Sunday, 31 August 2014

The Sunday Post - August Wrap-Up

The Sunday Post at Journey Through Fiction blog

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It's a chance to share news, recap what has happened on the blog, what is upcoming and anything everything in between. Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This week I'm linking my recap post to both memes.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

September is for Sequels Challenge

I love reading challenges, and a few days ago I saw Monique over at Mo_Books signing up for the September is for Sequels Challenge. It is perfect timing, as I had three sequels set aside to read in September and signing up will keep me on track to commit to read them! The challenge is hosted by Lisa @ Lisa Loves Literature, and if you want to join the challenge, you can sign up here.


• It would be good if you had a blog to post reviews, or you can be a Goodreads Member and post your reviews on the site.

• The book must be a sequel - it can be any # in the series, just not the first book. Prequels can count if they were published AFTER the first one in the series. You can do e-books, even ARCs or e-galleys, as well as good old fashioned books. And, I'll even let you count the little 1.5 novellas that are often published as e-books only.

• The deadline to sign up and participate is September 15th.

• You must post on your blog an entry that has a list of the sequels you're planning to read, but it doesn't have to be complete, or you could even just post your goal, do you plan to read 8, or more? You can always go back as the month proceeds and enter the books as you read and review them.

• Make sure you grab the button and put it in your entry post, or on the sidebar of your blog.

My objective is to read and review 4 sequels in September. I’m going to stick with the minimum requirement for the challenge, and see how things progress as the month goes along.

The books I plan on reading are:

I’m leaving the fourth spot open, and I’ll let my mood at the time determine which of the other sequels I have on my shelves I’ll read. Scarlet, Raising Demons and The Iron Daughter are all Book #2's, and I loved the first book from each of their respective series, so hopefully I'll love the sequels just as much.

I really hope I can complete this challenge. Reading the four books should be the straightforward part, it’s the reviewing that will pose the biggest challenge for me. I usually let my reviews sit for a couple of weeks after I read a book, so this will be a slightly different approach than I’m used to! Eeek, wish me luck!

Friday, 29 August 2014

Countdown Survey

Christy @ Christy’s Book Addiction created the Countdown Survey a few months back, and I absolutely love the idea! The concept is to choose bookish things to answer each of the questions, and the number of required answers count down from 10 to 1. Here goes!

10 Books Already Released on Your Wishlist

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Review: Dust to Dust by Karina Halle

Dust to Dust by Karina Halle book cover

Title: Dust to Dust
Author: Karina Halle
Series: Experiment in Terror, #9
Format: Kindle
My rating: 5 ++ / 5
Pages: 241

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**The dramatic conclusion to the Experiment in Terror Series.**

Perry Palomino and Dex Foray.

On their own, they’re uniquely brilliant. Together, they’re an unstoppable team.

Until now.

Because after everything the duo has encountered, they haven’t come across an evil quite like this. An evil that has been years in the making, an evil that will stop at nothing until they, and everyone they care for, are destroyed.

Dex and Perry’s love has survived a multitude of sins.

But can it survive the end?

-- As seen on Goodreads

My Thoughts

Well, the inevitable day has arrived: Experiment in Terror has reached its final conclusion. I love this series with all my heart, and I’m so happy it got the send of it thoroughly deserves. I won’t lie: I needed lots of tissues reading this book. Heck, I was sniffling at the dedication page, and I was sobbing my eyes out at 5%! I had a pretty good idea I’d be an emotional wreck reading this book, but I didn’t expect it to happen so quickly.

I’m not going to talk too much about what happens in Dust to Dust, as I don’t want to spoil things for anyone. It continues immediately after Ashes to Ashes ends. The full extent of the aftermath when Michael – Dex’s brother – arrived in Portland is revealed, and Dex has disappeared. Perry and her sister, Ada, along with lots of familiar faces, travel to New York City where Dex has been brought to, and this set the scene for their final showdown.

Dust to Dust wasn’t necessarily as scary as some of the previous books, but it’s much darker, gorier, and grittier and a hundred percent more twisted than any of the others. There are so many scary moments throughout the series that still stick in my mind, and yes, this book had those moments, just not as often. Dust to Dust focused more on the terrors within, and just how far both Perry and Dex are willing to go for each other. There was a completely different feel to this book, and I could sense that this was the real deal – their lives really are on the line.

Out of all the authors I’ve read, I knew Karina would have the balls to end the series… in a certain way, if you get my drift. I absolutely SOBBED at one stage. This was around 50 – 60%. If you’ve read the book, you’ll know what happened then. I swear Karina has full control of my tear-ducts! I’m always an emotional mess when I read her books!

And now onto the two main reasons I love this series: Perry Palomino and Dex Foray. I’ve never connected with characters on the level I’ve connected with Perry and Dex. Ever! They are well rounded, yet tortured souls who have each other to let them see that things won’t always be made up of your worst nightmares. If someone told me this series was based on two real people, I wouldn’t be too surprised at all. They are depicted so believably and they seem REAL.

Perry Palomino: I love this girl so much. She is one of, if not THE most unique female character I’ve ever read about. To see how far she has come since Darkhouse is staggering. She started the series as a shell, with doubts about herself, very low confidence and even lower self-esteem, and watching her struggle with seeing ghosts on a daily basis with no support network was heart-breaking at times. Over the course of the series, she manages to find the one person that helps her see that it’s OK to be herself, to just be Perry Palomino. She has so many flaws and quirks in her personality, but this just makes her an even more perfect character. Her biggest asset has always been her heart, and with all she’s gone through in her life, including demonic possession, she managed to find the courage to remain open to self-discovery, love, and to Dex.

Declan “Dex” Foray: And how could I forget about Dex. Oh Dex! God, Dex was a mess! If you haven’t read the series, the less you know about him, the better. Unravelling the mystery that is Dex Foray was one of the most captivating and entertaining threads throughout the entire series. He’s a smart-ass with the best sense of sarcastic humour I’ve ever read about and has a heart of gold. At the beginning you might not like him. Heck, I think it took me at least four, maybe five books to really begin to see who he was! Looking back now, and seeing where he came from and what he endured in his life, to where he is now at the end of the series is phenomenal. If you think Javier Bernal in the Artist’s Trilogy is a complex character… he’s got nothing on Dex!

This was the ending that the Experiment in Terror series deserved. The easy route was avoided, and the book made me go through Hell – and that was quite literal for the characters, actually – on every page. I couldn’t have imagined this series ending in any other fashion other than in epicness. It was fitting; it was heart-breaking, and it was perfect.

As Karina says in the acknowledgements, not many readers know who Perry and Dex are, but I feel privileged to have followed their story, to fall for both of them, and to have loved and enjoyed every word.

I urge everyone reading this who likes anything involving ghosts and the paranormal to give the Experiment in Terror series a chance, and meet my two favourite characters of all time. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

WoW #24 - Into the Fire by Ashelyn Drake

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

Into the Fire by Ashelyn Drake book cover

Into the Fire by Ashelyn Drake

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

10 Books I Really Want To Read, But Don’t Own… Yet!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme run by The Broke and the Bookish.

10 Books I Really Want To Read, But Don’t Own… Yet!

Limiting this list to ten books was a lot harder than I imagined! I was considering putting a spin on the topic, but no matter how I juggled my ideas, I couldn’t include all the books I wanted to on the one list. I ended up going with my current list of books that I’d be extremely happy if they magically appeared in my post box!

Monday, 25 August 2014

Review: Opposition by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Opposition by Jennifer L. Armentroutbook cover

Title: Opposition
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: Lux, #5
Format: Paperback, owned
My rating: 2 / 5
Pages: 534

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Katy knows the world changed the night the Luxen came.

She can't believe Daemon welcomed his race or stood by as his kind threatened to obliterate every last human and hybrid on Earth. But the lines between good and bad have blurred, and love has become an emotion that could destroy her—could destroy them all.

Daemon will do anything to save those he loves, even if it means betrayal.

They must team with an unlikely enemy if there is any chance of surviving the invasion. But when it quickly becomes impossible to tell friend from foe, and the world is crumbling around them, they may lose everything— even what they cherish most—to ensure the survival of their friends…and mankind.

War has come to Earth. And no matter the outcome, the future will never be the same for those left standing.

-- As seen on Goodreads

My Thoughts

Opposition was the one book that was set to be released in 2014 that I was 100% sure I would love.

Leading up to the release, I never once thought I might feel anything less than adoration for Opposition. My reaction has completely blindsided me. How do I feel? Underwhelmed and disappointed was the best sum-up I can come up with. Bored was another. I'm numb. It never occurred to me. It wasn’t supposed to happen! Everything that I loved about Origin, was completely absent in Opposition. I think I’m more shocked about my less than fangirling reaction, rather than what occurred in the book. I have to be honest: I felt Opposition was very tame, cheesy, and too neatly resolved. I was expecting so much more. Also, my expectations were far too high. Arrgh, I don’t want to be writing this. I want to be gushing from the rooftops, and it pains me that I’m not. I WANTED to love this book so much.

Opposition follows on two days after Origin ends. Daemon, Dawson and Dee have gone back to the Luxen, and Katy is stuck with Beth, Archer and Luc. For the first thirty, maybe forty pages, I loved everything. Both Daemon and Katy’s voices were distinct and I was gobbling up both the story and the pages. Then everything I was enjoying … stopped. In Origin, the dual POV – when Daemon and Katy were separated – worked so well. It served a purpose, allowing us to see both sides of the story, and what both characters were separately going through. I loved seeing inside both of their heads, and I was looking forward to reliving all of this again. Unfortunately, in Opposition, after the first fifth of the book, both Daemon and Katy’s POV’s were blending together, and I had to go back and check who was narrating quite often. It felt like the story was being told in one POV, and the only change was which name was being used in the dialogue. This completely shocked me. Not ONCE did I have this problem in Origin! I have no idea what went wrong. If the book was written in Daemon’s perspective, or in Katy’s perspective, I would have accepted and maybe even liked the book more than I did. I KNOW I would have.

I was disconnected from both Daemon and Katy for the vast majority of the book. There were moments where Daemon was his usual smart-ass self, and I liked seeing Katy in her badass role. But, for so much of the book it felt like a watered down version of my two favourite characters. I wanted to see more of Katy being Katy and Daemon being Daemon. It felt like I was reading about two cardboard cut outs with the names Katy and Daemon stamped on them, rather than their usual vibrant selves. When Katy uttered the word “totes”, I was taken aback in a big way. My initial reaction was ‘Who the hell are you, and what have you done with Katy?’ Can you imagine the girl that dumped a plate of spaghetti on Daemon and Ash in Obsidian saying the word “totes”? I sure as hell can’t! I’ve resorted to blaming my disconnection with them on the POV switching, and it breaks my heart that I didn’t feel the same love for both of them that I did in previous books. I loved these two, and knowing this is the last time I’ll read anything new about them, and I didn’t love it… sigh. It feels like such a let-down.

In the middle of the book, the story fell away completely, and I became very bored and impatient. I was expecting the story to zip on ahead like in the previous books. When it plodded on and on and on, I just wanted the point to hurry up and get here already! When it did arrive, the resolution to the Luxen invasion felt rushed, and unconvincing. There was a bit of build up to the big resolution, and then poof, it’s over. Just like that. It felt too anti-climactic, especially after everything that happened in Origin, and over the series as a whole. Granted, everything wrapped up as I expected, and I’m happy about that, but I was convinced something epic should have taken place. When it didn’t happen, I was left with a feeling of… meh.

In honesty, the epilogue was what brought the book back from the brink of total disappointment in my eyes. I loved it. It was the perfect conclusion, and I just wish the rest of the book held half the same meaning and emotion for me as those short few pages did. Unfortunately, this wasn’t enough to override my disappointment of the book overall. I can’t help feeling that Opposition was a half-hearted ending to one of my favourite YA series.

This time last month, before I read this book, I never thought I would be writing up this kind of review for Opposition. It breaks my heart so much, and I wish I was trying to put into words how much I loved this book. The Lux series is still a 5 star series for me, and this is based on Shadows, Obsidian, Onyx, Opal and Origin. I’m pretty sure I’m in the minority with my opinions on Opposition. My expectations were way, way, way too high, and once the first doubts began creeping into my head, I couldn’t find anything to bring my opinions back to being positive before the epilogue.

My rating is a very generous two hearts, and this is in reflection of my love for the previous books in the series. If I was rating Opposition by itself, one-point-five hearts would be the highest I could give it.

I’m absolutely gutted I didn’t love Opposition. I never expected it. This has thought me a bitter lesson to never expect to love a book. I will reread the series one day, and I really hope my final thoughts on the last book will change in the future.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

StS and The Sunday Post - August 18 - 24

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer, and It's a chance to share news, recap what has happened on the blog, what is upcoming and anything everything in between. Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks! This week I'm linking my recap post to both memes.

Review: My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent

My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent book cover

Title: My Soul to Take
Author: Rachel Vincent
Series: Soul Screamers, #1
Format: Paperback, owned
My rating: 3.5 / 5
Pages: 345

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Something is wrong with Kaylee Cavanaugh...

She can sense when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally.

Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest boy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about the dark forces behind Kaylee's power than she does.

And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason and only Kaylee knows who'll be next, she realises that finding a boyfriend is the least of her worries!

-- As seen on Goodreads

My Thoughts

I don’t remember reading any fiction books based on the Bean Sí before. I grew up listening to my parents and other people in my family telling stories about the Bean Sí that follows pure Irish bloodlines, and prepares the family for an imminent death. It was just something that was always there. Now, there is little something I need to get off my chest: THE BEAN SÍ DOESN’T SCREAM! Personally, I’ve never heard a story where one is described as “screaming”. They cry, and they wail and mourn with loud soul wrenching sobs, but they don’t scream! I will admit that “Soul Screamers” as a series title sounds better than “Soul Weepers” so I can see why the screaming thing was chosen, even if it kind of grated on my nerves. Right, the Irish girl had her little melt down… moving on.

After reading the above, you probably think I hated the book. Nope, I didn’t. I really enjoyed reading My Soul to Take. It’s a quick read, with good characters and a fast plot that never slowed down. I liked Kaylee as the main character. She’s an intelligent girl that was portrayed in the right light. She didn’t fall into the usual YA trap of being intelligent on paper and actually turning around and doing the most stupid thing imaginable. All the characters appealed to me on some level.

The relationship between Kaylee and Nash was very quick to start. It has the hallmarks of insta-love, but for some strange reason, I didn’t mind it that much. With the book being very fast paced, there wasn’t that much time to have a slower moving relationship running parallel to the mystey plot. The entire story is spread out over a week at most, and they have gone from first real conversation to lovey-dovey in that stretch of time. Oh the joys of High School…

I really liked that the mystery side of the plot wasn’t sacrificed for the romance. I did manage to predict some of the twists, but I’m really happy that a few took me by surprise as well. I have started to avoid mysteries as I can pinpoint the guilty parties very early on, so reading a book where I was in the dark for the vast majority was a wonderful change.

My less than fangirling response to My Soul to Take could be blamed on two outside influences: I had a severe book-hangover from Resistance, and the releases of Opposition and Dust to Dust were imminent when I read it. I couldn’t leave one world behind enough, and I couldn’t stop focusing on other books I love to read about! I might reread My Soul to Take at some stage in the future, and see if my feelings change when my mind isn’t as clouded by other stuff. It’s definitely a more “It’s not the book, it’s me” feeling.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Mystic Monochrome – 8 Striking Black and White Book Covers

Mystic Monochrome - 8 Striking Black and White Book Covers

I love monochrome – black and white – photography. Changing any picture from full colour to black and white instantly creates such a moody and atmospheric image. Naturally, this got me thinking of book covers. I usually pay more attention to very strong and vibrant or multi-coloured covers, rather than monochrome. They are so eye catching, and I often overlook the plainer black and white covers when they are side by side. Finding pure black and white book covers that stood out was a lot harder than I thought it would be! I've chosen 8 of my favourites to share, and I've given myself a bit of leeway. The text might be a different colour, but the majority of the book cover is grey-scale.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Review: Resistance by C.J. Daugherty

Resistance by C.J. Daugherty book cover

Title: Resistance
Author: C.J. Daugherty
Series: Night School, #4
Format: Paperback, owned
My rating: 5++ / 5
Easily my favourite book of 2014!
Setting: Cimmeria Academy, England
Pages: 387

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Finding refuge at a secret location in the south of France, Allie almost convinces herself she's safe - until Nathaniel's guards attack. Then she's on the run again, and forced to return to the one place she can truly call home: Cimmeria Academy.

But when she arrives, she barely recognises it. Tensions are on a knife edge. Now most of the students have deserted the school, the teachers can't be trusted and guards are in charge. Worse, Nathaniel is close - very close - to getting everything he wants.

Desperate to do something - anything! - to stop him, Allie agrees to accompany Lucinda on a dangerous late-night mission. But in doing so, is she putting her friends' lives at risk?

Carter and Sylvain are both ready to fight by her side - and prove their love. Allie knows she must make up her mind once and for all about who she really wants. No one will wait for ever.

The time for indecision is over. Everything is at stake and winner takes all...

-- As seen on Goodreads

My Thoughts

Oh, wow! Just… WOW! I was absolutely speechless when I read the last page of Resistance. Everything about this book was phenomenal. EVERYTHING. I don’t have one single complaint. NONE! This never happens! I’m so freaking happy right now! The three previous books I loved, but I thought there was some little thing missing. Whatever the heck that was, it appeared in Resistance with a vengeance! I KNEW the Night School series could end up being one of my favourite YA series of all time, and Resistance cemented it. As you can probably guess, this was my favourite book in the series. By a clear mile!

The atmosphere that was created right from the first pages was so tangible and vibrant, and it kept building throughout the entire book. The pace was perfect. I was on the edge of my seat, and I didn’t relax for one second. Oh my goodness, I loved it! The tension was incredible! I felt every little thing that happened. The blurb doesn’t lie when it says tensions are on a knife edge. I read Nevermore by Kelly Creagh earlier this year, and I didn’t think anything could beat it in terms of atmosphere, but Resistance managed it. Where Nevermore is densely detailed, Resistance give us the freedom to let the imagination have some control: it plants the seed, and then the atmosphere keeps building on a different level.

I love all the characters in this series. They have been through so much up to now, with losses along the way and seeing them willing to keep going and do their best to fight on against the odds is amazing. I love seeing how much Allie Sheridan has grown. She’s just as ballsy as I remembered. She has so much backbone, and never backs down from anything, yet she is open-minded enough to accept when she is in the wrong, and brave enough to apologise and eventually rectify a situation if she is mistaken. She has a great support network and awesome friends, and I feel in this book the secondary characters came into their own and shone. Every character has an inner strength and courage that shines through, and they have each other to lean on when needed. They know how determined Allie is, and they know how to handle her. They don’t back-down, and they challenge her to improve and grow. I absolutely love this dynamic and their dialogue is so absorbing and entertaining.

And now for the two boys: Carter West and Sylvain Cassel. Now, I suppose this could be classed as a “love-triangle,” but I shudder to even think this term in relation to this series. We’ve all read bad love-triangles and they leave an incurable scar. When they are done well, I think they can be very entertaining to read. The dynamic in Night School presents two male characters that are on equal footing in my eyes. Both Sylvain and Carter have lots of positive points, but equally balancing flaws. I could honestly see Allie happy with either one, in honesty. Carter, I suppose, is more of the “rebel” character, while Sylvain is pretty much “aristocracy”, without the snotty attitude. Now, without giving anything away, the blurb hints at a choice being made. Yes, there has been a resolution. And no, I’m not going to tell you who wins! I have picked a side as well, but I’m not going to reveal my preference… well… OK! OK! If you’ve read the book, I might have yelled “YES!” on page 372… I think that’s vague enough ;-D

I love Cimmeria Academy and the grounds. After four books, it’s become so familiar and it’s like a secondary character all by itself. From the library, the roof walks, the dining hall, the lake and the tree in the chapel graveyard. All of it has become so special. I love the way it’s described, and the care put into the consistency between each book.

I have to mention the ending. I never saw it coming. Just when I think we get a nice reprise, and the book will end on a peaceful note, I honestly wasn’t expecting another twist. Holy hell, my jaw was on the floor! This is one of my wonderfully descriptive notes that I jotted down after I finished reading. It kind of sums up my feelings perfectly, if incoherently! -- “Everything was so perfect, and then everything went BOOM again, and then NOOOOO, and then… I NEED THE NEXT BOOK!!!” -- Yep. This is what all my notes look like. It takes quite a bit of polishing to make any sense of them!

Very, very few books have made me feel and react so strongly when I was reading. Every one of those books ended up on my all-time favourite’s shelf, and Resistance will be joining them. Resistance is easily my favourite book of 2014 so far, and not many books even come close. I loved every page and every word. Phenomenal!

The only downside? The really long wait, and the countdown until Endgame

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

WoW #23 - Loop by Karen Akins

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

 Loop by Karen Akins book cover

Loop by Karen Akins

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Top 10 Books I’ve Been Told I MUST Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme run by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week, the topic is “Top Ten Books People Have Been Telling You That You MUST Read”. I love seeing other readers and bloggers fangirling over their new -and old- favourites. I can’t help but be swept away with their enthusiasm, and I’ve found so many awesome books following their recommendations. These ten books are the tip of a very long list of books that I’ve been recommended to read more than once. I own, but haven’t read a couple of them. Hopefully I’ll love them and I’ll be able to join in on the fangirling soon!

Monday, 18 August 2014

Review: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers book cover

Title: Grave Mercy
Author: Robin LaFevers
Series: His Fair Assassin, #1
Format: Paperback, owned
My rating: 5 / 5
Setting: Brittany
Pages: 484

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Young, beautiful and deadly. Trained as an assassin by the god of Death, Ismae is sent to the court of Brittany, where she finds herself under prepared - not only for the games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make.

For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

-- As seen on Goodreads

My Thoughts

I didn't get off to the best start with Grave Mercy. After reading the blurb I was expecting a historical romance with some assassins thrown in, and a familiar plot that would remind me too much if Poison Study. While I was reminded of Poison Study quite a few times, this book was a million times better than my expectations! Assassins or spies on their own are fascinating, but when you add assassin NUNS, things suddenly become a lot more entertaining.

At the beginning, Grave Mercy isn't the fastest moving book I have ever read. There is a lot of detail and build up in the first 150-180 pages, and in honesty I wasn't enjoying the book that much at this stage. Looking back on it now, all of this information was essential. There are so many layers built up, from the political and governmental, the convent and St. Mortain, assassins, the huge cast of characters and the intricate relationships between each one. Right now, it's amazing, but when I was reading I wanted the plot to hurry up already!

Once things began to move along, oh my lordy, it was absolutely amazing! Taking the time to establish the characters made all the tension and twists that much better, and I could feel the tension and pressure the characters were under. At the beginning of my paperback, we get a Dramatis Personae with 36 living characters listed. For the most part, each one was distinguishable with their own personality traits shining through. With that many characters, this is one hell of a feat!

I really liked all the characters, even the so called "villains". I could see why they thought and did the things they chose to do. Ismae Rienne is our main character and narrator. She was marked by an old Druidic god of death, Mortain, as one of his daughters who would essentially be his handmaiden in the realms if the living. As Christianity is spreading through Europe, the Breton people have taken to calling their old gods Saint to fit in with the new customs. Ismae is shunned by her local village for her scarring, and once her father tries to marry her off, she is rescued from an abusive situation and taken to the Convent of St. Mortain where she begins her training as an assassin to carry out Mortains prophecies of vengeance.

Ismae really grew on me over the course of the book. I could sympathise with her quite early on, but it took a while for me to really connect with her fully. Seeing where she came from, and who she grew into over the course of a single, albeit long, book was amazing. Gavriel Duval reminded me a lot of Valek from Poison Study, even though I kind of prefer Duval out if the two. Valek strengths and personality would be very subtle in comparison, where Duval has a more obvious and noticeable strength to his character. I loved both Ismae and Duval together. I could sense their connection, and I loved that it built up so realistically over the course of the book.

I loved both DeLornay and Beast, and I couldn't help admiring Duchess Anne. For a child of twelve to be forced to take the reins of a country under siege... gosh it was so well done! You could see the vulnerability along with the sheer strength of character when she knew she had to stand up for herself.

I can't help feeling that the blurb puts too much emphasis on the romance plot, and not enough emphasis on what actually takes place. I mean, if assassin nuns were mentioned, I think I would have been a heck of a lot more prepared for how awesome this book really is! Both the historical and political sides of the story are so intriguing, they overtake what is happening between Ismae and Duval, and the romance enhances rather than dominates the story.

Grave Mercy completely came out of the blue and surprised me with how emotionally invested in the characters I was. When I'm sniffling away and trying to fight tears at the tough times in a story, it's a pretty big clue I've found a book I love. And I absolutely loved this book! It might have been a shaky start, but it was so worth sticking with it to find out what actually happens. I highly recommend it, and I can't wait to start the next book in the series.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Stacking & The Sunday Post: 1-15 August

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer, and It's a chance to share news, recap what has happened on the blog, what is upcoming and anything everything in between. Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks! This week I'm linking my recap post to both memes.

Review: Beloved Enemy by Lacy Yager

Beloved Enemy by Lacy Yager book cover

Title: Beloved Enemy
Author: Lacy Yager
Series: Unholy Alliance, #3
Format: eGalley, provided
by publishers via NetGalley
My rating: 3 / 5

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She's the unlikeliest vampire hunter ever. A scientist.

Seventeen-year-old science prodigy Genevieve Quinn never thought she would be kidnapped from her college campus by a vampire. Or that said vampire would want her help on a science project. Genevieve has no intention of complying, but when an escape attempt turns deadly, it is a vampire that comes to her rescue.

Vampire Chad Matthews is an atypical specimen. He’s good-looking, in a dangerous kind of way. But that’s not what attracts Genevieve… it’s the shadows behind his eyes. As Genevieve and Chad team up to find a way to defeat a monster even worse than killer vampires, she discovers that not everything can be explained by science—like falling in love.

-- As seen on Goodreads

My Thoughts

*I received a copy of this book from the publishers via NetGalley, (Thank you!), in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinion in any way.*

I love reading a series in order, and I didn’t realise Beloved Enemy was the third book in a series until shortly before I began reading. I haven’t read the previous two books, and I do think this had a big influence on my overall opinions on the book. I’ve read a couple of series out of order before, but I find I don’t get to know the characters as well as I want to. Plus, it usually cuts out the confusion of not knowing what is happening in the overall story line.

I’ll hold my hand up and say this is my fault, and I know that if I had read the previous books, I would have had so much more knowledge and familiarity towards the characters and story arc. I was confused for the first 20% or so. There are a lot of characters introduced very quickly and they are either fully human, vampire, warlock or Chaser. With all the names floating around I did get a bit confused with who was who, and who had what abilities.

Beloved Enemy is a very quick paranormal read. I’m not the fastest reader, and I finished it in one sitting. For such a short book, a lot happens. Our main female character, Genevieve, has been abducted and the book begins with her trying to escape her vampire captives. On her second attempt at escaping, she runs into Chad, our male MC, and the hormones kick in.

I feel like so much of the story was lost to me, and I would have liked to find out what happened to the characters before this book started. Several characters are mentioned but we don’t get to meet them, so my focus was really on Genevieve and Chad’s budding relationship, and the Catatatoares – bad vamp – problems .There might have been a hint of insta-attraction, but I enjoyed the way it played out. They didn’t immediately jump into the I-wuv-u’s which is so nice to see.

Overall, I did enjoy Beloved Enemy, but I really recommend reading the series from the beginning. While I did feel a bit lost at times, and I know this could have been avoided.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Feature and Follow, #11 -- New Topics

Feature and Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee of Parajunkee’s View and Alison of Alison Can Read. The goal is to increase blog followers and to make new friends. If you want to take part, answer the question posted and add your post to the linky, follow the hosts and the featured blogs, and hop from blog to blog leaving a comment to say hello, and follow as many or as few blogs as you like.

This Weeks Question:

Suggest a question! We need more questions of the week for future FFs. Any ideas?

I don't know if any have been done before, but... I have a few ideas. I like fun/silly topics as well as the more serious ones. I think only one question is needed, and I sort of got a bit carried away!

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Review: Between the Lives by Jessica Shirvington

Between the Lives book cover

Title: Between the Lives
Author: Jessica Shirvington
Series: Standalone
Format: eARC
Provided by publishers via NetGalley
My rating: 4 / 5

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The perfect life or the perfect love. You choose.

For as long as she can remember, Sabine has lived two lives. Every 24 hours she shifts to her 'other' life - a life where she is exactly the same, but absolutely everything else is different: different family, different friends, different social expectations. In one life she has a sister, in the other she does not. In one life she's a straight-A student with the perfect boyfriend, in the other she's considered a reckless delinquent. Nothing about her situation has ever changed, until the day when she discovers a glitch: the arm she breaks in one life is perfectly fine in the other.

With this new knowledge, Sabine begins a series of increasingly risky experiments that bring her dangerously close to the life she's always wanted. But if she can only have one life, which is the one she'll choose?

A compelling psychological thriller about a girl who lives two parallel lives - this is Sliding Doors for the YA audience.

-- As seen on Goodreads

*I received a copy of this book from the publishers via NetGalley, with thanks to Hatchett Children’s Books/Orchard Books, in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinion in any way.*

My Thoughts

“I am a liar. Not compulsive. Simply required. I am two people.”

Sabine is very different from most people: she has two lives. She lives each day twice, taking up the role required of her in both her existences. She has two sets of family and two sets of friends, two sets of pressures, and two sets of expectations to meet. Each day at midnight, without fail, she switches from one life to the other, and they couldn’t be more different. Her Roxbury life is as hard as it gets, with parents who constantly demand she do more than she can possibly give. The one positive Sabine has had in her Roxbury life is her little sister, Maddie. Her Wellesley life is picture perfect. She is popular; has the perfect relationship; has the perfect friends and perfect family – the exception being her two older brothers.

But something changes. She breaks her arm in her Roxbury life. What happens to her physically in one life also happens to her in the other. Except this time, for the first time in her eighteen years, she doesn’t wake up with a broken arm in her Wellesley life. For the first time, she realises she could have a choice. She could choose to have the one thing she always wanted: only one life. The choice seems simple, until she meets Ethan…

Between the Lives is one of those books that surprised me. When I started reading, I wasn’t too sure if I was going to like it very much. I had settled into a “this is going to be a good, but not great read” mentality, and I know that’s not fair at all. Around 25 – 30% in and when all the action kicks off, my goodness, I loved it! From then on, the book became so interesting and absorbing.

A lot happens in a short space of time, and I did feel a bit overwhelmed in the first few chapters. I didn’t think I was empathising with or connecting with the characters at the same pace as the story was progressing. I had a feeling something was going to happen, and I could see it coming, but the way it happens and is described was so good!

I found it difficult to connect with Sabine at some points in the book. Having two lives immediately means two personalities, but I actually felt she had three: the Roxbury Sabine, the Wellesley Sabine, and the real Sabine. I could see her perspective easily, and I could see why she made certain choices at the beginning even though I mightn’t have agreed with some of the things she did. Living two lives simultaneously with very minimal control would have such a huge impact on a person and then to be given the opportunity to actually take control and do what you want to do would be intoxicating to anyone in the situation.

Ethan was one of the main reasons I loved Between the Lives. Initially it seemed he was going to be yet another YA male copy to blend in with the rest, but thankfully he came into his own character and I ended up really liking him. I could see his intentions to keep Sabine away from more heartache – even though Sabine couldn’t for some reason - and in my opinion, he was the most interesting character in the book. I could sense the book was building up to a pretty intense ending, and I didn’t expect to become so emotional. My emotions blindsided me even though I had a pretty good idea what would happen, and it was then I realised I cared for the characters so much more than I first realised.

I was left with some unanswered questions that I expecting an answer to, and I guess that would be my main negative. I was hoping to find out a bit more on the two lives concept. It’s hinted at that everyone has two lives, but Sabine seems to be the only one who remembers. She mentions “glitches” a couple of times at the beginning, but that thread of the story faded away and I didn’t feel it was resolved. Is she the glitch? I have no idea!

Apart from this, I really enjoyed Between the Lives and I connected with the characters more than I realised initially. It’s not an unapproachable Fantasy/Sci-Fi book: it has quite a Contemporary feel to it, so I think it could be good for both people looking to branch into the Fantasy genre, and for Fantasy fans alike. I’ll definitely be reading more books by this author in the future.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little - WoW #22

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

 Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little book cover

Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little

Expected publication: November 4th 2014 by HarperCollins

Genres: Young Adult; Fantasy; Historical Fiction

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Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Ten Books I’m Not Sure I Want To Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme run by The Broke and the Bookish.

We all have the same problem: a huge TBR list that’s not getting any smaller. I love the topic this week, and I could have listed a lot more than ten books. Every other day I’m adding a new book to my never shrinking lists, so it’s time I weed through my existing TBR and have a good clear out.

The ten books I’ve chosen are up for the chop, and some might come as a surprise. I’ve chosen them for a variety of different reasons. Some I’m losing interest in, some I’ve seen mixed reviews for, and some seem a bit too similar to books I’ve already read.

I’m also looking for a little advice: If you loved any of the books on my list, please try to convince me to give them a second chance. And likewise, if you didn’t like them, tell me why and reassure me I’m doing the right thing in dropping the book.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Review: Outshine by Nola Decker - Blog Tour

Hi! Thanks for stopping by. Welcome to my stop on the Blog Tour hosted by Sage’s Blog Tours for Nola Decker’s new Young Adult Sci-Fi book, Outshine. Hope you enjoy!

Outshine by Nola Decker book cover

Title: Outshine
Author: Nola Decker
Format: eBook
Kindly provided by Tour Company and Author
My rating: 3 / 5
Pages: 327

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When agoraphobic Gabe and his outgoing nemesis Jessa go on a moonlit road trip to locate Gabe's missing brother, the two teens discover they are both hiding unnatural abilities: Gabe is a living lie detector and Jessa is a kick-ass powerhouse pretending to be a delicate diva.

Gabe's sole reason for searching for Watts, his overbearing younger brother, is to clear his own name: he's been framed for Watts' alleged murder. Jessa is after Watts because she is, well, after him.

They find him with Deacon, the twisted eugenicist responsible for their unusual powers. He encourages them to stay and join his "Family" where they'll be able to live openly as the genetically-modified freaks that they are. When Jessa and Gabe uncover the truth about Deacon's past--and what he wants for the future--they band together to stop him. Watts, however, might have other plans . . .

Meet the Author, Nola Decker

Nola Decker is the only writer in Seattle who doesn't drink coffee. She makes up for her happy and healthy childhood by writing stories in which terrible things happen to young people. She loves salted caramel anything and Fridays.

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My Thoughts

Outshine follows the story of Gabe and Jessa, two teenagers who have known of each other their whole lives, but float in different circles. Gabe is a walking lie-detector, who suffers from severe headaches and becomes ill whenever someone lies to him, or lies about anything. Jessa, on the other hand, is a walking lie. She has created the perfect, pretty, popular girl image to hide her true abilities: extreme strength, speed and fearlessness.

When Gabe’s younger brother - Watts - goes missing, this isn’t seen as a bad thing to Gabe. He has to endure endless torment from Watts every day, so he thinks that his life might actually be pretty nice with his brother out of the way, even though he feels incredibly guilty for feeling this way. This attitude doesn’t scream “innocence”, and suspicion mounts that Gabe has something to do with his brother’s disappearance. Jessa just wants Watts all to herself, and she is determined to find him. The first person she turns to is Gabe, and this is where their adventure begins…

Initially when I started reading, I wasn’t sure if I was going to connect with the characters as much as I would like. I’m so glad I was proved wrong! Jessa and Gabe became the highlights of the book for me. Each chapter has an alternating point-of-view, switching between Gabe and Jessa’s narratives. Both Gabe and Jessa have quite distinctive ‘voices’ which is awesome to see. There was some backtracking between the POV’s in the first couple of chapters, and this is a little pet-hate of mine. Thankfully it was limited to only a couple occasions and I could easily overlook it once the story started to pick up pace.

Such a big positive was the slow building relationship between Gabe and Jessa. They don’t like each other at all when the story begins, and it would have been so strange and completely out of character if they became instant friends. I thought the way they interacted and learned to trust each other over the course of the book was realistically handled and believable.

I really enjoyed the first three-quarters or so of the book. The last quarter and ending became quite disjointed, and I didn’t find myself as invested as I was in the beginning. If I’m honest, I don’t really buy into the reasons why the teens are “genetic-freaks,” but that’s just me. I’m unsure if there will be a sequel, but from the way the book ends, I suspect there might be. Overall, Outshine was an enjoyable Sci-fi/Superhero read.


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