Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer by Katie Alender was a lush and at times unsuspecting ghost tale set in the beguiling city of love and is awash in history and French culture.
Receiving a copy of Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer was a bit of a surprise for me. I’d never heard of it before, but once I read the premise I was really excited to read it; I mean the ghost of Marie Antoinette killing people in Paris? Yes, please!
Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer follows Colette Islan, an American teenager on the journey of a lifetime to Paris, France who finds her sightseeing plans thwarted when some of the wealthy elite, and who’s who of Paris start being murdered in what can only be described as a grisly manner; bye-bye heads. Unexpectedly Colette finds she might have a connection to the murders and soon discovers more about her family’s history than she could have ever imagined, including their connection to the famous Marie Antoinette, dead queen of France.
Katie Alender does a really fantastic job with the setting and overall atmosphere of Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer. From the moment our main character Colette steps off the plane in Paris you can practically smell the croissants and baguettes. The atmosphere is brilliant and this is something that transpires throughout the entire novel with Alender maintaining the authenticity of the book from beginning to end. Katie Alender’s attention to detail enhances the reading experience and as Colette races to learn just what is happening, Alender’s descriptions and inclusion of some famous French monuments….Versailles, the Champs Elysees, the Louvre and of course the Eiffel Tower only make it more addictive; I felt like I was living vicariously through Colette.
For the most part I liked Colette, but she did irritate me at times. I felt she was shallow, and though I understand the purpose of this within the story, witnessing how much importance Colette put on money, social status and popularity was a bit much at times. I couldn’t believe how Colette let those around her, most notably her "friend" Hannah, treat her; Hannah was manipulative, selfish and cruel and Colette was so desperate to be her friend that she allowed material things to be more important that friendship and kindness. Colette was so driven to be popular that she was willing to be whatever Hannah wanted her to be, even if she didn’t feel the same way.
Luckily over the course of the book, with the help of the enigmatic Jules and confidant Aubrey, Colette does grow, learning what it really important and learning to stand up for herself against the likes of Hannah. Alender blends together sweet romance with chilling danger as the ghost of Marie Antoinette runs rampant in Paris.
Featuring a unique and fresh premise, Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer is a good all-round read, that will make you feel like you're literally in Paris as main heroine Colette races to stop the ghost of Marie Antoinette from taking any more lives. (less)
Steel Lily is Megan Curd’s foray into the steampunk genre and is a masterfully told and perfectly woven tale of danger, excitement and dashing adventure. With its exhilarating storyline and tangible characters, Steel Lily will easily entertain from beginning to end!
Alright, I have to be honest; I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I began this book. Although the cover is pretty it's also very unassuming and doesn't speak a lot to the book it houses. I’ve read very few steampunk novels and although I quite enjoyed the ones I have read I still wasn’t sure what Steel Lily would be like. And in saying that, let me just say how truely much I loved this book! Steel Lily turned out to be an unexpected gem for me!
Even though she is an already self-published author, this was my first novel by Megan Curd, but I was highly impressed. I don’t know what her previous work is like, but I very much liked what she has done with the first book in her new The Periodic Series. The world was rich and lush and full of vivid characters and excitement. Plenty of twists kept me on my toes and the way Curd weaves together her storyline was excellent. Plus, the character dynamic that develops between our main character and the individuals she meets made for some witty and smart dialogue.
Introducing us to a society forever altered by World War 3 and radiation exposure, Steel Lily follows the adventures of Avery Pike, a fifteen year old girl and Elemental who lives in Dome Four. In a world where certain individuals have the ability to control different elements and the atmosphere outside is supposedly uninhabitable, the people of Dome Four reply on Avery, and those like her, to supply it with the steam it needs to keep operating sufficiently. With the appearance of a surprising and at time dubious stranger, Avery finds herself leaving Dome Four; quickly embarking on a crazy journey that sees her discover truths about the world around her she never expected.
A strapping and stubborn young lass, Avery has lived her entire life in Dome Four and after being left orphaned after the disappearance of her parents only had her best friend Alice and their friend Leg’s as family. I truly, truly liked Avery. This girl has fire, and I don’t just mean her fiery locks. Avery Pike is smart and spirited and extremely easy to follow. Impossible not to like, Avery’s voice is quick and fast thinking and also very vulnerable. She’s just a generally good character to follow and I certainly liked seeing her take chances and do what she had to do.
Throughout Steel Lily, Avery is joined by her shy, but also strong-willed best friend Alice on her adventure as well as their friend Legs, but soon meets a vast array of characters, including the tech quiz Sari, the clever, whimsical and cheeky Jaxon "Jax" Pierce and dark and mysterious Mr. Riggs, who are all more than they appear.
I liked all the characters in this book. Alice, and then Sari, were true friends to Avery, and Riggs certainly proved to be unexpected at times, but the individual who stole the show for me was Jax. Megan Curd gave him such character, and real personality. Jax was brash and forward and extremely cheeky and I adored the one liners and tongue in cheek comments he seemed to have by the truckload. Curd made him someone you constantly wanted to read about because of the life he brought to the story.
The chemistry that develops between Avery and Jax is sizzling from the beginning and is a slow simmer that slowly burns as the story progresses. These two go toe to toe at times and the tension only gets better as the attraction and connection develops. It seems obvious that there is going to be something between these two from the moment Jax is introduced to the story, but that doesn’t make it any less satisfying to watch unfold.
Perfect for fans of The Girl in The Steel Corset by Kady Cross, Steel Lily features a great cast of characters and an intriguing storyline that sees friends become foes and allies turn into enemies in this riveting steampunk novel that will easily leave you wanting more!
The Fault In Our Stars by John Green is an unparrelled story. Humorous, romantic and achingly beautiful, The Fault In Our Stars will make you laugh, smile and cry. A story about life and loss and the powerful love shared between two teenagers in heartbreaking circumstances will touch you in ways you've never known!
In a world where there are so many stories, there are some books that leave a mark on you. Masterfully written tales that reach down inside you and find places sometimes you didn't even know were there. Tales that rip you apart and mess with your emotions in the most beautiful of ways....managing to fill you will laughter at one moment and sadness the next. Stories that are so deep in their content that they change you.
I've read a lot of books in my time as a reader--some excessivly emotional, others not so much--but never have I had a book break my heart like The Fault In Our Stars did. In all honesty, there are no words to describe the beautiful tragedy that is this book. That can even come close to describe it's triumphs and it's pain and it's addictive prescence. This book managed to tear me apart at times. Honestly, I was crying so hard I had to stop reading, simply because I could no longer distingish the words on the page.
There is no doubt within my mind that John Green is a genuis. What he has done with this story is nothing short of a miracle. The Fault In Our Stars is smart, quirky and endlessly emotional. John Green explores love and loss through the eyes of his main character Hazel in the most incredible of ways, forcing his reader through a whirlwind of emotion that you would almost come to resent....if you didn't love it so!
The raw insensity to this story is something you cannot help but love. The profound emotion and depth Green forces you to experince is something you're unable to avoid. Written though the eyes of Hazel Grace Lancaster, a sixteen year old girl with terminal cancer, The Fault In Our Stars depicts one of the most powerful love stories you could ever hope to read!
This is one of the few times where I don't plan to say a lot about the main characters. I mean, really? What can I say? No words will eloquently describe the brilliance that is Augustus Waters, with his emotional depth and metorphirical nature. Hazel Grace is a character you simply need to read to understand and the stregenth she displays in the face of such pain and loss is nothing short of beautiful. John Green gives life to these two through The Fault In Our Stars and makes them so completely human that you'll laugh with them, cry with them and just adore them.
The entire time I was reading The Fault In Our Stars, I knew it was going to break my heart, but the beauty in which it did was something I didn't want to miss. This story is tragic, but so, so achingly beautiful. The characters are raw and real; deep and powerful. I feel emotionally drained having read this book, but I'd do it all again and most likely will. It took me a while to read this, but I'm so thankful I did--Hazel and Augustus's story is sure to stay with me.
John Green's powerful exploration of life and love in the midst of death is something so powerful in The Fault In Our Stars . There's no doubt in my mind that the smart and bittersweet romance explored in The Fault In Our Stars will stay with you, long after the inevitable happens. Get ready for an emotional rollarcoaster ride with The Fault In Our Stars---one that's sure to have you coming back for more! (less)
Brigid Kemmerer continues her riveting Elementals series with Secret, the emotionally driven and shockingly exciting fourth instalment that explores Merrick brother Nick like never before and finally allows readers into some unexpected secrets!
In all honesty, the last book in this series wasn't my favourite. Don't get me wrong, Spirit was a wonderful read, but it seemed to be missing that extra something the first two books had in my opinion. In saying that, I was nervous heading into Secret. Though I've mostly liked her, Quinn has had her moments where I've struggled to connect with her and as the quiet, calm and disconcerning brother, Nick has sometimes faded into the background. I was worried Secret wouldn't live up to the first two books....but boy was I wrong! I think Secret is quite possibly my favourite book yet!
Prior to reading Secret, I had the chance to read Breathless, an Elemental novella which features both Nick and Quinn but is set before the events of Secret thanks to the Australian edition of Secret that included it as a bonus feature. At around 50 pages long, Breathless allows readers to learn Nick's secret for this first time, something I appreciated, as in all honesty I hadn't quite put two and two together during the previous books. Breathless sets the story up nicely, with the transition into Secret an easy one, thanks to what we have learned during it.
I have to say, I adore how Brigid Kemmerer has written this book. I mean, I've loved all her books; they're all expertly told, with perfect writing and attention to detail, but Secret seems so much more emotional and confronting at times than some of the previous books. Brigid Kemmerer has created a fantastic supernatural series with this series, but I think her ability to explore deeper issues, real, moving issues at times is what makes this series so much more special.
Nick Merrick is an air elemental. He's popular, attractive and he's always there for his family when they need it. He's smart, kind and reliable. He's got a loving family, a great girlfriend and it genuinely seems like he has it all. Only Nick is hiding a secret; one that he fears will tear his life apart. Nick Merrick is gay.
I've mentioned it before, but I'll say it again. I was really surprised to find out Nick was actually gay in this book. In terms of characterisation, even though he is a nice guy, Nick has always just faded into the background for me. And with so many personable characters in this series, it would have been so easy for Kemmerer to leave him there, lost amongst the more dominant personalities. Instead, Brigid Kemmerer gave Nick substance. She gave him character. She made him real. And I can't give her enough props for that!
As Secret unfolds and Brigid Kemmerer details Nick's uncertainty and his insecurity, I have to admit..... I fell so deeply in love with Nick Merrick I almost have no words. Watching him struggle with himself over what he wanted and what he felt was just heartbreaking, and so very emotional. Nick's anguish over what he is and his fear of coming out to his brothers just bleeds through the pages and Kemmerer does a fantastic job utilising that within the story. I was hastily turning pages and reading because I needed to know that Nick's story would turn out alright. I needed him to find peace with himself and those around him. I needed it.
Throughout the story, one of the big focus's is Nick's relationship with Adam, the first boys he's ever been so attracted to that it forced him to confront what he felt. I was so pleased with Adam and Nick's relationship. Brigid Kemmerer writes it so well; with Nick uncertain, unsure and giddy and excited. It was the start of first love, and boy and girl, or boy and boy....it couldn't have been written better. It was simple and complicated and endearingly sweet. Nick and Adam just fit. And I loved that!
Told in dual POV, both through Nick and Quinn's eyes, Secret spends as much time following Quinn as it does Nick. Quinn Brisco is Nick's girlfriend turned "girlfriend" and happens to surprise me a lot in this book. I have always liked Quinn, although there have been a few moments in the last couple of books where I've questioned some of her actions and decisions. Having read Secret I think I finally understand. Brigid Kemmerer continues to do what she is good at with Quinn; writing unexpectedly layered characters with flaws, issues and real problems. Exploring Quinn's home life we discover the abusive environment she lives in and suddenly her actions take on a new meaning.
Quinn struggles to let people in. She keeps secrets about her life and what's really happening and it's actually quite sad. Especially with the realisation that it's quite life like. That being said, in the story, Quinn finds an unexpected saviour in the form or Tyler Morgan. Yep. Remember him? The arrogant and cruel Elemental who has tormented the Merrick brothers for years? Well, in Secret, Tyler becomes Quinn's white knight in many ways and unexpectedly turns out to have a heart. Though there are many fences to mend between he and the Merrick brothers, Brigid Kemmerer adds another layer and dynamic to the story introducing Tyler as someone who has made bad choices and mistakes, but who actually has a kinder side. One he reveals to Quinn.
Mixed in amongst the emotional developments experienced by both Nick and Quinn in Secret is the ongoing storyline of the Guides that continue to hunt the Merrick brothers and Hunter. As secrets come to light, alliances change and truths are faced, all in the lead up to the third and final book, Sacrifice.
Brigid Kemmerer has introduced her readers to a family plagued by tragedy, but bound by their love and devotion to one another; hooking us all with each subsequent story and reeling us in each time. As the series draws to a close, I have no doubt the final book is sure to be an explosive conclusion! (less)
From popular bestselling author Jamie McGuire comes Red Hill, a post apocalyptic thriller that will excite fans of The Walking Dead. Red Hill is a beautifully told story that mixes together excitement and danger against the pitfalls of love and surviving in the midst of tremendous odds!
Told through the eyes of Scarlet, a divorced mother of two, Nathan a man in a loveless marriage and Miranda, a college girl on her way home for the summer with her sister and their boyfriends, Red Hill depicts the events that follow when a deadly virus finds its way into the population; infecting those bitten and turning them into mindless zombies. In the tradition of The Walking Dead, Red Hill is a very realistic and chilling novel. A far cry from other zombie novels where futuristic elements play a part, Red Hill explores what would happen if a zombie apocalypse happened in today’s society.
Personally I don’t think this book is going to appeal to everyone. Though McGuire’s pertinent to detail is spot on and her writing solid, Red Hill lacks some of the excitement and over dramatization that I would hope to see in this kind of novel. Red Hill is in no way a romantic zombie story. McGuire doesn’t romanticize her zombies; this isn’t a story about a bunch of capable and kick-butt people taking on the zombies. This is a story about a group of very real, very authentic, very frightened people who are just trying to survive when the world as they know it ends.
I found it really interesting seeing Jamie McGuire weave together the lives of her characters without them even knowing it. Until the moment they all meet at Red Hill, Scarlet, Nathan and Miranda are put in the vicinity of each other numerous times, even interacting with the same individuals, be it at different points in time and don’t even know it.
Throughout Red Hill, McGuire explores the complexity of human emotion and an individual’s capacity to love in the face of tremendous odds, where survival is far from a sure thing. It’s impossible not to question certain idealisms and notions when reading this book. I mean, what is stronger than a mother’s love for her children, or a father’s love for his child? The power of love between two people sure they want to spend the rest of their lives together? How can we judge people as conceited and selfish when the selfishness seen is as simple as the lengths at which a mother is willing to go to to protect her child? How can you judge someone for putting the life of the one they love over a complete stranger?
It may seem cruel, but in a world gone wrong, what happens to a person’s capacity to care when everyone is out for themselves and do cruel things? It’s a chilling thought, and through out Red Hill, amidst the danger and entertaining story it’s hard not to think of this. At least, I know I did.
Filled to the brim with high stakes, violence and danger, Red Hill mixes friendship and love with bittersweet happiness and sadness. Though it might not be for everyone, Red Hill is a nicely written, and in my opinion, a great read! (less)
Trust In Me by Jennifer L. Armentrout, written under her pen name of J. Lynn, is the perfectly depicted re-telling of her sensational Wait For You, this time told through eyes of male lead and stunner Cam Hamilton!
Jennifer L. Armentrout continues to satisfy, writing yet another brilliant book in the form of Trust In Me. I adored Wait For You, but in my opinion the only thing missing was the option to know what Cam was thinking too, something that is finally revealed in Trust In Me!
Depicting the same events we read about in Wait For You, but this time through Cam’s eyes, Trust In Me is a wonderfully told story. Though nothing changes with the storyline, besides a few scenes we never witnessed between Cam and his friends where Avery wasn’t there, this book is still very much the same tale—which isn’t necessarily a bad thing! Personally I loved witnessing moments where I knew certain things were going through Avery’s head having read Wait For You where Cam was clueless or thinking something else entirely. I’m still very much a fan of dual POV’s when it comes to these kinds of books, but retellings through the eyes of the other character still satisfies too.
Cam Hamilton is such an amazing young man; something that becomes even more evident as we slowly read Trust In Me. As I mentioned in my review of Wait For Me, while Cam is a bit of a cheeky guy with a brash and naughty sense of humour, he is actually a good person. Player status aside, Cam is kind and tender towards Avery from the beginning and Trust In Me only solidifies how deeply he cares, and how truly genuine his feelings for Avery are.
During Trust In Me, the protective side and adorably obsessive sides of Cam become abundantly clear; something we weren’t always aware of in Wait For You as Avery’s accession of certain instances were different from Cams. I continue to adore the fact that Cam isn’t a real "bad boy" and that his endearing attraction to Avery progresses with the authenticity of first love. The sincerity to Cam when he can’t stop thinking about Avery and the way being with her makes him feel is very sweet to witness.
I also enjoyed seeing how Jennifer L. Armentrout wrote the physical aspects of Avery and Cam’s relationship as they were unfolded through Cam’s eyes in Trust In Me. Obviously Cam is a blue blooded male and it’s important to recognize he’s going to have a certain response to Avery, but I was really impressed with how much consideration he had for her and how much he put what she wanted and was ready for over what he was—certainly won points with me.
Overall, Trust In Me is a sensual and adorable new adult read that is perfect fans of Abbi Glines and Cora Carmack! If you loved Wait For You, or even if you haven’t read it yet, don’t miss the opportunity to see Cam and Avery’s relationship unfold through Cam’s eyes! (less)