Category Archives: Hardcore Heroine

Review: Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass 0.1-0.5)

Review: Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass 0.1-0.5)The Assassain's Blade by Sarah J, Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass
Published by Bloomsbury, Bloomsbury Children's, Bloomsbury Children's on March 4th 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 448
Format: Paperback
Source: Given From Publisher
Goodreads
five-stars
Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan's most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin's Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam. In these action-packed novellas - together in one edition for the first time - Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous. But she is acting against Arobynn's orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery. Will Celaena ever be truly free? Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine to find out.

I want to congratulate the person who designed these covers, they are freaking amazing!

Okay so this review is months overdue and all I can do is apologise and breathe a sigh of relief that it’s finally Summer. After requesting a copy of Throne of Glass last year on a whim, it has fast become one of my favourite YA series. That’s a tough feat. I adore reading about Celaena’s antics and these short stories were fast-paced, intriguing and had my constant attention. Maas is able to bring out every emotion possible from me including laughter, fear for the characters and sadness. I am not afraid to say I cried a little at the end, that was emotional shiz.

Celaena is the kind of protagonist I love reading about because of her awesome fighting skills and attitude (heellooo, Hardcore Heroines); whilst at the same time I openly wish I was as badass as her. Maas craftily weaves the romance, tension and intrigue together, leaving plenty of room for the interesting sub-plots and back-story. What with that and consistent character development, you’ve got yourself a winner.

I don’t know what to tell you if you haven’t read this series, apart from that it continually amazes and rarely (if ever) disappoints. I’ve read three of this series now and not once have I been let down, which I don’t think has happened to me before with such an intense, Fantasy world. I urge everyone to read this, even if you’re not a major fan of Fantasy because it’s really a fantastic series that offers a lot. It’s the kind of series that will be right at the top of my recommends pile yet I will hand out with caution to my friends in case they spill something on it. (I’m looking at you, Lois).

I want to be Celaena’s best friend, talk books with Dorian and learn to fight with Chaol. I cannot wait for what’s in store for Heir of Fire. I have no reservations on whether it will disappoint as Maas has proved her reliability and each book gets better and better.

Rating: no less than 5 Stars!

Tell me what you think of the series in the comments!

**This book was sent to me by Bloomsbury, however this didn’t affect my review or thoughts on the book one iota’s worth**

 

five-stars

Enclave by Ann Aguirre (Razorland #1)

Enclave by Ann Aguirre (Razorland #1)Enclave by Ann Aguirre
Series: Razorland
Published by Macmillan, Square Fish on April 11th 2011
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult
Pages: 259
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Goodreads
four-stars

Enclave was a really awesome read about ZOMBIES. I’m pretty obsessed with zombies at the moment, so this was facilitating my zombie love because they were a significant part of the novel. However it wasn’t like most zombie apocalypse books, where the entire book is about surviving the zombies. Zombies, or “Freaks”, were a big part of the plot, but there were a lot of other obstacles the characters had to overcome.

Deuce is part of an enclave underground and has been training her whole life to become a Huntress. They patrol the grounds, learn to fight and keep the Freaks away from the enclave. No one in the enclave has been aboveground because if they do, they believe they will die.

Deuce reminded me of Katniss, because of her slight unfeeling nature toward some things. She’s slightly ignorant towards people and doesn’t have a lot of emotional intelligence. However, I did like her, and simply felt sorry for her in some instances. She’s been living underground her whole life, and random things would crop up sometimes that seem obvious to us, but a revelation to her. Things she never knew about, like what chocolate was. C’mon. NOT KNOWING WHAT CHOCOLATE IS. I have to admit, that stood out to me more than some of the other instances.

The entire community of the enclave is corrupt and downright awful. Understandably though. None of the people brought up there were taught differently. Still, I did wonder why none of them actually though for themselves! Their whole community was a bunch of sheep, not questioning anything. The fact that they were underground, meant they had no idea of what was surreal. They could have been told marshmallows fell from the sky and believed it.

This is a book I’ve not heard much about but really recommend. The world is completely different and interesting. I read a whole book on it, yet I could read two more and still be fascinated. The characters have room for growth, and even developed in this instalment. I’m really interested to read about how Deuce changes, but also the more minor characters. There’s even enough romance to satisfy me, but again, there was this reminder of The Hunger Games and similarities between the two. I’m not going to delve into that now though, it’s complicated to explain, but if you’ve read it, comment and tell me if you understand! The only thing that was really lacking throughout Enclave was humour. The lack of humour gave this novel a brittle edge, and was hard to read at times because it’s so bleak.

Rating: 4 stars.

 

four-stars

CrownOfMidnight2

Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass #2)

Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass #2)Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass
Published by Bloomsbury, Bloomsbury Children's on August 27th 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 420
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Goodreads
five-stars
After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king's contest to become the new royal assassin. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown – a secret she hides from even her most intimate confidantes.

Keeping up the deadly charade—while pretending to do the king's bidding—will test her in frightening new ways, especially when she's given a task that could jeopardize everything she's come to care for. And there are far more dangerous forces gathering on the horizon -- forces that threaten to destroy her entire world, and will surely force Celaena to make a choice.

Where do the assassin’s loyalties lie, and who is she most willing to fight for?

Usually, if I enjoy the first in a series, the second one can be all kinds of disappointment, but not Crown of Midnight. This book is filled with moments of gripping excitement, an intriguing plot and complex characters you want to be best friends with. Seriously, Dorian and I could talk about books all day long.

I started Crown of Midnight when I was in a reading slump. I got a third of the way through and I was not in the mood at all, so I stopped reading it. I didn’t want to trust my judgment quite yet, because I wasn’t at a reliable time to review it or even rate it. I’m so glad I didn’t continue reading it otherwise the experience would have been thoroughly ruined. As I picked it up for the second time, I was reminded how awesome this series is and thrown into a world of intrigue and so many different delicious plots.

I adore the complexity of the novel, it has so many aspects to it, and there are many things going on. Not only that, but the characters also have issues individually, and it is not a case of the entire world revolving around our main heroine. Although Celaena is pretty dang awesome. She is undoubtedly a Hardcore Heroine, fighting for her life, her beliefs and her friends. I am in Celaena’s corner, cheering her on!

I have to say though, she is the most peculiar blend of infuriating, amazing and strong heroine I have ever read. On one page I understand her completely, on another I don’t understand her at all. She’s freshly unpredictable and keeps me on my toes whilst reading; because when I read these, my eyes glued in captivation and braced for Maas to break my heart. Needless to say she does at the end. I was left staring at the page in awe and a slight feeling of betrayal. WHY? Why do this to me Maas? I thought we had a deal that you wouldn’t hurt me like this. I guess some authors like to cause their readers pain.

Celaena’s quite different in Crown of Midnight, because we see her darker side in a lot more depth. I was beginning to think that perhaps Celaena wasn’t believably as an assassin, because despite her badarse tendencies, she well, didn’t assassinate anyone. In fact, she downright refused! I’m not saying I want all my heroine’s to be killing everyone, but the entire series is set upon this fact. Anyway, it worked itself out quite well.

There’s also a bit of romance and I love romance, so I was a major fan of this development. Overall, Crown of Midnight is an amazing read and one of my favourites of this year. I truly loved it and I can’t wait until the next one releases!

Rating: 5 Stars!!

five-stars

13253276

Review: Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi (Under the Never Sky #2)

Review: Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi (Under the Never Sky #2)Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi
Series: Under the Never Sky #2
Published by Atom on January 8th 2013
Genres: Sci-Fi, Young Adult
Pages: 341
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
five-stars
It's been months since Aria learned of her mother's death. 

Months since Perry became Blood Lord of the Tides, and months since Aria last saw him.

Now Aria and Perry are about to be reunited. It's a moment they've been longing for with countless expectations. And it's a moment that lives up to all of them. At least, at first.

Then it slips away. The Tides don't take kindly to former Dwellers like Aria. And the tribe is swirling out of Perry's control. With the Aether storms worsening every day, the only remaining hope for peace and safety is the Still Blue. But does this haven truly exist?

Threatened by false friends and powerful temptations, Aria and Perry wonder, Can their love survive through the ever night?

In this second book in her spellbinding Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi combines fantasy and sci-fi elements to create a captivating adventure-and a love story as perilous as it is unforgettable.(

I loved Through the Ever Night so much, I felt like everything was ratcheted up a notch and the stakes were higher. Even though I adored Under the Never Sky, it’s no secret that I found the beginning confusing, but enjoyed it when it picked up. However Through the Ever Night was a fantastic read all the way through, and one of my favourites of the year. I’m incredibly invested in the main characters, and there are some great minor characters. It annoys me when the world I’m reading revolves around the main characters, and the more minor characters aren’t explored. Through the Ever Night was not like that, a lot of the characters had many layers. Not only that but it has an extensive world, and a thrilling plot. It’s the kind of book that will lure you in and not allow you to process the outer world until you are finished.

Aria has developed so much, and she’s learnt a lot since the last book. She’s adapted to the world really well–she doesn’t whine, and she’s not annoying. She’s a fighter, and I love her for it. I think the dual POV between her and Perry is brilliant, because Peregrine’s POV is so interesting and I adore Aria and Perry’s Romance. Both of them have separate things to deal with, which keeps things fresh and interesting, and means we aren’t following the same boring problems.

As Peregrine introduces Aria to his tribe, his people are wary of a person from the Realms. Peregrine faces a lot of trouble because he’s young and inexperienced–soon the tribe are finding it hard to eat because of the Aether storms. In addition, Talon is still being kept by the Dweller’s and Perry is faced with the awful decision of choosing between the ones he loves and his entire tribe who are relying on him. Perry is so awesome. Together, him and Aria make such an amazing team, with inevitable bumps along the road in their relationship.

Roar is also present and I love him so much! Not only is he hilarious, but it’s great to see a male character who’s friends with the main heroine and isn’t pitifully in love with her. Roar has his own problems, and I wish Rossi would write an entire book about him and Liv. I know there’s a novella (and I can’t wait to read it) but an entire novel would be so much better! I just wish Rossi would gather all of the minor characters and write separate stories about them! When that happens, I know the book must be good.

Rossi has made me love Sci-Fi,  I love this world and I love the characters. Rossi has carried on this captivating world admirably, and I am clutching my keyboard counting down the days until the conclusion to this series releases. If you haven’t read this series, start at Under the Never Sky– the series is so gashdang awesome and a must-read.

Rating: 5 Stars

five-stars

if-i-stay

Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Review: If I Stay by Gayle FormanIf I Stay by Gayle Forman
Published by Black Swan on Arpil 2nd 2009
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 201
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought, Library
Goodreads
five-stars
In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck...

A sophisticated, layered, and heart-achingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make, and the ultimate choice Mia commands.
Buy the Book from Amazon UKBuy the Book from Amazon USA

If I Stay is one emotional book. Anyone who’s had experience with grief can relate to the premise (which is pretty much EVERYONE). Forman explores the boundaries between life and death, and the idea of having the choice whether to live or die. Mia is in a car accident with her parents and younger brother, and when her family are killed, Mia stays in a coma. We’re shown Mia’s perspective outside of her comatose body, as she watches events unfold around her and flashbacks are blended seamlessly to show her former life. She has a captivating dilemma of whether it’s worth living. Her family is dead, and she would spend the rest of her life grieving and living without her family. But of course she has hundreds of life prospects to look forward to, as she’s only 17.

From page one, Mia was a character I understood and liked. Maybe it’s because of her sarcastic and dark humor, or the way her character was presented, but she seemed like someone I could be best friends with. Forman has a way of pulling at the heart-strings in a particular way, I never sobbed my heart out, but her writing made me grieve for my own losses and I  teared up a few times. Her family situation was adorable; she had a boyfriend, a best friend, and an amazing talent at cello. There was no huge drama-llama, everything was so incredibly normal. This made the situation easy to relate to and powerful, because it reminds one that life is short and unpredictable.

I love romance in books, and it did play a part in If I Stay. Adam is probably one of the most realistic book boyfriends, and I love him for it. He’s the lead singer and guitarist in a rock band, but it wasn’t as cliche as it sounds. Forman didn’t make him a rock star to make us love him (okay maybe a little bit), but it was also really integral to the story. Music played an important role in the storyline, as it’s how Adam and Mia meet. It was something they were so passionate about and it  worked really well.

I’m not wasn’t a huge fan of contemporary, and honestly the genre has annoyed me at times. However, If I Stay has opened my eyes to the genre and made me see it in a completely different light. I loved the characters in this book, I loved the story line and the events. I’m so glad I picked it up, and will not sigh heavily when thinking about reading a Contemporary. Because if I read another Contemporary that I loved as much as this, I shall be very happpy.

five-stars

acidheadline

Review: Acid by Emma Pass

Review: Acid by Emma PassAcid by Emma Pass
Series:
Published by Corgi Childrens on 25 April 2013
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult
Pages: 431
Format: Paperback
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
2113. In Jenna Strong’s world, ACID – the most brutal, controlling police force in history – rule supreme. No throwaway comment or muttered dissent goes unnoticed – or unpunished. And it was ACID agents who locked Jenna away for life, for a bloody crime she struggles to remember.

The only female inmate in a violent high-security prison, Jenna has learned to survive by any means necessary. And when a mysterious rebel group breaks her out, she must use her strength, speed and skill to stay one step ahead of ACID – and to uncover the truth about what really happened on that dark night two years ago.
Buy the Book from Amazon UKBuy the Book from Amazon USABuy the Book from The Book Depository

I really enjoyed this Dystopia world, I thought it was interesting and engaging. Jenna is the protagonist and I really enjoyed the amount of times she changes identities and goes undercover, because it’s not something I read often in YA. Surgeons entirely change her face’s appearance at least twice, which seemed offhanded and casual; and even though it’s possible to do so in the present day, I’ll admit that it threw me a bit. Jenna is your typical Dystopia heroine–strong, and fought for her beliefs to stay alive. She didn’t really have any choice. In the second half is where I found Jenna to be the most brave and courageous, I can’t say anything without spoiling it, but it was a really interesting plot twist that changed my out-look on the story.

The plot and overall conflict of Acid was intriguing, but I think at times the characters were lacking a little bit in the depth department, simply because everything was fast paced and happening so quickly. It never really slowed down enough to focus on minor details or the complexity of Jenna or anyone else’s character. However, it was a gripping novel, full of twists and turns, with scene changes and also slow, tense parts that kept me reading.

There is a little bit of romance, but not huge amounts, but enough to satisfy me, because I like my under-lying romance. If there were any more, it would seem forced, as there aren’t many opportunities in Acid for there to be many romantic scenes.

Acid is very fast-paced, there’s always something happening and Jenna is always on the move or undercover. The Dystopia world was fairly extensive, and had very interesting elements to it. Once reached the age of 16, teenagers are required to be partnered with a random person of the opposite sex to live with the rest of their lives and they’re called ‘Life Partners’. Eventually, the couple get a notification to say that they are ready to have a baby, and that’s that. People don’t think anything of it, it’s simply the norm. Note: opposite sex, no same-sex relations at all, and it always makes me sad to see society go back a couple of steps from where we are now. I find that in a lot of Dystopia books, life is restricted like this and the new government controls them. Every aspect of people’s lives were monitored and listened to, with England having been completely cut off from any other countries and all citizens ignorant on what life is like outside of our small country.

It was extremely refreshing to read a book set in the UK, and I was so glad to read another UKYA book! Lucy at Queen of Contemporary is always insisting we read more UKYA books, and I know I don’t read enough. I’m trying to support books written by UK authors, as well as books that aren’t American, because I read a lot of books written by American authors.

I seriously recommend Acid, if you’re on a Dystopia trip right now. It is a standalone novel, so no pesky wait for another book; it’s gripping and you don’t have to invest loads into it, because you know it’s going to wrap-up nicely.

Rating: 4 Stars

quotelegend

Review: Legend by Marie Lu (Legend #1)

Review: Legend by Marie Lu (Legend #1)Legend by Marie Lu
Series: Legend
Published by Penguin on November 29th 2011
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult
Pages: 304
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Goodreads
four-half-stars
What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.
Buy the Book from Amazon UKBuy the Book from Amazon USA

Oh look, another Dystopian book that I loved. Legend was really fantastic!

I loved June and Day, there were a fantastic combination. June was very determined once her brother died and that was something that I admired. I completely related to the relationship with her brother, and actually wished we’d seen more of their relationship but he dies quite early on.  June is the only one to have ever gotten a perfect score of 1500 on her test, which ensures what direction her life will take. She’s practically a genius, and also rather arrogant at the start, but she learns more about herself as the novel goes on, which makes her re-evaluate her opinions on certain things and changes her. Throughout Legend, she makes perceptive observations and can detect things the average person can’t, that let us piece together different aspects about a person’s character. She was very capable, and soon realised how corrupt the Republic was, because she had to work directly with them. I always find it hard in these novels to believe that everyone, including all soldiers, are evil. However, Thomas had exactly the same awful beliefs as everyone else and I really wanted him to be different–but he wasn’t and I now hate his character. At some points, Legend has a detective novel likeness to it, with Metias’ death she’s left with a lot of questions, and this is where her genius nature comes into play.

Legend is told in two perspectives–June and Day’s, and I loved reading both of those views. In other books, I sometimes get bored of one person or their situation, and scan that chapter, but I was always captivated no matter the point of view. It was incredibly interesting and funny to see each character from each others point of view.

Day is so funny, and incredibly brave protecting his family, we get a couple of flashbacks with him which made his character more complete and I liked the insight into his past. I’m interested to know more about his past and June’s, because there are a few loose ends, especially involving June’s parents.

I loved the ending, and I’m really excited about where this series is going. The third and final book is releasing in November, so I need to read Prodigy before then!

This book has action, romance, corruption, death and I loved every second of it. It’s highly recommended if you’re in love with Dystopia’s at the moment.

Rating: 4.5 Stars

four-half-stars

ThroneofGlass

Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #1
Published by Bloomsbury, Bloomsbury Children's on 2nd August 2012
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 432
Format: Paperback
Source: Given From Publisher

Paperback: 432 pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens (2 Aug 2012)

ISBN-10: 140883233X

Source: Bloomsbury–thank you! This has in no way affected my honest review!

Goodreads

Amazon UK

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom. 

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best. Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another. 

Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

This entire world is entrancing and amazing. I was gripped all the way through, which doesn’t usually happen, I get slightly bored at some places. Not with Throne of Glass, plot threads linked seamlessly together and complex characters kept me entertained.

I got so invested in all the characters, not just Celeana. Although Celeana was badass and completely my type of heroine. She’s independent, witty, and has a vulnerable side to her past. She’s the type of character who pulled me in instantly and I rooted for all the way through. She was actually really funny, not what I was expecting from a master assassin. Which is fantastic, I like characters who don’t take themselves too seriously and make me laugh.

Chaol is so mysterious, we are kept in the dark a lot about him, so of course that makes me desperate to know more about his character, and I hope he’s explored more in book 2. He’s the kind of character who doesn’t access his feeling easily and I was kind of frustrated with him!

Prince Dorian reads. I don’t know how many times I have to say how much I love a guy that reads. He’s also an expert swordsman, but he prefers to hunker down with a thoughtful book. He constantly had witty back and forth with Celeana which proved entertaining. I found him so charming!

I adore the character development, how Celeana learns to trust, and actually have friends. She sets in wanting to win this competition, but she’s very loyal, despite how determined she is. Chaol also becomes a little more open, though not as much as I’d hoped! Also, Prince Dorian stops being so fickle!

This love triangle is excruciating, because I don’t have a favourite. I thought I did, at parts I’d be sure it was one person and then I realised I love the other as well. This hardly ever happens, I always have a definite favourite! It’s completely thrown me off!

There were a couple of antagonists to keep things interesting, I get bored with the entire focus being on destroying one bad guy. Some of them are undoubtedly going to cause trouble in the next book.

The world itself is captivating, it’s set in a castle, in a historical time period, which I always enjoy. I honestly loved this book sooo much, and completely recommend it to anyone who enjoys strong heroines (who doesn’t?) and amazing worlds!

I am now mourning this world, and desperate to read the next one!

Rating: 5 Stars!

ALL_OUR_YESTERDAYS-FINAL-FULL-UK-COVER2

Release Day Review: All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill (All Our Yesterdays #1)

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill
Series: All Our Yesterdays #1
Published by Bloomsbury, Bloomsbury Children's on 1st August 2013
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
Source: Given From Publisher
four-half-stars

 Amazon|Goodreads

  •  
  • “You have to kill him.” Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside. Marina has loved her best friend James since the day he moved next door when they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles apart, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Now someone is trying to kill him. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it. At least not as the girl she once was. All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.

After I read this my head was left spinning—as anyone who follows me on Twitter will know. I tweeted about this…a lot. All Our Yesterdays is a time-travel Dystopia, and I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, but it did not disappoint.

There are mainly two points of view, Em and Marina. Marina is Em’s past self. Em goes back in time to stop the making of Cassandra (the time machine) to a time where Marina is inhabiting. I loved the way they were very different, yet ultimately still the same person. Marina is far more superficial and trying to fit in with her friends, having a teenage love for James. She doesn’t get enough attention from her parents and is trying to be a ‘normal’ teenager.

Em is far more grounded, she has figured out how to love herself, but she’s haunted. She’s been through so much after the making of Cassandra. She’s been tortured and left in a cell. Em doesn’t want Marina to have to go through what she has gone through, and sets out with her partner to stop the making of Cassandra. Em’s love interest is hilarious, he’s the perfect blend of cockiness and sexiness. Such a great addition to my fictional boyfriends! Which there are shamefully many of.

We also got flashbacks from the time when Em was running away from the corruption, and the awful memories of what happened to those she loved. These flashbacks filled in the blanks and made the story a lot more interesting.

I went in All Our Yesterdays without knowing anything at all, I didn’t even read the blurb! Instead of confusing me, it actually made everything more interesting. The plot twists are shocking, delightful, and at times cry-worthy. Seriously, read page 364 and get back to me, because that was the most awful thing in the entire book.

I wanted to see more of the Dystopian world, when most of the book is set in today’s world. It was enforced many times throughout the novel how corrupted the world had become with the making of Cassandra, yet we didn’t see it as much I would have liked. I’m hoping this is going to be in the next instalment.

I definitely recommend this book to Dystopia lovers, or even people starting out with Dystopia! I’m left empty without the next book, which is not out until 2014!

Rating; 4.5 stars

four-half-stars

Tent-City_Facebook-Header_9401

Review: Tent City by Kelly Van Hull

Tent City by Kelly Van Hull
Series: Tent City #1
on March 10th 2013
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult
Pages: 270
Format: eBook
Source: Given From Author
three-half-stars
Tent City

Goodreads

After a devastating plague, introverted 17-year-old Dani Campbell and her family find themselves living in a very different America, one run by a cult-like leader, who forces children to move to “safety camps” designed to protect the human race. Encouraged to flee by her parents, Dani and her five-year-old brother seek refuge in the Black Hills of South Dakota. On the run with danger around every corner, Dani must fight to ensure their survival in this new world while trying to unmask the mystery of how it all came to be

Danielle, her friend Kit, and her brother Brody, escape the chaos of society and the soon impending ‘safety camps’  children are forced to live in. Tent City was an enjoyable Dystopian read that had me interested from page 1. Dani grew throughout Tent City, both physically and mentally, she seemed so much more capable by the end of the book, and I found that satisfying. She doesn’t sit around, something happens to spur her into action and train, so she can protect herself and those she loves.

I wasn’t quite sure what to make of the love triangle between Bentley, Jack and Dani. I knew it was coming. Romance is not a major aspect in Tent City, things are more focused on survival, but it’s undeniably there. It creeps up on you, and I had a definite favourite between two. Jack was swoon-worthy, and had a really sweet relationship with Brody. Secrets and mystery encased both Jack and Bentley, which made them both more appealing, but also quite infuriating. I kept waiting for answers, some of which I figured out and some of which were revealed. There were a couple of loose ends and the ending was quite sudden.

The relationship between Dani and her little brother, Brody, was really cute. Dani did everything she could to protect him, and I knew, she would do anything for him if it came to it. I didn’t entirely relate to her situation, because I’m the youngest and have two older brothers, but I understood the need to protect those you love. It was always her first priority, yet her constant worrying didn’t annoy me, when it has before in previous books.

The world was not the most extensive Dystopia ever, but I don’t think it was meant to be. I liked that it was a cross between natural disaster and our—humans—reaction to it. The majority of the book is set in Tent City, which made it less exciting, but left room to develop the setting and the ideas involving Tent City. I liked the always underlying problem of survival, and I especially loved the waterfall scenes!

The end left me waiting for more, because I wasn’t satisfied with the loose ends and the things that were left. Events were definitely set up for a book 2, and I’d be interested to see what happens– especially with the romance!

Rating; 3.5 stars

three-half-stars

Forsaken_by_the_Others22

Review: Forsaken by the Others by Jess Haines (H&W Investigations #5)

Review: Forsaken by the Others by Jess Haines (H&W Investigations #5)Forsaken by the Others Published by Zebra on 1 August 2013
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 352
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley
three-half-stars

 

  •  

Have a one night stand with a vampire, and you can end up paying for it for eternity. P.I. Shiarra Waynest, an expert on the Others, knows that better than most. Yet here she is, waking up beside charismatic vamp Alec Royce with an aching head…and neck. Luckily, Shia has the perfect excuse for getting out of town – namely, a couple of irate East Coast werewolf packs who’d like to turn her into a chew toy. On Royce’s suggestion, Shia temporarily relocates to Los Angeles. But something is rotten-literally-in the state of California, where local vampires are being attacked by zombies. Who could be powerful enough to control them-and reckless enough to target the immortal? Following the trail will lead Shia to a terrifying truth, and to an ancient enemy with a personal grudge…

 

After the events of the previous novels, Shiarra Waynest finds herself facing the consequences of her skewed judgement. We are taken away from all the key characters, and Shiarra and her best friend Sara go together to another city. Forsaken by the Others was an enjoyable read, however it lacked in some key aspects that let it down.

I would have liked to see more Royce in this book, after the beginning he’s not really in it at all. I never like it when the author mixes things up and takes them to another setting, because it means we never get to see our favourite minor characters. The only good thing was we had the additional characters–The White Hats, who I really liked–probably because I like werewolves.

This book never got going for me, I was never in suspense about the plot, and nothing exciting or shocking happened enough. I enjoyed the idea of it, however the way it was executed didn’t keep me as intrigued as I’d have liked.

Shia was an interesting character, but it was never quite cleared up what was going on with her and if she was turning into a supernatural being. Her relationship with Royce wasn’t developed well enough either, or explored at all after the first few chapters. I thought she was refreshingly realistic, she didn’t pretend to be something she wasn’t and fight Vampires, or get herself in too deep in situations she knew she couldn’t handle. She’s a private investigator, not a fighter. The thing is, that’s usually where things are made interesting–when the heroine mucks up. Her voice was down-right hilarious at times and very dry, the way she was written was incredibly entertaining.

The world was the most intriguing aspect, it had vampires, werewolves, zombies and a hint of something else as well. I liked the characters, the setting, the supernatural elements, however I am not keen on how I kept waiting for the plot to thicken, but it never did. The pacing was too slow for me. I really loved the writing, and the voice of Shia, it was sarcastic and witty, and made observations that were so funny to read.

It sounds like I didn’t enjoy it from this review, but I did, it was simply the lack of suspense and slow pace that ruined it!

Rating: 3.5 Stars Fantastic world and funny voice, but the plot left something to be desired.

three-half-stars

bg-about-book

Review: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (The Fifth Wave #1)

The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey
Series: The Fifth Wave #1
Published by Penguin on 7th May 2013
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult
Pages: 480
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
four-half-stars

The Passage meets Ender’s Game in an epic new series from award-winning author Rick Yancey.

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

Goodreads link

 

I don’t even know where to start on this review. The 5th Wave is an absolute gem and if you haven’t picked it up yet, I seriously suggest you go and do so right now.

The Earth sees an alien mothership and we try to contact them, but they don’t answer. Then, after ten days of silence, the first wave begins. The Others send out an electromagnetic pulse which takes out all forms of electricity, power, and kills half a million people. The second wave is a tsunami that kills everyone within sixty miles of a coastline, which is three billion people. The third wave is in the form of a plague which had a 97% mortality rate and took out more than 3.5 billion people.

‘Sometimes I think I might be the last human on earth’

Seventeen-year-old Cassie—for Cassiopeia–is alone in the world, camping in the woods while she tries to stay alive and away from the Others. She has a backpack of essentials including a teddybear, a tent and her gun.

‘The first rule of surviving the 4th Wave is don’t trust anyone’

Cassie is such a kick-ass character, she knows that she has to stay alone to survive and she does. Until she meets Evan Walker. It’s the only person she’s talked to in months and she can’t help but enjoy the human contact. Cassie is brave and fights for her right to stay on Earth which I loved. She was so strong and she’s only sixteen. She does what she has to do to survive and she keeps her promises, it was a delight to read from her perspective, despite the fact that she is written by a man.

Cassie’s not the only POV though, we also have a few others, who I will not name for fear of spoiling you all. I actually enjoyed their POV just as much as Cassie’s, and loved that all of their storylines were relevant and interlocked at various points in the book.

Young Adult Dystopian is a genre that’s increasingly growing, especially after the release of The Hunger Games. I even hesitate to say it’s the ‘Next Big Thing’ in terms of Young Adult and ‘mainstream’ books. It’s not surprising then, that this book is all over the blogosphere with people exclaiming how much they enjoyed it. I enjoyed it too. I’m starting to read more Dystopian’s and The Fifth Wave was something that was incredibly satisfying and different to read. The premise was different, the characters I felt were realistic. They all had their lives before the invasion and Yancey wrote flash-backs which made them more relatable.

I found the plot twists to be captivating, I thought I knew what was going on and then Yancey would flip the story upside-down and change my perspective. He was really good at making me doubt myself and sometimes even deliberately confused for me to make me think certain things about the situations and the characters.

Overall, a really enjoyable Dystopian read. If you’re looking for something to read in the Dystopian genre, I suggest you take a look, because I thought it was fantastic. Then I realised the second one comes out in Summer! Next year.

I’m hoping to see Rick Yancey in London soon, but he hasn’t posted where he’s going to do the signing!

Rating: 4.5 Stars

four-half-stars

Lightning Rider large blog tour button

Blog Tour Interview: Lightning Rider by Jen Greyson

A couple of months ago I received an ARC of Lightning Rider to review and I loved it. So I was very excited when I got asked to participate in the Lightning Rider blog tour and jumped on the chance to ask her some questions about it.

A huge thank you to Tilly here at Hardcore Heroines for letting me visit and for taking the time to interview me. Glad to be here, and especially glad to be supporting hardcore heroines everywhere!

 What influenced your ideas for Lightning Rider?

My grandpa was into some crazy stuff—astral projection, pyramidal energy…not your normal guy. One day at a family reunion my aunts and uncles were telling stories about him and the writer’s favorite tool, the ‘what if?’ popped into my head and I started thinking about what if only one family was given the power to time travel and impact events.

Were you always interested in a career in writing?

I’ve always been a voracious reader, but I didn’t seriously consider writing until about 8 years ago when I woke up with a story inside me that would have consumed me if I didn’t write it down. That book is buried in my back yard along with the next 4, but it got me started down this path.

How did you shape Evy’s character?

BAHA! That’s a good one. There’s no shaping Evy. There’s getting the hell out of her way and writing as fast as I can. She pounded herself into my head as this very strong, sassy character and as she developed it was very clear this story was going to get told exactly how she wanted it. Or else.

What book contains your favourite Hardcore (mental or physical) Heroine?

Wow. Just one? I’m going to have to go with MacKayla Lane from Karen Marie Moning’s FaeFever series. I love all Karen’s books, but this series really stuck with me after I read it (all 7 times).

I love MacKayla! Her character development is amazing, she really grows and becomes such a badass! And of course there’s Barrons…;)

Who was your favourite character to write in Lightning Rider? Why?

Evy. Hands down. She’s and incredibly powerful woman, even when she doesn’t believe in herself. People see it immediately and it’s entertaining to watch the other characters react to her. There’s never a dull or quiet moment with her – she’s 1000% all the time.

Evy is certainly a force to be reckoned with and must have been entertaining to write! I’ve noticed a distinct lack of Latinas in Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy, were you aware of this when you made Evy Latina?

Sadly, it’s not just in Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy, it’s in every genre. Latinas are gaining some traction, and I’d love to see a lot more of them. I wasn’t aware of how truly few there were until I started shopping my manuscript around and the feedback started coming in. Personally, I think the genres could use a lot more color.

I completely agree, there needs to be more diversity in the every genre. Evy travels to ancient Spain accidentally, if you could time-travel in the past, where would you go and why?

My number one stop would be the Library of Alexandria. Julius Caesar burned it in 48 BC, so anytime after its founding in 283 BC. Second stop, New York at the turn of the century to hang out with Nikola Tesla.

 That would be incredibly fascinating to visit! Nikola Tesla is also an interesting choice. If you found out you could control lightning, what would you do with it?

Ha. Great question. I’d like to think I’d be responsible, but I’d probably blow some stuff up. I’d definitely see if I could use it to time travel.

Haha, I can see where Evy comes from! Who is your favourite superhero?

At the moment, Iron Man, but that might just be because of Robert Downey, Jr. I’d love a good female superhero, but they seem to be missing—we’ve been relegated to sidekicks. Katniss was a badass, but I’m not sure she qualifies as superhero. Wonder Woman was pretty excellent back in the day, also She-Ra. Hmm…looks like we’re ready for a new female superhero.

Thanks again for having me. I had a great time and this was a great interview. I really really appreciate you taking the time to have me at Hardcore Heroines and I hope your readers will enjoy Evy’s tale.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with Robert Downey Jr, especially now with Iron Man 3 out. Katniss definitely counts as a new-age superhero. We certainly need a new female superhero! Thanks Jen for being hosted on Hardcore Heroines.

 

About Jen:

From the moment she decided on a degree in Equestrian Studies, Jen Greyson’s life has been one unscripted adventure after another. Leaving the cowboy state of Wyoming to train show horses in France, Switzerland, and Germany, she’s lived life without much of a plan, but always a book in her suitcase. Now a wife and mom to two young boys, she relies on her adventurous, passionate characters to be the risk- takers.

Jen also writes university courses and corporate training material when she’s not enjoying the wilds of the west via wakeboard or snowmobile. Her new adult fantasy, Lightning Rider, comes out May 31 and features a Latina heroine with some serious superpowers.

TwitterFacebookGoodreadsBlog

 

Lightning Rider:

Heiress to a time-traveling dynasty, Evy Rivera is finally claiming her birthright as a lightning rider. Problem is, she’s forced to learn it alongside Constantine, a prickly, obstinate

Roman warrior who constantly challenges her to be the woman he sees in her.

 Thrown back into ancient Spain, Evy must rely on guts and instinct to wield her lightning as a weapon and outsmart Ilif, her quasi-mentor who believes time traveling should be left to the Rivera men.

 During her training, Evy and Constantine battle the push-pull of their explosive relationship, aware the 2,000-year span between their lives is an unavoidable hurdle.

 Caught between a centuries-old battle rife with secrets, Evy must learn whom to trust before she risks everything and the wrong history repeats itself. When the heritage her parents have suppressed mingles with the past, Evy must find answers . . .

 Which history is the right one? And who is she becoming?

I seriously recommend Lightning Rider if you enjoy strong, funny heroines and a refreshing premise!

Goodreads 

It’s also available for pre-order on Kobo (for all devices) and iTunes, everywhere on May 31, 2013

Jen Greyson is also having a launch party tomorrow! Microsoft is hosting in it’s first ever Utah store, but don’t worry if you can’t get there though, there’s also a live stream online where Jen will do a reading and Q&A session. The party is 7-8:30 , with the reading and Q&A starting at 7:30. As thanks, everyone who attends the virtual party will be entered in the drawing for a $200 amazon gift card, and online attendees who ask a question will be entered into a special “virtual” door prize. If you want to attend go here.

Gameboard-of-the-Gods-by-RIchelle-MeadARCwoa

ARC Review: Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead (Age of X #1)

Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead
Series: Age of X #1
Published by Penguin on June 4th 2013
Genres: Sci-Fi, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 464
Format: ARC
Source: NetGalley
five-stars

 Hardcover: 464 pages

Publication date: June 4th 2013

Publisher: Dutton Adult

ISBN: 052595368X (ISBN13: 9780525953685)
Other series written by Richelle Mead: Georgina Kincaid, Dark Swan, Vampire Academy and Bloodlines.
In a futuristic world nearly destroyed by religious extremists, Justin March lives in exile after failing in his job as an investigator of religious groups and supernatural claims. But Justin is given a second chance when Mae Koskinen comes to bring him back to the Republic of United North America (RUNA). Raised in an aristocratic caste, Mae is now a member of the military’s most elite and terrifying tier, a soldier with enhanced reflexes and skills. 

When Justin and Mae are assigned to work together to solve a string of ritualistic murders, they soon realize that their discoveries have exposed them to terrible danger. As their investigation races forward, unknown enemies and powers greater than they can imagine are gathering in the shadows, ready to reclaim the world in which humans are merely game pieces on their board.
Gameboard of the Gods, the first installment of Richelle Mead’s Age of X series, will have all the elements that have made her YA Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series such mega successes: sexy, irresistible characters; romantic and mythological intrigue; and relentless action and suspense.

If you didn’t know, Richelle Mead is one of my favourite authors, so when I got accepted to review this ARC, I did a little dance around my room…YAY! Thank you Penguin Dutton Adult publishing house for giving me this ARC copy. *That has in no way affected my honest review—Richelle just happens to be an awesome writer*

Gameboard of the Gods completely lived up to my expectations, it was simply amazing. The world Mead has built is so extensive and intricate, with every page turn revealing new, exciting aspects. Due to this, the world-building is laid on pretty thick and it wasn’t something I could skim over or half-read, it’s something that was needed to know to understand the overall plot. That is expected in this genre, because it’s the first book, but be warned–there’s a lot of it. Gameboard of the Gods is vastly different to anything Mead has written before, with this delving more into the Sci-Fi and Urban Fantasy realms.

It wasn’t just the world that was captivating, the characters were also.  Justin uses vices like drinking, drugs and woman, and Richelle did a very good job of still making making me actually still like his character. He’s incredibly smart, and is used to being able to watch people and read their body language, which caused Justin and Mae’s working relationship to chafe because of her hard exterior. He also has two ravens making sarcastic comments inside his head, which made for funny entertainment and was incredibly creative.

Mae grew up in fairly wealthy surroundings, she was destined to be married off and give up her own athletic dreams, but contrary to what was expected, she joined the military and became lethal and agile with heightened reflexes and speed. She’s very tough, with impenetrable emotional armour, as she refuses to let anyone get close, which made her character grow throughout the book. She’s certainly a ‘Hardcore Heroine’.

Gameboard of the Gods is in third person, and as well as following Mae and Justin, we also follow Tessa. After having a couple of exciting chapters in Mae and Justin’s point of view, I was worried Tessa would bore me . This was not the case, I got to understand how the RUNA was perceived in a different, intimidating  light in contrast to Justin and Mae’s admiration. Tessa is 16 and from Panama, which has different views on women and their future, and is less technology advanced than the RUNA, so despite that it was a jarring change, she also had more freedom.

There are romantic elements to Gameboard of the Gods, which I thought were nicely added and well-written, I’m anticipating how that’s going to continue in the next book.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and highly recommend it!

Rating: 4 Stars

If you’re interested in finding out more about Gameboard of the Gods, Richelle has put on the first two chapters and some character info on her blog, here.

five-stars

hgfmhwgrfhdhfgfhgf

Review: The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead (Bloodlines #3)

The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead
Series: Bloodlines #3
Published by Penguin, Razorbill on February 12th 2013
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 401
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
five-stars

[button link="#http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8709526-the-indigo-spell"] Goodreads The Indigo Spell[/button]

In the aftermath of a forbidden moment that rocked Sydney to her core, she finds herself struggling to draw the line between her Alchemist teachings and what her heart is urging her to do. Then she meets alluring, rebellious Marcus Finch–a former Alchemist who escaped against all odds, and is now on the run. Marcus wants to teach Sydney the secrets he claims the Alchemists are hiding from her. But as he pushes her to rebel against the people who raised her, Sydney finds that breaking free is harder than she thought. There is an old and mysterious magic rooted deeply within her. And as she searches for an evil magic user targeting powerful young witches, she realizes that her only hope is to embrace her magical blood–or else she might be next.

Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, the Bloodlines series explores all the friendship, romance, battles, and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive—this time in a part-vampire, part-human setting where the stakes are even higher and everyone’s out for blood.

As I said in The Golden Lily review I posted yesterday, I read these the day they were released but when re-reading them, wanted to share how much I love them.

After The Golden Lily, I was anticipating this release eight months later and boy…what a book it was. The Indigo Spell is filled with romance and sexual tension between Adrian and Sydney, and after what happened at the end of The Golden Lily, things were definitely going to be interesting. And they were. The whole gang at Amberwood- Jill, Eddie, Angeline- don’t get as much attention as they did in the previous books, although there are issues and storylines concerning them, the main focus is on Sydney, her Alchemist business and the romance between her and Adrian.

Sydney is an Alchemist, helping Moroi (Vampires) to cover up their existence to other humans because Alchemists believe they are evil monsters. She’s working at Amberwood  boarding school in Palm Springs to protect Moroi Jill and keep her in hiding. She previously feared the Moroi, but she’s finding herself growing away from those beliefs more than she ever thought was possible. Before, she’d freak out when a Moroi even tried doing magic, but as we saw in The Golden Lily, she actively joining in with magic. The Indigo Spell reinforces how harsh and controlling Alchemists are; they hate Moroi and think they’re unnatural, they’ll do whatever they can to stop themselves from working directly with them, lest they get tainted by the evil. Sydney was brought up with these beliefs, so of course they’re a little hard to shake. But the Alchemists are a web of lies, half of them keeping top-secret information from the other half of the organisation. Sydney soon realises, she’s not even sure what she believes anymore.

Things are sizzling between Sydney and Adrian sexual tension wise, but with Sydney refusing to go against her Alchemist beliefs, Adrian promises not to bring up his love confessions. Poor Adrian, he always seems to fall in love with complicated people. As much as Sydney refuses to acknowledge her feelings for Adrian, she still trusts him, and throughout The Indigo Spell, their relationship grows stronger. The romance is bumped up a notch compared to The Golden Lily, so watch out. Cute things, funny things, swoon worthy things, it’s all there! Adrian is as witty as ever, but even with his incessant jokes, he shows a lot of sweet emotion towards Sydney.

The Indigo Spell is also filled with funny elements, kooky characters and hilarious naming. Malachi Wolfe, which seems to be one of Richelle Mead’s favourite minor characters makes an appearance, sharing those far-fetched stories he loves to tell. I think he’s a hilarious character- he also has a Twitter account, follow @MalachiWolfe. Characters like Malachi are typical of Richelle’s writing style, which you might have guessed, I’m a fan of.

I’ve heard many people dissatisfied with Marcus Finch, a character Mead hyped up, but then confessed she changed things slightly for him– apparently he was meant to be another love interest for Sydney. I wasn’t particularly impressed by his character either, and he didn’t live up to expectations. He was completely different to how I thought he would be and I would have liked more to his character, however, I still really enjoyed The Indigo Spell.

Rating: 5 Stars

So, now another nine months to wait, as it’s been said The Fiery Heart ( Bloodlines four) will be released on November 19th.

I’m not sure I can take it.

five-stars

BitingCold

Review: Biting Cold by Chloe Neill (Chicagoland Vampire #6)

Biting Cold by Chloe Neill
Series: Chicagoland Vampires #6
Published by Gollancz on August 9th 2012
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
four-stars

 

Turned into a vampire against her will, twenty-eight-year-old Merit found her way into the dark circle of Chicago’s vampire underground, where she learned there was more to supernaturals than met the eye—and more supernaturals than the public ever imagined. And not all the secrets she learned were for sharing—among humans or inhumans. Now Merit is on the hunt, charging across the stark American Midwest, tailing a rogue supernatural intent on stealing an ancient artifact that could unleash catastrophic evil on the world. But Merit is also the prey. An enemy of Chicagoland is hunting her, and he’ll stop at nothing to get the book for himself. No mercy allowed.
No rules apply. No lives spared. The race is on.


After the events in Drink Deep, Merit and Ethan are on their journey to Nebraska, to fight Mallory for the Maleficium. She’s obsessed with the book and nearly destroyed Chicago in her attempts to get it. Even though the Order were in charge of keeping her captive, she escaped her cell and now it’s Ethan and Merit’s turn to clean up the mess.
It’s been such a delight to see Merit grow throughout the series and she’s now a character I fully root for when reading the Chicagoland Vampires series. She has the perfect balance of fighting prowess, a tough personality, yet  vulnerability that makes her a believable protagonist. After Ethan’s absence in Drink Deep, it was great to see him back, and along with that, the sexual frustration between him and Merit, as he decides to put their relationship on hold. Again. Merit decides to be mature, and carries on with her job as Sentinel efficiently, but she’s hurt by Ethan’s constant rejection. As Sentinel, she has a lot of responsibilities and people relying on her, and as usual, Merit took this in her stride. It’s been under a year since Merit was made a Vampire, and in that time she has been on many hit lists and overcome many battles. She’s professional and damn efficient at her job, and to Ethan’s surprise, she can handle it more than competently. In Biting Cold, we see her ‘badass’ tendencies and gain a slight look into Merit’s vulnerable side, which made her more authentic and exposed, but it didn’t slow her down.
Ethan and Merit are both complex characters, each have learnt something from the other, and their constant back and forth was entertaining, as well as emotional. Ethan was missed in the previous book and now that he’s back, he’s just as much an alpha as before, if not more so. I like Ethan’s character and the frustration between him and Merit was intense, to say the least. It reminded me how much he was missed- yet I still think Jonah is a great addition to the series. Mallory inadvertently tests the security of Ethan and Merit’s relationship and puts a stress on them as a couple. Ethan’s in a difficult position now that he’s suddenly returned from the dead, as Darius’ visit is at an unhelpful time and nobody’s quite sure who the master is.

“For now, with his emerald eyes locked on mine, where I was going didn’t seem so scary.”

Mallory was really annoying me in the previous book, and I was glad that Merit didn’t easily excuse her of the pain she’d caused. I pitied Mallory in Biting Cold, and Chloe Neill did a very good job of keeping her fairly likeable, so I assume her character will be recovered in the next couple of books. The focus turns away from her and more onto other issues with different power plays and creatures such as Claudia- the Fae queen- who Merit encounters more than once.
The plot was engaging, and very entertaining, as new characters join the fray, each with their own funny one-liners. There’s a undertone of humour that lightens the mood and makes it more amusing, especially Merits love for Mallocakes.

“Your Mallocakes may be hard to find.”
“That’s why I packed a box in my duffel bag.”
He burst out laughing like I’d told the funniest joke he’d ever heard, but I’d told the absolute truth. Mallocakes were a favorite dessert—chocolate cakes filled with marshmallow cream—and they were exceedingly hard to find. I’d brought some along just in case.”

I give this 4 Stars

Giveaway of Biting Cold, coming soon!

four-stars

Desperately Desiring…

Magic Bites: Special Edition



 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews invites you to experience the first novel in the “intriguing world” (Locus) of Kate Daniels with this special edition ofMagic Bites
Kate Daniels is a down-on-her-luck mercenary who makes her living cleaning up magical problems. But when Kate’s guardian is murdered, her quest for justice draws her into a power struggle between two strong factions within Atlanta’s magic circles. Pressured by both sides to find the killer, Kate realizes she’s way out of her league—but she wouldn’t want it any other way…
This special edition includes in-depth information about the world of Kate Daniels, with descriptions of its characters and factions. Explore Kate’s Atlanta like never before with answers to FAQ and a quiz to find your place there. And don’t miss the prequel story “A Questionable Client,” as well as scenes of events in Magic Bites from Curran’s point of view.
This book was released a while ago, because Ilona Andrews has done 5 books so far, in the Kate Daniel series and Magic Bites is the first. Except this is a special edition and has Curran’s point of view. Curran’s point to of view? I’m sold. I’ve never read ‘A Questionable Client’ either, and knowing the Ilona Andrews duo, it’ll be hilarious. If you haven’t read it, it’s a must-read! Such an amazing series and so entertaining, Magic Bites will be released on the 31st December.

Review: Frostbite Graphic Novel by Richelle Mead, Leigh Dragoon and Emma Vieceli

Frostbite Graphic Novel by Emma Vieceli, Leigh Dragoon, Richelle Mead
Series: Vampire Academy Graphic Novels #1
Published by Razorbill on August 23rd 2011
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 144
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
four-half-stars



Blurb:

The drama and romance continue in this 144-page full-color graphic novel adaptation of the second Vampire Academy novel, Frostbite, which was overseen by Richelle Mead and features beautiful art by acclaimed British illustrator Emma Vieceli.

As you might know, Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series is one of my favourite series, and I was delighted to find out that a graphic novel was being released. It was illustrated by Emma Vieceli and adapted by Leigh Dragoon.

I really liked it, and thought it got the whole gist of Vampire Academy. However, with the graphic novel, you miss certain funny back and forth, or entire conversations that simply make the book. It’s harder to empathize with Rose, because you don’t fully get immersed into her thoughts.Yet, I think that’s simply because it’s a graphic novel and you can’t cram it full, it just needs the important bits.  Leigh Dragoon adapted it very well, and the witty thoughts are still there, making me laugh. It’s a really quick, easy read for someone who wants to catch up with the books but doesn’t have a lot of time.
The drawings are amazing, Dimitri is drawn well…ahem, and the characters are how they are described in the book, Emma Vieceli has clearly worked hard at trying to get everything correct. I found myself getting enraptured with the story again and flying through the pages, I haven’t read the books in a while and this reminded me how much I desperately need to re-visit them.
Overall an 4.5 Stars

four-half-stars

Desperately Desiring…

Fury’s Kiss
Blurb:

Karen Chance continues her terrific urban fantasy series featuring the kick-ass daughter of a vampire in this sequel to Midnight’s Daughter and Death’s Mistress.
Dorina Basarab is a dhampir – half-human, half-vampire. Subject to uncontrollable rages, most dhampirs live very short, very violent lives. But so far, Dory has managed to maintain her sanity by unleashing her anger on those demons and vampires who deserve killing . . .
Dory is used to fighting hard and nasty. So when she wakes up in a strange scientific lab with a strange man standing over her, her first instinct is to take his head off. Luckily, the man is actually the master vampire Louis-Cesare, so he’s not an easy kill.
It turns out that Dory had been working with a Vampire Senate task force on the smuggling of magical items and weaponry out of Faerie when she was captured and brought to the lab. But when Louis-Cesare rescues her, she has no memory of what happened to her.
To find out what was done to her – and who is behind it – Dory will have to face off with fallen angels, the maddest of mad scientists, and a new breed of vampires that are far worse than undead . . .

This book was released on the 11th October… and I’m just getting round to reading it! I’ve already bought it, but I’m desperately desiring to read it- if that counts. Karen Chance is on my recommended books simply because she creates amazing worlds and characters. Along with sexy Louis-Cesare, this series is a must-read. If you love a hardcore heroine set in an action-packed world with fairy’s and vampires, you will highly enjoy this.

Review: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Series: Graceling Realm #1
Published by Gollancz on September 3rd 2009
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 400
Source: Bought
three-half-stars

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Published: 3 September 2009
  • ISBN-10: 0575085304
  •  

18-year-old Katsa is the niece of King Randa, living in one of the seven kingdoms in this dystopian/fantasy world. Some people are born with a ‘Grace’, meaning they have a certain skill, but are often feared or exploited for their talents. Born with a killing Grace,  Katsa accidentally killed a man at a very young age. She began to train her lethal ability, at first using sacks filled with grain, perfecting her knife, archery, combat, and sword skills. Her ability to fight and kill was well known, and one day the King; started exploiting her skills to kill or maim anyone who displeased him in the other kingdoms.
For years Katsa is repulsed by the orders she obeys, and later decides to create a Council to secretly defy the King, where she helps people in the kingdoms who have been wronged. On one of her missions, she meets Po, who has a Grace of fighting, and they seem matched in their abilities. They start to train together and their next mission is to find out who kidnapped his grandfather.
Katsa was an interesting person at times and also a little frustrating, because she has only ever had one friend before and doesn’t know how to proceed in any relationship. As Po and Katsa become friends, their relationship was quite relaxed, and it was clear to me, they were going to be more than friends. Katsa grows, as she learns how to mostly trust another person, other than herself. Most of the people in the Kingdom are disgusted by her, and in doing so, making Katsa believe she is a savage monster herself. We see her vulnerable in a relationship and it’s a new experience as she always keeps people at arms length.
Katsa refuses to marry because of her inability to trust, and her desire to be independent her whole life. She can’t bear to wear a dress or have her hair done up, heading straight to the archery building for her comfort zone when she gets upset. It seems like she’s compensating for physical strength, because she feels vulnerable. I understood why Katsa feels she can only trust herself and a handful of other people, and I thought Po and her fit very well as a couple, him being the Yin to her Yang. However, I have two opinions on their relationship. I really liked their relationship when they were friends. I truly believed the build up towards their relationship, but from then on, I was slightly disappointed. I really wanted their love as an opportunity for them to act more as a couple. Having said that, I understand that it’s not Katsa’s type of personality.
The plot had such potential, and there was lots of build up, but the fight scenes were quick and didn’t give me enough time to enjoy them. Katsa was praised a killing phenomenon, yet there were not enough fights to satisfy me. Throughout the book,  I didn’t get enough intrigue and it didn’t leave me guessing. I liked the premise of the story and what Kristin Cashore has built, but the story never hit me hard enough.
The twists and turns in this plot were very interesting, but not un-put-down-able. I really liked the different characters and their development,  enjoying the contrast between Katsa’s badass personality and her vulnerable side. The world Kristin has build is interesting, and I’m excited to see where she takes me in the next book.
I give this a 3.5 Stars

three-half-stars