Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Unholy Magic - Stacia Kane

Unholy Magic (Downside Ghosts #2) - Stacia Kane
Grade: Adult - UF
Rating: 5/5 stars


For Chess Putnam, finding herself near-fatally poisoned by a con psychic and then stopping a murderous ghost is just another day on the job. As an agent of the Church of Real Truth, Chess must expose those looking to profit from the world’s unpleasant little poltergeist problem—humans filing false claims of hauntings—all while staving off any undead who really are looking for a kill. But Chess has been extra busy these days, coping with a new “celebrity” assignment while trying on her own time to help some desperate prostitutes.

Someone’s taking out the hookers of Downside in the most gruesome way, and Chess is sure the rumors that it’s the work of a ghost are way off base. But proving herself right means walking in the path of a maniac, not to mention standing between the two men in her life just as they—along with their ruthless employers—are moving closer to a catastrophic showdown. Someone is dealing in murder, sex, and the supernatural, and once again Chess finds herself right in the crossfire. (Description from Goodreads)

~ * ~ * ~

I want to start by saying I have never read a book where the main guy is described as “ugly”. I want to applaud Stacia Kane for going against the grain and creating Terrible “heavy, jutting brows; the crooked nose that looked as though the bones were trying to break out through the skin; the scars; the jaw like a prow of a ship”. Stacia Kane has made him so unbelievably awesome that you forget his “ugliness” and instead find yourself falling for the man inside.

Yes, I have a crush on Terrible!

Ok, with that said on with the review…

I’m not sure when it happened or even how it happened, but I seem to have become used to Chess’s drug problem. It doesn’t seem to bother me as much as it did in the first book. I was able to look past it and just enjoy the storyline of yet another dark and gritty Downside Ghosts novel.

Following from the success of Chess’s last case with the Church, she has been handed a very important investigation. A celebrity has informed the Church that his home is haunted. Being a multi-millionaire, Chess can’t seem to figure out why he would lie about a haunting, but something is “off” about this family and Chess is determined to figure it out.

But things aren’t easy for Chess. Bump has requested she investigate a string of murders that, if the rumours circulating are true, were committed by a ghost.

And if these mysteries weren’t intriguing enough, add to it a gut wrenching love triangle, and you have yourself one very interesting novel.

We also find out a bit more about Chess’s dreadful childhood. My heart broke for Chess. No wonder she turns to drugs to help numb the memories of all the horrific things that were done to her.

This book grabbed me from the start and wouldn’t let me go. Watch out for the ending, and have book 3 handy- you’ll want to start it straight away.


Monday, 26 March 2012

Blogspiration #3

Blogspiration is a new weekly meme hosted by GrowingUp YA and Saz101. Where inspirational quotes/pictures/videos are posted to bring a little creativity or conversation into the blogging world.

My Blogspiration posts are a bit erratic. There's no formula to what inspires me each week and I've felt a little bad for skipping the last couple of weeks, but I couldn't come up with the perfect post. If it wasn't perfect, it wasn't going to be posted. This week I found that perfect post.

A quote my sister and I came across while cruising an Etsy store (This one!), that just called out to me.

Life  isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...
 ...It’s about learning to
 Dance in the Rain

(p.s. I realise that picture is of Troy and Gabriella
 (aka. High School Musical) but it fit so well) 


Hunting Lila - Sarah Alderson

Hunting Lila (Lila, #1)Hunting Lila (Lila #1) - Sarah Alderson
Grade: YA
Rating: 5/5 star

17-year-old Lila has two secrets she's prepared to take to the grave. The first is that she can move things just by looking at them. The second is that she's been in love with her brother's best friend, Alex, since forever. After a mugging exposes her unique ability, Lila decides to run to the only people she can trust - her brother and Alex. They live in Southern California where they work for a secret organisation called The Unit, and Lila discovers that the two of them are hunting down the men who murdered her mother five years before. And that they've found them. In a world where nothing and no one is quite as they seem, Lila quickly realises that she is not alone - there are others out there just like her - people with special powers -and her mother's killer is one of them…(Description from Goodreads)

~ * ~ * ~

I’m trying to find a way to make this review focus on more than just how epically awesome Lila and Alex are. I have a feeling it’s not going to work, because my current train of thought looks a little like this: “Oh.My.God.Freaking.Epic.Book.And.ALEX!OH.MY.GOD!” I’ll try to expand on that a bit more. ‘Hunting Lila’ was an amazing book, with addictive characters and such a well developed plot that you’re left with an aching need to find out what happens next.

From the very first page, Sarah Alderson had me hooked. It’s hard not to be interested when your main character is holding a knife to someone’s eye using only her mind. That’s right, Lila Loveday, seemingly normal teenager living in London, has a skill: the super cool power of telekinesis. Only, not so super cool for Lila, she freaks out; which is understandable since she suddenly realises the unknown power she has turns out to be not as harmless as she was trying to convince herself it was. Instead of breaking down and losing herself in despair; Lila does the only thing she can think of to make her feel normal again; she takes the first plane she can to California to see her brother, Jack and his best friend Alex; only to be thrown into a whirlwind of action and life-changing situations. It’s pretty epic.

I loved Lila. She was an easy character to connect with; you quickly identify with her thoughts and emotions. There’s no guessing with Lila. What you see is what you get and I loved that about her. You’re never unsure about who she is, she’s just Lila. I admire her mental strength. Despite letting her emotions get the better of her occasionally, at such a young age, Lila learns to hold herself in and to keep doing so for many years. We see that strength being carried into physical issues throughout the book. But it’s not just her mental control that makes you love Lila, bur her everyday teenage thoughts that make her seem so normal. Her attempts at being cool around Alex, while inside she’s dying with the need to touch him, are so full of emotion; you wind up believing you are Lila and wanting to hold onto Alex too.

Early in the book we are made aware of the dislike and tension between Jack and Alex’s workplace (The Unit); and the people they’re after – who we later find out have a lot more going for them than just their “criminal” status. The action brought about by the Unit’s hunt for bad-guys is unbelievable. I love action in books, almost as much as a good romance; and having that little – or big – spark that gets your heart pumping and leaves you wondering if there’s a gunman around the corner, or a high-speed chase in the future, makes me smile. ‘Hunting Lila’ does not disappoint with its action, especially towards the end of the novel. I’m dying to find out what will happen next with the Unit, we’re not finished with them yet. If Unit’s involved, there’s going to be trouble.

There is almost no way to completely explain the awesomeness that is Alex. You’re swooning over him before he’s even made it onto the page. You get the chance to compare the sweet and tender way he’s looked out for Lila as a child with the dedication he puts into protecting her as an adult and neither beats the other for top Alex-Is-Awesome position. Both the past and the present help to create this epic package that is Alex and you can’t help but love him. He would do just about anything to make sure Lila is safe and happy. I adore him.

‘Hunting Lila’ is a book full of secrets and mysteries. Lila’s secret powers and how they change her world, the Unit’s secret mission, the mystery of Lila’s mother’s death. You can’t turn the page without facing another question. So much happens towards the end. You think you have everything worked out, but you’re wrong. Who should Lila trust? What is still not being told to her? How do you find a way to survive in a world that has turned the way you think upside-down? There are a lot of questions left unanswered at the end of the book. I’m waiting impatiently for book 2, hoping they’ll be resolved.

An amazing, action-packed book that left me on the edge of my seat the whole way through. I can’t wait to see what Lila and Alex get up to next.

5/5 stars

(Originally posted on Goodreads)

Sunday, 25 March 2012

In My Mailbox #13

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

A small IMM this week. All thanks to Lisa and Brodie for their fantastic February Valentine's Event, as well as Harper Collins and Hardie Grant. 

Faery Tales and Nightmares - Melissa Marr

I really like Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely world. One of the first fae books I ever read and this collection stories (which includes quite a few Wicked Lovely pieces) should be a very interesting read. I'm looking forward to entering that world again.

Forgotten - Cat Patrick

I didn't know much about this book before getting it, but it has a heap interesting concept. A teenage girl unable to remember anything of her past, but having visions of her future. It's sad to think main character, London, can feel everything she's going to feel in the future, but not remember in later. 

And it came with some cute love-heart post-it notes, which I adore.

And that's my mailbox for this week.


Saturday, 24 March 2012

Unholy Ghosts - Stacia Kane

Unholy Ghosts (Downside Ghosts #1) - Stacia Kane
Grade: Adult - UF
Rating: 4/5 stars


The world is not the way it was. The dead have risen, and the living are under attack. The powerful Church of Real Truth, in charge since the government fell, has sworn to reimburse citizens being harassed by the deceased. Enter Chess Putnam, a fully tattooed witch and freewheeling ghost hunter. She’s got a real talent for banishing the wicked dead. But Chess is keeping a dark secret: She owes a lot of money to a murderous drug lord named Bump, who wants immediate payback in the form of a dangerous job that involves black magic, human sacrifice, a nefarious demonic creature, and enough wicked energy to wipe out a city of souls. Toss in lust for a rival gang leader and a dangerous attraction to Bump’s ruthless enforcer, and Chess begins to wonder if the rush is really worth it. Hell, yeah. (Description from Goodreads)

~ * ~ * ~

The world of Unholy Ghosts is gritty and dangerous. Set in a time where the Church of Real Truth runs the world, it states that there is no religion, only magic and the power to banish the ghosts that threaten mankind.

Chess is a Church employee and as a “witch” or “debunker”, it is her job to investigate claims of haunted house and if it proves to be haunted, then banish the ghost. The Church compensates those whose house is found to be haunted, however with every false claim, the debunker receives a bonus from the Church and the claimant a jail term.

It has been a while since Chess has received a bonus, which normally would be fine as she still gets paid from the Church. However, Chess has a serious drug problem and it’s this drug problem that lands her in some dangerous situations as she owes her drug dealer, Bump, money. Instead of paying Bump back, he has requested her to do a job for him. He also sends his enforcer, Terrible, with her in order to make sure that the job gets done.

Stacia Kane has painted a perfect picture of Chess’s two lives. You have her job with the Church that takes you through a typical suburban town. Chess is seen as an upstanding citizen; a professional to be admired because of her work with the Church. And then there’s Downside, with its sex and drugs; a dangerous place where drug lords rule the streets, and a place Chess considers home. The Downside slang took a while for me to get used to e.g. “You don’t, you come playing here”. At first I had to reread certain lines before things clicked into place. And as she spends majority of her time Downside and with Downside residents, you pick up the slang quite quickly.

I really enjoyed the storyline- the magic, dark magic, ghosts, sacrifices- it was all very interesting. My one issue was the constant drug use. Most protagonist have some sort of innocence to them that I think makes it easier for people to relate to. Chess has had all her innocence stripped from her and the constant (and I do mean constant) snorting and pill popping was disconcerting. I found myself wishing she was real so I could grab her by the shoulders and shake some sense into her. However, I also find myself wanting her to beat her demons, stop the drugs and succeed in life. And what I really want is for her to end up with Terrible. Yes, the drug dealer’s enforcer. The big, scary looking guy, who if you saw in real life, you’d probably run away from as fast as possible. But you soon learn about the real Terrible, and he’s this amazing guy who tries to do the right thing, and is always there for Chess. I want more Terrible!

I’ve given Unholy Ghosts 4 out of 5, and I’m really looking forward to the next book.


Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Touch of Power - Maria V. Snyder

Touch of Power (Avry of Kazan, #1)Touch of Power (Healer #1) - Maria V. Snyder
Grade: YA
Rating: 5/5 stars

Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan assumes their wounds and diseases into herself. But rather than being honored for her skills, she is hunted. Healers like Avry are accused of spreading the plague that has decimated the Territories, leaving the survivors in a state of chaos.

Stressed and tired from hiding, Avry is abducted by a band of rogues who, shockingly, value her gift above the golden bounty offered for her capture. Their leader, an enigmatic captor-protector with powers of his own, is unequivocal in his demands: Avry must heal a plague-stricken prince—leader of a campaign against her people. As they traverse the daunting Nine Mountains, beset by mercenaries and magical dangers, Avry must decide who is worth healing and what is worth dying for. Because the price of peace may well be her life... (Description from Goodreads)

~ * ~ * ~

Fantasy, it’s a hard genre to win my love with, especially when I can’t help comparing everything fantasy to Tamora Pierce. A fantasy book has to face high expectations from me, and not a lot of them make the cut for my favourites shelf. Touch of Power definitely makes the cut. An amazing book set in a realm that is so well developed. The magic and history, mystery and adventure worked into the story just blew me away. I loved it.

Avery of Kazan is a healer, but not just any healer; a healer forced into hiding due to the consequences of an unknown plague that cause an unimaginable amount of death and distrust for the Healer’s Guild. I adored Avery. She had this spark that you can’t help liking. She stands up for what she believes in; risks her life over and over again to save people, even if they might not deserve it. She’s such a smart character in a world full of the unknown.

I love how Maria has developed this amazing world. The way the 15 Realms of Arvy’s world are in a state of disorder, with leaders scrambling to build a solid nation. It’s an epic storyline that can only bring up more adventure with each new page. And the mystery behind the healers. Despite being hated, the healers have a pretty amazing power. To take on someone else’s injury and heal themselves with it...except for the plague. They can’t survive healing someone with the plague. So just what is this strange plague and where did it come from? I really want to know the answer to this question.

A book full of action; all the fighting, it was insane. Our crew seemed to come across one group of mercenaries after another and the need for Avry to develop knife skills was essential. It also got my blood pounding. I love a good fight scene, and Maria didn’t disappoint, providing us with a few scenes to really get things going. The only thing that would have made it better for me is if someone added a bow and arrow to the mix; can’t resist a good archer!

Kerrick; oh wonderful, amazing Kerrick. A strong and sometimes harsh forest magician or hidden softie, who is extremely loyal and caring to those he loves? Or perhaps a bit of both? I’d already heard great things about Kerrick before starting the book and I never doubted what side he was on. While I wasn’t a fan of his rough treatment of Arvy at times, strangely it made him more appealing in the end because it helped to show his loyalty. I really liked the hints of a potential relationship between Kerrick and Avry. It was obvious something was going to happen between the two of them, since most books present you with your leading man early in the piece – and because friends and reviewers can’t stop talking about how amazing Kerrick is, so he has to do something to bring in that attention – but waiting for them to work it out was totally worth it. This is not a romance story, but it doesn't lack those tingly feelings you get when you come across the perfect couple.

The only negative for me (and it’s a pretty small negative) is that at times certain lines and situations were slightly repetitive. We all knew Avry was valuable, especially after the first few times we were told; so being told over and over again that she was a unique healer and was very important was a little too much for me. Not enough to detract from the story, but enough to pick up on the repetitiveness.

Can’t wait to see what happens next. And exciting start to an equally exciting series.

5/5 stars.

(Originally posted on Goodreads)

Monday, 19 March 2012

Born at Midnight - C.C. Hunter

Born at Midnight (Shadow Falls, #1)Born at Midnight (Shadow Falls #1) 
                                                   - C.C Hunter
Grade: YA
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

One night Kylie Galen finds herself at the wrong party, with the wrong people, and it changes her life forever. Her mother ships her off to Shadow Falls—a camp for troubled teens, and within hours of arriving, it becomes painfully clear that her fellow campers aren’t just “troubled.” Here at Shadow Falls, vampires, werewolves, shapshifters, witches and fairies train side by side—learning to harness their powers, control their magic and live in the normal world.

Kylie’s never felt normal, but surely she doesn’t belong here with a bunch of paranormal freaks either. Or does she? They insist Kylie is one of them, and that she was brought here for a reason. As if life wasn’t complicated enough, enter Derek and Lucas. Derek’s a half-fae who’s determined to be her boyfriend, and Lucas is a smokin’ hot werewolf with whom Kylie shares a secret past. Both Derek and Lucas couldn’t be more different, but they both have a powerful hold on her heart.

Even though Kylie feels deeply uncertain about everything, one thing is becoming painfully clear—Shadow Falls is exactly where she belongs…(Description from Goodreads)

~ * ~ * ~

‘Born At Midnight’ is a story based around Kylie Galen; a normal teenager struggling to cope with the divorce of her parents and loss of her grandmother, or something else? Well, that’s the million dollar question and one we get asked over and over in this book. Just what is Kylie Galen? In a camp full of supernatural beings, all insisting that she does in fact belong with them, Kylie fights with the idea that she’s more than human. But the ghosts that keep following her and the mental block on the pattern of her mind suggests otherwise. I really liked the idea of many different supernatural teens spending summer camp together in order to settle into the idea of being something other than human. I love when supernatural beings are mixed into the same story, so the focus isn't just on vampires or werewolves or witches; it gives the story an edge and a sense that there is more going on than just one issue. I especially loved Kylie’s power. She’s pretty unique, and not just because no-one actually knows who or what she is; but the way everyone has to discover if her power is good, bad or can be useful in any way. There was something so different about no-one being able to answer any questions, although slightly frustrating for the same reason.

My biggest problem with this story was Kylie. I understand that she was going through some serious life adjustments, but she spent a lot of time crying, which wasn't very interesting; and because she spent more time fighting the possibility that she wasn't human she avoided learning much about the other supernatural beings. I'll admit I was ready to shake Kylie a few times if I caught her crying again, but she managed to give it up a bit towards the end of the book.

I love that there was a mystery within the story. Missing people; local animals going wild; Supernatural Federal Agents trying to get to the bottom of things. It was all very exciting. Unfortunately, the mystery was solved way too quickly for my liking. One minute everyone’s fighting and there’s lots of action; and the next it’s done. Problem solved, bad guy caught, and you’re left with a, “Wait, did I miss something?” feeling.

I was a little worried about the romance in this book. Love triangles I expect these days, but when Kylie had two potential supernatural guys after her heart and then her human ex-boyfriend in thrown into the mix too, I started to wonder what sort of story we were going to get. Was it another House Of Night that just keeps loading the main character up with a new guy every few pages? But we seem to settle on our two supernaturals: Derek, the half-fae that’s not sure he wants to be different either and Lucas, the troubled werewolf who used to be Kylie’s neighbour. Derek was sweet and I liked that he wasn't trying to force himself on Kylie when she tells him to back off; but my heart lies with Lucas and his attempts to be super protective when it comes to Kylie.

All in all, an enjoyable read. I definitely want to see what happens next.


(Originally posted on Goodreads)

Sunday, 18 March 2012

In My Mailbox #12

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

A very busy mailbox this week. I still feel a little giddy knowing I received so many good books this week. 


Hunting Lila - Sarah Alderson 
                                          Fated -        

At the start, I think my mailbox thought it was Sarah Alderson Week. Two of her books on the same day! I'm really looking forward to reading both books. I've heard amazing things about them (and not just that there are steamy scenes with hot guys, although that definitely raises my interests) I hope I get the chance to dive into one, or both, soon.

Everneath - Brodi Ashton

I cannot stop staring at this cover. Not only on screen but in the flesh too. It is an amazing cover and I adore it. Eveneath has won me over, without having read a word. But I'm sure from all the good things I've heard that it has an equally amazing storyline and I'm looking forward to experiencing it for myself.

Angel's Flight - Nalini Singh

If you haven't read Kerrie's review of Angel's Flight, then you should (here). She knows how to get me excited about adult books, especially the Guild Hunter series (she was, after all, the one who introduced me to the series). I can't wait to  be back in the Guild Hunter world soon.

Dead Witch Walking - Kim Harrison
The Good, the Bad and the Undead
Every Which Way But Dead

It was here that my mailbox decided it was actually Kim Harrison week, when the first 3 Hollows books arrive. I'm dying to start this series, especially because one of my closest book friends raves about it. And it helps fuel my latest obsession with Witches. The Year of the Witch continues for me.


Touch of Power - Maria V. Snyder (via Celine and Harlequin) 

Thanks to Celine for giving me the chance to win this one. I think I said all that I had to say about ToP last week, but I'm currently halfway through the book and I'm loving it.

Falling in Between - Devon Ashley (via Fictional Distraction and Devon Ashley) 

Thanks to the girls at Fictional Distraction for hosting such an amazing giveaway. Falling in Between turned up this week and it came with a sparkly pink bookmark! You can never have too many bookmarks.

And that's my mailbox for this week.


Saturday, 17 March 2012

Angel's Flight - Nalini Singh

Angel's Flight (Guild Hunter Anthology) 
                                                      - Nalini Singh
Grade: Adult - PNR
Rating: 5/5 stars

In Angel’s Wolf a vampire becomes fascinated with the seductive angel who rules Louisiana. But all is not what it appears to be in her court.

In Angels’ Judgment a hunter must track one of her own gone bad, while surviving the deadly tests placed in her way by the archangels themselves. Unexpected backup comes from a stranger who might just be the most lethal threat of all...


In Angels' Pawn a vampire hunter faces off against two rival factions and the angel manipulating them both, and a vampire whose help is not entirely selfless...


In Angels’ Dance an angel trapped in the mountain stronghold of the Refuge finds herself under siege by a warrior angel from a martial court (Description from Goodreads)

~ * ~ * ~
Sometimes you read a book and all you want to do at the end of it is tell EVERYONE to read it. This is how I feel about every book in the Guild Hunter series, including this one. Angel's Flight holds 4 short stories set in the Guild Hunter world, focusing on those side characters that we all wanted to know a bit better.

The first was Ashwini and Janvier's story. To me, it felt more like a snippet into their lives than an actual short story. This is the beginning of their "flirting relationship" that gets described in other Guild Hunter books. I did like it but I just would have liked more. I would have liked to have seen their relationship develop even further. Perhaps there is still more to come.

The second story is one I have already read. Deacon and Sara's story. I loved this story. I love seeing these big alpha males falling head over heels in love. Theres lots of action but at the heart of it all is a beautiful love story.

Story three surprised me. It's about Noel, the vampire that was brutally attacked in book 2 of the series. Last we heard about him was from Raphael in book 3, who said he was transferred to Nirma's territory. This story takes place straight after the transfer. Noel is so broken and doesn't believe he could ever be "fixed" but as soon as he sees Nirma he starts to feel something.

I love that all of Nalini's characters (both male and female) have something that they are trying to overcome. They are all emotionally flawed. And always it's through love that they all begin to heal.

If I had to choose a favourite story in this novel, I'd have to say story 4- Jess and Galen's story, since we also see lots of Raphael and Bluebell in it. Set just after Raphael has become an archangel, this story shows us how the bonds of friendship were made between the seven. It was wonderful to see them so "young" and playful at times. Also, the love story in this was just beautiful. Galen so big and strong, and blunt but never felt the warmth of love, and Jess so small and fragile looking, with her own anxieties, but a fighter at heart. I feel like I know theses characters so much better now.

I was completely engaged in all the stories. Nalini Singh knows how to write hot paranormal romance. Now is the anxious wait for the next Guild Hunter book.

(Originally posted on Goodreads)

Friday, 16 March 2012

Demonglass - Rachel Hawkins

Demonglass (Hex Hall, #2)Demonglass (Hex Hall #2) - Rachel Hawkins
Grade: YA
Rating: 5/5 stars

Sophie Mercer thought she was a witch.

That was the whole reason she was sent to Hex Hall, a reform school for delinquent Prodigium (aka witches, shapeshifters, and fairies). But that was before she discovered the family secret, and that her hot crush, Archer Cross, is an agent for The Eye, a group bent on wiping Prodigium off the face of the earth.

Turns out, Sophie’s a demon, one of only two in the world—the other being her father. What’s worse, she has powers that threaten the lives of everyone she loves. Which is precisely why Sophie decides she must go to London for the Removal, a dangerous procedure that will destroy her powers.

But once Sophie arrives she makes a shocking discovery. Her new friends? They’re demons too. Meaning someone is raising them in secret with creepy plans to use their powers, and probably not for good. Meanwhile, The Eye is set on hunting Sophie down, and they’re using Archer to do it. But it’s not like she has feelings for him anymore. Does she? (Description from Goodreads)

~ * ~ * ~

I was so impressed with ‘Hex Hall’ and had high expectations for its sequel. Did ‘Demonglass’ live up to those expectations? Oh.My.God, yes! We are thrown back into Sophie’s magical world and it’s even more exciting than the first book. We come across familiar characters; new additions and a plot that drives you insane. Perfect sequel to a magical series.

Snarky, sarcastic comments fill the page once again and I love how real everything felt, despite being set in a Castle in England and all the magic and demons running wild. Sophie’s sadness over leaving her mum for the summer, was so touching – I’d be the same if I was away from my mum for that long – and her nervousness about spending time with the father she’s never known. It was all so normal. The only part that made it abnormal was the supernatural beings and magical mysteries, like: who keeps making the demon teenagers and what is their purpose? Do we get an answer? Oh, yes; yes we do!

I was looking forward to learning more about L’Occicho di Dio, The Eye, the hunters, but we’re still sort of left in the dark with them, except for knowing they've been attacking a lot of magical establishments. Their lack of involvement is my only negative for the book. I really wanted to see more of them and while we obviously do see more than in the last book, it still wasn't as much as I would have liked. The focus was still heavily on the Prodigium side of things, especially working with the Council and demons.

What sort of young adult book would this be without an epic love triangle? This is one of those hard love triangles where you can’t help loving both guys. I don’t want either to get hurt. I had one of my theories from book one confirmed in ‘Demonglass’ and it’s making me a little anxious for ‘Spell Bound’. We find out a lot more about both Archer and Cal in this book, but I feel like there’s more to come; we don’t quite know enough to be sure who Sophie will end up with.

Speaking of “more to come”, I shouldn’t be so shocked when a middle of the series book leaves you with an epic cliff-hanger ending, but am I and I was. I distinctly remember my mouth being used to catch flies, couldn’t quite get my jaw off the floor with this one. Not a heart wrenching I’m-Going-to-Die ending, but one that hits you hard. The only way I can describe it in words would be: WOW! Followed closely by: I need the next one, now! Action packed ending that left me breathless for the last 50 pages and desperate for book 3.

I cannot express how much I loved this book. Definitely a favourite.

5/5 stars

(Originally posted on Goodreads)

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #4

'Waiting On' Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine, where you can gush about books that you're desperate to get your hands on...if only they were published already.

I thought and thought about what book to feature this week. There are so many I want to get that aren't out yet. Then, a cover reveal happened; and suddenly I knew exactly what book I was going to gush about. A sequel to one of my favourite adult books from last yeah ('Working Stiff').

Release date: August 7th, 2012

About the book: 

After dying and being revived with the experimental drug Returne, Bryn Davis is theoretically free to live her unlife— with regular doses to keep her going. But Bryn knows that the government has every intention of keeping a tight lid on Pharmadene’s life-altering discovery, no matter the cost. And when some of the members of a support group for Returne addicts suddenly disappear, Bryn begins to wonder if the government is methodically removing a threat to their security, or if some unknown enemy has decided to run the zombies into the ground… (Description from Goodreads)

You have no idea how excited I am to finally have a cover for this book. I loved the idea of secret drug companies creating a way to bring people back from the dead. 'Working Stiff' was an amazing book with a fun main character, action, mystery and super cool leading man. I can't wait to see what trouble Bryn and McCallister get into next.

Rachel Caine was nice enough to load a couple of teaser chapters on her Revivalist website, you can read them here! 

And if you haven't the first book, Working Stiff, you can read the first two chapters on the same site. Check it out, it's an amazing book.

And that's my WoW for this week.


Monday, 12 March 2012

Fever - Lauren DeStefano

Fever (The Chemical Garden, #2)Fever (The Chemical Garden #2)
                                             - Lauren DeStefano
Grade: YA
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Rhine and Gabriel have escaped the mansion, but danger is never far behind.

Running away brings Rhine and Gabriel right into a trap, in the form of a twisted carnival whose ringmistress keeps watch over a menagerie of girls. Just as Rhine uncovers what plans await her, her fortune turns again. With Gabriel at her side, Rhine travels through an environment as grim as the one she left a year ago - surroundings that mirror her own feelings of fear and hopelessness.

The two are determined to get to Manhattan, to relative safety with Rhine’s twin brother, Rowan. But the road there is long and perilous - and in a world where young women only live to age twenty and young men die at twenty-five, time is precious. Worse still, they can’t seem to elude Rhine’s father-in-law, Vaughn, who is determined to bring Rhine back to the any means necessary.

In the sequel to Lauren DeStefano’s harrowing Wither, Rhine must decide if freedom is worth the price - now that she has more to lose than ever. (Description from Goodreads)

~ * ~ * ~ *

I feel a little lost after finishing ‘Fever’. The book had so much potential to explore the dangerous world that Lauren DeStefano has created and I feel like it fell flat a little bit. I was a little disappointed with the pace and order of plot; it didn’t grab me at the start of the book, took quite a while to move anywhere and little progress was actually made. If it wasn’t for the last 50 or so pages, ‘Fever’ wouldn’t have impressed me much.

We were presented with an alternative life in ‘Wither’ – a luxury lifestyle that started with kidnapping and forces marriage and ended with lazy days in a mansion; all while being teased with Rhine’s memories of the outside world. In ‘Fever’ we get a taste of that life, many times over. Scarlet Districts, selling your body in tented communities; First Generation families that have lost hope due to lost children; destroyed towns that are nothing like the freedom Rhine described. This book is like looking through a mirror – we’re seeing everything we ever wondered about Rhine’s world. It’s a confronting world and described so well. You can’t help cringing at the lifestyles people are put through and feel emotionally drained imagining living that way yourself. But unfortunately it didn’t hold my interest as much as I wanted it to.

The book had a slow start. I feel like the order of events happens at the wrong times. It’s not that the plot points and revelations were bad, but where they were placed in the story meant there was such a big gap between interesting and shocking moments that made you want to keep reading and discovering the outside world, that I found myself struggling to want to keep reading. There is one such scene that happens mid-way through the book, which I believe would have made a better start. It would have turned the book upside-down and made me desperate to find out what happens next that I would have sat through a tap endlessly dripping for hours just to see where it leads. But, and there’s always a ‘but’; it came too little too late. By the time we had our Shock-Horror revelation it didn’t lead us anywhere.

Part of my biggest problem with this book was Rhine. She fought so hard in ‘Wither’ to escape the confines of being a Sister Bride and then, thrown into equally horrible situations outside of the mansion, she decides to just go with the flow. There’s no spark, no urgency to get out of trouble. I expected her need to find Rowan would make her struggle and fight, but instead we’re taken on a long journey before Rowan really becomes the main focus and a lot of what we see doesn’t go very far. It’s very flat.

I’m a person who really likes a bit of romance in a story. It’s not necessary for me to enjoy a book, but I do like to smile when the girl falls for the guy. But I feel really detached from the potential partners in this story. Linden was missing for most of the book, so you can’t build off the relationship that was present in the first book, and despite both Gabriel and Rhine claiming they want each other, to me, there was little evidence of their connection. I felt more of a connection with Silas, a side character who was “living in the moment” with girls in the back shed because he actually had a bit of a personality and was aware of what was going on with Rhine. Gabriel and Linden both seem sort of oblivious to her thoughts and emotions.

The end of the book did have its interesting moments and I will say it’s the saviour of the story. Vaughn and his evil scientist ways play a big part in the end and I would have loved to have seen more of his plans and experiments; but what we’re given definitely satisfies my need for secretive and mysterious plot twists.

Despite my issues with the book, I’m glad I read it and I do want to see what happens to Rhine and the rest of the gang, but I probably won’t rush out to buy book #3 for release day.

3.5/5 stars

(Originally posted on Goodreads)

Saturday, 10 March 2012

In My Mailbox #11

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

It's always exciting to get books in the mail to gush about in these IMM posts. Not only does it mean I don't have to leave the house to get them, but I always feel a little special getting packages, even if they're books I bought for myself.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer - Michelle Hodkin

I've heard so much about this book and after seeing a few amazing reviews from friends online, I decided I had to have it. Looking forward to seeing what it's like for myself.

Demonglass - Rachel Hawkins.

I may have squealed and jumped around the house when I found Demonglass in the mailbox on Friday. I cannot wait to read the sequel to Hex Hall. I loved the first book and I'm in the mood for more Sophie entertainment. 

Best books of this week came from the lovely Sarah. I cannot thank you enough Sarah for making my day with awesome books.

Soulless - Christopher Golden

Zombies. I've never read a book that had zombies as its main focus. I'm a little nervous about starting, especially if I read at night, but Sarah said it was a good book, so I'm going to trust her and dive into a zombie book.

New Girl - Paige Harbison

I know almost nothing about New Girl and I wasn't expecting it from Sarah. I love surprise books though, so I already like the book. Hopefully I can take that like with me when I go to read it.

Touch of Power - Maria V. Snyder

Another surprise book. I've been dying to read this one ever since I read a few amazing reviews. I think Sarah's dying for me to read it too. (I've got another copy of Touch of Power headed my way soon, so Sarah's copy is going to Kerrie)

And that's my mailbox for this week


Thursday, 8 March 2012

Silence Winner!

I cannot begin to thank all our new and old followers for bringing me SO much excitement at hosting this giveaway. 

And now to the winner of our very first giveaway:

Emma J

Congrats Emma! You'll be getting an email from us very soon. 

Thanks again to everyone who entered. I'm only sorry we didn't have more books to share. Hopefully we'll give you all another chance in future giveaways. 

Kim & Kerrie

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Hex Hall - Rachel Hawkins

Hex Hall (Hex Hall, #1)
Hex Hall (Hex Hall #1) - Rachel Hawkins
Grade: YA
Rating: 5/5 stars

Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire student on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.

As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her. (Description from Goodreads)

~ * ~ * ~

I’m a big fan of witches. I love the idea of casting spells and having magical mysteries and adventures. If I knew nothing else about Hex Hall, the fact that it had a magic school and the main character was a witch would have interested me. Turns out that was all I knew about the series anyway, but it met my expectations and more.

Have you ever met an extremely sarcastic and funny witch? Well you will when you meet Sophie Mercer. I don’t think I’ve laughed so much on so many pages in ages. Sophie comes off as this incredibly “human” character, despite her powers. She makes mistakes, crushes on unavailable guys, fights with the popular kids and even has major panic attacks when she discovers unknown information about her family. As a character, she is so easy to become familiar with, her voice just flows. Yes, she seems silly and superficial at times (hexing dresses and complaining about mean girls getting the good guys) but she’s a teen in a magical boarding school, all teens are a little silly sometimes. That just made her more real.

Sophie’s knowledge of the magical world is limited, so when she’s forced to attend Hecate Hall for endangering the magical community, she’s thrown into a world she’s not familiar with and much learn all she can about the other part of herself. Sad for Sophie being pushed into the unknown; but really good for us, because we get the chance to learn with her. We see the different types of magical beings, learn that there are two types of witches (white and dark) and are equally shocked when it is revealed that there are supernatural hunters. Not everything is sunshine and daisies for Sophie. I really hope we come across the hunters at some point in the future, because they sound like they will cause some series damage, which could be exciting.

Hex Hall is not just a book about magic and hunters. The book has a fair bit of mystery. The dark witches of Hecate Hall are being attacked and no-one knows why. The answer was not what I was expecting and there’s a shocking revelation at the end that left me dying for the next book, so much that I instantly ordered it online.

I can’t wait to see what happens next in this magical series.

5/5 stars

(Originally posted on Goodreads)

Monday, 5 March 2012

Fateful - Claudia Gray

Fateful - Claudia Gray
Grade: YA
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

The RMS Titanic might be the most luxurious ship in the world, but all passenger Tess Davies wants to do is escape her dreary existence as a maid.
Trapped in a web of painful memories and twisted family secrets, Tess vows to make a run for it as soon as the ship reaches New York. A new world awaits... and a new life!
Her single-minded obsession shatters when she meets Alec. Handsome and mysterious, he captivates her immediately - but Alec has secrets of his own. As she uncovers the darkness lurking beneath his sophisticated surface, Tess discovers a horrifying truth. Werewolves, once only the stuff of nightmares, are real - and they are stalking Alec. Tess's love for Alec puts her in mortal peril, but an even greater danger lies in front of her before their journey on the Titanic is over...(Description from Goodreads)

~ * ~ * ~

There is something sort of depressing about reading a love story set on the Titanic, knowing that the future of most passengers is not favourable. There’s nothing we can do to prevent the characters from boarding or pushing them to be the first on lifeboats days later. You can’t help feeling sorry for them or becoming concerned when Tess notices patches of white in the water. We readers know the disaster that is about to happen and we can’t save them. And to top it all off, there’s a Werewolf war of wills being played out below deck. To say ‘Fateful’ lacks action and excitement would be a massive lie.

Tess Davis is a lucky girl. A maid in a high born family, she is given a chance to travel on the Titanic with her employers to spend the Season in America. Unfortunately her luck stops there. Forced into Third Class because of a lack of money on her boss’s side, Tess faces hardship after hardship to meet the demands of being a maid upon a fancy ship. I really liked Tess and definitely pitied her for having to put up with most of the Lisle family day after day. I would have wanted to slap Regina many times, or at least give her a piece of my mind. Tess shows she had a lot more patience than I could ever have, probably because of the lifestyle she’s been living for many years.

I found the beginning to be sort of slow for my liking. As a stand-alone book, I know it is extremely necessary for the book to have solid foundations at the start, and Claudia didn’t disappoint, setting up who Tess was from the get-go; introducing our main characters and then moving onto the main plot. Despite knowing what lay ahead in the novel, I guess I was a little impatient to reach the romance and action.

I love the supernatural elements of this story. The werewolf side had me desperate for more. I wanted to know everything about the Brotherhood and the pain felt by changing every night. I loved how there was so much we didn’t know about them, because we were only seeing it through Tess’s eyes, and I wish we’d been given the chance to explore more than the surface of the werewolf world, but unfortunately that wasn’t the main focus in the end.

And Alec, the source my fluttering heart throughout the book. Brave, tortured, dangerous and selfless Alec. Who wouldn’t want to be near him? I’ll just say this: days later and I’m still swooning when I think about him.

An amazing, romantic, supernatural tragedy. ‘Fateful’ should definitely be on your to-be-read list.

4.5/5 stars

(Originally posted on Goodreads)

Sunday, 4 March 2012

In My Mailbox #10

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

It's been a goo week for books, after trying so hard to not buy too many new ones (yeah, that didn't work out well). I've received a few books I've been waiting months and months for and that's made me super happy. Check them out below. 

Balthazar - Claudia Gray

Despite already finishing this one last week, I needed to get a copy for myself (can't keep Kerrie's forever). So I now have a shiny, new copy for myself and I love it. Definitely going to have to reread this one soon. 

Forgiven - Jana Oliver

I have been waiting so long for this book to arrive. I can't tell you how excited I was when it turned up in the mail. I didn't even wait to get home from work to open it; I made my sister open it over the phone instead. Amazing book, finished it already and I'm dying for book 4, which won't be out until August.  

Fever - Lauren DeStefano

Another one that came in the mail this week. I've heard a lot about Fever already, so I'm looking forward to diving into it very soon.

Blood Song - Rhiannon Hart

I adore the cover for Blood Song. It's so captivating. I've been meaning to buy it for quite some time now and decided I wasn't going to wait around anymore and bought the ebook yesterday. I read the opening paragraph and feel in love already. The main character likes archery, so I'm certain I'm going to love her. (I have a bit of a soft spot for a good bow and arrow!)

And that's my mailbox for this week. 


Saturday, 3 March 2012

Forgiven - Jana Oliver

Forgiven (The Demon Trappers, #3)Forgiven (The Demon Trappers #3) 
                                                - Jana Oliver
Grade: YA
Rating: 5/5 stars

The days are growing darker for 17-year-old demon trapper Riley Blackthorne. With her father’s reanimated body back safely, Beck barely speaking to her because of a certain hunky Fallen angel, and a freshly-made deal with Lucifer, she has enough on her hands to last a normal teenage lifetime. Though she bargained with Heaven to save his life, her ex-boyfriend Simon has told the Vatican’s Demon Hunters that she’s working with Hell. So now she’s in hiding, at the top of everyone’s most-wanted list.

But it’s becoming clear that this is bigger than Riley, and rapidly getting out of control: something sinister is happening in Atlanta… or someone. The demons are working together for the first time ever and refusing to die, putting civilians in harm’s way. Riley thinks she might know who’s behind it all, but who’s going to believe her? Caught between her bargain with Heaven and her promise to Lucifer, Riley fears the final war is coming – and it may be closer than anyone thinks…(Description from Goodreads)

~ * ~ * ~

If you’re a long time Demon Trappers fan, like I am, you’re probably dying to get your hands on ‘Forgiven’, especially with the way ‘Forbidden’ (DT#2) ended. This book will take you on a wild ride of emotions; anger, sadness, giddy happiness, and lastly shock, especially with the way it ended. And amazing book that I still can’t believe I’ve finished already, because I feel like it should have lasted longer than it did, but I was so desperate to get to the end that it was over too fast. Although, I’m so glad I had the time to read it all in one go, because you really can’t put it down.

‘Forgiven’ picks up exactly where we left off: Riley shocked to see her father animated again and Beck angry at Ms. Blackthorne, but equally pissed off at the Demon Hunters who are currently forcing him to lying in the dirt. It’s a bit awesome having the books that run over into each other this way. The situations the characters are in are definitely not awesome, a little shocking at times, but I love the idea that there is no massive break between books; days we’ve missed, weeks without knowing what the main characters have been up to. You feel like you’re getting every moment of the story. I love it.

So much was going on in this book; so much that had to be resolved. It’s hard to take a breath with all the action and trouble that pops up on every page. Firstly, the Demon Hunters. They’re still in Atlanta and still causing trouble for the Trappers, but you learn to love them a bit more in ‘Forgiven’. Captain Salvatore has some genuinely awesome moments in this book and I kind of hope we’re not done with the Hunters just yet, because I’d hate to lose some of our main characters for the last book. Next, there’s Riley’s involvement with both the Angels and Lucifer. I was a little worried about what this would do to Riley, bringing up Simon and Ori memories, the reasons for being tied to both sides of the immortal war. But she seemed to handle most of it pretty well, even having Ori in her head for part of the novel.

Finally, we have the Fake Holy Water issue. This is probably the only part of the book that made me a little sad. I was desperate to find out what was up with the faulty Holy Water, it’s been on Riley’s brain for so long and even got Peter wrapped up in the mystery (which is awesome, because I love Peter). But I was a little disappointed in the way it was played out. There’s a pretty strong focus in the beginning of the book with Riley and Peter. Then Beck and the Trappers take control and we miss out of seeing that part of the story unless in passing conversations. With the way Riley and Beck’s POVs change, I thought we’d get to see more of it. But that doesn’t change my opinion of the book, because I loved every moment of it. And in the end, the Holy Water issue wasn’t the biggest complication Riley and Beck had to face, so it was necessary for the story to have it become a lesser issue.

It’s not all doom and gloom within ‘Forgiven’, although there is plenty of that considering what Riley and Beck have to face. The pop culture references throughout the book helped bring a few giggles to the story, including a Lord of the Rings mention that had me laughing out loud on the bus, which was a bit awkward.

There were times where I thought Jana was speaking specifically to me. I guess this happens when you talk to authors online; the conversations you have about the book turn out to be random lines within the story. I had to smile when Riley asks about celibate Demon Hunters, when Ayden’s age is confirmed and when Beck’s gold-flecked eyes are mentioned.

And my ever growing obsession with Beck and Riley and their potential relationship grew to new levels; in ways I didn’t think were possible. I still wanted to knock some sense into Beck occasionally for his association with Justine aka. the Stick Chick; especially when he was all upset at missing out on a chance to be with Riley instead. But my love for all that is Beck and Riley – and all they can be when working together – and my need for more of them was definitely satisfied. I can’t get enough of these two.

The ending: Oh.My.Goodness! I’m still so shocked, and yet, oddly hopeful. I’m worried about the consequences of Riley’s choices towards the end of the novel, but I really feel like everything will work out for the best. That doesn’t mean I’m not DYING for ‘Foretold’. I really hope August gets here quickly. Don’t know how I’ll survive the wait, probably through endless discussions about 'Forgiven'.

Fantastic book, Jana. I adored it.

5/5 stars

(Originally posted on Goodreads)