Thursday, 30 October 2014

Red Rising



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

The Earth is dying, and so Darrow and his fellow Reds toil away, mining Mars to extract the elements they need to terraform the planet and make it habitable for humans to live on. The Reds have always been told they are humanity's last hope, so they continue to work, continue to be treated poorly with barely enough food to survive, continue to try to win the Laurel that means more food. But it's all been a lie.

After a tragic event and a fake death, Darrow finds out that everything they've been told is a lie. People are already living on Mars, it's been habitable for 300 years, and it's been inhabited by the Golds. The Golds are a class of people that look down on Darrow and the rest of the Reds, they're the top of the hierarchy and all the other lesser colours, colours Darrow didn't know exist, exist to serve them. But the Reds are the class expected to work until they die, they're nothing more than slave labour.

Darrow takes up a rebel groups offer, and soon he is disguised, permanently made in to a Gold, to infiltrate their command school. His mission is to take down the oppressors from the inside. Reach a position of power and then destroy them. But first he has to survive the command school, and his first lesson? Being thrown in to a battleground with the rest of house, watched by the Proctors as they fight, make each other in to slaves and even kill, members of other houses. Darrow has to win, he was to be the Primus, because he needs the best offers to get to a position of power. But winning this little lesson isn't going to be easy, it's going to be bloody and it's going to be tough, and he's not the only one with an agenda.

Daammiiitttt, ANOTHER one for my new favourite series list, seriously, when books are usually hyped this much, I go in wary, but a few pages in I was hooked and I knew I was a goner, and now I'm all like "I NEED GOLDEN SON NOOOWWW WAAAA" tensely waiting for the next book. Don't even get me started on the movie. Need. So much need. This book truly deserves the hype because it is astoundingly unique and an utterly enthralling.

Like I said, I was sucked in from the first few pages, from then I was hooked the entire way through, frantically turning pages and feeling shock, sorrow and humour at various different points. Red Rising is is like Pringles. Once you pop you can't stop. Or in this case, once you start to read you can't stop. Doesn't have quite the same ring to it but you get the picture. It's fast paced, the prose is concise yet descriptive, there was an abundance of twists and turns, none of which I expected, which is always a rare thing for me lately. I was constantly shocked at a plot twist, believing whatever the author led me to believe, then finding out it was wrong! Red Rising is impossible to work out, impossible to predict, which is always a good thing!

The world building was just...wow. Cinematic, atmospheric, vivid, it totally draws you in and blots out the real world. It was created and established with such care and detail, the politics and such of the world are explained and detailed so you can understand the world entirely and understand how it works, which also helps to understand characters motivations. It's an intricately built world, with an incredibly intriguing history to it, and an interesting...I want to say layout...with the moon and other planets and everything, but that's not the right word, and I'm fairly sure after this little rambly tangent you'll know what I mean! Anyways, I do really love a world I can immerse myself in!

The characters, where all very well written and very complex. A couple of them had their own agenda's, a couple of them had way more to them than you originally thought, behaviours changed as a result of the setting they where in and the situation they where put in, and it was interesting to watch the characters adapt and change as they experienced the war game. Some of them handled it well, others did not, and it became clear Darrow wasn't the only one, there where others like him. I just found it so incredibly fascinating and well done, to see how these pampered kids, suddenly had this total shock and reality check and how they reacted to it, each characters reaction was very natural and organic, some adapted, some didn't, some adapted terribly, but it was fascinating. Every character was so strong and a lot of the secondary characters could standalone.

I loved the fact you first meet Darrow, then you watch him change over the course of the book, you watch him make mistakes, like when he went from being a very good leader to a crappy one, and then you watch him learn from his mistakes and the amount he grew and changed was fantastic. I felt he was very realistic, we all make mistakes in one form or another, we all lose sight of goals and need to have them reaffirmed and everything, and I really enjoyed Darrow, I just felt he was written realistically, he wasn't perfect, which made him more human.

I also have to mention that I really really really loved Pax, when you saw the other side to him, I seriously loved him, he made me chuckle more than once, and I can't even begin to described my sorrow when he was eliminated, I mean seriously. So many feels. I also really liked Sevro too, he was one of the characters where there was more than met the eye, and I really hope Darrow and his friends/lieutenants stick together and we see more of them together. I still don't entirely trust Mustang I have to admit, because I didn't suspect a thing and I was horrendously shocked and expecting the worse and everything. A truly fantastic bunch of characters!

 I actually took the "which house are you" test before I read the book, and now I'm quite disgusted and disappointed I got Apollo!

I want to talk briefly about the connections being made with the Hunger Games, because I can see why. At points reading the part of the book where they're all in the battleground and at war, I got a very Hunger Games vibe, going on, because of the arena I presume. But I don't like the whole "oh it's like The Hunger Games but in space" shtick, because it's not at all. I feel like in this book, the stakes are higher for our lead, I love the Hunger Games I really do, but for me the world building, the characters and the plot where all more serious and more complex, Hunger Games is serious, don't get me wrong but it's also a lot about the love triangle, whereas in this, things are a lore more brutal, there's very little romance, and it has an entirely different vibe. This is not another Hunger Games, it's an entirely separate book that adds another breath of fresh air to the genre.

Like I said, the plot was complex, there where lots of elements, politics, background, history, how things work with the Houses and everything and the colours all woven in to along with our main arc to create a complex story, that was truly action packed and had all the severity the situation warranted. Yes it made me laugh in places, but it was at times brutal and at times very sad as it was humorous, but it was entertaining and engaging, and I love a plot that is very clearly well thought, and is not at all easy to figure out. There's lots of different elements to the plots, and there's lots of emotion. It has a unique setting, set up and premise, the majority of the book is unique, with the colours and the houses and so on.

I feel like the second book has been very well set up, very subtly, the main focus was on Darrow and what was going on right then, and what needed to be done next, but at the end there's a very subtle set up to the next book, and I say subtle because I have a very vague idea of what the next book will contain, at some point there'll be a showdown with Cassius, there's going to be lots of dealings with Augustus, but beyond that, I can't really predict what's going to happen next. I have a feeling it's going to be a very different set up and vibe to this book, meaning there won't be another battle field (well there could be, but I don't think so, not like the Hunger Games with the second arena) I feel like we're going to see the story moving more towards the endgame as it's the second.

Red Rising, I am so pleased to say, deserves all of the hype it gets, and I truly loved the book, and enjoyed reading it. It was emotional, at times funny, complex, engaging and unique. It really makes you think, about if the world was truly like that, what colour would you be? What would you do if you where a Red? You understand the characters actions, you see some truly great character growth and change and not just from the main character, and the book is truly unpredictable. You'll race through it, there's no info-dumps bogging down the narrative, and it's a truly fantastic book. I can't gush enough about it!

I am incredibly excited for the next book, I can't wait to see what happens to Darrow next, to get back in to this strange and fascinating world and to see my new favourite characters again!

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Wishing For Wednesday #12

This week is yet another two of my most anticipated books, both are the next in two of my favourite series, so of course I'm really excited to finally get my hands on them!
The next is for all you Matched fans, it's the first in another new series from the Matched author and I think you'll agree, it sounds like a goodun!

Eternal


All her life, Della's secret powers have made her feel separated from her human family. Now, she's where she belongs, at Shadow Falls. With the help of her best friends Kylie and Miranda, she’ll try to prove herself in the paranormal world as an investigator—all the while trying to figure out her own heart. Should she chose Chase, a powerful vampire with whom she shares a special bond? Or Steve, the hot shapeshifter whose kisses make her weak in the knees? When a person with dark connection to her past shows up, it’ll help her decide which guy to choose–and make her question everything she knows about herself. 

From bestselling author C.C. Hunter comes Eternal—a must-read for fans of the Shadow Falls series—and the sequel to Reborn.


Eternal is out October 28th, pre-order your copy here.


In The Afterlight


Ruby can't look back. Fractured by an unbearable loss, she and the kids who survived the government's attack on Los Angeles travel north to regroup. With them is a prisoner: Clancy Gray, son of the president, and one of the few people Ruby has encountered with abilities like hers. Only Ruby has any power over him, and just one slip could lead to Clancy wreaking havoc on their minds. 

They are armed only with a volatile secret: proof of a government conspiracy to cover up the real cause of IAAN, the disease that has killed most of America's children and left Ruby and others like her with powers the government will kill to keep contained. But internal strife may destroy their only chance to free the "rehabilitation camps" housing thousands of other Psi kids.

Meanwhile, reunited with Liam, the boy she would-and did-sacrifice everything for to keep alive, Ruby must face the painful repercussions of having tampered with his memories of her. She turns to Cole, his older brother, to provide the intense training she knows she will need to take down Gray and the government. But Cole has demons of his own, and one fatal mistake may be the spark that sets the world on fire.


In The Afterlight is out October 28th, pre-order your copy here.

Atlantia


For as long as she can remember, Rio has dreamt of the sand and sky Above—of life beyond her underwater city of Atlantia. But in a single moment, all her plans for the future are thwarted when her twin sister, Bay, makes an unexpected decision, stranding Rio Below. Alone, ripped away from the last person who knew Rio’s true self—and the powerful siren voice she has long hidden—she has nothing left to lose.

Guided by a dangerous and unlikely mentor, Rio formulates a plan that leads to increasingly treacherous questions about her mother’s death, her own destiny, and the complex system constructed to govern the divide between land and sea. Her life and her city depend on Rio to listen to the voices of the past and to speak long-hidden truths.


Atlantia is out October 28th, pre-order your copy here.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

BLOG TOUR AND GIVEAWAY: The Fall

The Fall is a perfect Halloween read, one that I LOVED, and so I couldn't be more excited at the opportunity to be part of the blog tour, so here I am! As it's nearly Halloween, and this book is Halloween material, I have a suitably Halloween-y guest post from the author herself, as well as a nice little giveaway for a copy of the book courtesy of the publisher! How much do you all love me?! Yeah yeah, I know, "get on with it!" I hear you all cry, so without further ado......


Madeline Usher is doomed.

She has spent her life fighting fate, and she thought she was succeeding. Until she woke up in a coffin.

Ushers die young. Ushers are cursed. Ushers can never leave their house, a house that haunts and is haunted, a house that almost seems to have a mind of its own. Madeline’s life—revealed through short bursts of memory—has hinged around her desperate plan to escape, to save herself and her brother. Her only chance lies in destroying the house.

In the end, can Madeline keep her own sanity and bring the house down?The Fall is a literary psychological thriller, reimagining Edgar Allan Poe’s classic The Fall of the House of Usher.

You can check out my review of The Fall here. 




Bethany Griffin is the author of the post apocalyptic The Masque Of The Red Death sequence as well as The Fall! She was born in Louisville and she teaches English Literature, History and Creative Writing. 
http://www.bethanygriffin.com
@_bethanygriffin











And now for the moment you've all been waiting for! In the spirit of Halloween, Bethany has provided me with a guest post to fit the occasion! So read on for Bethany's Top 3 Gothic Stories.... 

My top 3 Gothic Stories

1. The Fall of the House of Usher. I know, big surprise, right? But I’ve loved this story since I first read it at the age of 12. I’m sure I didn’t understand a good bit of the story, possibly most of it, but the sense of danger, the scary house, the storm outside, the realization that Roderick has buried his sister alive, it all came together to form a huge impression on me as a young reader. Later, when I revisited the story—and I don’t think I would be exaggerating if I said that I read it dozens of times as I worked out the story for The Fall—I found that I loved it just as much. The Fall of the House of Usher is a dense story, it wraps you up and suffocates you with words and images, one after the other, so much you aren’t sure if you can hold all of it in your mind. And…that’s what the House of Usher became to me, as I wrote it into my own story, something so vast and evil you couldn’t fully comprehend it. Poe gave me that vision, and for that reason this story will always be my favorite.

2. The Yellow Wallpaper- a perfectly perfect unreliable narrator, or a woman whose forced seclusion drives her mad? Our main character is the wife of a physician who has no imagination or time for fanciful things. To counter her hysterical nature, she must remain on bed-rest, alone for most of the day in a room with barred windows at the top of a rented manse. She must not read, or write, or do anything with her mind, only rest. And slowly, we watch her go mad, fixated on the yellow wallpaper that covers the walls of the room. The last line of this story is creepy perfection.

3. The Pit and the Pendulum- there is nothing that isn’t scary about this story, but like all of Poe, it’s the creepy menace of the unknown that is the reader’s undoing. The narrator wakes up and is filled with terror and uncertainty, where is he? A dungeon filled with instruments of torture. He narrowly escapes death several times, but each time the next fate designed for him is even worse. And then, there’s the pendulum, razor sharp, descending slowly, slowly…and there are the rats…and there are the walls that close in around you…


Giveaway time! Perhaps this was the moment you'd been waiting for?! So, I imagine most of you, if not all of you, know the drill by now! Standard rafflecopter, do the little tasks, as many or as few as you like, knock yourself out. I have ONE copy of The Fall to giveaway to one of you lovely readers! 

Time to get (momentarily) serious. 
The Rules. 

1. Fill out the Rafflecopter boxes, you HAVE to fill in the one with your email, not only to unlock the others, but ya know...so I can actually contact you if you win. UK ONLY 

2. I will pick a winner on the 31st, so you have until then to do as much as you want towards entries. Short I know, but Halloween! 

3. Winner will be notified by email, from me, the day I have drawn the winner, and I will TWEET the winner's name on Twitter. So check there, but ya know....if I haven't emailed you then you haven't won. Sorry folks. 

4. I love talking to all of you, I really do, but please don't spam me begging me to pick you! I will be using a generator to do that and therefore have no control! Likewise please don't send me upset tweets if you don't win, it will make me sad :(


Good luck guys, and have a spooktacular Halloween! 

Pssssttt....check out the rest of the dates for the tour! It's coming to a close but there's three more stops, and tomorrow is the lovely Uncorked Thoughts! 


Monday, 27 October 2014

Love And Treasure


Love And Treasure
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of Bookbridgr and the publisher

It all starts with a jewelled pendant, in the shape of a peacock in the colours of purple, white and green, and a an American infantry captain's quest to return it to it's true owner after he removes it from the Hungarian Gold Train he was guarding in Salzburg in 1946. We see said infantry Captain, a dealer in art stolen by Nazi's and a pioneering psychiatrist all have their lives turned upside down by three women, all of which have a connection to said pendant, and we see the story of the pendant and those who have come to own it at one time or another. We see the women fighting their history and the history of our times, we see our characters connected to the pendant caught up in the flow of European History, and see the pendant become many different things, a gift to a friend, an offering to a lover, and an unlucky talisman as some would see it.

Love And Treasure takes us on a journey through the very turbulent, and quite often harrowing, history involving war, revolution, still present prejudices present in certain parts of Europe, scars left from said war, feminism and suffragettes, and we see a vast range of different emotions, and this is one story that is going to stay with you.

We travel from Salzburg, post war, 1945-1946 to Budapest and Israel in 2013, then on to Budapest in 1913, then New York in 1948 going backwards and then forwards and then backwards even further to trace the original owner of the pendant, and I have to say, it was fascinating finding out one version of the story, how the locket came to be in a place where Jack could take it, his morals explained and therefore his need to have it returned to its original owner. After all theft was a rather meaningless crime in the grand scheme of things, but it weighed on him and he needed it to be returned. The fascinating part came in part two, when we're in 2013 and Jack's Granddaughter Natalie is looking for the owner of the necklace, you then discover that a painting features a woman wearing it, said woman is researched as is her friend, and you follow the conclusions the characters draw on finding out about this woman's life. Then you go to 1913, which is the woman in the paintings story of sorts, to discover everything you thought, was wrong. The necklace wasn't originally hers it was gifted, and you discover the origin and circumstances of the picture found in 2013, the scandalous incident at the Opera and what really happened there, but was so sensationalized in the papers and didn't show the truth. But more on this later because there's a specific thought I had that I'll go in to more detail on.

I wasn't sure what to expect from this book, but I was very surprised that we didn't get the point of View of the ladies, I started out reading thinking it made sense it was in Jack's point of view first, I then expected to have Natalie's and then Nina's, so it was a surprise that it was from the point of view of the men in their life and even more surprising in Nina's case, that it was from her Doctors point of view and not her husbands. It was fascinating to read the story from the males point of view, of them falling in love with these fiery women who are so strong, I felt, and have strong beliefs. I was very curious about what eventually happened to Ilona! But I really enjoyed hearing the stories from the men's point of view instead of the womans, particularly the Doctors and his unrequited love, it was incredibly well done.

For me, the narrative, was at times haunting, particularly the post war parts, at times it was just as funny and thrilling and entertaining as it was harrowing and tragic and downright heartbreaking. It was engaging through and through and impossible to put down, it was quite emotional for me, from sorrow to outright rage at some points.

I was a history student by choice, and for one set of my exams there was a school trip to Berlin to look at the wall and so on, on the last day we visited Sachsenhausen, and to be quite honest, that is one memory that I will never forget, and I will remember in exquisite detail, and a lot of those feelings, came bubbling back to the surface when I was reading certain parts of this book, as well as images from it, so perhaps the heartbreak and the sadness I felt was stronger than other readers because of that, but I think it's the quality of the writing that will cause people to  tear up when reading certain passages.

I particularly enjoyed how the author wrote about such things, the Holocaust and other matters without romanticizing it or over dramatizing it, she wrote it with the correct amount of respect and severity it deserved.

The world building was all encompassing, atmospheric and vivid, the characters where well written, complex and came to life right off the page. The plot was complex, and expertly wove threads through time to connect everything together. For instance, the 7 dwarves Jack mentions seeing in the parade, we then find out that Gizella was one of 7 siblings, I'm not sure whether the dwarves in the parade where Gizella and her siblings, or whether you supposed to believe that or whether they were nothing to do with Gizella but either way it was a connection none the less, and there where so many little things as well as big things linking the different people together. You where kept guessing, as to the identity of the owner of the necklace, thinking it was Nina then finding out it was not, you learn information as the characters to and you draw your own conclusion or theory and then wait to find out if it's right or wrong. Love And Treasure is truly beautifully written.

Now the specific thought I had that I said I'd mention later. As you learn information as the characters do, at the point before Nina's story, you just knew she was the subject of the painting, and that she was married. I had assumed, which I really shouldn't have considering the time, that her marriage was most likely a happy one or at least a regular marriage, but no, we learn that poor Nina had to marry this guy to save herself and Gizella and he was a total dick. He had "affection" for her, but she quite obviously didn't like him or want to marry him, she was going to be forced to by her parents, much like she was forced to meet with him and forced to eat food he ordered for her. She could have gotten away from it, but to save her friend and herself she had to marry him so they could get out of being sent to prison, and she had to stop studying medicine. Quite frankly, this guy was a total dick "someday I might forgive you" or whatever he said....mate she doesn't want your forgiveness you knob, she doesn't even like you. I don't know why but that learn pretty much infuriated me as much as the entire the situation.

I literally felt so much outrage in all of the sections for how the female DP's where treated, how the horrendous guy who had the painted was such an ass, still so prejudiced against Jews and I can't even with how outraged I was that his family pretty much stole the house then murdered the rightful owner when he came back to claim it and was acting like it was such an affront he would only get 10% of the money from a painting THAT WASN'T EVEN HIS. It's mind blowing, if it's true, that no-one did anything to get them back their houses. Then the way women, especially Nina where treated at that time, I can't even. I'm one of those people that gets really outraged on behalf of others whether they need me to or not, I really can't help it, but this book just made me think so much about how women where treated, and still are. I really liked, actually, that the Doctor who treated Nina, while at first seemed to not take seriously the things she would say of the feminist persuasion and arranged marriage etc, I mean she was right, it was pretty much the girls being sold to whoever, and then at the end, he'd changed his opinion about women physicians, lamented the potential loss of knowledge at the lack of them, and did not force his daughter to marry the man she didn't want to. It was a happy turn of events, I thought, in a section that was full of such unfairness, much like the other sections.

I'm not sure if it was the authors intent to inspire that particular feeling, or just get people thinking, but either way it's a fascinating and thought provoking read. I seriously don't know what I was expecting from this book, but it has become one of my favourites of the year and I will seriously start shoving it at people until they read it because it is truly astounding, and just.....amazing. The setting, the world building, the characters, the history, the view points....amazing.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Killer Instinct


Killer Instinct
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy!
Source: Copy courtesy of the Publisher!
File Under: Pleasantly creepy, Criminal Minds for teens.

Still dealing with the events from The Naturals, when Cassie faced her serial killer aunt, Cassie is also trying to avoid feeling anything for either Dean or Michael, torn between the two, and she's going to have to make a decision. Luckily for Cassie, a distraction from said decision soon makes itself apparent.

A new agent, Agent Sterling, one with an interesting connection to both Briggs and Dean has moved in to the house. She's there to evaluate the programme after what happened in the Summer, and she's a stickler for following the rules. The consequences when you don't follow them? Ankle trackers. Seriously. But it's kind of hard to follow the rules when a new case for Briggs and Sterling hits very close to home.

Victims start turning up, killed by a murderer with the exact same MO as Dean's father, Daniel Redding, and there is far more to this case than meets the eye. The Naturals just can't help but break some rules to investigate for Dean's sake, but it's not long before our favourite teens are officially pulled in to help on the case. Dean finds it hard to not only be thinking about his father again, but actually having to see him. The team are going to have to sift through a serial killers mind games, half truths and dressed up lies to solve the case and put the copycat behind bars. Cassie will come face to face with Dean's father. Decisions will be made. Truths will come out and one member of the team will be put in immediate danger. But......is the killer really who it appears to be?

I totally went all voice-over "Next Week on The Naturals" but whatever. You guys can feel from my words just how full of tension and action this book is. I mean woah. I hate to say this but....I think I'm loving the series more than the Raised By Wolves series, which I thought was impossible but apparently not so!

I'm a huge Criminal Minds fan, in the sense that I'll watch each episode as it airs each week ONCE, because if I try to marathon it and watch a season in a day, I get majorly freaked out, and I'm sure some people know exactly what I'm talking about, a friend of mine certainly did! So I watched up to season 4 then just cut to the new season! This series, for me, is like a teen Criminal Minds, and I love it. It's the right level of creepy with how Cassie and Dean get in to the killers head, and the little view points from the killer, which I love I mean way to add mystery and intrigue while giving nothing away! I like to search them for clues and then still be totally wrong. It really sets such a perfect, creepy vibe!

I re-read The Naturals before reading this, just to get in the zone and back up to speed, but also so I can say that Killer Instinct carries on perfectly from The Naturals. Time has passed, but you're straight back in with Cassie and her dealing with things and then other things start happening ASAP. I love how there's no faffing for x amount of chapters, it's straight in and action from the go. The pace for this is fantastically fast, with the right atmosphere to the book and the right amount of tension that gets ratcheted up at the exact right moment until you're turning pages so fast you're in danger of genuinely injuring yourself!

I really enjoy the characters. All of them are so genuine, all have different backstories, and all are written so incredibly well that they truly come to life, I love how they all fit together to create a team. I especially love how a little nugget of information about each character is given away in each book, we don't have a full picture for Sloane, and Lia's background yet, but we have a pretty much complete one for Dean and I'm not sure if we've got everything about Michael yet. But I love how you get it bit by bit, so your opinion of the character and perspective of them grows and changes. Lia is a great example, and how she changes and her whole thing with Dean. Love me some Lia! I really love Sloane too and I'm hoping for more of her next book! She's so adorably awkward with her facts and SHE'S TOO CUTE AND I JUST WANT TO HUG HER.

Cassie, is a character I connected with and empathized from the beginning, and in this book that is still true. In Killer Instinct, every decision she made, was a decision that in my opinion, any regular person would have made (mostly). Most of her reactions are realistic and so on, and she's an excellent narrator, engaging and at times humorous. Every character has a flaw, and is damaged in some way and it makes every single one of them more believable and realistic than if they'd been perfect, and you can empathize with every single character and most of the time it's not hard to work out certain characters motivations in their actions. All of them are a truly unique cast of characters to go with this unique series.

The love triangle is perfectly written. I mean, usually when you have a love triangle you just KNOW who the girl is going to choose and who the obvious choice is, in this series, I have never been sure, and quite frankly, I am torn between the two, a decision is made in this installment between the two, and I'm excited to see where the relationship is going to go, to see if her choice is going to keep this new, better behaviour *frantically tries to word this correctly without spoilers* or if he'll revert back and it'll be all "Ugh I will punch you if you don't sort it out". Both boys where damaged in their own way and their individual reactions to the decision will be interesting. I mean there's no guarantee it's over, things might change. We shall see, but I have to give props to Jennifer for doing an incredibly well written love triangle that kept me guessing! It's a very rare occurrence!

The plot was complex. I thought I had worked out who the killer was by picking up on the little clues scattered throughout the book, and trying to be Cassie and fitting the person to the profile. But then I got one hell of a plot twist and I was wrong....but then there was another plot twist and I was right. This book is incredible. I say this because it's not often I have no idea what's going to happen next, and it's not often that I haven't clocked where the book is going by the first quarter. I literally, just kept getting hit with shocking plot twist after shocking plot twist, and I was just sat there like.....nooooooooooooooo! I loved how Jennifer messed with me, when I thought I had it figured out and then I thought I was wrong but then it was revealed I was right, after I thought I was wrong I was frantically trying to decide which of my other suspects it was and lets just say I won't be changing my career to detective any time soon! I just really love being kept guessing and the plot for Killer Instinct will certainly do that.
Complex, with many threads woven in to it, it's incredibly well thought out and written, especially with how it connects to the first book and with the threads from Deans past. Astounding. Such an incredible amount of research has so clearly gone in to this book!

The setting is another unique thing, I mean a house with casual pictures of serial killers on the wall! I was pleased to see the house get shaken up with Sterlings arrival and I'm loving the new dynamic! Regarding world and the rest of the setting, I've actually been to Virginia, my Uncle is in the marines and they where stationed there for a while so I've been to Quantico, I've been around Virginia and we did the whole touristy drive around DC when my Uncle was in a marathon. It was, however, back in 2009, but the world building for the book brought the memories flooding back and added to my mental image map of the area!

Killer Instinct is a fascinating and strong second installment to a series with an incredibly unique (At least to me) premise. Fast paced, full of tension and mystery, with plenty of action, it really is  near impossible to put this book down, especially when the tension really ramps up and you KNOW the big reveal is coming! Try your hand at being detective and using the killer's POV and Cassie's profile to work out who it is, or don't, either way this book is going to get your brain working as you try to figure out just what is going to happen next, and I can guarantee whatever you think you know, is going to be wrong because there are some incredibly huge plot twists that are going to bitch slap you.

Killer Instinct has raised the stakes and changed the rules, and I'm excited to see where it goes next, and who where going to learn more about next! Bring on round three!

(This review has made me realize how much I use exclamation points instead of full stops because I think if I use a full stop I'll sound really blah and not totally psyched by the book!) (<<<<There I go again)

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Wishing For Wednesday #11

This week is another three of my most anticipated books, and they are total gems!
First up is a new, darkly gothic romance book, how can you say no!?
Next up is purely because I'm a geeky Game Of Thrones fan and so I neeeeedd this to add to my shelf after I've studied it! Yes....studied!
Last up is a new book kicking off a new series by one of my favourite authors, ever since I stumbled on to Iron Fey at the library I have been hooked! And this one is about dragons so it's obviously going to be fantastic!

Compulsion


Three plantations. Two wishes. One ancient curse.

All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lives with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation instead--a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions.

Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who knows what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family's twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn’t what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.


Compulsion is out October 28th, pre-order your copy here.

The World Of Ice And Fire


The never-before-seen history of Westeros and the lands beyond. With hundreds of pages of all-new material from George R.R. Martin.

If the past is prologue, then George R. R. Martin’s masterwork—the most inventive and entertaining fantasy saga of our time—warrants one hell of an introduction. At long last, it has arrived with The World of Ice and Fire.

This lavishly illustrated volume is a comprehensive history of the Seven Kingdoms, providing vividly constructed accounts of the epic battles, bitter rivalries, and daring rebellions that lead to the events of A Song of Ice and Fire and HBO’s Game of Thrones. In a collaboration that’s been years in the making, Martin has teamed with Elio M. GarcĂ­a, Jr., and Linda Antonsson, the founders of the renowned fan site Westeros.org—perhaps the only people who know this world almost as well as its visionary creator.

Collected here is all the accumulated knowledge, scholarly speculation, and inherited folk tales of maesters and septons, maegi and singers. It is a chronicle which stretches from the Dawn Age to the Age of Heroes; from the Coming of the First Men to the arrival of Aegon the Conqueror; from Aegon’s establishment of the Iron Throne to Robert’s Rebellion and the fall of the Mad King, Aerys II Targaryen, which has set into motion the “present-day” struggles of the Starks, Lannisters, Baratheons, and Targaryens. The definitive companion piece to George R. R. Martin’s dazzlingly conceived universe, The World of Ice and Fire is indeed proof that the pen is mightier than a storm of swords.


The World Of Ice And Fire is out October 28th, pre-order your copy here.

Talon


Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they're positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.

Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.

Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon's newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember's bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.


Talon is out October 28th, pre-order your copy here.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Tis the season to get SPOOKED!

It's October! I love October, mostly because I love Halloween, a holiday which I feel is sorely unappreciated her in the UK, I spent one Halloween in the US and it totally ruined it for me because no-one in England really cares about Halloween. No-one decorates, no-one dresses up and I haven't had trick or treaters in YEARS. It always disappoints me that no-one gets in to it over here, but I figured if anyone would appreciate a Halloween theme, my fellow book lovers would!

Not only do I usually spend Halloween watching....well...Halloween films, you know the sort, Hocus Pocus....Ghost Busters.....Beetlejuice....Sleepy Hollow and so on, wearing my tacky Halloween jumper and leggings and eating my body weight in Candy Corn (Bless you Bentall Centre and your American candy section!), but I also love nothing more than a Halloween read. Not always spooky ones, but some that are just ya know....magical!

SO for you guys I have compiled a list of some of the best books to read this month for Halloween, some are spooky, some are creepy, some are well and truly Halloween reads, and some, while not being scary, have that magical element that Halloween is all about. Not everyone dresses up as scary things ya know!

So here we gooooo!

1. The Fall


"She has spent her life fighting fate, and she thought she was succeeding. Until she woke up in a coffin.

Ushers die young. Ushers are cursed. Ushers can never leave their house, a house that haunts and is haunted, a house that almost seems to have a mind of its own. Madeline’s life—revealed through short bursts of memory—has hinged around her desperate plan to escape, to save herself and her brother. Her only chance lies in destroying the house.

In the end, can Madeline keep her own sanity and bring the house down?The Fall is a literary psychological thriller, reimagining Edgar Allan Poe’s classic The Fall of the House of Usher."


This is a Halloween read through and through, eerily creepy, it'll really get you in the spirit! 

2. Born At Midnight

"One night Kylie Galen finds herself at the wrong party, with the wrong people, and it changes her life forever. Her mother ships her off to Shadow Falls—a camp for troubled teens, and within hours of arriving, it becomes painfully clear that her fellow campers aren’t just “troubled.” Here at Shadow Falls, vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, witches and fairies train side by side—learning to harness their powers, control their magic and live in the normal world.

Kylie’s never felt normal, but surely she doesn’t belong here with a bunch of paranormal freaks either. Or does she? They insist Kylie is one of them, and that she was brought here for a reason. As if life wasn’t complicated enough, enter Derek and Lucas. Derek’s a half-fae who’s determined to be her boyfriend, and Lucas is a smokin’ hot werewolf with whom Kylie shares a secret past. Both Derek and Lucas couldn’t be more different, but they both have a powerful hold on her heart. 

Even though Kylie feels deeply uncertain about everything, one thing is becoming painfully clear—Shadow Falls is exactly where she belongs…"

Born At Midnight is the first in the Shadow Falls series, and it's one of my favourite series! Really you should read them all, and the Shadow Falls: After Dark series, which is just starting out. Shadow Falls has everything you could want for a Halloween read, vampires, fae, werewolves, shifters and ghosts, and they're all chilling in the woods! There's even romance for all you romance fans! And trust me, certain parts involving the ghosts are reaaaaally creepy.

3. Soul Screamers

"She doesn't see dead people. She senses 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 guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about her need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who'll be next."

My Soul To Take is the first in the Soul Screamers series, again, another of my favourites, and another that I feel fits the Halloween vibe for those who don't want to be totally terrified. There's reapers and banshee type things going on, and again, romance, and it's another perfect, lighter Halloween read! 

4. Harry Potter And The Philosophers Stone

"Harry Potter thinks he is an ordinary boy - until he is rescued by an owl, taken to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, learns to play Quidditch and does battle in a deadly duel. The Reason: HARRY POTTER IS A WIZARD!"

I wasn't really going to do a synopsis for this, but I thought I'd better on the off chance, and GoodReads is suspiciously short! 

How can I do a Halloween reads list WITHOUT Harry Potter? I couldn't not include him! All the magic and the creatures and ya know...Halloween in the book...."TROOOOOLLL....IN THE DUNGEON" and all that. Just do it. You know you feel a re-read coming on so why not start it now? 


5. Dracula

"Acting on behalf of his firm of solicitors, Jonathan Harker travels to the Carpathian Mountains to finalize the sale of England's Carfax Abbey to Transylvanian noble Count Dracula. Little does he realize that, in doing so, he endangers all that he loves. For Dracula is one of the Un-Dead--a centuries-old vampire who sleeps by day and stalks by night, feasting on the blood of his helpless victims. Once on English soil, the count sets his sights on Jonathan's circle of associates, among them his beloved wife Mina. To thwart Dracula's evil designs, Jonathan and his friends will have to accept as truth the most preposterous superstitions concerning vampires, and in the company of legendary vampire hunter Abraham Van Helsing, embark on an unholy adventure for which even their worst nightmares have not prepared them."

We're gonna get classical now for the next couple, how can you not read Dracula in honour of Halloween in October? It's a must really. It's just so....Halloween ;) 

6. Frankenstein 

"A summer evening's ghost stories, lonely insomnia in a moonlit Alpine's room & a runaway imagination--fired by philosophical discussions with Lord Byron & Percy Bysshe Shelley about science, galvanism & the origins of life--conspired to produce for Mary Shelley this haunting night specter. By morning, it had become the germ of her Romantic masterpiece,Frankenstein
Written in 1816 when she was only 19, Shelley's novel of "The Modern Prometheus" chillingly dramatized the dangerous potential of life begotten upon a laboratory table. A frightening creation myth for our own time, Frankenstein remains one of the greatest horror stories ever written & is an undisputed classic of its kind."

Again, another classic that is so totally Halloween, when everyone thinks of Halloween they usually picture Dracula, Frankenstein and a Werewolf, they're like....the Mean Girls of Halloween! 

7. The Strange Case Of Doctor Jekyll And Mr. Hyde

"Published as a shilling shocker, Robert Louis Stevenson's dark psychological fantasy gave birth to the idea of the split personality. The story of respectable Dr Jekyll's strange association with damnable young man Edward Hyde; the hunt through fog-bound London for a killer; and the final revelation of Hyde's true identity is a chilling exploration of humanity's basest capacity for evil."

I um'd and ah'd about including this, but ultimately decided that it fits the bill! Again it's another Classic, and one that I have very vague recollections of seeing the musical version of, back in the day, I'm fairly certain I still have the soundtrack floating about, and I think a re-read is in order! 



8. The Picture Of Dorian Grey

"Dorian is a good-natured young man until he falls in with the cunning and quick-tongued Lord Henry, who unveils  to Dorian the power of his own exceptional beauty. As he gradually sinks deeper into a glamorous and decadent world of selfish luxury, he seems to remain physically unchanged in spite of age and the stresses of his corrupt lifestyle. But in his attic, hidden behind a curtain, his portrait tells a different story."

Again, not one of the Mean Girls of Halloween, but a good classic that is suitably Halloween-y. I do actually watch the film version of this every Halloween/October, but to be honest, I think the film version is just a bit crap, I only really watch it for Ben Barnes *winkwink* 




9. Edgar Allan Poe: The Complete Tales and Poems

"In a career that spanned slightly more than two decades, Edgar Allan Poe pioneered the short story as a literary form, perfected the tale of psychological horror, launched the detective fiction genre, and helped to revolutionize modern poetics. The full body of Poe's imaginative work encompasses mystery tales, horror stories, satires, fables, fantasies, science fiction, dramas, and verse."

Again...how can you not? This collection is kind of a must read for Halloween, and if you're gonna read The Fall, this has The Fall Of The House Of Usher in it, and seeing as The Fall i based on it, you should really give it a go! It's also got Murders In The Rue Morgue, The Raven and well...everything! 
Aaaannnd this is the last classic, I promise! 


10. Alice In Zombieland

"Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real….

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies…."


Zombies....classic Halloween monster right?! Alice In Zombieland has a totally unique take on zombies, has romance for all the romance fans, and is suitably creepy at points as well as badass. You can probably guess it's another of my favourite series, and ya know...the third and final in the trilogy just came out so why not give it a go to get in the Halloween spirit!? 

11. A Breath Of Frost 

"In 1814, three cousins—Gretchen, Emma, and Penelope—discover their family lineage of witchcraft when a binding spell is broken, allowing their individual magical powers to manifest. Now, beyond the manicured gardens and ballrooms of Regency London, an alluring underworld available only to those with power is revealed to the cousins. By claiming their power, the three cousins have accidentally opened the gates to the underworld. 

Now ghouls, hellhounds—and most terrifying of all, the spirits of dark witches known as the Greymalkin Sisters—are hunting and killing young debutante witches for their powers. And, somehow, Emma is connected to the murders…because she keeps finding the bodies. 

Can the cousins seal the gates before another witch is killed…or even worse, before their new gifts are stripped away?"


Witches....magic....this is the first in a new series by one of my favourite authors and the second installment is out very soon...perfect timing right!? For me, this is suitably Halloween-y what with the witches element, it's also a slightly lighter one, there's some creepy bits but it's all cute and romancey too. You should also check out The Drake Chronicles, Stolen Away and Haunting Violet as each is suitable Halloween reading material! Vampires....fae....ghosts....all are perfect! 

12. Poison Princess

Sixteen-year-old Evangeline "Evie" Greene leads a charmed life, until she begins experiencing horrifying hallucinations. When an apocalyptic event decimates her Louisiana hometown, Evie realizes her hallucinations were actually visions of the future—and they're still happening. Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate: Jack Deveaux.

But she can't do either alone.

With his mile-long rap sheet, wicked grin, and bad attitude, Jack is like no boy Evie has ever known. Even though he once scorned her and everything she represented, he agrees to protect Evie on her quest. She knows she can't totally depend on Jack. If he ever cast that wicked grin her way, could she possibly resist him?

Who can Evie trust?

As Jack and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have gotten the same call. An ancient prophesy is being played out, and Evie is not the only one with special powers. A group of twenty-two teens has been chosen to reenact the ultimate battle between good and evil. But it's not always clear who is on which side."

This one is another of my favourites, that I actually read the first two of at around October last year, while they're not especially creepy, well I mean...I guess they can be at points, they're more apocalypse-y, but I don't know...this series just fits the Halloween vibe with the arcana cards and the horrible visions and everything! And actual Death....on a horse. 

13. White Hot Kiss 

Seventeen-year-old Layla just wants to be normal. But with a kiss that kills anything with a soul, she's anything but normal. Half demon, half gargoyle, Layla has abilities no one else possesses. 

Raised among the Wardens—a race of gargoyles tasked with hunting demons and keeping humanity safe—Layla tries to fit in, but that means hiding her own dark side from those she loves the most. Especially Zayne, the swoon-worthy, incredibly gorgeous and completely off-limits Warden she's crushed on since forever. 

Then she meets Roth—a tattooed, sinfully hot demon who claims to know all her secrets. Layla knows she should stay away, but she's not sure she wants to—especially when that whole no-kissing thing isn't an issue, considering Roth has no soul. 

But when Layla discovers she's the reason for the violent demon uprising, trusting Roth could not only ruin her chances with Zayne… it could brand her a traitor to her family. Worse yet, it could become a one-way ticket to the end of the world."

OKAY, don't judge the cover and the title...hear me out first! This has made my list because yes, it has demons who are suitably creepy/Halloween-y, and unique...but it also has Gargoyles. Come ooonn ya know you haven't read one about Gargoyles before, you're gonna love this, I promise you, and it's great for Halloween, I think since the Gargoyles TV show/cartoon stopped, gargoyles have been severely under-rated. 

14. Unspoken 

Kami Glass loves someone she's never met . . . a boy she's talked to in her head ever since she was born. She didn't spend her childhood silent about her imaginary friend, and is thus a bit of an outsider in the sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Still, she has a best friend, runs the popular school newspaper, and is only occasionally caught talking to herself. Her life is in order, just the way she likes it, despite the voice in her head. 


But all that changes when the Lynburns return. .

Yes, I know y'all know I love this series, and obviously it has made the list. Why is it a Halloween read? Creepy Lynburn house with strange goings on/secretive stuff going on and ya know...magical type things going on. Not to mention in the second book a load of scarecrows come alive and attack them. I've not read the third yet, but I'm sure it's just as fantastic. 

15. The Name Of The Star 

Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London to start a new life at boarding school just as a series of brutal murders mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper killing spree of more than a century ago has broken out across the city. The police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man believed to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him - the only one who can see him. And now Rory has become his next target...unless she can tap her previously unknown abilities to turn the tables."

Shades Of London. A must read. Particularly at Halloween, I read this at night and just...never again. I'm going to be getting in to the Halloween spirit this week by reading a proof copy of the third book, but you guys can and should read the first two. Ghosts. Jack The Ripper wannabe. What more do you need on the creepy front? 

16. Vampire Academy

St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger. . . .


Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever"

So, Vampires are one of the big Halloween baddies. I wanted to include a book solely about Vampires (Shadow Falls is a mix of everything) that wasn't a classic and thus more easy to get in to for people who don't care for Classics or their wording. I already mentioned The Drake Chronicles by Alyxandra Harvey, but I didn't wanna do two from the same author on different slots. So we have, I think, one of the first Vampire books I read, along with Morganville Vampires (there's another Halloween one!), this one is quite a light Halloween read...it's funny, there's romance, there's also a suitable level of badass-ery, and ya know...Vampirey things. It's a good series, it's now completed, and if you're in the mood you could check out the spin off series Bloodlines!

17. Unbreakable 

When Kennedy Waters finds her mother dead, her world begins to unravel. She doesn’t know that paranormal forces in a much darker world are the ones pulling the strings. Not until identical twins Jared and Lukas Lockhart break into Kennedy’s room and destroy a dangerous spirit sent to kill her. The brothers reveal that her mother was part of an ancient secret society responsible for protecting the world from a vengeful demon — a society whose five members were all murdered on the same night.


Now Kennedy has to take her mother’s place in the Legion if she wants to uncover the truth and stay alive. Along with new Legion members Priest and Alara, the teens race to find the only weapon that might be able to destroy the demon — battling the deadly spirits he controls every step of the way." 

Reviewed recently by me, I've included this because it's a 100% Halloween read. The best way to describe it, is a YA version of Supernatural. There's even brothers, although they're twins. It's got humour, it's got REALLY creepy ghosts and vividly creepy haunted and abandoned locations, including a prison. This is one of the creepier offerings I have for you guys on this list! But seriously, it's a really good series! 

18. City Of Bones

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder― much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?


This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know... "

It's a well known fact I love this series. Why is it a Halloween read? Demons. Demons EVERYWHERE. And ya know...werewolves, warlocks and so on are also present. So this one makes the cut as well, check out the rest of the series and check out the prequel trilogy The Infernal Devices! 

So there you have it! Halloween reads. 18 of them. Some classics in there, a couple of fully creepy ones, but most of them are light ones, there's some romance, there's the usual Halloween monsters and everything, this is purely because occasionally I do get freaked out quite easily, there was an incident where I binge watched season 1 of Criminal Minds in a day and couldn't sleep properly for days for example, so while I like the odd creepy book, I don't have a million of them in my possession nor have a read a lot of them, so there's a mix of both, but as I said, most of them are fairly light, but have Halloween "monsters".
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