Avery is an absolutely beautiful and sensationally told fantasy tale by Australian author Charlotte McConaghy that introduces readers to vivid and highly imaginative world with two sides at war and is a heartwarming, touching story of redemption, healing and power of allowing oneself to love again!
From beginning to end Avery blew me away; plain and simple. I headed into the novel with high expectations and Charlotte McConghy certainly met them. The moment I began Avery I was instantly drawn into the stunning world McConaghy has envisioned and swept up in the journeys of the four characters whose POV’s we follow throughout the novel.
Avery introduces readers two different warring lands; Kaya a place where people die in pairs after bonding with their other half and mate, and Pirenti, a land known for its formable soldiers and barbaric ways, ruled by a brutal Queen who aims to bring the Kayan people to their knees. Avery follows four very different individuals from both domains; Ava, a broken Kayan woman who lost her mate Avery two years before but miraculously managed to live on, becoming a shadow of her former self and driven only by revenge for her lost love; Ambrose, the second Prince of Pirenti, a fierce solider who captures Ava masquerading as Avery and takes “him” prisoner; Thorne, the eldest Prince of Pirenti, Ambrose’s brutal older brother who is a known killer and first in line for the Pirenti throne, and Roslyn, Thorne’s wishful wife who is mocked and scorned for her mental unstableness and who is at Thorne’s whim.
I really appreciated seeing this novel unfold through the varying POV’s. We’re introduced to two kingdoms at war with one another, with one as brutal and as barbaric as you can get, and yet author Charlotte McConghy manages to make you really feel about her characters. You can’t help but think about the complexity of human nature as you read this story. The line between good and evil blurs and who is in the right often changes from situation to situation. Our characters make bad choices and the wrong decisions and they don’t always do the right thing, but they’re so complex and layered, and really grow. Honestly it’s impossible to not become invested in their individual pursuits and dreams and as McConghy weaves their lives together, you’ll find yourself even more invested in the inevitable outcome.
The seemingly broken and vengeful Ava, also known as Avery is one of the four characters we follow, if not the most important one. Ava has been left a shell of the person she used to be after the death of her mate Avery, and this novel really is her story of learning to live, and love again. Ava’s thirst for revenge leads her to Pitrenti where a failed attempt to assassinate the Queen sees Ava dragged by Ambrose to one of Pirenti’s most infamous prisons. Along the way Ava, disguised as a boy and known as Avery begins to form an unexpected friendship with the formable warrior and soon finds herself actually feeling again, more so than she has in a long, long time.
Ava and Ambrose’s story is sensational to witness, but it’s not without its difficulties. Ava still feels so much pain over the loss of her mate in the beginning of the novel and it’s not until Ambrose helps her live again that she starts to even contemplate continuing on with a life without him. There’s plenty of guilt and then shame as she slowly falls for Ambrose, but seeing Ava slowly heal is a beautiful thing to watch.
Ambrose is a complex character in and of himself. In the beginning he is very cruel to Ava and doesn’t treat her the best, but as he begins to develop a friendship with “Avery” he starts to question his actions and adjust his responses. I honestly found seeing Ambrose fall for Ava to be beyond beautiful in so many ways. I mean, Ambrose falls in love with Avery, not Ava. Obviously they’re the same person, but he loved her as the boy he knew her to be, and her sex was never as issue. It was pure love; for a person and who they were inside and I found that so, so beautiful.
Thorne and Roselyn have their own hurdles to overcome in this book and I very much enjoyed seeing their journey as well. Both brothers have had horrendous childhoods and lives, something that really shows but I was happy to see Throne learn how he needed to treat Rose and do the right thing in the end.
Avery is an emotionally charged fantasy story and explores the possibilities of forgiveness and letting yourself move on. Charlotte McConghy weaves together a wonderful story of romance, danger and the strength of love and has won herself a fan in me! ...more
Emma Pass’s debut novel Acid is a richly action based novel that will take readers on an intricate ride from its opening chapter!
Launching into Acid, I was really unsure what to expect. The fierce cover had my attention and if that wasn’t enough, the tagline sure had me all fired up for a blazing story. Unfortunately, Acid wasn’t quite the addictive read that I hoped it would be, but still proved to be entertaining on a number of different levels and managed to keep me reading on. There’s was nothing wrong with this book, far from it, but for some unknown reason, Acid failed to captivate me as I hoped.
Detailing a futuristic London where a military based company named ACID controls the country, Acid features heroine Janna Strong, a fierce young woman imprisoned for killing her parents. Emma Pass does a good job with her intricate and action based storyline; managing to mix non-shop action with secrets, lies and the mystery surrounding the workings of ACID and the truth behind Jenna’s past.
I have to say, I was really impressed with Jenna as a heroine. Not only is she extremely kick-ass; brave, fierce and capable, she’s also genuinely likable and displays moments of vulnerability throughout Acid. Jenna was basically a normal girl within the world of Acid, but who had to toughen up and learn to protect herself when she was sent to prison for killing her parents. As a result of this, Jenna is self-proficient and bodily able, and this really helps her during the story as she finds herself on the run and unsure who to trust.
During the course of the book, Jenna manages to uncover some startling truths about not only herself but the governing body that runs her country. In a world where mind altering is possible and facial changes are an everyday thing, no one is as they seem and scenarios and situations may not always be as they appear.
Overall Acid was a solid read. As Jenna races to find out just what ACID is up to, making friends, finding love and discovering the truth behind her parents deaths along the way, readers are sure to enjoy Emma Pass’s debut novel!
Scarlet in the Snow by Sophie Masson is a very quaint fairytale retelling, woven together beautiful with Russian folk law.
In all honesty, I'm at a mixed mind when it comes to Scarlet in the Snow. I appreciate what author Sophie Masson has done with this book, but I also felt at times the story fell flat. That being said, while Scarlet in the snow wasn't the best fairytale re-telling I've ever read, I did like it--for the most part.
Beautifully written, Scarlet in the Snow details the story of Beauty and the Beast; mixing romance and danger together with Russian folklaw, and building a story long after the traditional tale of Beauty and the Beast ends.
The biggest draw for me concerning this book was that I enjoyed Sophie Masson's writing style and the fact that Scarlet in the Snow continued on long after where I'd expect the traditional Beauty and the Beast story to end (where the the Beauty professes her love and Beast becomes a man once more). Masson's writing painted a lovely picture of the story within my mind; describing the lucious and magical world within the book in a very rich and detailed manner.
The mythology within Scarlet in the Snow was interesting, nothing I'd ever seen before, although I was a tad confused at times and wished the mythology and magic known to the characters was better explained. The characters, including leading lady Natasha, were likeable, but felt bland in terms of personality and chemistry. The romance, and "love" shared by our Beauty and Beast, unfortunatly, to me, seemed to come on too fast and too soon, and in turn never meant much to me. I understood why Natasha risked all she did, but I never felt it......meaning what was on the line didn't mean as much to me as I wanted it to.
That being said, the story, aside from a few moments when I felt it dragged, was nice enough to read about. I liked how well the author tied everything up and how we left the characters. While this will never be something on my faves list, if you're a fan of fairytale retellings and looking for something fairly quick to read, Scarlet and the Snow may just be the book for you! ...more
Mystic City is a smart, riveting debut by author Theo Lawrence that mixes dystopian with high society in this Romeo & Juliet style tale. It’s the X-Men meets Mad Men in this gripping story sure to capture from the opening page!
I’m quite disappointed. In myself. Why, oh, why did I wait so long to read this book?!? Theo Lawrence is a new author to me, but I doubt this will be the last time I read one of this tales as I found myself quite immersed in his riveting world.
I have to admit, I didn’t know what to expect when I began this book. Sadly, it’s sat on my shelf for a while, lost amongst the countless review books I have, so picking it up on a whim, I wasn’t sure what I’d be getting. What I found was a fun, intriguing read that hooked me with its action, intrigue and tantalizing romance. Lawrence blends elements of mystery and adventure perfectly with romance in this lovely paced fantasy.
Set in a world where politicians and the rich control the city of Manhattan; hiding behind their pretty faces and promises while living double lives, and the lower class live below ground and struggle to survive, finding it hard to find necisarities like food and shelter and blending into the dark, dirty Depths below Manhattan. Mystic City introduces us to mystics; individuals who have special abilities but who are seen as dangerous and are hunted and ostracized; “drained” to keep them powerless and follows Aria Rose, the daughter of one of the most prominent politicians there is.
Aria Rose was a really great character to follow throughout this book! Starting out very much a protected high class young woman, she is haunted by a past she can’t remember and is told she experienced. I liked Aria, I really did. Theo Lawrence wrote her well and I couldn’t help but find myself invested in her plight as she struggles to discover the truth, amidst the glitz, glamour and flair that comes with the parties, events and society she’s a part of.
Considering she really doesn’t remember what happened before her supposed “overdose”, as well as the young man she is supposed to love, I loved watching Aria search for the truth, becoming more daring and sufficient with the turn of every page. Lawrence writes the story in the way that you as the reader only know as much as Aria knows and I found it very enjoyable piecing together truth from lies as Mystic City unfolds.
Hunter proves to be a mystery to Aria, as well as a lifeline, and I really liked him. In fact, all the characters, the “good” as well as the bad were nice to read about as they wove together the plotline. Lawrence did a good job with the romance in Mystic City. It’s neither over bearing, nor does it fade into the background; rather it blends in with the action, mystery and high stakes of the story. Admittedly, I saw certain revelations coming, but was happy with the turn of events regardless.
Featuring plenty of shocks, twists and deception, Mystic City will hold your attention until the very last page. The stakes have never been higher for the rebel mystics of the city as well as those in power. As Aria, Hunter and those closest to them fight for freedom, love and power, the gripping ending sets the stage for book two. Mystic City will take you into a world where secrets rage and no one is as they seem, leaving you looking anticipating what Theo Lawrence will do next! ...more
Skylark by Meagan Spooner is a surprising and at times difficult read that gets off to a slow start but then steadily progresses into a fast-paced and thrilling tale that is a mix of fantasy, sci-fi, dystopian and steampunk and will leave you well and truly ready for more!
In all honesty I don’t think I’ve ever had a reading experience like I’ve just experienced with Skylark. I mean, it took almost 200 pages for the book to capture my attention and to be honest I almost gave up and didn’t finish it. Granted some books do take a while to pick up, but to get almost halfway through a novel and still struggle to find something to really capture your attention is a long time.
I almost felt like Skylark was two different books. While the beginning really lagged, the second half was simply incredible and if the whole book was this good I may have given it 5 stars. Following Lark Ainsley, a sixteen year old girl who has spent her whole life never seeing the sky and never journeying past the Wall that surrounds her city and protects it from the dangerous elements that exist on the other side, Skylark is a real mixture of genres.
There’s a bit of fantasy, sci-fi, dystopian and steampunk all woven together; with horrendous monsters mingling with magic, machines and mystery. Spooner’s writing is deeply descriptive and I quite enjoyed the world she has created. It was very unique and unlike anything I’d seen before, with so much still unknown and a mystery to both our heroine and us as the reader.
Skylark depicts a dystopian-styled society where wars waged a hundred years prior have left the outside world twisted and uninhabitable. With the Wall that encompasses the city the only thing protecting it from the outside elements and the monsters that call it home, magic is “harvested” from the younger members of the city and is used to power not only the Wall but the technology and machines that keep the city running.
Again, the novel started out quite slow, but once it picked up, I very much enjoyed the journey I found myself on with main character Lark, a young woman who begins to exhibit powerful magic, after a lifetime of feeling like a dud in the beginning of Skylark and who finds herself an unwitting pawn in plans held by her city’s leaders.
Lark’s journey is a long and difficult one that sees Lark travel across vast plains, through iron forests and magical pockets; hiding from tremendously dangerous monsters and creatures as she goes. Hers really is a tale of survival, as she tries to discover what makes her different from all the other individuals of her world.
I foresee a lot of growth in Lark throughout this series. She has already come such a long way in just only one installment; quickly becoming the kind of heroine who is a joy to follow and who you truly cheer for. There’s still a lot of mystery surrounding what Lark is that makes her different from everyone else, and I’m really excited to see what Spooner does with Lark. From the beginning of Skylark to it’s end, Lark transitions a lot and I was happy to see her find something to fight for. She’s slowly learning to survive on her own and even though she was scared and unsure, she still did what she had to do.
Lark meets a number of different individuals during the story including those of the Iron Wood, but the two that I adored the most were Nix, the copper “pixie” who becomes Larks shadow and constant companion and Oren, the wild boy whose true nature will be a shock to readers.
I’m very much looking forward to seeing more of these two characters and their relationships with Lark—Nix as a friend for Lark and Oren as a potential love interest. Spooner has me intrigued with what she’ll do with these two characters; considering some unexpected revelations that left me surprised during Skylark but that promises some interesting future reads.
Rich in description and setting, Skylark starts out slow but that rises into a promising start to a magical series. Ending just when its getting good, Skylark guarantee’s I’ll be racing out to get the next book as soon as humanly possible. ...more
Blood Storm is the dark, exhilarating sequel to Aussie author Rihannon Hart’s debut, Blood Song, and will draw readers once again into the heart of this series in an eerie, driven sequel that will leave you want more, more, more!
Considering that Blood Song was one of my favourite books of last year, to say I’d been looking forward to this sequel would be an understatement. While it didn’t exactly hold my attention in the death grip that Blood Song previously had, I found Blood Storm to be an exciting follow up, one that certainly had its fair share of mystery and revelations.
Picking up a few months after the first book concluded Rihannon Hart once again captivated me with Blood Storm’s well written, well told story that had my complete attention from the moment I opened the book. There’s something so wonderful about Rihannon Hart’s story telling. Weaving romance and fantasy together beautifully, the writing and detailed prose easily sweep you into the story and incredible world of Pergamia and Lharmell!
I admit that I did feel that the progression of the storyline within Blood Storm was a little bit slower than its predecessor, but that didn’t in anyway deter me from the book. This dark fantasy world is filled with danger and adventure and blends forbidden romance and touching friendship with royal politics to create an addictively exciting read that will have you never wanting it to end.
Set in an eerily, dark world, the storyline of this book is fantasy at its best, driving home all the aspects that make this series great. The characters we came to love in the first novel shine once more as Hart tells of the next stage in Zeraphina’s journey. It was really exciting to be with these characters again, Zeraphina and Rodden in particular as we see that leave the palace at Pergamia and journey to collect various minerals that may help in their fight against the Lharmell’s.
As our heroine, Zeraphina is strong willed and intelligent and more than able to handle her own. Despite her princess status, this is a girl who is well and truly able to stand on her own two feet and who is not shy about telling it like it is. She may hold all the poise and grace of a princess, but as she shows time and time again, this girl is a warrior through and through. Zeraphina is settling into her life as a Harming quite well in this book and she has good naturally accepted what it means to be a Harming.
I found it delicious that many of the questions we have surrounding Rodden were answered in this book. Light was shed on his past and we begin to understand his character a bit more as we learn of what drives him. I’d be lying if I didn’t say Rodden’s heart breaking past got to me, but at least it makes it clear why this honourable, often infuriating yet oh so incredible man is the way he is.
The relationship between Zeraphina and Rodden continues to grow in this book and takes a few unexpected turns. The chemistry is still there and with Rodden finally sharing his past with Zeraphina, it paints their relationship in a new light. There is mutual respect and friendship there between them as well as a decent amount of teasing, but in the end their closeness learns towards something more. No matter what Zeraphina’s mother may want.
Racing all the way to a gripping ending that will have you clawing at the pages, hoping and praying there’s more, Blood Storm is a delightfully dark sequel to Blood Song that is sure to catch you, hook line and sinker and have you eagerly awaiting the third book after a cliff-hanger that will rip your heart out! ...more
Time Between Us explores the beauty of first love and the power of friendship, in this beautifully written debut by Tamara Ireland Stone that is a delightful mix of The Time Travellers Wife, and The Future of Us!
From beginning to end Time Between Us was a joy to read. Tamara Ireland Stone’s debut novel was beautifully written, perfectly paced and effortlessly compelling. Stone’s writing was simple, but flowing and effortless; detailing the story wonderfully but never going into over the stop, unnecessary detail.
The storyline was simple; boy with ability to move through time from the future and a girl set squarely in the present that meet and fall for one another. Featuring a time travelling teen, I was surprised to discover how delightfully normal this book was. Set in 1995, the “supernatural” aspect of this book wasn’t a strong feature, but rather Bennett’s abilities slipped easily into the contemporary feel of things.
Our main characters, Anna and Bennett are prefect within the story. Both are believable and reflective of teenagers everywhere, regardless of the time period they grew up in. Anna was such a normal teen girl, with all the hopes, fears and expectations everyone experiences. And yet she was strong too and it was easily to get lost within her head as her voice was so easy to follow. Independent and driven, Anna was the best possible protagonist to have in this kind of novel.
Bennett on the other hand, was quite a mystery to me throughout this book. As Tamara Ireland Stone steadily revealed Bennett’s secrets and the truth about who he is and where he comes from, I found him to be a real sweetie. One thing I found really interesting is that Bennett’s family were so aware of his abilities. Usually with these kinds of books, the teen’s family are in the dark about what they can do so it was refreshing to know Bennett’s parents knew what he was capable of. Even if we never got to meet them personally.
The romance within Time Between Us that blossoms between Anna and Bennett was sweet. It wasn’t over the top, but still came across strongly....if that makes sense. What I loved was that Bennett and Anna truly got to know one another over time; talking and sharing their hopes, dreams and secrets with one another. These two were sweet and endearing.
Stone writes a lot of mystery surround Bennett and his abilities while Anna learns who he is, that at times I found myself scratching my head over the various “Bennetts” at different times and moments throughout the book. Personally, I would have liked to see Bennett and his family explored a bit more seeing as they intrigued me so, but that’s just me.
The ending seemed a tad rushed for my tastes and I would have loved to have seen it stretched out and expanded on a touch more. Tamara Ireland Stone left me wanting to know how Anna and Bennett’s story continued, long after I turned the last page, but I was thrilled with the hope she left us with.
An enchanting, time travelling debut that sweeps you up from start to finish, Time Between Us is a must read for fans of Nicholas Sparks and The Time Travellers Wife! ...more
*Firstly, thanks to Random House Australia, who sent me this book for review*
Mammon by J.B Thomas turned out to be a great entertaining read. It took*Firstly, thanks to Random House Australia, who sent me this book for review*
Mammon by J.B Thomas turned out to be a great entertaining read. It took me a little while to really get into this book. In the very beginning when Grace and Joe were first discovering powers, things seemed to move really fast and I felt disconnected from the characters. However as the book progressed the more I seemed to enjoy it. This is a bit different from the other demon books out there that I’ve read. The idea of it, the overall way that demons form and what they actually are, is unique and I really liked that about it. As I mentioned before, the story seemed to move really fast in the beginning; it seemed to me like the characters accepted things so easily and it in turn made it hard for me to accept what was happening, but once Grace and Joe end up in training and learning more about the world; then I really got sucked in. This book was action packed and tended to be fast paced the majority of the way through, with plenty of romance to keep me entertained and swooning.
I had mixed emotions about the characters in this book. There seem to be so many of them, that at times I kept forgetting names and who they were supposed to be as well as their place within the story. I liked the majority of them, although I found I didn’t like Joe. I found I didn’t care for him and his attitude; he didn’t draw any empathy from me and he grated on my nerves over some of the selfish and annoying choices he made. I know he’s one of the lead roles, but I just didn’t like him. Grace on the other hand, I did like. I enjoyed begin inside her head and following her the most during this book. She herself has made her fair share of mistakes and she’s got a lot to learn, but she’s brave and feisty and has a good heart. She was generally good to read about and I can’t wait to see how her abilities develop in the rest of the series. And Ivan. Oh.....I liked Ivan, I liked Ivan a lot! He has to be the highlight of the book for me. He’s so brave and tough and sexy and fierce. I’m a sucker for any kind of soldier or military man, so he had my heart the moment he appeared in the book. He and Grace were so sweet and I loved seeing their relationship change and alter and I was soooo happy to see them together. They obviously care deeply about one another and I love them as a couple. Theirs is the kind of romance I love to read about.
I liked the way this book progress and I feel like it was a really great, easy read. You can relax while you read it and get sucked into the characters and tale. The ending was exciting and left me wanting more. I’m wondering what’s next in store for Grace, Joe and Ivan and can’t wait to read the rest of The Ferryman Chronicles. ...more
**spoiler alert** *Firstly, thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book to review*
An enchantingly eerie ride from start to finish, Bloo**spoiler alert** *Firstly, thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book to review*
An enchantingly eerie ride from start to finish, Blood Song captivated me with its rich, magical details, and refused to let me go the entire tale! Australian author Rihannon Hart has created a stunning world with her debut novel. The story weaves together beautifully, flowing from one brilliant moment to the next, and the otherworldly feel draws you in from the very beginning. A far cry from all the vampire and supernatural books that litter the YA market right now, Blood Song, and the creatures within it, prove to be one of a kind! From the opening line on the very first page, this book had me. I was hooked. And then as the story evolved and more elements came into play, it was a fight to simply put the book down. The idea behind this story and even the one that surrounds Zeraphina herself was fascinating to me and I enjoyed every moment I got to unravel the worlds of Pergamia and Lharmell.
Apart from the fabulous storyline which is surrounded by mystery and keeps you on your toes, the characters in this book will draw you in as you follow Zeraphina on her journey. A great new heroine, Zeraphina truly was a joy to follow and read about. She held all the traits of a true princess, but was strong willed and independent, willing to defy what was expected of her to follow her instincts. She never backed down and wasn’t afraid to take a risk; instead ready to face her fear and issues head on. She isn’t obsessed with the norms of royal life and truly is different than her sister and mother. Queen Renata and Princess Lilith were nice editions to the tale, adding some depth, but I must admit I didn’t feel too much for them. Although it’s clear that despite all of Renata’s faults, she loves both of her daughter very much. I couldn’t get enough of Leap and Griffin in this book. The animal aspect and the way it was written into the story was just perfect. They were terrific little characters that added personality to the story without the unnecessary drama you sometimes get from actual people.
Honestly, I can’t talk about this book and not talk about the relationship that develops between Zeraphina and Rodden. It was a highlight in this book for me. It’s not an outright focal point in the story, but there’s no denying that it’s there. It’s very effortless and doesn’t seem forced or unrealistic at all. Rodden, who is a few years older than Zeraphina, is arrogant, brooding and oh, so intriguing. He’s sexy and appealing without trying, and there’s a chemistry there between him and Zeraphina—even if they don’t always see it. The two of them had a love/hate relationship, heavy on the hate that I adored. The way they bicker and bait each other and the constant biting comments they made towards one another had me smiling in that all too knowing way. It was kind of like being back in high school when you know two people like each other in a morbid sort of way (even if they deny it) and know eventually they’re going to give into that. The thing I love the most about how Hart has written their romance is that there’s no rush to it. They’re not declaring their feelings straight off the bat and are madly in love—they’re fighting and disagreeing and slowing beginning to get past each other’s walls.
The pace and tone of this book flowed and fit perfectly. It all moved along nicely and the events and certain scenes in this book (mostly between Zeraphina and Rodden) had me entertained and captivated, eagerly turning each page until there was no more to turn. This book will thrill fans of Maria V. Snyder's Study series and Kristen Cashore’s Graceling and I foresee it being a hit!
Now, everyone say it with me.....S-e-q-u-e-l! ...more
Burn Bright is the first book in Marianne de Pierres Night Creatures series and is a darkly alluring tale full of seductive adventure and steeped in mystery!
Even after finishing this novel, I’m still not quite sure what to make of it. I have mixed emotions where it’s concerned. Marianne de Pierres has crafted a world so very different from any I’ve ever read before in Burn Bright. Dark and infinitely intense, this book blends the paranormal with dystopian in a tale that’s as mysterious as it is intriguing but there were also times where I found my mind wandering, simply due to the nature and darkness of the tale.
While this book didn’t exactly blow my mind, it was impossible not to get lost in this intense world where partying and pleasure are ones soul focus and darkness and danger lurk around every corner. The endless night of Ixion is an intense world were desire and danger mingle as one and the hard, powerful Ripers control those living on the island.
Overall, I was quite impressed with Marianne de Pierres storytelling. Her writing is vivid and descriptive and she paints a harshly thrilling picture of the world of Ixion. Stakes always seem high to our heroine Retra and as she navigates her new home in her quest to find her brother. There was so much mystery to this novel; from the goings on in Ixion to the motivations of the characters to just what the Ripers are and their connection to the Night Creatures that inhabit Ixion. While ordinarily I would soak up this mystery, there were times in Burn Bright where it got old. I constantly felt like I was fighting to understand the story and in turn wished for more information and background information on exactly what kind of place Ixion was.
That begin said, for the most part Burn Bright was quite riveting. I found it very clever that we only know the things about Ixion that our protagonist Retra does. Marianne de Pierres’s world is so vividly intense and there’s such an aura of danger and desperation that clings to the pages of this story. Underneath the cover of darkness, teens party and enjoy life; soaking up the clubs, drugs and intoxicants that litter Ixion unaware and uncaring about what is really going on on this eerie island. Fear plays no part in their lives as they soak up all Ixion has to offer.
Retra, our heroine is a very shy, reserved girl who has escaped her controlled life in Grave where women wore veils and did not speak and men ruled, with the Council or Elders and their wardens residing over the running of the city. Retra is a hard topic for me. I liked Retra, I did—there’s something about her that’s so innocent and endearing, even if she came across as being too naive at times but I never felt as though I really loved her. I certainly never disliked her, but for whatever reason it was a struggle to connect with her at times. I can certainly see her potential—she’s already grown and accepted so much but I think I’ll wait until the next book to decide my opinion of her.
As far as the characters in this series go, I’m actually really liked them. In Ixion, people are selfish and intent on living their own lives, so it was interesting to see Retra come across a great cast of characters who despite this also managed to be kind and good friends to her. Rollo and Suki I especially liked, but Charlonge as well with the White Wing members Kero and Krista-Belle made nice editions to the story.
If I have one word to sum up the Ripers in this book it would be; scary. These guys plain out were scary. Seeing the story through Retra’s eyes they appeared so harsh and unbending. For a girl so scared and frightened at times, the Ripers were a powerful and controlling force that gave shivers at times simply by the way they acted. And because of this, I’m even more intrigued by Lenior. Honestly, I don’t think he’s innocent at all, but I definitely think his new bond with Retra will shape who he is and his actions throughout the series. He’s the Riper leader and obviously believes in what they’re doing, but he’s also beginning to feel possessive/protective over Retra and it’s this contradiction that makes me want to learn more about him.
Overall Burn Bright is a great start to this series. While there are some aspects of the novel that didn’t exactly appeal to me, I’m looking forward to see where this series goes. Fingers crossed it lives up to its potential and continues to get better with each book!
**spoiler alert** *Firstly, thank-you to Random House Australia for sending me a ARC of this to read and review!*
Dearly Departed is a book that catapu**spoiler alert** *Firstly, thank-you to Random House Australia for sending me a ARC of this to read and review!*
Dearly Departed is a book that catapulted me into another world and took me on a journey that I didn’t want to end!
It was a fast paced, exciting story of a world very different to the one we live in. I devoured this book and fell in love with the characters and world. It was wonderfully written; descriptive and the various POV allowed me to get a very rounded view of what was going on, as well as get into the heads of the two main characters at different points within the story. It’s obvious that Lia Habel has put a lot of thought and effort into her debut novel and it shows with the detailed, well crafted world. The world within this book isn’t quite like anything I’ve read before. It mixes the beauty and traits of the Victorian era with the wonders and benefits of the modern world. Technology blends well with old style feelings and manners, creating a world out of an old film, but ingrained into a modern, somewhat futuristic society.
The zombies too in this book are brilliant. They’re your traditional zombies with an awesome twist that leaves some very human and fun to read about. This novel spots a terrific cast of characters, who give flavour and flair to the book. There isn’t a character in this book that I didn’t adore for one reason or another. Even some who weren’t standouts hold a lot of potential in my eyes. From the two main characters, Nora and Bram, to the people within Nora’s world, to the ragtag bunch of zombies who make up of some of Company Z—they were unique and well rounded. Bram, Tom, Chas, Renfield and Coalhouse will have you grinning and in stitches with their humour and witty take on their condition. They’ll have you smiling with their fun spirited interactions and wondering just where you can get yourselves a bunch of zombie friends like these!
With the strength of the world and the characters in general, we needed a subsequently strong willed and feisty heroine to really make the novel shine and we certainly found that in Nora! Nora Dearly is your typical New Victorian girl who also happens to be stubborn and outspoken and who doesn’t want to hide behind her beauty and fancy dresses. Oh, no. Nora wants to get out there and be a part of things and she certainly gets her chance when she’s thrust into the middle of a war and learns that everything she knows about the world around her isn’t exactly all there is to know. Far from curtsying and eating scones, this girl knows how to handle her guns, even in a dress and I found Nora to be very likeable with a spark that shone through. To me, she reacted realistically when learning everything she did, but in time she grew to accept Company Z and even wanted to be a part of it. Once she accepted the friendly zombies within this book, she treated them with respect and dignity; accepting them for what they were and even forming friendships with them. I liked her spirit and her attitude in the face of everything—Nora is my kind of girl!
Now there’s no way I can talk about this book and not talk about Bram....and there’s a reason for that. Bram. Is. Amazing! A total gentlemen and sweetie, this zombie boy sure knew how to worm his way into my heart! Bram’s a very well rounded character. He’s honourable and kind, with a good overall thought and acceptance of what he is. He doesn’t complain about what he is and is generally accepting of his condition. He doesn’t let the fact that he’s a zombie ruin his life and he lives it the best he can. He treats Nora with respect from the very beginning and his charm and good nature make him a fantastic male lead to read about. The chapters that feature Bram and his POV really give you an insight into the workings of his mind—everything about Bram is good. Nothing is false and he truly is as good as he seems. He’s strong and brave, while still staying very human and that’s not even taking into account that he is....well....dead.
Nora and Bram may seem like a very unlikely pair, but together they really work. Their relationship is one that develops over time and never seemed rushed. In fact, Nora isn’t even that sure of Bram at first and it takes a while for her to get used to him, let alone her feelings for him. It’s not outright in your face; rather a delicious undercurrent to the novel. The attraction is there, but it takes a while to develop, although Bram is clearly interested in Nora from almost the very beginning. He’s very sweet in his affections; he never pushes Nora for something she’s not ready to give him and he’s often unsure of his actions and how she’ll view him. Their relationship is one that sure has its obstacles. Of epic proportions. She’s alive. He’s dead. Big obstacle, especially when you throw in the fact that he has an expiry date, but it never seems to be an issue for these two and I love that. They know the risks and what being together means, but they just don’t care.
The world within this book is ever changing and ever growing, which was something I enjoyed. Society leans so much about the zombies during the course of the novel, with many changes implemented. The story ends with a slightly different world than the one we first met in the beginning, with differences in the characters evident too. I’m oh, so eager for the next book to see what’s in store next for the characters. Dearly Departed is endearingly sweet and surprisingly funny. It’s a great tale that will have you on the edge of your seat until the final page, after which you’ll be aching for more! ...more