may occur to these characters but not once do I feel that the author is using it as a plot device instead she imbibes them with so much innocence despite the cruelty around them that it tears the reader apart. I truly feel that she is an expert in ‘showing’ instead of ‘telling’ and that is what digs a hole in your heart.

Overall, a fabulous, heart wrenching, throat clogging emotional storying which hits you where it hurts. A must read for anyone and everyone.

Review copy provided by Electric Monkey via NetGalley Releases on the 30th June, 2016

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Review: The Problem With Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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Gut wrenchingly beautiful
Title: The Problem with Forever
Author: Jennifer L . Armentrout
Publisher: Mira Ink, UK
My ratings: 4 out of 5 stars
Released: 1st June, 2016
T
he Problem with Forever is the story of Mallory and Rider. Having been grown up together as foster kids in a house where they were regularly abused and Rider was the one friend Mallory relied on. He saved her time and time again, getting the beatings himself, but saving Mallory each time. However, the two kids are separated and with a stroke of luck, Mallory is snow is a loving family who have adopted her. Now she is ready to finally start school again but fate has other plans and she ends up meeting Rider again on her first day at school. Now that they have reunited, how will Mallory and Rider’s lives pan out from this moment on.

As far as foraying into YA contemporary books goo, it was a good attempt. With a solid plot with characters which grow through the course of the book. The plot never slowed for me and Mallory’s struggle with herself felt genuine and real to me.

While the whole abused foster kids struggling to cope as teenagers premise sounds familiar if not clich├ęd, the author still managed to keep my attention in the book. It was not simply about what had happened to these children but how they slowly growing up and getting over what was done to them. While some tragic events happened I felt that not only Mallory but Rider did a whole lot of maturing.

Jennifer L Armentrout writes sexual tension like no other and The Problem with Forever was no exception. On a side note, what is the trend with strange character names? Who is called Rider these days? Unless, I’m totally out of it? Also, there is also a prospective romance between Ainsley and Hector which I am curious about.

Over all, it was a solid, heart-warming contemporary romance book, which despite having the neglected foster kids arc, managed to hook me in to the very last minute.

Releases on the 1st of June, 2016 
Review copy provided by Mira Ink via NetGalley


Friday, May 27, 2016

Review: The Taming of the Drew by Stephanie Kate Strohm

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A light, fun read, perfect for summer.
Title: The Taming of the Drew
Author: Stephanie Kate Strohm
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
My ratings: 3 out of 5 stars
Released: 5th April, 2016
Ihonestly requested this book because I loved the cover and the premise seemed entertaining. And I'm pleased to say that's exactly what you get. Cass loves acting and performing. When she gets the chance she goes on a summer camp/ stage performance stint on Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew.

I adored how the writer was able to recreate the story by Shakespeare and build it within the modern world. With the progression of the stage performance the romance between Cass and Drew develops. They have a bad start. Cass thinks that Drew is a a horrid piece of work,obnoxious and annoying, so to teach him a lesson, she decides
to re-enact the play she is doing in real life and Tame Drew. However, fate has other plans and soon Cass' feelings towards Drew changes.

It was a light, fun and entertaining read. It did not delve into anything deep but that's what I was looking for at that time.It was hilarious at some points and had me chuckling away.

Over all, a sweet read which will make the time fly and make your heart lighter.

Review copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley


Monday, May 23, 2016

Review: Flamecaster (Shattered Realms #1) by Cinda Williams Chima

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A treat for any fantasy fan.
Title: Flamecaster
Series: Shattered Realms
Author: Cinda williams Chima
Publisher: HarperCollins, USA
My ratings: 4 out of 5 stars
Released: 5th April, 2016
After reading so many reviews about Cinda Williams Chima, I was on tenterhooks to find out what the fuss was about. Flamecaster is a spin off series from her hugely popular Seven Realms series. Unfortunately this ignorant and busy reader hasn't had the time to read it. In fact this was the first time I've ever heard of it.

Regardless, I started this book with high hopes and was pleasantly surprised at the writing and the plot. The book starts with some shocking events (especially for fans of the Seven Realms) in our protagonists young lives which shapes them as young adults. Ash is determined to assassinate the King and Jenna is desperately trying to hold the rebellion against the King. The story is more complicated than that but it was not boring one single point.

The world building is all consuming and has all the hallmarks of a seasoned writer who knows it inside out. The characters multifaceted which kept the story moving. I was also surprised how much I was enjoying the book even without the essential (at least for me) romance. In fact my main complaint is about the romance. I'm sorry to say that it has insta-love of the worst kind. Believe it or not they were kissing by their second meeting! That had me shaking my head as I did not expect an acclaimed author taking that route. I felt they had absolute no chemistry. In fact I felt that Ash and Lila had more chemistry.

All over it is a treat for any fantasy fans with plenty of fantasy elements, evil kings, mysterious foreign ambassador, assassins parading as healers, mages and dragons.

Review copy provided by the publisher, HarperCollins


Monday, May 16, 2016

Review: And I Darken (The Conquerors Saga #1) by Kristen White

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Welcome a new breed of YA heroine
Title: And I Darken
Series: The Conquerors Saga
Author: Kristen White
Publisher: Penguin Random House, UK
My ratings: 5 out of 5 stars
Released: 7th July, 2016
A And I Darken, is one of those rare breed of YA stories that makes you sit up and pay attention. Set in Eastern Europe in a time where not many books are set, it is more of a re-imagining of historical events than actual fantasy.

Imagine if Vlad the Impaler was not a man but a woman. How would the events unfold. We have Lada who is brutal, hard and vicious. And a delightful main character. I love this trend of dark heroines which brings a new flavour of heroines who are not just kick ass but are harsh and not afraid of embracing the darker side of life.

However, this story is not simply about Lada, but also follows her younger brother, Radu who is everything that Lada is not. Their relationship between them is convoluted and complex. Their love hate relationship had me on tenterhooks. Bring in Mehmed. Another complexity to these three peoples relationship and it is a recipe for the most festering, gritty and tortuous relationship I have ever read.

The story was a car crash I could not stop reading. The fierce wild Rada opposite the delicate, sly Radu set in an ever changing world of new religion and kingdoms, their abandonment shaped them as children and love and hatred kept changing them as adults.

This book explored so many aspects of life in the 500 years ago. What it means to be a woman? Is being physically strong the only way you can be powerful? Can you fight battles from court rooms? And what does it even mean to be an emperor? We had Rada hating her gender and trying her best to remove any form of feminity and loved that she discovers that sometimes being a women is how you fight your battles. While Radu was struggling with his own identity, his faith and his loyalties.

I hated the self-righteous Mehmed and I cannot explain the details without giving spoilers. What I can say is that this is one of the must read YA releases this summer, pushing the boundaries of YA story telling which will have you transfixed to the pages.

Review copy provided by the publisher, Penguin Random House, UK

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Review: A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court Of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas

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Heart breaking romance and evocative world building
Title: A Court of Mist and Fury
Author: Sarah J Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Publisher: Bloomsbury Books, UK
My ratings: 3 out of 5 stars
Released: 2nd May , 2016
This is going to be my difficult review to date. And furthermore, this will contain spoilers for the previous book and this book. So if you don’t want to be spoilt, look away now.This could have possibly been the best book I've ever read but I have such mixed feelings about the events that took place in this book.

So in this edition, our newly changed Fae, Feyre is back in Spring Court but still reeling from the events in ACOTAR. She is suffering from PTSD and unfortunately so is Tamlin. While they are suffering the threat of Rhys coming to make good on this bargain with Feyre looms over them.

*Start of Rant (spoilers ahead)*

Right now comes the rant, so while Feyre and Tamlin are struggling, instead on talking they start drifting away. Feyre being the whiny person she is, starts resenting Tamlin his happiness of being reunited with his family and friends. He tries to protect her from dangers around her, which I admit he goes about the wrong way of doing, pisses Feyre off and she decides to leave for the Night Court.

My rant aside, the rest of book from this point is beautiful. I think S. J Maas is an author who really listens to her readers and tries to fulfil their requests. Unfortunately in this case, she changed the love interest. I had suspected something like this may be pulled off in this series as hints were scattered in the first book, but the way it was done, so quick and brutal that it left me feeling jarred. In the book, it occurs in the course of 5 months but while reading the book, it all happens in the first 15% of the book. For readers who loved ACOTAR, which was more romance than fantasy and especially if you reread it before ACOMAF, then it hurts. S. J Mass sold the whole story of the first book on the romance between Tamlin and Feyre and suddenly both of them behaving so out of character was not only disappointing but made me angry. SO angry that I had to stop reading for 2 days to give myself time to get in terms with it.

ACOTAR was sold to me as the TRUE LOVE story based on the Beauty and the Beast and it was delivered. Then it takes a U turn and goes in a completely new direction. Needless to say, I was really annoyed. In fact I was more than annoyed. Secondly , the new love interest is portrayed in a holier than thou light and it takes away all that mystery and edge that I loved in the first place. Worst of all, it was achieved but putting the first guy in a negative light. This is what annoyed me the most. Why does Tamlin have to be suddenly the bad guy? Why can’t they just drift away rather than make Tamlin act in way he never would have! At one point, I was ready to give up but with the hype surrounding it, I gave it a try and didn’t regret it.

*Rant Over*

It was everything and more I could have asked in a fantasy adventure. It was so beautifully written, with nee exciting characters and old characters given new dimension. Rhys was portrayed in a completely new light and the romance of utterly toe tingling. The chemistry between Rhys and Feyre was OFF. THE. CHARTS. The flirtations, the sexual tension, the interaction, the little notes, I died with pleasure each time (even if a little part felt unfaithful to Tamlin).

The new characters introduced added a wonderful layer to the story and as the story unfold, so does Feyre’s world and the Fearie World unveils more of it’s secrets. I also enjoyed how much more background information was included giving every character nuances which were lacking in the previous book.

If I’m honest most of the book lacked a solid plot and until the very end, not much really happens unless you count the amazing sex scenes. Yes, ACOMAF is not a YA and I’d definitely call it NA. S. J Mass outdid herself.

Regardless of the above issues and Feyre’s annoying habit of changing her mind and turning Rhys into another tortured hero who needs the right woman, the book was fabulous. It was excellent, addictive, exciting and delicious. It was book which compelled me to keep reading and while I wasn’t I occupied my dreams. How I wish, Tamlin was not declared the ‘True Love’ in ACOTAR.

ACOMAF is a must read for all fantasy fans. Hell, it’s a must read for all reader who love a great story which will have your running to the bookstore to the next book.

Review copy provided by the publisher, Bloomsbury Books, UK


 

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