Saturday, 1 February 2014

Book Review: BLACKBRINGER by Laini Taylor




“Dreams are real, Magpie. They’re seed and water and sun. They’re everything.”
I am a contemporary girl at heart, so a tale featuring warrior fairies, talking crows, and devils trapped in bottles is not quite my thing.
It took me no time at all to lose myself in this book though, thanks to Laini Taylor’s gorgeous writing and wonderful world building. She is the kind of talented most of us can only dream about.
Magpie Windwitch is the grand-daughter of the west wind and a devil hunter. While other fairies live in seclusion deep within the forest of Dreamdark, Magpie and her faithful band of crows, are hunting devils. But now something has been released that Magpie isn’t sure she can fight; a darkness so ancient and powerful it might consume the whole world.
I so enjoyed the time I spent with Magpie and her merry band of crows, they were my kind of crowd. The addition of Prince Talon when they arrived in Dreamdark just made things even better. I have a huge soft spot for Prince Talon and I loved the banter that he and Magpie indulged in.
The world building is simply amazing. I read that Laini Taylor has notebooks full of how the Dreamdark world works and it shows. I believed utterly in this world and all it’s glorious history.
As with the best books Blackbringer lingered with me for a long time after I’d finished it. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Silkspinner, although this proved difficult, as unbelievably it is out of print. Luckily my lovely library had a copy, so I can continue the adventure.
So if you don’t think you’re really a fantasy fan, do try Blackbringer, it might change your mind.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Best Books of 2013

It wasn't the best reading year for me. I read less than usual and I seemed to read a lot of so-so books.
Happily the books that did shine for me, shone really bright.
The following all transported me, made me laugh, cry, swoon, and wish I could be friends with these characters.
Adult
The Chocolate Kiss by Laura Florand
This series is just delicious. The romance is both sweet and extremely steamy, and the descriptions of chocolate and pastries are delectable. I've loved all the books, but Magalie and Philippe, and La Maison des Sorcieres, hold a special place in my heart. Please someone get me a chocolate witch for Christmas.
The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
I went back and forth about including this on the list. I really like Liane Moriarty, she has a great style and I think her characters are always interesting and engaging. I didn't love the end of this book though, the secret didn't really work for me. I did love the characters though, especially Celia. They are the kind that take up residence in your head and you find yourself thinking about them weeks later. (if you've never read Liane Moriarty though I would start with What Alice Forgot which is amazing).
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
I didn't love this with the passion I felt for Eleanor & Park, but I did think it was brilliantly done. Rainbow Rowell writes amazingly good characters. the kind you can't believe she made up, I feel like Beth and Jennifer must be real. Their email exchanges are an absolute delight and had me laughing out loud.
YA

Something Like Normal by Trish Doller
I really didn't think this book would be my cup of tea, but I absolutely fell in love with it from the first page. Travis's voice is A-MA-ZING, and the whole book is raw and powerful and just fantastic.
Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan
I LOVE Sarah Rees Brennan, she's lucky I have never made it to one of her signing because I would probably behave like a mad fan girl :)
I loved this fantastic follow up to Unspoken. The characters developed, the stakes were raised, and there were some amazingly swoony kisses. I can't wait for Unmade.
The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
One of my favourite authors (I have made it to two of her signings, but I just mumbled at her). The Dream Thieves was a brilliant follow up to The Raven Boys. It made me ache.
It also made me love Gansey. I wasn't a huge Gansey fan in the first book, but we got to see much more of what makes him tick in this book. It was the same with Blue, who was a something of an enigma in book one. I can't wait for book 3, I have this crazy theory of what might happen, but I'll probably be completely wrong.
Haze by Paula Weston

Another second book and another fantastic follow up. I loved Paula Weston's take on angels. This one is fast paced, action packed and swoony!
Ruby Red and Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier
Time travel, romance, ghosts, intrigue and an extremely funny heroine. I just love this series.
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
I can quite see why everyone raves about Casandra Clare. I'm now a big fan of Shadowhunters.
What were your best books of 2013?

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Cover Reveal One & Only by Viv Daniels

I am delighted to be part of the cover reveal for. . .


One & Only by Viv Daniels.


Cover by Okay. Creations


One night they can't forget...


Tess McMann lives her life according to the secrets she's sworn to keep: the father who won't acknowledge her, the sister who doesn't know she exists, and the mother who's content playing mistress to a prominent businessman. When she meets the distractingly cute Dylan Kingsley at a prestigious summer program and falls in love, Tess allows herself to imagine a life beyond these secrets.  But when summer ends, so does their relationship -- Dylan heads off to Canton College while Tess enrolls at the state university.
 

One love they can't ignore...


Two years later, a scholarship brings Tess to Canton and back into Dylan's life.  Their attraction is as strong as ever, but Dylan has a girlfriend…who also happens to be Tess's legitimate half-sister.  Tess refuses to follow in her mother's footsteps, which leaves her only one choice: break the rules she’s always followed, or allow Dylan to slip away for a second time.
 

...And only one chance to get things right.


A MUST read, right? You can add it on Goodreads HERE


GIVEAWAY

Viv Daniels is the pen name of Diana Peterfreund (I am quite a fan of her books, as regular readers will know) and to celebrate the release of One & Only, Viv is giving away The Secret Society Girl Series. If you haven't read this brilliant series you absolutely must, it's fantastic.

You can enter below




Viv Daniels writes love stories for the young and young at heart. Like many of her characters, she met her husband in college, and knows all the ins and outs of navigating that kind of relationship — from how to date when you’re both flat broke to how to fit two people in narrow dorm room bed. Her favorite new adult authors include Tammara Weber, J. Lynn, and Cora Carmack. Viv can usually be found on her Facebook page or Twitter feed, chatting with readers about her favorite New Adult fiction, or sharing pictures of cute boys. She lives outside of Washington D.C. with her family. http://vivdaniels.com


Thursday, 19 September 2013

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill



"You have to kill him." Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside. 

Marina has loved her best friend James since the day he moved next door when they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles apart, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Now someone is trying to kill him. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it. At least not as the girl she once was. 

All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice. (from Goodreads)



All Our Yesterdays is brilliantly addictive. I kept sneaking off to read snatches of it. I was completely hooked from the first page, when we meet Em in her cell wondering about the purpose of the drain on the floor.

The plot zooms along and is told in a duel narrative, by Em in the future, and Marina in the present. I really liked the two story lines, and the way flashbacks were incorporated into the future timeline was very well done and in no way annoying. Actually I would have liked more of those flashbacks, they were some of my favourite scenes. 

I can't say whether the time travel actual stands up to scrutiny. It felt real and possible when I was reading, and reminded me of Quantum Leaps opening explanation, always a good thing, but I choose not to examine it too closely as I didn't want to spoil the story.

The characters are wonderful. I loved Em, came to like Marina, and absolutely adored Finn. The Doctor is a chilling "villain" made more so because you can sympathise with him. He's doing terrible things, but he's convinced he's doing them for the right reasons. 

I liked the dynamics between all the characters and the romance is gorgeous and swoony. 

I really enjoyed All Our Yesterdays, especially the ending, which I thought wrapped everything up really well. I was interested to see that there's a sequel in the works though and I'm wondering where Cristin Terrill will take things. 

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancy


The Passage meets The Hunger Games in a gripping new series from Carnegie-shortlisted Rick Yancey. After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one. Now, it's the dawn of the 5th wave. On a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth's last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, until Cassie meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan may be her only hope for rescuing her brother and even saving herself. Now she must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up. Cassie Sullivan gets up.

 Two thirds of the way through The Fifth Wave I turned to my husband and said "good grief this is worse that Mission Impossible for twists." True no one rips their face off to reveal they're Tom Cruise, but it is a very twisty turny type book. Which isn't a bad thing by any means, but I'm not entirely sure all the twists add up. I had a lot of "but why?" questions when I'd finished. Hopefully they'll be resolved in Book 2.

A plot twist too many aside, I enjoyed this book a great deal. It's extremely fast paced and well written and I flew through the pages. It was a great holiday read, even if parts did make me queasy (I have a low tolerance for blood and violence). 

The two main characters Cassie and Ben were really well done. They're likeable and their responses to events felt realistic, as did their voices.  I liked how they started off in the same place, had different experiences, and then their story lines came together in the end. I was definitely rooting for them. Cassie's baby brother Sam, who I think may play a big role in the next book, was adorably sweet too.

The other character were more mysterious, I'd love to know more about them, especially Evan. It's these other characters that have me excited for book 2. I know they're are going to be more twists and it's fun trying to work out who to trust and what everyone's motivation is.

The 5th Wave is a fun, fast read. It would be great for a book group as I really wanted to dissect the plot after I'd read it. Also it's fun to think what would I do? How would I react?

Have you read The 5th Wave? What did you think of the twists?

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Review - Untold



It’s time to choose sides… On the surface, Sorry-in-the-Vale is a sleepy English town. But Kami Glass knows the truth. Sorry-in-the-Vale is full of magic. In the old days, the Lynburn family ruled with fear, terrifying the people into submission in order to kill for blood and power. Now the Lynburns are back, and Rob Lynburn is gathering sorcerers so that the town can return to the old ways.

But Rob and his followers aren’t the only sorcerers in town. A decision must be made: pay the blood sacrifice, or fight. For Kami, this means more than just choosing between good and evil. With her link to Jared Lynburn severed, she’s now free to love anyone she chooses. But who should that be? (from Goodreads)


Sarah Rees Brennan has a talent for second books. I liked The Demon's Lexicon, but I fell in love with the series after The Demon's Covenant. It's the same with her new series The Lynburn Legacy. I enjoyed the first book Unspoken a great deal, but I loved Untold. The story line whips along and there's great character development. It is also seriously funny. I love the humour in these books and the snarky one liners and observations.

Untold begins with Kami, and her fabulous band of friends, trying to figure out a way to prevent Rob Lynburn claiming his sacrifice and returning Sorry-in-the-vale to the old days. When the Lynburns ruled the village through fear and blood.

It's hard it imagine Kami not winning this war when she has such fabulous people as Angela, Rusty and Holly on her side. I love that bunch. Especially Rusty, every time Rusty was on the page I would be smiling. Which is why I was little worried about the hints that were dropped suggesting that Rusty likes Kami. I do not want Rusty hurt, and if one thing was clear to me at the end of Untold, it's that Kami can end up with no one but Jared.

I felt quite differently at the end of Untold, I wasn't a Jared fan at all, but that's the other thing Sarah Rees Brennan has a talent for, writing characters that I initial dislike then making me love, adore and worry about them. She did it with Nick in The Demon's Lexicon and she's done it again with Jared in Untold. I'm looking forward to finding out more of his backstory and hopefully seeing his relationships with his cousin Ash and his Aunt Lillian develop.

With this new book, Sarah Rees Brennan remains one of my must buy authors and one that can be guaranteed to make me laugh. While the plot is fun and action scenes exciting, the main reason I love her books is the interaction and bonds between the characters. I could read about Kami and her friends all day.

Have you read Untold? What did you think?


Christmas in September

Hello out there, anyone still around? It's been a long time since I blogged, I've missed talking about books!

I can't believe all the bookish goodnesses that is happening. Every day there is another exciting announcement. It's like Christmas in September! It's completely swept away my post holiday blues. Here's what I'm excited about;

1) The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater is out THIS week *squee* No one may need me for anything on the 17th September, I shall be reading!

2) As if the above weren't enough case for joy Maggie also announced a new book Sinner. A companion to the Shiver Trilogy and it's about Isabel and Cole! It's too much!!!!

3) Diana Peterfreund announced she'd be writing a series of New Adult novels under the name Viv Daniels, kicking off with One and Only. I'm seriously excited about this as I adore her Secret Society Girl series, which is set in a college. I think these new books will be fantastic. More information at Viv Daniels.

4) More Harry Potter films! Or films set in that world at least.

5) The cover for Monsters & Demons by Laini Taylor was released. It's so gorgeous and I can't wait for the book.


Few, I'm dying, so much to look forward too!

What book news are you excited about?