Saving It by Monica Murphy is a very cute and fun contemporary romance novel that explores an adorable friends to lovers tale and includes all the key elements needed to make this charming YA so enjoyable.
Eden Sumner and Josh Evens have been best friends forever. They know each others secrets and are closer to each other than anyone else. Their trust in each other is infallible. Which is why when Josh decides he needs to find a girl to loose his virginity to, he seeks Eden out to help. As the two make a list of girls Josh may choose to have sex with, Eden can't help but suddenly reconsider her relationship with Josh. She's never considered him as anything but as a friend but as the two try to find the perfect person for Josh to "loose it" with, Eden finds herself experiencing unexpected feelings for her best friend. And unbeknown to her, Josh is also struggling with new thoughts and feelings about Eden. Josh is looking for the perfect girl to be with, but with every day making it clear the perfect girl may have been by his side the whole time, will Josh and Eden take a risk on a romantic relationship? Or will their fear of ruining their friendship prevent them from admitting their true feelings?
Saving It was a very fun and adorable read. I quickly devoured this sweet tale and was very enamored by Josh and Eden's story. I enjoyed the way Monica Murphy wrote the book, switching back and fourth between Eden and Josh's POV's. I really felt like I got to know the two characters and considering the nature of the story, I loved being inside both of their thoughts and heads.
I was very impressed by the concept within Saving It and thought Monica Murphy explored it perfectly. I've read so many books and seen movies and stories that focus's around a girls quest to loose her virginity and while I've enjoyed them, the opportunity to focus on a teenage boy's experience was different and fresh. And so much fun. Josh was an honest, but kind teenage boy; his thoughts and desires exactly what I was expecting and so much more. I loved being able to see the way he approached loosing his virginity and the way in which he reacted to those around him, both his friends and possible lovers.
Eden and Josh were both likable and genuine individuals. They had a great, close friendship and I appreciated seeing their bond develop into something romantic. I knew heading into the story obviously that it was going to happen, but that didn't make it any less fun to witness unfold. They were very sweet and endearing.
Quick and light reading with an entertaining storyline and a nice overall concept, Saving It was a fresh and fun contemporary read that I would definitely recommend to those who love their YA romance and are wanting something so very adorable. ...more
Her Book Boyfriend is K.R. Grace’s latest release and is a delightfully charming contemporary romance that is full of entertaining moments, endearing romance and sweet moments of true friendship.
Macey Greere and Camden Davis have been best friends since they were toddlers. Cam is the rock-star player who runs through a slew of girls and Macey is the diligent best friend who lets them down when he undoubtedly tires of them. High school graduation is nearing and Macey wants to experience a bit of romance herself, so she sets out to follow all the tropes found in her favourite romance novels in an effort to find love. Cam is adamant that she won’t land a boyfriend that way and so a bet ensues. If Macey can’t find love using the steps in her novels, she’ll accompany him to prom. Macey is determined to secure herself a guy, and prove Cam wrong in the process, but as things don’t quite go as plan, will Macey admit defeat? Or is she about to find that the perfect boyfriend was closer than she thought the whole time?
From beginning to end, I found Her Book Boyfriend to be a really sweet and easy to read novel. Though undoubtedly predictable, Her Book Boyfriend manages to be a quick, highly entertaining YA that charms you with its quirky characters and charming friendships. Featuring a best-friends romance, Her Book Boyfriend unfolds through Macey’s POV and will appeal to book lovers who have always wondered if finding love is as simple as they make it sound in books.
Macey was an intelligent, sharp individual who embraced her intellect and was a lover of books; something that allowed me to emphasise with her as a fellow book lover myself. Personally I think Macey’s approach to landing a boyfriend was somewhat superficial and unnecessary, but I highly enjoyed watching her stumble along with each encounter as she attempted to find someone she wanted to be with.
It really was a case of seeing what was before your eyes all along with Her Book Boyfriend. I think it was safe to say heading into the novel it’s almost guaranteed that Mace and Cam will end up together by the end of the story, but I was surprised to see how long it took for them to actually cross over to more than friends. Even though it’s obvious there’s something there, the fact it took until the final few chapters for something to really occur almost made the ending feel too rushed in my eyes.
That being said, I really did enjoy this story. Macey and Camden had a great bunch of friends and I loved that the author includes so much family interactions with their families as well. Overall, Her Book Boyfriend was a fun and flirty read that was highly addictive and every enjoyable reading! ...more
Fallen Flame is J.M. Miller’s latest release and is a delightfully well told and engaging fantasy tale perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and Sarah J. Maas!
Nighteen year old Vala is a member of the Guard, tasked with protecting the prince of Garlin above all costs. Discovered alone as a baby, Vala is somewhat feared and ostracised for her mysteriously charred skin that is as rough as rock and burns like flame. No one knows her origins, but having grown with the prince, Vala wants nothing more than to protect Caulden, someone she cares for deeply. When the princess and queen of a neighbouring kingdom arrive in Garlin to explore the possibility of a political marriage, everything changes. An attempted assassination of the prince is only the beginning of a series of bizarre and mysterious events. The arrival of an enigmatic and determined stranger who may hold the key to Vala’s history and who seems to share the same afflictions as her may give Vala the chance to find out who she is. Yet with sinister forces working their way through the palace and with motives far from clear, will Vala be able to protect those she’s loyal to? Or will betrayal come in a form closer to home?
You know what? I was really impressed with Fallen Flame. It was a solidly written novel, cleverly paced and depicted with some unique and unseen mythology that has a lot of promise. Mixing together some wonderful fantasy elements, author J.M. Miller creates a very vivid and intriguing storyline that was highly entertaining.
Main character Vala is likeable and genuine and someone you honestly enjoy following. She has interesting relationships with those around her and I was very intrigued to see exactly what Vala is; something Miller holds tightly to the chest until the end of the novel. I give props to J.M. Miller for thinking outside the box and look forward to seeing her explore Vala’s abilities and heritage further.
Throughout the story there is action, excitement and even the smallest hint at romance thrown in, although the romance is at the very bare minimum and barely even worth mentioning. I think it’s more likely Miller will develop this down the track, but the hints are there for her to explore in the future, something I would be keen for.
A refreshing fantasy tale, Fallen Flame was a surprising and highly enjoyable story that J.M. Miller that leaves me ready and willing to read more and discover what happens next!...more
Kiss Me, Kill You is Larissa C. Hardesty’s debut novel and is an enjoyable paranormal tale that is perfect for those looking for a sharp, romantic and entertaining YA with plenty of supernatural elements.
Fifteen year old closet romantic Emmy Duivel has always dreamed of her first kiss, but she certainly never expected it would end with her date being taken to hospital. A few weeks before her sixteenth birthday, everything changes when Emmy learns she’s a succubus and that she’ll need to feed on the life force of men to be able to survive. The idea of seducing unsuspecting victims is hard enough but add to the fact Emmy can’t seem to stop thinking about her classmate Paul, being a succubus sucks. Relationships aren’t an option when you have to kiss a different boy every day, but with Paul making her heart race and her soul sing, staying away from him just doesn’t seem to be an option. Paul Andinn had one job; watch over Emmy as she came into her abilities and make sure she didn’t hurt anyone. Taking his eyes of the ball for one second was all it took for an accident to occur, but as he struggles with his own growing feelings for Emmy and what he must do as part of his job, Paul must decide how far he’s willing to go to to be with the girl he loves, even if it means going against a powerful enemy that will stop at nothing to protect its way of life.
In the vein of the Soul Screamers series by Rachel Vincent and featuring a similar feel as a whole, Kiss Me, Kill You is a romantic and entertaining paranormal tale that is fun and easy to read. A quick tale, Kiss Me, Kill You introduces readers to teens Emmy and Paul who find themselves falling for one another as the story unfolds. Told through both their alternating POV’s, Kiss Me, Kill You featured aspects of supernatural including, succubus, incubus, demons, sizzling romance with some electric kissing scenes and unexpected betrayals.
Overall I did like the characters; Emmy was a normal teenager girl whose whole world had just been turned upside down, and Paul was really appealing as a true and honourable young man. I admit, I struggled occasionally as Emmy tried to adjust to her new reality and wasn’t too fond of the way Hardesty wrote some of the other succubus’s in Emmy’s life, but overall I liked the way the characters interacted, especially Emmy and Paul who had a great relationship in my eyes.
I have to admit though I was somewhat unsatisfied with the ending of Kiss Me, Kill You. At this point in time, I’m not sure if this book will be a standalone tale or a part of a larger series, but seeing how abrupt the ending was and the amount of large events that occurred, I feel like Larissa C. Hardesty still has a lot more she needs to answer. And if this is a standalone tale she hasn’t successfully done that. That being said, I do hope to see more of Emmy and Paul in a sequel and see what happens next. ...more
Trust is Kylie Scott’s first foray into the Young Adult genre and is nothing short of spectacular. Riveting reading from beginning to end, Trust is a delicious tale of first discoveries, love and friendship unfolding with real, harrowing and gritty moments that give this incredible story life.
Life is all about firsts; first love, first kiss….first time you’re held hostage as part of an armed robbery. All seventeen year old Edie wanted to do was buy snacks for a night of tv with her equally socially awkward best friend when she finds herself with a gun to her head in a convenience store. Held hostage by a drugged out madman, Edie barley escapes with her life thanks to the quick thinking of fellow teenager John who is also inside the store. With her attitude about life drastically altered, Edie decides to escape the snobbery at her private school and enrol in the local public high school, putting her in close proximity to John. Known for his history of partying and dealing drugs with his older brother, John is desperately trying to turn his life around. John and Edie should be leagues apart, but as they bond over the traumatic experience they both endured, their strong friendship begins to blossom into something more, bringing them as close as two people can be. But with danger hanging over John, will Edie be drawn back into a dangerous situation she won’t be able to escape this time?
Largely known for her brilliant adult romances, I truly believe Kylie Scott has really outdone herself with Trust. There is really nothing I can say that will do this book justice, nor can I fault the way Kylie Scott has written this story. Trust was perfectly paced, featured teen characters who were relatable, believable and true, and managed to weave together all my favourite aspects of an authentic contemporary story dealing with hard hitting teen themes.
Though Trust is classed as a YA novel, I do think it’s more appropriately a NA tale, or at the very least an upper class YA as it does deal with some strong topics, includes some realistic violence and depicts sex scenes. That being said, Kylie Scott explores these topics so very beautifully and in an authentic, believable way. These teens felt real. They experienced emotions and insecurities all teenagers experience at some point or another; trauma, body issues, insecurity, uncertainty, embarrassment, sex, drugs, alcohol, relationships and betrayal---the whole kit and caboodle. It was there; Trust explored it and managed to do so through the eyes of a genuine down to earth seventeen year old girl who embodied so much of who today’s teenage girl really is.
Breaking away from your typical jock/cheerleader school dynamic or tales where the ‘plain Jane” still manages to entrance every boy she comes across, Edie does break the mold in the sense that she is what a lot of teenagers seem themselves as. She’s junk food addicted, awkward, chubby, bitter and somewhat jaded. She’s been bullied and betrayed, but as Trust unfolds Edie finds her own happiness amongst a great group of friends and thanks to a teenage boy who is determined to help her with all her “firsts” and who comes to adore her for all she is; seeing in her what Edie can’t seem to see in herself.
I mean John; John has been a “bad boy”. He’s dealt drugs and dabbled in his fair share of teen shenanigans, but in his final year of high school he’s determined to turn things around. He’s Edie’s savior during the robbery and quickly becomes a very focal point in her life as a friend, a confidant and eventually a lover. What I adored about John—aside from the fact Scott writes him as a fantastic specimen of a man—is that he cares so deeply for Edie. He’s a typical guy, but he’s also a loyal friend. He’s kind and protective of her and thinks the world of her. John thinks she’s hot and there’s nothing sexier than a man who adores his girl for everything she is.
So in saying that, I absolutely adored the relationship between John and Edie that Kylie Scott has written. They developed such a beautiful friendship on the back of a tragedy and managed to truly help each other. The kindness between them, seeing them really care…about the small things and the simple things with each other was wonderful to witness unfold. And then there’s the romance that develops.....
No spoilers where this is concerned as we all just knew it was going to happen, but that didn’t make the burning attraction any less addictive. The small touches and emotions that developed as they crossed the bridge from friends to lovers in an honest way was perfect and so alluring. Sex is messy and awkward and difficult under the best of circumstances, and Kylie Scott doesn’t shy away from making the intimate moments between Edie and John as realistic as possible. And props to her for writing Trust this way and being truthful in her writing. The sex scenes were sexy and appealing in their honesty and were perfect with the rest of the tone within the story.
Gritty and raw, Trust is a real beauty, perfect for those who love Colleen Hoover and Abbi Glines. Kylie Scott has created something wonderful with Trust and even though I’m sad to say goodbye to Edie and John, I will definitely revisit their story again and again….....more
This Mortal Coil is Emily Suvada’s debut novel and is a rich science based thriller that intermingles elements of sci-fi, dystopia and action into a fast faced, mysterious and engaging read.
Catarina Agatta is the daughter of legendary geneticist Dr Lachlan Agatta, the man who may be humanity’s last hope against a deadly virus that has crippled the population. In a world where everyone is implanted with technology that allows people to change their bodies any way they like, the majority of society survive in airtight underground bunkers, while Cat lives above ground; alone in a deserted cabin and fighting to stay alive and away from the infected. During the beginning of the outbreak, Dr Agatta was kidnapped by a shady company called Cartaxus and ever since, genius hacker Cat has managed to remain off their radar, just like her father wanted. Until the day a Cartaxus soldier comes baring the news that Cat’s father has died and she is now the only hope humanity has of a vaccine being made. Cole is a typical Cartaxus solider, encompassing everything her father told her not to trust about the organisation, but when it becomes clear there are more dangers out there than just the plague, will Catarina be able to survive the secrets she discovers? Or will learning the truth get her killed?
This Mortal Coil is a fast paced and highly detailed novel from Emily Suvada that offers readers a fresh twist on the age old zombie apocalyptic tale. Focusing heavily on the technology based themes of this futuristic society, Suvada has created a world in the middle of a catastrophe where codes and apps are a key element of everyday life and can act as everything from medicine and medicinal treatments to upgrades and alterations to an individual’s DNA and genetic makeup. It made for fascinating reading.
The main character in This Mortal Coil is Catarina. I did like her as the heroine; she was capable and resilient—clearly able to survive in extreme conditions, if her existence alone for so long was any indication. She was intelligent and willing for fight for herself and the right thing. I liked that as well as the relationships she had with those around her.
My only issue with this book is that there’s a twist towards the end of the story that I’m not sure was really necessarily if I’m being honest. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but with the way in which the story was progressing and the relationships developing, the revelation seemed a little bit like a setback to the characters growth. I’m not saying it was the worst twist I’ve ever seen, but I feel like Suvada could have left it out of the story and all still would have been right with the world.
There are plenty of twists and revelations with this story and with Emily Suvada concluding this tale with a few key heart pounding chapters, I’m keen to see what happens next. I’m still eager to learn what happened to some of the characters including Agnes and Dax and will be hoping for a sequel so I can discover all the secrets we’re still left to uncover....more
Fate’s Fables by T. Rae Mitchell is an entertaining and adventure riddled fantasy tale that is brimming with magical creatures, powerful individuals and mysterious discoveries.
Fate Floyd has always enjoyed fantasy over reality, but her love of all things fictional is put to the test when Fate finds herself sucked into a book of unfortunate fairy tales alongside a mysterious young man names Finn who is eerily familiar and the only way for them to escape the Book of Fables is for Fate and Finn to change the endings of each of the eight tales into happily-ever-afters. Each tale is more dangerous than the next and with plenty of unexpected forces determined to keep Fate and Finn from altering the tales, Fate and Finn will find themselves on a life changing journey where happiness is far from guaranteed….
T. Rae Mitchell has created a fun and adventure filled fantasy tale with Fates Fables, kicking off the Fate’s Journey series. Unfolding mainly through Fate and Finn’s POV, with an occasional different character thrown into the mix, Fate’s Fables takes you into the heart of eight very different fairy-tales, all sporting the trademark traits that make fairy-tales what they are; good versus evil, romance, monsters, magic and of course good triumphing over evil in the end.
Fate’s Fables focuses on a decent bunch of characters. Fate and Finn were easy to follow and Sithias made me smile on more than one occasion. That snakeman was certainly unique and although he had his own form of a happily ever after in Fate’s Fables, I would love to see him again down the track as his personality really shone as a highlight in the story for me.
I have to say I was surprised by the level of growth the main two characters undertake in Fate’s Fables. Fate and Finn become almost completely different people throughout the story; most especially Fate, who goes from normal teenage girl to a sword wielding, battle capable warrior from what seems like one moment to the next. Don’t get me wrong; I understand these developments within the story and seeing as large levels of time often pass throughout the novel (weeks, sometimes months are jumped) it makes sense that Fate would be drastically altered, but I still couldn’t help but feel it was a lot of change for one novel. It was the kind of growth I’d expected over the course of a series, not just the first book. That being said, Fate and Finn both go through a lot so it’s understandable they would develop because of this.
Overall Fate’s Fables was an entertaining read, perfect for anyone who loves fairy-tales and wants to jump straight into the story. I look forward to seeing what T. Rae Mitchell has in store for Fate and Finn in the next instalment! ...more
Birthright is the first novel in Jessica Ruddick’s Legacy series and is an utterly addictive read that kicks off a promising series in a tale full of sass, humour and sensational character chemistry that left me completely entranced from the opening page and dying for more!
Ava Parks is a seeker; a gift she received on her sixteenth birthday when her mother finally explained their family history. Able to see the auras that surround people, its Ava’s job to seek out those with white auras, the purest and best of humanity, and provide their names to Grim Reapers so that these individuals may have a shot at becoming angels. Giving these souls such an opportunity should seem like a blessing, but when you’re ultimately sentencing someone to death, how do you live with yourself? This question becomes increasingly clear with Ava’s latest assignment; where the white aura she finds belongs to arrogant, moody, too-charming-for-his-own-good classmate Cole Fowler who suddenly seems to be rescuing Ava left right and centre. Struggling with having to give up Cole’s name, Ava sets out to beat the system, but with Cole’s own secrets catching up to him, will Ava be able to protect the boy she’s coming to care about? Or will the grim reaper get their man after all?
Wow! Having just finished Birthright, can I just say how absolutely I LOVED this book? Seriously. I really adored this! From the very opening chapter the story completely sucked me in. Ava was a strong voiced character who had the perfect balance of heart and vulnerability while also managing to be sassy and full of sharp wit. In many aspects Birthright is perfect if you’ve enjoyed Rachel Vincent’s Soul Screamer series and will keep you very much entranced by the delectable chemistry and budding relationship that develops between Ava and Cole as the novel unfolds.
There’s a really good (pardon the pun) aura to Birthright that becomes clear from very early on in the story. Jessica Ruddick sets the pace well; letting us just get a glimpse into the world of seeker’s and aura as our main character Ava and her love interest/protector Cole get to know one another. I still feel like there's so much to this world to learn and that Ruddick has only let us see the tip of the iceberg.
Ava and Cole will of course steal your heart with their strong, likeable personalities and electric dynamic together. It was highly entertaining, and at times endearing seeing them get to know one another. There's some great dialogue and witty, flirty banter as they fight the inevitable. Ava has some serious difficulties to face if she wants to protect Cole and as she faces her demons, Jessica Ruddick will have you wondering how this smart, sharp and feisty teenager will save Cole from certain death.
Fast paced and oh so good Birthright was a brilliant read and leaves me dying to see what is in store for Ava and Cole next after the shocking ending of this first instalment. I can't wait to read the sequel and I highly recommend Birthright if you're looking for a YA with a likeable heroine, wonderful romance and perfect chemistry! ...more
All the Stars Left Behind is Ashley Graham’s debut novel and is a rich intergalactic sci-fi novel that will appeal to fans of Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Lux series with its romance, action and characterisation.
After the recent loss of her father, Leda Lindgren finds herself relocating to Norway to live with her estranged uncle and grandmother. Starting over in a new country would be hard for anyone, but with Leda suffering from spina bifida and a chip on her shoulder, this icy Arctic is far from a winter wonderland. Miserable and still grieving, everything changes for Leda when she meets her uncle’s gorgeous and mysterious employee, Roar. Entranced by Roar’s moving tattoos and drawn to him for reasons she can’t understand, Leda knows there’s more to Roar than meets the eye. Roar knows the last thing he should be thinking about is the beautiful but sad human girl he can’t seem to get out of his head. Part of a small group sent from his home planet of Aurelis to Earth in an effort to find a weapon capable of saving his people from a relentless enemy, Roar has a duty to his crew and his mission to find the weapon whatever the cost. Yet when it comes to light that Leda is the weapon Roar has been searching for, will his desire to be with her stop him from doing what has to be done? And Leda be able to accept her destiny to save an entire alien race?
Launching readers into a sci-fi YA full of aliens, romance and action, All the Stars Left Behind was an easy to read tale that unfolded well and managed to tick all the boxes. Ashley Graham won me over with the intriguing space world she created and the way she wove the characters and their relationships with each together.
I liked the characters within the story from Leda and Roar to Leda’s uncle and grandmother to Roar’s teammates Oline, Petrus and Stein. They complimented each other well and supported the story. Without giving away any spoilers, I have to say I was really surprised and intrigued by one revelation revolving one of Roar’s teammates and am keen to see what Ashley Graham does with this in the future.
Admittedly I did struggle early on with the fast, intense way that Leda and Roar fell for one another and the power behind their feelings. It just seemed to come on too fast, too strong for my likings to be believable. That being said, there was a reason behind this intensity that was explained by Graham as the novel progressed. Who and what they were had an impact on the attraction they felt and as such it went a long way to support the intensity of their feelings. Personally I’m just over insta-love and can’t stand to see these in books nowadays as I feel it cheapens and lessens the romance.
The ending of All the Stars Let Behind seemed a little anti-climactic and forced for my taste—too easy if I’m being honest. I’m not sure if this tale is meant to be a standalone or part of a series as All the Stars Left Behind ended in a way that could have been either. Personally I think Ashley Graham should explore the world a bit more and I’ll be looking for updates on future books.
Overall, for a few issues I had with All the Stars Left Behind, I did enjoy it. It was a solid read with a beautiful cover that entranced and entertained. I’m keen to see what Ashley Graham does next and will be keeping my eye out! ...more
Perfect for fans of The Wrath and the Dawn and Rebel Sands, Emily R. King’s debut novel The Hundredth Queen is a deeply compelling fantasy story set in a harsh desert land and interwoven with rich magic, thrilling danger and forbidden love.
Eighteen year old orphan Kalinda has lived her life in the seclusion of the Sisterhood, her days spent in prayer or training. Plagued by fevers her whole life and known for her sickly childhood, Kalinda does not expect herself to be claimed as even a servant, let alone a wife or courtesan. So when the tyrannical leader of the kingdom Rajah Tarak chooses her to be his hundredth bride, Kalinda is shocked. Though her skills with a slingshot are adequate, she is far from the warrior Rajah Tarak believes her to be. Kalinda soon finds herself ripped from her home and journeying to the palace where she is expected to fight for her place amongst the other ninety-nine wives and courtesans. Kalinda has fire in her soul and determination in her belly, but even as she wants to live, a life by Rajah Tarak’s side is not what she desires, especially as she battles her growing fascination with her guard, the kind and capable Captain Deven Narik. The palace hides startling secrets and only by learning the truth about both them and herself does Kalinda have any chance of making it out alive.
The Hundredth Queen is a daring and fascinating fantasy read steeped in Middle Eastern-style traditions and heritages. Weaving luscious desert settings together with imperative elements, abilities and aspects of romance, Emily R. King has created an addictive and high stakes story. Readers are sure to find themselves engrossed in Kalinda’s journey and adventure as she comes to learn who she is and fights for her survival and happiness.
Fantastically paced, The Hundredth Queen is highly entertaining and has all the elements of this kind of fantasy tale I adore. King does a wonderful job setting the stage and creating the setting; from the harsh, formable desert to the dirty and clustered villages and opulent palace. It was right out of history, given a magical twist with fire, earth, water and air elements explored through the Bhutas, a race of people who can control these elements and who are both the hunted and the hunter during The Hundredth Queen.
There's a real mix of cultures and cultural aspects in The Hundredth Queen. I feel like Emily R. King took different elements of various mythologies and Middle Eastern and Indian heritages and twisted them together as she brought her world to life. It gave it that Moroccan/Oriental feel with a twist. King also explored the well known ancient treatment of women as being something to be owned in The Hundredth Queen, an obstacle heroine Kalinda continues to fight to overcome.
I enjoyed seeing Kalinda’s quiet fight against those who would use her as they will and her determination to protect those she loves. Though she is not the strongest, bravest or most beautiful across the land, Kalinda encompassed everything I look for in a great heroine and I applauded her fire—no pun intended. Emily R. King wrote her very well and I can only imagine the growth she is sure to undertake as the series progresses.
There are many characters and individuals Kalinda meets throughout the story. The large array of characters and names is confusing at first, but there were a few who stand out for their personalities and purpose within the story including Deven as the love interest and Kalinda’s source of comfort and friendship as well as Brac, Jaya and Natesa. I hope to see many of these characters in future stories and hope to see the take on greater roles especially Brac who was highly entertaining to witness. Oh, and more romance please, possibly for Natesa who deserves some happiness of her own.
Very satisfying, The Hundredth Queen by Emily R. King is a fantastic debut and offers readers a glimpse into a danger ridden fantasy world set in an alluring desert kingdom. I’ve very much keen to see what happens next and will be looking to jump straight into the sequel The Fire Queen. I definitely recommend this one!...more
Tracey Neithercott’s debut novel Gray Wolf Island is whimsical and deeply mysterious tale that will sweep you into a tale of wonder, adventure and unexpected discovery.
Seventeen year old Ruby has a secret about the day her twin sister Sadie died, a secret that keeps her from being able to move on. All Ruby can think about is that day….and the one thing Sadie wanted she never had the chance to do; find the treasure on Gray Wolf Island. After finding a mysterious treasure map, Ruby sets out with a band of unlikely friends who join her on the hunt; a boy allegedly born to a virgin, a girl who cannot sleep, a boy who has foreseen his own death and a boy whose whole life seems to have been searching for the treasure. Together the unlikely group delve into Gray Wolf Island, but with the island determined to see the teens reveal their truths, will Ruby’s grief keep her from truly living?
Heading into Gray Wolf Island, I think I had a specific picture in my mind of what I thought the novel would be. I envisioned something more fantasy-like in nature, maybe set in a fantasy world with elements of magic or something like that. Instead Gray Wolf Island is set in a small modern day town and takes place near the coast of Maine. I’ll admit; this threw all my thoughts of the novel out the window and instead left me with something similar to Maggie Stievfater’s The Raven Cycle series.
Gray Wolf Island had that aura of wonder and light-hearted innocence woven together with mystery that really keeps you thinking throughout the story. Neithercott does a good job detailing the story, although the pace of the novel is slow, even if the prose itself beautiful and lyrical.
The characters were decent enough to follow including main character Ruby whose eyes the majority of the story unfolds through. Elliott, Gabe, Charlie and Anne all join Ruby on her travels to Gray Wolf Island and there’s also the mysterious individual called Cooper whose motivation and importance readers will definitely wonder about.
I don’t want to give away spoilers, but Gray Wolf Island isn’t what is seems and no one is as they appear. There’s a few unexpected revelations—especially the surprising ending that will leave you shaking your head; possibly in exasperation, possibly in disappointment. Personally, I was a little bit underwhelmed with the conclusion of Gray Wolf Island. For everything that happened during the story, I was just expecting something a bit more impressive with the ending.
Overall, despite my issues with the ending, Gray Wolf Island is a unique and lyrical tale worth a read and is promising until it’s somewhat lackluster ending. I’ll be interested to see what Tracey Neithercott writes next however as I think she has a lot of potential. ...more
Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau is Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake meets Game of Thrones and is a dangerous tale of political intrigue, thrilling action, unexpected betrayals and lingering mystery.
Twins Carys and Andreus were never meant to rule the Kingdom of Eden. Their older brother Micah was to sit on the throne upon the conclusion of their father’s reign, until a tragedy sees both their father and brother cut down by assassins. Though heartbroken by grief, Eden needs a Monarch and the laws state that both Carys and Andreus must compete in a number of trials against one another until a new King or Queen is chosen. Carys and Andreus have always been close and have kept each other’s secrets. Competing against each other is a nightmare, but as the trials begin it becomes clear that there are sinister forces willing to go to great lengths to control the crown, even if it means manipulation and turning the siblings against one another….
In the spirit of honesty, I have to say it took me almost half of Dividing Eden to really find myself invested in the story. In fact, I was concerned in the beginning that I would end up finding the book lacking. Then from around the halfway mark, I began to find myself enamoured by the story as the mystery, intrigue, betrayal and manipulations began to pick up. From that moment on, I was hooked, and even now after I’ve turned the final page in book one, I’m wondering what will happen next and why certain characters did what they did.
Dividing Eden unfolds through the back and forth POV’s of twins Carys and Andreus. Carys is known for her cold, unfeeling exterior while Andreus is somewhat of a ladies man and a visionary. Both are very different and bring a different side to this well written story. While Andreus is known for being the kinder of the two siblings, Carys sports an unexpectedly caring side to her that she keeps to herself. Carys genuinely wants what’s best for the kingdom, and her brother, even as he begins to make choices based on the words and whims of others as the novel progressed.
Personally, I thought Carys the more likable of the two characters. Andreus was too easily swayed by his feelings for a certain woman and I felt as though he should have stood by his sister more; especially when she was so clearly doing everything right by him. You know when you want to just grab someone and give them a good shake for their stupidity? Yeah, that was Andreus for me. While Carys had traits I admired and appreciated. I think she could become a kick-ass heroine if given the chance.
Charbonneau includes two male characters in Dividing Eden who are potential love interests for Carys. On the whole, romance is a very minimal aspect to the story, but I will be keeping an eye out to see what happens. Eriik has been nothing but good to Eden and he seems like the whole package, whilst Garret is more mysterious, but I honestly believe he has Carys best interests at heart.
Despite its slow beginning for me, I did enjoy Dividing Eden and I look forward to discovering more about this world author Joelle Charbonneau has created. Hints of dangerous creatures and magical abilities have me intrigued and looking forward to reading more after the thrilling way this first novel concluded!...more
All Her Secrets is a standalone tale from author Kate Avery Ellison and is a mysterious tale of survival set in an alternate futuristic world that keeps you guessing until the very end.
Set in the not too distant future, All Her Secrets introduces readers to eighteen year old Victoria whose father is the world famous genius and inventor Bill Faraday known for his robotic inventions that now litter the world all around us. Victoria is a survivor, having survived an attempted murder four years before, but nothing could have prepared her to find herself kidnapped from her home and taken out into the wilderness by a group of individuals who plan to ransom her to her rich and powerful father. Sam’s just a hard working young man who grew up in a ruined city and is just hoping to put his younger sister through school and pay for is ailing grandmas stay in a medical facility. He never planned to get drawn into his cousin Craig’s kidnapping of Victoria or find himself a victim too when Craig turns on him. Imprisoned together in a deserted cabin, Victoria and Sam will have to work together if they have any hope of escaping, but with both teens keeping secrets, will their secrets be their downfall?
Having deeply enjoyed Kate Avery Ellison’s Secrets of Itlantis series, I was excited to dive straight into her latest release All Her Secrets and was very happy with the story I found. Perfect for fans of Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick, All Her Secrets is a well told tale of survival that mixes romance with mystery, secrets and the unexpected.
Unfolding through short, sharp chapters that bounce back and forth between Victoria and Sam’s POV, All Her Secrets introduces readers to a slightly futuristic world where robots have taken the majority of jobs from everyday people and are a fixture in everyday life, although they are vehemently opposed by certain groups of people. Personally I enjoyed that the world within All Her Secrets is very close to our current would but was tinged with advancements. If I was being picky I think I would have liked to get to know Ellison’s world a little bit more, but at the same time I appreciated that she focused around Victoria and Sam’s fight for survival more and that survival in the elements aura that surrounded the story.
I thought Victoria and Sam were personable characters, especially Sam who won me over with his kind-hearted desire to do the best for his family. Discovering that he works to put his sister through school and keep his unwell grandmother in the care made me love him even more. He really was just in a bad situation and fighting to do the best he could.
Imprisoned in a cabin in the woods, Victoria and Sam do bond very quickly as they realise they’ll need to rely on one another if they have any hope to escape. At first they’re both not sure if they should trust the other or if they should fake a sense of camaraderie to get what they want, but there is an honest connection there between them and I liked seeing Kate Avery Ellison build their relationship up as they shared details about themselves with each other to pass the time.
There’s this burning sense of desperation to Victoria and Sam’s plight as they fight to survive and escape. Readers will never expect the twist at the end when Ellison reveals the motivations and true natures of some characters. Unexpected and surprising, the ending was sufficient enough to wrap up the tale, but still left me with questions.
Overall All Her Secrets is an engaging tale of survival and the power of secrets that is well worth a read if you love survivalist tales with a twist or are after something guaranteed to keep you wondering until the final page. ...more
The Suffering Tree by Elle Cosimano is a highly engaging and deeply entertaining novel that wonderfully mingles haunting supernatural elements with important themes, historical mystery and budding romance.
Victoria “Tori” Burns has just moved with her family to the small town of Chaptico, Maryland after surprisingly inheriting a house from a complete stranger under mysterious circumstances. Though the Burns are hoping for a fresh start after a hard year, Chaptico is a close knit town and the Burns find themselves outsiders, especially with the Slaughter family adamant that the Burns have no right to the land and home they occupy. Brimming with influence in Chaptico, they’re adamant that the land rightfully belongs to the Slaughter’s. Depressed and alone, everything begins to change when Tori witnesses a young man literally claw his way out of the ground from under a tree in the graveyard in her new backyard. Nathaniel Bishop doesn’t know what brought him back to the land of the living centuries after his harrowing life came to a brutal end, but when it becomes clear that Nathaniel’s past is connected to Tori’s present, only by discovering what connects Tori to the Slaughters will Tori and Nathaniel be able to stop the curse that is overshadowing the Slaughter people and save innocent lives from being lost.
Having recently finished The Suffering Tree, I’m surprised to see all the negative responses to the novel, as I personally found myself enjoying it from the moment I began reading. As far as I’m concerned, Elle Cosimano has detailed a wonderfully woven story that mixes history with entertainment and hints of the supernatural, as well as strong themes including self-harm and the abuse and treatment of slaves and servants during the Plantation era. As far as I’m concerned, it was a good blend and was well executed.
Supernatural to a part, The Suffering Tree features a very beautiful atmospheric and haunting feel reminiscent of ghostly tales as it bridges the gap between past and present. Unfolding through Tori’s eyes and Nathanial’s memories of his time as an indentured servant, The Suffering Tree is true to its name as we witness the horror of both Tori’s and Nathanial’s life. Tori’s experiences with self-harm is a large part of the story and will make you feel for her; this girl that feels like she doesn’t belong.
There a small hint of romance within The Suffering Tree, but don’t expect it to be such a large feature as Tori and Nathanial’s relationship if often only a backdrop to the supernatural and human dangers within Tori’s life. That being said, I thought they were sweet and I really enjoyed how Nathanial’s past with Emmeline was interwoven with who Tori was.
If I’m being picky, I only had two issues with this novel, one being that I felt Tori was a bit too quick to accept Nathanial. I mean the guy clawed his way out of the ground and next thing you know she’s hiding him in her barn, and the second thing was that I don’t think Tori’s issues with self-harm were correctly addressed. Yes, Cosimano gives us closure with this issue at the end of the story as we learn Tori has plans to begin to heal, but seeing how large an issue it is, I feel like Cosimano should maybe have expanded on this resolution a little bit more. But that’s just me, I guess.
Haunting, but really entertaining, The Suffering Tree encompassed it all for and had all the fixtures I look for in a unique supernatural YA that dares to offer us something different. I’ll definitely read more by Elle Cosimano in the future and look forward to seeing what she releases next. ...more
Audrey Grey’s debut novel Shadow Fall is a dangerously alluring dystopian tale that mixes elements of sci-fi, fantasy and plenty of danger with romance, action and edge of your seat suspense and deception.
Maia Greystone lives in world where the majority of society lives on borrowed time--a massive asteroid is hurtling towards Earth and those unlucky enough not to be a part of the Emperor’s Gold Court won’t be granted a seat on their space station when it finally makes contact. A lowly Bronze, Maia is the daughter of a traitor and someone who knows her place in life, locked in society’s most dangerous prison, the pit. Until a mysterious man offers Maia a chance to participate in the Trials and possibly win a highly coveted seat on the space station for her and her brother. Agreeing, Maia finds herself being altered and taking on a new appearance to take part in the trials, but with all the dangers clear as day, is the biggest danger to Maia falling for her fellow pit survivor Riser, a disturbing dark horse who is beginning to make Maia feel for the first time in years…..
Having caught my attention with its absolutely stunning cover, I can honestly say I highly enjoyed Shadow Fall. I know there are a lot of people who have compared it to The Hunger Games, and yes, I guess I can see that a bit of THG in Shadow Fall, especially in the second part of the book, but Shadow Fall also has its very own unique storyline. Audrey Grey introduces her readers to a very dangerous, destroyed world that I loved, with tangible characters who felt well fleshed out and who were insanely likable.
Featuring an Earth set to be destroyed by an asteroid, there’s an edge of desperation and hopelessness that encompasses the people of Shadow Fall. The dark, gritty aspects of Shadow Fall really appealed to me and I liked seeing two different classes of society mingle—the haves and have nots. The class structure and society within Shadow Fall was interesting to me and I liked the intricacy of it, even if the various groups of individuals confused me at times. I found it difficult to wrap my head around all the different rebel groups, but for the most part I was able to follow the storyline without getting too confused.
Heroine Maia was one of those main characters that starts out in a weakened state and in a hopeless situation and continually grows. She’s in a no-win situation unless she manages to successfully complete the trials and she fights for that. Personally, I quite liked her. I thought she was a well-balanced main character who has growth possibilities, but also manages to be a strong personality and individual when we meet her. Basically I’m very happy to follow her throughout Shadow Fall.
I found I really loved the characters that dotted Shadow Fall. Everyone from Maia, Flame, Caspian, Merida, Rhydian and especially Riser really struck a cord with me. They were tangible and full of personality and really brought the story to life. I’m absolutely addicted to Riser—he is such a surprising contradiction and I’m a real fan of his. Cheeky but darkly scarred, Riser is someone who lures you in and makes you want to know every secret he has.
Author Audrey Grey writes some wonderful chemistry between Maia and Riser and I thought they were perfect together. I’m definitely going to be on Team Riser, even if I am suspicious of a love triangle appearing within the series. Yet that being said, strangely enough I also really liked Caspian who is the second possible love interest for Maia. I’m going to keep my fingers crossed Maia’s heart and affections remain squarely in Risers hands, but only time will tell....
The last few chapters of Shadow Fall are especially action packed with developments and revelations that set the stage for the next novel. Audrey Grey leaves her readers at a highly climactic moment and guarantee’s you’ll be dying for the next book’s release to discover what is in store for Maia next! Highly recommend if you love fast paced and well developed dystopians! ...more
Quanta Reset by Lola Dodge is the third novel in The Shadow Raven’s series—the second to feature seer Quanta—and picks up where the last book concluded, taking readers on an exhilarating journey from beginning to end.
Having managed to escape Doctor Nagi’s lab, Quanta and Tair are currently safe; hidden away in the Shadow Ravens compound. However life in the compound isn’t easy for Quanta whose timeghosts haunt her now more than ever as she struggles to rein in her abilities and adapt to life outside the lab. Watching the woman he cares about deteriorate is a nightmare for Altair Orpheus, but just as Lady Eva wants to train Quanta, all Tair wants to do it keep her safe. Their pairing a bright light in dark times, Quanta and Tair will once again have to face off against Doctor Nagi and his unexpected experiments if they have any hope of staying alive.
Picking up not far after the last book left off, Quanta Reset is another deeply enjoyable and fast paced story that readers are sure to love. Exploring new dimensions of the series and new aspects of Quanta herself, Lola Dodge does a great job capitalising on what we already know and throwing in more twists. Plus, it was super fun to see Cipher and Knight again!
Having gotten to know Quanta in the first book, I found it really interesting seeing her attempt to adjust and struggle in this novel. The ramifications of all she’d been through had taken its toll and Lola Dodge doesn’t shy away from this fact—instead highlighting and showing the difficulties faced by Quanta. Our heroine has a lot of tough times ahead of her, but I love the strength she embraces as she faces them.
If I’m being honest and a little sappy, I really missed seeing a stronger amount of romance between Quanta and Tair in this instalment, although I did enjoy seeing them develop further as companions and confidants in Quanta Reset. Tair really is at a point where he’ll do anything for Quanta and its beautiful seeing the love he clearly has for her develop and shine through. All I’m saying is a little more kissing and snuggling will be definitely appreciated in the next book.
There’s tonnes of developments in this novel as Quanta and Tair face off against an unexpected enemy who is a replica of Quanta. I’m really keen to see what happens in the next book Quanta Rewind and I’m curious as to whether Devan will have a larger role in the series. Perhaps she will be our next heroine following Quanta?
Either way, I’m happy with how Quanta Reset played out and am looking forward to discovering what happens to Quanta, Tair and the rest of the Ravens when the next book releases in the new year!
Toward a Secret Sky by Heather Maclean is Hush, Hush meets The Da Vinci Code in this fun and enjoyable YA read perfect for those who love adventure, romance and mystery.
Seventeen year old Maren Hamilton’s mother has just died, and having no other relatives, Maren finds herself moving from her home in Missouri, USA to Scotland to live with the parents of the father who died before her birth. Heartbroken and alone, Maren struggles to get over her recent loss when she receives an encrypted journal from her late mother full of clues only Maren can understand. Piecing together the clues confirm that both her parents worked for a secret organisation tied to the supernatural and both their deaths were not the accidents they appeared. Along with the mysterious and swoon-worthy Gavin who sets her heart on fire, Maren sets out to find out the truth about her mother’s death, but with Gavin hiding his own secrets, Maren is about to discover that nothing is what it seems and there’s a battle going on between good and evil that will change her world forever.
Lurching her readers straight into the thick of things, Heather Maclean details Toward a Secret Sky through the eyes of Maren, a likable and easy to follow character who has a strong backbone and a thirst for the truth. Set in the beautiful Scottish countryside, Toward a Secret Sky features a lush setting and adorable cast of characters who bring Maclean’s world to life. Personally I loved that this story was set in Scotland—I’m a lover of all things Scottish and Irish, and enjoyed being able to get a taste of Scotland through Maren’s eyes.
Without giving away spoilers, I have to say I thought it was a sweet and interesting take on the supernatural beings featured in Toward a Secret Sky. Heather Maclean features beings we’ve all doubt seen before and gives them a roguish and Scottish twist as well as giving them a nice family base with the villages and individuals we get to meet. I’m hoping this is only the first of many interactions with them and we’ll get to explore their world and hierarchy’s the in future. Seeing as how the novel ended, I can only imagine we’ll have a chance get to uncover and experience the Abbey in the next novel as well as Gavin’s people.
Full of forbidden romance and chemistry thanks to Maren’s love interest in the form of the cheeky, but sexy Gavin, Toward a Secret Sky is good solid YA reading that will entertain readers and leaving them excited to see how Heather Maclean plans to expand on the series after the thrilling ending of this first stellar instalment. ...more
The Gender Game is Bella Forrest’s latest release and is an absolutely brilliant and addictive dystopian read that will lure readers with its intense, intriguing world, strong protagonist and promising romance!
Nineteen year old Violet Bates lives in a world where a toxic river divides two different gender based societies; Matrus and Patrus. In Violet’s home of Matrus any violence is frowned upon and men have little to no social standing, while in Patrus women are expected to submit completely to their husbands and are considered little more than property. Having been caught attempting to help someone she loves escape Matrus in the past, Violet is already a prisoner when she commits two different acts of womanslaughter, an act punishable by death. Faced with choosing between death and an unexpected proposition, Violet finds herself agreeing to a mission that will see her forced to journey into the heart of Patrus. Living in Patrus sees Violet forced to go against her very nature but as Violet makes sacrifices in order to see out her mission she begins to consider the possibility of finding the one thing she never expected to find in Patrus; love.
Wow! What a read! When I first began reading The Gender Game, I had planned to read only a few chapters to bide some time, but quickly found myself devouring the book—in one sitting! And I very rarely finish books in one sitting. I loved The Gender Game; loved it. I adored the characters, the setting, the very feel of the novel---everything was just spot on!
Bella Forrest completely captured my attention with The Gender Game the moment I began reading. With descriptive writing, Forrest writes a really entertaining story in the vein of Divergent and The Hunger Games. I thought the world Bella Forrest created was so very clever and loved the part of it she allowed us to explore. I can only envision where she plans to take this series and what more she plans to do with it, especially considering the shocking ending of The Gender Game that readers most likely didn’t see coming.
The Gender Game followed a strong and personable main character. Violet has taken chances in the past for family and faced the consequences, but that doesn’t mean she’s shy about standing up for the underdogs, because as we quickly learn in the story, she’s not. Violet finds herself between a rock and a hard place when she agrees to go under cover in Patrus to get something back that was stolen from Matrus. This means Violet is forced to actually marry a double agent from Patrus and act the role of submissive wife in public—something that goes against her very nature. I genuinely liked Violet. She was a balanced individual who was easy to follow and had personality.
No story would be complete without a hint of romance and Bella Forrest gives us this in Viggo Croft. Ahhhh; Viggo, Viggo, Viggo. Viggo is a warden in Patrus and someone Violet and her husband set out to use as part of their mission. Viggo reminds me of Dimitri Belikov from The Vampire Academy series in the sense that he has shoulder length hair, wears a trench coat and is pretty damn bad-ass. Someone who has a past that makes him symphonize with and be intrigued by Violet, Viggo is a fierce fighter, but a quiet individual, whose relationship with Violet develops over time. Right now Forrest has only allowed the bare minimum to develop between Viggo and Violet, but I really enjoyed their chemistry and the connection they seemed to share.
Completely unassuming and with plenty of twists, turns and developments, The Gender Game is a wonderful read that races towards an explosive ending! I highly recommend this for anyone who enjoys a good dystopian tale and can’t wait for Bella Forrest to release the sequel The Gender Secret so I can once more follow Violet and get to know more about this imaginative world! ...more
Flame in the Mist is Reneé Ahdieh’s latest novel and is a lusciously vivid and rich fantasy tale set in feudal Japan that sweeps its reader into a story of magic, adventure and unexpected discoveries.
The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko is on her way to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed—the Emperors second son--when her convoy is set upon by a group of bandits and she barely escapes with her life. The sole survivor of the violent attack, Mariko thirsts for revenge and the opportunity to prove to her family that she is more than just a bride to be sold. Intelligent and cunning, Mariko disguises herself as a boy and sets out to infiltrate the group who attacked her convoy, an infamous group known as the Black Clan. Whispers and stories of the Black Clan paint a brutal, cruel band of thieves, but as Mariko slips between their ranks, she begins to see another side to the feared traitors. Torn between what she knows and her heart, Mariko finds herself delving deeper into the Black Clan, but as she begins to fall in love with a boy as deadly as a wolf and mysterious as they come, will Mariko be able to achieve what she set out to do? Or will the truth change everything she thought she knew?
Initially Flame in the Mist wasn’t an easy novel for me to sink my teeth into. Thrust straight into Mariko’s story, I found it hard to connect in the beginning but after the first few chapters I found myself effortlessly slipping into the story as I began to fall in love with the characters and their fire. Paying homage to the classic tale of Mulan, Reneé Ahdieh weaves classical Japanese history with magic and enticing character relationships to create a tale that had me eagerly reading along and keen to see what comes next.
Similar to Mulan, Flame in the Mist’s heroine Mariko disguises herself as a boy—only in this tale it’s a band of thieves she infiltrates, not an army. There was something so addictive in watching Mariko become a part of the Black Clan. Pampered and privileged, Mariko hasn’t had to work a hard day in her life, but even tempered, clever and cunning, she quickly takes to life within the Clan, refusing to let those who would see her fail get her down. I liked Mariko. She was actually kind and I thought Ahdieh wrote her well. She very much fills her role in the story.
And many of the other characters were very beguiling too, including the devilish and cheeky members of the Black Clan and Mariko’s twin brother Kenshin. Ranmaru, Yoshi Ren and of course the most important of them all, the mysterious but swoon-worthy Okami all won me over and I adored the different dynamics they all had together. They brought such life and fire to the story; I loved that.
Reneé Ahdieh writes an effortless romance within the story that while electric and burning, doesn’t take anything away from the other aspects of the story. I still found myself completely bewitched however by the growing relationship that I just knew was heading in the direction it was. Flame in the Mist features some intriguing mythology and hints of magic too that I’m hoping Ahdieh explores further in the next novel. It was just enough to entice you and make you intrigued without explaining too much.
Mysterious, magical and entertaining, Flame in the Mist is full of adventure, development and budding betrayals. There is something sinister going on within the royal family and with Reneé Ahdieh setting things up to completely bewitch her reader, I for one am highly anticipating the release of the next novel so I can join Mariko once more after the climactic ending of this wonderful fantasy tale!...more