Saturday, November 22, 2014

Cover Lover

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THE FIRE SERMON  by Francesca Haig


When Zach and I were born our parents must have counted and recounted: limbs, fingers, toes. We were perfect. They would have been disbelieving: nobody dodged the split between Alpha and Omega.

Nobody.


They were born together and they will die together.

One strong Alpha twin and one mutated Omega; the only thing they share is the moment of their death.

The Omegas live in segregation, cast out by their families as soon as their mutation becomes clear. Forced to live apart, they are ruthlessly oppressed by their Alpha counterparts.

The Alphas are the elite. Once their weaker twin has been cast aside, they're free to live in privilege and safety, their Omega twin far from their thoughts.

Cass and Zach are both perfect on the outside: no missing limbs, no visible Omega mutation. But Cass has a secret: one that Zach will stop at nothing to expose.

The power to change the world lies in both their hands. One will have to defeat the other to see their vision of the future come to pass, but if they're not careful both will die in the struggle for power.





It has been a while since I did any Cover Lover post but I assure you, it has been neglected due to no particular reason. The cover for The fire Sermon caught my eye and I think it is simply breathtaking. I love how it was forged and it is actually a photograph rather than and image conjured on a computer. I had received the proof copy before the actual cover for this title was revealed and I remember trailing my hands over the proof copy and admiring how beautiful it looked Now I can safely say that the final cover is even more splendid than the proof and that was a tough act to beat.
Below is also the video as to how the image for the cover was taken, The Alpha and Omega symbols were forged with fire and iron.check it out below.





The Fire Sermon releases on the 25th February, 2015 by Harper Voyager in the UK.



Thursday, November 20, 2014

Review: Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy #1) by Ilona Andrews

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Drop everything and pick this book. Now
Title: Burn for Me
Series: Hidden Legacy
Author: Ilona Andrews
Publisher: Avon, US
My ratings: 5 out of 5 stars
Released: 29th October, 2014
E ver had a book which you loved so much that you could not make yourself write a review for it because you fear you will not be able to do justice to it. This is precisely the reason why I always struggle to write reviews for my favourite authors in the whole wide world. One part of me chastises that as a blogger I should get them as much exposure as possible but the other side always wins and I cannot make myself write.

I received Burn For Me as an advanced review copy months before writing this review. I read it as soon as it downloaded on my Kindle and then I reread it two months later as I loved it so much.

Ilona Andrews have developed a new world with new power players which rule the world. We have powerful magic families who by careful breeding , have insanely powerful and magical off springs who have various powers. These magical families are influential and rich. In this cut throat world lives Nevada who is a private investigator and is tasked with bringing a dangerous Prime magic user who unleashes fire, which she cannot refuse. Stuck between a rock and a hard place she reluctantly has to work with the sociopath Mad Rogan, another Prime who could destroy everything Nevada stands for.

I have screamed, shouted and squealed about how much I love Ilona Andrews and their brand of writing. Burn For me delivers all that and more. The world building is solid and all en-compassing which provides a perfect cauldron for this story to begin. We have Nevada who reluctantly takes this dangerous case under duress. The Andrews know there characters so well and they prove over and over again that writing an intelligent, likable , strong and yet vulnerable heroine works for readers every time. Nevada is witty, sensible, caring, kind but ruthless when it comes to her family. She feels real and her circumstances have shaped her into becoming the person she is now. Tough on the outside and goey inside. That is what catches Mad Rogan’s eye.

What I also love about this writing duo is how much research they put into every aspect of the story they write. The actions of the characters may seem strange but it is always explained by a bit of psychology. For example, in their Kate Daniels series they write the Pack Dynamics so well and the same with Mad Rogan. How he manipulates people around him with his power and influence is a piece of brilliance which cannot be over seen. The male leads in all their books are made all the more attractive by not just their looks but also their power, influence and intelligence. The last two aspects are what make every Ilona Andrew male lead unforgettable.

Also worth mentioning is how much realistic details are written into the story. Be it the type of guns used or if it’s a rapier or a sword or a talwar which makes the blood thirsty in me clap gleefully. Mad Rogan is dangerous, demanding, powerful and temptation incarnate for Nevada. He is crazy and I love how the chemistry between Nevada and Rogan flowers and soon it starts burning with the intensity of their attraction.

I can keep lamenting about how much I love this book and how wonderful this book is but nothing beats good ‘ole try it yourself. If you want to read some fantasy romance but are fed up of the angst filled Paranormal romance or you simple want to read an amazing, makes you smile romance book with lots of ass being kicked and keeps you on the edge of your seat, drop everything and pick this book now. I mean immediately. Now.

ARC provided by Avon via Edelweiss



Monday, November 17, 2014

Review: Panic by Lauren Oliver

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A high adrenaline and fist pumping ride
Title: Panic
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
My ratings: 3 out of 5 stars
Released: 16th March, 2014
I saw Panic being discussed a long time ago on blogs and on Twitter and I had my eye on it for a while. This is my first book by Lauren Oliver and I'll admit I went into it with some amount of trepidation as to how will I find this acclaimed author. I needn't have worried as Panic dispelled all of my doubts and fears.

Panic centers around a game played by graduating high school students in a small town called Carp. It is told in the point of views of Dodge and Heather who decide to play Panic for various other reasons.The students have a to participate in a number of challenges from jumping from cliff to running into a highway and the winner takes a pot of money at the end.

To be honest I did not like any of the characters in the story.Saying that I still felt invested to see where the plot was taking these imperfect and rough-around-the-edges characters. Dodge and Heather both felt so real to me, with there own problems and issues and their different ways of dealing with it.

While reading I was hoping that perhaps there will be a growth to the characters and they will change for the better but as the story unfolded I felt that instead of improving and becoming a better person, somehow they were spiraling deeper and deeper into the deep end. However in the end I realised that I didn't want them to become a better person. I enjoyed reading about these characters who were flawed and kept making irrational and hasty decisions.

It took me a little while to get into the plot as I felt that the characters were a little difficult to get used to and the plot was not something exciting to croon over. I may also add that my enjoyment of this book is totally down the wonderful writing that Lauren Oliver put down. It was character driven and the high adrenaline situations keeps the reader going.

Overall Panic was an entertaining, keep you on the edge of your seat read. It portrays teenagers how they are, not some ideal version which we want to beloved, but flawed, complex and with an edge.

Review copy received from Hodder and Stoughton, UK



Friday, November 14, 2014

Review: The Memory Keepers by Natasha Ngan

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A fun and adventurous urban dystopia
Title: The Memory Keepers
Author: Natasha Ngan
Publisher: Hot Key Books
My ratings: 3 out of 5 stars
Released: 4th September, 2014
After the success of Elites, I was quite keen to read another Natasha Ngan book. The Memory Keepers ticked all the boxes and I was really excited about the book.

The Memory Keepers is set in a future London (yes!) where memory can be extracted from humans and stored in a external storage device. These memories can then me stored or are traded in the market for profit or loss. As this is a dystopian, we have the rich North side of London where the wealthy and influential live and the starving, dying population lives in the Southside where they scrape by a living. Seen lives in this Southside, an orphan and a thief. He main job is to steal memories from the rich and sell them on the black market. On one such occasion he manages to get caught by Alba the daughter of the Chief law Enforcement Officer. However instead on turning him in, Alba decided to become explore the life in Southside. Obviously, soon everything comes crashing down on them as they find themselves with more than they can chew.

The Memory Keepers had everything going for it but somehow it ended not being the exciting fix I was hoping it would be. While I liked Seven and found his dialect funny and his POV insightful I did not 'connect' with Alba. I do get the rich poor girl troupe but it still failed to impress me. Saying that I really liked how the romance between Seven and Alba was done. It was slow and it built around you like a cosy blanket and towards the end you want to scream,'Just kiss already'.

The world building was dark, grim and gritty. the poverty and the over-indulgence, side by side made for excellent reading and the setting of London added an extra layer of imagination which hit home, enabling the reader to 'feel' the atmosphere and smell the air. While there were a few things about the basic plots I had me scratching my head for answers, it did not lead me away from the main story.

Overall, The Memory Keeper was a fun and exciting urban dystopian which keeps the mystery and the danger at the right level and makes you simmer with anticipation.


Review copy received from Hot Key books, UK



Monday, November 10, 2014

Blog Tour Review: Hard Time by Cara McKenna

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Illicit, sexy and unputdownable
Title: Hard Time
Author: Cara McKenna
Publisher: Piatkus, UK
My ratings: 5 out of 5 stars
Releases: 6th November, 2014
This is my first time reading a Cara McKenna book and it most certainly won’t be the last. The premise of the story goes as such that Anne is a librarian but every Friday she has to go to prison to teach convicts and takes classes. There she meets inmate 806627, Eric Collier, who with his smouldering looks and his penetrating gaze won’t leave Anne’s mind. One day he gives her a letter about how he feels about her and hopes she replies back. Anne almost gives the letter away to the prison guards but in a last minute decision, she decides to read it herself. Hence begins one of the most unusual, sexy and illicit courtship I’ve ever read about.

I loved Hard Times. The situation with the forbidden romance kept me awake pretty much all night. Anne has had a difficult past with an abusive boyfriend who left her cut off from her own sexuality for 5 years until she meets Eric. Shy, timid but wanting she starts the affair with Eric who funnily enough is her safest option. Only able to see each other once a week, with guards around the room, every breath, a glance and even the smallest touch ignites a passion in her.

Eric on the other hand was such a beautiful person. Loyal, protective and almost brutally honest (apart from that one time), I loved how in a few simple sentences he is able to bare his heart and his most intimate secrets.

My favourite bit of the whole book was the letters between Anne and Eric. The letters were simple and basic but they were filled with raw desire and longing. I challenge anyone who would say that the letters did not move them. The whole way through my heart was doing little flips and just like Anne I was looking forward to each and every one of those letters. Every time Eric began with ‘Darling’ I swear I could hear my heart beat skip a little.

Admittedly the second half of the book is not as fast paced as the first half. The story takes a slightly different direction but it explores Anne’s comfort levels with dating a real life ex- con. Eric is sometimes brutally honest about his feelings and it took a while for Anne to really come to terms with the man who her letters and the man who committed the crime.

I absolutely loved and adored this book from start to finish. It kept me awake for most of the night and it’s a testament to the talent of Cara McKenna that I finished this book in less than 24 hours and fit in work too. I would be really surprised if anyone is able to take their eyes off the pages of Hard Times when Eric is writing those beautiful letters.

I’d recommend it to all romance readers who want to read a book which is actually exciting, sexy with a solid story and lush characters. I’ll soon be digging out the previous book by Cara McKenna as this is an author to watch out for.

ARC provided by Paitkus, UK 

Check out the other blogs which are part of the blog tour below.
 



Friday, November 7, 2014

Review: Magic Breaks (Kate Daniels # 7) by Ilona Andrews

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My favourite book of the year, hands down.

Title: Magic Breaks
Series: Kate Daniels
Author: Ilona Andrews
Publisher: Ace/Hachette
My ratings: 5 out of 5 stars
Released: 29th September, 2014
Magic Break was The Book for me in 2014. I love, I mean love Ilona Andrews and I swear I can gobble up any thing they throw at me. Kate Daniels books are my drugs and once I get a taste of the books nothing seems worthy or even worth my time. I have read this series about 5 times or maybe more, so my love is bone deep. The following review contains incoherent fan-girling and ridiculous amounts of gushing so I apologise for my poor grammar but I feel this deserves it and more.

This is a review of Book 7 in a 10 book long series so, if you are reading beyond this point and get spoiled, don't say I didn't warn you. After the event in Magic Rises, we are all prepare to the eventuality of Kate coming face to face with her nemesis, her father, Roland. More on that later. But first, I will rehash the premise. Kate is faced with a challenge to find a killer before an all out war between the People and the Pack in 24 hours, in the absence of Curran, which is bought on by the crazy Hugh.

We get to see Kate shine without being over-shadowed by Curran, which was never a problem for me, to be honest. But it was great watching her conduct herself and leading the Pack in Curran's absence with her characteristic sass and attitude and just Kate-ness. That should totally be a word.

A lot of old characters come back and new characters are also explored in Magic Breaks. We also get an explanation of Doolittle's reaction in Magic Rises to Kate's magic. I really enjoyed Dessandra and her brass attitude. She is annoyingly fun to hang out with and the unlikely camaraderie of Ascanio and Derek made me laugh out loud.. Barabos starts this book off by his funny prologue and the fun ensues.

Curran was absent through most of this book, but when he returns he makes up for it. I love the chemistry between Kate and Curran and I cherish every moment these two come together. They are one of my favourite couples ever and even the events in Magic Rises could not dampen my adoration for this couple. Kate has grown so reliant on Curran and vice-versa and I was happy to see that she has opened up after having such a eschewed childhood. She is a trained killer but her feelings for Curran are slowly healing her and her need for him touches me. She misses and pines for him when he is away and I view this as so much character development of a person who feared any interaction with anyone in the fear of their eventual deaths. Kate has come a long way and people who begrudge her (namely some readers) need to see the other side of her so called needy behaviour. Furthermore, Curran proves his love for Kate is above anything else in his life, in the end of Magic Breaks.

Hugh makes a come back in Magic Breaks but this time he has got bigger plans in his mind. I adore his interactions with Kate. He is such a sick, crazy bastard that make for interesting page time. He is twisted and an evil creature but his fascination with Kate is his downfall. Whenever he appears, he makes such an impact that he captivates the scene utterly and compels the reader to pay attention. When he made an appearance, I dropped my Kindle like a hot potato and ran around the room a little. Yes, I was that excited that shit was going to go down. Kate really has a knack of attracting strange, crazy men in her life and yes that includes her very own psycho killer, Curran. I love how bad Hugh is and he added this magnetism to a scene which is irreplaceable.

From the various reviews I've read that have been going around, I feel that some readers didn't like how the event's unfolded in this book. The long awaited showdown between Roland and Kate occurs and yes, admittedly it didn't go as what I had come to expect but it was still bloody, brutal and violent. Some readers also didn't like how Kate showed changes in her personality. I feel I need to defend my favourite series here, as what do you expect from 100 book series when it is in book 7, that the main character will remain exactly the same as you found her in book 1? No, Kate has gone through so much and she not a lone mercenary hiding from her powerful father but The Pack Alpha. She has her family and people she wants to protect and she can rely on. Is it so bad that she has learnt to rely on the person whom she wants to spend the rest of her life with.

Now that I have got it off my chest I can keep gushing how good this book/series is. I have said this before and I keep repeating myself but I feel that Ilona Andrews know what is like in a book and
personalise it for me.

The Kate Daniels books are like a lover for me. It knows where to touch and feel and coax the right response from me. It slowly gets under my skin, branding me as it's eternal lover and rendering me useless for any other book afterwards. That's right, after I read the latest edition of this series I fall in a reading slump so deep that it takes months to come out properly from it.

Moving on from my strange analogy, Magic Breaks is everything and more that a true fan of the series will appreciate, enjoy and love. It takes me on a ride and fulfills all the promises I have come to expect from it. Action. adventure, romance, friendship, family, sacrifice and Curran *squeal*.

If you are a fan, then you don't need any convincing to pick up this book, and if you have not started this book before and have read the above tirade than what have you been waiting for?


Pick up this series. Now.




Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Review: The Lynburn Legacy ( Unspoken and UnTold) by Sarah Rees Brennan

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This is a review of the first two books Unspoken and Untold from The Lynburn Lecacy Series.
Spooky, eerie and dark

Title: Unspoken and Untold
Series: The Lynburn Legacy
Author: Sarah Rees Brennan
Publisher: Simon and Schuster, UK
My ratings: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Released: 13th September, 2012
After reading tons of accolades after accolades and 5 stars reviews from the hardest to please book reviewers, I have been had The Lynburn Legacy series on my TBR since it first released. When I was going through a reading phunk, I picked this series up hoping it will being me out of it but alas, it did not succeed.

The premise was interesting enough, with a small town setting in the sleepy English town called Sorry - in- the Vale and focused on Kami who has always spoken to a voice in her head. She is her best friend and she is secretly in love with him. But one day, the town Mansion's owners the Lynburn's have been rumoured to have arrived from the states to start living in the Mansion and it turns out that Jared, the voice in Kami's head does exist and he is real, right in front of her. I fell in love with a blurb like this as I absolutely love the whole dream boy/ ghost friend coming to life scenario but I have yet to come across a book which will do justice to it. I was assured that this book does and I agree.

The relationship between Jared and Kami when faced with this situation is awkward and uncomfortable/ They don't know what to do with each other and it's painful for both of them as they have lost their best friends and are struggling to come to terms with this. To make matters worse young girls are being killed in this quite village and turns out everything is not as it seems. A mystery set in the sleepy English country side with an eerie setting and a spooky atmosphere, The Lynburn series pushes all the right buttons.

While this series is everything a YA fanatic would ask for, I struggled to really get into it. It was hard to really put my finger on what was it that I struggled with as everything was spot on. Beautiful gothic setting, with a mystery which will keep the pages turning, it transports the reader into a different world where danger is right round the corner. I believe it is the writing style which doesn't' sit well with me. I don't like the way the characters speak nor do I like how the pacing is set as sometimes the story focuses on Kami and Jared and other it focuses too much on the setting. I did not enjoy Kami and found her hard to feel 'connected' to.

My favourite character has to Jared as I felt for him. He is the one who is going through the worst of it. In Unspoken it is not apparent but in Untold Brennan did a number on him especially with a cliff hanger like that. Saying all the above, Unspoken and Untold are not bad books. In fact they are really good books and many readers will enjoy it. It score high point in all the technical sects in writing a story but for me personally, I felt a lack of connection and passion for the characters. In my opinion, Unspoken was more enjoyable than Untold but I am hoping that Unmade will finally convince me that it will make me 'feel' for the story and make me slightly more invested in the story.




 

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