Sunday, 26 October 2014

Frozen (Heart of Dread #1) by Melissa de la Cruz

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Hachette Children's Books and NetGalley.
Frozen (Heart of Dread, #1)
Blurb (from Goodreads):
From New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston comes this remarkable first book in a spellbinding new series about the dawn of a new kind of magic.

Welcome to New Vegas, a city once covered in bling, now blanketed in ice. Like much of the destroyed planet, the place knows only one temperature—freezing. But some things never change. The diamond in the ice desert is still a 24-hour hedonistic playground and nothing keeps the crowds away from the casino floors, never mind the rumors about sinister sorcery in its shadows.

At the heart of this city is Natasha Kestal, a young blackjack dealer looking for a way out. Like many, she's heard of a mythical land simply called “the Blue.” They say it’s a paradise, where the sun still shines and the waters are turquoise. More importantly, it’s a place where Nat won’t be persecuted, even if her darkest secret comes to light.

But passage to the Blue is treacherous, if not impossible, and her only shot is to bet on a ragtag crew of mercenaries led by a cocky runner named Ryan Wesson to take her there. Danger and deceit await on every corner, even as Nat and Wes find themselves inexorably drawn to each other. But can true love survive the lies? Fiery hearts collide in this fantastic tale of the evil men do and the awesome power within us all.

Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz

My rating: 2.25 of 5 stars

Frozen (Heart of Dread, #1)(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Hachette Children's Books and NetGalley.)

I thought this book sounded really good, but unfortunately it was a big disappointment.

Nat was an okay character, but she didn’t seem all that bright. I didn’t get why she thought she could hand out casino chips randomly (she was a blackjack dealer), and she also didn’t seem to consider that having stolen casino chips in her locked could get her into big trouble!

The storyline in this just didn’t grab me, and the book this book most reminded me of was ‘Under the Never Sky’ (and I didn’t like that either). I got really bored, I didn’t care what was going on or what would happen to the characters, and even the action made me roll my eyes.

The ending was a relief, because by that point I had no idea what was going on, it was literally bypassing my brain I was so bored.
Overall; dull,
4.5 out of 10

Saturday, 25 October 2014

The Iron Trial (Magisterium #1) by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Random House Children’s Publishers UK and NetGalley.
The Iron Trial (Magisterium, #1)
Blurb (from Goodreads):
From NEW YORK TIMES bestselling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare comes a riveting new series that defies what you think you know about the world of magic.

From two bestselling superstars, a dazzling and magical middle-grade collaboration centering on the students of the Magisterium, an academy for those with a propensity toward magic. In this first book, a new student comes to the Magisterium against his will -- is it because he is destined to be a powerful magician, or is the truth more twisted than that? It's a journey that will thrill you, surprise you, and make you wonder about the clear-cut distinction usually made between good and evil.

The Iron Trial by Holly Black and

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Iron Trial (Magisterium, #1)(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Random House Children’s Publishers UK and NetGalley.)

This was a really good middle-grade wizard story, and I loved how enchanting it was!

I really liked the characters in this story. Sure they were all a little clueless at points, but they were 12, so it felt more like they just hadn’t got there yet rather than them being stupid or anything like that. I felt quite sorry for Call and his friends at times; Call was given such misleading information from his father, as well as having a disability, so it felt like he was starting from a disadvantaged place compared to his peers.

The storyline in this book was pretty good. It did have similarities to Harry Potter, and I noticed a lot of them! But it also had a great magical/fantasy feeling, and made me feel the way I felt when I first read Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce when I was a kid, and I never expected to get that magical feeling back again! I never thought I would be quite as enchanted by this book as I was, especially given how wary I am about middle-grade books.
There wasn’t really any romance in this, but the books didn’t feel lacking because of it.

The ending to this was pretty good, but definitely left me wanting to read the next book! This book will definitely fill the void for those mourning the end of Harry Potter.
8 out of 10.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Sacrifice (Elemental #5) by Brigid Kemmerer

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley.
Sacrifice (Elemental, #5)
Blurb (from Goodreads):
One misstep and they lose it all. For the last time.

Michael Merrick is used to pressure.

He’s the only parent his three brothers have had for years. His power to control Earth could kill someone if he miscalculates. Now an Elemental Guide has it out for his family, and he’s all that stands in the way.

His girlfriend, Hannah, gets that. She’s got a kid of her own, and a job as a firefighter that could end her life without a moment’s notice.

But there are people who have had enough of Michael’s defiance, his family’s “bad luck.” Before he knows it, Michael’s enemies have turned into the Merricks’ enemies, and they’re armed for war.

They’re not interested in surrender. But Michael isn’t the white flag type anyway. There will be blood on the ground tonight…

Sacrifice by Brigid Kemmerer

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Sacrifice (Elemental, #5)(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley.)

This was an interesting end to the series, and it was good to see things from Michael’s point of view.

Michael was stressed in this book. He was constantly on edge, constantly feeling like he was being hunted, and fighting a losing battle to keep his brother’s safe. Things just seemed to go from bad to worse, and it seemed like the odds were really stacked against him. I felt really sorry for him with everything he had to go through, especially when he felt like he had no support at all.

The storyline in this was pretty good, and there was certainly an undercurrent of danger running through it. There seemed to be quite a few twists thrown in, and a couple of unexpected deaths, which were pretty shocking! Things just seemed to get worse and worse for Michael and his brothers, and things certainly looked worse before they looked better. These guys seemed to lose everything as the story progressed, and the story really was traumatic for the Merricks!

There wasn’t really much romance in this one, which was a little disappointing, but at the same time I feel a bit like the romance wasn’t really necessary. I think a lot of romantic interludes would have detracted from the danger in the story, which wouldn’t have been good.

The ending to this wasn’t what I expected, but it was a good ending, and I really hope that everything will be good from the Merrick’s from now on! I did feel a little let down by how open the ending was, but maybe the author will revisit the Merrick’s in the future? Who knows!
Overall; good end to the series,
7 out of 10.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

This Is Your Afterlife by Vanessa Barneveld

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Bloomsbury USA Children's Books and NetGalley.
This Is Your Afterlife
Blurb (from Goodreads):
When the one boy you crushed on in life can't seem to stay away in death, it's hard to be a normal teen when you're a teen paranormal.

Sixteen-year-old Keira Nolan has finally got what she wanted—the captain of the football team in her bedroom. Problem is he’s not in the flesh. He’s a ghost and she’s the only one who can see him.

Keira's determined to do anything to find Jimmy's killer. Even it if means teaming up with his prickly-yet-dangerously-attractive brother, Dan, also Keira's ex-best-friend. Keira finds that her childish crush is fading, but her feelings for Dan are just starting to heat up, and as the story of Jimmy’s murder unfolds, anyone could be a suspect.

This thrilling debut from Vanessa Barneveld crosses over from our world to the next, and brings a whole delightful new meaning to "teen spirit".

This Is Your Afterlife by Vanessa Barneveld

My rating: 3.25 of 5 stars

This Is Your Afterlife(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Bloomsbury USA Children's Books and NetGalley.)
Keira is shocked when her old crush turns up in her room, but she’s even more shocked when she realises that he is a ghost.
Can Keira work out how Jimmy died? And can she bring his killer to justice?

This was an okay story, but I lost interest.

Keira was a helpful girl, and wanted to help Jimmy’s family discover what had happened to him. I thought Jimmy was maybe a bit silly expecting her to go to his house and tell his family that she had talked to his ghost though. She would have sounded like a total nut case.

The storyline in this was okay, but it was a little predictable, and pretty much followed the same pattern as every book I have ever read about a girl who can talk to a ghost, who tries to work out how said ghost died. I also guessed quite early on who the killer was.
There was romance, and I was happy with the way that played out.

The ending was fairly happy, and there was no cliff-hanger!
6.5 out of 10.

Saving Grace by Jane Green

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Pan Macmillan and NetGalley.
Saving Grace
Blurb (from Goodreads):
From the number one bestselling author of Tempting Fate and The Accidental Husband, comes Jane Green's stunning new novel about a shattered marriage and a devastating betrayal.
Grace Chapman has the perfect life, living comfortably with her husband, bestselling author Ted, in a picture-perfect farmhouse on the Hudson River in New York State.Then Ted advertises for a new assistant, and Beth walks into their lives. Organized, passionate and eager to learn, Beth quickly makes herself indispensable to Ted and his family. But Grace soon begins to feel side-lined in her home - and her marriage - by this glamorous, ambitious younger woman.
Grace becomes increasingly distressed, as nobody around her believes that Beth could mean any threat.Is Grace just paranoid, as her husband tells her, or is there more to Beth than first thought? Then an unexpected email from Beth's former employer changes everything. What is Beth really capable of? Can Grace get her life back? And what if she realizes it's no longer the life she wants?

Saving Grace by Jane Green

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Saving Grace(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Pan Macmillan and NetGalley.)
Grace has been married to Ted for 25 years, and the last thing she expected was for his new assistant to break up their marriage, and claim that Grace is mentally ill.
Will Grace ever get her life back? And does she really want it back?

This was a really interesting story about one woman’s battle to get her life back, when another woman tries to push her out of her marriage and home.

Grace was an interesting character in this and I felt really sorry for her. She had so much to deal with just with her husband, without Beth coming along to try and make things worse! I did wonder at times if Grace was imagining some of what was going on, because of her history of mental health issues, but at the same time Beth came across as a little conniving.

The storyline in this was quite interesting, but I did find the pace a little slow, especially at the beginning. Once the story got going it did pick up a bit, and I got really involved in the story. I couldn’t quite believe how manipulative Beth was, and how she pushed Grace out of her own house and marriage! It really was shocking the way things went, and I felt so sorry for Grace.

There was a little bit of romance in this, but not a lot, and the story wasn’t really focused on the romance.

The ending was okay, although it wasn’t really what I expected. It was nice that Grace finally ended up happy though.
Overall; an interesting story about one woman’s battle to get her life back,
7 out of 10.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Follow Me Through Darkness (The Boundless Trilogy #1) by Danielle Ellison

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Spencer Hill Press and NetGalley.
Follow Me Through Darkness (The Boundless Trilogy, #1)
Blurb (from Goodreads):
The truth won't always set you free.

Less than a year ago, Neely Ambrose’s biggest worry was having the freedom to follow a path that wasn't chosen for her.

Less than a year ago, she believed she could trust the Elders who said they had everyone’s best interest at heart and who said they were keeping them safe from the outside.

Sixty days ago, she discovered what they had planned for everyone she loved—and that all of it centered around her.
Now she’s on the run through a dangerous wasteland full of killing machines, secret organizations, and people who want to sell her back to the Elders for their own safety. The whole world outside the Compound is living proof that everything in Neely’s life was a lie manufactured by the Elders, which may even include the boy she loves.

All Neely wants is the truth, but each new piece of it drives her further from what she thought she knew. With only forty days until everyone she loves falls under the Elders’ mind control, Neely must decipher who to trust, what questions to ask, and how to get one step ahead of the Elders, who will do anything to keep their secrets buried.

Follow Me Through Darkness by Danielle Ellison

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Follow Me Through Darkness (The Boundless Trilogy, #1)(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Spencer Hill Press and NetGalley.)

This was an interesting dystopian story, and I was intrigued by what was going on.

Cornelia and Thorne were good characters, and I liked both of them. I understood how Cornelia felt with regards to what she was being asked to do, as it really was quite a major task she was set, but I also wasn’t 100% happy with the way she treated Thorne at times.

The storyline in this was good, although I did feel like the world-building was maybe a little lacking. I knew enough to enjoy the story though, and more was explained as the story went along.
There was a love triangle in this story, and I felt Cornelia’s indecision. I also felt really sorry for both boys involved though, as she really was stringing them both along and hurting both of them, even if she didn’t mean to.

The ending to this was a big cliff-hanger, and I’m definitely interested to see what happens in the next book in the series.
Overall; good YA dystopian,
7 out of 10.

Loop by Karen Akins

Sponsored post: : I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley.
Blurb (from Goodreads):
At a school where Quantum Paradox 101 is a required course and history field trips are literal, sixteen year-old time traveler Bree Bennis excels…at screwing up.

After Bree botches a solo midterm to the 21st century by accidentally taking a boy hostage (a teensy snafu), she stands to lose her scholarship. But when Bree sneaks back to talk the kid into keeping his yap shut, she doesn’t go back far enough. The boy, Finn, now three years older and hot as a solar flare, is convinced he’s in love with Bree, or rather, a future version of her that doesn’t think he’s a complete pain in the arse. To make matters worse, she inadvertently transports him back to the 23rd century with her.

Once home, Bree discovers that a recent rash of accidents at her school are anything but accidental. Someone is attacking time travelers. As Bree and her temporal tagalong uncover seemingly unconnected clues—a broken bracelet, a missing data file, the art heist of the millennium—that lead to the person responsible, she alone has the knowledge to piece the puzzle together. Knowledge only one other person has. Her future self.

But when those closest to her become the next victims, Bree realizes the attacker is willing to do anything to stop her. In the past, present, or future. 

Loop by Karen Akins

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Loop(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley.)

This story wasn’t for me; I didn’t like the main character, and I got tired of the story.

Bree just annoyed me. She just seemed to have her own agenda, and did whatever it was that she felt was important, even if it meant that she didn’t complete her mission as expected. She told us about rules to do with time travel, and then when it was convenient to her, they all went out the window. Unfortunately, I just did not like Bree.

The storyline in this just wasn’t for me, even if it wasn’t for Bree, I don’t think I would have liked this. The writing style just didn’t suck me in, I didn’t find the story interesting, and I found it really hard to keep reading. I have to say that I’m hard to please with Time-Travel books, and this one just didn’t do it for me. The whole time-travel thing was a bit blurry in terms of explanation, and I found the info-dumps about it less than informative, and unfortunately not very interesting.
There was some romance, but again, it didn’t interest me, although this may have been because I didn’t like Bree.

The ending was a bit of a cliff-hanger, but I don’t think I’d want to read another book in this series.
Overall; not for me,
4 out of 10.

Book Blitz - The Land Uncharted by Keely Brooke Keith

Title: The Land Uncharted
Author: Keely Brooke Keith
Release Date: October 21, 2014
Publisher: Edenbrooke Press

Lydia Colburn is a young physician dedicated to serving her village in the Land. Day and night, she rushes by horseback to treat the ill and injured, establishing a heroic reputation as the village’s new doctor.

Naval Aviator Connor Bradshaw is flying over the South Atlantic Ocean on a mission to secure any remaining sources of fresh water in a 2025 world torn apart by war. A malfunction activates his aircraft’s ejection system, parachuting his unconscious body to the shore of a hidden land. 

Lydia risks her safety to help the injured outsider despite the shock of his mysterious arrival and the disastrous implications his presence could have for her peaceful society, which has gone undetected for seven generations.

Connor searches for a way to return to his squadron, but his fascination with life in the Land makes him protective of Lydia and her peaceful homeland. And while Lydia’s attraction to Connor stirs desires she never anticipated, it also pushes an unwanted admirer to stage a dangerous attempt to win her affection.

As Connor tries to keep the Land off the radar, he learns the biggest threat to Lydia lurks in her village. But when Lydia’s greatest passion and darkest fear collide, will she look to the past or the future to find the strength to survive?

Add The Land Uncharted to your shelf on GoodreadsShelfariLibraryThing, or FictFact

Pre-order today!
 Have your ebook of The Land Uncharted signed via Authorgraph!

Advance Praise for The Land Uncharted:
"Not only is Keely's writing beautiful and full of vivid detail, but the story and characters are incredible! I love the way she crosses genres and how well it all blends together.” -Christina Yother, author of Reverie

The Land Uncharted captured my interest from the opening lines. Keely Brooke Keith skillfully weaves an engaging story that explores the possibilities of a simple, peaceful existence in a society set apart from a world ravaged by conflict. Equal parts suspense and romance, this debut novel is a compelling read.” -Heidi McCahan, author of Unraveled

About the Author
Keely is a bass guitarist and lives on a hilltop south of Nashville. When she isn’t writing stories or playing bass, Keely enjoys dancing, having coffee with friends, and sifting through vintage books at antique stores. 

Author Links:
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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.
Beware the Wild
Blurb (from Goodreads):
It's an oppressively hot and sticky morning in June when Sterling and her brother, Phin, have an argument that compels him to run into the town swamp -- the one that strikes fear in all the residents of Sticks, Louisiana. Phin doesn't return. Instead, a girl named Lenora May climbs out, and now Sterling is the only person in Sticks who remembers her brother ever existed.

Sterling needs to figure out what the swamp's done with her beloved brother and how Lenora May is connected to his disappearance -- and loner boy Heath Durham might be the only one who can help her.

This debut novel is full of atmosphere, twists and turns, and a swoon-worthy romance.

Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker

My rating: 3.38 of 5 stars

Beware the Wild(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)
16-year-old Sterling is mad that nobody will search the swamp when her older brother, Phin, goes missing and she knows that is where he went. She’s baffled when a girl walks out of the swamp and into her home though, and her mother tells her that she is her sister – Lenora May, and that she never had a brother!
What happened to Sterling’s brother Phin? Who is Lenora-May? And will Sterling ever see her brother again?

This was an okay story, and I liked the mystery aspect.

Sterling was an okay character, and I liked how quickly she adapted to the situation. Knowing that your brother has disappeared and that you have a sister in his place is one thing, knowing not to keep talking about it so that people don’t think you’re crazy is quite another! I did admire how hard she fought to get her brother back though, and how she even took the time to listen to his imposter.

The storyline in this was okay, and it had a bit of southern charm. It reminded me of the ‘Sookie Stackhouse’ series, and ‘Skinwalker’ by Faith Hunter in places, but I think that was the whole southern thing, and the presence of the swamp. I did like the mystery of what had happened to Phin, and who the strange girl was, and how this whole thing had come to pass, and I liked the little twists we got every now and then.
There was a touch of romance and a couple of kisses that were quite sweet, even if Sterling’s step-father didn’t approve!

The ending was okay, and we did get a bit of a happily ever after, it’s just a shame that the ending couldn’t have been happy for everyone involved.
Overall; enjoyable mystery story,
6.75 out of 10.

Book Blitz and #Giveaway - Gateway (The Gateway Trilogy #1) by Christina Garner

Release Date: 06/2014

Summary from Goodreads:
Ember has always known she doesn’t belong in this world. But when she tries to correct the mistake, she wakes to find herself in a mental institution.

She’s soon drawn to Taren, the mysterious boy with hazel eyes. He’s not what he seems, but what is he?

When chaos erupts, they are forced to flee the institution together, and the secret that Taren has been keeping brings Ember closer to understanding her own. And leads her to… the Gateway.

Buy Links:
Amazon (on sale for $.99)

Release Date: August 2014

Summary from Goodreads:

**Description Contains Book 1 Spoilers** 

Two months have passed since Ember Lyons nearly died killing the powerful Root Demon threatening the Los Angeles Gateway. Physically healed, images of the day still haunt her and she can no longer access the power she once wielded. She can't talk about it with anyone at The Institute--not even her handsome, demon-hunting boyfriend, Taren. Besides there are bigger things to worry about: Gateways around the world are weakening, Keepers' Marks are fading, escaped lesser demons are populating Los Angeles, and it looks like the Root Demon wasn't alone.

When the Institute sends Ember and a team to Europe, she hopes to find answers and security on the journey, but another attempt on her life reminds her she's never really safe.

Then she's thrust together with the mysterious Alexander. Ember can't be sure if this charismatic man is her most formidable enemy or greatest ally. Either way, she needs him, because he's the only one who can bring her to... the Chasm.

Buy Links:
Amazon (on sale for $2.99)

Tether (The Gateway Trilogy Book 3)
Release Date: 09/23/14

Summary from Goodreads:
**Description Contains Book 2 Spoilers**

Ember was only trying to keep a promise when she jumped into the demon world. But instead of saving Cole and his people, she found herself just as trapped as they are. She lives and learns with the Daemon survivors while the demon threat grows every day.

Meanwhile Taren struggles with his guilt for not stopping Ember. He’s desperate to know she’s alive, but there's been no sign of her except in his own vivid dreams.

As they struggle to reconnect, the Gateways around the world weaken, and the demons begin to amass for war. The end is near and Ember must face her fears if she has any hope of saving the world – or herself.

With everything falling apart, her only hope is to find...her Tether.

Buy Links:

About the Author
Christina Garner began writing stories at the age of six. Her first–about a young girl who busted up a nefarious ring of furniture thieves–was a huge hit with her mother. At eighteen, her aspirations as an actor had her loading up her Buick and setting off for Hollywood. Since then, she has written and directed 10 short films, including Rewind and Reminder, both of which received acclaim on the festival circuit. In 2006, she began writing screenplays. A year later, she even got paid for one. In May of 2011, her debut novel, Gateway, became an Amazon Bestseller. Chasm, Book 2 in The Gateway Trilogy, did the same.

When she’s not writing novels, Christina spends her time working in the movie business, traveling, watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer reruns, and playing with her dog, Griffin.

Author Links:
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From Book One:
“Did she hurt you?" Taren asked. "Your head hit the tile pretty hard.” That explained the spinning, and the pain that was starting to seep through the cracks of my shock.
I reached up to touch the back of my head. 
“Ow! Yeah, I guess she got me pretty good. What was that about, anyway?  What's her problem with me?”
Before he could answer, one of the nurses approached. “We'll get you checked out now, dear.”
“I was just going to get her some ice,” Taren said, his hand on the small of my back, steering me away from the nurse.
“Don't be silly,” the nurse said. “She could have a concussion. We need to take her to the E.R.” 
While she went to confer with an orderly, I stifled a laugh. I had been wanting to get out of there. Maybe if my mother knew I was just as likely to lose my life inside the mental hospital as out, she'd spring me that much sooner.
“Wait.” Taren leaned close, his breath in my ear. My pulse went back to racing. “Do you have any…birthmarks?” 
His question was so bizarre that I was heedless of the pain and snapped my head to face him.
His eyes were only inches away, boring into mine. He grabbed my wrist and pushed up the sleeve of my hoodie, searching. I tried to pull away, but his grip was too strong.
“Do you?” he asked again, checking the other arm.
“N-no,” I stammered. 
Intensity didn't usually unnerve me, but at that moment, his definitely did. 
“Taren, enough!” the nurse said, hurrying back to us. “What on earth are you doing?”
She pried his hands from my arm, causing Taren to come back to himself. 
“Nothing, sorry.” He dropped his gaze. “Sorry, I hope you feel better.” 
He turned abruptly and strode away.