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Friday, April 29, 2016

May Releases


Originally I thought that May was going to be a busy month for book releases, however two of my most highly anticipated releases, The Rose and The Dagger and The Star-Touched Queen actually came out last month instead! There are still a few books I am looking forward to in May though, so here we go:


A Court of Mist and Fury (ACOTAR #2) by Sarah J. Maas 

Released: 3rd May 2016
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If you haven't already worked this out, I am a Sarah J. Maas fan and I love all her books. So really, this is a no brainer I can't wait to read about the aftermath of the first book.
 I have to say that unfortunately, I love the cover of the right which I think is the hardback cover. I think it better depicts what is in the title, so the thorns worked for the first book (A Court of Thorns and Roses) but the mist works with this one, I don't understand why they have kept the thorns with this book cover.  

Ruined (#1) by Amy Tintera

Release Date (Kindle in the UK and Hardback in US): 3rd May 2016 
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I haven't heard that much about this book but it's about a girl who is out to get revenge and has this elaborate plan which involves infiltrate the royal family.

Love, Lies and Spies by

 (Book already out in US Paperback and UK Kindle)

The Crown's Game by


 Slave, Warrior, Queen  (Of Crowns and Glory #1) by Morgan Rice

Release Date: 30th May 2016
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Order from: Amazon (UK) || Amazon (US)
I happen upon this book while browsing though amazon one night and I have to say that it was the title which drew me to this book. It follows a poor girl who has secretly learnt to use weapons and a Prince who despises what his family stand for, check out the synopsis for full insight into what I likely to happen in this book but, it looks like it is going to be a action-packed read.
(as far as I can tell it is currently on available as an e-book)  

What books are you looking forward to buying this month?

Have you pre-ordered any good books recently?

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Blood Destiny Series by Helen Harper

Synopsis (Bk 1) from Goodreads

Mackenzie Smith has always known that she was different. Growing up as the only human in a pack of rural shapeshifters will do that to you, but then couple it with some mean fighting skills and a fiery temper and you end up with a woman that few will dare to cross. However, when the only father figure in her life is brutally murdered, and the dangerous Brethren with their predatory Lord Alpha come to investigate, Mack has to not only ensure the physical safety of her adopted family by hiding her apparent humanity, she also has to seek the blood-soaked vengeance that she craves.
(All the following book and series reviews are spoiler free and you don't need to have read any of the series to read them - so enjoy!)

Thoughts of Whole Series (4 Stars)

This series was overall a action-packed story with a slow growing (sometimes infuriatingly so) romance. Are main character is hot headed and has a skill for annoying just about everyone, which as a reader makes her a great character to follow as she get herself into all sorts of tight corners. All the books in the series had completely different focuses but all following Mack as she tries to find who and what she is.


Book 1: Bloodfire

This first book was a great introduction to this world. I loved the way that the pack work together to protected the main character and the various relationships that develop with spending time together: the haters and those that seem like family without the sharing of blood. It also enjoyed reading about Mack's attempts to control her fiery temper and her thirst for revenge. My only wish was that we got a bit more romance, there is defiantly an attraction between Mack and the leader of the Brethren, but with secrets to keep from each other they haven't had the chance to act upon this attraction.

Book 2: Bloodmagic

I kind of had to like this book as it is set in a place quite near to where I live and had places I had visited mentioned in the book. It play's with Scottish legends which I enjoyed. We also get introduced to some different species in this book which creates yet more problems for Mack (as if she needed more!) Although Mack has some hairy moment's during this book and some near death experiences we do also get some light hearted funny moments, and also we can't forget that dangerous attraction that Mack has developed with a certain Brethren member.  

Book 3: Bloodrage

Enter the High School clich├ęs. So Mack spends most of this book in a school setting and it was interesting to see her deal with this. I felt as though we get to see a new angle to her personality as she begins to make friends and becomes the centre of attention. This book had one of my favourite friendship developments of this series and it was wonderful to watch it grow. The ending of this book was a great 'show-down' but I have to say, feels, tidal wave full of those heart-retching feels.

Book 4: Blood Politics

This book we get to see a Mack that is finally not hiding and who uses her time in efforts to help others. That fiery personally is in full swing in this book with her final standing up to those who want to control her. We also get a wonderful development on the romance side of this book but an ending which gives, you dear read, all the feels, especially as it is a logical decision.

Book 5: Bloodlust

This book is mainly focused on Mack's ability to cope with her new responsibilities and the emotional stress that these responsibilities have but her under, as well the 'normal' fights against evil. Solus continues to confuse me, he seem to really enjoy antagonising Corrigan but always at the expense of Mack's stress levels and emotions, yet he often comes to her aid and acts like her friend. It was entertaining to read of Mack's attempts to keep political peace - a girl who up till recently couldn't keep peace with any of political factions. There were a couple of surprises that I didn't see coming. Although it was a great ending I still have a few questions surrounding the political situation and the sustainability of the relationship that Mack ends up in (despite the epilogue).   

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Teaser Tuesday #1 : Fleeing in 'Assassin's Heart'

      Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of 

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  1. Grab your current read
  2. Open to a random page
  3. Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Title: Assassin's Heart
Author: Sarah Ahiers

Today's Teaser

"A whistle shrieked above me. I hauled left on Butter's reins, and only my quick reflexes saved us from the arrow."

-Page 82 


Monday, April 25, 2016

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

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Buy from: Amazon (UK) || Amazon (US) || Wordery
Published: March 22nd 2016 by Headline Review
ISBN-13: 978-1472217554

(Copy of book provided by publishers for review however, as always this hasn't impacted my review of this book)


Synopsis from Goodreads

Reader, I murdered him. A Gothic retelling of Jane Eyre.

Like the heroine of the novel she adores, Jane Steele suffers cruelly at the hands of her aunt and schoolmaster. And like Jane Eyre, they call her wicked - but in her case, she fears the accusation is true. When she flees, she leaves behind the corpses of her tormentors.

A fugitive navigating London's underbelly, Jane rights wrongs on behalf of the have-nots whilst avoiding the noose. Until an advertisement catches her eye. Her aunt has died and the new master at Highgate House, Mr Thornfield, seeks a governess. Anxious to know if she is Highgate's true heir, Jane takes the position and is soon caught up in the household's strange spell. When she falls in love with the mysterious Charles Thornfield, she faces a terrible dilemma: can she possess him - body, soul and secrets - and what if he discovers her murderous past?

Review - 4.5 Stars

The first few pages are very clever in introducing what this book is about and hooks you in . It is explained to the reader that this book is Jane Steele's autobiography (written by Jane herself) and it is quickly clear that Jane is a going to plain speaking and truthful in her account of her life. It is here where she also draws some of the parallels between her own story with that of Jane Eyre. This introduction ends with 'Reader, I murdered him' the line which drew me to read this book. The fact that we are told that Jane is going to kill makes the book all the more suspenseful, as you wait for it happen. However, after a while as you get know Jane more you can begin to see a pattern to her kills and can see them coming.
Jane's childhood is a harrowing one, she spends her early years living with a grief-stricken mother in almost complete isolation. Then the second part of her childhood she spend in a discipline-heavy school.  I found this section of the book helps the reader to get to know this strange child and also get use to the writing style. The cliff hanger ends to quite a few of the chapters in this section defiantly helped to keep me reading. The second section is set in London and illustrates the difficulties for woman in a time when they had no rights. I have to say that this book gets better and better- but all of it was vital in developing this story.  
"Lying has always come as easy for me as breathing" - Page 19
Jane's first murder wasn't as blood thirsty as I thought it was going to be - I know that makes me sound strange but - because of the strong feels which she is experiencing at that point I was expecting it be more dramatic (something I can't say is missing from some of her later murders). Jane is intelligent and a quick-thinker - even at a young age - this along with her good acting skills saves her neck so many times throughout this book. While of course murder is wrong, the way in which the accounts of each murder is told, I can understand why Jane turns into a murderess, with none of her victims being innocents.  
"There have been multiple moments which cause me to suspect, your true self a giant deliberately casting a small shadow." - Page 196
Once Jane becomes a governess I feel as though the book does a bit of shift. It is less about Jane trying to survive in a world where all the odds are stacked against her and more about her getting to know the people at Highgate House and considering who she wants to be. I enjoyed that Jane's new employers were of foreign origins and that this bought in an entirely new culture.
Mr Thornfield has his own peculiarities, some of which he openly displays (he has a great way of refurbishing a billiard room) and others which I enjoyed reading about, as Jane snooped and spies to find them out. I can't talk about Mr Thronfield without mentioning the wonderfully played out sexual tension between him and out Jane. I also enjoyed the batter and obviously love between Mr Thornfield and his ward, Sahjara as well as their servants. Sahjara is such a lovely girl with such a strong, warm, honest and open personality:

"Sahjara was demonstrative with everyone, adorably so, and did not mean anything, I told myself" - Page 168
The final part of this book turns into a bit more Sherlock Homes with mystery solving, hidden treasure, murders, thief's, and horse chases. It is a wonderful climax to this adventure and causes Jane to end up allying herself with the most unlikely people. This books ending is very befitting of the characters in this book and wrapped up this book wonderfully.   
 The style of writing was very cleaver, at the start it required a bit on concentration but as I got use to the style, it just became normal and easy to read and understand. Firstly, Lyndsay Faye has managed to replicate the older writing style of descriptive metaphors and similes while also making it understandable and enjoyable to read.
" My earlier metaphor had been wrong, I discovered. The splash of ink from the pen dropping onto the page looked nothing like a spray of blood at all." - Page 92

There are often sentences at the end of a chapter or paragraph which hint (like the first section which I talk about above) at something tragic or majorly important coming soon. But it is only ever a hint so that you have to keep reading to find out what the author is referring to.  As this book is written as Jane as the narrator, we are able to get a lot of insight into the way in which Jane thinks. For example, we get -fairly often - these sentence  where she will explain what she should have (but didn't) felt or done at a point in her life.

" I ought to have died, reader, but I did not." - Page 139
I think one of the best things about Jane is, not her quick thinking, her ability to muddle though, her strongwill or her bravery to stand up for what she thinks is right, (although these are some of her better qualities) but her dark humour and matter-of-fact tone in which her words are written in this novel.  

Summarising my Thoughts

I really enjoyed this dark retelling of Jane Eyre, the wicked main character was an entertaining narrator. It took me a while to get use to the style of writing but I had got into the swing of it, I enjoyed the story more and more as I read. This book mixes a survivor of the harrowing issues of the 19th Century England with survivors of the Punjabi battlefields. They both carry scars and secrets which they slowly begin to discover about one another, and it was great to read of the adventures that these discoveries create.


Sunday, April 24, 2016

Show Me The Books #3 - Defying the Family (Urban Fantasy Edition)

Show me the Books is a feature where I share with you some books within a theme, and then hopefully you, will tell me in the comments (or link to your own blog post) other books that you have heard of or have read within that theme.

This weeks theme is, books where the main character goes against the wishes of her family. When I started thinking of the books I have read within this theme, I came up with far to many for one post. So, I have to split them into groups and this week I shall focus on the ones from within the Urban fantasy genre (check out the fantasy edition from the other week).


1) Arkadien Trilogy by Kai Meyer  

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This series is a whole mix of themes, it follows a teenage girl who goes to live with her aunt in Sicily. Where she learns some interesting things about her father's side of the family and not only the 'Mafia underworld of murder, corruption and bitter, generations-old rivalries'. The main character at various stages of this series goes against the wishes of different members of her family.


2) Raised by Wolves Trilogy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes   

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This book follows a human teenage girl who was brought up in a werewolf pack. The reason it fits this theme is that her guardian tells her to stay away from a specific werewolf, but Bryn ignores this and puts into motion events that have life changing impacts for her.

3) Stray (Shifters Series) by Rachel Vincent

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This adult Urban Fantasy follows a pack of werecats. The series follows a the daughter of an alpha who has turned her back on the pack in the hope of a normal life. It's a great series and I highly recommend it. It has a great romance, the realisation of responsibility, crime solving and a great pack (and inter-pack) dynamics.  

4) Shadow of the Ancients by

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This older YA series follows Jessica who lives in a world where pack members are paired by the pack-master. Jessica 'can't stand the thought of being bonded for life to Zach Brighton, douchebag extraordinaire'. However, when she runs into a mystery wolf who takes her breath away, he marks her as his own. Causing issues for Jessica as she has to deal with the consequences of defying the pack's norms, especially as this mysterious wolf has secrets that cause even more problems.



Have you read any good Urban Fantasy books (especially once with defiant main characters) recently?


Have you read any of these book's I've mentioned?

Friday, April 22, 2016

The Winner's Curse (#1) by Marie Rutkoski

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Buy from: Amazon (UK) || Amazon (US) ||
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens (3 July 2014)
ISBN-10: 1408858207
ISBN-13: 978-1408858202

Synopsis From Goodreads

Winning what you want may cost you everything you love...

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

3.75 Star Review

I must be one of the last people to read this book, there has been so much hype around this series but now that the last book has come out I have decided to read the whole series this month – limiting waiting time / cliff hangers.
"Isn't that what stories do, make real things fake and fake things real?"
-Page 6 
The first chapter is very good at showing the rebellious side of Kestrel’s character as she quickly disregards her father’s rules and the cultural norms for people of her class. There is also hint though out this first half that this isn’t just some teenage/ childish rebellion but something more.
One of the annoying things I found with the first half of this book was that there was slow revelations of the rules and history of the world. So, for example certain rules of the society are dropped into convocation but they were talked about as though the reader knew exactly what the rules were, (although all the characters in the scene would have known what they were talking about, so maybe this was to make it sound a bit more natural? But as reader it just made me feel a bit confused) then a few chapters later the rule is explained in more detail but I felt it was just a bit late. My second issue was the lessons which is part of her bargain (don’t bargains always make a book that little bit more exciting or is that just me?) seem to be more of a chance for the writer to share with the reader the military history of the city, rather than Kestrel actually leaning anything.
The romance in this book is amazing. I think this aspect of the book helped me over look the flaws within this book and made it such an enjoyable read. I first and foremost as I look back, I enjoy the full cycle in which the feelings (and situation) of the two main characters go - if you've read this book you will hopefully understand what I mean. There feeling for each other slowly grow -almost involuntarily which gives some quite mixed signals- and although they show that they care for one another it takes them ages to confess this to each other.  There was a point in the book where I was worried it was going to turn into a love triangle but I felt as though Kestrel made her opinions clear and it was just one of many barriers (that come in every shape and size) that the two main characters face (and will continue to face) before they hopefully get together.  
Although we are repeatedly told though out the book that Kestrel’s strength is not in her weapon use but in her use of strategies, I was surprised at just how useless she seems to be with her weapons given that she has had so many hours of training (also with the Throne of Glass look-alike cover change I was expecting more weapon skills). We do get to see this strategic brain of Kestrel’s being put to good use several times. It is also the cause of that cliff hanger that has made me wait this long to read the book. It is just such a gloriously surprising but (of course) terrible cliff hanger and I can’t wait to read the next book.  
What were your thoughts on this book?
Have you -like me- been waiting to read this?

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Blue Eyes Trilogy by B. Kristin McMichael

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Buy from: Amazon (UK) || Amazon (US)

Synopsis of Book One: The Legend of the Blue Eyes

Arianna Grace liked her boring, Midwestern, teenage life where she ignored the many unanswered questions of her childhood. Why were her parents dead? Why did she not have family? Where was she raised until she was five? When someone offers to explain it all, Arianna thinks she’s just getting answers. Instead, she is thrown into a world of night humans who drink blood.

On Arianna's sixteenth birthday, her world is thrown upside down when she changes into a vampire. Night humans, or demons, as some call them, live in normal society. Learning all of the new rules of a world she didn’t know existed might be hard enough, but it's further complicated by two former-friends that now want to help her take her role as the successor to her grandfather.

There is a war going on between the night humans. Sides have been taken and lines are not crossed. Four main clans of night humans are struggling for control of the night. Divided into two sides, clans Baku and Tengu have been at war for centuries with the clans Dearg-dul and Lycan. That is, until Arianna Grace finds out the truth; she’s the bridge of peace between the two sides. But not everyone wants peace. With the night humans divided, Arianna is now a pawn in the war between them. She must choose a side—her mother’s family or her father’s—and for once in her life, decide her own fate.
(No Spoilers for any of these books - for feel free to enjoy)

Thoughts on  the Whole Trilogy:

3 Stars
This trilogy start with a popular trope of 'surprise-your-supernatural' but the Night Human World has an interesting variety of species, a legend and multiple potential romances. The second book was a bit of a dip in enjoyment for me although some important relationship developments occur. The final book in this series was defiantly the best book in this series with Arianna finally finding her feet, fulfilling the legend, and sorting out her feelings for the people around her.

Review of Book One: The Legend of the Blue Eyes

I picked this book up free on kindle late one evening and was presently surprised. The book is by no means a perfect story but as you can see by my rating it was an enjoyable book. Because there were both good and bad things about this book I have spilt them into two lists:

What I didn’t like:
  • The ‘surprise-your-supernatural-creature’ trope I have read this trop far too many times.
  • The instinct attraction between Arianna and David, that happens because they met for a week when they were children and he has ‘been-watching her’ since (Don’t really understand how she can be ok with that and why they love each other because of this?!?)
  • The fact there is a legend that must not be talked about, half told legend that isn't explained.  

What I did like:
  • The fact there is a legend that must not be talked about, the mystery but knowing that she is 'destined for greatness'.  
  • That Arianna has so many guys ‘bidding’ for her attention – can’t wait to read more in this series to see who she finally decides on.
  • The mix of night creatures and the basics of a political system which I think will become more important in later books as Arianna becomes more involved in it.
  • Also look forward to reading how Arianna having a Keeper from each species is going to work with their hatred for each other running so deep.
  • Arianna’s home sickness – made it more realistic. I could image at 16 being thrown into a completely new world, being introduced to your family and not knowing anyone at all, the longing for normality would be strong. 
Overall this was an enjoyable book a quick fun read with a few things that weren't great but nothing that shopped me reading. I hope that now Arianna is beginning to get use to this new world that in the next few books we get a slightly more original storyline.

Book Two: Becoming a Legend

I felt as though this book was a bit of a filler book. Important things did happen in the: romance side of this plot; the development and destruction of trust between central characters and Arianna also took so important steps toward find her place in the Night Human world.   

Book Three: Winning the Legend

I enjoyed this book so much more than the second book. The competition added so much to this story with yet more people playing for Arianna's hand in marriage. I also enjoyed the development in the relationships between Arianna's and her friends and keepers. I really enjoyed Arianna's resolve to get rid of the traditions and her desire the prevent war. She is really clever in her strategy for achieving these two goals. An enjoyable and to the trilogy.

Monday, April 18, 2016

One Lovely Blog Award

Hi all!
I was nominated by the lovely Annika over at Hiding in Books (thank you so much) and you should totally pop over and say hello. So first off the rules then you can get to know some thing about me and lastly I shall share some other blog I think you should take a look at:

  • You must thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog.
  • You must list the rules and display the award.
  • You must add 7 facts about yourself.
  • You must nominate 10 – 15 or so other bloggers

  1. I hate trying to think up some interesting facts about myself my mind literally goes blank on anything interesting about myself.
  2. Up until about 2 weeks ago I was rearranging my case about every 3 days so I could fit newly read books into it - finally bought a new bookcase so all my books finally have the space they need and deserve.
  3. I have an unhealthy collection of bookmarks, half of them are the free Wordery and Book Depository ones (from buying so many books, eek) and the other half are leather ones I get from every tourist place I visit.
  4. In the last few months I have increasing become a country music lover - you should check out Chris Country Radio Station.
  5. In my younger teenage years I made my mother read the Twilight series and she still loves it - far more than I do now!
  6. I have a bit of paper for everything - a list for book I want to buy; books I have bought recently; blog post ideas; book quotes; books I have read; when I have scheduled posts and I also often write notes while I am reading if I am planning to write a in-depth review for a book.
  7. My second primary school was built right next to the beach and once we weren't allowed to go outside during playtime due to some otters being in the play park!
Source: Heb-News


Shazina @ The Book Chapter
SJ Bouquet @ SJ Bouquet
Karina @ 24hrYABookBlog

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Review Collection #2 - Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Review Collection is a feature to help people decide if they want to read the featured book (let me know if you found it useful). So, the idea is that I shall be choosing one book and then sharing a range of reviews, of this book from various blogs. Allowing you to get a feel for the different opinions surrounding that book.  


Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

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Published: January 5th 2016 by Disney-Hyperion
ISBN13: 9781484715772
Series: Duology
Buy on Amazon

Synopsis From Goodreads

Passage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them—whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveller who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home... forever.
Review @ Hello Cherry
Review + Playlist @ TheYoungFolks .com
ARC Review @ The Book Smugglers
Review @ Smart Bitches Trashy Books
Review @ The Mud and Stars Book Blog
6 Star Review @ Miranda's Book Blog
5 Star Review @ Book Addict 24-7 
5 Star ARC Review @ Super Space Chick
4 Star ARC Review @ The Daydreaming Bookworm
4 Star Review @ myriadinklings
3.5 Star Review @ Lisa of Literature
3 Star ARC Review @ Happy Indulgence
3 Star ARC Review @ Nice Girls Read Books
2.5 Star Review @ Red Reading Rose
2 Star Review @ Alexa Loves Books
2 Star Review @ Rowan Reads and Raves
I have read most of Alexandra Bracken The Darkest Minds trilogy (one book to go) and have really enjoyed it. There was quite a lot of hype surrounding this book around it's release date but I have yet to read it (have bought it recently). From reading and watching the collection of reviews above, there seems to be a wide range of opinions from people who really didn't enjoyed it (on Goodreads there are quite a few who DNF this book!)to people who loved it. I get the feeling that people didn't enjoy this book because of a slow beginning and some people didn't seem to like the romance (getting the feel of maybe a insta love?) while others loved the love interest. Generally people seemed to love the setting of the book and enjoyed the historical elements.


As always I want to know what you thought - let me know in the comments: 

Have you read this book? What did you think of it (feel free to just type or you can share link to a review)?
Was this review collection helpful?
Have these reviews made you want to read the book or made you hesitate to pick it up?


Friday, April 15, 2016

Cold Burn of Magic (Black Blade #1) by Jennifer Estep

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Buy from: Amazon (UK) || Amazon (US) ||
Published: April 28th 2015 by Kensington
ISBN-10: 1617738247
ISBN-13: 978-1617738241

Synopsis From Goodreads

There Be Monsters Here. . .

It's not as great as you'd think, living in a tourist town that's known as "the most magical place in America." Same boring high school, just twice as many monsters under the bridges and rival Families killing each other for power.

I try to keep out of it. I've got my mom's bloodiron sword and my slightly illegal home in the basement of the municipal library. And a couple of Talents I try to keep quiet, including very light fingers and a way with a lock pick.

But then some nasty characters bring their Family feud into my friend's pawn shop, and I have to make a call--get involved, or watch a cute guy die because I didn't. I guess I made the wrong choice, because now I'm stuck putting everything on the line for Devon Sinclair. My mom was murdered because of the Families, and it looks like I'm going to end up just like her. . 

4 Star Review

Jennifer Estep has yet again managed to create a unique setting and kick-ass main character. I read some of her Mythos Academy series years ago and remember enjoying it (although I can't really remember much about it!) and I am steadily working my way through the HUGE Elemental Assassin adult Urban Fantasy series (I am 12 book in!) and it's been such an amazing ride so far. The Black Blade series has been on my radar for ages and I have talked about it my releases posts, but I hadn't actually read any of them. So with the third book being release recently I thought it was time to finally read a Cold Burn of Magic, and I wasn't disappointed.
"Be good, Lila. Or be really good at being bad." - Page 106
The first chapter sets us up for the rest of the book, we get to see Lila's abilities as a thief and my initial impressions of her character was confident, slightly selfish and care free. However, when she gets home (aka the library) we get to see a completely different side to her, she's lonely (although this is by her own design) and obviously still grieving her mother, yet she is still greatly independent and skilled. Her confidence and bravery is most prominent when she is negotiating with the Head of one of the Families, she is suborn and isn't scared to barter. Through out the book we also get to see Lila's dry humour as she always seems to have a sarcastic response to everything.
"My emotions were the things I guarded most closely, covering them with sticky fingers and smart-ass comments.
-Page 224 
I liked the gradual introduction to the towns quirks and magic. Along with the violent workings of the feuding families. I really enjoyed reading about the teenage political moves between the Families. This kind of odd but I liked that we have this general feeling of annoyance towards the tourists. I think this is a realistic situation, where the locals 'tut' and complain about them, yet encourage them to be there as they bring money with them.  
" It was more Hatfields and McCoys, or Capulets and Montagues, than fairy tale come true, but the town officials had prettied up the past, just like they had everything else."
- Page 20
I know that the series is called Black Blade but I wasn't expecting the open wearing of weapons and the regular use of them. This along with the ban on gun makes Coldburst Falls ('the most magical place in America') a strange mix between modern luxury and medieval warfare.  
Devon is in many ways similar to Lila, he is also grieving the loss of a parent but he hides it behind his own mask of confidence and determination. He too has secrets to hide - that could lead to his death - but unlike Lila he is in the spotlight so is under more scrutiny. It was great to see the friendship grow between Devon and Lila and development of the trust of each other in life threatening situations.  
There are some great side characters in this book. Felix is one of those characters that would be everyone's friend with his welcoming attitude, although he might get a bit annoying with his constant flirting and chatter. Despite this two things he is a great guy and I can't wait to see where his own Romeo and Juliette romance goes. Oscar is just the best, who wouldn't want their own redneck cowboy pixie, who drinks slightly too much honeybeer and plays country music too loud?  
There is mystery surrounding the death of Lila's mother and I enjoyed the way in which throughout the book we gradual build up a picture of what happened and why Lila blames who she does. So by the end of the book we have the full picture of what happened to her mother and her connections to the families. Although we are left with questions surrounding Lila's father which I hope we will learn more about in the sequels.  
Overall, this book was another amazing story by Jennifer Estep with magic, swords fights, mafia style families with thief's and traitors. I loved the main character who is dealing with grief and trust issues yet is kick-ass, sassy, and confident. It has some great side characters that you can't help but fall in love with, all set within a quirky tourist town.
Have you read any of Jennifer Estep's books?
What are your thoughts on her books?

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Sword and Verse by Kathy MacMillan

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Synopsis from Goodreads

Raisa was only a child when she was kidnapped and enslaved in Qilara. Forced to serve in the palace of the King, she’s endured hunger, abuse, and the harrowing fear of discovery. Everyone knows that Raisa is Arnath, but not that she is a Learned One, a part of an Arnath group educated in higher order symbols. In Qilara, this language is so fiercely protected that only the King, the Prince, and Tutors are allowed to know it. So when the current Tutor-in-training is executed for sharing the guarded language with slaves and Raisa is chosen to replace her, Raisa knows that, although she may have a privileged position among slaves, any slipup could mean death.

That would be challenging enough, but training alongside Prince Mati could be her real undoing. And when a romance blossoms between them, she’s suddenly filled with a dangerous hope for something she never before thought possible: more. Then she’s approached by the Resistance—an underground army of slaves—to help liberate the Arnath people. Joining the Resistance could mean freeing her people…but she’d also be aiding in the war against her beloved, an honorable man she knows wants to help the slaves. Working against the one she loves—and a palace full of deadly political renegades—has some heady consequences. As Raisa struggles with what’s right, she unwittingly uncovers a secret that the Qilarites have long since buried…one that, unlocked, could bring the current world order to its knees.And Raisa is the one holding the key.

3.5 Star Review

This book was an enjoyable read but it wasn't quite what I was expecting. So, to help me sort out my thoughts, todays review is going to be in two lists!
Things I wasn't a fan of:
  • I was slightly disappointed with the lack of 'sword' action there was talk of death by swords but the main characters didn't see any of this action until the very end. There was a lot more 'verse' in this book, and I enjoyed read of Raisa desire to learn.
  • I defiantly have an issue with the blurb, firstly a lot of information is given in this blurb that I think would have been nice to work out as I read the book, secondly the blurb makes it sound like the rebellion is the main plot driver of the book, in my opinion it isn't the romance is the main focus of the book with the political tension a more secondary focus.
  • There were points in the book where Raisa quite annoyed me, she seemed a bit self centred - wrapped up in her own romance and it's issues.
  • The lack of truth and trust within the romance, if you love someone surely you should have slightly more trust in them?
What I enjoyed:
  • The 'pre-chapter' history/legends of the gods, it really helped to expand our knowledge of the world without having to read a long history lesson - it helped to break it up into manageable sections. (I am very thankful for the verse at the beginning of the book. Which tells what each god was in charge of, otherwise I would have been completely confused with my rubbish memory.) 
  • I enjoyed watching the relationship steadily grow though the years.
  • Raisa's friendship with the other slave Linti was cute and I would loved to have read more about her. However, I can understand why we don't get to, as Raisa is separated from her early in the book and she isn't able to keep in touch with her.
  • I like the world in which this story is set, with the idea of knowledge being a precious resource which is limited to royalty but also available occasionally 'on the black-market' (or at least that how I think of it).
  • This book surprised me - the main plot twist came completely out of the blue for me - I didn't see it 'going-down' like that, I can see the hints and signs earlier in the story now I look back.
Final Thoughts
This book has a nice slow growing romantic which is set in a protected corner of a kingdom dependent of it's slave markets. There is political tensions which take place mainly away from the main character but this protected corner has it's own issues which Raisa has to deal with. The main character is presented with difficult choices through out the book but it takes a long time for her to emerge from the love induce fog and get her head in the game. An enjoyable read, but made me glad I am fast reader and I am unlikely to re-read it.  

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday #5: Ten Books Every Teenage Spy/Criminal Should Read

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish

The first Five books are a few series of book which included the high school experience and undercover activity (either espionage or criminal groups), they will make you relook at people in your school (past or present) and wonder...!

1) Gallagher Girls  Series by Ally Carter

This was one of those series which in my younger teen I fell in love with, (I even managed to get my mum to read it!) and  I feel as though it is now a pretty well known series.

2) Cold Fury Trilogy by T.M.Geoglein

I when into this book looking for the Mafia and I found it. This series follows a teenage girl when her family is kidnapped and as she tries to find them she learns about the workings of the Mafia in her city. It wasn't a perfect series but you can read my review of the first book here.

3) Night School by C.J.Daugherty

I thought this book might involve vampire (in a time when I had sworn off vampire books) but don't let the cover put you off. It has nothing to do with the supernatural but everything to do with mysterious secret groups, high school drama and potentially international issues. See my thoughts on the whole series here.

4) The Squad by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Cheerleading spies, need I say more? If I do need to say more I have done so here.

5) Birthright by  Gabrielle Zevin

This was one of my favourite series for quite a while and it has the perfect mix of chocolate, high-school romance and mafia action. It's such an amazing series and I wish it was more popular (because a could see this been an amazing film.)


The next five books still follow teenager as they are involved in (or get caught up in) espionage and crime but aren't confined to the high school setting.

6) Heist Society Trilogy by Ally Carter

This is another Ally Carter book which this time follows a family of thieves. I really enjoyed the romance side of this novel and we really, really need another book in this series.

7) Blood for Blood Trilogy by Catherine Doyle

This is a recent find for me but I LOVED this series (so far) this book follows a teenage girl during a summer holiday as she begins to get to know this family of five brothers. See my thoughts here.

8) Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Could I do a Top 10 with out putting in Throne of Glass? I guess not since Celaena is a teenage assassin!

9) Agent 21 by Chris Ryan

I read this book so long ago I barely remember anything about it, according to my goodreads page I gave it 4 stars so I must have enjoyed it. All I remember is that it follows a teenage boy who is suddenly recruited to become a undercover spy.

10) Cold Burn of Magic by Jennifer Estep

I have just finished reading this (review coming later this week) and I really enjoyed it. Jennifer Estep is an amazing author and this book follows a teenage thief, who gets involved with the Mafia-style Families that run the magic tourist town where she lives. 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Show Me The Books #2: Defying the Family (Fantasy Edition)

Show me the Books is a feature where I share with you some books within a theme, and then hopefully you, will tell me in the comments (or link to your own blog post) other books that you have heard of or have read within that theme.

This weeks theme is, books where the main character goes against the wishes of their family. When I started thinking of the books I have read within this theme, I came up with far to many for one post. So, I am going to split them into groups and this week I shall focus on the ones from within the fantasy genre.

1) Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
 Rebel of the Sands is such an amazing book (see my thoughts here) which begins in a western style village and follows a girl as she runs away from her family. It then develops into a Arabian Nights style world full of even more adventure and action.
2) The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
The is another book where the main character runs away from her family. She is a princess promised in marriage but she decides to hide in a inn instead. The thing that kept me reading in this book was that she is followed by an assassin and the prince she is promised to, but she (and the reader) doesn't know which is which,- see all my thoughts here.   
3) Court of Fives by Kate Elliot
 Court of Fives (see my review here) follows Jes as she competes in a competition called the Fives. She does this without her fathers knowledge as he is trying to keep the family upper-class image and competing in the Fives isn't a what an upper-class lady should be doing.
  4) Graceling by Kristen Cashore
A popular fantasy which I really enjoyed. Katsa's uncle is a bit of brute so I am glad that she decides to defy him and do things her own way.
 5) A Ranger's Tale (Tallenmere #1) by Mysti Parker
 I have to say that I don't remember too much about this book, other than it follows a high-class elf as she attempts to learn to be come a ranger in a world where women do as their told - i.e marry who your farther says and go into the families chosen profession!



Have you read any of these book's I've mentioned? What did you think of them?

Have you read (or looking forward to) any Fantasy books that fit this theme ?

(*Urban Fantasy Edition of this theme coming in a few weeks)