British author Francesca Haig has created a really interesting world in her debut novel The Fire Sermon. Four hundred years after an explosion that neBritish author Francesca Haig has created a really interesting world in her debut novel The Fire Sermon. Four hundred years after an explosion that nearly destroyed the world life is very different for the survivors, technology was blamed for the apocalyptic event and is now banned so in a lot of ways it is like taking a step back in time and living in the past. Ever since the blast babies have been born in pairs, there is always one boy and one girl and there is always one Alpha and one Omega. The Alphas are strong, healthy and physically perfect while the Omegas are born with some kind of deformity and often much weaker and more sickly than their Alpha twin. You might think that natural selection would see to the deaths of the weaker twins but one other thing is completely certain, the twins lives are inexplicably linked and, no matter how far apart they are, the death of one always results in the death of the other.
The Alphas are the ruling class, the are the leaders and the ones with power while the Omegas are treated like second class citizens. The Omegas are forced to leave their homes as soon as they're disability is discovered and sent to live in special settlements with others of their kind. They are not allowed to mix with the Alpha's and they live difficult lives where they only have enough food to barely survive. Cass and Zach are different, where most twins are separated practically from birth they were raised together until they were 13. Cass always knew she was the Omega but because her disability wasn't visible nobody was able to prove it and all she ever wanted was to stay with her brother. Zach had other plans though, Cass was holding him back and preventing him from taking his rightful place in society and he will always hate her for that. Even when they are separated Zach holds a grudge and his hatred may well be the cause of all out war between the Alphas and Omegas.
The Fire Sermon raises so many interesting questions and really makes you look at how humanity can be so quick to judge people. Why do groups of people always find it so easy to turn on each other for such silly reasons? We've seen it time and time again in the past so I don't know why it would surprise me to see it happening here but really you'd expect twins to be protective of each other - especially if they know that they will die if their twin does! That link between the twins also makes it very difficult for the Omegas to fight back, how can they fight the Alphas when for every Alpha they kill they also murder one of their own? Cass seems to be one of the few people who always sees both sides to things but that doesn't mean it's easy for her to convince others that she is right.
I really liked Cass, she has such a unique way of looking at things and in spite of all the horrible things that her brother does to her she always tries to see the good in him. She is in a pretty impossible position and because of her link to Zach she is in as much danger to from the Omegas she is fighting besides as she is from the Alphas who hunt her. I enjoyed seeing her relationship develop with Kip but we never got to know him as much as I hoped to, mainly because he had no memory of his past so was pretty much a blank slate when he met Cass. I was worried at one point that we were drawing into love triangle territory but happily this was completely resolved by the end of the book even if it was in a very unexpected way. Talking of the ending there are some fantastic twists and revelations towards the end of the book, a few that I'd figured out myself but even though I had an idea about some things I would never have guessed how they would resolve themselves!
The Fire Sermon is a great start to the series and it left me desperate to find out what will happen next. The story has already been optioned by Dreamworks and I would love to see it on the big screen too but no matter what happens with the movie the sequel will be jumping straight to the top of my to read pile and I really hope Francesca Haig doesn't keep us waiting too long for it!...more
I don't tend to buy multiple copies of the same book, my shelves are close to collapsing as it is and it seems pointless to waste space on duplicates. There are a few exceptions to that rule though & I think Shadow and Bone must be the book I own the most copies off.
What girl doesn't need 4 copies of one of their favourite books though? Well OK, you're right, none of us do, but how was I supposed to resist the pretty new purple cover?
Especially when you throw in the fact that this has exclusive extra content! I didn't reread the whole book but it was worth buying this version just for the letter from Mal to Alina. It was perfect getting to see some of his thoughts after Alina first discovers her powers & I love him more than ever now :o)...more
From the minute I saw the cover of The Novice I wanted to read it, I'm a huge fantasy fan and that stunning cover totally did it's job on me3.5 stars
From the minute I saw the cover of The Novice I wanted to read it, I'm a huge fantasy fan and that stunning cover totally did it's job on me. Then I heard that the story was a Wattpad sensation and to be honest that made me a little nervous, I know from experience that being a Wattpad hit doesn't always mean a book is good. In fact, some of the Wattpad success stories I've attempted to read have been pretty terrible and I really, REALLY didn't want that to be the case here. I'm so glad I decided to give this story a chance though because I ended up really enjoying it, it's fast paced and very easy to read and it actually managed to pull me out of a really annoying reading slump where I'd DNFed 6 books in a row!
The Novice isn't perfect, there were times when I found myself getting the secondary characters muddled up so I had to backtrack to remind myself who was who and the plot is fairly easy to guess because of the similarities to several other well known stories but overall there were far more positives than negatives and I think the series as a whole has a huge amount of potential.
I really liked the main character Fletcher and I'm looking forward to seeing more of him as the series continues. Abandoned as a baby Fletcher was adopted by the town blacksmith and has had a fairly good life, he works hard but has been well cared for and his adoptive father obviously loves him. Fletcher is an apprentice blacksmith and he fully expects to spend his life working alongside Berdon supplying swords for the army and shoeing horses. Everything changes the day he finds an old scroll though, when he accidentally summons a demon while reading it. Demons in this series aren't quite the evil things we expect them to be though, in fact they are kind of a cross between the Daemons from Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series and pokemon. There are numerous different types of demons, they all have different abilities and different power levels and summoners are able to create a bond with them so the demons will do their bidding. Fletcher's demon, a salamander called Ignatius, is utterly adorable and I loved him.
Summoners are rare but extremely useful in the ongoing war with the Orcs because the demons they control can make a huge difference in the outcome of any battle. When Fletcher's summoning abilities are discovered he is sent to the Vocans Academy where he will be trained alongside other summoners and learn everything there is to know about demons. It is only recently that commoners have been accepted into the academy, previously it was believed that only those of noble blood were capable of summoning, but now they are so desperate for demons to help turn the tide of the war the rules have changed. Not everyone is happy about the new system though and there is a lot of bad blood between the nobles and the commoners, something that isn't helped by the academy accepting their first ever dwarf and elf students too.
The Novice is mainly Fletcher's story, we get to see him grow as he learns more about his abilities and tries to find his place in the world. I really liked how loyal he is, he's the kind of guy you'd want to have at your side because he always has his friend's backs, even when that puts himself in danger. He isn't afraid to stand up for himself even against people who are stronger and more powerful than he is but that doesn't mean he is stupid and I enjoyed seeing him come up with smart ways to protect himself. The world building is interesting, The Novice touches on themes of bullying & racism and there is also plenty of politics. I have lots of questions about the ongoing war that I'm hoping will be answered as the series continues but this was definitely a strong start that has hooked me enough to want to carry on reading....more
The cat is out of the bag and Cassel now knows he is a Worker, he also knows that his brothers have been manipulating him for years forcing him to doThe cat is out of the bag and Cassel now knows he is a Worker, he also knows that his brothers have been manipulating him for years forcing him to do unspeakable things and then tampering with his memory so he won't remember what he has done. He still doesn't have his memory back but he has a pretty good idea of what he was forced to do and it doesn't sit well with him. His relationship with his older brothers is more rocky than ever and it takes everything Cassel has got just to act normal around them, his mother is out of jail and up to her old tricks and the girl he loves has been cursed to love him so there is no hope of pursuing any kind of relationship with her. Yes, Cassel's life pretty much sucks right now and that was before one of his brothers was murdered and the government decided to try and turn him into a snitch. Now Cassel is in a very difficult position, he doesn't want to join the Zacharov crime syndicate but that doesn't mean he wants to become a police informant either. Unfortunately neither side is giving him much of an option & it's going to take all of Cassel's wits just to stay alive and out of trouble.
As much as I loved White Cat I think I enjoyed Red Glove even more, the story is really cleverly woven together and it is difficult to see how Cassel will manage to keep himself out of prison. He is forced to deal with his crazy family members and it seems like everyone wants something from him, his mum wants him to help with her latest cons and his brothers see him as an easy route into the syndicates. The only family member I trust to have his back is his Grandad but he has been kept in the dark about so many things that Cassel can't really turn to him for help. It has been great to see Cassel slowly building his friendships with Daneca and Sam though, he has come to trust them both and finally starts to open up a little and share some of his secrets. It's great to know that he has a couple of people who have his back, he is in desperate need of some allies considering all the things he has going against him right now.
I hated seeing how distraught he is over his relationship with Lila, he cares about her so deeply but now that his mother has cursed Lila to love him he is unable to trust her feelings or act on their mutual attraction without feeling incredibly guilty. It's quite disturbing that his mother doesn't even see what she did wrong and that more than anything shows just how twisted her abilities are. I thought things between the two of them were handled really well, I loved that Cassel was honest with Lila about what had been done to her and I was glad that he didn't take advantage of her. It was sad to see them so far apart though and I really hope they can find some way through it in the final book. It's difficult because I do have trouble connecting to Lila at times and her goals seem so different to Cassel's but I feel that after everything they've both been through they deserve some kind of happy ending. I'm just not sure if they can find it together or not.
Red Glove is a brilliant book, one that focuses on the murder of Cassel's brother and who was behind it but there is so much more to it than that. There are some fantastic twists and I enjoyed getting to continue exploring the world Holly Black has created. I eat up anything about the Workers and the consequences they have for using their abilities, I always prefer when magic has a price and that is definitely the case here. It's rare that I pick up the final book in a trilogy without even a vague idea of what to expect but I honestly can't even guess at what is in store for Cassel in Black Heart and that makes me even more desperate to read it....more
I'm a huge fan of Maria V. Snyder, I was late to the party when it came to the Chronicles of Ixia books but I absolutely LOVE the Study trilogy and YeI'm a huge fan of Maria V. Snyder, I was late to the party when it came to the Chronicles of Ixia books but I absolutely LOVE the Study trilogy and Yelena and Valek are still one of my favourite fictional couples so I can't tell you how excited I was to find out they were going to be the main characters in this new series. Although I enjoyed the Glass trilogy and would recommend reading the Chronicles of Ixia series in order (start with the Study trilogy, then the Glass trilogy and finally the new Soulfinders trilogy that starts with Shadow Study) I had missed Yelena and Valek as the main characters and was looking forward to them taking a central role again. Better still, Shadow Study finally gives us a chance to see things from Valek's point of view as he is one of the story's narrators alongside both Yelena and Janco.
Shadow Study was one of my most anticipated books of the year and it more than lived up to expectations. There is just so much to love about these characters and this world and I loved getting the chance to see inside Valek's head and the chance to learn more about his childhood and his assassin training. Did you ever wonder how he ended up working for the Commander or why he wanted to kill the king of Ixia? Did you want to know who taught him about poisons and how he became so skilled with a blade? You'll get the answers to those questions and so many more, Valek has always been a bit of a mystery so it was great to get to know him better. His relationships are sorely tested in this book, people he trusts are keeping major secrets and he isn't sure why but Valek has never been one to back away from a challenge and you just know he'll move heaven and earth to protect Yelena so anyone who is out to hurt her is going to end up in a world of trouble.
I have to admit I would have liked for Yelena and Valek to have spent more time together than they did but I can understand why things were that way and I think we're going to see them working closer together as the series continues. At least the time they do spend together was quality time and I love seeing how strong their bond is and how happy they still are after so many years as a couple. Adding Janco as a third point of view was brilliant, he is able to give us insight into both Yelena and Valek and he is just such a fun character to spend time with.
Yelena finds herself in an impossible situation here, she has several enemies coming at her and very little way of protecting herself against them. I don't want to go into too much detail about what happens but I found it interesting seeing her a bit out of her depth for a change, she is so used to being able to handle anything that is thrown at her and it comes as quite a shock to find herself feeling vulnerable. I had a suspicion about something for quite a long time and I was absolutely thrilled by the big reveal at the end of the story. In fact there are so many things I desperately want to talk about but I can't because they're all veering into spoiler territory.
Shadow Study is absolutely fantastic and it was one of those books that I wanted to devour in one sitting, so much so that I was annoyed because life kept getting in the way. It was great to catch up with some familiar faces but we are also introduced to some interesting new ones and the plot was just amazing. My only real problem with this book is that the rest of the trilogy isn't available for me to devour immediately - it's just not fair that I'm probably going to have to wait 2 years to get hold of book 3 and I actually think Maria V. Snyder is trying to kill me! I can't fault her though, any author who has me so totally invested in the lives of her characters is obviously doing something right and I will be right at the front of the queue on release day impatiently waiting for my copies of Night Study and Dawn Study when they are published....more
I read this novella as part of the Marked anthology.
I'm going to confess that Beyond Temptation was the whole reason I wanted to read the Mar4.5 stars
I read this novella as part of the Marked anthology.
I'm going to confess that Beyond Temptation was the whole reason I wanted to read the Marked anthology, I absolutely adore the Beyond series and am completely addicted to these sexy O'Kanes and the world that Kit Rocha has created! So it'll be no surprise when I tell you that this was my favourite story in the anthology, probably because I'm already so invested in this world and it's characters. We have briefly met Noah before but since he's not an official O'Kane we've not spent much time with him and I was looking forward to getting to know him better. Emma is a character I already liked, one of the bartenders at the Broken Circle she's been a familiar face throughout the series so it was good to learn more about her background and I absolutely loved the scenes with her working alongside Ace as an apprentice tattoo artist.
Noah was best friends with Emma's brother and as such he has always considered her off limits, that doesn't mean he hasn't done his best to protect her though. In fact he paid a fortune to have her sent safely to the communes outside of the sectors and has spent the last few years believing that she has been living a dream life on a farm somewhere. When he finds out that she has been right under his nose the whole time and living with the O'Kanes he just has to check up on her and make sure that she's OK. The Emma he finds is very different to the sweet young girl he knew though, she's all grown up and has turned into a confident, sexy woman who knows what she wants and exactly how to get it. Emma always had feelings for Noah so when she sees him for the first time in years she sets out to seduce him and show him just how good they could be together.
I loved both of these characters, they have off the charts chemistry and a connection that runs much deeper than lust. There are some difficult secrets between them though, things that could end their relationship for good if they don't find a way to work through them. This was probably the tamest story in the Beyond series so far but don't take that to mean that it isn't sexy because Noah and Emma are hot as hell. Just as you'd expect from these stories there is plenty of dirty talk and hot action! We get a glimpse of some of the previous characters but most importantly we get to spend time with Ace and this has just got me even more excited about his book Beyond Jealousy which is up next. This is a series that always jumps straight to the top of my to read pile and I can't recommend it highly enough although I would personally recommend reading the books in order starting with Beyond Shame though....more
I'm a HUGE fan of Sarah Alderson, she writes such incredibly hot YA boys so the second I found out that she was writing her first NA book under the naI'm a HUGE fan of Sarah Alderson, she writes such incredibly hot YA boys so the second I found out that she was writing her first NA book under the name of Mila Gray it went to the top of my wish list! When Sarah sent me a very early copy of Come Back to Me I can't tell you how excited I was to read it, I had high expectations for the story and she utterly smashed them.
Just reading the prologue gave me goosebumps and put a knot of fear in my stomach. You know that something terrible is going to happen but you're not sure exactly what or even who it will happen to. The story then skips back in time to 3 months previously to when Jessa's brother Riley and his best friend Kit have just returned home from their latest detachment with the marines. Jessa has had a crush on Kit for years but she never even dreamed he would be interested in her. It's not long before the sparks start to fly between them though and as they spend more time together they slowly start to fall in love. What I loved most about this book was that Jessa and Kit spend time actually getting to know each other outside of the bedroom, they have fantastic chemistry but they don't feel the need to rush things. In fact because they have known each other for such a long time they have a strong bond of friendship that they are both wary of losing each other if things don't work out between them.
They have to keep their relationship a secret in the beginning partly because they are worried about what Riley's reaction would be but mainly because of Jessa's father. He used to be a marine sniper and is now Kit's Colonel and he isn't the kind of guy you want to get on the wrong side of. Jessa is under a lot of pressure at home, her father is quite obviously suffering with some kind of PTSD and his mood swings make him nearly impossible to live with. Jessa and her mother live in fear of doing something that will upset him or set him off and they spend their whole lives walking on egg shells. Living that way has really started to knock Jessa's confidence so I loved seeing Kit help her rediscover her dreams and learn to stand up for herself. Kit is hot as hell but he's also incredibly thoughtful, sweet and romantic and he is constantly thinking of little ways to cheer Jessa up. He treats her like she is special and she starts to believe that he is right. The chemistry between them is utterly fantastic and they are scorching hot together but the sex scenes are never crude and they're always just as emotional as they are sexy.
Come Back to Me is intense, passionate, romantic and totally swoon worthy. It made me laugh one minute and sob my heart out the next, broke my heart but helped put it back together again and it made me fall in love. Mila Gray captures the intensity of first relationships, that feeling of being head over heels "I can't live without you" in love and she makes you go through it right alongside Jessa and Kit. This isn't just a romance though, it's also a story about family and friendship, about loss and grief but also about finding hope in the darkest times and realising that no matter how hard it gets life goes on. In case I haven't made it obvious enough I absolutely LOVED Come Back to Me and I can't wait to get my hands on anything else that Mila Gray / Sarah Alderson writes in the future! ___________________________________________
My initial thoughts when I first received the book: I just got sent a super early review copy from the author!!!!!!! Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
*Sings "I'm sooooo excited" & happy dances around the room* ...more
You know all those mixed emotions you have when you reach the end of a much loved series? The nerves in case things don't turn out how you want them tYou know all those mixed emotions you have when you reach the end of a much loved series? The nerves in case things don't turn out how you want them to, the sadness that this is your final adventure with those characters you've become so invested in and the worry that it won't live up to your expectations. I felt all those and more before I picked up The Final Frontier, I've had so much fun reading this series and I really didn't want to see it come to an end. Thankfully Jeff Norton manages to end the things on a high note and I think this really was my favourite book in the series.
Jonah has been through so much since the first book and he's grown into a young man that we can be proud of. He's been faced with difficult decisions, ones where there isn't always an easy solution, but no matter what he's always remained true to his beliefs and tried to do what's right. He has been lied to, manipulated and had people try to force him into things he's not comfortable with but he's also found out who is friends really are. He's lost people he loved and found people who are loyal to him that he would risk his life for in an instant. In short, he's grown up.
I don't want to say too much about the plot of The Freedom Frontier because I want readers to be able to dive in and experience it fully for themselves. Instead I'm just going to talk about the series as a whole and tell you just some of the reasons I've loved it so much. These books are full of action and adventure, the characters are faced with moral dilemmas, friends become enemies and enemies become friends. Nothing is what it first seems and just when you've changed your mind about a particular character something will come along and make you believe you were right about them in the first place. This is a world of different shades of grey, there is no black and white and both sides of the war have done questionable things. I think this quote sums that up perfectly:
"The Guardians wanted freedom. The Millennials wanted control. And both sides were willing to kill for their goals. He wondered how different they actually were. Whose side was he really on?"
Jonah is the one who has been stuck in the middle and he's handled that difficult position incredibly well. I have to mention Sam here too, she's been such a fantastic friend to Jonah and she has always had his back even when she isn't sure he's making the right choices. The two of them will take on any challenge and they always come out fighting for what they believe in.
The Metawars series is full of unexpected twists and turns, these books will grab you from the very first page and you won't want to stop until you've read them all. This final book is a game changer in the most wonderful ways, it took me on a rollercoaster of emotion and left me with a huge smile on my face. I don't think I can recommend this series highly enough and it's definitely put Jeff Norton on my list of must read authors....more
Battle of the Immortal is the third book in Jeff Norton's Metawars series and the stakes are higher than ever for Jonah. As much as he is happy to havBattle of the Immortal is the third book in Jeff Norton's Metawars series and the stakes are higher than ever for Jonah. As much as he is happy to have his father back in his life he knows that it is wrong that Jason has stolen Luke's body and that moral dilemma plays on his mind as more and more of the Uploaded escape the Metasphere by usurping the living. He is also torn between the Guardians and the Millennials over who should have control over the Metasphere and what lengths they should be prepared to go to to achieve their goals. I really don't envy Jonah the choices he has to make in this series, he often finds himself in situations where there isn't really any right answer and he can only try to choose the path with the lowest number of casualties. He is also starting to realise that the consequences for his previous actions have had much further reach than he ever could have imagined and that perhaps some of his choices have caused more harm than good.
No matter how tough things get Jonah remains true to himself though, he always tries so hard to protect not just the people he loves but also other innocent lives that are in his radar. He's the kind of friend that anyone would want at their back because no matter how much it costs him he will always try to keep you safe. This is shown more clearly than ever when Sam ends up being usurped by one of the Uploaded. Jonah has to make some frightening choices in his quest to save her, including allying himself with someone he has always considered an enemy. We really start to see Jonah grow up in this instalment to the series, he is starting to be more proactive in his choices and to think of the long term effects of his actions rather than just flying by the seat of his pants like he has done in the past. We're seeing him turn into a young man who is wise beyond his years but it has cost him a lot to get to where he is now.
I don't want to say too much about the actual plot because it's more fun for you to discover that for yourselves but I'm sure that fans of the first two books will love this one just as much. This is the kind of series that has so many layers to it so no matter how much fun it is reading about a world where virtual reality is almost as important as real life that is only the beginning. Jeff Norton encourages readers to think about the differences between good and evil and how the line between them isn't quite so black and white. There are times when the good guys to terrible things and it's up to you to decide if they are ever justifiable or not. I'm kind of sad to know I've only got one book left to read in this series but I'm still excited to read The Final Frontier so I can find out who wins the war and finally discover whether the ends justified the means....more
The Dead are Rising is the second book in Jeff Norton's Metawars series and is just as action packed and addictive as the first. The story picks up noThe Dead are Rising is the second book in Jeff Norton's Metawars series and is just as action packed and addictive as the first. The story picks up not long after Fight for the Future ended, the Uploaded are now safely in the newly created Changsphere and the superior server power of the new system means that they are more "alive" than they ever were in the Metasphere. The Uploaded are regaining their memories and becoming much more self aware which would be a good thing if it didn't mean they were starting to realise that they're actually dead. With the Uploaded desperate to find a way into the real world it doesn't take long before they realise that by taking over the avatar of someone who is still alive they can exit the Changsphere and steal that person's body. With millions of Uploaded users looking for a quick exit the Changsphere is soon in real trouble and Jonah is right at the heart of it all. Can he find a way to stop the Uploaded without having them deleted? Will the Guardians be able to capture another corner of the Metasphere from Granger and the Millennials?
Everything I loved about the first book is back in The Dead are Rising and I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see how things would turn out. Poor Jonah is even more confused than ever about which side he should really be on and every time he thinks he has the answers he has the floor swept out from under him by a new revelation. I really don't know who the good guys are any more and I think that's actually the point that Jeff Norton is trying to make. He shows that the lines between good and evil aren't so black and white and that there is a whole lot of grey in between. The "good" guys do terrible things in pursuit of their goals and the "bad" guys aren't always completely evil. Jonah has a major moral dilemma on his hands and no matter how hard he tries he can't seem to find the right answer. I actually felt really sorry for him because I'm not convinced that any of the options currently available to him are the right choices. It's going to be really interesting to see how things play out as the series continues that's for sure!
Jonah has come a long way since we first met him, he has grown in confidence and he is more willing to stand up for what he believes in. It isn't easy for him to face off against his friends and allies but he does it and he even manages to make Sam start to question her upbringing rather than continue to blindly follow the Guardians. The Uploaded add a whole new dimension to the story, it was very easy to understand how much they wanted the chance to live again and to feel sorry for them and the situation they now found themselves in but that didn't make it any more acceptable for them to basically evict other people from their own bodies so they could return to reality.
This is the kind of series that really makes you think, it leaves you asking yourself questions about what you would be prepared to do for a few extra days with your loved ones but also makes you think about terrorism, dwindling natural resources and the future of our planet. I honestly have no idea how I want things to turn out - I'm definitely not a fan of Granger and the Millennials but I'm not sure that the Guardians can be trusted either so at the moment I'm on the fence about which side I think Jonah should take. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing how Jeff Norton continues the series though and will be starting Battle of the Immortal asap....more