Saturday, October 18, 2014

Review: Land by Alex Campbell

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A Dystopia which doesn't shy away from important issues
Title: Land
Author: Alex Campbell
Publisher: Hot Key Books
My ratings: 3 out of 5 stars
Released: 4th September, 2014
This debut novel written by Alex Campbell revolves around Christy who lives in a city called The Land, which is surrounded by seas with only the great white walls protecting them from the ever increasing sea. Land is a dystopia, so we have the the government and a class systems leeching off the poor working class, the different classes are made to wear different colour to further distinguish between the classes. Christy is the daughter of a rebel who was executed by the government but there are rumours that he is alive. With rebellion brewing, her life partner being chosen by the government, Christy is soon embroiled in the politics, rebellion and soon finds herself torn between love, and loyalties.

The premise is quite interesting and the concept of the pairing is fascinating. I went into the book with an open mind, and was rewarded for it. I liked reading from Christy's Point of view and the people she cared and loved. I felt for Christy as everyone and everything that she loved was taken away from her and soon she had absolutely nothing. Her life unravelled and she had no control over it.

The various other character were interesting with a special mention to Salinger, added another layer to the drama. Though I liked the writing and the plot I wish a few plot lines were given more importance. I am still not sure what purpose Tobin's character had, and it's unclear what Christy thought of him. I wish there was more emphasis on the romantic plotlines.

I would also have to commend the author for not taking shortcuts and describing scenes which usually YA authors shy away from like death and childbirth. I liked that Alex Campbell unabatedly showed the atrocities of unplanned pregnancy and the horrors of childbirth. In fact some fighting scenes were quite graphic, which made the blood thirsty in my giggle with glee.

Overall, Land, was a interesting, though invoking dystopia, with a sweet romantic plotline and gory action and a ray of hope.

Review copy received from Hot Key books, UK



Tuesday, October 14, 2014

ARC Review: Darling Beast (Maiden Lane #7) by Elizabeth Hoyt

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A new flavour and spin to a historical romance.
Title: Darling Beast
Series: Maiden Lane
Author: Elizabeth Hoyt
Publisher: Piatkus Books, UK
My ratings: 3 out of 5 stars
Releasing: 14th October, 2014
Darling Beast is my second book by Elizabeth Hoyt. I have read To Seduce A Sinner and was blown away by the emotional depth she had managed to pack into a story which was basically a historical romance with a marriage of convenience. Therefore I went into Darling Beast with high expectations.

Apollo is Viscount Kilbourne, who has been condemned for murder and been sent to Bedlam. Now escaped, he is hiding in a burned Foley, working as a Gardner, to bring it back to life. Here he meets, Lily, an actress who is living in the ruins of the Foley with her son and her maid. A chance encounter leads to more and slowly, Apollo forms a bond with lily and her son Indio. Soon both him and Lily can't deny their attraction for each other, but can a condemned man, wanted for murder, ever get the happiness he craves?

While the premise was interesting, the story did not entice a lot of interest from me. It was refreshing to read a story where the heroine was not a virgin and the hero was not your classically handsome rake. Apollo was rough around the edges, so much so that Lily's son, thought that he was a huge, hulking monster.

While the characters were likeable and the plot mildly interesting, Darling Beast failed to make an impression on me. It was pleasant while reading it but as soon as the book was closed, it left my mind just as promptly.

The chemistry between Lily and Apollo was a little lacklustre and the plot was predictable. I felt that the most interesting character of them all was the Duke of Montgomery who was elusive and untrustworthy.

Overall, Darling Beast was an enjoyable read if unremarkable. It entertained me while it lasted but lacked the magic which would make me revisit any time soon.

Releasing on the 14th of October, 2014

Review copy received from Piatkus Book, UK




Sunday, October 12, 2014

ARC Review: Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes #1) by Sara Raasch

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A heroine with bite, sword and a brain.
Title: Snow Like Ashes
Series: Snow Like Ashes
Author: Sara Raasch
Publisher: Blazer+Bray, USA
My ratings: 4 out of 5 stars
Released: 29th September, 2014
With all the raving month's before the release of Snow Like ashes, I had to read this book immediately. Meira is on the run, with a band of her fellow refugees who have been banished from their country by the evil King in the neighbouring kingdom. Their queen was dead but their hopes of getting their kingdom back is not. Meira has been trained as a child to train as a warrior in the incoming war but it seems she has a crush Mather, the heir to the throne but this is not the lest of her troubles. As King Angra's evil gets darker so does the urgency to get Mather to the throne and hence begins Meira's adventure.

I have no idea how to start writing this review as I have so much to say and yet it all boils down to a few pint. so I'll try to keep this as succinct as possible. The best thing I enjoyed about snow Like Ashes was the world building. The idea about eight kingdoms with four seasons and four rhythms was intriguing. I loved how the author gave physical features of it's resident in line with their kingdoms. For example, Winter was obviously wintery and it's people had silver blond hair and blue eyes, while residents of autumn has red hair and ochre eyes. This gave a wonderful visual to the reader and I was immediately sucked it.

Meira on the other hand was a little hard to like in the beginning as she was stubborn and difficult but as the story moves on we get to see the changes in her, how she matures over the course of this book.

Readers will be pleased to also know that even though there are two love interests, there is no love triangle. It is clear whom Meira want. she may not be very clear about her feeling but it's evident whom she really likes. Mather when first introduced was everything a YA hero should have and then Theron walks in and steals my heart. I can't say more as I don't want to give away the plot, but I will assure you, this book has everything you would ask of a fantasy and more.

Snow Like Ashes had a heroine who showed growth and development, a swoon worthy hero you can root for, a villain you will truly despise, world building which paints a vivid colourful palate for your eyes to savour, action that will have you holding your breath with a dash of romance and a a gripping mystery which unfolds towards the end. I'd recommend it for all YA fantasy fans who like their heroines with a bite and who can actually swing a sword and kick some serious butt.

Releases on the 14th of October, 2014. Grab your copy now.

ARC provided by Balzer + Bray via Edelweiss


Thursday, October 9, 2014

ARC Review: Cover Him With Darkness by Janine Ashbless

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Beautiful, provocative and sensual
Title: Cover Him With Darkness
Author: Janine Ashbless
Publisher: Tempted Romance
My ratings: 5 out of 5 stars
Releases: 14th October, 2014
I absolutely love it when a book surprises me. I picked this after just reading the blurb and despite its lack lustre blurb I decided to give this a try. I am so glad I did. I was hooked from the first page.

Milja is the daughter of a Priest living high in the mountains and hiding a family secret. Her family is in charge of keeping a prisoner under the thousands of tons of rock. A man bound and captured in a cave deep within the mountain, naked and bound it her family's responsibility to fed it and ensure that it is keep here. Watching him since she was a little girl until one day she realises she is in love with him. When her father finds out he send her to the United States. Few years later, she comes back to tend to her ill father and all hell breaks loose. Will she uphold the request her father made or will she be compelled by her love to go release the man in pain.

It is due to books like these that I am willing to pick up new authors and new books. I want to be surprised, the rug snatched under my feet. Janine Ashbless was an unknown author to be but I am willing to pick up her works now that I have read Cover Him With Darkness.

Milda may be described as one of those heroines which may annoy some reader and she makes some very bad decisions. But under it all, she is a kind, and passionate person. She hides behind her meek fa├žade but she has been so passionately in love with a man trapped under her house that she cannot stop thinking about them. He has taken over her mind. Usually I would cringe in a situation where the heroine claims she is in love with a guy she barely knows and the same happens in this story but somehow I believe her. He is fascinated and equally terrified of this beautiful man about which she knows nothing about. Sexual, lush and seemingly inviting she knows she is smitten for life. Azazel is another ball game all together. Dark beautiful, passionate, and insane he seems obsessed with Milja. I found him so hard to understand and I wish he had more page time. In my opinion he is the one who moves the story forward. He is so hard to decipher and from millennia's worth of captivity he has gone slightly insane. He is volatile, powerful and compelling. He is the epitome of a tortured hero but I loved how he becomes so vulnerable where Milja is concerned. I'm still not sure how and what he feels but I desperately want to know more.

Then there is Egan is the beta to Azazel's alpha and while I do find him sweet and somewhat endearing I feel that he lacks Azazel's magnetism.

The sex scenes are beautifully written which are sexy. Provocative and sinfully delicious without being raunchy or cheap. With Azazel's enemies hunting Milja, only the next book will tell us what Milja has unleashed by releasing him.

The story was written with such flare and this deep sense of respect about all this angelic and religious that I could feel the author's research and reverie on the book. Milja is deeply religious due to her upbringing and so many quotes from the Bible and religious texts are used and so beautifully woven intot he story line that adds that extra bit of authenticity to this dark romance.

Cover Him in Darkness is one of those books which will take you by surprise you and makes you sit up and take notice. It seems low key but it's dark, beautiful, and intense. I do hope the Janine picks this up for a sequel as that will make me very. Very happy. Highly recommended for paranormal romance, and dark romance readers.

ARC received from Tempted Romance via Edelweiss


Monday, October 6, 2014

Book Blogger UKYA Awards - Winners!!!

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UKYA Award
Hello All!
Today I am here to announce the winners of the Book Blogger UKYA Awards! Before I do so, however, I just want to send out a quick thank you to every single person who nominated and voted.

I also want to take another minute to thank all of the wonderful bloggers who helped out.

Faye @ A Daydreamer’s Thoughts
Jim @ Ya Yeah Yeah
Caroline @ Big Book Littl
e Book
Daphne @ Winged Reviews
Lucy @ Queen of Contempora
ry
Debbie @ Snuggling on the Sofa
Luna @ Luna's Little Library
Sarah @ Feeling Fictional
Cicely @ Cicely Loves Books
Charli @ To Another World
Fi @ Bookish Outsider
Raimy @ Readaraptor
Michelle @ Much Loved Books Shaila @ Hush Hush Revealings
Andrew @ The Pewter Wolf
Sam @ The Little Munchkin Reader
Julianne @ This Fleeting Dream
Laura @ Bookish Treasures
Samina @ Escapism From Reality
Catriona @ Fabulous Book Fiend


But now onto what you're all really here for...

The Winners!


Funniest Book3 Best First Sentence1 Best Ending1 Most Heart-Breaking3 best contemporary1 best historical1 Best Crime-Mystery1 Best LGBT1 Best Horror1 Best Paranormal1 Best Sci-Fi-Fantasy1 Best Adventure1 Best Protagonist1 Best Friendship1 Best Couple1 Best Villain1 Best Self Published3 Most Social Author Online3 Most Social Author Offine Author Whose Mind You Wish Was Yours2

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL!




ARC Review: Exquisite Captive (Dark Caravan Cycle #1) by Heather Demetrios

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So much potential and a bigger disappointment
Title: Exquiste Captive
Series: Dark Caravan Cycle
Author: Heather Demetrios
Publisher: Blazer+Bray, USA
My ratings: 2 out of 5 stars
Releases: 7th October , 2014
Exquisite Captive was one of those books which I had been most excited about. From early reviews it was clear that this was emerging as a new popular book with characters multi- faceted characters and moral dilemma which would entertain me to no end. Unfortunately this is not what happened. Nadia is a jinni trapped captured and enslaved, forced to serve her master, Malek. She is bound to her bottle which means she has to listen to every command until Malek makes his third wish. Forced to obey, Nadia struggles with the life of captivity and yearns to get back to her home dimension 'Arjinna' and save her brother. Being the last surviving member of the ruling clan Ghan Ashouri, Nadia gets embroiled in between serving her master, hiding her identity and the rebellion by the serfs.

I was eager to read this book mostly because there seemed to be a character, Male, who seemed enigmatic, attractive and cruel and was being compared to even the Darkling. That piqued my interest and ultimately leading to tie downfall of this book. I went in with really high expectations and those were not met. Malek was everything I was promised but he missed the mark on each of them.

I didn't quite like Nadia either as she was full of the fore mentioned angst. I can't believe I am saying this, but there was just too much world building going on. Nadia's musings over Arjinna and then the local culture and practices and the social norms kept being explained to me again and again, to the extent that it got tedious towards the end.

I think what irked me the most was that the Persian words which were lifted to be used within the book were Urdu and Sanskrit words which I associate with other things. For example the name Malek, literally means Owner in Urdu and on one in there right mind would be named that. Furthermore Ashouri in Sanskrit means a female demon, hence every time Nadia was called Ashouri I imagined demons with massive fangs and big bellies running frantically.

Putting my own issues aside, I simply could not make myself care about the characters or empathize with them. There was too much world building, with cultural practices, caste distinction, magic users that had my mind whirling.

Overall, Exquisite Captive could have been so much better but it missed the mark. There was so much potential but it never rose to it. Try it if you want a different take on the paranormal fantasy genre but don not have high hopes from this.

Releases 7th October, 2014

ARC received from Blazer+Bray via Edelweiss




Friday, October 3, 2014

ARC Review:Stray by Elisa Sussman

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Too timid for my tastes
Title: Stray
Author: Elisa Sussman
Publisher: Greenwillow
My ratings: 5 out of 5 stars
Released: 29th September, 2014
Stray with it's enigmatic cover and illusive blurb was the perfect bait. It reeled me right in and I got trapped. I hate to write bad reviews for books pre release but I don't want to lie to my readers, so here it goes.

Stray is actually not a bad book. In fact there was potential but it spluttered to an early death soon enough. The premise was interesting enough, a gothic setting with a story line which hinted at a fairy tale like narrative, with Godmothers and princess. Aislynn is a princess, studying at a boarding school with other princess, where their magic is suppressed, their emotions dulled and prepared to live their lives as puppets. There is a perfect scenario of brain-washing and manipulating, and where meanness is rewarded, it was a great start. The heroine was meek, timid and afraid. She has hidden power which she struggles to hide and gets reprimanded at every step.

I had several problems with Stray but without getting into the nitty-gritty of things, I'll say that the author could not do justice to the world building and the setting. The plot was too slow and unpredictable. Aislynn, was too timid and scared to make any interesting main character. The side characters also failed to invoke any interest off me. The romance was detached and felt awkward and no surprises there as she 'fall's in love with Thackery when she had her power of 'emotions' taken away from her. I'm still confused as to what power Aislynn really possess and how come no one, I mean no one has ever questioned the way of the world with the fairy Godmothers and the guardians.

Overall, the premise was good with great potential, but it failed to impress me. The heroine had no backbone and when she finally gets one, it's a little too late.

Releases 7th of October, 2014

ARC received from Greenwillow via Edelweiss


 

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