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!
**spoiler alert** Firstly thanks to Giselle of Xpresso Book Tours and author Tracey E. Banghart for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest...more**spoiler alert** Firstly thanks to Giselle of Xpresso Book Tours and author Tracey E. Banghart for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review!
Shattered Veil was an unexpectedly exciting dystopian read with just the perfect amount of sci-fi and steampunk mixed in to give it an edge. Tracy. E. Banghart introduces us to a beguiling new world and a capable and likable heroine in the first book in her new series, The Diatous Wars.
I highly enjoyed Shattered Veil! Seriously, enjoyed it! Not that I wasn’t expecting to, but I admit I did worry the military aspect that features so heavily might be too strong for my liking. Instead, I found that this enhanced so many of the other aspects of the story—making it so difficult to stop reading when the stakes were so dire.
Shattered Veil follows eighteen year old Aris Haan, a quiet, but talented village girl from the land of Atalanta whose childhood love has been enscripted as a healer in Atalanta’s war against neighboring dominion Safara. When the boy who has her heart leaves to tend to soldiers injured during the war, tearing them apart, Aris makes a shocking decision to follow him into the military and in disguise enlists as one of the best flyers Atalanta has ever seen!
I was very impressed with Shattered Veil. Tracy E. Banghart has created a really unique and riveting world within its pages. Beautifully written, Shattered Veil is extremely detailed and Banghart paints a very appealing setting for her story—it’s a dystopian society at war; where no one is who they seem and peoples intentions aren’t always what you think. Weaving together the tale of a simple village girl, with that of the in power politicians of Atalanta and its ally Ruslana, I found it highly entertaining trying to figure out how the two different storyline’s interconnected.
I adored the characters in this book. Told through the eyes of our main heroine Aris, as well as politicians and Ward’s of their respective dominions Pyralis Nekkos-- Atalanta’s leader, and Galena Vadim, Ruslana’s leader, Shattered Veil features a number of different characters, all with their own personalities, and purposes within the story. Each has their own story and drive within the tale and I enjoyed having each revealed as the story progressed.
The growth Aris undertakes throughout the story is nothing short of remarkable. Aris starts out immensely naïve, and very accepting of her lot in life. As someone who suffered an illness as a child that left her partly crippled, Aris is seen as incapable by a lot of people and those who love her treat her very breakable. The only thing she seems to care about is her boyfriend Calix, and although they love each other it seems almost sad that Aris has no higher goals for herself. When Aris is recruited as a flyer and enlists in the hope she will see Calix, she forced to endure weeks of hard physical training if she hopes to remain in the military. This forces Aris to better herself. It’s a hard time for her, and the training grueling on her body, that is unused to such activity, but Aris perseveres and pushes on, securing her place in her unit.
Once securely in her unit and out on missions, Aris continues to hide her true self, acting as Aristos. Aris meets many people during her time in the military. Making friends with her formidable bunkmate, a strong individual—also a woman in disguise, named Dyrsis who has her own missions and the other soldiers in the unit, including the mysterious and alluring Lieutenant Vidar, Aris comes to see the true nature of war; the pain and tragedy that come with it changing the way she sees the world. I loved Aris. Everything she goes through helps her become the strong, and highly capable young woman with her own wants and desires outside her love for Calix she is at the end of the novel---and I’m so thrilled to have seen all that!
With Aris’s enlistment in the military stemming from her desire to be with Calix, I actually enjoyed seeing how Tracy E. Banghart altered their relationship in Shattered Veil. While they are sweet in the beginning, I never overly felt attached to their romance and I’m actually thrilled over the possibilities Banghart has set up in this first book for Aris. Now I’m not going to give away too many spoilers, but I feel that Aris could find something really deep with someone who already seems to see and know her better than Calix ever did. I’m very excited to see where this goes in the next book!
Featuring exciting action and the perfect blend of dystopian, steampunk and just the hint of sci-fi, Shattered Veil is a thrilling start to this new series. Tracy E. Banghart weaves together action and danger with friendship, romance and excitement to ensure I’ll be counting down the days until the next book! Highly recommend! (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)
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)
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!
Wait For You is Jennifer L. Armentrout's delicious foray into the NA world writing as J. Lynn and is a deeply sensual and riveting story filled with passionate romance, heart wrenching emotion and beautiful authenticity.
Although I'm not a fan of Jennifer L. Armentrout's Covenant series, I do whole-heartedly adore her Lux series, and when I began looking for my next great NA read after recently becoming addicted, I knew Wait For You was something I had to try. And oh, am I ever glad I did! Wait For You is a fantastic new adult novel.
Told through the eyes of main character Avery Morgansten, Wait For You details Avery's time in collage; having recently travelled half-way across the world to escape her parents and their domineering hold on her life. Avery is a really fractured individual. Jennifer L. Armentrout doesn't shy away from this and instead enhances it within the storyline, forcing us as the readers to confront Avery's history as Avery does, revealing bit by bit. We learn very early on in the book that Avery went through a very traumatic ordeal when she was fourteen and instead of standing by her, those closest to her put money and social standing before her. And in doing so never allowed Avery to get the help she needed and thus, she was never able to heal.
Five years later, Avery is nineteen and has just started college and despite all she's been through is a lovable and sweet girl with serious, though extremely understandable, trust issues. She's never been in a relationship and has never dated and very is afraid to get close to people. She doesn't trust easily and doesn't like to let people in. Honestly, I really felt sorry for Avery in this book. It's heartbreaking to think so many people turned on her when they did, especially considering she is such a fantastic character and individual. This is a girl who is likable and easy to relate to. I enjoyed following the story so much simply because she was so easy to read about. She may have had some serious problems, but throughout Wait For You, Avery overcomes them so much, finding so much strength and a way to move on. It's impossible not to want the best for her!
Lucky for Avery, the source of a lot of her strength and ability to move on comes thanks to one man.....Cameron Hamilton. I think the reason I loved Cam as a character so much was that Armentrout was able to write a cocky, sexy and thrilling male lead without the stereotypical "bad boy" thrown in. Now, don't get me wrong, I love a good bad boy, I do, but it was refreshing to see a guy who, even though he was a bit of a player, was also a generally nice guy. Throughout Wait For You Cam was kind and caring to those around him, not just Avery, while also as being a very fun, sexy and sensual individual.
Apart I loved them, but together Avery and Cam exceeded my expectations! As far as I'm concerned, a lot of the brilliance of Wait For You stems from the fact that it takes a long time before Avery and Cam's relationship becomes a sexual, and physical one. Though the attraction between them is electric from the very beginning of the story, it's not something they act on straight away. Although that's not from lack of trying on Cam's part.
Rather, Cam and Avery form a strong and powerful friendship that grows over time into something more. Admittedly every encounter they share is filled with sexual tension and attraction and there is no lack of chemistry between them. This only makes it all the more satisfying when Cam finally breaks through Avery's walls. The sweet and tender side to their relationship is one that shines throughout the book and the tender and patient way Cam treats Avery is something beautiful to read about.
One of the most powerful things about this novel is that Jennifer L. Armentrout manages to explore hard issues in such a fun and beguiling read. The loss of Avery's innocence in so many ways is heart-breaking to read about, but the driven and swoon-worthy storyline help to lighten up the mood, whilst still allowing the story the depth Armentrout obviously wanted to have.
Featuring likable characters, powerful chemistry and a lot of sensuality, Wait For You is everything you could ask for in a NA! Perfectly written and paced, I sped through this novel--devouring it in less that two days and becoming so absorbed in the story I did not want it to end! Jennifer L. Armentrout proves that she's a capable writer under any name and has won a fan in me--I'll be getting a copy of her next NA as soon as humanly possible!
**spoiler alert** Thank you to Dianne of Oops! I Read Again Tours and author Jamie Campbell for allowing me to read this in exchange for a honest revi...more**spoiler alert** Thank you to Dianne of Oops! I Read Again Tours and author Jamie Campbell for allowing me to read this in exchange for a honest review
Unite is a highly fun and entertaining read and proves to be a surprisingly addictive start to Jamie Campbell’s Project Integrate series!
Perfectly written and perfectly paced, Unite follows seventeen year old Amery Jones, someone who appears to be a regular teenager but who is actually an alien, living a secret life on earth with her adoptive parents. As a part of a government project called Project Integrate, Amery was sent to Earth as a baby after an asteroid is discovered on a collision course with her planet. The hope is that Amery, and others like her will integrate themselves into society so that when the time comes for the government to make their extraterrestrial existence known, their intention to immigrate to earth and live amongst humans is met with some semblance of acceptance and the transition that follows is a smooth one.
I have to say, I really liked Unite. There’s a fantastic tone to the story that is evident from the opening chapter that easily beckons the reader. Told through Amery’s point of view, Unite features enough excitement and mystery, mixed together with the perfect amount of romance to be a simply entertaining read. This book, with its intriguing sci-fi plotline and likable characters, was just plain fun.
As our main character, I personally thought Amery was a great heroine to follow. I really liked this girl. Considering that she’s actually an alien, Amery is very much your typical teenager; dealing with your typical teen issues like wanting to hang out with her best friend, Lola and having to figure out boys. And yet, Amery is also has to find a way to balance Project Integrate and the impact it has on her daily life. Amery is very feisty and personable and her desire to follow through with the project in order to help her people is admirable. Even though she has her own teenage doubts and insecurities; something made more difficult living a double life, I felt Amery handled things well.
During Unite with a mysterious organisation attacking project members, Amery finds herself in great danger, but the biggest thorn in Amery’s side proves to be Lochlan "Lochie" Mercury; Amery’s nemesis and the person who drives her insane more so than anyone. When Amery’s best friend is kidnapped, Lochie unexpectedly proves to be the only person Amery can rely on and soon the two are attempting to rescue Lola. Now it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out where things are going between Amery and Lochie, in fact it’s fairly obvious, although that didn’t lessen the enjoyment I experienced watching the two of them bicker and fight. They had quite the fiery relationship, something made all that stronger by Amery’s intense emotions. The will-they-or-won’t-they vibe that floats throughout the novel is tantalizing, but I will admit I experienced quite a bit of satisfaction when they finally acknowledged their feelings, although Lochie’s disclosure beforehand proved to be the icing on the cake.
Fun, feisty and mysterious, Unite is a beguiling story from beginning until end. If the first book is anything to go by then I expect big things from this series! (less)
Lenore Appelhan's debut novel Level 2 is a richly unique and gripping look into the afterlife. Weaving together past with present and memories with current actions, Level 2 is a mysterious and driven novel that will have you guessing until the very end!
Told through the eyes of seventeen year old Felicia Ward, Level 2 follows Felicia during her time trapped in the bleak white limbo she has been in since her death. A place where she doesn't need to eat, sleep or breathe, this afterlife of sorts allows Felicia to access her memories of the life she lived prior to her death and this is all she does.....until the moment someone from her past breaks in and sets the story in motion.
Personally, I found Level 2 to be a really delightful surprise. Featuring a very unique concept and take on the afterlife, Lenore Appelhan's unique exploration of life after death was something I enjoyed very much in this novel. Loosely weaving together hints of Greek mythology with biblical lore, Appelhan slowly reveals the storyline and the goings on of the story. Level 2 really is quite a mysterious read and this is something that only enhances the reading experience.
With the opening chapter of Level 2 all we really know about Felicia is that she's dead. We don't know how she died or when she died, and in all honesty we know nothing about her life prior to this stark limbo she currently resides in. It's only through Felicia's exploration of her memories that we as the reader are able to piece together her life before Level 2. As Felicia access's her memories throughout the novel, we witness two different periods in her life and the two very different guys who feature during this time, one of which has recently broken into Level 2 to locate Felicia.
Honestly, I found myself really engrossed in Level 2. Felicia proved to be such an intriguing character and Appelhan's decision to make her history unknown; only revealing bits in snippets and pieces just made me just want to know all the more who she was and what she went through that impacted on where she is now and how she ended up there. I liked Felicia and enjoyed following her through the story. She was a solid main character and her voice, both present and through her memories was easy to follow.
As we witness this book unfold we're glimpsed with a truly unique take on the afterlife. Appelhan mixes science fiction with celestial beings; shaking angels and the afterlife up in a way I have never seen before. When Felicia is introduced to a group of mysterious individuals who may be willing to get her back to the guy she loves in exchange for agreeing to participate in their rebellion, Appelhan continues to engross the reader with more and more questions and connections from Felicia's past to her present.
Appelhan won me over with the two different romances we witness through Felicia's memories. Both romances were so different--one destroyed aspects of her life and the other helped piece them back together. I loved how Appelhan wove together one of these romances from her past with her present inside Level 2! I wanted to know what connection Julian could have to everything, but at the same time I was constantly bombared by Felicia's sweet and passionate memories of Neil and her unending desire to find him again.
Racing towards a riveting and unexpected ending, Lenore Appelhan managed to satisfy me with Level 2, whilst also leaving me severely looking forward to the next novel. A great start to a new series, Level 2 is mysterious and engaging from beginning until end and I'm very much looking forward to the next book in The Memory Chronicles to see how Appelhan expands on her already set world! (less)
**spoiler alert** Thank you to Dianne of Oops! I Read Again Tours and author Niki Godwin for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest revie...more**spoiler alert** Thank you to Dianne of Oops! I Read Again Tours and author Niki Godwin for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review!
Chasing Forever Down is the first book in Nikki Godwin's Drenaline Surf series and see's a seventeen year old Hayley chase her dreams when she embarks on a spur of the moment journey to discover the whereabouts of the mysterious stranger she met the night before. What abounds is an expected journey of discoveries in this fun, light hearted tale of sun, surf and friendship.
I have to say Chasing Forever Down was a really fun book to read. I'll be honest, I wasn't drawn in as immediately as I was reading Nikki Godwin's other story, American Girl on Saturn, but once Chasing Forever Down did catch my attention, I was well and truly hooked.
Following seventeen year old dreamer Hayley Sullivan after she meets a mysterious stranger at a party only to have him then disappears on her, Chasing Forever Down details the adventure Hayley, and her friend Linzi find themselves on as they race halfway across the country to find this mysterious man his family believes is dead but who is very much alive; living the high life as the west coasts most popular surfer, Colby Taylor.
This book was really different in terms of what I've read before. Whilst it seems like a very basic idea, Godwin does a good job of twisting things. Think the story sounds typical....girl chases boy, finds boy, ends up with boy.... and on and on? Wrong! I was pleasantly surprised to discover that, while the story begins with Hayley meeting Colby, and then looking for him after he disappears on her, Chasing Forever Down actually centers around the other people in Colby's life--his "bodyguards".
As Hayley attempts to reach Colby through each of the young men surrounding him, she slowly gets to know them and learns about the lives they lead outside of Colby; surprising herself when she discovers something unexpected.....real friendship and happiness.
I will say that there were so many characters in Chasing Forever Down, almost too many at times to keep track of. That being said, I think Nikki did a really good job giving them individual personalities and allowing them to all play their own roles in the story.
Something I've noticed with Nikki's books is that she's very adamant about writing strong, solid friendships between her male and female characters and this is something I just love seeing! I really loved how Hayley went to find Colby Taylor, but ends up finding deeper friendships and a feeling of home through those around him in Chasing Forever Down.
As far as the characters go, A.J. was lovable as a cheeky, tattooed and reckless hooligan who worms his way into Hayley's heart and soon becomes her best friend, Vin was perfect as the mysterious con artist who actually has a whole other side and life to him, Reed was great as an all-round nice guy and Topher stole my heart with his larrikin ways. Kale, Alston, Linzi...they all provided comic relief to the story and enhanced the reading experience.
I don't want to give away too much, but Godwin does a great job adding that perfect touch of romance to the story. With so many male characters, in the beginning it's not evident just who will become Hayley's love interest (or is it?!?) but it's still a lovely written romance that develops over time and isn't too much too soon.
Featuring a fantastic cast of characters, a fun storyline and plenty of excitement, Chasing Forever Down is a really great little read. I wasn't ready for the story to end when it eventually did so, but I'm looking forward to seeing more of Hayley and the guys in the next book! (less)
The Raven Boys is the positively beguiling first installment in Maggie Stiefvater’s new The Raven Cycle series and marks the thrilling introduction to what I have no doubt will become another Maggie Steifvater classic!
As an author, Maggie Stiefvater is a masterful storyteller. I fell in love with Stiefvater and her writing a long time ago after reading Lament: A Faerie Queen’s Deception and its subsequent sequel afterwards. Once her Shiver Trilogy and the Scorpio Races were released I devoured those as well, and with each world she created, Steifavter managed to sweep me up into an adventure unlike anything I had read before. I’m thrilled to say, The Raven Boys is no exception to this rule.
From the very beginning, The Raven Boys is a mysterious and addictive read. Steifvater has immense talented for creating unique and intricate storylines that are full of mystery and are extensively driven. There’s always one secret after another to discover and each marks a different progression within the storyline. The Raven Boys was one of those books.
Told though the various POV’s of Blue Sargent and "raven boys", Gansey and Adam, The Raven Boys weaves together different aspects of the lives of all characters involved to create a plotline that never seems to let up. I will be honest and say that there were a few times where I found myself confused in the beginning, and I had to read extra carefully to understand, but I feel that was only due to the fact Stiefvater was slowly revealing certain hints and revelations in the story.
The characters within The Raven Boys were all very different, but all very likable. Each seemed to bring a different aspect to the story, especially Blue and the four raven boys, Ganey, Adam, Ronan and Noah. The friendship that developed between the five of them had a great impact on the storyline. I really loved how Blue and the boys slowly bonded despite their different social standings—they formed a really sweet group to follow and read about.
I found the smidge of romance and the possibility of an intriguing love triangle forming between Blue and two of the raven boys in future books to be nice additions to the story. It wasn’t too much and too over the top; rather a sweet undertone of the adventure and mystery already front and center.
Featuring plenty of developments and possibilities, The Raven Boys was rife with secrets, magic and danger. The slight cliffhanger of the ending guarantee’s I’ll be picking up the second book as soon as I have a chance, as Maggie Stiefvater already has me invested in this world and the characters that inhabit it! (less)
Intense and lyrical, These Broken Stars by authors Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner is a thrilling and at times haunting sci-fi read that will take readers on an uncertain adventure that weaves together mystery, romance and unexpected discoveries!
I have to say, personally, I was quite blown away by These Broken Stars. Maybe it’s because it’s been a while since I’ve read a good YA science fiction novel but These Broken Stars actually surpassed all my expectations! Heading into this novel, I hadn’t read anything by either Amie Kaufman or Megan Spooner before. I’d heard mixed reviews about the book but I was still optimistic. That being said, in my eyes, I feel like these ladies did a terrific job with the story.
Told in the dual POV’s of Lilac LaRoux, a rich, social flower who happens to be the daughter of the richest man in the galaxy and Tarver Medenson, a poor farm boy who discovered unexpected fame for his heroic actions at war, These Broken Stars is beautifully well written and deliciously told. With the benefit of seeing events unfold through the eyes of both characters, Kaufman and Spooner recount a dangerous journey of survival and loss in the middle of nowhere when our main characters are the only survivors of a spaceship crash on a deserted plant that shockingly that holds more secrets then either of them could expect.
I have to say, I’m a big fan of novels where characters are pitted against the elements and must rely on themselves, each other and the world around them to survive. There’s something so alluring about seeing individual’s stripped back and bare, and I think it’s times like that when you really see how much strength people have or not.
In These Broken Stars, Lilac and Tarver must learn to rely on one another and trust each other after they’re thrust together due to horrible circumstances. Though they couldn’t be more different, and are practically from different worlds socially, Lilac and Tarver’s only hope really are each other and as the story progresses, we see the two of them go from reluctant allies to friends and then eventually something more.
As Lilac and Tarver are not only our main characters but are basically stranded on a planet by themselves, as a reader, we spend a lot of time in their company. After the initial introduction to their society that we get in the beginning of the book, the majority of the story is spent simply in the minds of Tarver and Lilac.
Personally, I quite liked Lilac and Tarver! Lilac, starts out stubborn but somewhat spoiled and guarded, however as the story progresses we come to understand the reason behind this. As Lilac struggles to survive in this foreign place with Tarver, her fierce determination to learn is admirable. She changes quite a lot and grows as a person—and who doesn’t love that! Tarver on the other hand is capable, brave and collected; he’s come from nothing and knows how to survive in hard, harsh conditions. There’s no doubt he and Lilac would have perished long ago, if not for his survival skills.
In These Broken Stars, Lilac and Tarver don’t get off to the best start and as they journey across lands unknown to them, skimping and skimming to survive, they fight, bicker and push each other. And yet there’s a quiet sliver of chemistry that burns between these two. As they slowly begin to get to know each other; learning the others strengths, weaknesses and what they bring to the table together, Lilac and Tarver form an unlikely friendship in the face of all hopelessness that slowly blossoms into something more. I enjoyed the relationship between Lilac and Tarver and never felt as though the authors were pushing their romance down my throat. Rather it was a nice undercurrent and tone to a story that focused a lot on survival and the mysterious unknown.
A beautiful love story, mysterious entities and unexpected plot developments, These Broken Stars may not be the most fast paced novel out there but instead tells a well told tale of survival, love and one’s inner strength in the first book in the new Starbound Trilogy by authors Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner. With loveable characters, a haunting setting and an ending sure to leave you wanting more, These Broken Stars will thrill fans of Under the Never Sky and Across the Universe!
The Virginity Mission is a sleek and sexy debut by Cate Ellink, set in the Australian rainforest and featuring a sensual and easy romance in the middle of an adventure.
In all honesty it’s difficult to wrap my head around The Virginity Mission. It was exactly what I expected and at the same time it wasn’t. Featuring twenty-one year old Willow "Mac" MacIntosh, on her "mission" to lose her virginity while on a scientific expedition in north Queensland, The Virginity Mission details Mac’s relationship with solider Jason who accompanies Mac’s group during their escapades and who is the object of Mac’s desire.
I will admit I did enjoy this book. I’m a sucker for a tension filled romance which this certainly is. The Virginity Mission is quite quick, but centers pretty much only around Mac’s desire to lose her virginity and the start of her relationship with Jason. If you’re looking for a long drawn out romance with plenty of depth, then this probably isn’t the book for you but if you're looking for a sexy, physical story then this is definitely for you!
The Virginity Mission really just centers around Mac and her desire to connect with someone and sleep with them for the first time, but that’s not to say that there isn’t a connection between Mac and Jason because there is. Their relationship is sexy and thrilling, with an aspect of forbidden thrown in for good measure.
I quite liked Mac and I think Ellink wrote her fears and insecurities very realistically. It's no hard feat to imagine that someone experiencing a sexual relationship for the first time would act like Mac did. In fact, it was quite easy for me to put myself in Mac's shoes. Her self doubts and her second guessing herself really are quite normal and I liked that Ellink didn't write Mac as too self-assured and confidant. Rather she was a young woman discovering lust and desire for the first time.
Personally I liked Jason, even if I felt like there was so much more to him we could have learnt and I enjoyed seeing his and Mac's romance spice up. My biggest issue with this story, is that I really would have liked to explore the characters more and see a bit more depth to the story.
Still, encompassing romance, sex and adventure, The Virginity Mission is a fun, easy book to pass the day and will easily sweep you up into a passionate and exciting romance that is enjoyable to read. Worth a go! (less)
Captivate is a delightful debut by Aussie author Vanessa Garden and a lovely start to what promises to be an interesting series set in a magical underworld world full of love, danger and secrets!
Having read the premise of this story—an Australian teenager, kidnapped and swept up into an underwater world—my first thought was quite understandably "mermaids!" I experienced both disappointment and delight to discover that this wasn’t actually the case. Choosing not to go down this path, Vanessa Garden has penned an intriguing story with Captivate.
Whilst I’m being honest, Captivate wasn’t quite as addictive and beguiling as I’d hoped but it did make for an enjoyable read. Set in the lush, underwater world of Marin, Captivate follows Miranda Sun after she is kidnapped and brought to a land deep under the sea for mysterious and questionable reasons. Reasons we discover as the book progresses that intertwine with the history of those who call it home.
I liked the world Vanessa Garden has created in Captivate. It’s beautiful and lush, with the origins of these underwater people and how they came to live under the sea, in this dome like enclosure so sufficiently, different from what I’d read before. The characters, including heroine Miranda were likable and easy to read about, even if they were basic and their relationships predictable. Marko was alright as the king of Marin and Miranda’s main love interest and Robbie as Marko’s guard, friend and Miranda’s kidnapper/friend.
Miranda and Marko’s romance came on swiftly, but with both characters going into it with their eyes more or less open to the others motive and feelings this didn’t bother me too much. And yet I wasn’t blown away by their romance. It just was.
Don’t get me wrong, the characters were in no way lacking personality or likeability, but at times I felt disconnected from their plight. Captivate was just missing that something more for me. That special, often unnamable quality that takes a book from good and okay to brilliant and beyond.
That being said, I did like this story. There were a number of different story developments and revelations that kept me on my toes and I truly do want to see what decisions Miranda will make and whether she will return to Marin. I foresee a love triangle in the future between Miranda and the two men in her life, and though personally I’m over them myself, I think Vanessa Garden will explore this avenue.
With an interesting plotline and a lavish setting, Captivate was enough to whet my appetite and leave me wanting me. I look forward to what trouble’s await Miranda with her possible return to Marin and wonder what Vanessa Garden has in store for her heroine next! (less)
Branded by Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki is a sensational debut novel that will thrill from its opening chapter! Masterfully told and brimming with edge of your seat action and raw, unbridled passion, Branded mixes forbidden and electric romance with high stakes danger in this dystopian read that will have you easily begging for more!
I have to say….wow. Just wow! Branded was phenomenal. Simply phenomenal! I’ll start out by saying that heading into this story, I wasn’t expecting that much. Perhaps it’s because its cover really doesn’t do the story justice but beginning Branded, didn’t have many expectations. I certainly wasn’t prepared for the incredibly riveting story I discovered the moment I began this book. Branded had me wanting to put all my other books down and simply read it alone; it was that good!
Masterfully written, Branded sees Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki work together for the first time and do these ladies ever work well together! If you weren’t aware that two authors conspired to write this book, it would be easy to think only one seasoned writer was behind Branded. The writing is raw and gritty, in perfect harmony with the aura of the harsh, dystopian world within Branded.
Both Ketner and Missy Kalicicki hold nothing back with their harsh and cruel society in Branded. There’s pain, loss and agony in so many shapes and forms and the authors don’t shy away from blood, gore and death in Branded. This is a world gone to hell and both authors do their best to make you evidently aware if it.
Deliciously paced, Branded follows Lexi Hamilton, a courageous young woman who is wrongly accused of engaging in premarital sex, a strong no-no in this society where sin is the biggest crime and the punishment is deadly. Once branded, Lexi is thrown in the Hole, a prison-like institution where life is sick, painful and enough to make your skin crawl.
As our heroine in Branded, Lexi is a joy to read about. This girl is sweet, kind and tremendously brave and I simply adore her! Lexi was just one of those characters you love from the moment you meet them. She was written so realistically, and with each horrendous situation she found herself in, the realistic and believable way she reacted kept endearing her to me more. I honestly felt that if I was in Lexi’s shoes I’d react the way she did, and then some!
Life in the Hole is beyond terrible for Lexi. Treated less like a human being, she’s lost, alone and stripped of all she is, but it’s in the company of her stoic and unexpectedly kind guard Cole that Lexi finds her first touch of kindness. Cole proves to be an unending supporter and protector for Lexi, and despite their differences in a world where a guard is not allow to associate with a prisoner under his care, Lexi and Cole form an unexpected friendship that blossoms into a fierce and powerful romance.
The relationship between Lexi and Cole is the kind I tend to go gaga over! First off, Cole is an incredible man—fierce, brave and honorable and he truly cares for Lexi. Though theirs is a relationship utmost forbidden in this society, Lexi and Cole connect from the very beginning. Cole is kind to Lexi when all other guards are cruel, and there is a sexual tension and attraction between them that sizzles and entices from the very beginning. Their dynamic is electric and the connection delightful. I’ll sooooo totally loving these two—I’ll be cheering for them no matter what!
Though Cole is Lexi’s first touch of kindness, he isn’t her last, with Lexi making friends in the form of Sutton; a kind doctor with his own secrets, Bruno; another guard who like Cole treats her with respect and kindness and Zeus; Cole’s loyal attack dog who becomes Lexi’s champion and defender. I loved all these characters, especially Zeus who becomes a form of comfort for Lexi as well as a protector.
I will admit, there was a part towards the last quarter or so of the book where the atmosphere seemed to shift and I found I didn’t feel as engrossed as I previously had. While this is a time Lexi finds a family connection she’d thought she’d lost as well as a newfound strength of self, it also took her away from someone I didn’t want her to be away from and I found I really missed him.
Branded is an exhilarating debut that will have you on the edge of your seat and entirely captivated with is gripping storyline and fantastic characters. Heading straight towards an action packed ending, Branded is guaranteed to worm its ways into your system and leave you crying out for more! (less)
Crash Into You is the sensational third installment in Katie McGarry's Pushing the Limits series and with it's riveting story, striking characters and incredibly intense and powerful romance, is quite possibly the best book in the series yet! Crash Into You encompasses everything that makes this series so great and will thrill readers from the very first page until the last!
Okay. So. I'm in love....with this book! Really, I am. Katie McGarry managed to capture my attention with Pushing The Limits, steal my heart with Dare You To, and after reading Crash Into You, pretty much owns my soul. Crash Into You was brilliant. Simply brilliant. I almost don't know how to write a review that will do this story justice--it's just that good!
From the very opening chapter, this story was riveting...and completely addictive! I didn't want to put the book down and as the story progressed, I became more and more absorbed in Isaiah and Rachel's tale. Crash Into You is incredibly intense and piercing; so well written and well told, with characters so rich in personality and energy that they come to life within it's pages. Told in the dual POV that allows this series to be so well rounded, Crash Into You couldn't have been a better read. Honestly, Katie McGarry has outdone herself with this one!
Finally telling Isaiah's tale, Crash Into You was pretty much what I've come to expect from Katie McGarry; rich, powerful and emotional....and yet so much more! If you think you knew Isaiah after Pushing The Limits and Dare You To, think again! Katie McGarry opens him up in this book and bares Isaiah's soul. Finally allowing readers to see into the deepest part of Isaiah's head and heart, Crash Into You showcases Isaiah like never before.
Wow. Isaiah. Just wow. I've loved Noah and I've loved Ryan, but I'll say it here and I'll say it now.....Isaiah is the best leading man to come out of this series to date! Seriously. With his shaved head, tattoo's and piercings it's understandable that people mistake Isaiah for a thug, and yet he in no way is. He's raw and harsh, and fierce when need be, but Isaiah has honor and kindness and so much depth. Katie McGarry is so good at writing raw, fractured individual's and Isaiah with his pain, loneliness and desire to keep everyone at arms length is a perfect example of this.
Honestly, my heart broke for Isaiah in this book. Broke. Experiencing things through his eyes and seeing how hard his life was ripped me apart. I just wanted to give him a big hug and tell him it would be alright. Seeing him struggle through life, but wanting to do the right thing by those around him was very powerfully. Haunting, but powerful. And that being said, seeing him experience the good things in life was also lovely to behold. Friendship, love....respect---these just managed to fill me with so much joy as I read this book.
As Isaiah's leading lady and love interest in Crash Into You, I adored Rachel. And it had nothing to do with her name either, ha! Here was a girl with issues. A girl hiding who she really was from those closest to her in the hopes of keeping them happy. Someone keeping up pretenses and doing what was expected of her, but who was really dying inside, hiding how she really felt. Rachel was wounded. This kind, sweet young woman was wounded. Haunted by her family, and this loss of a child she could never live up to, Rachel was brave, selfless at times and beautiful.
I have to be honest, I was quite a bit devastated when I learned that Isaiah and Beth weren't going to be paired together after Pushing The Limits, but having read Dare You To and now Crash Into You, I think that this was the right choice by Katie McGarry. I don't doubt she could have written a brilliant book pairing them together, and while I'll admit the chance to have two books rather than one is something I love, I don't feel Beth and Isaiah could have found the same kind of happiness together as they do with their respectable others. Ryan is the light in Beth's darkness and in Crash Into You, we discover that Rachel is the same for Isaiah.
The relationship between Isaiah and Rachel is spectacular! My favourite to date! From the moment they meet it's clear that Isaiah and Rachel have an undeniable attraction. They're drawn to each other and despite their differences, find something in the other they'd never found before. The angst and sexual tension is through the roof with these two, and as Katie McGarry takes her time setting up a strong foundation for their relationship based on a mutual love of cars and friendship, the chemistry they share only gets better and better.
Isaiah and Rachel are electric together...and endearingly so. Their romance is intense but is also very deep. There's more to them than physical attraction and as Isaiah slowly lets Rachel in and he makes her stronger, it's impossible not to become lost in their love story. From different places in society, there's an undeniable aspect of forbidden love that shines through in this novel and as you see everything that threatens to stand in their way and keep them apart, you can't help but love them more!
All the characters from the two pervious books make appearances, but Katie McGarry also introduces us to more fabulous characters in the form of Rachel's many brothers and Isaiah's friend Abby, who only help enhance the story. I have a feeling Katie McGarry has more stories up her sleeve and I'm excited to see who we'll hear from next!
Featuring a beautiful and riveting love story, Crash Into You is thrilling in it's storyline and addictive in it's emotion. There's so much beauty to be found in it's pages and it's powerful romance will steal your breath away. Crash Into You takes this series to another level and is without a doubt a story you do not want to miss!
Georgia Bell’s debut novel Unbound is a sensationally well written tale of mystery, romance and danger.
In all honesty I’m at a very mixed mind about this book. To begin with, Georgia Bell blew me away with her detailed and lyrical writing. As a storyteller, this woman knows how to how to write, but unfortunately, I wasn’t as equally impressed with the characters in Unbound as I was Bell’s style of writing.
Brilliant writing aside, Unbound had so much potential. The storyline was intriguing and it was obvious that Bell has put a lot of thought and effort into creating her world and back story; everything wove together beautifully. However there we times during reading Unbound where my mind wandered and I found the story didn’t keep my attention as much as I would have liked. Despite its nature, or perhaps because of it, Unbound seemed like a very long book, and rather than get caught up in the mystery and uncertainty surrounding the goings on in Rachel’s life, I felt as though I was going through the motions.
As our heroine, Rachel was mostly likable, but I wasn’t blown away by her character. I felt like she hid from the world unnecessarily and while there was a reason for this within the story, I found it hard to move past this fact. I liked that she grew in strength towards the end of the story but though.
Rachel’s love interest and leading man Eaden was a real disappointment for me. He was a bit too long lived, too tortured and I felt as though I had seen his and Rachel’s relationship too many times before. As hard as it is to say, I found Rachel and Eaden’s romance to be lacking chemistry and as though their "connection" was forced. Even though they shared a history, I felt as though their feelings for one another came on too fast too soon and as such, I was never completely invested in their relationship.
Although Unbound started off slow, the story did pick up quite some about half way through with Rachel and Eaden travelling to his native Scotland and I found myself glad I had persisted with the story. Bell introduces a number of minor characters who, compared to the main two characters, I actually liked. They added colour and flair to what could have been very dull moments.
In saying all this, Unbound wasn’t necessary a bad book; it just wasn’t as captivating as I’d hoped. If you enjoy your romance with a dash of hopelessness and like seeing characters journey to lands afar than Unbound may just be for you!
A fantastic beginning to Abbi Gline’s Too Far Trilogy, Fallen Too Far is a quick, yet deliciously well written story full of sexy romance, sassy characters and tantalizing family secrets.
I’m almost sad to say that it’s taken me a while to start this series. As a self-confessed Abbi Glines fan, that’s almost shameful to say, but as we know all too well, sometimes life takes priority. That being said, Abbi Gline’s stories are a delicious escape from reality and Fallen Too Far is no exception.
This book is typical Abbi Glines through and through. Featuring a lusciously interwoven storyline set on the simple base that she is famous for, Fallen Too Far introduces Blaire and Rush, two young adults brought together by their parent’s marriage, but whose family’s history is more intertwined than it appears.
Admittedly, I didn’t love Blaire and Rush as I have some of Glines’ previous couples, but I did enjoy their story. As individuals they’re likable. Blaire did wear on my nerves more than other heroine’s Glines has featured but she was nice enough to read about. Rush was exactly who and what I expected him to be---a naughty playboy brought to his knees when he least expected it.
Together Blair and Rush had a saucy relationship. Their chemistry was great and their romance swift but sweet. The shocking revelations about their families weren’t entirely surprising to me—kinda put it together half way through---but make for some interesting future stories.
Sexy, fun and very addictive, Fallen Too Far marks the first book in Abbi Glines Too Far books. The ending has me eager to dive right into book two and find out what’s in store for Blaire and Rush next! (less)
Banish by Aussie author Nicola Marsh is a mysterious thriller with just a hint of the supernatural that will have you guessing who's behind the strange goings on in our heroine Alyssa's life until the very end!
Heading into Banish, I must be honest....I had high expectations. The cover was stunning and the premise looked promising, so I was anticipating a thrilling read, but unfortunately this book was a bit of a mixed basket for me. In Banish, Nicola Marsh introduces us to Alyssa Wood, a teenager who has moved to New York to live with her Wiccan aunt after losing her boyfriend and on the back of her mothers mental deterioration but who ultimately finds the past won't the past.
I really wanted to like Banish, I did. However, I struggled from the very beginning to get into this story. Banish's storyline had real possibility, especially when coupled with a witchy element woven into it, but while Banish did ultimately pick up just after halfway I still felt it fell flat.
For the most part, I didn't feel one way or another over our main character and protagonist, Alyssa. I neither loved her nor did I outright her but I did have my problems with her. Considering she grew up in a household where Wicca was such a fixture and magic played such a big role in her mothers, and aunts life, I felt author Nicola Marsh made too big a deal over Alyssa's inability to believe. Don't get me wrong--I understood the purpose of knowing Alyssa was a non-believer to the storyline, but after the first half of the story, I felt as though this fact was really being shoved down my throat. And I came to resent this.
Nicola Marsh's inclusion of Roman in the form of Alyssa's love interest really confounded me. Taking into consideration that these two already know each other when Banish opens up, their relationship came across as lacking and inconsequential. I almost felt Marsh added it in simply to have a relationship in the story. Don't get me wrong, I loved Roman. He was likable and quite sexy in his geeky, suave way and a delightful enigma in the story with his different musical inclinations. In fact, I would have liked to have seen more of him, but from what I saw he and Alyssa's chemistry was a fine simmer--it didn't really go anywhere and to me seemed unnecessary.
The mystery of this novel I did like and the way everything made sense in the end when the mystery surrounding the strange occurrences in Alyssa's life is revealed. Everything tied in well and even I was questioning who and/or what could be behind it all.
Overall, Banish wasn't a bad read, it just wasn't necessarily for me. However, if you're a fan of mystery and thrillers with just the perfect splash of magic and supernatural thrown in then Banish may just be for you. (less)
Blood Phantom is a delightful, abet short prequel novella to Rhiannon Hart’s Lharmell series, and tells a Lharmell tale in Rodden’s POV for the first time--something fans have been eager for!
Considering how much I adore this series, I was personally crushed to discover that Random House Australia wouldn’t be publishing the rest of the series. It seemed such a shame when it was evident after the end of the last book, Rhiannon had a lot more stories too tell, and so I must say I’m quite please that she decided to publish the rest of the series, and this prequel novella, independently.
Set prior to the events of Blood Song, the first book in the series, Blood Phantom details a small period of time prior to Princess Zerephina and her family travelling to Pergamia. As with the previously released installments of the series, Blood Phantom is beautifully well written and expertly told. I can’t fault Hart’s writing.
Rodden has always been an exceptional male lead, and a really appealing character. While I’ll be honest, this small glimpse into Rodden’s thoughts and feelings wasn’t enough (let’s face it—it never was going to be), I do feel so much more satisfied having read this short story.
Admittedly, Hart doesn’t go into too much detail about what is to come, so I think already having read the other books allows you as the reader to understand the significance of some of the things Rodden makes reference to in this novella. And that being said, as I have read the other books I appreciated the moments with Rodden all that more, because I knew what awaited him in the future, what Zerephina would come to mean to him and he to her and the battles they would have both together and apart.
Perfectly told and enticingly so, Blood Phantom is an excellent treat for fans of this series to glimpse more of what they love—Rodden! (less)
Imitation is Heather Hildenbrand’s richly descriptive and enjoyable new sci-fi/dystopian story whose personable characters and vivid new world will easily entertain from the opening chapter until the closing page.
Having read quite a few books by Heather Hildenbrand now, I have to admit I’m quite a fan. As a self-published author, Heather Hildenbrand is very talented at creating likable characters and riveting storylines that never fail to capture me. The premise of Imitation doesn't give that much away, so heading into it, I was unsure what I'd get. What I found was a fun, exciting and riveting read.
The concept within Imitation really sucked me in; our main character Ven is an Imitation. In a world where the rich rule and high society overlook the poor, Imitation’s are man-made individuals, conceived and born with thier sole purpose in life is to be a direct replica of their "Authentic". Born to serve their Authentic in any way necessary, an Imitation’s life is dictated by how their Authentic needs them.
As an Imitation, our heroine Ven has lived a certain kind of life. She’s trained and been taught about how to best serve her Authentic, a very rich and very spoilt girl named Raven of whom she is a clone of and who’s money allowed her to have Ven created; her clone. When attempts are made on Raven’s life, Ven is brought in to replace her until the culprit is caught. What ensures is a journey Ven never expected, one full of danger, deception and unexpected romance.
In Imitation, Ven discovers what it really means to be human and to feel; to be her own person and not someone else’s copy. In many ways Imitation can be a very sad book at times. In the beginning of the story, Ven has so little self worth. Having been created solely for the purpose chosen to best serve her Authentic, Ven isn’t treated well by those who know what she is. To them she’s a "product".......an unfeeling, inhuman person who doesn’t deserve to be shown even the most basic of human rights. This was sad to see. Especially considering what a great character Ven was.
That being said, seeing Ven begin to experience life outside Twig City, the compound where she was grown, born and then trained, was really nice to see. Even though she doesn’t always see it, Ven is a kind, strong girl who begins to believe in herself more and more as the story progresses.
With the help of Linc, Raven’s protective and capable bodyguard as well as some more unexpected allies, Ven begins to discover the truth behind the attempts on Raven’s life and the even more shocking truths behind her existence and all those within Twig City. Linc proves to be a fantastic friend and love interest for Ven. As someone unused to Raven treating them with kindness or anything even remotely close to respect, Linc is understandably suspicious when "Raven" suddenly starts acting different towards him. As Ven slowly begin to break down his barriers, what develops is a very sweet and endearing romance that really compliments the storyline.
Imitation features plenty of twists and turns and the mystery holds up until the very final page. As Imitation comes to a close, I’m feeling very eager to get my hands on the next instalment to discover what’s in store for Ven and Linc next!(less)
The Iron Traitor is the highly anticipated, but immensely shocking follow up to The Iron Prince and is an unpredictable story of adventure, magic and romance. The lush world of fae, danger and heartbreak is as tantalizing as ever in this latest installment!
Julie Kagawa is a master of words; plain and simple. Even though at times The Iron Traitor read more like a "filler novel" than I expected, it was still a very deliciously well told and adventurous read! Continuing to draw readers into her magical world of the Nevernever, Kagawa continues her exploration and development of her characters as Ethan, Keirran, and Kenzie delve back into the lands of Faery in the search of a way to save Keirran's love with the help of a few friends, both old and new!
I adore Julie Kagawa's writing and her ability as a storyteller never fails to captivate me. The Iron Traitor wasn't quite as fast paced as some of her previous books; rather plodding along nicely, with plenty of different hurdle's and difficulties arising for the characters though minor in comparison to others in the series.
The world Kagawa has created within this series, and the previous one is a wondrous one and I continually find myself getting lost in her world and writing. Lush, rich and harshly magical, I never know what to expect and what Julie Kagawa is going to weave into the story.
Ethan is quite likable as the main character and I enjoyed seeing things progress through his eyes. When I first began this series I was unsure how the change of protagonists from Megan to Ethan from the other books would work, but oddly I don't find myself comparing the two as much as I expected. Considering his early introduction into the world of Faery, Ethan is very capable and this becomes abundantly clear with each book.
In The Iron Traitor, Ethan's relationships with the other characters continue to develop in interesting ways. I like Ethan and Kenzie together; I'm intrigued to see what happens considering her health situation--I'm looking forward to seeing how that all unfolds in future books. Kerrian is a complete mystery to me and I'm still working out his loyalties and motives--he and Ethan could potentially have a strong friendship but right now plot twists could derail that.
It's a blast from the past with Megan, Ash and Puck all making appearances. Plus Razor continues to be an adorable addition to the story with his mannerisms and cuteness. Featuring a shocking betrayal and jaw-dropping ending that takes cliff hanger endings to another level, The Iron Traitor races towards a climactic ending that will leave readers shaking their heads and praying for more even as they turn the final page!
Julie Kagawa must have something big up her sleeve if The Iron Traitor is anything to go by and I for one will be marking my calendar for the release of the next book!(less)
Deadlands by Lily Herne is a unique and unusual dystopian read with a fresh and different twist on the walking dead. While this book may not be for everyone, Herne has certainly won me over with her heroine’s unique and riveting story!
In all honesty, I don’t know quite what I expected this book to be about when I began it, but whatever that was, Deadlands turned out to be the furthest thing from. And yet, strangely, I really enjoyed this book. Lily Herne has penned a really unique apocalyptic tale.
Set in an alternate Cape Town, the setting of this story was something very different from what I’ve read before. I have to give Herne props for exploring a non-traditional dystopian setting in Deadlands. It gave her the ability to create something we hadn’t seen a million times. Herne blends traditional South African elements together with a society destroyed and ravaged by a mysterious plague that reanimates the dead well. I liked her unique twist on zombies and found it very entertaining trying to piece certain things together.
I will say I struggled in the very beginning of this book. As someone not overly familiar with South African culture, the slang and idealisms threw me, as well as the pronunciation of some of the names throughout the story. However after the initial first chapters, I found myself easily getting lost in the story as I adjusted to the setting. This book is actually a quick read (it only took me two days) and I enjoyed seeing the almost primitive society Herne has woven together with modern apocalyptic elements.
Following main character Leletia de la Fontein, aka Lele, Deadlands introduces us to a society where zombies are everywhere and the worlds population survive in enclaves, protected by Guardians, mysterious individuals whose motives are a secret, especially from those they “protect”. This is quite an interesting concept to see. After a war against the zombies that saw multiple deaths, the Guardian’s arrived to create enclaves for ordinary people to live in. These enclaves are primitive, without basics like electricity, but almost everyone, bar some rebel forces, accept this. There’s no questioning the Guardians and an almost cult like reverence for these unknown people/beings is widely practiced.
There is a great bunch of characters in the story. Our heroine Lele is stubborn and opinionated and loves her brother fiercely. Considering her overall situation, I liked her and found her easy to follow within the story. All the other characters were very different, and each plays a role in Lele’s tale but none are more important than the Mall Rats, a bunch of teenagers who manage to escape from and then back into the enclave all so to acquire certain every day items that are now a luxury to the people in this story. Saint, Ash and Ginger are intriguing friends to Lele, but they too have secrets—something I enjoyed learning of.
Herne does a good job keeping the story driving forward while dropping little hints here and there about the overall plotline in Deadlands. The final few chapters of Deadlands are very shocking; the ending exciting. So many of Lily Herne’s hints and mystery’s suddenly make sense and you can’t help but feel invigorated by this discovery.
Featuring a surprising but exciting ending, Deadlands leaves me ready to pick up the next book as soon as I can get my hands on it! (less)
Blood Bond is the 3rd book in Heather Hildenbrand’s exciting Dirty Blood series and is another thrilling read filled with consuming action, powerful friendship and plenty of romance. The stakes are higher and the costs greater than ever before for Tara and the gang in this installment that is sure to entertain!
I have to say, I love this series! Have since the moment I picked up the first book Dirty Blood and while I didn’t adore Blood Bond quite as much as I did the last book and then one before, I still found it to be an engaging and exciting read.
The story Heather Hildenbrand explores in this series is such an exciting one to witness. Hildenbrand weaves her one unique werewolf lore with danger, friendship and love in this series that is filled with remarkable characters; brimming with chemistry.
The storyline in Blood Bond continues to evolve, with Tara facing what almost seems like the inevitable at times….her change into a werewolf. Strong willed Hunter Tara continues to fight what she is and as the book progresses, it becomes abundantly clear that our heroine is going to have to make some tough choices soon.
There’s a lot going on in this book and a lot of action, but the story also lagged at times for me. This may also be because as fabulous as I think all the characters are in this series, I missed Alex in this book. As much as I hate to say I pine about one character over another, he was the one I wanted to read about at times and while the characters within Blood Bond all have a fantastic dynamic, Alex's absence didn’t sit well with me.
Wes shines in this book, after having minimal input in the previous one, and his relationship with Tara continues to remain strong; something I both liked seeing and hated seeing. Liked being because he and Tara are a good couple, but hated because as sad as it is….I’m strictly Team Alex.
Plenty of developments mark a brand new direction and danger for our heroine after this book. Hildenbrand ends Blood Bond at what I feel is a vital moment and has me very excited to dive into the next book. As far as self-published series go; this is up there with the best of them and is definitely something I’d recommend if you enjoy intense characters, chemistry and unending excitement! (less)
Claudette in the Shadows is a quick and deliciously well written prequel to M.J. Hearle’s Winter Saga and is the perfect introduction to those unfamiliar with the series or another opportunity for fans to dive back into the rich world of the Winter Saga!
Set before the events of Winters Shadow, the first book in the series, Claudette in the Shadows features Claudette Duchamp, the sister of male lead and love interest Blake, and someone we only glimpsed briefly in previous books. Hearle takes the opportunity to tell Claudette’s tale and he tells it well indeed. In the tradition of his previous books Hearle’s writing is deep and lyrical. His haunting prose will thrill with it’s gothic aura and floating pace.
This story is undeniably beautifully told. The haunting tone and dark overall theme make Claudette in the Shadows a very intriguing story to read. Though in no way a kind character it seems fitting that we should read Claudette’s tale. Her terrifying presence in the series ended all too soon and here we finally glimpse her decent into darkness. Hers was a story that admittedly needed to be told.
Briefly detailing the life of the Duchamp family before any of the events leading up to Winters Shadow, Claudette in the Shadows allows us a glimpse into their life, as well as Blake and Claudette’s discovery of their heritage and abilities.
A perfect short read, Claudette in the Shadows offers readers the chance to discover Claudette Duchamp like never before in this beautifully written novella! (less)
The Beautiful And The Cursed is beautiful and darkly seductive, lending imaginable beauty to a mysterious and thrilling read. Full of tantalizing romance, mythical creatures and powerful characters this truly is a compelling story!
In all honesty, heading into The Beautiful and the Cursed I really wasn't expecting that much. It wasn't as though I wasn't expecting to enjoy the story; I simply wasn't prepared to discover how much this gothic stunner would steal my heart. I seriously loved this book!
Even in the opening chapters the compelling characters and magically described setting promised untold adventure. The story was incredibly well written; the writing is descriptive and lyrical. Set amongst a dark Parisian backdrop, the gothic poise and old worldly feel of the story is undeniable; pulling you straight into another time and place.
The characters in this story were brilliant. All so well written and well rounded, each gave so much to the story and considering this is the first book in the series, the connections that have begun to develop are already amazing to read about. All the characters complimented each other so well and the intricate relationships between them allows for a lot of interesting romantic possibilities in the middle of the danger that is gripping Paris throughout the story.
Told in various POV's The Beautiful And The Cursed focus's mainly on sisters Ingrid and Gabriella "Gabby" Waverly, with Ingrid being the main protagonist. I liked Ingrid I really did--there's something undeniably likable about her, but you know who stole the show for me? Gabby! This girl has some serious fire and some serious attitude. She may be young, but she shows oh, so much promise.
With the two sisters desperate to find their brother Grayson, author Page Morgan writes some thrilling romantic connections in The Beautiful And The Cursed, for both Ingrid and Gabby. Ingrid finds herself in an unexpected situation as she bonds with protector and guardian gargoyle Luc; a man she can never be with, as well as Vander; the kind and mysterious scholar who also happens to be able to kick some serious butt. Vander is a serious sweetie and definitely more than he seems, but Luc and Ingrid have a tangible relationship from the beginning that just wins me over--I'll definitely be vying for them!
Gabby on the other hand sets the pages of the story on fire with the intense and electric connection she forms with Scottish rogue and Alliance member Nolan. From the very moment these two meet they do nothing but fight and bicker and as the tension escalates, begin to prove that age is no barrier as they both make it evident they're as mad for one another as the other. Eeep! I LOVE Gabby and Nolan--their relationship is soooo much fun to read about and I cannot wait to see it develop further!
Page Morgan blends dark romance with mystery and addictive adventure in The Beautiful And The Cursed. The intriguing storyline is full of excitement and has plenty of twists and turns to keep you entertained. The story progresses well and I was completely absorbed as the motivations behind some characters were discovered and betrayals were revealed.
The characters are put through the wringer at times, but things just get more and more dangerous as the story progresses; leaving me as the reader more drawn into the tale. The Beautiful And The Cursed is an unexpectedly compelling read, whose rich and gothic storyline has me eager to get my hands on the second book as soon as possible! (less)
As a reader, there are rare times in one's life when you come across a book that changes you. Often unexpected, it's story manages to reach down into a deep, inner part inside you and wretch your emotions apart with it's haunting depth and beauty....All The Truth That's In Me is one of those books.
Having recently finished Julie Berry's stunning novel All The Truth That's In Me, I'm not really sure what to think. Or to say. Or even where to begin. This book is so far out of my comfort zone it's beyond ridiculous and yet I don't think I have the words to ensure my review does it justice. Nothing I could write would even come close to describing the unexpected brilliance and beauty, I personally, found within it's pages. This story is on another level entirely.
Written in rare second person and told in short, brief chapters All The Truth That's In Me is in no way my normal read. Admittedly, I experienced a brief difficulty getting into it in the very beginning due to the brief flashes into past experiences that I found confusing, but after this initial confusion I honestly found myself swept up into our protagonist Judith's haunting story. Author Julie Berry has done a terrific job with this historical novel. I feel wrecked having read it. There were so many moments when I felt torn apart, broken, an emotional wreck and yet I feel better having read it.
Understandably there are going to be people out there hesitant to read this book due to it's themes and the strong issues it explores, but All The Truth That's In Me is so much more than it seems. It's dark subject matter leads to a really unexpected read. Judith's story is agonizing; agonizing to read, heart wrenching at times to experience. And so incredibly beautiful.
As this book progressed, I felt more for Judith at times than I think I've felt for a main character in a long, long time. Possibly ever. Her voice is so incredibly raw and her emotions bleed through the pages. You simply can't not feel her pain and agony. Her loneliness and heartbreak take on a life of it's own and the broken, damaged way she, and others, view herself will break you. Seeing her pine for the one she thinks she can never have but still ultimately loves is so incredibly emotional.
The journey Judith goes on throughout this story is inspiring. Watching her find the strength to overcome what was taken from her and for her to want to better herself really does touch something in you. Seeing small acts of kindness for her from people in a village where the majority scorn and ridicule her; often seeing her as stupid and nothing is amazing to witness.
So, in saying how emotionally torn apart this book left me at times, it also stitched me back together. I was glued to this novel, frantically turning pages and amazed by the beauty I found in this story. Our protagonist goes though so much and as you see what it has done to her and the impact it's had on her, seeing the happy, fitting things she experiences towards the end of the novel just gives it so much more meaning.
Julie Berry takes you right into Judith's head with All The Truth That's In Me. Her voice is haunting and pain filled and as the story progresses and truths come to light, All The Truth That's In Me proves to be one of those stories that stays with you always. Despite having turned the final page, I find that Judy's story still lingers with me and I'm still lost in it's painful beauty.
Without a doubt a MUST read of 2013, All The Truth That's In Me is haunting, tragic and completely unforgettable! (less)
Breathe marks the first book in Abbi Glines Sea Breeze series and is a highly entertaining NA filled with fantastic characters and sizzling romance!
So. I'm an Abbi Glines fan. Plain and simple. What can I say? The woman knows how to write! And she certainly knows how to keep me entranced by her stories. I may have broke with tradition, reading the 2nd book in this series Because of Low first, but in no way do I feel it detracted from Breathe as each book in this series focus's on a new set of main characters in a brand new story!
Breathe tells the story of Sadie White, a sweet girl from the small costal town of Sea Breeze who has a mess of a mother and a tough home life and Jax Stone, the lonely and fed-up rock star who escapes to Sea Breeze every year only to meet the one girl who manages to see him like no other and who manages to worm her way into his heart.
In all honesty, I found Breathe to be a really enjoyable read. Abbi Gline's writing is simple, I admit that, but it flows perfectly and she manages to write great characters into simple stories that are a hell of a lot of fun to read. The storylines can be simple at times, but they're none-the-less entirely captivating and it was quite impossible for me to put Breathe down. I wanted to stay in Sadie and Jax's world.
Sadie was a real sweetie. I liked this girl with her big heart and her attentive attitude. Sadie took care of her mother Jessica and was so kind to everyone she knew. I liked how Glines wrote every part of Sadie, from her ability to take care of a mother who I might say was a right mess and who's actions were discugsting at times to her sweet friendship's that developed between her and those who worked in the Stone household.
What girl has never dreamed of a rockstar falling for them? I know I certainly have in the past and Glines makes our every dream a reality in the form of Sadie when she becomes the object of Jax Stone's affections. Oh, Jax! What a babe! Honestly, Jax Stone was a really awesome male lead. Despite his rock star status, Jax really was a good guy. He had a good heart and his actions were incredibly sweet. There was never a moment where I didn't like Jax. From beginning to end of Breathe, Jax Stone was the perfect match for Sadie.
Chemistry wise Jax and Sadie had it from the beginning. Glines writes their relationship both sweet and sizzling at the same time with the anticipation building for them to really be together from the very beginning. My only issue with this book was that I felt Sadie and Jax fell in love with each other way too soon, especially on Sadie's part. Don't get me wrong, Glines builds up to it, with moments spent together, but I feel like the whole "love of my life" thing happened a tad too quickly for me to believe. If it had of only taken a little bit longer then I may have found it more believable. And yet, I still felt Sadie and Jax's connection and attraction to one another, I just didn't out right accept their "love" as I my otherwise would.
Featuring perfect character relationships and even characters from the other books (hello Marcus!), Breathe was/is a great start to this series and is the perfect book of Abbi's to pick up if you're considering reading her books! (less)
Kelsey Ketch’s debut novel Daughter of Isis is a really beguiling read that mixes all the brilliance of ancient Egyption lore with modern day fanatics in an enjoyable read featuring plenty of mystery, romance and danger.
I have to say I really enjoyed reading this book. Admittedly I’m a little biased considering I have not only a fierce love for all things ancient Egypt, but also a bit of Egyptian in my bloodline too. I’ve always adored Egyptian lore and myth and in Daughter of Isis, author Kelsey Ketch blends together all the best myths to give us a really intriguing story.
I liked our main character—she was very sassy and her voice easy to follow. Natra "Natti" Stone was easy to relate to and enjoyable to read about. Basically I liked this girl and have nothing bad to say about her. The author wrote her well; giving her the tools to survive as much as possible in this unsuspecting world. I enjoyed seeing Natti stumble through discovering her heritage and fight thoughts forced upon her. I still feel she has a long way to go but I look forward to seeing this.
In all honesty it did take me a little while to become absorbed in the story. It starts out interesting, albeit a tad slow and the plot did get a bit lost amongst the typically teen drama one comes to expect, but it did pick up quite a bit the more as the story progressed and pieces began to fall into place.
I found I really did struggle with the attitudes of some of the characters, mostly the men, in the book and their attitudes towards women. Their blatant disregard for them in all manners didn’t sit well with me. The sexual aspect and the way in which they took control over them, with the women having no say whatsoever wasn’t something I enjoyed seeing. And this is including our male lead and his actions towards the female populace of this high school.
And being said, I did appreciate what the authors has done here on some level; exploring the way the ancient Egyptian society’s beliefs of women impacted and transferred over to the people that still worshiped them within Daughter of Isis. It made sense and I appreciated that.
So in saying this, our male lead Seth is a real confliction for me. In the beginning he really starts out as the epitome of a spoiled rich boy, used to getting everything he wants, when he wants it. He sleeps around like no ones business and while this wouldn’t usually be an issue for me, the fact that he uses his abilities to make women crave him; basically forcing them to want him and cave to him and his sexual desires seemed wrong and a little bit dirty. Then Natti comes along and denies him and suddenly Seth begins to change….I think it’s the immense growth Seth goes through in this book quite quickly that saves him in my eyes. It’s obviously he’s known no different so seeing him begin to question his actions and experience emotions like guilt and remorse when he normally wouldn’t have cared was a nice thing to see. There’s definitely hope for Seth if his later actions in the book are anything to go by.
Ketch writes the romance and relationship between Natti and Seth well. The attraction is there and the want; especially on Seth’s part, but it develops well as the novel progresses and they begin to get to know each other slowly. It’s slow building that deepens as the characters come to know about each other; once more, especially on Seth’s part as he starts to respect Natti and see her differently than his other conquests. The connection and tension is there and I’m eager to see what the author does with their relationship in the next book.
Daughter of Isis progresses though to a really startling and action packed ending. The direction of the story looks more and more promising with the turn of each page, however the abrupt and dissatisfying ending leaves lots to be desired and this reader hankering for the next installment, pronto! (less)
Countdown by Michelle Rowen is an exciting, heart racing story in the tradition of The Hunger Games but featuring its very own unique, and addictive storyline. It's The Hunger Games meets Saw in this fantastic read that blends dystopian with sci-fi and that is sure to please from the get go!
Heading into Countdown, I was really excited. It's my first book by Michelle Rowen, but it sounded so good. I hoped it would live up to my expectations.....and you know what? It totally did! From the very opening pages, I was glued to this story. The stakes were always immensely high; leaving me no choice but to keep reading. I had to know what was going to happen next. And as the story progressed, this stayed the same; Countdown held my complete and utter attention all the way through!
I was really impressed with this story. In a way there's something very simply about the idea, but Rowen's execution is perfect; her writing flawless, lending so much to a really exhilarating story. I liked the way Rowen brought to light little twists and developments over the course of the book that impacted on the story and drove it.
In Countdown, main characters, Kira and Rogan find themselves in an unexpected and shocking situation when they wake up and discover they are in the middle of Countdown; a horrendous game where contestants compete for their very lives over a course of death defying levels to the delight of a group of underground Subscribers who enjoy watching the game. Complete the task on each level and you move on, or fail it and be killed. What ensues is a lot of danger, excitement and shocking revelations as Kira and Rogan must learn to trust each other amidst a game where nothing is as it seems!
I seriously loved Kira! Admittedly, there is a real vulnerable side to her that we get to discover throughout the book, but she really was one brave and feisty heroine. Amidst a bad situation, Kira learns so much about herself and does what she has to do to survive, while still staying true to herself and her morals--I admire this! Basically, she was just one really likable character to follow throughout the story.
As Kira's partner in crime, Rogan proved to be a real conundrum. In the beginning of the book it's clear that there's so much more to this notorious criminal than meets the eye, but it's unclear what. As the reader, I found it thrilling seeing Kira discover the unexpected truth behind Rogan Ellis. Rogan was dark and sexy and a real diamond in the rough. He and Kira form an unexpected bond over the course of the book that had me very satisfied, and often giddy, with their chemistry and connection. Me likey!
From beginning to end Countdown is a thrilling read. There's plenty of story developments to keep things progressing nicely amidst the danger and high stakes that is the game of Countdown. My only issue with this book is that I feel there is so much left to explore about Rowen's world, most importantly Kira's ability and where they've come from. After reading this fantastic story, I find myself crossing my fingers that Michelle Rowen will allow us readers to visit Kira and Rogan once more with a sequel! (less)
Mine To Tarnish is a rich, well written prequel to Janeal Falor’s stunning debut You Are Mine, that details the harrowing and exciting tale of Katherine prior to her being tarnished and before to her involvement in You Are Mine.
After the brilliance that was You Are Mine, the chance to experience Katherine’s story was one I couldn’t pass up. Even with her minor role in You Are Mine, Katherine was beguiling. As she swiftly became a true friend to You Are Mine heroine, Serena, it became clear that Katherine had her own story to tell and while as a novella, Mine To Tarnish isn’t the longest of tales, Janeal Falor manages to satisfy her readers desire to discover Katherine’s beginning in this fantastic short read.
In terms of prequels, Mine To Tarnish is quite satisfying. The story is fast paced and driven, and Falor manages to put a lot of action, angst, sadness and love into its pages. Admittedly, I feel as though you need to have read the first full length story in the series, You Are Mine, to really appreciate this glimpse into Katherine’s world. This is simply because Falor doesn’t go too heavily into her explanation of the traits and customs of this intriguing society, something that was detailed and explained in greater length in You Are Mine, rather preferring to focus on Katherine’s story.
I have to say, after reading Mine To Tarnish I have an even higher opinion of Katherine. Her ability to look on the brighter side of her situation in You Are Mine was always something I admired about her, but seeing her journey to get to that place and seeing some of the hard choices she made only made me appreciate Katherine’s quiet strength all the more. Here is a girl who chose things that no one else would have willingly chosen—that’s a very powerful thing given her standing in this harsh society that is a man’s world and I love that!
Fast paced and exciting until the very end, Mine To Tarnish features a lovely unexpected romance and hints of friendship. My only issue? I’m not ready to leave Katherine behind, ha! Rich, riveting and very, very enjoyable, Mine To Tarnish is a great addition to the Mine series that fans will not want to miss! (less)