Thursday, 29 September 2011

Book Review: The Shadow Wolf

  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin (23 Aug 2011)
  • Language English
  • ISBN-10: 0373618670
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373618675

On the run from authorities, gutsy Megan Moraine knows shadow wolves like herself have no place in this world. But she's still prepared to do anything to protect her young charges. That resolve is tested when the trio is captured by Gabriel Robichaux. Everyone knows that Gabriel is a ruthless bounty hunter, a member of an elite group called the Enforcers. Why then is Megan so attracted to her enemy—a wolf who hunts his own people? A wolf whose languid, sexy drawl makes her dream the impossible?

The Shadow Wolf is a taut, sexy, emotional rollercoaster of a ride.

The novel follows escapee Shadow Wolf Megan as she flees her island prison to take her two nieces to New Orleans and hopefully to someone who can help them achieve a better life. Alex Robichaux is known to all shadow wolves as the go-to person who will aide them. Hungry, tired and untrusting, the three stumble into the path of Gabriel Robichaux, famous Enforcer with a savage reputation against shadow wolves. But the man they meet assures them he will not lay a finger to harm them, and takes them to his home where they find out his reputation is just to protect him – as he is the one who really helps the shadow wolves.

Slowly, Megan’s fear of Gabriel dissipates. Wanting and attraction taking its place. As they give in to their mutual desire, it becomes clear they are destined mates. But will Megan want it to stay that way when she learns of Gabriel’s true nature?

When a common enemy infiltrates Gabriel’s home, they flee to New Orleans where they seek help from his family.

The Shadow Wolf has plenty of twists and turns to keep the story interesting, and a mystery that keeps the readers glued to the page. Told in alternating POV’s of Gabriel and Megan, we get a unique insight into the inner workings of both these intriguing characters.

Megan is a sympathetic character – traumatised with valid fears. It was a pleasure to watch Gabriel help her overcome the fears. The romance between the two was scorching hot but also sweet and gentle.

The Shadow Wolf was an absolute delight to read and fall in love with. A fab new novel.


Monday, 26 September 2011

Book Review: Beyond the Grave

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin; Original edition (23 Aug 2011)
  • Language English
  • ISBN-10: 0373210310
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373210312

A haunting new tale in the Past Midnight series...

I can’t move forward with my life until I know my demons are confined to the past...

Being Charlotte Silver, the daughter of famous paranormal investigators, means my life isn’t like that of other teenage girls. Especially after what happened to my parents. Things changed. I missed prom and deferred my big college plans. But I still have my boyfriend, Noah. He’s everything I could want—if I can figure out what’s up with him. Suddenly Noah is secretive.

I fear it has something to do with what happened to us three months ago. The bruise Noah suffered during a paranormal attack has never completely faded. Now I’ve learned Noah is researching demons. And when he disappears, it’s up to me to find him—before something else does

Beyond the Grave was spooky and chilling -  a haunting ghost story with a warm beating heart at its centre.

The series continues with this new instalment, joining Charlotte and her paranormal-searching family once again. After the awful events of One Hundred Candles, Charlotte’s family are trying to heal themselves and get back to normal. But they all know it won’t be normal until they are all reunited. And as Charlotte’s sweet boyfriend Noah starts acting strange, she realises that things might get a whole lot worse before they can get better.

Beyond the Grave has an intricate take on the ‘other-worldly’ and paranormal phenomenon. It has a typical ghost hunter style feel but the great and sympathetic characters take it into another level of amazing. While I enjoyed all the characters, I would have liked to see more development for them and for the sub-plots also.

The novel breathes loss with every page but its courage and unshakeable faith makes it almost inspirational. The main character of Charlotte is very determined and has great motivation – the salvation of her mother and boyfriend.

While it is said that this is the last in the series, there is definitely room for another sequel. 


Thursday, 22 September 2011

Book Review: A Dragon Foresaken

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 209 KB
  • Publisher: Krystal McLaughlin (17 Mar 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language English
  • ASIN: B004SP14H6

In a world of mystery and magic, Daphne is unique.

Unlike her friends, who have awakened to the magic inside of them, Daphne was born with it. Daphne was born a Dragon.

When her past begins to resurface, forcing her into a web of lies and deception, she is forced to accept unexpected alliances and risk everything for the sake of love. Something that she swore she would never let into her life.

As the newest installment of The Enchanted Island Series unfolds, she'll learn that nothing is ever what it seems, and when webs get this tangled, everyone's fate hangs in the balance, and nothing is coincidence.

In A Dragon Foresaken, the second instalment in The Enchanted Island series, the story this times follows Daphne on her mission to find adopted sister, Anna.

Daphne is an orphan – hazards of being a dragon. As a child she bounced around foster homes, never settling long enough to make friends or any kind of connection. But then she met the Hensley’s and she thought she’d found a home. Until tragedy tore them apart.

On her travels to find Anna, Daphne makes a few odd alliances. A few beloved characters from the first book of the story crop up, much to my delight. A Dragon Foresaken was more intense than The Witches Lottery. For one thing, there was way more action. Daphne was a kick-ass character with incredible strength and power – very reminiscent of Buffy.

But like Buffy, Daphne has her flaws. Like insisting she can handle everything alone. But like the Scoobies, Daphne’s friends are just as stubborn.

There is great suspense in the book that keeps the reader glued to the page, not wanting to miss a single thing. The twists and turns were well placed – catching the reader unawares just when they thought they had things figured out.

And a tender romance was the perfect breather for all the action. Like the first book, A Dragon Foresaken was enjoyable and a pleasure to read.


Sunday, 18 September 2011

Book Review: Ecstatic Evil

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 197 KB
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language English
  • ASIN: B005C1AMK0

Tova Gallagher isn't just your average tough as nails, intelligent Bostonian. She also just so happens to be half-demon, and halvesies have an important role to play in the supe world. Whether they choose to go with the instincts of their demon or human half is supposed to predict the outcome of the endtimes, and now Tova has a deadline to choose sides. But all of that is hard to care about when she's just met a sexy stranger on the edge of the Charles River.

Tova Gallagher is a half breed – half human, half demon. She lives in Boston and works with books. She is relatively happy with her existence, but when her demon side of the family gets insistent about her picking a side, Tova is less than happy.

The only upside to her new predicament, is her encounter with Greg, who seems just as unusual as she is. The spark between Tova and Greg is obvious from their first meeting…and only grows the more time they spend together.

And while the two sides of Tova’s family are arguing over which she should choose, there is Greg who has secrets of his own, but introduces Tova to possibilities she never knew existed.

Tova was a heck of a character. Badass and vulnerable, she was a pleasure to get to know throughout the story. While Ecstatic Evil is full of action and is a sexy, sensual read, what took my breath away was the tenderness – the big, beating heart at its centre. All I can say is…I hope this isn’t the last I see of Tova and Greg. 


Thursday, 15 September 2011

Book Review: The Witches Lottery

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 204 KB
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language English

When Sophia and Drew McKibben's parents are killed in a tragic car accident, they are shipped off to live with an aunt they never even knew existed. Believing that they are moving to a privately owned island just off of the coast of Mystic, CT to live alone with her, they are surprised to find a sort of under-aged bed and breakfast.

Sophia draws the attention of one of the locals, Falen, immediately. He always seems to know exactly what she is thinking, and to her frustration, everything she does seems to amuse him. When a newcomer to the island brings with him a sense of deja vu, she begins to ask herself the ultimate question: Am I going crazy?

Sophia's world starts to unravel when she notices her own brother acting just as abnormal as the rest of them. When she begins to realize that the life she left behind looks even more bizarre then the one she was forced to leave it for, she's faced with a decision to make: embrace the new life that has been given to her, or drown in the past. Either choice brings with it more secrets and deceptions to unearth. The problem now is that the two worlds may actually be more intertwined than she thought.

In The Witches Lottery, our protagonist is Sophia. While still coming to terms with the loss of her parents, Sophia and her brother Drew, are shipped off to live with an aunt they never even knew existed…on a remote island with exactly one house.

Sophia knows there is something different about her aunt Celeste who looks so much like herself, and also the people staying with her. A few other teens Sophia’s age live with Celeste who all seem to know more than Sophia.

In the midst of her grief, Sophia’s worry for her brother Drew mounts day by day, as occurrences that she cannot explain increase. Bizarre dreams and even more bizarre behaviour leaves Sophia feeling like she’s losing her mind. And the constant teasing from gorgeous Falen doesn’t help any.

On the eve of her sixteenth birthday, Sophia finds out what everyone has been keeping from her. She is a witch. Along with this self discovery, Sophia finds out that her mother knew what she would become…and she would have powers unrivalled by any other. But someone would do anything to have for themselves.

I thought Sophia was an extremely enjoyable and charming character. She was well written and it was a pleasure to watch her grow as the novel progressed. Her interactions with both Falen and Nick were full of delicious tension and anticipation and perfect interludes to Sophia trying to figure out what her new found powers mean.

The first in a new series, the Enchanted Island series is sure to be popular with any YA lover. And without sounding clichéd, The Witches Lottery was simply…magical. 


Sunday, 11 September 2011

Book Review: Misfit

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Amulet Books (1 Aug 2011)
  • Language English
  • ISBN-10: 1419701207
  • ISBN-13: 978-1419701207

Jael has always felt like a freak. She's never stayed in a town for longer than a year, she's never kissed a boy, she never knew her mum, and her dad's always been super-strict, but that's probably because her mom was a demon, which makes Jael half-demon, and most definitely not a normal sophomore at St. Mary's High School. Jael thought she had it under control, though, until her sixteenth birthday, when a mysterious present unlocks the story of her family's dangerous history and Jael's untapped potential. She discovers that the reason her family moves around a lot is because they're being chased by a particularly vindictive Duke of Hell, Belial. Jael must learn to master her demon side in order to take him on, while also dealing with a twisted priest, best friend drama, and the spacey blonde skater boy who may have hidden depths. In this paranormal YA novel, Jon takes on the dark side of human nature and the risks of believing dogma blindly, as well as the immediate threat of the pantheon of demons that are trying to meddle with humanity. With Jon's funny, heartfelt prose, Jael's story soars.

Our story is centred around sixteen-year-old Jael. On the evening of her birthday, her strict father gives her something she has desired – a piece of her mother.

Jael’s father won’t talk about her mother – not since her eighth birthday when he told Jael she was a half demon…that she got from her mother. Jael has never felt like she has fitted in. Spending her life moving from one place to another, Jael never got the chance to properly settle somewhere and make a life for herself. Fortunately for her, in Seattle, she found best friend Britt, and geeky skater boy Rob.

Jael’s birthday gift, a necklace from her mother, unlocks her dormant demonic powers. But with this comes the risk that higher demons who despise half breeds like herself, will find her.

There was great use of theology in the novel – both demonic and angelic. Misfit was full of both action and humour with also a light romance, so there is something for every kind of taste.

In some ways, Jael was a refreshing YA character. It was nice to see someone go through a life altering change and not come to grasps with it instantly, like a lot of other protagonists seem able to do. Jael acted, quite simply, like a slightly immature sixteen year old would. She is a flawed character and often very misguided, but I felt she did grow as the novel progressed.

I felt with a few tweaks the novel could have been a lot stronger. There were quite a few shortcuts that I thought were taken and had they not been, the story would have been better for it. I found one point distracting where the story shifts suddenly from Jael to her friend, Britt, which also if it had been avoided the story would have been stronger.

Misfit gives the impression there is more to come for Jael. This series is sure to be picked up by younger teens. 


Friday, 9 September 2011

Book Review: Soul Beach ARC

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Indigo (1 Sep 2011)
  • Language English
  • ISBN-10: 1780620063
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780620060

When Alice Forster receives an email from her dead sister she assumes it must be a sick practical joke. Then an invitation arrives to the virtual world of Soul Beach, an idyllic online paradise of sun, sea and sand where Alice can finally talk to her sister again - and discover a new world of friendships, secrets and maybe even love . . . . But why is Soul Beach only inhabited by the young, the beautiful and the dead? Who really murdered Megan Forster? And could Alice be next? The first book in an intriguing and compelling trilogy centred around the mystery of Megan Forster's death.

Soul Beach was a thrilling, heart-stopping and romantic read.

Our protagonist is sixteen year old Alice who is grieving for her big sister, Meggie.  Four months ago, Meggie was strangled…and the killer hasn’t been caught. Just when Alice thinks her life is slowly starting to move forward again, it is thrown straight back into a loop by the arrival of an email. From her sister.

Alice receives an invite to the elusive social network site, Soul Beach, where she can talk once again with her sister. At first she believes it is a sick joke and ignores it, but when she hears the plea of her sister, Alice cannot ignore it.

Soul Beach becomes a morbid fascination for Alice. Full to the brim of the young and beautiful, and dead, the Beach becomes more real to her than her own reality. It seduces her senses and while she is fully grounded in her room, earphones in and looking at the laptop screen, she can almost feel the warmth from the sun, feel the sand beneath her feet and hear the gentle slapping of the waves.

In her own reality, Alice’s friends are losing patience. Almost overnight Alice loses what progress she made over the death of Meggie and becomes a recluse – her own priority the Beach. But the people on the Beach are eager for Alice to return to her reality – to help them…and undercover the truth behind their deaths. Because no one who died of natural causes is on the Beach.

Soul Beach was exhilarating and terrifying all at the same time. With random excerpts from the killer’s perspective, it gives the book a certain fearful reality to it, and how people we encounter everyday are capable of brutal acts. Most importantly it shows us how fragile life can be.

I adored Alice and sympathised with her as she battled to keep up a normal façade when she is feeling anything but. She is a motivated character and well driven, and I cannot wait to see where ends up in the second instalment of this new trilogy.

Soul Beach has something for everyone – sadness, piles of emotion, murder mystery and an impossible romance. We were left with a heck of a cliff-hanger that ensures the wait till the next book will be excruciating indeed.


Monday, 5 September 2011

Book Review: A Private Affair

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (21 July 2011)
  • Language English
  • ISBN-10: 140910172X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1409101727

Sam, the ugly duckling who grew into a swan. Now beautiful and wealthy, with a glittering career, no one can understand why she's still on her own. When she meets a handsome stranger on holiday, things finally seem to be falling into place... Meagan, a true survivor. The teenage runaway who worked her way off the streets, she was swept off her feet by Tom, a young army officer, to live on the other side of the world, finally escaping the family she loathed... Dani, the beautiful misfit, desperately looking for daddy in all the wrong places, and finding instead a man who will teach her everything that is wrong and corrupt about love. And Abby, the model wife, everything her husband and family could want and more, but never being herself. Until a dark secret threatens to pull her well-ordered life apart. A Private Affair is the new spellbinding tale of love and friendship, glamour and guilt from bestselling author Lesley Lokko.

A Private Affair follows the lives of Sam, Dani, Abbi and Meaghan. All very different women with very different upbringings and backgrounds. All from different places all over the world. But one thing connects them – a man.

The novel shows a unique insight into what it is to be an Army Wife, to have a husband absent for long stretches of time and the desperate acts of lonely people.

A Private Affair is split between being told by all the women over different time periods of their lives. It shows how they came to be and the road they took to get there.

I thought the novel was harsh and brutal, but in a very good way. There were no rose coloured glasses when showing the true nature of some soldiers or how they treat their wives. It felt very real, and the characters of the woman simply brought the book to life.

A sense of trepidation crept over me while I was reading, that far off sense of fear that cannot be places.

Though a hefty book to get through, it was worth every word. A very thought provoking read. 


Friday, 2 September 2011

Book Review: Darwin's Children

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 390 KB
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Penumbra Publishing (10 May 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language English
  • ASIN: B0050CL8R2

Life can get pretty complicated for any seventeen-year-old girl, but for a home-schooled telepathic black girl trying to survive in a prestigious private school in small-town Jonesborough, Tennessee, it can be maddening – especially when her telepathic father keeps eavesdropping on her thoughts!Jaycie Lerner’s family isn’t the usual mom-dad-kid setup. Jaycie’s mom’s MIA, but Allison, her personal live-in ‘trainer,’ is more than a mom, with her own special abilities, like being able to lift cars and run incredibly fast. And Jaycie’s godfather John is more than persuasive – he can literally convince anyone to do anything.As far as the rest of the world’s concerned, Jaycie’s on the outside looking in. The townsfolk love Jaycie’s pediatrician father, but she doesn’t fit in with ‘normal’ kids, and she doesn’t really want to. Most of her free time is spent training to keep her telekinetic and telepathic powers under control. But there’s one thing she can’t control – and that’s her feelings, especially when her best friend Matt is nearby. If only he knew what she was truly capable of...Everything seems to be status quo for Jaycie until she receives a cryptic message from a stranger and meets a very unusual girl new to Jonesborough. Then all hell breaks loose!

Darwin’s Children was a great new paranormal YA. The author took abilities and gave them a new twist to make them fresh and exciting. The abilities have been seen more in vampires and other paranormal creatures in recent years. The characters with their powers are more reminiscent of X-Men than Twilight. But that doesn’t mean Darwin’s Children isn’t without its bite or two…

Our protagonist is Jaycie, who is down to earth and charming and faces a hard time in every direction – new definition of her relationship with best friend, Matt, snobby school and equally snobby classmates, her growing powers, and helping new friend Haylee.

Darwin’s Children, while hilariously funny and romantic, is equal parts and awesome action book – the ultimate Good Vs. Evil showdown…with Haylee and Jaycie the ultimate avengers.

The author kept it real throughout the book while still effortlessly maintaining the fantasy elements, the lines blurring so you believe it could actually happen. The tension rose as did the action, but still gave you time to breath with steamy Matt-shaped interludes.

Overall, Darwin’s Children was a charming and intense read. 

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