Monday, 31 January 2011

Past Midnight by Mara Purnhagen

4/5 Stars

I enjoyed this more than I was expecting.

This was different to a lot of the Young Adult books with paranormal aspects that I have read lately, and there were genuinely creepy points during the book that had me a little bit scared!

It is a quick read, but brilliantly written with just the right balance of action and description that keeps you gripped to the end. Definitely a book for one sitting.

Charlotte makes a believable and likeable young heroine - and other than some scary ghost parts there is nothing in this book that would prevent a young teenager or even an advanced 10/11 year old from reading and enjoying this book. As a very nearly 29 year old I can honestly say I am looking forward to Charlotte's story continuing in One Hundred Candles.

Source- I purchased this from an online bookstore.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Angels Blood by Nalini Singh

4 out of 5 stars.

My first Nalini Singh book and it will definitely not be my last.

Elena is a vampire hunter. And she works for angels, hunting the vamps that have gone bad. But what do you do when an angel goes bad?

Nalini Singh has created a compelling world in Angel's Blood where vampires are created by angels in return for their servitude. Archangels rule the angels, and therefore the world. When one of the most powerful Archangels goes bad our heroine Elena is called in to help with the hunt.

The book is full of vivid imagery- angels flying from buildings in New York! and sizzling sexual tension between Elena and her current boss the Archangel Raphael- who is so alpha male it's untrue.

I hated Raphael at first but over time came to understand and appreciate him. Elena is a feisty heroine with some good one liners. The other Archangels are all well defined characters that no doubt will be developed throughout the series.

This was a great urban fantasy story which is part of a series but to it's credit does not have a big cliffhanger ending. Although I am still glad that I have started to read this series when number 2, Archangel's Kiss is already out with number 3 Archangels Consort due for release anytime now.....

Source- I purchased this book from an online bookstore

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Stealing Time by Elisa Page

5 out of 5 stars

The blurb:

"It wasn't that she wanted to live forever. She just didn't want to die.

When artist James Wesley realizes Evie Reed is dying, he is so moved by the beautiful reporter's determination to live that he makes her immortal—a vampire, like him. She's the woman he's been waiting over 150 years for. Though initially shocked by the change, Evie quickly embraces her second chance at life, and love.

Just as James and Evie begin to define eternity together, a zealot breaks an ancient treaty, threatening a peace between humans and vampires that has stood for a thousand years. And when he focuses his hatred on Evie, the immortal lovers find themselves swept up in a deadly supernatural war..."

This is a fast paced urban fantasy that kept me gripped throughout. I found myself thrust into Evies world from the first sentence and was hurtled along at incredible speed as she struggles with terminal illness and is changed into a vampire- escaping death. The pace was a little disconcerting at first but I soon adjusted.

I liked the way that the author describes Evies change from human to vampire but I thought that she accepts that she is a vampire perhaps a bit too quickly. The vampire mythology isn't exactly groundbreaking, but is consistent and believable. One interesting element is Evie's development of a special ability after a freak accident and is something I hope is developed further over the series.

The romance between Evie and her maker James is a very large part of the book and they are very strongly connected. The attraction between them is obvious from the very beginning of the book and soon develops to the point where they can't bear to be apart. Despite this I found the romance between them sweet and endearing and not overbearing or forced.

Overall I really enjoyed this book. It has similarities to other vampire novels that are popular at the moment and doesn't really break new ground. it's just a well written, entertaining urban fantasy with a cliffhanger ending that will make you impatient for the release of the second book.

Source- I received an ARC via netgalley.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Alyson Noel's The Immortals Giveaway Winner


And the lucky winner is Michelle!

Congratulations- Your prize is on it's way to you!

The Immortals 4 Books Collection Set Alyson Noel (The Immortals) (Dark Flame, Shadowland, Blue Moon, Evermore)

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Lust (The Sins and The Virtues #1)Lust by Charlotte Featherstone

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a great blend of historical romance, paranormal romance and erotica in one novel. It is the first of Charlotte Featherstone's books that I have read and I am looking forward to the rest in this series.

The story centers around Chastity, the virtuous daughter of a nobleman and the living embodiment of her name, and Thane- a dark Faery Prince and the embodiment of Lust who needs her to break a curse on his court. Thane does everything he can to make Chastity fall in love with him and agree to come to his court with him. Chastity resists him at first but over time the two fall in love.

The story is well written, full of sexual tension and there are a lots of plot twists and turns to keep it interesting. Unusually I preferred the first half of the book to the second, as the world building was excellent and the sex scenes were not as frequent as in the second half.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys paranormal or historical romance novels with a bit of spice to them!

Source: ARC from Netgalley
View all my reviews

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Review of Mystify (Mystyx #2) by Artist Arthur

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I reviewed this book from an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley.

This is quite a short, quick, fun read and just like the previous book Manifest, reads a lot like a collection of journal entries.

Our narrator this time is Sasha Carrington, who we first met in Manifest through Krystals eyes. Sasha is another teenager who gets pretty much whatever she wants but I found her more instantly likeable and less whiny than Krystal. Sasha has a good sense of fairness and is willing to stand up for what she believes in, in the end.

Sasha has a lot on her plate- distant parents, bitchy girls at school and her first teenage crush is something of a 'starcrossed lovers' scenario- a boy from the wrong side of the tracks. Then there are her growing 'powers' and the small matter of the darkness that is coming for her and her friends.

There are lots of interesting ideas throughout the book, but I think it was perhaps a little too short and had a feel of being something to set the scene ready for the third book.

There's just enough to keep you interested and by the end of the book the scene is well and truly set for an epic battle between light and dark but this particular book seemed to be missing a real, central storyline with any action of it's own.

We do meet the mysterious darkness which continues to threaten the Mystyx, but where Manifest had a story and mystery centred around a serial killer who is caught and brought to justice by our young heroes there is nothing really defining that happens in this book.

The book is very much a young adult book and I would place it firmly in the 14-16 year old category. As an adult reading this book I felt a little bit out of place but I can imagine that teenagers would identify strongly with the main characters. It does tackle some pretty serious issues for teenagers like race, segregation, cultural and social differences and peer pressure and these are handled well throughout.

Overall I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars because although there are a lot of loose ends I enjoyed reading it. I think it is a great book for the teenage audience it is intended for and I am excited for the third book which I hope ties most of those loose ends up.

View all my reviews

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Review of Manifest (Mystyx #1) By Artist Arthur

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Manifest is an interesting coming of age novel aimed at young adults with a twist of the paranormal.

Our heroine, Krystal is not immediately likable and is pretty spoilt. She's the kind of girl you love to hate. Which should have put me off, but instead had me hooked. Like watching a car crash or something there was an unexplainable need to find out what happens.

The other characters with supernatural powers were much more likeable and the other books of the series will be written from their point of view which will be really interesting.

Ricky, the ghost that is looking for Krystals help is quite funny and down to earth and has no problems telling her when she's out of line. The mystery surrounding Rickys death really starts to unfold in the second half of the book- which coincides with Krystal becoming much more normal and less whiny. It's the second half of the book where the story really comes into it's own and I really started to be swept along with it.

For a first book of a series it is good enough to make me want to read the second- especially as I need to know more about the mysterious 'M'.

Source- I purchased this book from an online bookstore
View all my reviews

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Interview With Sharon Atkinson

I am very excited to have an interview with Sharon Atkinson who is a self published poetry author and has had poems published in anthologies.

You can find examples of Sharon's writing at Even Angels Cry.

My personal favourite is the microfiction:

I can’t believe David asked me to the prom, but so did Stephen, Tommy, Mike, Lee and Bobby. They always gave me the impression that they hated me, especially as they always made fun of me, pulled my hair, spat in my face and tripped me up so many times. I’m not sure who I will choose but in the meantime I can make my own prom dress. I will sow every stitch with care. It will be a masterpiece.

This time tomorrow I will be at the prom. I have decided to go with all of them. The one thing left to do now is, what do I do with their remains?

Questions and Answers

What inspired you into writing?
I didn’t start writing properly until 2001 when a friend said to me that I should write as I have so much inside me that people would like to hear. So she set me up with my website. It did encourage me to actually start writing. I started on the poetry and before long some of my poems were being accepted for publication in anthologies. It was certainly a great boost to the system and it encouraged me to keep going.

What are you currently working on?
At present I am working on my second book of poetry which is more of the deeper, darker gothic side, my first novel and a few short stories which I may put into a book of their own.

What do you want your readers to get out of your writing?
I want my readers to get a feeling of satisfaction. If the sad stuff brings a tear to your eyes, my words have reached your heart and the same for the romance and those with humour. I want them to press all of the right buttons in the reader so they feel the same that I possible do when I read others work.

Who is your favourite author/s? and why?
I have a number of authors that I like to read
Cecelia Ahern, a feel good author where you can relate to the heroine telling the stories
Charlaine Harris, writes well and enjoyable to read
Barbara Erskine, excellent writer, her words flow into your mind and you can picture the magic that erupts on to the page
Stephen King, my first horror writer experience
Graham Masterton, he grabs you with the opening paragraphs and you are hooked in to his world of macbre
There are many more authors that I love to read and I also enjoy reading works from authors I have never read before. They open the mind to a whole different range of writing.

What do you love to do when you are not writing?
When I am not writing, I like to obviously read a lot and listen to music. Music plays a very good part in my life. I attend a lot of music gigs.

What is your ideal playlist when writing?
I like a lot of the old 80’s hair metal bands/glam metal, so as long as it has Bon Jovi, Thunder, Europe, Dokken, Cinderella, Motley Crue, Whitesnake, Def Leppard, Skid Row, Yngwie Malmsteen and a must is Within Temptation. Depending on what I am writing at the time, I do tend to listen to a lot of Heavy metal as well.

You can buy Sharon's book of poetry 'From Dreams to Reality' here:

Thursday, 13 January 2011

My first award :0)

Hurray,I got my 1st "Stylish blogger award" Thank you to Enchanted Ramblings from for giving me this award.
Pop on over and check out her blog!

Now I'm going to pass on the"Stylish blogger blogger award"
and Here are the rules if you are awarded:

1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself in the same post.
3. Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers that shine with style.
4. Then contact these bloggers with style and tell them about the award you have given them.

So here are my 7 things about myself:

1. I am a qualified Ear Piercer
2. I once did a 10,000 foot skydive
3. I have 3 tattoos
4. My favourite drink is rum
5. I am scared of spiders
6. I am the oldest of 5 children
7. I love Spongebob Squarepants

Now I pass the "Stylish Blogger Award" award to the following bloggers (I had to do 5 as everyone else already had this recently!):

Congratulations to all of the above 5 stylish bloggers!
Make sure you check out every blog listed - they'll all really great!

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Haunted- Kelley Armstrong

Haunted (Women of the Otherworld, #5)Haunted by Kelley Armstrong

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hmm, I didn't love it quite as much as the last 3 books but it was still an enjoyable read.

Kristof was portrayed as a basically good character in this story which was way out of context from when he last played a reasonably central role- in Dime Store Magic. I don't think enough thought or explanation went into making that transition from bad guy to good guy believable for me.

Eve is a reasonably likeable character- very pragmatic and pretty kick-ass. I enjoyed seeing things from her POV and would like to see more of her in the series.

There's quite a lot of action in this one, although somehow some of it felt like 'padding'. Particularly the chapter spent in the serial killer hell dimension felt dragged out.

Overall a decent read but compared to the last 3 in the series it was missing the usual wow factor.

View all my reviews

Sunday, 9 January 2011

UK Book Giveaway

Readers in the UK- Want to be in with a chance of winning a 4 book set of Alyson Noel's Immortals series?

The Immortals 4 Books Collection Set Alyson Noel (The Immortals) (Dark Flame, Shadowland, Blue Moon, Evermore)

All you need to do is join the UK Swap Shop on Goodreads before the 21st January 2011 and add the books you have available for swapping. For an additional entry please add a comment below

So to be in with a chance you must join UK SWAP SHOP before 21st Jan and have added your swap list
1 additional entry if you comment below. Please include your username for Goodreads in the comment so I can identify you

The winner will be drawn on the 22nd January and announced here and on the UK Swap Shop.

Good Luck!

Friday, 7 January 2011

UK Book Swap

A new group has been created on Goodreads to allow members in the UK to swap their books with others. I am very excited as this will probably save me a fortune in books and stop me amassing so many that I could build a new house out of them!

Goodreads has its own swap service for the USA, but nothing available for UK members.

So, if you are in the UK and are interested, head on over to the UK SWAP SHOP and join in!

See you there :0)

Thursday, 6 January 2011

The Raising

This is a standalone novel and the first I have read by Laura Kasischke. I received an ARC copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Goodreads blurb:

The accident was tragic, yes. Bloody and horrific and claiming the life of a beautiful young sorority girl. NICOLE was a straight A student from a small town. Sweet-tempered, all-American, a fomer Girl Scout, and a virgin. But it was an accident. And that was last year. It’s fall again, a new semester, a fresh start.

CRAIG, who has not been charged with murder, is focusing on his classes, and also on avoiding Nicole’s sorority sisters, who seem to blame him for her death even though the police did not.

PERRY, Craig’s roommate, is working through his own grief (he grew up with Nicole, after all, and had known her since kindergarten) by auditing Professor Polson’s sociology class: Death, Dying, and the Undead.

MIRA has been so busy with her babies—two of them, twins, the most perfect boys you could imagine, but still a nearly impossible amount of work even with Clark’s help—that she can barely keep herself together to teach (Death, Dying and the Undead), let alone write the book she'll need to publish for tenure.

And SHELLY, who was the first person at the scene of the accident, has given up calling the newspapers to tell them that, despite the "lake of blood" in which they keep reporting the victim was found, the girl Shelly saw that night was not bloody, and not dead.

The book is written from the different points of view of the four people in the blurb and also jumps back and forth in time. This made it a little confusing on occasions and I sometimes had to pause before starting a chapter to let my poor brain catch up. Most of the time it wasn't too much of an issue however, and it kept the book fresh and exciting with no time to get bored of one persons narrative.

There is an eerie feel throughout the book, a sense that something is amiss but the plot twists and turns and keep you guessing about both the main characters and what really happened to Nicole. Just as you think you know what might have happened, or think you understand one characters, something happens that changes your mind.

The relationships in the book were interesting, but I just didn't understand why Craig was so obsessed with Nicole and the level of obsession - he barely questioned anything she did, or stopped as soon as she pouted- was a bit too unrealistic for me.

I think that the POV I enjoyed most was Mira's. This was partly because I found the subject of death and death rituals fascinating (I would have loved to have been one of her students) and also that I found the relationship with her husband and its breakdown wonderfully and sensitively written.

With the books I have been reading I am used to either some questions left hanging to be picked up by the next in the series, or everything wrapped up In a neat little storyline bow. So imagine my initial surprise/dismay at not having the story fully concluded!

When I had finished I was initially disappointed with all the loose ends left floating. On reflection, however, the ending given matched the tone of the book and ensured that the eerie atmosphere lingered with me long after the book was closed. And a clear sign to me of a good book is one that stays with you long after reading.

The book is an adult novel and contains explicit language and sexuality. The sexual scenes are not what I would consider gratuitous however, and actually add to the plot rather than being a distraction from it.

In all I would give this book 4/5 stars and wouldn't be surprised to see this on bestseller lists later this year.

The Raising: A Novel (P.S.)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Just for Fun

Life has been hectic this week so for a little light relief I thought I would entertain myself- and you - with a few reading related facts & trivia.

Fact 1: Reading about yawning makes you yawn........... See!

Fact 2: Men can read smaller print than women, and women have better hearing than men

Fact 3: No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver, or purple.

Fact 4: The average reading speed for non-technical material is 200-250 words per minute

Fact 5: The first libraries open to the public were the collections of Greek and Latin scrolls which were available in the dry sections of the many buildings that made up the huge Roman baths of the Roman empire. However, they were not lending libraries.

These facts were found at various locations across the internet, and I cannot vouch for their accuracy! Nor do I accept any liability for gender related disagreements based on fact 2..... ;0)

Monday, 3 January 2011

Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa

The Iron Queen (Iron Fey, #3)The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The third book in the Iron Fey series and definitely my favourite so far. The only negative I have is that the fourth book, Iron Knight isn't due to be released for ages!

I was lucky enough to get an ARC for review to be able to read this one a little early and hope I will have the same opportunity with Iron Knight or the wait will kill me...

The Iron Queen picks up right where the Iron Daughter left off and is even more action packed. It also has more romance and heart wrenching decisions to be made by Meghan- who has grown and matured drastically through the series. She still has lingering insecurities but when needed she shoves them aside and makes the best decisions she can at the time. When she steps up to it, she's definitely a force to be reckoned with!

Some of her most difficult decisions are made for the 'greater good' and the decision to release Ash from his vow when she thinks she is going to die is definitely one of those. and would have been a tearjerker if I was more of a cryer...

Grimalkin remains mysterious and pops up just when he is needed throughout the book. I really hope Iron Knight will shed some light on exactly what he is and his role in the bigger picture as I am intrigued.

Plus there's a healthy dose of Ash and Puck throughout the book to keep a girl happy!

Another great installment in a fantastic series. If you haven't read them yet you really should give them a go!

The Iron Queen is due for release in Feb 2011.

View all my reviews

Sunday, 2 January 2011

January Book Releases I Am Excited for

Here are the new books released  this month/early next month that I am dying to get my hands on:
The Iron Queen (Harlequin Teen)UnearthlyTaken By The Others (H&W Investigations)

 Forsaken. Jana Oliver (Demon Trappers)ShadowfeverShadowspell (Faeriewalker)  A couple of these are continuations of a series that I haven't started yet  (Shadowfever and Taken by the Others) so I will be reading the other books of the series first.  Look out for the upcoming reviews!

Wicked Little Pixies blog  has a more comprehensive list of Jan Releases

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Review of Lost Voices by Sarah Porter

Wow, for a book about mermaids this is pretty powerful stuff! Sarah Porter has created a darkly compelling tale of abused children, murderous mermaids and teenage bullying. The writing is good and it is easy to picture the world that is being created despite it being about fantasy creatures.

14 year old Luce has lost her mother and father and lives with her abusive uncle. She copes with this by mostly keeping quiet and not drawing attention to herself. Then one evening her uncle tries to inflict his worst assault yet.

The emotional pain of the incident and preceding events turns Luce into a mermaid. Mermaids are young girls who have been mistreated by the humans who were supposed to look after them. The Mermaids dislike humans because of their troubled human lives and delight in singing to boats that pass their way enchanting the humans aboard and causing them to jump into the ocean and drown.

Luce finds a home with a tribe of mermaids led by their queen Caterina. Caterina's character is fascinating and I changed my opinion of her several times as the story developed. Luce's devotion to Caterina was a bit much, however, almost bordering on obsession.

As more new mermaids join the tribe there is unrest among them which I suppose is kind of political but was more a demonstration of how teenage girls can behave toward each other and be either wonderful friends or bitter enemies from one day to the next, driven mostly by their own insecurities.

The most important thing to the mermaids is singing. A great voice is considered a gift and the best singer is always the Queen of the tribe. Luce's voice is amazing from the beginning which both pleases and threatens Caterina as existing Queen. Luce seems oblivious to how good her voice is at first, and even after she learns more about what she can do with her singing she has no desire to take Caterina's place. Luce also struggles with the killing humans part of being a mermaid and is torn between the intense need to sing and the guilt at what the singing does to the humans.

The power struggle between Luce, Caterina and a shallow selfish mermaid named Anais has some dramatic consequences which were left mostly hanging at the end of the book.

I was disappointed with the ending as the story just kind of stopped. I assume the next in the series will pick up from there but it was still quite disappointing to be left hanging.

The ending aside, I found the second half of the book better than the first. I didn't really get properly into the story until the ninth chapter and would have liked Luce's pre-mermaid life to have been expanded on a little more.

Overall I enjoyed this book and look forward to the next in the series.

I was lucky enough to get an Advance Reading Copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Unfortunately the book is not scheduled for general release until July 4th 2011 but is available for pre-order now from Amazon.

Lost Voices    

My Rating 3 out of 5 stars
 Source- ARC from netGalley