Thursday, 28 August 2014


Rating: 3/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of Bookbridgr

It all started when a wormhole appeared and Earth and it's inhabitants turned out to be the most advanced creatures the Illyri had as yet discovered....if they didn't attack us, at some point, we could have attacked them, so they invaded us with some help from our technology and love for it, and have been in charge ever since. While they have brought technological and medical advances beyond our capabilities, there are those who still aren't too jazzed about being under rule from aliens, particularly with the rumours of drugged drinking water circulating. Enter the Resistance.

Syl is the Governors daughter, her father is pretty much in charge in England and he's busy dealing with an attack on a military base, making it pretty easy for Syl to sneak out to go shopping. But the trip takes a turn for the worse when a part of the street she's on is bombed, and a chance encounter with a human boy alters the course of her future irrevocably. Not only are these bombings not the work of the Resistance...they could be something a little closer to home, there's dissent brewing between the factions of the Illyri and bids for power are being made all over the place. Secret coups mean things are changing, and when the human boy, Paul, and his brother are arrested and sentenced to death for the bombings, Syl knows they're innocent. But one daring rescue later, and Syl  has made her father's already precarious position much worse.

On the run with her best friend, being harboured by the Resistance, Syl and co are about to find out a life changing secret, one that people have killed for to keep quiet.

"Syl would do well in life, assuming her father didn't throttle her first" 

Okay so I tried to do this synopsis to the best of my ability without being too spoilery because I take excessive notes when I review, it's a really bad habit! I felt like the synopsis on Goodreads and on my copy of the book itself is kind of misleading. You're kind of lead to believe this is some huge romance thing, and there is romance, but it's not the main focus of the story and there's so much going on that's more complex than you where expecting.

As you can see, I have given it 3 stars, now before you assume I don't like the book, I did like it. I really did, and I'm really excited to read the second book and see where this is going, because towards the end of the book my interest was well and truly piqued, however, there where a couple of things with the book that have contributed to this rating. Partially to do with the misleading synopsis, partially not.

I loved the setting of the book, Edinburgh Castle and the city itself as well as the cool right? She lives in a freaking castle?! I want to live in a castle! I've never been to Edinburgh unfortunately, but through the writing and the descriptions I really got a clear picture of the place and a feel for it. I really enjoyed the little tidbits of Edinburgh's history that where thrown in throughout the book as I largely didn't know most of it!

Conquest is very unique, the aliens themselves, all of the traditions they have, all of the creepy/crazy/weird creatures, the world that has been created and the whole "how they invaded us" thing, the history of the world basically, are unlike anything I've read before, and my brain was working over time to picture this strange creatures and the aliens. I love all things unique so it hugely appealed to me in that sense.

The opening chapter was perfect. It drew you in, intrigued you, made you want to find out more. It concisely detailed the background of the invasion, how it happened, why it happened, what happened during and after and so on, I can't be the only one who is now not looking at the internet and technology in the same loving way ever again. This was fantastic for the opening chapter, but more on this later.

The whole thing with the Resistance was very WW2 like, with the conscripts, the informers, the ways the Resistance communicate without using technology like the dead drops and so on. I thought this was an interesting aspect. But you don't really get much information about the resistance until about page 225.

The characters are well written and most of them are quite intriguing. Particularly Meia, I couldn't work her out while I was reading, I wasn't sure of her allegiances a couple of times, but it became obvious she's determined to protect Ani and Syl, and the reveal about her....well I didn't see that coming and I'm excited to see what's instore for her in the next book, I need loads more Meia!

Syl is hard for me, I wasn't too sure of her at first, she was really wild and a bit like a spoiled brat more than once, but I did like her spirit and her wit, she was perfectly snarky. Syl gets a lot of development over the course of the book, as does Ani, they both go from being kind of care free to being hunted and in more than one mildly terrifying situation, and it visibly changes them. They mature a fair bit, and I'm excited to see what they're going to do in the next book because everyone keeps underestimating them, which is a huge mistake when you consider the fact Syl can bend people to her will and Ani can cloud minds among other things. Before the reveal you knew Ani at least had something going on, and it's been made clear they're special but there's more detail to be had I think.

"You're quite critical for someone who was hours away from being hanged"

Paul is the only character I'm a bit "eeehh" about, which is kind of bad seeing as he's the love interest. My issue with him is that he's a bit bland, and some of what he does made no sense. He's with the Resistance, the Resistance aren't too fond of Illyri, but the second time he meets Syl, just after he discovers she's an Illyri, he kisses her quite randomly? To me that didn't make too much sense, it seemed like he was only part of the Resistance to cause problems with the romance to give it some drama you know? Paul's quite sweet, but I'm hoping for there to be more to him in the next book.

The thing with this book is related to what I said early. My main issue is that you're lead to believe there's some hue forbidden romance going on, they're on opposite sides and everything. I was expecting there to be more to the relationship and I'm going to try very hard to explain this properly. I was working off the fact that we'd have them meet, and there would be hatred at first, which would be expected considering who each of them is, and then we'd see the romance blossom. Not so. Paul first meets her and she's disguised, but as I said, the second time he finds out she's one of the aliens he's so determined to rid the world of, and he just kisses her. There's like instant attraction which is always iffy for me, and it didn't feel true to the supposed character of Paul to have insta anything with an Illyri. Especially seeing as he hates all the Illyri but there's no proper explanation of why he doesn't hate Syl aside from the rescue. I would have thought there would be grudging thanks not smooches. This just really rankled me when reading and it was hard to shake off because it was so strange to me.

The other thing is that in the first half of the book....Syl and Paul are only in two scenes together, briefly. Another reason why this insta thing made no sense, the romance was just there. The relationship was just there. And it was quite strange. I was not expecting to go half the book without the two of them being together, I assumed from the synopsis it would be all go from the beginning and growing attraction.

The narrative was tricky, the story is being told asif the narrator is looking back on events, so there's plenty of ominous comments which worked to intrigue you and keep you reading. We jumped from character to character, some main, some not, and it was very well done, the transition smooth, and the changes well timed to sow more intrigue. The narrator fills in quite a few blanks, which was fantastic when it was concise and something you needed to know, we also got follow ups for some of the lesser characters like the guard who was nice to Syl, which I thought was a nice touch, as well as the little tidbits of information.

However. Like I said the first chapter was perfect for the background and everything. But while some of the tangents did usually mean or pertain to something later revealed, there was a hell of a lot of background and info dumps slotted in to the narrative, which after a while, starts to wear on you and it's a bit of a chore to get through it all. It worked for the first chapter, it worked a couple of other times, but at some points it was like "aaahh not more". Becuase of this I felt the first half of the book was very slow to start and dragged a fair bit, as the action finally ramped up in the second half, alot of the bogging down with information could be ignored. I know you have to set the ground work, but it was just too much information sometimes.

I mean, I was expecting a lot more from the Resistance, more about them, I was expecting more fighting and to see them fighting back but the book is largely about the aliens themselves and their politics and culture, which is what you see a lot of and the source of the majority of all this information. The Resistance are more of a side note, I was expecting them to be more in the story. I thought it would be all about the Resistance fighting the aliens and there'd be all this tension. There was tension but it was between the aliens themselves not the Resistance and the aliens which is weird when you think about the title. It reached a point where I really did stop caring about the aliens and their culture, largely because I felt like I was being talked at by the narrator.

Those are my two issues with the book, and they did slightly change how I viewed the book, I went from loving it at the start, to being bored and mildly frustrated at how misleading it had been, to loving it again, and like I said, I am excited to read the next book because towards the end of Conquest it perfectly sets up the next book, you want to know what happens next, there's issues that have to be worked out and things are going to be interesting. Although I'm getting the feeling our love interests are going to spend more time apart than together so I'm still iffy on the romance. I'm not buying it right now, I'm here for the aliens and cool gadgets and tech....and ya work out what the weird wormy things are. It was very like a fantasy book with all the information, which I was not expecting.

Oh and England being the "European" HQ was a bit odd. I don't consider myself a European, we're part of the EU but we don't use the Euro? I figured it should have been somewhere actually in Europe?

The political power struggle going on was very intriguing you knew something was happening before it was spelled out for you and watching the pieces fall in to place was fun. You had lots of mysteries to work out, and fail at working out, the plot twists where very unexpected and unpredictable so you get surprise after surprise and after each surprise you get excited with the direction of the story.

There where lots of things to keep you intrigued, and the book does make you laugh a hell of a lot, with scenes like the girls not getting our human phrases, but it also is quite sad at points, I'm talking about the scene with Tam and the dog here okay!

Conquest is an intriguing book, full of mystery, intrigue, secrets, betrayal, lies, political and power struggles, coups and lies. With a unique world that where swallow you in to it, full of unique and strange creatures, cool gadgets, and a unique new breed of alien, your imagination is going to get a work out. While it does have a few issues with it, my overall verdict is that it's enjoyable, and a lot of fun once you get past the faults. I wouldn't call this Sci-Fi/YA, it should be labelled Fantasy with YA characters, but bring on book two!

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Wishing For Wednesday #3

It's Wednesdaaaaaaaaaay!
So without further's this weeks picks for Wishing For Wednesday!

Trial By Fire 

Love burns. Worlds collide. Magic reigns.

This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying many of the experiences that other teenagers take for granted...which is why she is determined to enjoy her first (and perhaps only) high-school party. But Lily's life never goes according to plan, and after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class Lily wishes she could just disappear.

Suddenly Lily is in a different Salem - one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruellest of all the Crucibles is Lillian . . . Lily's identical other self in this alternate universe. This new version of her world is terrifyingly sensual, and Lily is soon overwhelmed by new experiences.

Lily realizes that what makes her weak at home is exactly what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. It also puts her life in danger. Thrown into a world she doesn't understand, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can't hope to shoulder alone, and a love she never expected.

But how can Lily be the saviour of this world when she is literally her own worst enemy?

Trial By Fire is out August 28th, pre-order your copy here.

The Revenge of Seven

The worst was supposed to be over. We were reunited after a decade apart. We were discovering the truth of our past. We were training and getting stronger every day. We were even happy...

We never imagined the Mogodorians could turn one of our own against us. We were fools for trusting Five. And now Eight is lost forever. I would do anything to bring him back, but that's impossible. Instead, I will do whatever it takes to destroy every last one of them.

I've spent my entire life hiding from them, and they've stolen everything away from me. But that stops now. We're going to take the battle to them. We have a new ally who knows their weaknesses. And I finally have the power to fight back.

They caught Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
Number Three in Kenya.
And Number Eight in Florida.
They killed them all.
I am Number Seven.
I will make them pay.

The Revenge of Seven is out now, buy your copy here.

Storm Siren

In a world at war, a slave girl’s lethal curse could become one kingdom’s weapon of salvation. If the curse—and the girl—can be controlled.

As a slave in the war-weary kingdom of Faelen, seventeen-year-old Nym isn’t merely devoid of rights, her Elemental kind are only born male and always killed at birth — meaning, she shouldn’t even exist.

Standing on the auction block beneath smoke-drenched mountains, Nym faces her fifteenth sell. But when her hood is removed and her storm-summoning killing curse revealed, Nym is snatched up by a court advisor and given a choice: be trained as the weapon Faelen needs to win the war, or be killed.

Choosing the former, Nym is unleashed into a world of politics, bizarre parties, and rumors of an evil more sinister than she’s being prepared to fight . . . not to mention the handsome trainer whose dark secrets lie behind a mysterious ability to calm every lightning strike she summons.

But what if she doesn’t want to be the weapon they’ve all been waiting for?

Set in a beautifully eclectic world of suspicion, super abilities, and monsters, Storm Siren is a story of power. And whoever controls that power will win.

Storm Siren is out now, buy your copy here.

So there ya go folks! I will admit, I saw the movie version of I Am Number Four before I read the book, but I've been hooked on the series ever since and I can't wait for the next installment! Don't get me started on my love for Angelini's books either! Hers always end up in my re-read pile. Storm Siren is a new one for me, I think I stumbled across it, but doesn't it just sound thrillingly different?! 
What's on your Wishing For Wednesday list?! 

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

The Copper Promise

The Copper Promise
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy!
Source: Copy courtesy of Bookbridgr

So, I'm gonna start this off a little differently. In case you aren't aware, The Copper Promise is 4 books in one, so this is a story in four parts. I feel like the synopsis for this only really covers the first part of the book, which is no good at all if you want to know what to expect!

Our journey starts with part one where we see Lord Frith, crippled after being tortured and thought dead, meeting with two sell swords. The Copper Cat, aka Wydrin who happens to be a bit of a card shark, and her companion Sir Sebastian, a Knight kicked out of his order. Frith wants revenge against the people who killed his family, and the secrets at the bottom of the Citadel are going to help him get it...and Sebastian and Wydrin of course. Frith finds what he's looking for and gets the means to his revenge, the mage's power, but the trio are tricked in to opening the last seals and releasing the last God left standing after they're trapped in the Citadel. A God called Y'Ruen who happens to be dragon shaped and who has a rather unusual army.

We continue the adventure in part two, dumped by Frith's magic in the middle of the forest, the trio stumble upon Pinehold, a town that's under the horrendous rule of Fane, the man who ordered the Frith family destroyed. Being the greedy villain he is, Fane is determined to find out the location of the Frith the residents of the village are finding out...he's methods aren't pleasant. With Friths magic out of control, the trio have to resort to more...explosive ways to free the town, and avoid being captured and killed by Fane and his Children of the Fog.

Part three see's our trio disbanded. After finding the location of the vault, Frith has set out to find the Nowhere Isles, the place where the forbidden texts, and the words he needs to know to control his magic, are located. Sebastian has gone after the dragon, and Wydrin is off home in search of her brother and more trouble. After a job involving pirates goes wrong, Wydrin is tracked down by dead man walking Gallo, and the two set off to find Sebastian aboard her brothers pirate ship. Meanwhile Sebastian is tracking the brood army when he stumbles upon a contingent of his old Order, and a mission, to find the enchanted armour they need to fight the army. In the Nowhere Isles, Frith is being tutored by a mystic called Jolnir, and is swiftly learning to control his magic. But when one is attacked by a dragon, another makes a deal with a demon, and the third stumbles across a fifth God no-one knew about...they need each others help even more.

The final part of our story concludes with Wydrin seeking out Frith for help, and at the same time being given a mission by a God, a way to destroy Y'Ruen to be precise. After picking up Sebastian along the way, our adventurers travel to a Gods Rookery, retrieve some rather suspect clues. But before they deal with the Dragon, Frith is determined to have his revenge, and an old foe shows up to cause trouble for Wydrin. Can the all stop bickering long enough to do what needs to be done to get rid of Y'Ruen once and for all?

So's safe to say the plot is very complex, but don't let that put you off! Some concentration is required but you don't need to be sitting there making notes or anything! Don't let the size of the book put you off either! It really is a genuine quest story, featuring one of the best ragtag band of heroes I've come across!

"Follow me, Lord Frith and associated untrustworthies." 

The Copper Promise jumps straight in to the thick of it, and from there it's very fast paced, before you know it you're zooming through the book and it's over! I know you're looking at the size of the book and the amount of pages, and you're worrying about having to slog through it or it being hard to read, but fear not! The chapters are small which helps but unlike quite a lot of fantasy, the language is easy understand and read, there's no complicated pages of backstory, it's written very concisely, but still gives you a good amount of backstory and hitory but eked out over the book instead of giant info dumps. It's very concise for a fantasy to be honest!

The world is incredibly well built by the author. It's atmospheric, it's vivid and it sucks you straight in. It's incredibly imaginative, and you can see that in every aspect of the book not just the world created, but it really gives your imagination a workout. The world is incredibly expansive, there's plenty of other "realms" or "lands" hinted at, the opportunity for further exploration is definitely there.

The Copper Promise is as I said, fast paced, and the writing is so beautiful and descriptive the entire way through! The flow the book is so slick. We get multi POV's in Copper Promise, mostly Frith, Wydrin and Sebastian, but from part two we get the POV of the thirty-third one of the soldiers, and we also get the POV's of various other secondary characters. No matter the character, the narrative flows smoothly from point of view to point of view, and keeps you engaged the entire way through. Some of them are delightfully creepy!

Each POV was done very well, I loved getting to see the characters from each others perspective, as well as the event, although for part three it came in handy so you could keep  up with what was going on with all of them instead of one character! Some of the POV's where simply fascinating, others where kind of creepy, but all where written fantastically.

Each part is ended leaving you needing to know more, I mean the ending of Part One was chill inducingly powerful. Then there was the incredibly creepy opening chapter from the POV of the thirty-third, and it just goes on!

"One day, child, you will learn that the written word is powerful precisely because anyone can use it." 

Each and every one of the main three characters is written with incredible detail, they each have a complex backstory, which you get little parts of as we journey with them through the story. They have incredible depth. The characters, including the secondary ones, all jump off the page, they all have interesting/colourful personalities each different from the other and they're all equally as complex, you end up loving all three of them and even a couple of the secondary ones!

I think Wydrin has to be my favourite character, I really loved her. Her love for knives was a little quirk that made you like her all the more, as well as her love of a good fight! She's just so loud and loveable and she makes you laugh again and again! Her friendship with Sebastian was interesting seeing as she's kind of reckless and always gets in to trouble, but Sebastian is more level headed and always has her back. Sebastian was interesting because despite being kicked out of his Order, he still wants to help people, he still has honour. Not to mention his bizarre connection to the thirty third.  Frith, well, I liked him, he was quite badass at times but he came across as a sulky child more than once and he's totally out for revenge which is understandable, but he does help others despite the cost to him so he's not totally selfish.
I also really loved Jarath, and I really need more of him because I loved his relationship with Wydrin. And he's a pirate, so there's that!

There's so much to love in the book, there's magic, dragons, weird lizards, Griffins, a woman who can make magic glass which is totally awesome! Every aspect of the book is incredibly unique. That's not including the Gods and the pirates and assorted other unsavouries.

The plot is complex, there's a lot going on and there's plots within plots, but it all comes back to getting rid of the dragon in the end. In the meantime you get little side stories, each expertly woven together, and flowing on from each other smoothly as the story follows it's course to the end. The plot is incredibly rich with so much woven in to it, the plot points, the arcs, the characters and everything. There's also a very rich history to the world that's been created, woven in to the story expertly, you get hints, little tidbits, legends that are mentioned or concisely told by the characters to each other.

The plot twists and reveals come out of nowhere and take you by surprise, they pretty much leave you shocked and astounded by the new information or new direction of the story.

For all you romance fans, there's even a liiiiittle bit of that. I'm sure you can guess it's Wydrin and Frith, but it's not the main focus of the book. In the beginning it's little things and you kind of see it happening subtly, then near the end it's like "Okay it's really happening!". I was incredibly raaaaaaaahhh about the almost kiss! Come ooonnnnn they need some happy!

I still think there could be more to this, I think there could be other books, I mean it was left kind of open ended with Wydrin and Frith and the whole brood army training issue, I'd personally love to see another one and see more of the world from the book!

The Copper Promise is an engaging and entertaining quest story, with a complex plot made up of many threads, and featuring lively and colourful characters you can't help but love, magic, crazy gadgets, demons and bizarre creatures! It's impossible to put down to be honest, and unique to the core. An imaginative and different read, perfect for when you want something a little bit special!

Friday, 22 August 2014


Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of Bookbridgr

Alex Andros is a half-blood courtesy of her pure blood mum getting it on with a mortal. Now if you're a pure- blood, you get these epic godlike powers, seeing as how you're descended from Gods having flings with mortals, but if you're a half -blood like Alex? Well you've got two options....drink some freaky elixir and spend the rest of your life being a slave or train to become a sentinel and hunt daimons. I'm sure you can tell which option Alex picked.

Three years ago, Alex and her mum fled the safety of the Deity Island Covenant, no-one, least of all Alex, knows why, but after a tragic run in with a couple of daimons, Alex is found and dragged back to the Covenant. She doesn't get quite the welcome party she hopes for, narrowly avoiding becoming enslaved and all, luckily for her Aiden steps in and offers to spend his spare time away from his Sentinel duties helping her catch up so she can resume her training....but she's on thin ice. One slip...and it's buh bye kicking Daimon ass and being all revengey, and hello scrubbing toilets for her horrific step father.

Simple right? Weeeeelll did I mention Aiden is a pure-blood? Did I mention that there's a bunch of rules and rule number one is that relationships between halfs and pures are forbidden? Alex can't avoid falling for Aiden, but things get even more complicated when Alex gets a cryptic warning from the Oracle, Seth aka the Apollyon aka a totally badass half who can control all the elements and a super special fifth one, and Alex finds out the real reason her mother fled the Covenant with her. Not to mention everything they knew about Daimons....could be very very wrong. Following the rules, and surviving until graduation just became reaaallly hard.

"The pures believed she communed with the Gods. I believed she communed with a lot of liquor." 
 I love Armentrouts books, I say this every single time! And I've lusted after this series for a while, so when it got shiny new covers wellll......

....I couldn't resist it when I saw it on Bookbridgr, I mean look at how pretty the cover is! And this edition has the prequel to Half-Blood in it as well, which is fun to read before you read Half-Blood...or after, whatever floats your boat.

As soon as you start reading Half-Blood you're thrown in to the action straight away with Alex, and you're pretty much hooked from page one. The opening scene is full of tension and allusions to events we haven't witnessed and it hooks you completely. Especially when Aiden shows up with his badass entrance worthy of a movie. From there, it's fast paced all the way and you're unable to put the book down!

Half-Blood is incredibly unique to everything out there in the YA genre, and you can see it from opening chapter. There's daimons, halfs, pures and Gods. The mythology behind the daimons is rich and like I said, unique, Pures get turned, only halfs can see what they really are after they're turned, hence why they get trained up to hunt them. We've got the whole take on the Gods, and you get fed some little bits of myths. Then we have the Apollyon, who has the Buffy "one born every generation" shebang going on, and gets to control all the elements, something no other half can do, Pures get one element each, and he gets control over the fifth element...Akasha. Like I said, it's some very detailed and rich mythology.

The world building is also astounding. We get this incredibly rich, unique world, shrouded in mystery and things you just NEED to know now, with Greek Gods woven in to it and Greek mythology. It's a modern world, yeah, but it has Greek accents, shall we say? The world that's created will suck you in, and you'll leave kinda wishing you could go to the Covenant, everything is written very vividly.

I love Alex, I really do, she is like my twin and probably the only person who can match me for snark. I love snarky badass characters and Alex is the best of them. She's not perfect, she could be described as having some anger issues, but the imperfections make me love her more, and make her some more realistic and human. Alex is written very realistically, and with plenty of depth as well as being a strong character. Her speech is very current and up to date, and I picked up more than one phrase from her! Alex's inner monologue and narrative is engaging and incredibly entertaining, I'm not talking little chuckles here, I'm talking ugly snort laughing!

"-more than just her merry band of psychos."

Aiden is kind of aloof, at first, and you're fed this little bit of backstory about him, but you still want to  know more, you can see what drives him and shaped him, and how he looks after his brother is and is like a parent is cute, but also kinda sad for him. Aiden is generally adorable, the little things he does for Alex with the uniform and everything for example, and it's way obvious he likes her but doesn't want anything bad to happen to her.

Seth is....Seth. He's intriguing, we don't really know much about him, where he comes from and so on, we just know he's the Apollyon and like Alex, you kinda wanna smack him upside the head sometimes. He and Alex have a connection that's more than what it first appears, shall we say.

Our main characters are all written so vividly they jump off the page, and the same goes for the secondary characters. I particularly love Caleb and his friendship/relationship with Alex, they're hilarious together! Alex is written so well you can connect with her easily and feel what she feels, so Lucian you just want to punch and Marcus I'm just like ugh what a douche. You literally go through Alex's emotions with her, through the good and the bad.

The romance isn't full throttle from the go. It builds slowly, you watch it start, slowly blossom and develop, but there's a pretty huge obstacle in the way. That's not to say there aren't any cute scenes, there totally are, and the two of them are ridiculously adorable, warm and fuzzies all the way, you end up squealing internally along with Alex. We're watching the beginning stages of the "we like each other, but...." phase. They can't get together straight away but the potential is there. Aiden gets Alex, and he's adorably protective but he does know she can hold her own.

There is also the potential for a love triangle, but this one is going to be interesting. It's against the rules for Alex and Aiden to be together and he won't let anything happen in case they get found out and Alex ends up a slave, and with Seth there's the whole connection thing. Alex doesn't have feelings for Seth but their bond, and the fact it will get stronger, is going to be a spanner in the works. There's going to be the whole "is this because of the connection thing or?"

As for the writing, Half-Blood is written cinematically in my opinion, the flow is fantastic, each chapter ends making you want to read on. The plot is fairly complex, there's different things going on, different mysteries to work out, or try to, you have to put the pieces together, and nothings as it seems at first. I mean you could be forgiven for thinking the main deal with the plot is Alex falling for Aiden, some torrid love affair occurs and there's lots of training. No. As I said, we see the start of Aiden and Alex, wisps you could say, there's so much more going on than the synopsis leads you to believe, there's secrets and plots, and a tonne of plot twist you won't see coming and will shock you to the "mouth hanging open, uncomprehending" stage.

Another thing I enjoyed about the book is how there was all the potential to leave it on a cliffhanger for the next book, I was kind of expecting, but instead you get this incredibly beautiful, eyes slightly welling up, ending that finishes the book perfectly.

This'll be one of those books you re-read until it's falling apart!

"Grandma had apparently missed that memo"

As for the prequel, it's incredibly fleshed out, just as much as the actual novel, I find this rare in novellas not going to lie. It basically details Alex being accepted in to the Covenant, the events leading up to, and the death of, her mother, and then the events immediately before Half-Blood, like how she ended up where she was for example. Alex's characterization runs true to the book, she's just as snarky. There's lots of information woven in to this action packed novella, and it's a fantastic continuation of the story. It gives you loads more insight in to Alex as a character and what her life was like for her in the mortal world. There's even some mentions of Aiden *winkwink*. It's also kind of heartbreaking to read about Alex with her mum and see what their relationship was like, not gonna lie!

Half-Blood is a humorous, fun, and un-put-down-able read, with a world and characters that are expertly built, engaging, and suck you in. The characters are as vivid as the world, and you connect to them so easily, the world...well...I kinda wanna live in it! Half-Blood entertains, while perfectly setting up the next book incredibly subtly and almost like an afterthought. Half-Blood is a must read, there's so much more to explore in the world created, and the potential for the story arc is astounding.

Thursday, 21 August 2014


Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of Bookbridgr

You know when you're in a car accident and you die and then your baby sister brings you back to life with her freaky but kind of awesome gift? No? Well Ember does, and ever since baby sis Olivia brought her back she's operated on a strict no touchy rule to avoid the awkward moment when she kills someone just by touching them.

Yep that's right, worlds suckiest "gift" award right here. Everything Ember touches dies, plants, animals....people. Facing a life of never being able to touch anyone ever again, including boys, things are looking pretty bleak for Ember, who also pretty much parents Olivia since their mum went spacey after the accident that killed Ember's father and her....temporarily. But then Hayden Cromwell shows up, if the slightly stalkery tendencies didn't make Ember think he'd gone off the deep end, the whole "your curse is a gift" thing definitely did.

But then Hayden offers to help her learn to control it. But in order to do so, Ember will have to trust Hayden's adopted father who collects gifted kids like a fanboy collects Lord of The Rings action figures. Oh and live in a house with a couple of other gifted kids who really do not want her there, or trust her. And they're quite vocal about their opinions. When Ember finds out the car accident wasn't really an accident, she has no idea who to trust, especially with someone leaving little "presents" in her locker, and someone else trying to kill her.

"No one  that good-looking had a reason to be that creepy." 

I hope y'all enjoy that funny little quote, cos it's all I've got, I meant to pick some others but, well....I got too engrossed in the book. Jennifer is seriously ruining my life with all her awesome books, with all the awesomely perfect/adorable guys, raising my expectations to a ridiculous standard!

I'm sure you've guessed that I'm a huge fan of Jennifer, my review of White Hot Kiss is floating around this blog somewhere, and I've got another on my review pile, I'm literally in heaven. Jennifer's books are always perfect and always pick you right up if it's one of those days.

Right from the start of the book, I was hooked from the first page, sucked straight in to the world created and unable to put the book down. I told myself multiple times that I'd get an early night after many days reading too late, but that really didn't happen, I just.....I couldn't put it down, I kept saying "one more chapter" but then something would happen and I'd HAVE to read the next one!

Cursed is so engaging, and fast paced you whip through it, the flow was perfect. You spend the whole book intrigued and trying to work out who's behind everything, and then being wrong, or being all "I KNEW IT" but then being totally stumped by the motivation until all is revealed. Literally, I would set aside time to read this one in one go because you will not be able to find a suitable place to leave it, and even if you do, you will spend the entire time thinking about it. I promise you!

I connected with Ember from the offset. Seeing what she went through at her school, and how lonely and isolated from everyone she was, really makes you empathize with her, and the talks she has with her mother kinda make you choke up a little bit, not to mention how she's pretty much a mother to her sister. Ember is such a strong character, carrying on with life after everything that happened, and looking after her sister, even though she was facing a life of no college and no boyfriends or anything.

I loved Ember, she had some great lines that made me chuckle, but I truly admired her strength and her will. Jennifer writes her characters so well and with such depth that you connect to them yeah, but you also connect to them emotionally. You feel whatever Ember feels and more than once I kinda wanted to punch certain characters in the face, particularly when Ember is at the Cromwell house. It's a bit of a rollercoaster sometimes. It's kind of impossible to to become emotionally attached to her protags.

The other characters are kind of hard for me to describe, because you form your opinion of them based off Ember, or at least I did, like Ember I didn't particularly trust any of them or know who to trust. I have to say though, all of the other kids with gifts/the secondary characters, where written with just as much depth as Ember, and they all have clearly intriguing backgrounds that I would loooove to know more about! I'm particularly curious about poor Parker, besides our two leads, I really felt for him as well!

Hayden was adorable, even though I started off thinking he was a creepy stalker. At a certain point in the book near the end, I genuinely was following Embers thought process and was like "OH MY GOD NO WAY YOU CREEPY CREEPY HUMAN WHAAAAATTT" and then I was like...oh. My bad. Never mind. I felt so bad for him, and I loved how he was determined to help and wasn't afraid to touch her and actually spoke to her. He had a bit of a "you're a dick" period that he got over, but most of the time he was really cute, and I mean.....the way he handled her scars? Perfect boy.

Ember and Hayden's relationship was just.....sickeningly cute. Warm and fuzzies....check....internally squealing...check....kinda jealous....double check.  Their relationship was kind of rocky, with secrets and everything, but I liked how Hayden wanted to protect her, but didn't smother her and listened to her....well except for one occasion but still.

The plot, as I said, was totally engaging, you had the perfect blend of romance, mystery and action. I personally didn't work out who was behind the locker thing, I thought it was someone else. But I did work out who was "the big bad" purely because I was incredibly focused on the book and I picked up on some clues, however, I wasn't smart enough to put the pieces together regarding "j" and the motivation of said big bad so it was a nice surprise and everything clicked and I was like "oooohhh". So yeah, it's not predictable, but its workout-able if you pay attention, but there where plenty of twists I didn't see coming.

Cursed is a fantastic, engaging and unique book, perfect for making you laugh, or just giving you the warm and fuzzies on a bad day. Yes I know...death....touch of death...warm fuzzies shouldn't be possible, but the sad parts are outweighed.
Cursed features a protagonist that you get so attached to you want to punch fictional characters in the face, with characters that truly jump off the page, and a plot line full of intrigue, mystery, and shocking plot twists.

I didn't want to leave the characters or the world, and I'm not sure if there will be a sequel to Cursed, but I kind of hope there is because I would love more of Ember. Everything was wrapped up at the end, don't get me wrong,  but I'd love to see where Ember goes with regards to controlling her power, and I'd really like to learn more about the other characters and their stories! Please Jennifer....can I have some more?! *puppy eyes*

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Wishing For Wednesday #2

Haaaii there!
Hope you're all having a fab Wednesday!
On this weeks Wishing For Wednesday I've got some real scorchers!
Ones a series finale, and the other two are from two of my favourite authors!
So without further we go!

Ghost House

After the loss of her mother, Chloe Kennedy starts seeing the ghosts that haunted her as a young girl again. Spending time at her grandmother's country estate in the south of England is her chance to get away from her grief and the spirits that haunt her. Until she meets a mysterious stranger…

Alexander Reade is 157 years dead, with secrets darker than the lake surrounding Grange Hall and a lifelike presence that draws Chloe more strongly than any ghost before. But the bond between them awakens the vengeful spirit of Alexander's past love, Isobel. And she will stop at nothing to destroy anyone who threatens to take him from her.

To stop Isobel, Chloe must push her developing abilities to their most dangerous limits, even if it means losing Alex forever… and giving the hungry dead a chance to claim her for their own.

Ghost House is out August 26th, pre-order your copy here.

The Beautiful Ashes

In a world of shadows, anything is possible. Except escaping your fate. 

Ever since she was a child, Ivy has been gripped by visions of strange realms just beyond her own. But when her sister goes missing, Ivy discovers the truth is far worse—her hallucinations are real, and her sister is trapped in a parallel realm. And the one person who believes her is the dangerously attractive guy who's bound by an ancient legacy to betray her. 

Adrian might have turned his back on those who raised him, but that doesn't mean he can change his fate…no matter how strong a pull he feels toward Ivy. Together they search for the powerful relic that can save her sister, but Adrian knows what Ivy doesn't: that every step brings Ivy closer to the truth about her own destiny, and a war that could doom the world. Sooner or later, it will be Ivy on one side and Adrian on the other. And nothing but ashes in between…

The Beautiful Ashes is out August 26th, pre-order your copy here.


Everything hangs in the balance, and nothing is certain: Rachel has been kidnapped by enemy forces and is being taken to Rowansmark while Logan, imprisoned and awaiting trial, is unable to leave Lankenshire. Separated from each other and their Baalboden comrades, each must find a way to achieve what they desperately want: to rid their world once and for all of the Commander and the tech that controls the deadly Cursed One.

Fighting through her pain and embracing the warrior she’s become, Rachel will do whatever it takes to escape her enemies’ clutches and join Logan in his fight. But when she learns a secret that changes everything, she realizes that escaping Ian and his tracker friends is no longer an option if she wants to save the people she loves. Instead, she’ll have to destroy Rowansmark from the inside out—if she can survive the journey through the Wasteland.

Logan needs allies if he wants to thwart Rowansmark’s power grab and rescue Rachel. But securing allies will mean betraying his beliefs and enlisting the help of the man he hates more than anyone: Commander Jason Chase. Driven by his fierce love for Rachel and his determination to make their world safe, Logan may be just the weapon the city-states need to defeat the Cursed One.

But as Rowansmark bears down and uneasy alliances are tested, will Rachel and Logan’s love for each other be enough to surmount the unbelievable odds against them?

Deliverance is out August 26th, pre-order your copy here.

As a huge fan of both Adornetto and Frost, I mean, I loved Halo and Night Huntress was one of the first series I read from the Supernatural type genre, so I'm excited to see the new books from both and which direction they go in! Deliverance is the last in the series, so ya's gonna be a good one! 

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Wishing For Wednesday

Hey guys, hope you're all having a fantastic Wednesday!
Wishing For Wednesday is a new thing for me, it'll be a weekly thing, and it's basically where I'll be showing you a couple of the books out each month that's on my wishlist/I really want to read!
Fair warning, it's probably going to cause your TBR lists to get that liiiittle bit longer!

First up.....

Gates of Thread and Stone

"In the Labyrinth, we had a saying: keep silent, keep still, keep safe.

In a city of walls and secrets, where only one man is supposed to possess magic, seventeen-year-old Kai struggles to keep hidden her own secret—she can manipulate the threads of time. When Kai was eight, she was found by Reev on the riverbank, and her “brother” has taken care of her ever since. Kai doesn’t know where her ability comes from—or where shecame from. All that matters is that she and Reev stay together, and maybe one day move out of the freight container they call home, away from the metal walls of the Labyrinth. Kai’s only friend is Avan, the shopkeeper’s son with the scandalous reputation that both frightens and intrigues her.

Then Reev disappears. When keeping silent and safe means losing him forever, Kai vows to do whatever it takes to find him. She will leave the only home she’s ever known and risk getting caught up in a revolution centuries in the making. But to save Reev, Kai must unravel the threads of her past and face shocking truths about her brother, her friendship with Avan, and her unique power." 

Gates of Thread and Stone was out August 5th, grab your copy here.

Between The Spark and Burn

"The conclusion to Between the Devil and The Deep Blue Sea, this gothic thriller romance with shades of Stephen King and Daphne du Maurier is a must-read for fans of Beautiful Creatures and Anna Dressed in Blood.

Freddie once told me that the Devil created all the fear in the world.
But then, the Devil once told me that it's easier to forgive someone for scaring you than for making you cry.
The problem with River West Redding was that he'd done both to me.

The crooked-smiling liar River West Redding, who drove into Violet's life one summer day and shook her world to pieces, is gone. Violet and Neely, River's other brother, are left to worry—until they catch a two a.m. radio program about strange events in a distant mountain town. They take off in search of River but are always a step behind, finding instead frenzied towns, witch hunts, and a wind-whipped island with the thrum of something strange and dangerous just under the surface. It isn't long before Violet begins to wonder if Neely, the one Redding brother she thought trustworthy, has been hiding a secret of his own . . ."

Between The Spark and Burn is out August 14th, pre-order your copy here.

Mortal Danger

"Revenge is a dish best served cold.

Edie Kramer has a score to settle with the beautiful people at Blackbriar Academy. Their cruelty drove her to the brink of despair, and four months ago, she couldn't imagine being strong enough to face her senior year. But thanks to a Faustian compact with the enigmatic Kian, she has the power to make the bullies pay. She's not supposed to think about Kian once the deal is done, but devastating pain burns behind his unearthly beauty, and he's impossible to forget.

In one short summer, her entire life changes, and she sweeps through Blackbriar, prepped to take the beautiful people down from the inside. A whisper here, a look there, and suddenly... bad things are happening. It's a heady rush, seeing her tormentors get what they deserve, but things that seem too good to be true usually are, and soon, the pranks and payback turns from delicious to deadly. Edie is alone in a world teeming with secrets and fiends lurking in the shadows. In this murky morass of devil's bargains, she isn't sure who—or what--she can trust. Not even her own mind..."

Mortal Danger was out August 5th, grab your copy here.

What's on  your wishlist? 
Share yours in the comments below! 

Saturday, 9 August 2014

The Vanishing Witch

The Vanishing Witch
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of Bookbridgr

I confess, I haven't read any of Maitlands previous books, what drew me to The Vanishing Witch was the synopsis, being the history nerd that I am! And who can resist anything implying witchcraft?!

In the pages of The Vanishing Witch we dive headfirst in to the reign of Richard II, a true boy King, but unfortunately his reign is a tad bit troubled, with the poor facing some incredibly hard times when the poll tax takes the poor and makes them poorer. Not a fantastic time to live in, one could say. Hardly surprising that the poor rose up and riots broke out, with peasants fighting back, including one of our characters, Gunter.

While Gunter and his son become embroiled in the riots and we see the harsher side of life in 1380, we also see how the other half life. Gunter's boss, a wealthy wool merchant, happens to meet Widow Catlin, and it's not long before he's thoroughly enchanted, and his poor wife suddenly takes ill. Then promptly dies. With his son Jan crying murder, and Robert deaf to anything negative about Catlin, things aren't gonna be good! With a strange man following him, and seeing treachery everywhere, not to mention strange deaths everywhere, Robert comes to believe the only people he can trust are Catlin and her odd daughter. But all is not as it seems, some people aren't who they appear to be, and some aren't quite as innocent as they want you to believe.

Yes I know, I could have worded that clearer or made it clearer, but it's so hard to do so without some major spoilers going down! Anyways, we see a year of their lives, and the action is mostly centered around Lincoln with a brief jaunt to London.

I really enjoyed how we had the main story of Robert and Catlin and all that entailed, and seeing what life was like for the wealthy merchant, as well as how certain events effected him, and then having the side story of his employee, sort of, woven in to it showing how things where for the poorer half and how circumstances effected them.Both stories where perfectly woven together, with the characters each being crucial to the other at one point, but mostly having not much interaction despite being in the same world.

I just loved how you got two vastly different perspectives of what life was like at the time, and it was a huge insight. Although it was sometimes a slightly brutal insight, the book doesn't romanticize the time like so many do, we're treated to all the gritty details, some of which involving the revolt, are quite grim to say the least. Not to mention how you see how easily neighbours with grudges can go very badly when events such as in the book are going on.

Right from the opening pages, you're drawn straight in by the atmospheric writing and the world being woven, not to mention the curious little legend/myth right at the beginning which sets the tone of the book quite nicely. If that doesn't hook you, then the sufficiently creepy prologue will! As soon as you read you just have to know what happens next? Who is that man? and so on.

One of the things I loved about the book was how all the chapters had little tips/lore/whatever you wanna call it at the top, some of which where really  interesting, this one, for example:

"If a storm is raging, it may be stilled if a woman strips herself naked and presents her body to the storm. For this reason figure-heads of bare-breasted women are often set on the prow of a ship to still the waves and abate the tempest." 

I mean that one in particular I found fascinating, as I guess I'd never really questioned what the deal was with the ships having those figure-heads. Then there are others such as:

"If you fear that you are in the presence of a witch, clench both your hands into fists with the thumbs tucked under your fingers. Then she cannot enchant your mind"
Ones such as that really helped to plunge you in to the time, and the way of thinking of the characters and generally of people at the time. And again it was a fascinating look in to a world long lost to us. The chapter  headers further help to draw you in to the world and times, as well as introduce you to the superstitions!

The story was fast paced, the flow smooth and the narrative engaging, with the chapters all being relatively small, so it's quite easy to zoom through it. The world was suitably crafted to give you a sense of what it was like, and as I said, the writing was very atmospheric throughout.

The characters are all fleshed out, and interesting, and at points you think you know a character, and then you discover something about them or that they did and you're like "oookay maybe not", they all have different faces shall we say?

I loved the sense of mystery the entire time you're reading, personally, I thought the book was going in one direction and then it abruptly went in another, the plot twists where truly OMG worthy. I mean, one of them, I'd kind of guessed, but I was like no it can't be, and I was trying to work out who else it could be, and then I was like "no way I was right whaaaatt". Each twists is a surprise and a shock.

From the very beginning you just read about Catlin and you can hear Snape in the back of your mind going "people might think you' something". Seriously. As you read, Catlin's facade gradually melts away and you see her true colours, and find out more about her she goes from mildly suspicious to straight up biatch. Edward isn't even sly with his murderous intentions! I didn't suspect what he was up to at all, I just thought...well that he was lazy, I suppose?

One of the biggest mysteries, and one I couldn't work out, was who our mysterious narrator was who'd pop in at the beginning of some chapters before we rejoined our characters. That was a huge point of intrigue because he was obviously a  ghost, and ya know, he had a ghost ferret, which was pretty awesome! It also added that extra dose of creepy! You don't find out who he is until right at the end and again, screeching "no waaayy" occurred, because for some reason, I'd never considered he could be who he was.

As I said, we are told the tale partially from this nameless ghost, and then from other main characters perspectives, which I thought was done fantastically, considering we see some characters perspective, never suspect who they are, and then the next thing you know they turn out to be someone different, but you never ever suspect. There's nothing in those characters narrative that would have you think they're anything other than who they say they are. Maitland gives nothing away!

The Vanishing Witch is dark, fast paced book, that will plunge you in to a world and a time you'll leave at the end of the book feeling glad you didn't live in. Laced with mystery, ghosts, witchcraft, murder and supersitions, you'll not fail to be intrigued the entire time and unable to stop reading!

Friday, 8 August 2014


Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: ARC Courtesy of NetGalley
Check out my review for Cracked the first in the series!

When I saw Crushed pop up on NetGalley I was majorly excited, I'd stumbled upon Cracked and I immediately loved it, it was unique what with the whole Beacons thing among others, then there's the whole bit where you get the story from Meda's point of view, aka a demon and gleeful killer, but not unlike everyones favourite serial killer Dexter, she only goes for the baddies! When I finished Cracked I was itching for the next book, I needed more Meda in my life and her entertaining narrative, and luckily for me, NetGalley delivered....after an agonizing few months wait of course!

In round two Meda is at the new location for the Crusaders, who are currently building a new school, but until then they live in a place that could...well...let's just say it could do with a pick me up. She is a Crusader in training...or she would be if the Crusaders would actually train her properly, including in the use of magic. Meda is firmly on team "goody goody", determined to help the Crusaders and be a hero....or at least be good. Partly because she wants to, partly because she wants to do it for BFF's nothing all to do with the fact that the Crusaders are the only thing stopping every demon in the vicinity killing her. Nothing at all. Much.

Looks like everything's going all fine and dandy for our reformed demon right? Wrong. You see the Crusaders still don't trust her, in fact they're well on their way in to making her their enemy. Forced posession...lock on her door....feeding only when they say and practically starving her, not to mention the constant bullying. Meda gives and gives, but it's never good enough for the Crusaders, and as they start to push her more...well...Meda see's no reason to remain on their side, particularly when they start trying to kill her.

Lucky for her Armand pops up. Remember him from the last book? Hot but incredibly shady? Yeah him. He decides he's bored and needs a vacay from the fiery pits of hell, and who better to hang out with than Meda? As their friendship forms, Meda can't say no when he offers her an escape from the people fast becoming her jailers and would be murderers. But can you really trust a demon? Especially when the Beacon Map and a Soul are prizes to be won....

"For a homicidal group, they're appallingly restrictive.
No, Meda, you can't leave campus.
No, Meda, you know you have a curfew.
No, Meda, you can't eat that guy."

First of all I should probably warn you all that there's scenes of intense murder and mayhem, Meda is after all a half Demon who does need to eat, and does so enjoy eating. There's some very intense Dexter Vibes with the whole "well....I'm gonna kill you because I need sustenance, but you kinda deserve it because you are a whack job serial killer soooo...."

"Karma, not unlike myself, is a bitch"

This time round I wasn't sure what the hell to expect...maybe some more friends for Meda.....or some romance or something, but I should have known I would be woefully wrong. C'mon Eliza, give the girl a break!

Crushed continues to be just as unique as Cracked, we see less of the magic and we don't get any new shreds of history regarding the Crusaders, we do get a glimpse more of the hierarchy and some of the higher ups, as it where. Crewe's take on demons and their hunters continues to be unique and a breath of fresh air, keeping your interest piqued, particularly with that little nugget at the end of the book!

"As they say, if you're gonna do the time, you might as well enjoy the crime."

That quote right there? Totally my new life motto, I mean c'mon, how could it not be?! As you can tell from the quotes I've skillfully nudged in to this review so far, Meda's snark game is still strong. In the first book I loved her wit, snark and dark humour, and I continued to love it in Crushed. Meda's narrative, while intriguing, does make you laugh a hell of a lot, whether it's appropriate or not!

Meda's narrative continued to be engaging, I still love that we get the story from the point of view of Meda, watching her struggle with what to do regarding the Crusaders and the Demons, you could really see how far her character has come since the first book, she tries so hard to be good, and to be honest seeing the killing bad guys thing from her perspective is always entertaining!

Meda is written so well, and with such depth that when you're reading, you feel whatever she feels. I mean I felt some intense outrage, frustration and irritation towards the Crusaders in this book and how they treated Meda but expected so much of her still. You are 100% on Meda's side throughout the whole book, following her thought process, rooting for her and so on.

"Like the last time I saw him, he is dressed entirely in black. As he's a half-demon and agent of evil, I can only assume it's his standard uniform."

Armand. Oh Armand. Dammit all to hell. I really liked him, I mean at first, like Meda, I was wary of him, he had shady written all over him, but I ended up really liking him. I was rooting for Meda to finally get someone who understands her 100% and who's there for her, who would stand up for her and everything, and I really thought it was gonna be him and I was rooting for Meda to get some love finally but nooooo. I think I spent the end of the book ignoring the obvious outcome because I really wanted to believe he was looking out for Meda. I mean he was.....sort of? But still. I don't think we've seen the last of him though. *Ominous music* Armand is every bit as complex a character as Meda is, he's not as human as her, but he has his reasons for his actions that are intriguing.

Jo and Chi continue to be fantastically written and I love Jo and how she's Meda's personal cheerleader at times, with the whole be good thing and how she's always looking out for her. In full "Mind meld with Meda" mode, I spent most of the book thinking, wow Jo became SUCH a bitch, like how could you do that, and then at the big reveal I was like "wow I'm stupid.....and I feel bad now" I just love their friendship to be honest. It's fantastically written, and Chi's well.....Chi.

The plot was intriguing, watching Meda make her choice and seeing where the story was going to go...over to the dark side or staying on the good side. It's also set up what appears to be a promising third book. As I said we've not seen the last of Armand and there was a nice little bomb drop right at the end which has opened up so many possibilities. Not to mention needing to know what happens next. While there is a plot, to me, a lot of the book was Meda being tested, testing herself even, to see if she can really remain this good person that she wants to be, and proving herself to the Crusaders. But the plot was well devised all in all.

Crushed is a fantastic sequel that surpasses Cracked, in my opinion. Fast paced, concise and with plenty going on to keep you interested...although Meda's inner commentary is enough to amuse you and keep you highly entertained if not! I'm excited to see where the series is going to go!

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

The Visitors

The Visitors
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of Bookbridgr

The Visitors is Rebecca Mascull's debut book, and what a debut it is. Intrigued as I was by the synopsis, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect from The Visitors. On the one hand, it was sure to be an interesting look at the deafblind in Victorian England, a subject not much, at least to me, is known about, and I'm quite the history geek. There was also the promise of a friendship, love, adventure and a dash of war. The ghosts, however, are what threw me. Like I said, I didn't know what to expect, I wasn't sure if it was going to be full out creepy or just sort of Mediatory/Meg Cabot-y.

Mascull takes us to late Victorian Kent and it's hop-fields, and blazing South Africa, the backdrop for the Boer War (something I feel this book educated me on). Our narrator is Liza. When we first meet her, we come to understand, heartrendingly, that as she is deafblind, she cannot communicate with her family living in a world of darkness but for the voices of The Visitors she hears in her head, obsessed with the last day they died. In a lucky case of right time, right place, Liza meets Lottie, whose sister was like Liza. Lottie offers Liza a way to express herself to her family, and to at long last communicate with them.

Liza's intelligence means she fast picks up finger writing, along with her father, and eventually, her mother, but it also means she soon becomes able to write, read braille and make sentences with cut out letters. Finally able to communicate with her loved ones, a whole new world is opened up to Liza as she learns about the world. Even more so when she is finally able to see again thanks to a kindly doctor. With this sight, she can finally see her Visitors. When the Boer war emerges, Liza will lose her love, but she'll discover more than she ever knew about her Visitors, and how to help them, as well as saving a life.

I cannot begin to explain to you how truly astounding it is to read a book from the point of view of a little girl who is deafblind. Things we do, without even thinking about it, that are such a challenge. How Liza can recognise people by their handshakes, know things by smell and so on, pick things up from facial expressions, it was fascinating. It was also fascinating to learn about how the deafblind where treated at the time, what was available to them, what could be done surgery wise for them. It was inspirational watching Liza learn different ways to communicate, including signing, which I had no idea went that far back!

I mean the book was beautifully written, particularly the descriptions of things from Liza, especially after she can see again, I mean I see some of the things mentioned and I'm like "meh, see it every day, it's not that special" but everything is so precious and new to Liza and described magically and with so much wonder. It makes you want to sit outside and just look at the world around you, really study it, and see the beauty in things the way Liza saw beauty and wonder in everything.

The beginning of the book, when she's frustrated and unable to communicate with her family is so heartbreaking, but as you watch her learn and discover the world, it's truly beautiful to read. I've got to say, Liza is such a strong character, willing to learn, incredibly intelligent, and so kind hearted to others. I loved her friendship with Lottie, it was written so perfectly, and you got to watch their bond grow, and Lottie really did change Liza's life, and watching how Lottie's family acted as if she was an honorary family member was touching in more than once place.

When the Boer war started, and Caleb, Lottie's brother and Liza's one time lover, enlists and is shipped off, Mascull gives a surprisingly in depth look at the war, considering that obviously, Liza is not there. I thought it was very well done and slotted in with the narrative, it kept the book fresh. We get a few letters from Caleb, not only describing events leading up to a plot point, but describing what the war was like, and what soldiers thought of the war.

I knew nothing about the war in detail, which is kind of shameful, I knew of it obviously, but I was fuzzy on the details. When we find out Caleb has gone, the author slots in a little chunk telling us what the war is roughly about, which was concise and didn't break the flow of the narrative, but still managed to be very informative. Caleb's letters built on this knowledge in an interesting way that didn't bore you with reams of information, you got to see the war from his perspective, and how the newspapers at the time portrayed it differently, as they tend to do when this sort of thing happens, I mean look at WW1 and WW2.

It's clear the book has been well researched and that Mascull is adept at filtering out the most important and relevant chunks of information, rather than trying to chuck it all in and bore us to death like some. The book was very fast paced and easy to read to be quite honest!

The Visitors where intriguing and portrayed in a unique way I haven't come across in any other book. As i'm sure you've guessed, they're ghosts of the dead, I was expecting fully creepy from the way the synopsis was written, but they weren't really? I liked how the author had lore for them and rules, like suicides don't have ghosts, and how they would be obsessed with talking about the day of their death or the hours before. The whole hearing voices of their loved ones to calm them so she could then ask them if they wanted to move on was mildly heart breaking, but not as much as the scene with her father. Man I was not expecting this much emotion!

The Visitors is an emotional and inspiring read of a deafblind girl and her determination to be able to communicate with those she loves. A beautiful friendship, a brutal war, and beautifully written, The Visitors may or may not cause the odd tear or sniffle! You live with Liza as you see her grow up, learn, love, lose and live.

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