Monday 29 February 2016

Rebel of the Sands

4 Stars/5

Thanks to Netgalley and Faber & Faber for giving me this book to review.

In the desert nation of Miraji humans rule, but mystical beasts still roam in the wild using their magic. In the dead-end town of Dustwalk, Amani is desperate to escape before she is married to her uncle. Disguised as a boy she enters a shooting competition to get enough money to move to her dream city. While there she meets the mysterious foreigner Jin, but he is hiding a secret and is wanted for treason. Amani has no idea that her life is going to change forever in an unexpected way.

Rebel of the Sands is a very enjoyable YA fantasy novel but unlike most fantasy novels it was set in a mixture of American western and Arabian setting. It was well written and fast paced but I think it would have benefited with a map. It had adventure, romance and magic but it was a bit predictable and did drag a bit in the middle.

Amani wants to be free and to be able to make her own decisions, she is honest, has a smart mouth and a bit of an attitude. Jin is charming, keeps things close to his chest and I could not be sure of his motives but I did like the banter between him and Amani. There is a large group of secondary characters including Shazad, Bahi and Hala but because they were introduced in the second half of the book we did not get to know them too well and I hope this changes in the next book.

This is a really good book and I am looking forward to reading the sequel. I would recommend Rebel of the Sands to fans of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson and Gates of Thread and Stone by Lori M Lee.

Saturday 27 February 2016

The Winner's Kiss

3 Stars/5

Thanks to Netgalley and Bloomsbury Publishing Plc for giving me this book to review.

Arin has sailed home and is in the middle of an uneasy alliance with Dacra to wage war against the Empire to stop them from taking over Herran again. Kestrel has been discovered as a spy and has been sent to the Tundra’s brutal mines, she is desperate to escape but is drugged to keep her compliant. When the war becomes more deadly, Kestrel and Arin find themselves in positions of power they did not really want and with so much to lose can anyone be a winner?

The Winner’s Kiss is the likable final book in the Winner’s trilogy. It had romance, action and drama but in spite of this it is my least favourite of the series. I am not sure what changed but I was not sure that I cared about how the story ended or what happened to the character.

Kestrel is proud, manipulative and loves a gamble but she also has a good heart and is intelligent, and feels conflicted about her father as he betrayed her but she still loves him. Arin is protective of his people and those he cares for, but I felt he had too much angst despite him having grown as a character since the first book. My favourite character is Roshar as he is cocky and witty but he can be serious when the need arises, making him a good friend to Arin.

I did enjoy this book even though I did struggle with it and I am looking forward to reading more from Rutkoski. I would recommend The Winner’s Kiss to fans of the rest of this series. 

Wednesday 24 February 2016

Night Study

5 Stars/5

Thanks to Netgalley and Harlequin (UK) Limited for giving me this book to review.

Since losing her Soulfinding abilities Yelena has never been more vulnerable and now, nowhere is safe, especially with the growing discord between Ixia and Sitia. Valek is determined to protect Yelena but finds his loyalties conflicted as the Commander is acting usually stern and is keeping things form Valek. As Valek and Yelena try and find out more about what is happening they discover a plan that is far more sinister than they could have imagined.

Night Study is the brilliant 2nd/5th book in this series as it is just as good, and better than some of the Study Novels and does not suffer from middle book syndrome. It has romance a complex story and many twists which I did not see coming. The POV was from Yelena, Valek, Janco and Leif, which I felt helped tell the story and what was happening. Every chapter ended on a cliff-hanger which made it hard to put down and very fast paced.

Yelena is struggling without her magic and with so many unknowns in her life, but like in all of the books I admire her loyalty and inner strength but I do wish in one book she wouldn’t be the target. Valek is struggling with his loyalties and learning more about himself and who he wants to be, and unlike Shadow Study I preferred his POV as we got to see how he handled many changes and surprises in his life.

While Yelena and Valek were together more in this book than most of the others I wish they did not always separate as they work really well together and are such a brilliant couple. I also liked Leif’s chapters and getting to know how his mind worked but, like other reviewers have mentioned, this chapters did make me hungry with all his descriptions of food.

Fans of the Study series will not be disappointed as it is one of Maria’s strongest books to date. I am really looking forward to reading Dawn Study as I can’t wait to see how this series ends (please be nice Maria V Snyder). I would recommend Night Study to fans of Maria V Snyder’s books, especially those set in the Ixia/Sitia universe.

Sunday 21 February 2016

Escape from Witchwood Hollow

3 Stars/5

Thanks to Jordan Elizabeth Mierek for giving me this book to review.

After losing her parents in the Twin Towers terrorist attacks, Honoria along with her brother, aunt and uncle move from New York City to the small farming of Arnn. But Arnn has a legend about Witchwood Hollow, where if you venture into the mysterious forest the witch will trap your soul there forever. As Honoria discovers more about Witchwood Hollow and the people who have gone missing in it will she be able to discover the truth?

Escape from Witchwood Hollow is a good paranormal book but it is not a happy one which it is not surprising as the story deals with the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It is fast paced, a hint of romance and has three different POV from three different times. It had twists and was a well written and thought through story.

Honoria is obviously depressed and misses her parents and old life, but she is also smart and really relatable. Albertine is protective, resilient and devoted to her family especially her sister. Lady Clifford is lonely and I felt sorry for her and understood her motives, even if I did not agree with her decisions. The one character which seemed really underdeveloped was Honoria’s brother, Geoffrey, as he did not seem to be affected by his parent’s death.

I did not see or expect the ending and I look forward to reading more by this author. I would recommend Escape from Witchwood Hollow to fans of YA paranormal novels.

Tuesday 16 February 2016

Darkly, Deeply, Beautifully

4 Stars/5

Thanks to Megan Tayte for giving me this book to review.

With her mother’s life hanging in the balance, Scarlett is devastated – and done with being in the dark. She wants answers, all of them.
But when was her pursuit of the truth ever straightforward?
Pulling a single thread impels a great unravelling. And each revelation will force Scarlett to rethink what she thought she knew about the Ceruleans, the Fallen, her family – herself.
All that came before was a mere prelude to this, the last journey. From London to Twycombe to Hollythwaite to Cerulea, Scarlett will be stalked by the ghosts of what has been, what may have been and what may come to pass. Until she reaches the place where it all began, and it all must end.
But in the final reckoning, none will survive unscathed. And some will not survive at all.
In this explosive conclusion to The Ceruleans series, all must be defined by their actions: sinner, saint… or something more beautiful entirely?

Darkly, Deeply, Beautifully is the really enjoyable final book in the Ceruleans series. Unlike the previous book there was more of an even mix of action, romance and drama. It was very fast paced as I wanted to know how the series ended and it had a lot of twists that I did not see coming, especially with Sienna. I also liked that we got to know more about the Fallen and the beliefs they live by.

I like how much Scarlett has changed and has discovered an inner strength and confidence but is still the same person we have grown to know over the past 4 books, and I am glad she had finally learnt that lying to the people she loves does not help anyone. I also liked that we got to know Sienna better and her motives for the choices she has made even if I did not agree with some of them.

Luke is still caring and protective and it is nice to see how supportive he is of Scarlett and has come to terms with who she is. I feel sorry for Jude as he is on an emotional roller coaster throughout the book and does not seem able to catch a break.

I loved the ending and I did not see it coming. I am looking forward to reading what Megan writes next. I recommend Darkly, Deeply, Beautifully to fans of the rest of this series and the Ceruleans series to fans of the Benedicts series by Joss Stirling and the Holders series by Julianna Scott

You can purchase Darkly, Deeply, Beautifully at Amazon UK and Amazon USA


Monday 15 February 2016

Twisted Sisters

4 Stars/5

Thanks to Xpresso Book Tours and NetGalley for giving me this book to review.

It’s a child’s toy – what could go wrong?
While playing with a spirit board, two sorority sisters summon the vindictive spirits of three women brutally murdered by a psychopath. Join Logan, Kacie and the rest of the Orion Circle as they delve into the disturbing events of the past to find the key to free the spirits.
But this isn’t any ordinary haunting. These ghosts were banished before, and now they returned more powerful than anyone could have imagined. Anger breeds hatred and hatred leads to darkness - these phantoms are on the verge of losing their last spark of humanity and becoming completely lost to the shadows.
Can Logan and Kacie convince the tortured souls to embrace the light and move on, or will the spirits succumb to the hypnotic pull of evil, leading to an eternity of torment and suffering?

Twisted sisters is the really enjoyable second book in the Orion Circle series but it is also dark and has some disturbing themes. It is very fast read with action, romance and drama. Unlike the last book this has the POV from both Kacie and Logan.

Kacie has grown in strength and confidence since the last book and is determined to help others in any way she can. I like that we got to know Logan better, as in the previous book it felt like he was mostly there just for the romance, we have learned how protective, quick tempered and sensitive he is. I also like that Logan and Kacie’s romance was normal, as they have issues in this book and are not  stating their undying love after only dating two months. I like the comradery between the Orion Circle and how they were there for each other.

I really liked this book and I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series and other books Kimber Leigh Wheaton writes next. I would recommend Twisted Sisters to fans of the first book in the Orion Circle series Tortured Souls.

The other tour posts are at Xpresso Book Tours
You can purchase Twisted Sisters at Amazon UK and Amazon USA

Tour-wide giveaway (international)

Saturday 13 February 2016

To Serve the King

3 Stars/5

Jenna is coming closer to becoming what she has dreamed of doing, becoming the first Lady Knight in centuries. While the crown and others support her, others do not, including her father, who has disinherited both Jenna and her brother, and many nobles want her locked in the mage towers. With Jenna involved in palace politics and peace talks Jenna may ultimately need to choose where her loyalties lie?

To Serve the King is an enjoyable second book and I did not see some of the story points coming. I found this book very slow paced but there was more world building. The main problem I had with this book is that it seemed that the ultimate story arc for this series changed between To Play the Lady and this book.

Jenna annoyed me in this book as she was easily distracted from whatever task she had at hand, acted before she thought and did not seem willing to fight for what she wanted. I also wasn’t a fan of the romance as I thought she liked Sebastian and he would be the series love interest, but that changed at the beginning of the book and the new love interest came out of nowhere and the age gap felt too big considering Jenna’s age.

Despite the problems I had with this book I did like it, and I am looking forward to reading the next book. I would recommend To Serve the King to fans of the first book To Play the Lady.

Thursday 11 February 2016

To Play the Lady

3 Stars/5

Jenna never wanted to be a queen’s lady at the castle of Sevalia, as she is a tomboy and the first commoner to serve the queen. Jenna is hoping to have a quiet life at court but this is dashed when her two unique magical abilities are discovered. With a powerful dark mage who seems to have a sinister interest in Jenna, she will have to use all of her wits and magic to survive.

To Play the Lady is a likeable YA fantasy novel which has enjoyable story full of plot twists, some I saw coming, interesting magic and court politics. However it is not the fastest paced book. The main problem with this book was that the characters acted older than they were, and while I know that some 13 year olds do act like this, especially in a fantasy world where people are expected to marry young, I felt uncomfortable reading it.

Jenna is a tomboy, who was a bit too good at everything and felt like an outcast as she is different from everyone else in the castle. The secondary characters are a bit forgettable apart the love interest Sebastian, who is friendly and awkward, and I hope in the next book there will more character growth.

I am looking forward to reading the sequel To Serve the King. I would recommend To Play the Lady to fans of Tamora Pierce and similar YA fantasy novels.

Monday 8 February 2016

Tinder Stricken

2 Stars/5

Thanks to Heidi C Vlach for giving me this book to review.

On Tselaya Mountain, all humans transform in to animals as they age. In her forties, Esha is unmarried, alone and is struggling to gather enough money for her retirement before she is more goat than human. When a wild phoenix steals her expensive heirloom, the khukuri knife, she seeks help from Atarangi, a diplomat with speaks with animals. They have to climb the mountains to reach the phoenix’s territory and are hopeful they can convince it to give Esha’s knife back but why would a phoenix want her heirloom?

Tinder Stricken is an OK fantasy with an interesting story concept, with people who turn into animals as they grow older and that eating certain foods can let a person speak another language or to animals. Even though it is a story of self-discovery and not judging others, I struggled getting into it and for a shortish novel it look me a while to read.

Esha has had to struggle for everything is her adult life and she is lonely, but during the story she becomes more accepting with the help of the other characters especially Atarangi. However, I did find it hard to connect with the other characters in this novel.

I really struggled with Tinder Stricken but I have a feeling that had more to with me than this book.

Friday 5 February 2016

The Demon's Grave

2 Stars/5

Thanks to E. M. MacCallum for giving me this book to review.

Nora’s life is turned upside down when she and her friends go on a weekend getaway in a remote Victorian house. When they open a door on the third floor, they enter an unfamiliar world called The Demon’s Grave and to escape they must complete 6 nightmarish challenges, but those who fail will never leave. With the demon knowing about her past and her sister, Nora is not sure whether is this is real or all in her mind.

The Demon’s Grave is an OK book but I felt it was too much of a horror novel for me which meant I found it very hard to get into. Nora is a character who is struggling with a lot of issues but like with most of the characters I felt she was underdeveloped. This dark horror story was not for me but I would recommend to fans of this genre.

Wednesday 3 February 2016

Siren's Song

3 Stars/5

Thanks to Netgalley and Thomas Nelson for giving me this book to review.

With Tulla under siege from Draewulf’s army, Nym, Eogan and a handful of others rush to warn Cashlin’s queen, only to discover that it may be too late to for this eerie kingdom. With the Luminescents searching through Nym’s past, the queen is looking into her future and Nym is given 3 choices to defeat Draewulf, but none of them are guaranteed and the costs might be great. Nym is raising an army of peasants but will this along with her elemental powers be enough to stop Draewulf and his dark plans?

Siren’s Song is the enjoyable concluding book in the Storm Siren trilogy. It is action-packed, romantic and fast paced but I did not feel like it was as good as the first novel. As I had not read the first two books in a while I found it hard to remember what was happening and who everyone is.

Nym is resilient, stubborn and is determined to stop Draewulf, but she is also compassionate, selfless and wants to protect people. Eogan is brave and is still affected by being possessed by Draewulf, however, I did get annoyed at him keeping things to himself and not talking to Nym. I also like Kel as he was sweet and cute and behaved just like most 7 year olds in that situation would do.

This is a good ending to the series and I look forward to reading more books from Mary Weber. I would recommend Siren’s Song to fans of the first two novels in this series.