While I’m not the biggest fan of the vampire genre I was iThis review was originally posted on Tea, Daydreams & Fairytales on the 20th April 2012.
While I’m not the biggest fan of the vampire genre I was intrigued by the premise of The Immortal Rules. Vampires, Zombies all bundled in with a dystopian setting was enough to pique my interest and I’m so glad I read it – Julie Kagawa it turns out is a fantastic writer! Set approximately 60 years into the future, civilisation has collapsed, rabids (aka zombies) roam freely infecting and killing people while vampires now run the worlds cities taking blood donations from the city’s human dwellers in exchange for food and protection. In one of these vampire cities you meet Allison a human who detests vampires with a passion and would prefer to live near starvation, scavenging and stealing to survive rather then become a vampire “pet” or donate her blood. Through misfortune Allison ends up attacked and near death when offered a choice: die, become what she hates, a vampire.
What I love about this book is that you follow Allison on parallel journeys. The book is very much a traditional physical journey where she leaves the city she grows up in and meets up with human travellers who are looking for a fabled human city called Eden. Along with this physical journey the reader is also taken on an incredibly difficult emotional journey where Allison has to make some difficult choices and question the very essence of her beliefs. I love books that make you think, books with substance that really makes you ponder the characters handling of specific situations and this novel keeps you on the edge of your seat really blurring the line between good and evil.
The future Kagawa paints is bleak and incredibly well thought out. The first quarter of this novel sets the reader up with a solid understanding of how the world is now run; a group of vampire cities with human subjugates and rabids roaming free turning anyone in the wild into rabid fodder. You get a good insight into vampire politics, and while this isn’t particularly important for this novel I imagine this foundation will serve its purpose in future Blood of Eden books. Along with an understanding of the vampire cities you also get to spend time in “the wild”, life outside the city in a world fraught with danger and infectious creatures. Overall the world building is complex and vivid, it really enriches the readers experience as you follow Allison’s path.
The characters and their development also get a big tick from me. Allison is kick ass which isn’t too surprising considering the life she grew up with, survival of the fittest definitely rules the fringe of New Covington. She’s shows a lot of inner strength when faced with moral dilemmas and handles them incredibly well but not without subtlety showing you how much inner turmoil some of her choices has given her. Even though she is a monster you just can’t help rooting for her and her own moral code speaks for itself – vampire or not this girl has heart.
The romance between Zeke and Allison is built up at a steady pace and you really connect with them. There is no love at first sight rubbish in this book, instead it’s gradually built upon and by the time obstacles come between them you really want it to work out because the love seems so authentic and deserved. Zeke is a lovely character and a breath of fresh air from all the alpha male types that plague young adult novels. While I’m sure he won’t do it for everyone, his confidence and ability to trust and help everyone he meets in such a harsh environment just makes me want to give him a great big cuddle!
The end of the novel is fantastic and the entire story is wrapped up neatly leaving just enough openings to make the reader desperate to get their hands on the sequel. Overall this book really reminded me a lot of The Study series by Maria V Snyder. While it’s classified as Young Adult it in many ways seemed more like an adult novel and I think for this reason it will be a hit with both the YA and Sci-Fi/Fantasy crowd. If you swore never to pick up a vampire book again, this book is worth breaking that promise over. One of the best Young Adult books I’ve read for awhile and I think it’s worth being added to anyone’s to-read list!
Thank you Netgalley and HarlequinTEEN for providing me with a copy of this novel for review. The Immortal Rules is being released on the 24th April 2012....more
"She had been innocent once, a little girl playing with feathers on the floor oThis review was originally published at Tea, Daydreams & Fairytales
"She had been innocent once, a little girl playing with feathers on the floor of a devil’s lair. She wasn’t innocent now, but she didn’t know what to do about it. This was her life: magic and shame and secrets and teeth and a deep, nagging hollow at the center of herself where something was most certainly missing."
"Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well."
Wow, what a commanding start to a novel. That opening sentence hooked me in, it set the bar high and boy does Laini Taylor deliver! Daughter of Smoke and Bone tears down the common formula for paranormal romance and sets a new standard. Based in Prague you meet Karou the azure haired girl an aloof art student by day and mysterious errand girl for the chimaera named Brimstone by night. While she is human, Karou was raised by Brimstone and some of his colleagues in his workshop hidden “elsewhere” accessible only through portals disguised as doorways. Brimstone tells her nothing, everything is a secret and Karou is raised a lonely girl who feels separate from humanity and with no clue as to how she ended up under Brimstone’s care. All this changes when by complete chance she encounters Akiva on one of her mysterious errands and her world starts to come apart.
The world building in this book is phenomenal. I’ve never been to Prague but I desperately want to go after reading countless descriptions of city scenery this being one such example:
"The streets of Prague were a fantasia scarcely touched by the twenty-first century—or the twentieth or nineteenth, for that matter. It was a city of alchemists and dreamers, its medieval cobbles once trod by golems, mystics, invading armies. Tall houses glowed goldenrod and carmine and eggshell blue, embellished with Rococo plasterwork and capped in roofs of uniform red. Baroque cupolas were the soft green of antique copper, and Gothic steeples stood ready to impale fallen angels. The wind carried the memory of magic, revolution, violins, and the cobbled lanes meandered like creeks. Thugs wore Motzart wigs and pushed chamber music on street corners, and marionettes hung in windows, making the whole city seem like a theater with unseen puppeteers crouched behind velvet."
Along with the beautiful descriptions of Earth, Taylor introduces Eretz a world filled with Angels and Demons and torn viciously apart by war. You can visualise this alien land so well through the story and even though the book is laden with descriptions and explanations it at no point takes away from character development.
I loved the character of Karou. She was smart, clever, witty with just a hint of sorrow. You got a real sense of her inner strength even though she is fairly reserved – definitely not a flashy heroine! I was a bit worried by Akiva initally - I thought he was going to be a little too heartless and cold to me. There is nothing I like less than a girl who fawns herself over a complete asshole. Thankfully he wasn’t like this at all and as the story progresses you really appreciate how he is actually flexible and willing to grow.
The relationship that develops between Akiva and Karou could have so easily crossed the line into creepy and unrealistic but instead its authentic and innocent. You find yourself wanting it to work out for them against all the odds. Taylor shifts this story between both their perspectives and it really helps strengthen the realism in their growing love for one another. It’s hard to go into their relationship without giving too much of the story away but you do believe that these two are destined to be together and to do great things for the fate of 2 races and 2 worlds.
I also loved the fact that there is no clear cut good and evil in this book and that war isn’t anything to be glamorized instead its something that literally consumes both sides and everyone loses out:
"Have you ever asked yourself, do monsters make war, or does war make monsters?
While this sounds like a standard Young Adult romance it truly isn’t. The story changes about half way through when Karou learns the answers to just a few of Brimstone’s secrets and it almost feels like you are reading a different novel. This is not a story of happily ever afters even if it started with a fairytale beginning. This is a story that sends you on a whirlwind of all sorts of emotions, from grief, love, shock, betrayal and tragedy. It leaves you out of breath at the end and in complete awe. I was unable to contemplate starting another book for a good week, it took me that long to digest it.
I find myself recommending this book to everyone I know. While the story resolves itself and leaves the reader feeling complete, the ending is still a cliffhanger and I can’t wait for 2nd novel – Days of Blood and Starlight to be released in late 2012. I read this book in January 2012 and I won’t be surprised if in December this year I still list this as one of the best books I read in 2012. This book deserved its 5/5 stars and then some....more
This was a wonderful trilogy and I am both happy and sad to seThis review was originally posted at Tea, Daydreams & Fairytales on January 30 2013.
This was a wonderful trilogy and I am both happy and sad to see it come to a close. Happy because the series was resolved well with all the loose ends tied up but sad because it means that there is no room for any additional stories around this world and the awesome characters in it! This book really was a rollercoaster, in fact the entire series was so if you haven’t read them I urge you to go pick up Unearthly (book #1) ASAP!
The story starts with Clara, Angela and Christian off to Stanford and I really loved seeing Clara grow into the college lifestyle and discover what she wants to do with her life outside of the whole angel purpose. The book really balances life and relationships well focusing on Clara’s purpose and visions but also adding layers to the relationships she has both with Angela and of course her 2 male love interests Christian and Tucker.
I was incredibly worried going into this book how I was going to feel at the end as I love both Tucker and Christian and I knew I was going to be sad either way as someone was going to be left alone. And while the book was completely tied up with no plot holes I have to admit that I wasn’t 100% happy with how the romantic triangle finished up it just seemed a little too perfect and sudden. Then again I think if the series had finished with her and the alternate gentleman I probably wouldn’t be happy either – Hand just simply created 2 guys that were just too special to be left jilted :)
The writing was wonderful, the romance and some of the lines were just so quote worthy it was hard just choosing one for the top of this review. I spent a good portion of this book sighing and I did my fair share of crying at the end. I loved that she put in a beautiful scene with Clara’s mother – she really does the mother/daughter relationship well and I wish more Young Adult books would incorporate the parents a little bit more – they really don’t have to be absent or completely clueless of their children! I also loved seeing Clara be a bit free and less bogged down in portions of this book like when she takes Christian out to simply fly for the pure thrill and exhileration of flying.
The Angel books I’ve read this year have just been simply phenomenal with both the Violet Eden Chapters and Unearthly series being completely unputdownable I sincerely hope that the rest of the year continues to bring on such great reads!...more
This story is told from both the perspectives of Ebony, a violeThis book was originally reviewed at Tea, Daydreams & Fairytales on 4th March 2013.
This story is told from both the perspectives of Ebony, a violet eyed teenager who until recently was home schooled and has never left the valley her parents farm is located on, and Jordon, a tough kid in foster care who has had one too many things go wrong in his young life. When these two meet for the first time there is an instant connection that changes both of their worlds as you discover about Ebony's past and her bond with Jordon.
I have never read this author before though she has a big fan base so I was really looking forward to giving this book a go. Hidden is marketed as a YA novel though I was quite puzzled by this at the beginning as it read more like a middle grade book to me, and what put me off completely was that the characters would use phrases that are definitely more adult like such as "wondering which girl he would be leaving the club with tonight". I felt that this was quite a contradiction and not a particularly good one, especially if young teens are going to pick this book up. As the story warms up, probably about a third of the way through, it definitely hits its stride and gets both interesting and settles into a more YA writing style.
Ebony was a frustrating character, she starts off quite interesting, there is something different about her and she knows that she hears better than your average person and has above average strength and speed. Her parents are quite closed off and wont tell her and for some reason she doesn't push them about it for years. When you find out about her back story you would expect her to become even more interesting and want to learn more about her past however instead she becomes a stubborn mule who is completely unhelpful and provides 90% of the conflict and barriers in the story. Definitely an unenjoyable heroine for the most part.
Jordon was more interesting however I'm not really sure where his storyline will take him for the remainder of the book series and I hope that they go into more details about the guardian/angel relationship as this seemed to be such a pivotal point in the book yet it was completely glossed over and barely mentioned again. There is some interesting back story about Jordon and his previous foster home experience that I found quite interesting and I'm not entirely sure what Adam Skinner's role is going to be for future books but I fully expect it to be fleshed out in the sequel.
I did really enjoy Thane and the angels this was the highlight of the novel and I'm glad that this is really the heart of the overall story. I quite liked Prince Luca as a baddy and Thane was wonderfully patient with both Ebony and Jordon. I'm looking forward to finding out more about Thane's destiny and the angel homeworld Avena! While I'm not the biggest fan of insta love I think the storyline does compensate in this case for Thane and Ebony and I am looking forward to some nice romance in the future books.
Overall this was a fast and fairly enjoyable read and though the book did have some flaws I would definitely pick up book 2 to find out what happens next. In saying that this definitely was not in the same league as the Unearthly trilogy by Cynthia Hand or The Violet Eden Chapters by Jessica Shirvington - both of which are completely brilliant angel series that I try to convince all friends to read.
Thank you Netgalley and Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (UK & ANZ) for providing me with a copy of this novel for review. Hidden has just been released on the 1st March 2013 and can be purchased via the links below. ...more
When I first saw the cover of Dollhouse on Netgalley I was instantly attracted to it - it wFind this review and others on my blog Tea in the Treetops!
When I first saw the cover of Dollhouse on Netgalley I was instantly attracted to it - it was so different to many YA covers out there. I then realised that the book was by an Australian author and my mind was made up I wanted to read this book! I started reading this book with no expectations, I knew nothing about the story though I had gathered it was going to have a gothic horror vibe to it. I wasn't disappointed, while the book had some issues it definitely carried off the mysterious spooky vibe brilliantly.
The story centres around main character Cassie who along some of her classmates get caught up in the mystery of the Australian bush where many girls have disappeared over time. Cassie's best friend Aisha goes missing right under their noses while hiking and taking photo's for a school project. Aisha's boyfriend (and Cassie's crush), Ethan gets blamed for her disappearance, so Cassie, Ethan along with Lacey decide to investigate a creepy mansion they discovered near where she disappeared. Things start to go downhill for them when they discover a hidden entrance filled with carousels and end up caught in a mysterious web of disturbing secrets when they find what lies beneath the mansion.
It's really hard to write this review without giving away too much of the story. As I mentioned before the author pulls off the gothic horror theme beautifully, unfortunately though the actual plot was at times overly complicated and pacing a bit all over the place. This coupled with some poor character development is why I've chosen to only give the book 2.5 star rating.
The pacing of the book was what I had the biggest issue with. It started out well and I couldn't put it down, then there was a large part in the middle of the book that just really dragged and I found a lot of the story to be a bit repetitive and mundane. I also felt that there were some very large climatic things that were just brushed over towards the end in a rush while other parts that weren't particularly interesting or important seemed to get a lot more attention.
The characters weren't particularly likeable and also quite two dimensional - they all annoyed me at times though Cassie particularly did things often that just irritated me beyond belief. There is no real romance in this book, while Cassie and Ethan clearly like each other she falls for him before the story starts and the chemistry isn't particularly great though it probably doesn't help that Ethan is dating someone else for the majority of the book.
A lot of very interesting lore is dished out towards the end of the story and I really enjoyed this and want to find out more, the author also ended the book on a major cliffhanger so I think I will be picking up the remainder of the series just to get answers for all the questions marks I now have. I have high hopes that this book was setting the stage for some great things. ...more
I’ve not read anything else by Alexandra Adornetto but considering she’s 21 and this is herFind this review and others on my blog Tea in the Treetops!
I’ve not read anything else by Alexandra Adornetto but considering she’s 21 and this is her 7th published novel I was willing to give it a shot. Besides it’s been awhile since I’ve read a good creepy ghost story so I was excited to sink my teeth into this one.
The story starts off at the funeral of Chloe’s mother who died quite unexpectedly and has left her family reeling immersed in grief. Chloe our protagonist, has always had the “gift” of sight – she can see ghosts though until the day of the funeral she had managed to keep in control of things and ghosts left her alone. With her dad deeply affected with the loss of his wife and not quite keeping things afloat, Chloe’s grandmother decides it would be best for everyone if the kids come and live with her in England for the remainder of the school term.
As soon as Chloe sees her grandmothers house, Grange Hall which doubles as a Bed and Breakfast, she knows there are otherworldly things afoot. On her first day exploring she meets the enigmatic ghost of Alex Reade who she is instantly attracted to, and with his help along with that of some eccentric ghost hunters who are holidaying at the estate Chloe sets out to uncover the mysterious past of the property and help lay to rest these troubled spirits.
I enjoyed this book though it did have a few issues that really bugged me. The major issue that I’m going to address front and centre is the large case of insta love between Chloe and Alex. This is one annoying romance and it also didn’t have any real chemistry. These two irritated each other throughout most of the book however we are meant to buy into an epic love that crosses the boundaries of life and death? No thanks I’m not buying.
The third equation in this little romance is the very sweet and very alive Joe who looks after the horses at Grange Hall. Joe is simply lovely yet even though he is right there under her nose Chloe seems completely clueless that she could totally have the guy because instead she is googly eyed over a ghost that very much has his own problems and romantic entanglements.
Chloe herself was pretty shallow and every time you felt she might have a bit of integrity she gives you an insight into her best friends from the US who are portrayed as fairly stupid, incredibly loose sexually and more interested in daddy buying them the latest “it” handbag compared to trying to excel at school. Her besties sounded horrible and in all honesty it didn’t match up with Chloe’s internal voice at all it was quite jarring and instead made you think less of her especially when she was chucking a hissy fit about a ghost, or about having to be in England in the first place.
What this book did well was build a great atmosphere with a mixture of creepy flashbacks to the past, scary interactions with the vengeful ghost Isobel and a slow unravelling of the background of what happened at Grange Hall 157 years earlier.
The climax when you discover what happened was unexpected and it threw me for six. It was pretty horrifying and while it was a bit hard to read I really feel it was a very authentic background that could indeed cause a person to turn into a twisted evil ghost who can’t let go of the past. I also got a real shock of anticipation with the last shock twist that came in the very final paragraphs of this book hooking you in for the sequel. I have no idea how the author plans of pulling it off but I for one can’t wait to find out! ...more
I signed up for the book tour shortly after reading the phenomenThis review was originally posted on Tea, Daydreams & Fairytales on 25th May 2012.
I signed up for the book tour shortly after reading the phenomenal Young Adult novel, Night Beach by Kirsty Eagar which had a similar premise and I was really in the mood for supernatural thrillers. After getting the excerpt and tour information I started to worry, how on earth was I going to be able to give this book a chance without continually comparing the 2? Thankfully it became pretty clear within a couple of chapters that while the 2 sounded alike, where one was full of symbolism and quite disturbing, Firefly Beach on the otherhand was more lighthearted and fun not really alike at all.
Firefly beach is about the emotional journey Beth LaMonte, our heroine takes after going through personal loss and a relationship breakdown. Determined to rediscover herself and start living life again, she moves to a small coastal community to fulfill her youthful dream of becoming an artist and immediately on arrival is rewarded with some artistic success and inspiration. Along with her professional successes, Beth, with the help of a supernatural ball of light ie. the “firefly”, discovers a diary of a young woman who disappeared some 30 odd years ago. Caught up in the story of this young girl, she sets out to uncover what happened to her and discovers there is much more than originally meets the eye.
The first half of this book is fairly slow paced, filled with a lot of character development and introducing you to the coastal community. I found myself quite impatient at times and felt that the writing could be a little clunky – there was simply too much commentary about what Beth was doing at that particular point of time. I am a big believer that sometimes its the things that are left unsaid that makes a big impact, and hearing about her eating lunch, having a shower, making the bed whatever mundane activity it happened to be just really could have been edited out.
The character of Beth was quite frustrating to me as well. I understand that she endured quite a few emotional hardships but her reaction to things such as the firefly and some of the events that occur just didn’t sit well to me. In fact I think this poor girl could have done with some serious therapy, would have done her a world of good. She does grow throughout the novel and by the end of the book while I still couldn’t really relate to her, I did feel she was a stronger person and definitely more likeable to read about. I quite enjoyed the secondary characters of Rod and Kenny both of whom also conquer their own personal demons in the story and I really empathised with both of them. I was hoping there would be perhaps more backstory into Kenny and his relationship with his mother but can understand that it wasn’t really of value to the plot, just something that interested me.
The second half of this novel really picked up pace and from about 60% through the ebook on I found it very difficult to put down. Infact towards the end I turned to the clock and realised it was 1am, then found myself unable to sleep as I couldn’t stop thinking about some of the developments and plot twists that had come to light! Some of the plot twists relating to Katherine, the diary’s owner, I found quite heartbreaking most likely due to being a mother myself. I think also the fact that there were so many forks in Katherine’s road that if each decision had just gone a little bit differently things could have worked out so much better. I found this so sad and just wished that things could have worked out differently for her!
Overall I really did enjoy this book, and I think that anyone looking for a fast summer read with a mystery element will thoroughly enjoy this book!...more
I was a bit apprehensive about reading this originally as I had rThis book was originally reviewed at Tea, Daydreams & Fairytales on 8th May 2013.
I was a bit apprehensive about reading this originally as I had read lots of negative reviews comparing this to both Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy and Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series. As I actually like both of these authors and the aforementioned books, I figured that chances are I would probably enjoy this one as well! And I did, while it wasn’t earth shattering and it did read like a mix of other Young Adult books on the market it was still fast paced, entertaining and just plain fun.
The main character Amelie is a demon hunter and mischief maker at her school. The book starts off explaining that a number of faculty members had died at the hands of a Greymason which is just the first of many introductions into the creatures and mythology of this paranormal world. On the first day of a new school year Amelie meets a young new instructor who she has instant chemistry with, and together through a series of unfortunate events the 2 of them discover they are at the centre of a prophecy that will have major repercussions on this world.
I quite liked Amelie as a main character, she was tough but fun and full of self confidence. For all her boundary testing at school she actually loves the idea of being a guardian and it is clear quite early on that she is stronger than she realises. Through finding out her back story and family past you are also introduced into the world of bonding and what happens when a bonding is rejected and let me tell you, if I was 17 and told I was going to be matched to another student for the rest of my life by the powers that be, I would be much more freaked out than these guys were!
The love interest Jackson was hot! I really enjoyed him and while this was an instant love type deal the chemistry between the 2 was really well handled it didn’t come across badly like many insta-love couples do. He definitely started out in the treat her mean, keep her keen camp but I think it was pretty obvious to the reader that there was an underlying reason for that and as the story progresses you find out more about why he keeps Amelie at arms length through most of the book.
The pacing of this book was definitely fast and action packed. I enjoyed this as it meant that I read the book quickly over a couple of days. In saying this however there were parts where the plot felt a little jarring and it probably would have come off more polished with more build up. I found the actually start of the book a bit of a shock as it almost felt like you had missed the introductory chapters and just fallen into the story part way through and the pace seriously just doesn’t stop until the book finishes.
Overall I think this book has probably copped a bit more flak than it deserved and if you are wanting something easy and fast paced to read that is similar to books such as Vampire Academy, City of Bones or the Mythos Academy series then you’ll probably enjoy this one too.
Thank you Netgalley and Entangled Publishing for providing me with a copy of this novel for review. Prophecy Girl was released on the 28th March 2013. ...more
Kyle took a deep breath, like he had picked up on the question I hadn't asked. That was one of the differences between him and Jason: Kyle always gave just as much weight and consideration to the things I didn't say as to the things I did.
When I first saw Hemlock on the list of 2012 Debut Authors I instantly fell in love with the cover. I then saw it was about werewolves and hesitated as this isn’t really a topic that greatly interests me. The cover love won out and I selected it as one of the 12 debut author novels I would read for the 2012 challenge, and how glad am I!
Set in the small town of Hemlock just 5 months after the death of her best friend, Mackenzie is still grieving and feeling haunted by Amy’s vicious death by a white werewolf. When the Trackers – an extreme anti werewolf task force come to town by police invitation Mac soon gets caught up in a web of intimidation, lies and politics. Between working out who Amy’s killer is, trying to keep Amy’s boyfriend and her friend Jason from self destruction and struggling with her feelings for Kyle her best friend, this book is jam packed with action, suspense and relationships.
This was a wonderful mystery/thriller that had a dose of paranormal mixed in to create a fantastic book concoction! The whole premise that the government had to admit that werewolves existed as the spread of LS (Lupine Syndrome) was just too much to keep under wraps, and the idea that anyone infected is sent away to special camps felt realistic and I wanted to find out more. Add in the Trackers a group of fanatical werewolf haters who are well known to go outside the boundaries of the law to destroy those hiding their infection and you have a world fraught with change and fear. The town of Hemlock gave the appearance of a small sleepy American town which was given the spotlight after a rash of werewolf attacks, the last of which happened to Amy, Mackenzie’s best friend.
I really loved the main character Mackenzie. She had so much heart, even after having such a rough start in life. You find out that Mackenzie has witnessed and experienced some pretty gruesome things in her past, especially relating to the Trackers and I love that this book doesn’t shy away from the brutal reality of things. She has a great sense of loyalty to her friends and to Tess her guardian which is displayed through virtually all her actions within this book.
I really enjoyed the love triangle in this novel. Both the boys sound a bit boring at first glance – Jason, the bad boy and Kyle the perfect best friend. When you get below the surface both of them are wonderfully crafted, flawed but beautiful individuals. I especially loved the character of Jason, he’s so clearly messed up and just needs someone to help him make it all better. I love how he grows and develops through the story and the inner strength he shows towards the end when all his beliefs are turned upside down.
The actual plot in this story is also fantastic and I could barely put this book down I was really keen to find out what would happen next. I did have a pretty good idea where things would eventuate by about two thirds through but that didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the story. I’m also looking forward to finding out more about the underground werewolf community in the sequel. I strongly urge you to consider picking this book up if you like a good paranormal mystery!
Thank you Edelweiss and Harper Collins for providing me with a copy of this novel for review. Hemlock is released today the 8th May 2012....more
I know he is wrapping my name inside of him, folding it inThis review was originally posted at Tea, Daydreams & Fairytales on the 8th April 2013.
I know he is wrapping my name inside of him, folding it in the blanket of his heart. I know this because I used to do the same thing with his name when I was in the Feed.
This was a great follow up sequel by Brodi Ashton! It had been a little over a year since I first read Everneath and I only had a vague recollection of what happened. Thankfully Ashton masterfully gave you all the background information from Everneath in the first few chapters of Everbound - you never sat there wondering what on earth was going on, and instead just felt like you were slipping back into a favourite pair of shoes.
The story continues directly from where Everneath leaves off and this book is quite action packed, definitely different from book 1 and I really did like it. While I missed having more Jack time as I loved the relationship between Nikki and Jack, you still get beautiful flashbacks into their relationship and find out how they fell in love and got together.
What this book does give you is heaps of background and world building of the Everneath which mythology fans will love. The majority of the book is set down there as Nikki and Cole try to free Jack from the Feed and you are introduced to some interesting Everliving characters along the way. Cole starts to grow on you as the story progresses and you actually start to realise that he really does care deeply for Nikki. While I thought this book would set up an epic love triangle the way Hallowed pulled off, I don't think you can call this threesome a love triangle by any definition. It is just so clear that Nikki and Jack are soul mates and that is never going to change.
Just as I thought things had wrapped up quite neatly and I had a clear idea of where this finale was taking us BAM we are left with an epic cliffhanger that I just did not see coming. Now I am hanging for book 3 and can't believe I'll have to wait another 12 months give or take :(...more
This was a guest review I wrote for Angelya from The Oaken Bookcase. It is part of the Discover Australian Fantasy feature, running all July on The OaThis was a guest review I wrote for Angelya from The Oaken Bookcase. It is part of the Discover Australian Fantasy feature, running all July on The Oaken Bookcase. Please visit the Aussie Fantasy page to see the other reviews and articles and also to enter the giveaway – you could win a copy of Embrace!
"Did you ever think we would be anything other than unbelievable?"
I have had both good and bad experience with YA angel novels in the past. Firstly there is the Uneartly series by Cynthia Hand with I absolutely loved, then there are books like Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick which I would quite happily burn, and Fallen which I put down as DNF after struggling to get through the first 100 pages! I had first chosen to read Embrace at the beginning of the year when choosing books for the 2012 Debut Author Challenge hosted by The Story Siren. Much to my surprise I discovered that Jessica Shirvington is in fact a fellow Aussie and this book has been out Down Under for quite awhile now! I was so keen to read it I broke my ebook only rule and actually purchased the physical book (sadly the ebook is NOT available in Australia along with many other wonderful YA books I’m desperate to purchase!).
Embrace is the story of Violet who has never particularly enjoyed her birthdays as her mother died shortly after giving birth to her. On her 17th birthday her mother had left her a gift including a strange letter hinting about faith and otherwordly concepts leaving her feeling quite confused. Shortly after turning 17 Violet discovers she is part angel and has to decide whether to forgo her angel heritage or “embrace” this side of her fully.
I really liked Violet as a character for the most part of this book. She starts off strong, self sufficient and completely relatable. It’s actually a nice change to have a girl who is fit and sporty as a central character for no reason other than she wants to be, I can’t really think of another main heroine who is like that. Through the book she gets quite ragey and spiteful which is out of character and at first I was puzzled by it then caught on that there were paranormal influences at work and this just worked for the story. Like any good heroine Violet isn’t perfect, she makes mistakes, learns a lot and really grows into her new world as the story progresses while still managing to stay grounded in her normal day to day life.
Like so many Young Adult books there are 2 guys and I found both of them to be completely HOT, there is the quiet, reserved “good” guy Lincoln and then the dark mysterious “bad” boy Phoenix who both get quite a bit of air time. Now I’m sure there will be quite a few Phoenix fans out there but I must be drawn to the strong silent type or something because I swear if she ends up with Phoenix at the end of this quartet I will have to smack her over the head for her stupidity! For a bit of fresh air in a YA book there is actually some sex which is so rare these days I actually reread the scene because I was like “did she just do that… like really did she?!!!” Both of the guys really are more than they seem, their characters are definitely much deeper then just good and bad and this is what really made this story a great read. I personally can’t wait to find out more about Phoenix’s backstory in the future books.
I really enjoyed the angel mythology and premise of this world as well and can’t wait to find out more, the whole “Embrace” trials to accept your Grigori powers was really interesting and I will be interested to find out even more about the myhology in the remaining books of the series. I really liked how the whole Angel and Grigori lore was new to Violet as well and the information was given out in a way that didn’t make it too overwhelming – you just went on the learning journey with her as the story progressed.
Overall I found this to be a fantastic debut novel by a great Aussie author and think anyone with an interest in Angel or paranormal stories will appreciate this story!...more
"Our purpose on this earth is not one single event, an accomplishment we can check off a list. There is no test. No passing or failing. There's only us, each moment shaping who we are, into what we will become."
Sigh, what a beautiful novel. Hallowed is the 2nd installment of the Unearthly series by Cynthia Hand and follows Clara, a part angel on her journey to fulfill her purpose on earth. This isn't a fast paced book, but the lack of intrigue and action is greatly made up by its solid characters and strong, well constructed relationships.
This book continues where Unearthly left off with Clara purposefully choosing to fail her purpose by choosing to save Tucker and now working out how to deal with Christian and the fact that he is also an angel blood. While dealing with that she also has her new relationship with Tucker and a majorly pissed off Black Wing who could return at anytime. The love triangle between Christian, Clara and Tucker is a very central part to this book but the triangle is done well - you can really understand and empathise with the wavering feelings Clara has throughout the book.
When I finished Unearthly I thought Tucker and Clara were absolutely perfect together, if you had told me that Christian was in anyway a contender I would have flat out laughed. Here I am now seriously wanting her to somehow magically get to have both guys because Christian didn't just grow on me in this book I totally love him - he is so perfect in such a completely different way to Tucker. I have no idea how this triangle is going to pan out but I think I'm going to be sad one way or another!
Aside from show casing a strong love triangle, Hand also delves deep into the mother, daughter relationship and I'm not sure whether its because I quite recently lost my own mother, but I found this relationship beautifully depicted. I found out when reading the acknowledgments that Hand was pregnant with her baby daughter while writing this novel and I think all those pregancy hormones definitely kicked in and helped her deliver a wonderful, emotionally driven story. I sincerely hope she has as strong a relationship with her daughter as Clara and her mother have in this book - I loved reading every minute of it even though it was so incredibly sad.
This is not an easy book to read at times, infact the depth of emotion and sadness that I felt in parts made this in some ways a hard read even though I rated it so highly. I wouldn't reccomend this to someone who is after something fun filled, this book definitely requires tissues though please don't let it deter you from an phenomenal series!...more
I absolutely loved the first book in this series and subsequently devoured both Deception and the sequel Betrayel in a weekend. Unfortunately it was a good 12+ months until I got onto this final installment and I found it much harder to get into. I’m not to sure if it was simply because I couldn’t remember so much of what had happened at the end of book 2 or if it was just a weaker novel I’m not really sure but I did finish this book feeling a bit deflated.
Set immediately after book 2, Emma is desperate and determined to finally destory Neos and save Bennett before his addiction completely destroys both him and their relationship. In order for Emma to do this she must locate the ashes of Neos which has been hidden somewhere on the grounds of Thatcher.
This finale is quite exciting and this book is wrapped up very nicely giving the majority of the characters a nice rounded happy ever after finish. By the time this book was coming to a close I did start to really remember how awesome some other secondary characters in this book was and I’m glad that things seemed to work out in a satisfying way for them all.
Now that the entire trilogy is out I do really think they are a great read especially if you have the time to read them all one after another! This is a fast paced and fun series that I think would suit anyone who likes a good ghost story!...more
You will always be a monster - there is no turning back from it. But what kind of monster you become is entirely up to you.
I loved The Immortal Rules and am excited to say that The Eternity Cure is a fantastic, solid sequel. You pick up from where book 1 leaves off with Allie on her way to rescue Kanin, instead of being led to Kanin she comes across Jackal her blood brother who offers her a proposition she can't refuse. Together they look for a cure for the original Red Lung disease before continuing the search for Kanin their sire who may or may not have been driven mad by the insane vampire Sarren who has taken him hostage.
This book starts off a little slow and while I liked getting thoroughly re-established into the story as it had been a year since I read The Immortal Rules, it was perhaps a bit too slow for my liking. Once I got through about 20% however the story really picked up and it was just brilliant.
I loved that it continued its dark gritty themes of morality and ethics and this is further delved into by reintroducing Jackal as a main character in this book. Jackal, along with showing an alternative way of life for a vampire to what you are used to with Allie and Kanin, also provides some great comic relief with his fantastic wit and sarcasm. I also really loved that you are taken back full circle to New Covington in this story and Allie has to deal with people from her past she never expected to see again.
While in New Covington you get further insight into vampire politics and I think this was a great way of adding further embellishment into the world building that was done so well in book 1. You also see first hand what the original red lung disease does to a human population and find out more about the mole men who live in the tunnels (ewwwww!).
Allie once again is a fantastic heroine who shows she can be completely unscrupulous when needed but with a constant battling inner monologue of her trying to do the best she can to stay someone she can live with. She is introduced again part way through the story to Zeke her romantic interest from book 1. Zeke has grown up since we saw him last and like book 1 this romance is a slow smouldering one. I will admit that I found the romance a little awkward between these two at first however Zeke once again grew on me and I loved some of the agonising, torturous moments and situations that came up for these guys in this book... seriously there is one part that I was so devastated for Allie I was not in anyway expecting how things turned out but again it was a great twist!
The story wraps up with some serious OMG moments and really set up the scene for the third book. I am devastated that I have to wait another 12 months to find out what happens next because I think this next book is going to be brilliant! If you haven't read this series I urge you to pick it up now it's definitely worth it - I only take half a teacup of this rating for the slowish start.
Read my review of Book 1: The Immortal Rules here.
Thank you Netgalley and HarlequinTEEN for providing me with a copy of this novel for review. The Eternity Cure is being released on the 30th April 2013....more
What can I say, I just really enjoy this series! This book is dThis review was originally posted at Tea, Daydreams and Fairytalest on 3rd August 2012.
What can I say, I just really enjoy this series! This book is dark, the opening scene is gruesome, traumatic and there is a lot of death. This opener really sets the tone for the entire novel and things don’t really look up for the people of Mythos Academy anytime soon.
In this book Gwen is on a quest to find the Helheim Dagger and through this Gwen learns a lot about her mum and her time as Nike’s champion. I really liked the quest in this book and the pace was just beautifully done, you always felt something was happening without being bombarded with too much information. I also loved that even though it had been a while since I read book 2, the author managed to weave in enough recapped information that you never felt confused or unsure about things that had happened in the previous novels.
Gwen is a wonderful lead character though in this book I felt at times she was a little thick as the author gave some fairly obvious hints that Gwen just glossed over entirely. I found this really frustrating at times, it was pretty clear to me what was going on from fairly early in especially with who Loki’s champion was yet Gwen just didn’t seem to get the most obvious warning signs. Good thing the story was so interesting that this could be taken in stride and wasn’t too big a mark down for the overall book.
Logan is awesome as always but man can these two just hook up already and stop with all the awkward conversations and wonderings. I just can’t see enough of a reason so far in Logan’s past that he has to stay away from Gwen. The backstory with his family just doesn’t cut it in my eyes and I hope there is something else we’re yet to uncover on this. The romance in this book is on the backburner in comparison to the first two books buts thats ok as Gwen really does a lot of self exploration and growth in this novel. I think too much romance would have really deterred from the processing and internalising of her mothers memories that happens over the course of the story.
Gwen’s quest really is the central focus in this book and I really did miss the fantastic secondary characters that have cropped up. I hope we get some more air time with Daphne and Carson plus Logan’s spartan buddies in book 4 as Gwen will need her friends to take on the Reapers after this huge page turning finale. The reappearance of the Fenrir wolf was a lovely surprise and side story in this novel, I’m really glad there was more to the wolf’s story even if it was all a little bit sad!
I can’t wait until book 4 is out, this is a wonderful series if you want a good all round paranormal – there is action, romance, mythology and teenage drama, definitely great fun!...more
“Who am I?” My first spoken words. “No one,” she said. “Nosoul.”
In a world of 1 million souls that have been reincarnated countless times over the span of 5000 years, on one fateful night the temple flashed dark during the birth of a baby girl. Instead of a normal reincarnation, no one they know is living in this baby girl’s body. She is a new soul, or as some believe a person with no soul. The person who was meant to be reincarnated is gone for good.
This is the premise for Jodi Meadows debut novel Incarnate and I admit I was really intrigued. I wasn’t sure if this book was going to take a very spiritual journey into life and death and the very essence of a soul, but I had high expectations that I was going on a thought provoking journey. I was very disappointed.
Incarnate is a well written story but to be frank it is a very run of the mill Young Adult paranormal romance that doesn’t really bring anything new to the table. The story starts out strong, leaving you sympathising with Ana who has been downtrodden her entire life by her mother who whisked her away at birth to the isolated countryside. You first meet Ana as she leaves home for the first time ready to find out why she is so different. On this journey she meets Sam who rescues her from a Slyph, the first of a number of mythological baddies that crop up in this world, and with his gentleness and music he helps thaw out a lifetime of neglect and abuse.
The story starts to go downhill by the time they reach Heart, the beautiful utopian city that the million souls live in. First there is a pretty thin storyline insisting that the 2 of them live together without allowing them to actually “be” together. Then there is this rather vague religion that is complete with a sinister temple and a mysterious godlike being, Janan who reincarnates them all. Multiple events crop up to further the plot and each time it happens Ana seems to connect the dots just a little too easily or makes some pretty large decisions with little to no evidence. I get that she is smart but I almost feel like parts of the stories are rushed and don’t ring true just because it has to happen in order for the larger story to play out.
The romance between Sam and Ana is really the main event in this book and it is a sweet romance. Its my belief that this book is really just setting the scene in the romance department and book 2 is going to revolve around how much these 2 souls are meant to be together not just in this life but in all reincarnations. The scene in the library looking through all of Sam’s past reincarnations and the Masquerade ball explaining the soul dedication make that all pretty plain to me.
Both characters had some fairly questionable personality flaws if you look at them individually. I liked the character of Sam to begin with but he really fell apart somewhere around the middle of the book. He became an absolute wuss and I just couldn’t really see why, in fact I wanted to slap him and tell him to man up for goodness sake. I in no way expect all male leads to be alpha males, but surely someone who has lived for 5000 years has some inner fortitude in the face of an emergency? I also don’t really believe that anyone who has faced the emotional and physical abuse that Ana did over 18 years could over the course of 2-3 months become such a strong resourceful person. The author did such a good job in the beginning with Ana’s emotional state yet it seemed to just magically go away after 3 weeks with Sam, yeah I don’t think so.
After a great well paced beginning and a slow stagnant middle the last part of the book is insanely fast. The amount that happens in the last few chapters left me having to reread sections to make sure I really understood everything that was happening. In saying that though, the story wrapped up nicely leaving the reader with just enough tantalizing new information and questions for the sequel.
Overall I think it’s filled with great writing and an enjoyable love story, but it all played out a little bit too safe. I was left with the feeling that if the author had been willing to delve more into some of the deeper questions and mysteries that the premise allowed this could have been something truly amazing.
“There was no telling if I’d be reborn when I died, but the waltz began and ended with my four notes. He’d built the music around things that reminded him of me. And now this name. My name.”
"We’d both been stripped of all the evasiveness, all the liesThis review was originally published at Tea, Daydreams & Fairytales on 14th May 2012.
"We’d both been stripped of all the evasiveness, all the lies, everything we’d ever kept from each other. Layer by layer, we had given up our defenses and our excuses and our demands for whys and hows, and what was left were two broken beings. Clinging to one last shred of hope. Tethered to each other."
I just loved the idea of this book, as soon as I read the synopsis I was intrigued and knew I had to get my hands on it. This book centers around Nikki, a forfeit who has just been released from the underworld to spend a final 6 months on earth before being given over to the tunnels. The story sends you on a journey of what happens in those final 6 months plus interchanging chapters giving you insight into the 6 months of her life leading up to her entering the underworld.
This book started off really slow - At 20% in I was worried that it was going to be a big waste of time. I didn't really get the whole tunnels/Everneath premise and couldn't really relate to Nikki at all. I also didn't buy the fact that she disappeared quite literally off the face of the planet and no one seemed that concerned by her sudden reappearance. At no point in the story does her family actually push her to find out what happened which doesn't seem very realistic to me. As more of the back story was revealed and I really got into the romance that is Jack and Nikki I could relax and forget about some of these eyebrow raising plot holes and just enjoy the wonderful characters. By the time I finished the book I was hooked and like a junkie I wanted more.
The strength of this novel lies in it's characters and character development. Nikki, our heroine is a beautiful character who a has to deal with some pretty full on issues for an adult let alone a teenager. While she seems weak at first, the way the story is written, slowly revealing little pieces of her history in between what is happening in the present really helps you connect with her. It shows her inner strength, personality flaws and all and it would be a rare person who couldn't understand her actions by the books conclusion.
Jack - wow, just wow. For a story based on myths and legend, Ashton has definitely come up with a modern day hero. Jack is a solid male lead and secondary character, that really rounds this book out. It is Jack that stops you from disregarding this as a typical teenage romance its just so clear that he really genuinely cares about Nikki, both as a girlfriend and his lifelong friend. I am normally quite cynical about the relationships in Young Adult novels, often finding them erring on the side of ridiculous and these two really hooked me in and had me rooting for them.
The book is pitched as a love triangle with the 2nd love interest being the Everliving Cole who got Nikki into this mess to begin with. Cole is an interesting if slightly two dimensional character. He starts off quite strong and mysterious, your not quite sure if he really is a bad boy or if he's just misunderstood. Unfortunately his character doesn't really develop that much through the story other than to fill you in on important information which means that this love triangle is pretty lack lustre. I expect that we'll see a lot of Cole development in the sequel.
There were plenty of little heartfelt moments through this book that just keep endearing you towards it. The scene where Nikki overhears her dad talking about his difficulties with Nikki to her mother just tugged at me and this novel is full of small occurrences like this one.
Because the story switches between the past and present you have a good idea where it is leading and it works in the stories favour, really building your anticipation. The story itself was paced really well and like the clock ticking down the pace gets faster and faster as it draws to the inevitable final scenes and ends with a nail biting finale.
This story is a breath of fresh air even though its loosely based on ancient myth and I definitely think anyone who enjoys mythology or young adult romance will find this a worthwhile read....more
“You’re crazy,” said her best friend, Angela, as the bell rang to signal five minutes before the first class on the first day back at school. “They said that about all the great visionaries.”. “You know who else they said it about?” Angela demanded. “All the actual crazy people.”
Every now and then you come across a book that completely blows you away and this is what Unspoken was for me. It was fun, witty and incredibly entertaining, it was a breath of fresh air in amongst a heap of super serious paranormal YA books. With a witty gothic vibe this world will just blow your mind with memorable banter between the characters and a super fun storyline that I challenge anyone to find boring!
The main character Kami is just brilliant - she is witty (I'm sorry in advance for how often I'll be using this word in my review), unstoppable and completely comfortable with being seen as a little bit crazy by the rest of the quaint small town Sorry-in-the-Vale. In fact all the characters in this book are wonderful, quirky and refreshing just making you want to find out more about them. Even the tiny characters have a real sense of completeness about them for example Kami's younger brothers the shy and serious ten year old called, Ten and the ADD manic lemonade addicted Tomo only a few sentences of air time yet you still feel a real sense of family and insight into their personalities. Her school paper project that has brought together a completely random group of personalities and created a sense of camaraderie is also wonderful and I especially love Angela the very gorgeous yet completely lazy side kick who is dragged along (never kicking and screaming as that would be too much effort) on all of Kami's escapades in exchange for cooked meals.
While it looks like there is going to be some major love triangle action happening in this book, romance isn't really that large a part of the premise and what romantic tension is included is well handled and uncliche'd. Jared is wonderful, complex and your never really sure if he is just a bad guy or a flawed softy hidden under a tough guy complex. I was erring on the side of a softy until he did something that left me a bit shocked at the end of this novel. There is some great chemistry between him and Kami which is further complicated by their mental link and I really really hope that these guys overcome all obstacles and manage to get together!
The other male lead Ash is your typical knight in shining armour hero type... or is he? Again this is another well multi layered character who doesn't stick to the standard YA cliche and I must say the date that Ash and Kami goes on had me giggling my head off - I just loved it! Jared you are a naughty naughty boy :)
Throughout the story you feel this ominous sense of evil with the Lynburns which is built from the get go and I wasn't dissapointed with how things ended up but boy what a cliffhanger! I really hope book 2 comes out soon because I'm dying to find out how things resolve. This is just a wonderful wonderful book and I think there are very few readers who wouldn't enjoy this one - the only reason it doesn't get a 5 star rating from me is that the ending is a little sudden, I like my books with a bit more wrap up then what we got in Unspoken.
Thank you Netgalley and Random House Children's Books for providing me with a copy of this novel for review. Unspoken has just been released on the 11th September 2012 and can be purchased via the links below....more