Monday, 11 April 2016

{Blog Tour} The Winner's Kiss (The Winner's Trilogy, #3) by Marie Rutkoski

25526307Posted by Melanie
Release Date: March 24th, 2016
Finished Date: March 13th, 2016
Publishers: Bloomsbury Childrens
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Source: For Review
Format: Paperback
Pages: 484
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / Book Depo 
 
War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it with untrustworthy new allies and the empire as his enemy. Though he has convinced himself that he no longer loves Kestrel, Arin hasn’t forgotten her, or how she became exactly the kind of person he has always despised. She cared more for the empire than she did for the lives of innocent people—and certainly more than she did for him.

At least, that’s what he thinks.

In the frozen north, Kestrel is a prisoner in a brutal work camp. As she searches desperately for a way to escape, she wishes Arin could know what she sacrificed for him. She wishes she could make the empire pay for what they’ve done to her.

But no one gets what they want just by wishing.

As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover that the world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and they are caught in between. With so much to lose, can anybody really win?

The Review: The Winner’s Kiss is the fabulous end to the The Winner's Trilogy where we have seen a Romeo and Juliet-esque story about two young adults from two sides of a war come together to unite the realms for good.
The ending of book two was a shocker in which we saw Arin turn his back on Kestrel, not knowing the sacrifices she had been making for him and his people which led to her being imprisoned in a harsh work camp that could undo her. Rumours were then spread that Kestrel had died and she lost all hope whilst at the same time, Arin mourned her……
Kestrel is broken, after a failed escape attempt leaves her scarred, she is living to work and for the blessed medicine her captors give her but then someone rescues her, someone who thinks they have failed her but Kestrel is lost and doesn’t remember. When she is taken to safety, she finds her battle is just beginning; she must battle for her sanity, to remember what happened, who her rescuer is and just what side of the fence she sits. Can they ever really live free? It all ends here!
So, this series got off to a bumpy start for me and I wasn’t a fan of the first book but I’m glad I stuck with it because it built up into something amazing and something that will definitely stay with me. This book had a very metamorphosis feel to it, especially for the characters of Kestrel and Arin who have gone through so many changes. In this Kestrel is broken, it was really sad to see her like this considering she was so ‘together’ throughout the first book and forever the strategist. It was like Kestrel had to be remade after her stay in prison, she learned many a lesson after the betrayal that sent her there and with what she endured. Reading of her going through withdrawal was awful, she was so weak and pathetic whilst not knowing who had rescued her. I always routed for Kestrel and Arin but I didn’t totally get the love until he did what he did for her, his loyalty when he realised what had happened, his determination to get her back above all else – even a war! – was so admirable. He had his work cut out for him but he was steadfast in everything, including his love and understanding for Kestrel. They both had to get to know each other again, even though the bond was there, they were different because of the things they had each endured and the burden that was on them, plus they had to fall in love again with that knowledge. For all the story was all Kestrel and Arin, I have to say that I loved the secondary characters too especially the Prince Roshar, he brought some great comedic moments to a very harsh plot.
Speaking of the plot, the storyline was fab! The first part of the book was focussed on the realisation that Kestrel needed saving and I loved that it was Arin who did it, it spoke of their connection that he knew something was wrong. Then we had Kestrel’s recovery which was very sad but I sat reading with the hope that she would realise who Arin was to her and that she would find her fight again. The change to all of the characters was very satisfying, it was like watching someone grow up and become exactly who you thought they would be. Whilst that was happening, Arin popped in and out of the war giving us an insight into what was happening on that front and injecting quite a bit of action into the story. I love a story where the underdog triumphs over the oppressor and the series had definitely been heading toward a final countdown but what surprised me was the way it was done with not one big battle but a series of battles. I love seeing things come to fruition so the battles were great and I thought it was believable what they had to do and the amount of effort it took to get their foothold. Kestrel really came into her own, her war strategy was amazing – that girl could outthink anyone and could have practically ended that war alone! The battles were awesome, lots of action and the planning in them was great when put into action and some times, very brutal.
I really liked how Arin was tied to his god, it gave a little bit of mysticism to him and also that his people already saw him as a leader of worth. I also liked that even though Kestrel didn’t believe in his gods she was willing to believe in him and was willing to do whatever it took and in turn how Arin had complete faith in her. The betrayal by her father had hit deep and although she thought she wanted his demise her feelings were conflicted, that to me showed how far she has come from the girl we knew in the beginning. The ending was quite understated considering the battles they had waged but very fitting with the mood of the book and I was left very satisfied. I couldn’t recommend this series enough, it was definitely a grower for me and ended up being awesome. Give it a go – you know you want to ;)


Thank you to Bloomsbury Children's for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Excerpt from The Winner's Kiss.

HE TOLD HIMSELF A STORY.
Not at first.
At first, there wasn’t time for thoughts that came in the shape of words. His head was blessedly empty of stories then. War was coming. It was upon him. Arin had been born in the year of the god of death, and he was finally glad of it. He surrendered himself to his god, who smiled and came close. Stories will get you killed, he murmured in Arin’s ear. Now, you just listen. Listen to me.
Arin did.
His ship had sped across the sea from the capital. Now it nosed in among the fleet of eastern ships docked in his city’s bay, nimble sloops of war, flying their queen’s colors of blue and green. The sloops were Arin’s, at least for now. The Dacran queen’s gift to her new allies. The ships were not as many as Arin would have liked. Not as heavy with cannon as he would have liked.
But:
Listen.

Arin told his ship’s captain to sidle up along the largest of the Dacran sloops. After giving his captain orders to dock and find Arin’s cousin in the city, Arin boarded the sloop. He approached the commander of the eastern fleet: Xash,a lean man with an unusually high-bridged nose and brown skin gleaming in the late spring sun.
Arin looked into Xash’s eyes—black, always narrowed, and lined with the yellow paint that indicated his status as naval commander. It was as if Xash already knew what Arin would say. The easterner smiled slightly.
“They’re coming,” Arin said.

Thursday, 31 March 2016

{Review} Driven (Otherworld Stories #13.6) by Kelley Armstrong

25913699Posted by Melanie
Release Date: January 31st, 2016
Finished Date: January 26th, 2016
Publishers: Subterranean Press
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: For Review
Format: eBook
Pages: 232
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / Book Depo 
 
Subterranean Press is pleased to present a long Otherworld novella by Kelley Armstrong, featuring a number of full-color illustrations by Xaviere Daumarie. The Trade Hardcover of Driven will feature a full-color dust jacket as well as four full-color interior illustrations. The Signed Limited Edition will have a completely different dust jacket, full-color endsheets, and two additional full-color illustrations not in the Trade. If you own a copy of the limited edition of Forsaken, please mention your number to match when checking out.

Cains are known for being big, brutish and not-too-bright. The mutt clan embodies all the supernatural world’s worst stereotypes about werewolves. But not even the Cains deserve to be hunted down and skinned like animals.

When young Davis Cain comes to the Pack for help, Alpha Elena Michaels can’t refuse him. It isn't about morality or justice. It’s about not letting anyone think they can do this to werewolves and get away with it.

But Elena is also dealing with the Pack’s homegrown monster—Malcolm Danvers, onetime enforcer, full-time psycho. Malcolm is now under Elena’s control, as part of the most difficult decision she’s had to make as leader. But if she has to let Malcolm in, she’s going to make full use of him…and the best person to catch monsters is one who knows exactly how they think.

The Review: Driven is a novella in the ‘Otherworld series’ and it was so good to be back with the pack!
This -to me- is Kelley Armstrong at her best and this series is one of my all time favourites so I’m glad we get these little stories to keep it alive.
The pack are back in action again – first off we have the re introduction of Malcom Danvers to the pack, of course everyone is dubious about his reappearance and assume he’s out to get one of them because let’s face it…. He is a savage; but Elena gives him a few tests and then decides to use him to hunt down some other savages. Then the good stuff comes when they set about finding said savages who are hunting mutts –Cains in particular – and even though the pack would usually do it anyway, there’s a difference when innocent mutts are being killed and mutilated. So let the chase begin….
As usual this story was fab! I mentioned it was good to be back with the pack again, it really is and this felt like another ending with the Malcolm situation coming to a close. I thought the situation was handled with class by Elena as she didn’t go for the expected option and took a different approach. The pack and it’s Alpha really seemed to have gone through a modernisation and I have always loved the family aspect of the pack but it even went a step further now with how they’ve opened themselves up to the other supernaturals.
The main story was great, I expect no less and when you can do this kind of work, pull in a reader, create an excellent story that you don’t want to end in just a novella sized piece of work….. you’re a winner! It had everything you want from an Elena & Clay novel – murder, mystery, intrigue, deadly situations, a hunt, a run, werewolves and even a bit of sexytime - there is no way it can disappoint… and it didn’t! If you don’t know of or haven’t read the series – what are you waiting for? If you have –you know you’re in for the good stuff.

Thank you to Subterranean Press for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Monday, 28 March 2016

{Review} Underground (New World #4) by Janelle Stalder

24924038Posted by Melanie
Release Date: February 14th, 2016
Finished Date:February 8th, 2016
Publishers: Self Published
Genre: YA, Dystopian
Source: For Review
Format: Kindle
Pages: Unknown
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US
 
Love isn't something you find.
Love is something that finds you.

Phoenix has spent her whole life fighting. All she's ever wanted was to return the world to a peaceful state, and bring down the New World Order. But now she finds herself in a different sort of battle. No longer set in the streets of New Berlin, the fighting has moved beneath them, in a vicious underground fighting ring run by outlaws bent on causing trouble. And if that isn't hard enough, she's stuck with the one person who loves to fight more than she does - Trent McKay. Now the race is on to get out of their new prison and back home - before they end up killing each other.

Or worse - fall in love.

The Review: Underground is the fourth book in the New World series and the one I had been waiting for!
Fans of this series will know all about Phoenix and Trent, both leaders in their families and used to getting their own way. They have clashed since we met them, have one of those awesome relationships where they hate each other and are even hostile to each other….. but all that is about to change :D.

Both Phoenix and Trent find themselves in a predicament after being kidnapped off the street and taken to an underground compound. Here they are being forced to train which will then lead to them being forced to fight in an underground fighting arena that is run by a hard man for the entertainment of those who can afford it. They can both fight, they are both more than capable but these fights are not for the faint hearted and always result in fatality. Phoenix knows she will have trouble actually killing people and is just waiting for rescue or the opportunity to escape… but it’s been a while…. And she can’t leave Trent behind.

Now, as I mentioned; I have been waiting for this book because I knew we were in for something special when these two finally realised what was going on between them and it did not disappoint. I have loved these two from the start, I really enjoy their banter and how they communicate with each other and who doesn’t love a good hate to love romance? I think it went against each others principles to allow the other to see the vulnerabilities they had but with them being in a confined place, there was no easy way to avoid it. It brought out a protectiveness in each other at first which then blossomed into something more. It was quite clear where they were headed but they had to realise a few things first.

Obviously the romance isn’t the only thread in this book and not the only reason I read them. The author has created a very complex world that all threads together seamlessly, this book opens that world up even more with the introduction of a new area and leader of that area. We still have drama coming from the city and the uppers but this definitely seemed to be taking the story to a different level. Ludwig and the General have both been dealt blows in previous books but it seems that they have not been as unaffected as we once thought; how they handle it plays a big part in this book. Our rebels each have their own part to play in this web so whilst the focus of this book is on Phoenix and Trent, we get to know what they are all up to and the setting up of their books also.
There is a lot of drama, fighting and action as we have come to expect from the series and the story is definitely being pushed in a definite direction with this seeming like a game changer. There are a good few surprises still to be had and a heart stopping finale for more than one person. If you’re up to book four then you know what to expect – rebels, fighting, kidnapping, plots, chances, plenty of ‘no way’ moments, bickering, dastardly deeds, lives in peril, explosions, violence…… but plenty of romance, hot men and sexytime to go with it. I love these books – hopefully you will too.

Thank you to Janelle Stalder for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Thursday, 24 March 2016

{Review} Legend (Legend #1) by Marie Lu

17800966Posted by Donna
Release Date: November 29th, 2011
Finished Date: January 30th, 2016
Publishers: Putnam Juvenile
Genre: YA, Dystopian
Source: Bought
Format: Hardcover 
Pages: 305
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / Book Depo 
 
What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors.

Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles.

Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect.
Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

The Review: “You’re brilliant,” he says. “But you’re a fool to stay with someone like me.” I close my eyes at the touch of his hand. “Then we’re both fools.”

This being one of my favourite dystopia series I decided that it was time to re-read the series and see if I still felt the same about it. Well even for the second time around this has completely surpassed my expectations and Legend is a powerful, addictive and fast paced novel that is action packed, with an explosive story line and a love story that will leave you begging for more.

June and Day are both fifteen years old who both live in completely different worlds and both will do anything for the ones they love. The only thing is Day is the world’s most wanted criminal and June is the super intelligent girl working for the Republic. When Day breaks into a hospital to try to find medicine for his sick brother, he is accused of murdering June’s brother, Metias leading June to make it her mission to hunt down Day and capture him so he can no longer run around the streets of Los Angeles’. However, when June finally meets Day he’s not like how the Republic have made him out to be - he’s kind, sweet and not at all a monster. So who should June believe Day or the Republic?

I’m so thrilled to have loved this book just as much the second time around if not more. Marie Lu captivated me from start to finish and made me want to continue reading about the story and characters even after I’d finished the book and even though I knew the general plot of the story its scary how much I had really forgotten since the last time I read it. 

I love how very unique the characters were and how much re-reading them again made me feel like I’d been reunited with long lost friends. Both June and Day are portrayed as very different characters but if anything they are more alike than anyone else. They are very smart, very brave and very loyal and even with everything going on in their crazy world; they manage to stay true to themselves. 

The romance in this book isn’t the main focus, it’s the back story and something you know is there but doesn’t truly reveal itself until the very last moment. I remember reading it for the first time wishing for more romance but the second time around I think it was just the right touch. It’s a slow burning one – one that makes you love it even though it isn’t truly there yet.  And with that awesome sending, the ending it did leave me a very content and satisfied reader. 

Overall, Marie Lu has created a fascinating, dangerous and thrilling world with Legend, one full of exciting twists and turns, full of betrayal and hidden secrets that will have you sitting on the edge of your sit until the very last page. A must read for any dystopian fan! 

**This is an updated version of my first review which you can read HERE**
 

Monday, 21 March 2016

{Review} The Power (Titan #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

25056628Posted by Donna
Release Date: February 23rd, 2016
Finished Date:February , 2016
Publishers: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: NA, Paranormal, Romance
Source: For Review
Format: Paperback
Pages: 400
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / Book Depo 
 
With any great change, there is always strife, and the Covenant University has become the frontline between pure-bloods who want the Breed Order reinstated and the half-bloods who want the right to control their own destinies.
Fate has other plans.

The violence is escalating and war between the races seems inevitable, and it couldn’t come at a worse time. Hyperion may be out of commission, but Josie and Seth know they have only earned a reprieve. Seth must get Josie fully prepared, which means controlling her newfound abilities, and they need to find the other demigods before the Titans do.
But the gods are sensing a greater threat.

Only one thing is more dangerous than a bunch of starved Titans, and that’s an out-of-control Apollyon. The aether in Josie is drawing Seth in deeper, and when lust mixes with love and gives way to power, he knows being close to her is not only dangerous to her, but to everyone around them, but letting her go requires a level of selflessness that just isn’t Seth’s style.

The paths taken in the past are becoming the roads of the future.

The Review: It’s no secret that I adore Jennifer L. Armentrout so with every new book she releases I find myself more and more excited. When the released for The Power book two in the Titan series came around I simply couldn’t wait to start reading especially with the Covenant series being one of my favourite series – anything in that world I think I’ll always want more even if it’s Seth’s story this time around. 

When I read The Return last year I honestly wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did. That’s mainly because I had such a love-hate feeling with Seth during the Covenant series but, reading The Return definitely made me see him in a different light and by doing so made me start to love him more than hate him. And that didn’t change in The Power, if anything I’ve really started to enjoy watching the person Seth is becoming even with his odd mistakes along the way but hey, the guy has some serious issues he needs to deal with and I’m more than happy to continue reading his story. 

With the story being told in dual narrative we also get to see Josie whose life is just as much as a struggle as it was before. She’s trying to up her battle skills along with her powers so she can stand a fighting chance when the next God appears. I really admire Josie’s strength throughout this story. Like I said she has a lot to deal with her powers, her relationship with her father, trying to find other demi-gods and her relationship with Seth. I’m surprised she didn’t exploded but I felt she handled everything as well as she could do. And I’m honestly starting to look forward to her chapters now too. The relationship between Josie and Seth is at the front of the story as it’s one I absolutely love. It’s not without it’s struggles but their definitely a couple I’m rooting for.

The Power also brings old characters back into the story such as Alex and Aiden. Yay! It’s been too long without Aiden St Delphi and I’m so glad he’s back and Alex too. It great to introduce them to to this part of the story and they came at the right time too. I love how easy it was slipping back into these characters even if it’s not told from their point of view. It’s like being reunited with friends. And of course it was great seeing the old gang Deacon, Luke, Marcus etc… I don’t think this whole series would be the same without them. 

In all, The Power was a fabulous sequel to The Return. It’s action-packed and full of angst and romance and it’s definitely a series you should be adding to your TBR list!

Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Saturday, 30 January 2016

{Blog Tour} Built (Saints of Denver #1) by Jay Crownover

28494793Posted by Donna
Release Date: January 28th, 2016
Finished Date: January 9th, 2016
Publishers: HarperCollins
Genre: NA, Contemporary, Romance
Source: For Review
Format: Paperback
Pages: 352
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / Book Depo
 
The first in the new SAINTS OF DENVER series from NYT bestselling author of the MARKED MEN series, Jay Crownover

Sometimes you have to tear everything down to build something new…

Sayer Cole is frozen inside. At least, that’s what it’s felt like for as long as she can remember. She’s yet to let anyone past her icy exterior – and the one guy she thinks might melt her heart couldn’t possibly be interested in someone so uptight.

Rough, hard and hot-as-hell, Zeb Fuller has rebuilt his life and his construction business since protecting his family sent him to jail all those years ago. His elegant client, Sayer, makes him feel like a Neanderthal in denim, but despite the many hints that he’s been dropping to get to know her better, she seems oblivious to his charms.

Just as things finally start to heat up, Zeb’s past comes back to haunt him and he needs Sayer’s professional help to right a wrong and to save more than himself. As these opposites dig in for the fight of their lives, fire and ice collide in an unstoppable explosion of steam…

The Review: Being a huge fan of Jay Crownover's work it's safe to say I know I'll read anything by this author at this point. When I came to the end of the Marked Man series it was like an end of a era but knowing that a spin-off series titled Saints of Denver was coming, I was more than excited to see what Jay next had in store for us and as usual, this lady doesn't disappoint with Built.

I've always had a soft spot for Zeb from the moment he first appeared in the Marked Men series so I was definitely excited to see him have his own story. I wanted to get to know him more and of course I couldn't miss out on this opportunity. I loved his story! Zeb has definitely had a hard life when he made a mistake that put him in jail. Even though he was never really a bad guy, he's worked hard to prove to people that people make mistakes and given the chance they can turn their lives around. That's what Zeb did. He became a better person. Sought help for his issues. And I really admire that about him. He's life becomes even more crazier when his past catches up to him. But I loved how he was willing to step up to the plate and do something many people might not want to do.

I struggled a little bit with Sayer as a character. It wasn't because she was a new character but more that I wanted to get to know her more before her feelings for Zeb started to show. Yes, the characters have previously meet but it all felt a little too soon for her story. I wanted to know more about her before she started showing her feelings for Zeb but it was literally from page one. Felt a little insta-lovey on her part. But otherwise I felt her and Zeb were a good match. I wish there wasn't so much back and forth from Sayer though. She could see she had a good thing with Zeb but was too scared to try. But nonetheless when they were together it was fantastic to read.

I'm definitely excited to see what comes next from the series. Jay proves that she write smouldering love stories time and time again so I know for sure I'll definitely be reading the next.

Thank you to HarperCollins for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review.
 

Friday, 29 January 2016

{Blog Tour} Dumplin' by Julie Murphy

18304322Posted by Donna
Release Date: January 28th, 2016 
Finished Date: January 17th, 2016
Publishers: HarperCollins 
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Source: For Review
Format: Hardback
Pages: 384
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US 
 
For fans of John Green and Rainbow Rowell comes this powerful novel with the most fearless heroine-self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson-from Julie Murphy, the acclaimed author of Side Effects May Vary. With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine-Dumplin' is guaranteed to steal your heart. Dubbed "Dumplin'" by her former beauty queen mom, Willowdean has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American-beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked ...until Will takes a job at Harpy's, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn't surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back. Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant-along with several other unlikely candidates-to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she'll shock the hell out of Clover City-and maybe herself most of all.

The Review: Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy was a book I knew I wanted to read. I’d heard great reviews from the people who had read so I knew I was going to like it and I was right! 

Willowdean is dubbed as Dumplin’ by her mother. It’s her nickname for her but there’s one thing Willowdean doesn’t want and that’s for all the people at school to catch on to the embarrassing title. Being a ‘larger’ girl Will has never felt comfortable in her body and even more so when she takes notice in Bo – the guy she works with. But when Bo starts showing interest in her Will just can’t be happy with herself she knows she will always compare herself to the much skinner girls. So in a way to try and take back her confidence and do something her late aunt could never do for herself, Will enters the Miss Clover City beauty pageant – the one her mother won all them years ago. But will she have the confidence and strength to show the world that not only skinny people deserve to be a Queen?

I really enjoyed Willowdean’s story and I just loved the Dolly Parton reference’s. I had Jolene stuck in my head all the way through the story! Will was such a strong character at times and I so wanted for her to see her own beauty and become more confident about her body. Girls and Women are always worried about their weight at some point in their lives and I was sad for Will that it came so early for her and it was such a battle. I could sympathise with her struggles and my heart really went out to her. Her relationship with her mother was slightly rocky. I felt as though her mother really ‘helped’ her and just tried to ignore that she had a daughter that was slightly larger. I really wanted her to open her and just accept Will for the way she was but there was nothing wrong with her. And I really would have loved to have read more about Aunt Lucy who sounded liked the Mother Will should have had. 

Will and Bo’s relationship is a rollercoaster but one I loved. Bo didn’t look at things like Will, he didn’t see her as the ‘fat’ girl but just for her. He’s so sweet! 

In all, I really enjoyed Dumplin’ and I’ll definitely be keeping my eye out for more work by Julie! 

Thank you to HarperCollins for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review.