Sunday, June 28, 2015

Review: The Beautiful and the Cursed (The Dispossessed #1) by Page Morgan


Beautiful, charming and dark
Title: The Beautiful and the Cursed
Series: The Dispossessed
Author: Paige Morgan
Publisher:Hot Key Books, UK
My ratings: 4 out of 5 stars
Released: 3rd May, 2013
Gothic YA fantasy are rare and far in between, so when I found Page Morgan's the Beautiful and the Cursed, I wanted to give it a go. I enjoy fantasy novels and this book was no different. Ingrid, her sister and her mother move to Paris to an abandoned Abbey, to spend some time with their brother. But soon it is clear that he is missing. Determined to find him, Ingrid and Gabriella are soon embroiled into a centuries old curse. Being residents of the Abbey, they fall underneath the protection of Luc the resident young lad who works in the stables but is more than he appears to be. He is a Gargoyle, tasked with protecting the Abbey and fighting an intense attraction to Ingrid..

I really enjoyed this book and especially it's setting. While the plot was not spectacularly gripping nor the writing unique, it still kept me interested. The flow and the setting was beautiful and I found myself immersed in nineteenth century Paris, in it's dark gothic glory. The tall church spires and the e;elegant and ugly statues of gargoyles guarding building with their stern expressions and steely eyes.

For romance lovers, there is plenty to to relish as there are not one but so love stories sprouting in the midst of the confusion and mystery. While I was rooting for Ingrid and Luc's forbidden romance, Nolan's and Gabriella's romance made me slightly uncomfortable with Gabriella being 15 years old and Nolan nearly twenty. But looking at the fact that this was set 100 years ago, this was acceptable..

The Beautiful and the Cursed was a unique take in the crowded YA fantasy market. It may not have tried to achieve something new, it nevertheless kept me entertained. I could feel the cold and dark seeping into my very skin while imagining my characters walking through the beautiful streets of Paris in their charming dresses and carriages. The setting was dark, chilling and thoroughly chilling which begs I grab the second book and the third book which released last month.

Review copy provided by Hot Key Books, UK

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Review: The Baby by Lisa Drakeford


Sensitive and mature
Title: The Baby
Author: Lisa Drakeford
Publisher:Chicken House Books, UK
My ratings: 4 out of 5 stars
Released: 2nd of July, 2015
It's Olivia's birthday and she is having a great time, until she opens her bathroom door and finds her best friend giving birth. From then on, everything changes. The Baby is the story of five friends told in five perspective of the consequences and changes a baby brings in peoples lives. Especially in these circumstances, it changes lives but also people. .

Going too much into the plot will give the story away as the enjoyment of the book rests on how slowly facts are revealed and what you always suspected come true. I relished how subtlety and masterfully the author made me sympathises with a character I found deplorable. It showed what a profound effect children can have on people around them..

The Baby explores the relationship and dynamics between five people, how the arrival of a baby changes them for better or for worse. This is a smart book which explores many avenues including teen age pregnancies, sexuality, friendship and even abuse. .

Sensitive and mature yet The Baby manages to capture an essence of what it is like being a Teen with 'adult' problems. .

Review copy provided by Chicken House Books, UK. 

  Released on the 2nd July, 2015

Monday, June 22, 2015

Review: Suicide Notes From Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten


Raw, primeval with wild emotions
Title: Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls
Author: Lynn Weingarten
Publisher:Electric Monkey, UK
My ratings: 4 out of 5 stars
Released: 2nd of July, 2015
C alling this book a mixture of gone Girl and 13 Reasons why piqued my interest enough that I had to pick this book up and give it a go.I am being repeated surprised with contemporary books lately and suicide notes from Beautiful girls is no exception.

It starts of with June getting the news that her ex best friend had killed herself. Over the last few months Delia and June had grown apart. June is filled with regret and anguish about her sudden death but soon Delia Boy friend tells her how Delia couldn't have done it herself That she was murdered. June is convinced that Jeremiah is right and is determined to find the truth. the story is told from various POV with flash backs of the past. Through June's eyes we get to see Delia and love her as much as June did.

Wild, and uncontrollable Delia was everything June was not and both had a strange unbreakable bond which slowly withers away. I enjoyed this book immensely. I thought it was gripping and June's pain for her loss was palpable. We get flash backs of their childhood together and how they were each other's soul mates. Until the 'twist' happens. I think this is where the story loses it's steam. I can't go into it as it will be spoilery but the marketing tag lines gives it away. I suppose the author was trying to leave events to the reader's imagination but some times it I felt it required a little more explaining.

Besides the crazy plotlines towards the end, I really enjoyed the writing style. The choice of words and the descriptions for the emotions churning , were raw and primeval, making my palms clammy with fear.It invoked a sense was wildness in the story which was gripping, imaginative and gruesome. I ate it up.

I enjoyed the first half of the book but found the second half lacking with many plot threads left hanging without proper explanation. I'd definitely recommended it to YA fans, who like dark, thrilling contemporaries.

Releases 2nd of July, 2015 
Review copy provided by the publisher, Electric Monkey UK

Friday, June 19, 2015

Review: Hidden Huntress (The Malediction Trilogy #2) by Danielle L. Jensen


Trolls, witches, politics, music and magic
Title: Hidden Huntress
Series: The Malediction Trilogy
Author: Danielle L Jensen
Publisher: Angry Robot Books
My ratings: 4 out of 5 stars
Released: 2nd June, 2015
Stolen Songbird ended with a premise that had me panting for the second book. And Hidden Huntress does not disappoint. Cecile is in the capital city looking for Anoushka and living with her mother whom she despises. While she loves the singing and the stage, her search for the ancient witch gets riddled with hurdles. One meeting with the King of Trollus and watching Tristian being tortured, Cecile finds herself, under an oath to find Anoushka at any cost.

Told in dual points of views, this edition of The Malediction Trilogy, managed to show not only Cecile’s frantic search but also Tristian’s desperate attempts at keeping Trollus together. Unlike Stolen Songbird, Hidden Huntress had a different flavour to it. It feels like each book takes a different turn toward the ultimate goal. While in the first book, Cecile was trapped and looking for a way out, it was very much about the politics of Trollus and Cecile’s escape. In the second book, it was that and much more. We watch Cécile sinking into the depths of madness and Tristian torn between his wife and the plight of his own people.

Truth be told, this book was a slow starter for me. In fact I found Cécile’s POV less interesting while Tristian’s world filled me with intrigue and dread. However when eventually it all catches up, it is goes all out in a flurry of fireworks. Revelations and secrets out in the open, with Cecile and Tristian finally achieving what they set do, only to be forced to face an even greater foe.

I enjoyed Hidden Huntress immensely which delivered in every aspect as much as I expected. Thankfully it does not suffer the dreadful second book syndrome which Jenson beautifully crafted out the Trilogy, where each book feels like a new chapter in Cécile and Tristian’s lives. If I didn’t like Tristian before, I freaking loved him in this one and I’m sure you guys will too.

Review copy received by Publisher, Angry Robot Books, UK
Also check out my previous post where Danielle L Jensen talks about the French connections to her Malediction Trilogy 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Blog Tour of Eight Grave After Dark (Charlie Davidson #8) by Darynda Jones


Hello everyone. Today I’m really pleased to be blog tour stop of Eight Grave After Dark. I absolutely adore this series which not only ticks all the boxes of being an amazing Urban Fantasy series, these books are addictive, sexy, funny, witty and so much more. So for those people who have never read this series, (who don’t know what they are missing out) I’ve compiled a small list as to why someone should read the Charlie Davidson Series. However before we proceed, for those who are already familiar with this series, let’s take a quick look as to what’s in store for this edition of Charlie madness. And you folks, yes you, the new readers, close your eyes as I don’t want to give you spoilers.

Title: Eight Grave After Dark
Series: Charlie Davidson
Author: Darynda Jones
Publisher: Pistkus Books, UK
Released: 19th May, 2015
Charley Davidson has enough to be getting on with. She is, after all, incredibly pregnant and feeling like she could pop at any moment. But, just her luck, twelve deadly beasts from hell have chosen this time to escape, and they've made Charley their target. She takes refuge at the only place they can't get to her: the grounds of an abandoned convent. Before long, Charley also has a new case to hold her attention: the decades-old murder of a newly-vowed nun she keeps seeing in the shadows of the convent.

Add to that the still unsolved murder of her father, the strange behavior of her husband, and Charley's tendency to attract the, shall we say, undead, and she has her hands full . . . but also tied. While the angry hellhounds can't traverse the consecrated soil, they lurk beyond its borders like evil sentries, so Charley has been forbidden from leaving the sacred grounds and is powerless to get the answers she wants.

Luckily, she has her loyal team with her, and they're a scrappy bunch. They scour the prophesies, searching for clues on the Twelve, and their presence is comforting - it's almost as though they've all been drawn to her as part of a bigger picture . . . But the good feelings don't last for long because Charley is about to get the surprise of her crazy, mixed-up, supernatural life.

Eight Reasons to Read, the Charlie Davidson Series.

1.Charlie – She is the main protagonist and is a roaring laugh. She is someone you want to be forever friends with. She is a mixture of all the craziness you wanted from your best friend with an added dash of extra fun to it. She is hilarious, witty and sarcastic. Once you get to know her you’d want to be friends with her in real and go out on a girly night for some tequila shots.
2. Cookie - Charlie’s Best Friend. She is exactly what you need in a best friend. She fuels the fire that is Charlie and is always ever ready with her sassiness to brighten up your day. 2. Ghosts- There are ghost. Lots of them. As our main character is Charlie the Grim Reaper, plenty of ghosts abounds the pages of this series.
3. Mr. Wong – The resident ghost in Charlie’s apartment. He is always facing the wall in corner and never moves. Which is super creepy but it is hilarious.
4. Rip Roaring Comedy – This series is one of those few books which has made me laugh out loud. The dialogue, plotting and character interaction will leave you in stitches. I challenge you to read these books and not smile while doing so.
5. The Mystery- There is always a huge mystery to solve in each book and getting to the bottom is fun and exciting with Charlie bringing her own style of investigation.

6. Coffee - Yes, Charlie is a huge coffee addict and she can go without sleep for many days with just coffee as her fuel. Also seen in the the writer of this blog.  
7. Reyes- I saved the best for the last. Even if the above seven reasons don’t seem compelling enough to pick up this series, this dude will. When Reyes makes his first appearance in First Grave to the Left, he is a complete mystery. But is is smoking hot and poor Charlie stands no chance when he puts his game face on. Their relationship is a roller coaster ride which you cannot help but ride on. He alone can make these books stand on their own and the rest of the reasons are just icing on top. Read this book at your own peril as I’m sure you book boyfriend list will be reshuffled with Reyes in the top ten spot.
8. I said so.- After all the above reasons, you are still hesitating to read this, I’ll still say, indulge me and pick up the first book, First Grave to the Left and before you know it, you’d have read till Eighth Grave After Dark and looking for the ninth book.

Visit the other blogs below, who are also participating in the blog tour. 

Eight Grave After Dark has already been released in the UK by Piatkus Books. So go grab your copy today. 

Friday, June 5, 2015

Review: Seed by Lisa Heathfield


A twisted, ugly, raw emotion churning experience.
Title: Seed
Author: Lisa Heathfield
Publisher:Electric Monkey, UK
My ratings: 4 out of 5 stars
Released: 16th April, 2014
W hile I had Seed sitting on my Kindle for a while, I did not plan on reading until I saw the glowing recommendation by one of my fellow UK Book Blogger. She urged me to pick it up and I admit I'm grateful that she did.

It also took me a while to write a review for Seed as the book left my thoughts disarrayed and scattered. I will only give a vague premise as I strongly believe even a small detail can be spoilery. So Pearl lives in a farm called Seed, with her family. She is home schooled and and worships nature with their leader Papa S. Seed and it's life is what Pearl know until one day there are new comers who bring new scenarios and new questions with them.

I'm purposely being vague here as this book is something which should be gone into as blind as possible and the way things get revealed is half the fun. Pearl's life seems perfect to her and at first she hates the newcomers who bring uncertainty with them. The relationships between the people in Seed kept me on my edge of my seat. The whole set up so weird and twisted but reading from Pearl's point of view, it seemed the other way around. Ellis and his family bring the much needed change and then events starts unfolding rather quickly. Some of them are sweet while some of them were horrifying.

What I loved most about Seed was how there were different dynamics between each family member and how skilfully Lisa Heathfield manages to capture ever glare and glances which are telling yet leaving me asking me for more clarification. The author is a master of 'showing not telling' which gave so much depth to this book.

The ending is what left me utterly gobsmacked. I wasn't sure if I wanted to applaud or scream at my Kindle for the ending. I may warn you it felt like a cliff hanger to me.

This book is highly recommended to YA readers who want to try something new bored with the regular dystopian, contemporary romance, or fantasy. It was twisted, ugly, raw, emotion churning experience which I definitely want to repeat again and again. Do yourself a favour and try this book.

Special thanks to Michelle from Tales of Yesterday for her recommendation

Review based on a copy received from the publisher via Netgalley.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Review: The Fire Sermon (The Fire Sermon #1) by Francesca Haig


Intricate world building and complex characters
Title: The Fire Sermon
Series: The Fire Sermon
Author: Francesca Haig
Publisher: HarperVoyager, UK
My ratings: 3 out of 5 stars
Releases: 23rd February, 2015
T he Fire Sermon was one of my most highly anticipated books of early 2015. With the promotions running high I could not get my hands on this bad boy quickly enough. Alas, my relationship with this book turned out to be more complicated than I expected.

The premise is quite interesting. In a post apocalyptic world children are born as twins. One twin is unmarred and is called the Alpha while the other twin almost always has a physical disability marking them as the Omega. Now the Alphas blame all their misfortunes on these Omegas and they are ostracised and condemned. They would be eliminated but for the fact that if an Omega is hurt the Alpha feels it too. Zach and Cass twins but in their case, Cass is an anomaly. She is an omega without any surface marking but with a power to see slices of the future. This is the story about her.

I loved the way it started. The relationship between Zach and Cass was so complex, heart breaking and intense. While they loved each other the resent for the other was on the surface and sooner rather than later it emerges. Cass’ early life and her eventual imprisonment was interesting and set up for a riveting read. But then Cass escapes and pick up another Omega, Kip. Together they make their journey to the promised land of the Island, a last haven for the Omega. This is where things go down hill. While I enjoyed the growing relationship between Kip and Cass, it was mind numbingly slow. The whole journey was daunting but pointless. I’m not going to go into details but things don’t pick up until Piper appears.

However this reprieve does not last and before we know it the story slows down again. While I appreciate the world building the plotting was slow and failed to capture my interest. I put this book down several times and had to force myself to complete it months later.

Saying the above, the action picks up again toward the end. The last few pages were filled with revelations which shocked me and made me sit up and take notice. The ending was left open and after the shocking events I am keen to see where the story will go now.

To sum it up, The Fire Sermon may not be for everyone. It was a slow burning type of book, with intricate world building and fascinating lore appealing to a more mature fantasy fan base.

Review copy provided by HarperVoyager, UK


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