Monday, 28 July 2014

ARC Review: Feral by Holly Schindler

FeralFeral

Author: Holly Schindler
Series: -
Pages: 432
Publisher: HarperTeen
Amazon
Release date: 26/08/2014

Synopsis. (Goodreads)

The Lovely Bones meets Black Swan in this haunting psychological thriller with twists and turns that will make you question everything you think you know.

It’s too late for you. You’re dead. Those words continue to haunt Claire Cain months after she barely survived a brutal beating in Chicago. So when her father is offered a job in another state, Claire is hopeful that getting out will offer her a way to start anew.

But when she arrives in Peculiar, Missouri, Claire feels an overwhelming sense of danger, and her fears are confirmed when she discovers the body of a popular high school student in the icy woods behind the school, surrounded by the town’s feral cats. While everyone is quick to say it was an accident, Claire knows there’s more to it, and vows to learn the truth about what happened. 

But the closer she gets to uncovering the mystery, the closer she also gets to realizing a frightening reality about herself and the damage she truly sustained in that Chicago alley….

Holly Schindler’s gripping story is filled with heart-stopping twists and turns that will keep readers guessing until the very last page.

Review: 4 out of 5 stars

Feral by Holly Schindler was such a freaky read! It hand my mind reeling from the very first page, I had absolutely no idea what was going on and I loved every moment of it.

Claire and her father have moved to small town Peculiar, strange things begin to happen and Claire is convinced the ghost of Serena Sims is haunting her so she makes it her mission to solve the mystery of her death which was brutally detailed in the first chapter. It was gruesome, thrilling, and suspenseful and to be honest I was baffled by what was going on; it was an edge of your seat angst-filled book that had me glued to the pages.

The characters were written well but not all of them were likeable, Claire was a broken character after a brutal attack left her for dead; with unresolved, big issues you could certainly understand her fears and reactions. Her father was an amazing support as was Rich who became a great friend. Becca’s actions were questionable and forced, she was guilt-ridden and I spent the book wondering if there was more to it, her interactions with the other characters gave me the feeling she was hiding something.

The murder/mystery aspect was done well, everyone to me was s suspect but there was a certain someone who did stand out and in the end I was right in accusing them. I won’t reveal too much to avoid spoilers but everything came together nicely, there were surprising twists and turns along the way that kept things interesting.

Holly Schindlers writing drew me in from the first page with her chilling, descriptive storytelling, the psychological aspect was done well as was the characterisations; even her imagery of the feral overpopulation of the cats was freaky! There were small parts of the story that did become quite sluggish but needing to know what was going on kept me powering through it.

What surprised me was the uncertain feeling this book has – there were no conclusive answers initially which left me confused but also intrigued by what was actually happening, the mental and emotional aspects were compelling, I was absorbed by the mystery and left saddened by the believability of the subject matter; it’s a story which makes you think and the overall message is heartbreaking.

Overall, Feral is a great psychological thriller with an intriguing mystery; it’s a book which is dark and gritty and held my attention throughout wanting to know more about Claire and what was going on with her, with feral cats, a freaky ghost, wonderful writing and an interesting cast of characters – Feral was a book that had me mesmerised and the outcome certainly surprised me.

 

Holly SchindlerAbout the author: (Goodreads) My debut YA novel, A Blue So Dark, earned a starred review in Booklist, was named one of Booklist's Top 10 First Novels for Youth, received a silver medal from the ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Awards, and won a gold medal in the IPPYs. Playing Hurt, my first romance, released in 2011. My first MG, The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky, released in 2014.

My next YA, Feral, will release August 26, 2014.

I can be found online at hollyschindler.com, and at my blog, Novel Anecdotes (hollyschindler.blogspot.com).

Friday, 25 July 2014

Review: I Want it That Way by Ann Aguirre

I Want It That Way (2B Trilogy #1)Author: Ann Aguirre
Series: 2B Trilogy
Publisher: Harlequin
Pages: 352
Amazon
Release date: 26th August 2014

Synopsis: (Goodreads)

Nadia Conrad has big dreams, and she's determined to make them come true—for her parents' sake as well as her own. But between maintaining her college scholarship and working at the local day care to support herself, she barely has time to think, let alone date. Then she moves into a new apartment and meets the taciturn yet irresistible guy in 1B…. 

Daniel Tyler has grown up too fast. Becoming a single dad at twenty turned his life upside down—and brought him heartache he can't risk again. Now, as he raises his four-year-old son while balancing a full-time construction management job and night classes, a social life is out of the question. The last thing he wants is for four noisy students to move into the apartment upstairs. But one night, Nadia's and Ty's paths cross, and soon they can't stay away from each other. 

The timing is all wrong—but love happens when it happens. And you can't know what you truly need until you stand to lose it.

Review: 3 ½ out of 5 stars

I am a huge fan of Ann Aguirre’s Razorland series so I was more than curious to read her latest New Adult novel despite being quite disillusioned by the genre most recentlyI have to also admit that storylines with children involved are usually a big no go for me but this one seemed to work. I Want it That Way is the first book in the 2B trilogy.

Twenty year-old Nadia Conrad is a struggling student working part-time to pay her way and has recently moved into an apartment – 2B, with her best friend Lauren and friends Max and Angus, her life is chaotic so when she meets a gorgeous hot and cold guy from 1B her feelings about not dating certainly change.

Daniel Tyler was a broken character for obvious reasons, as a single dad he was working and taking night classes to make a decent life for him and his gorgeous little four year-old son, Sam but relationships aren’t on the cards for him when he is so exhausted but his obvious attraction to Nadia certainly changed his outlook. I think Nadia’s lovey feelings for Ty were a little too instant for my liking and progressed at a rapid pace but it was entertaining none the less and it was nice watching their interactions despite Ty’s reluctance; the overall relationship though spanned over time which was more realistic. Their chemistry was off the charts and the dialogue between them was written well as were the smexy times which did pass into more adult content with the descriptive details.

The storyline is more or less told in the synopsis so I won’t expand on this aspect but it all didn’t come without drama and miscommunication, their situation wasn’t an easy one with little Sam involved so the angst was there. But it didn’t just come from the MC’s, there is also a bit of side stories going on with Angus who is gay and is suffering from a relationship fallout and also Lauren and Max, I won’t expand on their drama but it was a difficult circumstance. In the end, I was happy with the outcome. The exchanges between all of the characters was wonderful, the friendships were written well and were true to life as they were sharing their experiences and hardships as well as their unclear thought processes about their futures.

You can’t fault Ann Aguirre’s writing, it is addictive and despite not being overly thrilled by the NA genre right now I Want it That Way kept me interested right from the beginning and I couldn’t help but hope for happiness and a HEA after for all of the characters.

Thank you to Harlequin via Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review I Want it That Way.

  

About the author: Ann Aguirre is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author with a degree in English Literature; before she began writing full time, she was a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and a savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in sunny Mexico with her husband, children, and various pets. She likes all kinds of books, emo music, action movies and Doctor Who. She writes all kind of fiction in multiple genres, both YA and for adults.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Review: Between by Megan Whitmer

BetweenBetween

Author: Megan Whitmer
Series: Between
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Pages: 384
Release Date: 29th July 2014

Synopsis: When a supernatural freak of nature forces her family to separate, seventeen-year-old Charlie Page must turn to her frustrating (yet gorgeous) neighbor, Seth, to help reunite them. Seth whisks Charlie to Ellauria—a magical world filled with the creatures of myths and legends—and tells her of the Fellowship, the group charged with protecting mystical beings from human discovery. (All except Bigfoot: that attention whore is a total lost cause.) But when Charlie learns that she's under the Fellowship's protection herself, well, "stressed" is an understatement.

Ellauria should be the safest place for Charlie while the Fellowship works to find her family, but things in the mystical realm aren’t what they seem.

Magic is failing, creatures are dying, and the Fellowship insists Charlie holds the key to saving everyone. With her family still missing and the danger in Ellauria growing, Charlie doesn't know who she can trust. She's dealing with a power she never asked for, falling for a guy she can't have, and being forced to choose between her destiny and her heart. And if she chooses wrong, she could destroy magic forever.

Charlie may be in over her head.

Review: 4 out of 5 stars 

Between is a book that started off a little strange for me, everything seemed to happen at such a rapid pace that my head was spinning, one moment everything was normal, we have siblings conversing and a family dinner and in the next moment we are thrust into fantasyland or in this instance the Between, it was all mind blowing but in saying that it quickly settled down and I started to really enjoy this book, to the point where I stayed up until all hours just to finish it.

Seventeen year-old Charlie Page was a likeable character without a clue as to her importance in a realm she never knew existed until she is attacked by a ‘Mothman’ and her life as she has known it she soon discovers was based on complete lies.

Separated from her mother and brother when she was whisked away and now in the mystical realm of Ellauria, Charlie is forced to navigate through her new reality and hone in on magical abilities she didn’t know existed, all with the help of someone she thought she knew – Seth but he too isn’t who she thought he was.

Seth is a broody, protective sweetheart; I adored his interactions with Charlie and the sweet stolen moments they were able to share but a relationship between them is my favourite kind - forbidden but I won’t tell you why. Their chemistry was wonderful.

Also helping Charlie was Keiran, I thought he was fabulous and I thought we’d have a love triangle which I always dread but nothing eventuated thank goodness, I was surprised by Keiran’s past and I am intrigued about what is to come of him now.

The world-building was interesting and the plot entertaining with some great action scenes. There was never a dull moment as we see Charlie train, search for her mother and brother, work out why magic is weakening and the Between wilting and also learn about why Charlie had been hidden and her importance to the realm, It all came together nicely.

After the rapid start things slowed down and we got to enjoy the amazing imagery of the Ellauria setting which was wonderfully detailed and vivid, you could picture everything clearly which I appreciated. I also liked the creatures that reside there such as fairies, centaurs, elves, unicorns, harpies etc. and the part the Fellowship play in all of it. The bad guy was also quite interesting, I’m curious to see how everything now plays out in future instalments.

Between doesn’t read like a debut novel, it is very well written and engaging with some wonderful dialogue and witty banter; I am definitely eager to read the next book in this series.

Thank you to Spencer Hill Press via Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review Between by Megan Whitmer.


Megan WhitmerAbout the author: Megan Whitmer lives in Kentucky with her family. She loves all things Southern, and has a soft spot for football, kissing scenes, and things that sparkle. Aside from her personal blog, she's also a contributing blogger forwww.YAmisfits.com,www.allthewritenotes.com, andwww.herkentucky.com. When she's not writing, Megan spends her time drinking absurd amounts of Cherry Coke Zero and wishing someone would pay her to tweet. Her debut novel, a YA fantasy called BETWEEN, will be published by Spencer Hill Press in July 2014.

Waiting on Wednesday - Conspiracy Girl by Sarah Alderson and The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey

 
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 Conspiracy Girl by Sarah Alderson & The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey, both sound amazing but the wait is going to be agonising.

Conspiracy Girl
Author: Sarah Alderson
Series:  -
Genre: Young adult
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release date: 19th February 2015


Synopsis. (Goodreads)

Everybody knows about the Cooper Killings – the Bel Air home invasion that rocked the nation.
There was only one survivor - a sixteen year-old girl.
And though the killers were caught they walked free.

Now eighteen, Nic Preston - the girl who survived - is trying hard to rebuild her life. She’s security conscious to the point of paranoia and her only friend is a French Mastiff bulldog, but she’s making progress. She’s started college in New York and has even begun dating.

But then one night her apartment is broken into and the life Nic’s worked so hard to create is shattered in an instant. 

Finn Carter - hacker, rule breaker, player – is the last person Nic ever wants to see again. He’s the reason her mother’s killers walked free from court. But as the people hunting her close in, Nic has to accept that her best and possibly only chance of staying alive is by keeping close to Finn and learning to trust the person she’s sworn to hate.

Fleeing across a snowbound New England, frantically trying to uncover the motive behind the murders, Nic and Finn come to realize the conspiracy is bigger than they could ever have suspected. But the closer they get to the truth and the closer they get to each other, the greater the danger becomes.

To survive she has to stay close to him.
To keep her safe he has to keep his distance.

The Girl at Midnight (The Girl at Midnight, #1)
Author: Melissa Grey
Series: The Girl at Midnight
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release date: 28th April 2015


Synopsis. (Goodreads)

For readers of Cassandra Clare's City of Bones and Leigh Bardugo'sShadow and Bone, The Girl at Midnight is the story of a modern girl caught in an ancient war.

Beneath the streets of New York City live the Avicen, an ancient race of people with feathers for hair and magic running through their veins. Age-old enchantments keep them hidden from humans. All but one. Echo is a runaway pickpocket who survives by selling stolen treasures on the black market, and the Avicen are the only family she's ever known.

Echo is clever and daring, and at times she can be brash, but above all else she's fiercely loyal. So when a centuries-old war crests on the borders of her home, she decides it's time to act.

Legend has it that there is a way to end the conflict once and for all: find the Firebird, a mythical entity believed to possess power the likes of which the world has never seen. It will be no easy task, but if life as a thief has taught Echo anything, it's how to hunt down what she wants . . . and how to take it.

But some jobs aren't as straightforward as they seem. And this one might just set the world on fire.

What are most anticipating this week?

PS. If you are interested in children’s book reviews (3-12 years), I have started a new review blog Here – Little Ones Read

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

FAE - Interviews with Kari Castor, Christine Morgan and Kristina Wojtaszek

FaeFAE”

Publication Date: July 22, 2014 • Fantasy / Horror Anthology
Trade paperback, 250 pages • ebook
ISBN: 978-0692207918
Edited BY RHONDA PARRISH

Alpena, MI (May 8, 2014) – World Weaver Press (Eileen Wiedbrauk, Editor-in-Chief) has announced Fae, a new anthology of fairy stories from classic tales to urban fantasy, edited by Rhonda Parrish, will be available in trade paperback and ebook Tuesday, July 22, 2014. 

Synopsis: Meet Robin Goodfellow as you’ve never seen him before, watch damsels in distress rescue themselves, get swept away with the selkies and enjoy tales of hobs, green men, pixies and phookas. One thing is for certain, these are not your grandmother’s fairy tales. Fairies have been both mischievous and malignant creatures throughout history. They’ve dwelt in forests, collected teeth or crafted shoes. Fae is full of stories that honor that rich history while exploring new and interesting takes on the fair folk from castles to computer technologies and modern midwifing, the Old World to Indianapolis. Fae covers a vast swath of the fairy story spectrum, making the old new and exploring lush settings with beautiful prose and complex characters. Enjoy the familiar feeling of a good old-fashioned fairy tale alongside urban fantasy and horror with a fae twist. With an introduction by Sara Cleto and Brittany Warman, and new stories from Sidney Blaylock Jr., Amanda Block, Kari Castor, Beth Cato, Liz Colter, Rhonda Eikamp, Lor Graham, Alexis A. Hunter, L.S. Johnson, Jon Arthur Kitson, Adria Laycraft, Lauren Liebowitz, Christine Morgan, Shannon Phillips, Sara Puls, Laura VanArendonk Baugh, and Kristina Wojtaszek.


Kristina Wojtaszek author of “Solomon’s Friend”


What was the inspiration for your Fae story?

Solomon's Friend is actually my own very personal story of raising a son with Asperger's.  All of Kadie's doubts about herself as a mother are mine; all of Solly's unique views of the world around him are my son's (although not everything Solly does or says in the story are true to life).  Hobby, the cantankerous, brash old hob that narrates much of the story, came from an often-ignored voice of my own-- a well of common sense and courage that sparkles every now and again on a quiet, moonlit night, reminding me that I am making some of the right connections with my child, that I am loving him every moment of every day, and that there is still a bit of magic left in the world, especially in the curious and cautious mind of my child.  And maybe even in me.

Was this your first foray into writing fairy stories?

That depends on how you define fairy or fae.  There is a great variety of fairy-types across cultures, and many of those overlap easily with creatures that we might classify as something else altogether.  I have a hard time deciphering the difference between fae and elves, myself, so if you consider the human-sized elfin spirits as creatures of fae, then yes, I've written of them, and even named them fae in my novella, Opal, and in the sequel to come.  What intrigues me most about any type of fae is the idea that they can see and interact with elements of nature that we blatantly miss out on.  Is it truly they that are strange, or are we humans even more bizarre in the way we have segregated ourselves so completely from the natural world we were born a part of?  I like taking on a viewpoint that makes the world of nature more meaningful, more magical, than what we humans deem it to be.

Can you tell us a bit about the specific type of fairy creature in your story?

The narrator of my story is a hob, which is a type of Brownie, or household spirit.  There are many species of household spirits, some more menacing than others (like the hobgoblin or the boggart).  According to myth, these household spirits are often quite involved in domestic upkeep, and prefer to go unseen and unacknowledged except for an occasional gift left out of a bit of food or milk.  But if you try to seek them out and give them payment for their work, especially in the form of clothing, they take great offense and will disappear from the home forever. 
They are also offended by laziness.  My own hob takes great delight in licking dust from every surface and finding a multitude of crumbs in couch crevices and underneath car seats.  I'd say he's a bit more tolerant of accumulated filth than most house spirits, but his rules about gifts of clothing still stand.

Kari Castor author of “The Price”


What was the inspiration for your Fae story?

I was reading some Grimm's fairy tales, and I ran across this very short tale the Grimm brothers had collected and called "The Rose."  It was such an interesting snippet, and I'd never heard it before, and I really wanted to take the idea and expand it into a fuller story.

Was this your first foray into writing fairy stories?

No, I actually have another short story that deals with fairies that I started working on before "The Price" ever sprang into my mind, but that earlier story is still in the revision stages right now.

If no,  why do you write fairy stories? What is it about them that appeals to you?

When I was a kid, I was always fascinated by magical creatures, including fairies, so as I got older I went seeking out a lot of the legends and folklore behind the pretty stories.  I think the discovery that the original stories often weren't so pretty -- that there was actually a lot of darkness in those tales -- made me love them even more.  There's something very compelling to me about the way the old stories intermingle beauty and danger.

Can you tell us a bit about the specific type of fairy creature in your story?

"The Price" definitely hearkens back to the old legends, particularly those that come out of the British Isles (like Sir Orfeo and "Thomas the Rhymer"), where the fairies are prone to kidnapping young men and women and whisking them away to the realm of Faerie.  These, of course, are not the small fluttering creatures we so often conjure up today in response to the word "fairy" - like John William Waterhouse's La Belle Dame sans Merci, they are more or less human in size and appearance.  They're not necessarily good or evil, but they tend to have their own agendas and desires and don't care much for what suffering they might cause others in the pursuit of them.

Christine Morgan author of “Rosie Red-Jacket”


What was the inspiration for your Fae story?

It was one of those articles about toy marketing for girls vs. boys, the dreaded "pink aisle" and special girly LEGO and that kind of thing. It led me into thinking about the whole history of toys and "traditional" gender-based play, which then led to all that stuff about snips and snails and puppy dog tails, boys are active and rambunctious, sugar and spice and everything nice for little girls all clean and polite ... and it annoys the heck out of me. Then I started thinking about Peter Pan, and how here's this wonderful world of excitement and adventure for the boys, but Wendy's expected to be the nice mommy, and wanted to write something where ... what if it went kind of a different way around? Why should the boys get to have all the fun? Why not make them pay for it, in a kind of malicious way?

Was this your first foray into writing fairy stories?

Not at all. Always been very into them, going back to when I must've checked out a couple of those Andrew Lang color collections (the Green Fairy Book, the Red Fairy Book, etc.) every week. As I got older, I realized how much of a powerful female perspective they had ... as they should. Sure, it was the Brothers Grimm who collected them and got the credit, but it was the mothers, the big sisters, the grandmothers, who were making up and telling these stories. For me, as a writer, the real fun is in taking the classics and giving them a new twist or fun quirk, to play with the old tropes. And, sometimes, to do weird mash-ups or re-imaginings just to see what happens. I've recently, for example, sold one called "The Arkham-Town Musicians" to an anthology of Lovecraftian fairy tales, and I've got a heist version of Cinderella, "Cinder's Twelve," in another upcoming book.

Can you tell us a bit about the specific type of fairy creature in your story? Is that your favourite type of fae?

I think of Rosie as being of the Fair Folk / Puck-ish variety, sprite-like, but a little mean. Puck's depicted as a trickster, but generally benign, seeking to make amends and all that. Rosie's more the kind who would grow up to steal babies and replace them with changelings, or do real harm. That kind, for me, is the most fun to write about because they might look human enough, but their attitude is completely inhuman, not bound by or even understanding human morality. I also like the little winged pixie-types; more Disney's Fantasia with the nature magic and the flowers and the snowflakes ... which mostly didn't interact with humans but just flitted about and did their thing.

Fae will be available in trade paperback and ebook via Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, Kobo.com, and other online retailers, and for wholesale through Ingram. You can also find Fae on Goodreads.

Anthologist Rhonda Parrish is driven by a desire to do All The Things. She has been the publisher and editor-in-chief of Niteblade Magazine for over five years now (which is like 25 years in internet time) and is the editor of the benefit anthology, Metastasis. In addition, Rhonda is a writer whose work has been included or is forthcoming in dozens of publications including Tesseracts 17: Speculating Canada from Coast to Coast and Imaginarium: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing. Her website, updated weekly, is at rhondaparrish.com.

World Weaver Press is a publisher of fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction, dedicated to producing quality works. We believe in great storytelling.