Sunday, 23 November 2014

Review: The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel

The Book of Ivy (The Book of Ivy, #1)The Book of Ivy

Author: Amy Engel
Series: The Book of Ivy
Pages: 304
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Release date: 11th November 2014

Synopsis: (Goodreads)

After a brutal nuclear war, the United States was left decimated. A small group of survivors eventually banded together, but only after more conflict over which family would govern the new nation. The Westfalls lost. Fifty years later, peace and control are maintained by marrying the daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winning group in a yearly ritual. 

This year, it is my turn. 

My name is Ivy Westfall, and my mission is simple: to kill the president’s son—my soon-to-be husband—and restore the Westfall family to power. 

But Bishop Lattimer is either a very skilled actor or he’s not the cruel, heartless boy my family warned me to expect. He might even be the one person in this world who truly understands me. But there is no escape from my fate. I am the only one who can restore the Westfall legacy.

Because Bishop must die. And I must be the one to kill him

Review: 4 ½ out of 5 stars

I have to admit this is a book I was sold on based on the cover alone! I’m a big fan and I’m pleased to say the story within is just as fabulous.

Sixteen year-old Ivy Westfall has been training for a mission, to kill the president’s son who through an arranged marriage is now her husband and attempt to restore the Westfall family to power but she didn’t expect Bishop Lattimer and his kindness, determination and sheer will; he was very different to what she had anticipated and the plans her family had been plotting for some time began to show fault.

Peace and control are maintained by marrying the daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winning group in a yearly ritual.

I thought from the beginning of the book that I knew how this book would end, a number of things were predictable but the twists and turns the author gave us were pleasant surprises. I wasn’t fully sold on the plot, the Westfall’s came across as power hungry and the only thing I believe wasn’t really working in their current situation were the forced arranged marriages (to increase the population) and having no defined way of punishing people who commit crimes but otherwise within all societies there are going to be issues.

I adored the main characters, Ivy was strong, brave and politically opinionated, she was in a difficult position; having been forced to marry a stranger she dealt with it with dignity and questioned what she had always been told; Bishop was a sweetheart, his caring nature and kindness really endeared me to him and I was surprised by a few revelations; the slow to build relationship between them is the kind I enjoy, not rushed but snippets of affection and chemistry showing us the slow build-up of the potential romance to come; I thoroughly enjoyed their interactions although I do wish we had more page time with them together.

Amy Engel’s writing is compelling, the world-building is strong and the characters were all developed well; filled with betrayal, political scheming and a sweet budding romance, The Book of Ivy is a convincing dystopian that had me engaged from the very first page, I was shocked by the end so I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.

Thank you to Entangled Publishing via Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review The Book of Ivy.



Amy EngelAbout the author (Goodreads): 

I was born in Kansas and after a childhood spent bouncing between countries (Iran, Taiwan) and states (Kansas, California, Missouri, Washington, D.C.), I settled in Kansas City, Missouri where I live with my husband and two kids. Before devoting myself full time to motherhood and writing, I was a criminal defense attorney, which is not quite as exciting as it looks on television. When I have a free moment, I can usually be found reading, running, or shoe shopping. 

Friday, 21 November 2014

Review: The Infinite Sea (The 5th Wave) by Rick Yancey

The Infinite Sea (The Fifth Wave #2)The Infinite Sea

Author: Rick Yancey
Series: The 5th Wave
Pages: 480
Publisher: Penguin Books Australia
Release date: 16th September 2014

Synopsis: (Goodreads)

The hugely anticipated follow-up to the New York Times bestselling The 5th Wave, hailed by Justin Cronin as “wildly entertaining.”

For Cassie Sullivan and the rest of Earth’s remaining human survivors, the situation was already desperate when the 5th Wave hit. It’s about to get worse.

No one yet knows the depths to which Earth’s conquerors—the Others—will sink in order to rid the Earth of the human infestation, nor have they guessed the heights to which the human spirit can reach. Characters introduced in Book One will come to the fore—and others will face the ultimate test.

Readers will watch in awe as the Others give their answer to Cassie’s defiance.

Review: 4 out of 5 stars

Contains spoilers from book 1, The 5th Wave.

The Infinite Sea is the second book in the series and begins where The 5th Wave left off; At the end of the first book, Our MC Cassie Sullivan was reunited with her brother Sam after attacking Vosch’s facility and discovering Ben Parish, among others had been brain-washed into believing they were fighting against an alien invasion unbeknownst to them it was the aliens who were training them. We also learnt that Evan Walker was an alien in a human body and had been ordered to kill Cassie; he obviously didn’t do it as he had fallen for her.

I enjoyed getting to know Cassie that little bit more, she could be high maintenance at times but I liked her as a character, Evan was great but did annoy me on occasion and we get to know a lot more about Ringer, I like her role in the story and her sassy personality is starting to grow on me, I enjoyed her backstory. We also get to know more about Poundcake, another interesting character. All of the characters played an important role in the overall story and interact well.

The plot is intricately detailed and intense, it gives us more of an understanding about the Others and their purpose; I did have a few gripes though, my first being the extremely slow start, I felt things were dragged out and there wasn’t a lot going on, I also think there were a lot of characters and not enough page time to fully develop and appreciate each of them as individuals. The first half of the book I would have rated a 3 and the ending a 5 so I’ve rated it in the middle.

The world Yancy has created is scary and brutal, it is creative and the information he provides is vividly detailed. The characters loyalties are tested and new alliances are formed in this book but there are still many unanswered questions that I hope will be answered in the last book.

My next gripe was the number of POV’s, dual is usually as much as I can take, anymore and my heads starts spinning but in saying this each of the characters had a distinct, unique voice that flowed  flawlessly but I did find myself preferring Cassie or Evan’s over others.

Rick Yancey’s writing is wonderful and the heart-pounding action, surprise twists and turns and melodrama continued in this sequel which I appreciated. I am eager to see the outcome of the final instalment to see if these humans can outwit the supposed superior race of aliens.

Thank you to Penguin Books Australia for the opportunity to read and review The Infinite Sea.



Rick YanceyAbout the author: aka Richard Yancey

Rick is a native Floridian and a graduate of Roosevelt University in Chicago. He earned a B.A. in English which he put to use as a field officer for the Internal Revenue Service. Inspired and encouraged by his wife, he decided his degree might also be useful in writing books and in 2004 he began writing full-time.

Since then he has launched two critically acclaimed series: The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp, for young readers, and The Highly Effective Detective, for adults. Both books are set in Knoxville, Tennessee, where Rick lived for ten years before returning to Florida. 

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Waiting on Wednesday - Confess by Colleen Hoover and The Dead List by Jennifer L. Armentrout


Hi everyone!! thank-you so much for stopping by today.

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine which spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My WoW’s for this week are Confess by Colleen Hoover and The Dead List by Jennifer L. Armentrout.

Confess

Author: Colleen Hoover
Series: -
Genre: New adult
Amazon pre-order
Publisher: Atria Books
Release date: 10th March 2015


Synopsis. (Goodreads)

Auburn Reed has her entire life mapped out. Her goals are in sight and there’s no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a risk and puts her heart in control, only to discover Owen is keeping major secrets from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.

The last thing Owen wants is to lose Auburn, but he can’t seem to convince her that truth is sometimes as subjective as art. All he would have to do to save their relationship is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin…

The Dead List

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: -
Genre: New Adult
Amazon pre-order
Publisher: Disney/Hyperion
Release date: 31st March 2015


Synopsis. (Goodreads)

It’s Ella’s senior year of high school and she and her best friend Linds plan to make it the best year ever. At Brock Cochran’s end of summer pool party, the girls vow to have as much fun as possible before they head off to different colleges in the fall. 

But when Ella is mysteriously attacked on her way home from the party, everything changes. Ella’s carefree senior year plans disintegrate as she finds herself at the center of an attempted murder investigation.

Ella is determined to move on; to get her life back to normal, but she can’t seem to shake the feeling that she’s still being watched. Suddenly, the people closest to her seem the most suspicious, like the elusive Jensen Carver. In her seemingly safe West Virginia town, Ella starts to wonder who she can actually trust
  

What are most anticipating this week?

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Review: Once Perfect (Shattered Past #1) by Cecy Robson

Once Perfect (Shattered Past, #1)Once Perfect

Author: Cecy Robson
Series: Shattered Past
Pages: 272
Publisher: Loveswept
Release date: 7th October 2014
Amazon -TBD

Synopsis: (Goodreads)

His life was never easy. Hers wasn’t supposed to be this hard. They come from different worlds, but fate lures them together in a way neither expected in Cecy Robson’s raw, steamy New Adult debut—perfect for fans of Monica Murphy and J. Lynn.

Evelyn Preston’s future once looked perfect—until her wealthy father was caught in an embezzlement scandal and took his own life. Alone and struggling to pay her college tuition and bills, Evelyn finds a job as a waitress at the ultra-hip nightclub Excess, where she used to have more in common with the privileged private-school clientele than her fellow staff members. But something attracts her to the sexy six-foot-four bouncer and underground MMA fighter Mateo Tres Santos. Although they’ve led different lives, their troubled pasts bonds them in both survival and love.

Mateo is ex-army who wound up in prison for assaulting the man who harmed his sister. Now he’s feeling the same protective impulse for this petite blond waitress. When Evelyn experiences a panic attack at the club, Mateo comes to her rescue. And when Mateo is wounded shielding her from a brawl, Evelyn returns the favor and comes to his aid.

As their attraction intensifies, Mateo is determined to find out what nightmares are lurking in Evelyn’s past—even if that means tackling his own to save her

Review: 3 out of 5 stars

I have read some great reviews for Cecy Robson’s Weird series which I haven’t as yet had a chance to pick up but I was quite keen to start on her new adult series Shattered Past.

From the first chapter, you are drawn into the story needing to know the details of what had happened to Evelyn Preston and the demise of her once perfect life; now waitressing at a bar to pay her way through college she attracts the attention of one of the bouncers, Mateo Tres Santos but Evelyn is wary because of the time he has spent in prison as well as his underground MMA fighting.

The relationship between Evelyn and Mateo develops at a realistic pace which I appreciated, their chemistry and the sexual tension was great and I loved the way he protected her and the time they took to get to know one another on a deeper level. I felt Mateo’s family dramas were handled well and I also loved the care he gave to his sisters, his parents on the other hand grated on my nerves. I was surprised by what we came to find out about Evelyn, I knew something had happened but I had no idea what it was, I liked how this element was revealed and dealt with. Both characters were likeable, Evelyn did come across as na├»ve but she was very sweet and Mateo is a good guy with a tragic past, they complimented each other well. 

Despite enjoying this book, the wow factor was missing as I found nothing was new and fresh, I thought things were repetitive and at times lacklustre and some of the secondary characters were stereotypical and seemed to be included without purpose.

Overall, Once Perfect wasn’t perfect for me but I was satisfied with the outcome and look forward to reading the next book in the Shattered Past series.

Thank you kindly to Random House - Loveswept via Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review Once Perfect.



Cecy RobsonAbout the author: CECY (pronounced Sessy) ROBSON is the Penguin Random House New Adult author of Once Perfect, Once Loved, and Once Pure, and the award-winning author of the Weird Girls Urban Fantasy Romance series. A self-proclaimed professional napper, Cecy counts among her talents a jaw-dropping knowledge of useless trivia, the ability to make her hair big, and a knack for breaking into song despite her family's vehement protests. A writer, registered nurse, and mother living in the South, Cecy enjoys spending time with her family and silencing the yappy characters in her head by telling their stories.

Connect with Cecy online at www.cecyrobson.com, twitter.com/cecyrobson orfacebook.com/Cecy.Robson.Author

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post {16th November}

 

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Hi everyone!! Thank you so much for stopping by my blog today. 

 The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba at Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer and Stacking the Shelves by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews 

 It's a chance to share what has happened the past week, showcase books and other bookish things we have received and talk about what is coming up on our blog. I haven’t posted a TSP/STS in a little while now so these books are from the past few weeks.

Current YA/NA Giveaways
Molli Moran – One Song Away

ReVamped (Angel Creek, #1) ReAwakened (Angel Creek, #2) Out of Control One Song Away

Received for Review

Captive by Aimee Carter
(Sample) A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E Schwab
A Darker Past by Jus Accardo
The Shape of my Heart by Ann Aguirre 
The Flywheel by Erin Gough
Burning Kingdoms by Lauren DeStefano

Captive (The Blackcoat Rebellion, #2) A Darker Shade of Magic (A Darker Shade of Magic, #1) A Darker Past (Darker Agency, #2)
 The Shape of My Heart  (2B Trilogy #3) Burning Kingdoms (Internment Chronicles, #2)

Purchased

Stone Cold Touch by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Stone Cold Touch (The Dark Elements, #2)

Last week on the blog

Guest Post – Darkness series by Stacey Marie Brown
Author interview - M.R. Merrick (The Protector & Sacred Cities series)
Author spotlight/excerpt – Helia’s Shadow by K.C. Neal
Author interview - Ada Adams (Angel Creek series)
US vs Aust/UK cover contest – Out of Control by Sarah Alderson
Series/Author spotlight – Marie Landry, Angel Creek
Guest post – Jen Fredrick (Woodlands series)
Excerpt – Come Back to Me by Mila Gray aka Sarah Alderson

What exciting bookish goodies did you receive this week?

Giveaways!

a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Guest post: Darkness series by Stacey Marie Brown

Stacey Marie Brown

The Darkness series is one of my favourites so I am excited to be able to host author, Stacey Marie Brown on the blog today to share with us the Darkness series music inspiration; it’s a great playlist!


Darkness of Light (Darkness, #1) Fire in the Darkness (Darkness, #2) Dwellers of Darkness (Darkness, #3) Blood Beyond Darkness (Darkness #4)

Books in reading order:

1.   Darkness of Light
2.   Fire in the Darkness
3.   Dwellers of Darkness
4.   Blood Beyond Darkness


Music was and is a huge part of writing the Darkness Series. The songs below immediately take me to the mood and feeling I want when writing. It will keep growing as the series continues. There are some songs by The White Strips, Imagine Dragons, and the Fall Out Boys that are good for getting into my action/fight scenes. Eli’s theme song when it comes to Ember is “Run Right Back” by the Black Keys. When I want to get into his mind I listen to “Evil Ways”. Ember’s for Eli is “Howl” and to get into her head is “Demons” and “Radioactive”.

Darkness Series Inspiration Music

*Killing The Light- B.R.M.C
*
Everlasting Light- Black Keys
*Evil Ways- Bues Saraceno
*
My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark- Fall Out Boys
*Demons- Imagine Dragons
*
White Rabbit- Jefferson Airplane
*
Howl- Florence & The Machine
*
Seven Nation Army- White Stripes
*
Run Right Back- Black Keys
*Make Me Wanna To Die- The Pretty Reckless
*
People Are Strange- The Doors
*
What Light- Wilco
*
Train Song- Ben Gibbard & Feist
*Tautou- Brand New
*
Everything You're Breathing- The Parlor Mob
*
Slow Life- Grizzly Bear
*
Only For The Night- Florence & The Machine
*
Come Undone- Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan
*
Hearing Damage- Thom Yorke
*
Radioactive- Imagine Dragons
*
Seven Year Itch- The Fumes
*
Seven Devils- Florence & The Machine
*
I Only Want You- Eagles Of Death Metal
*Icky Thump- White Stripes
*
Creep- Radiohead
*
Psychotic Girl- Dan Auerbach
*
Heavy In Your Arms- Florence & The Machine
*
I Can't Hear You- The Dead Weather
*
Someday Baby- R.L. Burnside
*
Hang Me Up To Dry- Cold War Kids
*
Crawl- Kings Of Leon
*
Sweetest Kill- Broken Social Scene
*
Hurricane Drunk- Florence & The Machine
*
Grounds For Divorce- Elbow
*
The Prowl- Dan Auerbach
*
Hang You From The Heavens- The Dead Weather
*
Cosmic Love- Florence & The Machine
*
Punching In A Dream- The Naked And Famous
*
The End Of The Line- The Love Me Nots

Music can change your mood; affect how you see something…What is the song which really gets to you? Good or bad.

Stacey Marie BrownAbout the author: Stacey Marie Brown is a lover of hot fictional bad boys and sarcastic heroines who kick butt. She also enjoys books, travel, TV shows, hiking, writing, design, and archery. Stacey swears she is part gypsy, being lucky enough to live and travel all over the world.

She grew up in Northern California, where she ran around on her family's farm, raising animals, riding horses, playing flashlight tag, and turning hay bales into cool forts. She volunteers helping animals and is eco-friendly. She feels all animals, people, and environment should be treated kindly



Synopsis....

1.   Darkness of Light - Amazon 

Freak. Witch. Crazy. Schizo.

Ember Brycin has been called them all. She’s always known she’s different. No one has ever called her normal, even under the best circumstances. Bizarre and inexplicable things continually happen to her, and having two different colored eyes, strange hair, and an unusual tattoo only contributes to the gossip about her.

When the latest school explosion lands her in a facility for troubled teens, she meets Eli Dragen, who’s hot as hell and darkly mysterious. Their connection is full of passion, danger, and secrets. Secrets that will not only change her life, but what and who she is—leading her down a path she never imagined possible.

Between Light and Dark, Ember finds a world where truth and knowledge are power and no one can be trusted. But her survival depends on finding out the truth about herself. In her pursuit, she is forced between love and destiny and good and evil, even when the differences between them aren’t always clear. At worst, she will incite a war that could destroy both worlds. At best, she will not only lose her heart but her life and everyone she loves. Once the truth is out, however, there will be no going back. And she’ll definitely wish she could.

2.   Fire in the Darkness - Amazon 

It's been four weeks since Ember Brycin witnessed what her powers are capable of. The Electrical Current Storm has turned Seattle, Washington into a natural disaster zone. The death toll is in the thousands with countless others homeless and hungry.

And Ember is the one who caused it. Something she will have to live with every day.

Those people who were unable to escape either turned quickly into gangs or live in shelters. Ember, on the other hand, can’t do either. With a price on her head and a Dark Dweller on her ass, she is constantly on the move. Both Light and Dark are hunting her for their own purpose to use her as a weapon or a pawn in the war between the Unseelie King of the Dark and the Seelie Queen of the Light.

Em needs help but doesn’t know who to trust: Lars, the mystery man Torin told her to find? Torin, the Seelie Queen’s personal knight, who has sworn to keep Em safe? Or Eli, who wants to turn her over to the Unseelie King, but whom she has an undeniable, intense connection with?

No matter what she chooses she will probably lose—her life or everything and everyone she loves.

3.   Dwellers of Darkness - Amazon / TBD

Some days feel like years, but in Ember Brycin’s case just the opposite is true. Em would be 22 now—if she were human. She’s not. She is a Dae—part Demon and part Fay—with a little Dark Dweller thrown in to make her more of a freak.

Life has become further complicated for Ember since returning from the Otherworld. Besides being continuously hunted by the Seelie Queen, Ember is at the top of the Unseelie King’s list, after breaking her oath with him. No one breaks a vow with the Unseelie King without extreme consequences.

Adding to Ember’s problems is a certain Dark Dweller whose mood has become violent and cruel. As much as she’d like to deny it, there is an undeniable connection between them. Eli is sexy, gorgeous, and frustrating as hell. She also knows he is holding something back, something that could change their relationship forever. 

But her problems go way past him. As the tension for war mounts between the Seelie and Unseelie (Light and Dark), the tension at the Dark Dweller’s compound escalates even more as they prepare to obtain the Sword of Light—the only weapon able to kill the Queen. 

But is Ember the answer to the location of the sword? Is she the one to fulfill the prophecy? As usual nothing is ever what it seems.

4.   Blood Beyond Darkness - Amazon

After months of searching, Ember and her friends have finally located the Sword of Light, the only weapon capable of destroying Queen Aneira and ending her rule. This is Ember’s destiny. Or so she thought. Now a pact to save the man she loves changes everything.

In this final installment in the Darkness Series, when the truth comes to light, Ember will learn some things are better left in the dark as her world is ripped even further apart. It is no longer a rabbit hole, but a never-ending black void full of endless lies, betrayals, and secrets.

The fight for Earth has begun, and Ember will have to make the ultimate sacrifice to save millions of innocent lives and those she loves.

But this price may be too high—even for her.