Saturday, October 29, 2016

Stacking The Shelves (34)

Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews

Books:

The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee
Highway Thirteen to Manhattan by Kourtney Heintz

TV/Movies:

Reign S1 Ep1
Pretty Little Liars S5 E13-14

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Review: Run by Kody Keplinger

Run by Kody Keplinger
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Goodreads Summary: 
Bo Dickinson is a girl with a wild reputation, a deadbeat dad, and an alcoholic mom. Everyone in town knows the Dickinsons are a bad lot, but Bo doesn't care what anyone thinks.

Agnes Atwood has never stayed out past ten p.m., never gone on a date and never broken any of her parents' overbearing rules. Rules that are meant to protect their legally-blind daughter, but Agnes isn't quite sure what they are protecting her from.

Despite everything, Bo and Agnes become best friends. And it's the sort of friendship that runs more deeply than anything else. But when Bo shows up in the middle of the night, police sirens wailing in the distance, Agnes is faced with the biggest choice she's ever had to make. Run, or stay?

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Review: To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill A Mockingbird (To Kill A Mockingbird #1) by Harper Lee
Publisher: Popular Library
Goodreads Summary: 
The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.

Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior—to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. Now with over 18 million copies in print and translated into forty languages, this regional story by a young Alabama woman claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature.
Rating: 4 Stars
Review: 
Jean Louise Finch narrates this tale of what could be nothing more than a story of her childhood adventures alongside her brother Jem. To Kill A Mockingbird also gave me a better understanding of the English language and Alabama, USA in the 1930s.

The synopsis refers to this book as a love story. I suppose it features love, but not in the 'I love you, you love me, let's have a relationship' way, more a sort of family and friendship love, accepting and supporting. Jean Louise, more commonly known as Scout is tied into the happenings of Maycomb in various ways.

Generally I don't read classics. Having tried to read Wuthering Heights and Dracula before, the only classic I've successfully read is Black Beauty and I'm not sure that even counts. I just dislike reading older English. I read To Kill A Mockingbird because I had nothing better to do and it was the best book available at the time. I still managed to enjoy it.

TKAM is certainly a simple tale. While you may not believe Scout's daily life can be interesting, Harper Lee certainly makes it so. One reason I really enjoyed this book is that the relationship between characters changes as they grow up, showing their personalities differ as they age.

In order t read this book I often had to read sentences more carefully rather than skipping them like my speed reader self is used to. The language is quite different from modern English but easily understandable. Millions have read this book, and so should you.
Purchase Location: Borrowed From Relative
Edition:
Paperback (Large Print)

Monday, October 24, 2016

ARC Review: In Deep by Callie Harper

In Deep (All In #1) by Callie Harper
Goodreads Summary: Chase is an Olympic swimmer going for gold. Focused, driven, intense.

Emma is a blogger going for the scoop and she has the perfect in. She’s gotten herself hired as his physical therapist. With all that intimate time together, the secrets from his past don’t stand a chance.

And neither does she.
Rating: 5 Stars
Review: 
Swimmer Chase Carter's background is well hidden, and journalists of all kinds would kill for his story. Him being an olympic swimmer favoured for gold certainly doesn't help. Emma Nelson is a physical therapist with a hidden agenda. Intent on getting Chase's story, she pulls some strings and becomes the therapist for his swim team.

I really enjoyed In Deep because the characters each have to face some of their worst demons. Emma changes from being a strictly professional physical therapist to a close friend of Chase's. Chase must learn to trust others, and Emma cannot let the truth ruin her. In Deep is Olympic themed, following the USA Olympic swim team. Besides Chase, we meet a few members of his swim team, his coach, and of course his parents.

Told from alternating Emma/Chase chapters, Callie Harper knows exactly when to end a chapter and switch to the other POV. She deliberately chooses a voice in scenes featuring both characters. I especially liked Chase's chapters, but I think they could be stronger as I connected a lot more with Emma. I really liked reading this book, but I think the other swimmers could've been featured more as we hardly got to know them.

Callie Harper is definitely a romance writer as her steamy scenes are well written. The storyline of In Deep isn't always unpredictable, however this didn't make me like the book any less. The style used drew me in and kept me reading Chase and Emma's story.
Purchase Location: ~I won an e-ARC of this book from the VBB Vixens Facebook group~
Edition: e-ARC
Buy the book:
Amazon
Recommended for: Fans of steamy romance.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Review: Soldier by Julie Kagawa

Soldier (Talon #3) by Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Goodreads Summary: 
The price of freedom is everything.

When forced to choose between safety with the dragon organization Talon and being hunted forever as an outcast, Ember Hill chose to stand with Riley and his band of rogue dragons rather than become an assassin for Talon. She’s lost any contact with her twin brother, Dante, a Talon devotee, as well as Garret, the former-enemy soldier who challenged her beliefs about her human side.

As Ember and Riley hide and regroup to fight another day, Garret journeys alone to the United Kingdom, birthplace of the ancient and secret Order of St. George, to spy on his former brothers and uncover deadly and shocking secrets that will shake the foundations of dragons and dragonslayers alike and place them all in imminent danger as Talon’s new order rises.
Rating: 5 Stars
Review: 
After reading a few pages, I decided to check the page count, which caused me to accidentally flip to page near the end, and read it. The words written on that bloodstained page killed me. Still, I found the page count, went back to the start, and kept reading. A while later, I forgot about the page. But when I reached that page once more, I literally died.

I enjoyed reading Talon and Rogue, but they'd just been typical 'good' reads. Solider definitely isn't typical at all. I expected that it would be like it's predecessors, yet Soldier surpassed them by miles.

The Ember/Garret/Riley love triangle is super complicated, even more so in Soldier. Ember discovers that she'll have to choose between her human side and her dragon side, when facts from the old world are revealed. The epilogue also reveals the truth about Ember and Dante, why they're so special. I absolutely love Garret, and don't get me wrong, Riley is awesome, but I say Garret and Ember, or no ship.

I've always loved reading Julie Kagawa's fantasy novels, and Soldier definitely beat my expectations. I cannot wait for book four, Legion, and the drama that accompanies it. I know it's going to be just as explosive, well written and addicting, if not more.
Purchase Location: Borrowed From Library
Edition:
Paperback
Buy the book:
Book Depository
Recommended for: Fans of high fantasy, Julie Kagawa books and adventure.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Stacking The Shelves (33)

Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews

Books:

In Deep by Callie Harper
Stalker by Lars Kepler
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Six Train to Wisconsin by Kourtney Heintz

Currently Reading:

Divergent (Chinese Edition) by Veronica Roth
Blood Chained (Banewolf #3) by Eden Ashley

TV/Movies:

Suits S5 Ep15-16 S6 Ep1

Friday, October 21, 2016

Review: United As One by Pittacus Lore

United As One (Lorien Legacies #7) by Pittacus Lore
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Goodreads Summary: 
The epic conclusion to the New York Times bestselling I Am Number Four series!

The Mogadorian invasion has come to Earth, and they have all but won the battle for our planet. Their warships loom over our most populous cities—like New York City, Tokyo, Moscow, Beijing, and New Delhi—and no army will risk making a move against them. The Garde are all that stand in their way . . . but they are no longer alone in this fight. Human teens from across the globe, like John Smith’s best friend, Sam Goode, have begun to develop Legacies of their own.

The Garde have always known there is power in numbers. If they can find these new allies and join forces with them, they just might be able to win this war. The time has come for the Garde to make their final stand.
Rating: 4 Stars
Review: 
Action packed? Yes. Exciting? Definitely. Addicting? Not really. While most of the time I enjoyed reading United As One, there were a lot of moments during which I got bored, and struggled to keep reading. The plot and storyline are as good as the previous books, but the execution is terrible in some places.

My main issue with this book is that one minute it's action, the next it's your average day. I don't think it flows like a story should, but when it came time for a battle, they were definitely well written, planned out and included plot twists.

It took me awhile to recall the characters as it's been quite a while since I read the rest of the series in a rapid succession. I expected United As One to be as good as its predecessors, but unfortunately this one disappointed me.

A weak end point for the series, but I'm not going to forget how good the last six books were. In this book just as many characters died, but the ending is rushed and quite a few were brought back to life, as if Pittacus Lore was trying to create a HEA. As for the last chapter 'one year later', I didn't like what happened in the chapter.
Purchase Location: Borrowed From Library
Edition:
Paperback
Buy the book:
Book Depository
Recommended for: Fans of sci-fi and alien fiction.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Review: Betrayals by Kelley Armstrong

Betrayals (Cainsville #4) by Kelley Armstrong
Publisher: Sphere
Goodreads Summary: 
When Olivia's life exploded--after she found out she was not the adopted child of a privileged Chicago family but of a notorious pair of convicted serial killers--she found a refuge in the secluded but oddly welcoming town of Cainsville, Illinois. Working with Gabriel Walsh, a fiendishly successful criminal lawyer with links to the town, she discovered the truth about her parents' crimes in an investigation that also revealed the darker forces at work in the place that had offered her a haven. As if that wasn't enough, she also found out that she, Gabriel and her biker boyfriend Ricky were not caught in an ordinary sort of love triangle, but were hereditary actors in an ancient drama in which the elders of Cainsville and the mysterious Huntsmen who opposed them had a huge stake.

Now someone is killing street kids in the city, and the police have tied Ricky to the crimes. Setting out with Gabriel's help to clear Ricky's name, Olivia once again finds her own life at risk. Soon the three are tangled in a web of betrayals that threatens their uneasy equilibrium and is pushing them toward a hard choice: either they fulfill their destinies by trusting each other and staying true to their real bonds, or they succumb to the extraordinary forces trying to win an eternal war by tearing them apart.
Rating: 5 Stars
Review: 
Ok, wow. And I thought the first three books were top notch... I don't knw how to explain this one. The major shift happens and I found myself really liking Ricky for a change, his wisdom shining through.

I've read a few negative reviews of the previous books in the series, specifically about the Olivia/Gabriel/Ricky thing (honestly, I don't even want to call it a love triangle). But I can assure you, this book puts aside all doubts (the first three books were mostly foreshadowing) about the real relationship. Hard decisions are made, and the amount of maturity surprised me.

The plotline? Intriguing, but I didn't enjoy it as much as the other books. Betrayals had a larger focus on the relationship side of things, the mystery was a lot weaker. The thing I liked about the mystery is how Kelley Armstrong introduces Fae from other cultures, like Greek and Irish for a change, rather than the Welsh Fae which are the base of the series.

Patrick is actually helpful in this book, and cooperates with Olivia and her crew, producing real results. It's more common for Olivia to visit the Fae/Huntsmen with their respective preferred champion, a smart decision on their parts. I was surprised when it's revealed that the trio has more knowledge when compared to the elders. Betrayals is a really good book and I recommend it.
Purchase Location: Borrowed From Library
Edition:
 Hardcover
Buy the book:
Book Depository
Recommended for: Fans of thrillers, mystery and romance.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Review: Forest of Ruin by Kelley Armstrong

Forest of Ruin (Age of Legends #3) by Kelley Armstrong
Publisher: Atom
Goodreads Summary: 
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong comes the breathtaking conclusion to the Age of Legends trilogy, perfect for fans of Graceling and Game of Thrones.

The empire rests on the edge of a knife, and sisters Ashyn and Moria are the handle and the blade. Desperate to outmaneuver the evil Alvar Kitsune, whose hold on the people grows stronger every day, Emperor Tatsu begs Moria to put aside past grievances and ally with Gavril—at least long enough to make an attempt on Alvar’s life. Meanwhile, reunited with her long-lost grandfather, Ashyn discovers that she is the key to a ritual that could reawaken an ancient dragon and turn the tide of the coming battle in their favor.

But with lies and betrayal lurking around every corner, Ashyn and Moria will have to decide once and for all where their allegiances are. And it may not be where their hearts would lead them....

In this breathtaking final book in her epic trilogy the Age of Legends, #1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong blends fantasy, action, and romance to give readers the unforgettable ending they’ve been waiting for.
Rating: 5 Stars
Review: 
I read Kelley Armstrong to be amazed, and Forest of Ruin definitely fit the category. High levels of fantasy, adventure and mystery, the Age of Legends series is finished with a bang, but ends with the soft thud of a door closing.

Moria and Ashyn are two different people. They are almost too much like complete opposites to my liking, but their personalities change as they develop after encounters. In Forest of Ruin, we really see these two girls make very different journeys, a path of self discovery for both of them.

As for their love lives, it's both simple and complicated. For Ashyn, she only has one love interest, Ronan. However she has to come to terms with the fact that she wants him in order to get her happy ending. Moria has both Gavril and Tyrus, her companion and her lover. While I'm happy Kelley Armstrong didn't turn this into the love triangle of Cainsville, I still prefer Moria and Gavril. I suppose their future will only be decided in fanfiction.

Forest of Ruin isn't a short read, but I was able to complete it within a few days simply because it's the kind of book you know you need to read and finish as fast as you can. Kelley Armstrong definitely didn't disappoint with this one.
Purchase Location: Borrowed From School Library
Edition:
Paperback
Buy the book:
Book Depository
Recommended for: Fans of books with heaps of adventure and betrayal.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Book Blitz: The Saven Series Box Set by Siobhan Davis

Saven Box Set banner
Today is my stop during the Book Blitz for The Saven Series Box Set by Siobhan Davis. For a very limited time you can read the first three books in this special box set collection for only 0.99!

The normal retail price is $6.99/£4.99. Find out why Saven Deception, book one in this Amazon bestselling series, has been shortlisted for the Best Young Adult Book in the 2016 CAP Awards. Over 50,000 copies downloaded in the ten months since publication. Get your copy of the box set on Amazon!



This book blitz is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The book blitz runs from 11 till 18 October, you can view the complete blitz schedule here.



Today I'll share an excerpt from this series, as well as details of each book, and there's a great giveaway. You can enter to win a copy of this box set or a paperback copy of Lux Beginnings by Jennifer L Armentrout. You can enter the giveaway at the bottom of this post.



Saven Box SetSaven Box Set (Saven #1, #2 and #2.5)

By Siobhan Davis

Genre: Science Fiction Romance

Age category: Young Adult

Release Date: October 11, 2016



Blurb:

What if you were meant to kill the one you love?



"Recommended to fans of The 5th Wave, Insignia, Across the Universe, and Unwind series." Schuyler Central High School Library



"The Heir to the Lux Series." Dreamland Teenage Fantasy



This box set contains Saven Deception, Saven Disclosure, and Saven Denial.


You can buy the Saven Box Set on Amazon



Books included in this box set:

Saven DeceptionSaven Deception (Saven #1)

Blurb:

THE TRUTH DOESN'T ALWAYS SET YOU FREE



I've fallen hard for an alien, but he's harboring secrets.

Massive secrets that threaten the very essence of humanity.

How can I give him my heart when his race plans on taking my future?




Sadie Owens has been slowly dying inside. Bit by bit, piece by piece, day by day. Trapped in a life she hates, she relies on only one person--herself.



Despised by her family and betrayed by an unscrupulous government, Sadie dreams of a different life. When she is chosen to participate in the government's new social experiment, she is ecstatic at the prospect of spending six months in Thalassic City, the shiny new city under the sea.



Immediately drawn to Logan Chandler, Sadie is captivated by the beautiful boy with the ocean-blue eyes. Logan seems to embody everything that has been forbidden, but he isn't all he appears to be.



Confused over Logan's true intentions and concerned when best friend Jenna starts transforming in front of her eyes, Sadie partners with newcomer Jarod in a bid to uncover the government's real agenda. The truth is more shocking than anything she could ever have imagined.



When Sadie finally understands why the Saven walk among us, will it be too late to save her heart and the human race?


Excerpt From Saven Deception:

"Come, sit," he says, his fingers curling gently around the tips of mine.

I plop down on the beanbag beside him and yelp.

"You are hurt." He frowns. "Let me take a look."

He scrunches the edge of my shirt, but I clamp down on his hand. There's no way I'm admitting that it's my butt that's sore, and no way am I ready to let him inspect that part of my anatomy. Yet.

Get you, my inner devil teases.

"I'm fine." I pin him with a "drop it" look.

"You are so stubborn." Shaking his head, he unscrews the cap from his bottle.

"I'm stubborn?" I level an incredulous look his way. "Have you not looked in the mirror recently, dude?"

He laughs and the sound sends warmth flooding through me.

"You've a lovely laugh," I blurt out. Ohmigod! I can't believe I said something so cheesy.

"I do?" He looks amused.

"Yep." I'm resorting to one-word replies now for fear of what else might inadvertently tumble out of my mouth.

He stares intently at me, his fiery eyes penetrating my soul. The cord buzzes with anticipation. I might've forgotten how to breathe again. "You are beautiful, through and through."

With each passing second, my heart pounds faster and faster. He inclines toward me and I move closer. Butterflies are throwing a mad party in the pit of my stomach. Like magnets, we inch closer and closer still. As my pulse throbs, he zeroes in on my lips and his eyes linger there.

I've imagined this moment so many times without ever really believing I'd get to experience it. Now that I'm here, seconds away from my first real kiss, I'm terrified of the strength of my emotion. I never knew it could be like this. That I could feel such a strong connection to a boy; that my body could tremble with such intense desire. And our lips haven't even met yet.

We are a hairsbreadth from one another. I bridge the final distance and close my eyes. His fingers brush my lips and I'm tingly all over. Reopening my eyes, I see the adoration glistening in his gaze. For me.

"Ala beatra." The words roll seductively and respectfully off his tongue.

I've no idea what it means, or what language he's speaking, but it sounds beautiful.

And like a form of worship.

Though it's possible I'm deluding myself.

He closes his eyes and presses his mouth to mine. His touch is feather soft and it unravels me. I kiss him back equally gently and he moans softly. His lips exert more pressure as he draws me in flush with his solid chest. I've never felt this much emotion before. It's almost too much, but at the same time, not enough.

Gaining in confidence, I encircle my arms around his neck and melt into him, savoring the feel of his body as it presses against mine. Angling his head, he extends the kiss, and it grows in intensity and fire. I'm matching him, kiss for kiss, and my need for him is reaching an all-time high. I can't get enough of him. He is everywhere, and yet I need more.




Saven DisclosureSaven Disclosure (Saven #2)

By Siobhan Davis



Blurb:

THE TRUTH CAN'T HIDE FOREVER



To protect Logan, I have no choice but to deceive him.

But I’m not the only one hiding the truth.

Will our love survive all the secrets and lies?




Enemy alien ships crowd the skies over Earth while the world waits with bated breath. The Saven have been exposed, and where once they were abhorred, they are now championed as our greatest ally and our only possible savior.



Logan and Sadie have been separated, and the longer he is gone, the more their love is tested by duty, doubts, and deception.

Sadie and Jarod have infiltrated the highest levels of government, but they are playing a dangerous game. Surrounded by people with conflicting agendas—hell-bent on using her for their own aim—Sadie is confused when the lines between good and evil are blurred. It’s impossible to tell friend from foe, and no one can be trusted.



When the full extent of the experiments taking place in Sector Twenty is disclosed, Sadie can no longer sit back and watch as the lower classes face a horrific fate. Racing to save her loved ones and mankind, she risks her own safety and the love she’s waited a lifetime for to do the right thing.



But no one thought to save her from herself.




Saven Disclosure Graphic 2




Saven SenialSaven Denial (Saven #2.5)

By Siobhan Davis



Blurb:

THE TRUTH HURTS



My mother was right to fear me.

I’m an abomination.

And the world should be very afraid.




Sadie has been kidnapped by the Tor, the vindictive alien race who destroyed Thalassic City. As her past, present, and future collides, her worst nightmare looks set to become her shocking new reality.



A deliberate pawn in leader Griselda’s vengeful game, Sadie is horrified to learn the truth about her heritage and the destiny that’s already been mapped out for her. Refusing to cooperate, she risks paying the ultimate price for her defiance.



Love for Logan is her only motivation to stay alive. Saving him is the only thing that matters—the fate of the world depends upon it. While he may never forgive her, she’s determined to protect him. Until her dying breath.




Saven denial Ax Teaser




SiobhanAbout the Author:

Siobhan Davis writes young adult science fiction fantasy romance books, and she is the author of the Amazon bestselling True Calling and Saven series.



A self-professed teenager forever--at least when it comes to books, music, and films, Siobhan is totally addicted to teen fiction and superhero/blockbuster movies. She loves baking, shoes, bags, makeup, anti-wrinkle cream, anything pink, Kelly Clarkson, Katy Perry, and Robert Pattinson (definitely Team Edward).



Before pursuing a full-time writing career, Siobhan forged a successful corporate career in Human Resources over the last twenty years.



She resides in the Garden County of Ireland with her husband and two sons.



You can find and contact Siobhan here:

- Website

- Blog

- Facebook

- Twitter

- Google +

- Goodreads

- Amazon

- Newsletter


Sample chapters, quotes, reviews and book excerpts are all available to download from the authors website



Giveaway

There is a tour wide giveaway for the book blitz of Saven Box Set. One winner will receive an e-copy of the Saven Series Boxset by Siobhan Davis and one winner will receive a paperback copy of Lux Beginnings (Obsidian & Onyx) by Jennifer L. Armentrout. Open internationally.



For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway




Review: Taste of Darkness by Maria V. Snyder

Taste of Darkness (Healer #3) by Maria V. Snyder
Publisher: HarlequinTeen Australia
Goodreads Summary: 
She's fought death and won. But how can she fight her fears?

Avry knows hardship and trouble. She fought the plague and survived. She took on King Tohon and defeated him. But now her heart-mate, Kerrick, is missing, and Avry fears he's gone forever.

But there's a more immediate threat: The Skeleton King plots to claim the Fifteen Realms for his own. With armies in disarray and the dead not staying down, Avry's healing powers are needed now more than ever.

Torn between love and loyalty, Avry must choose her path carefully. For the future of her world depends on her decision.
Rating: 5 Stars
Review: 
By chance, I stumbled upon Taste of Darkness at my local library during one of my rare trips to the second floor, teen space. One lucky glance on my favourite collection of shelves, M-Z, and I saw it. Taste of Darkness, the third book in the series that I have been desperate to find and read, a book I didn't know existed until a few months ago.

I didn't really put much effort into finding this book when I discovered it existed, but now that I've read it I know I should've. I spent over two years thinking that Scent of Magic was the last book in the series, reeling at the ending.

I sacrificed my day to read Taste of Darkness, and it was so, so worth it. Avry brought a day of positivity into my usually mellow life, and I enjoyed reading about her adventures for possibly the last time, unless I re-read the series, which I probably will.

Oh, Kerrick. I love him so much! While I don't recall a lot from Toubh of Power and Scent of Magic, I definitely remember Avry, Kerrick, and Tohon. Tohon is the kind of super villain that has an obsession with the heroine. Avry herself is very selfless. She refuses to give up on Kerrick, and I respect her for it.

Battle plans, politics, and a struggle of power, they all happen in Maria V. Snyder's awesome fantasy world. I love all the plot twists, close encounters with death only bring Avry and her friends closer together. Surprises await them with every turn of the page. If you haven't read Touch of Power, you definitely need to; only when you start reading will you realise how much you are missing out on.
Purchase Location: Borrowed From Library
Edition:
Paperback
Buy the book:
Book Depository
Recommended for: Fans of adventure books, struggle and romance.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Review: Stalker by Lars Kepler

Stalker (Joona Linna #5) by Lars Kepler (translated from the original Swedish Edition)
Publisher: HarperCollins
Goodreads Summary: The much-anticipated fifth thriller in Lars Kepler's bestselling series featuring Joona Linna. Perfect for fans of Stieg Larsson and Jo Nesbo. A video-clip is sent to the National Criminal Investigation Department. Someone has secretly filmed a woman through her window from the garden. The next day she is found dead after a frenzied knife-attack. The police receive a second film of another unknown woman. There is no way of identifying her before time runs out. When her husband finds her he is so traumatised that he cleans the whole house and puts her to bed. He may have seen a vital clue, but is in such an extreme state of shock that the police are unable to question him. Psychiatrist Erik Maria Bark is called in to hypnotise him - but what the man tells him under hypnosis leads Erik to start lying to the police. If the lights are on, a stalker can see you from outside. But if the lights are off, you can't see a stalker who is already inside the house.
Rating: 5 Stars
Review: *This is the fifth book in the Joona Linna series but can be read as a stand alone*

Swedish police are sent a video of a woman conducting daily routines. Not long afterward, the body is found. They realise that the murderer is a stalker, and watches his victims before killing them. Margot Silverman, superintendent leads the mission, bringing in many unauthorised helpers.

I didn't realise this book is part of a series until I started reading it. Too late, I was already hooked, and certainly not going to stop reading the only book I had, one of the only things between me and boredom. Told from many perspectives, only when you are well entangled in the web of Stalker do you realise the target of the murders. Subtle hints along the way can often be misread or unnoticed.

Lars Kepler is a great crime writer because only at the end of the novel do you realise who the perpetrator is. Sure, this is the case for all great crime novels but I think the authors of this book are set apart from many others due to their brilliant misleading facts. There's a lure, a hook that keeps readers wondering what is going to happen next. The multitude of perspectives support this by making it harder to see who the killer's focus is.

Stalker is quite a long novel, and in no way did I get bored of reading it. Another plus about this novel is that the ending isn't rushed, Lars Kepler takes their time writing it, almost tormenting their readers. The pace accelerates a little, but this is because of the killer's nature. However, I would've liked it more if a certain two police officers got a little more screen time.
Purchase Location: ~I received a copy from HarperCollins NZ in exchange for an honest review~
Edition:
Paperback
Buy the book:
Book Depository
Recommended for: Fans of mystery novels and thrillers.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Review: The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows

The Orphan Queen (The Orphan Queen #1) by Jodi Meadows
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Goodreads Summary: 
Wilhelmina has a hundred identities.

She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne.

She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone.

She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others.

Jodi Meadows introduces a vivid new fantasy full of intrigue, romance, dangerous magic, and one girl’s battle to reclaim her place in the world.
Rating: 5 Stars
Review: 
It seems that this is yet another week in which I've picked the right books to read! While it started off slow, The Orphan Queen is a fast paced, addicting read set in a fantasy world filled with politics.

When I first heard of the Black Knife, I thought he'd be a love interest of Wilhelmina. And then there was Tobiah, crown prince of the Indigo Kingdom. What I didn't expect was the identity shifts.

I really like Wilhelmina, she's a combination of some of the usual character stereotypes, kickass heroine and lost princess. Basically, a Celaena Sardothien in Jodi Meadows' world. While Tobiah seems like just a sullen prince, it soon becomes clear that he is more than that. The synopsis hints at Wilhelmina's best friend, Melanie's true loyalties, but when the facts are revealed it hits Wilhelmina hard. As for Patrick Lien, I really didn't like him at all.

I was quite shocked to find out there is only one other book in this series, and that it's just a duology. The Orphan Queen contains heaps of action, and I really hope that The Mirror King has the same but more, and ties off the series well. I can't wait to see where Jodi Meadows takes the story and watch the characters change and develop.
Purchase Location: Borrowed From Library
Edition:
 Hardcover
Buy the book:
Book Depository
Recommended for: Anyone who likes a good fantasy.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Announcement: No more WOWs

Did you read that right? Unfortunately yes. I'd love to continue doing Waiting on Wednesdays, but I don't have the time :( I'm considering making a weekly discussion, but that would only work if people commented and added to the discussion.

Review: Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5) by Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Goodreads Summary: 
The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those who don't.

As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

Aelin's journey from assassin to queen has entranced millions across the globe, and this fifth installment will leave fans breathless. Will Aelin succeed in keeping her world from splintering, or will it all come crashing down?
Rating: 5 + Stars
Review: 
Throne of Glass returns with book five, Empire of Storms. Aelin will risk everything to stop Erawan, the King of Darkness. She desperately gathers allies as her friends face a multitude of problems in their quest to aid her. Told from multiple POVs, Empire of Storms is bound to leave you unable to breathe after the purposeful writing and cutthroat ending.

One of the things I like the most about this series, specifically Queen of Shadows and Empire of Storms, is how Aelin is always planning ahead of her friends, but she doesn't dare tell anyone her plans as she fears to disappoint them should they not work out. In Empire of Storms she really develops as she tries to open up a little more, especially to Aedion, her cousin, and of course Rowan, her carranam and lover. However, the reactions of her friends when finding out about her plans is always priceless.

Sarah J. Maas knows exactly when to switch POVs. She dangles the head of a secret in front of her readers, then switches to a different storyline. This style kept me hooked and desperately wanting to know the secrets, reading on and anticipating the reveals. Hints and subtle, elegant speech is only a little clue compared to the magnitude of secrets. She is always three steps ahead of her readers, and I've never caught up to her yet.

During Empire of Storms, a lot of new relationships begin to form, and some others develop further. While I can't say I fully supported every one, they hold different emotional backstory and the characters all have contrasting personalities. It isn't long before Sarah J. Maas reminds you that Erilea is no paradise, and friendships, relationships, and alliances begin to fracture and break, the events almost unstoppable.
    "Aelin plummeted down into fire and darkness, refusing to yield one inch to the terror creeping over her."
Aelin's (or should I say Celaena's) sass is one of the main reasons I value the Throne of Glass series over others. Her personality may seem super positive in the darkest times, but really it only shows another side of her as she works hard to contain her fear of losing herself within her magic.
    'Aelin purred, "Do you want gold, Rolfe? Do you want a title? Do you want glory or women or land? Or is it just bloodlust that drives you?"'
Her witty comments are a vital part of these books. Having spent years imprisoned, Aelin has learned a lot in her time, but her sass has always been a part of her. Aedion is a force in itself. While I disliked Dorian in the previous books, Empire of Storms really shines a spotlight on him and we really see how much he has changed and developed. Rowan is my heart, and his loyalty and protectiveness only shows his love for Aelin. He has a fierceness about him that makes him unique and unlike others; he may seem like a hard, Fae warrior, but everything he does is for his queen.

In the synopsis of Empire of Storms, the line "dreams will shatter" is used, and I cannot tell you how well it describes this book, especially the last fifty pages of it. Sarah J. Maas tricked me, had me fooled, I was so blind I didn't even realise it was coming, the terrible, costly ending. Expecting an easy finish with the characters let off the hook? Not the case. If you love a good book, you'll love book one, Throne of Glass.

Purchase Location: Bought from Paper Plus Dunedin (Golden Centre Mall)
Edition:
Paperback
Buy the book:
Book Depository
Recommended for: Fantasy lovers.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Review: American Monsters by Derek Landy

American Monsters (Demon Road #3) by Derek Landy
Publisher: HarperCollins
Goodreads Summary: 
Bigger, meaner, stronger.

Amber closes in on her murderous parents as they make one last desperate play for power. Her own last hopes of salvation, however, rest beyond vengeance, beyond the abominable killers - living and dead - that she and Milo will have to face.

For Amber's future lies in her family's past, in the brother and sister she never knew, and the horrors beyond imagining that befell them.
Rating: 4 Stars
Review: 
Amber Lamont takes complicated to a whole new level as she becomes the Shining Demon, Astaroth's representative, and together with her companion Milo Sebastian and her ghost of a friend Glen she takes up her most dangerous quest yet as she seeks a way to defeat her parents once and for all, double-cross the Shining Demon, and escape alive.

American Monsters certainly isn't uninteresting, but I think there's a lot more room for adventure and excitement. I didn't get bored while reading it, Amber's 'daily life' had a certain degree of interest. However, I felt that a lot of the 'adventures' ended with the heroes escaping with very little consequence. In my opinion the ending is rushed, and the book in general is void of anything super exciting until two thirds through.

In this book, Amber changes a lot, especially when compared to the original Amber Lamont of book one, Demon Road. This is a necessary change backed by character development, which I liked. She learns a lot more skills and with the help of Milo gains control of her demon self.

I liked the final chapter, but some of it's preceding chapters weren't to my taste. Maybe it's just my expectations, but besides a few vicious fights there appears to be little double crossing from anyone other than Amber. I mean, surely someone would've found out about her plans and hatched something to stop her. American Monsters is a relaxing, gentle read, and I recommend it if you don't mind books with less action and adventure.
Purchase Location: ~HarperCollins NZ provided a review copy~
Edition:
Paperback
Buy the book:
Book Depository
Recommended for: Fans of heroines with flaws.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Review: Lady Renegades (Rebel Belle #3) by Rachel Hawkins

Lady Renegades (Rebel Belle #3) by Rachel Hawkins
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Goodreads Summary: 
Just as Harper Price starts coming to terms with her role as David Stark’s battle-ready Paladin, protector, and girlfriend—her world goes crazy all over again.

Overwhelmed by his Oracle powers, David flees Pine Grove and starts turning teenage girls into Paladins—and these young ladies seem to think that Harper is the enemy David needs protecting from.  Ordinarily, Harper would be able to fight off any Paladin who comes her way, but her powers have been dwindling since David left town…which means her life is on the line yet again.

New York Times bestselling author Rachel Hawkins brings the fun once again in the finale of this pitch-perfect romantic paranormal comedy series.
Rating: 3 Stars
Review: 
I really didn't like the series, not one of the three books. For some reason, a lot of elements just annoyed me. The only real reason I continued reading the series after Rebel Belle is that I like the idea and dislike not finishing a series regardless of quality. This review isn't going to be all negative though, because I think there are definitely people out there who will enjoy this series and rate each book with five stars.

The main thing that I hated consistently throughout the series; the characters. Sure, I quite like Ryan, but he's only a minor character. Blythe is cool as well, but we don't really get the opportunity to see her develop like she could've. I don't hate Harper, Bee, and David, but I seriously dislike them. Their personalities, general traits, appearances, and most things about them infuriate me.

I've said this before many times, and I'm saying it again. I love the idea of this series! Paladins, an Oracle, etc. As for the execution, I think the story ideas could be a lot better with different characters and a new story line.

The start of Lady Renegades bored me to death, I was almost tempted to give up. The constant use of "y'all" just irritates me, and I feel as if the vocabulary is very limited, maybe just 500 or so words. As for the ending, I think it's quite cliché and easily predicted.
Purchase Location: Borrowed From Library
Edition:
 Hardcover
Buy the book:
Book Depository
Recommended for: Fans of a good story, those that don't care as much about execution.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Review: See How They Run by Ally Carter

See How They Run (Embassy Row #2) by Ally Carter 
Publisher: Orchard Books
Goodreads Summary: 
The second thrilling book in the EMBASSY ROW series.

Grace thought finding her mother's killer would bring her peace. But the truth has only made her a target. on Embassy Row, trust is a luxury. Death is a very real threat. And a girl like Grace should be very careful about which secrets she brings to light...
Rating: 5 Stars
Review: 
Imagine you are this book. You're crouched, body angled low at the start line of an 100m sprint race. You are tense, waiting for the gun to fire. Crack. You run, faster and faster. Except when you reach the finish, you don't slow, you explode.

That is the sensation I got while reading See How They Run. It didn't take me long to finish, I was so addicted. The Embassy Row series certainly has an element of mystery, but when the truth is revealed it is never expected, always rather shocking.

Grace and Alexei as a couple is something I didn't really think about in All Fall Down. I did in this book, and I'm expecting it in book three. See How They Run has done nothing but bring them together. I have no favourite character, but all of the main characters have unique personalities.

I really need to read more Ally Carter books! Her stories are addicting and challenge the supposed right and wrong. See How They Run is even better than All Fall Down, and I can't wait for book three to be out so I can read it.
Purchase Location: Borrowed From Library
Edition:
Paperback
Buy the book:
Book Depository
Recommended for: Fans of spy movies, this is a spy girl waiting for you. And of course, anyone who likes a slightly crazy main character.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Review: Desert Tales by Melissa Marr

Desert Tales (Wicked Lovely) by Melissa Marr
Publisher: HarperCollins
Goodreads Summary: 
Return to the world of Melissa Marr's bestselling series and discover how the events of Wicked Lovely set a different faery tale in motion. . . . Originally presented as a manga series and now available for the first time as a stand-alone novel, Desert Tales combines tentative romance, outward strength, and inner resolve in a faery story of desert and destiny.

The Mojave Desert was a million miles away from the plots and schemes of the Faerie Courts—and that's exactly why Rika chose it as her home. The once-mortal faery retreated to the desert's isolation after decades of carrying winter's curse inside her body. But her seclusion—and the freedom of the desert fey—is threatened by the Summer King's newfound strength. And when the manipulations of her trickster friend, Sionnach, thrust Rika into a new romance, she finds new power within herself—and a new desire to help Sionnach protect the desert fey and mortals alike. The time for hiding is over.
Rating: 4 Stars
Review: 
I really enjoyed this return trip to the world of Wicked Lovely. A great story, the introduction of a few new characters, and an awesome plot featuring Donia and Keenan.

Before Aislinn became the Summer Queen, there was Donia. Before Donia, there was Rika, a former Winter Girl who tried hard to convince Donia to leave Keenan. Now Rika lives in a cave situated in the Mojave Desert.

Jayce is a character that is near perfect. He accepts Rika for who she is, and loves her anyway. Sionnach is a fox faery, manipulative yet extremely loyal. Rika herself has spent most of her life in isolation, but when she finally takes charge she is nothing but a Queen.

Desert Tales is a quick, enjoyable read and I loved almost every aspect of it. The ending was a bit of a twist, but I'm not entirely opposed to it. Melissa Marr is an expert at spinning her faerytales, one of the many reasons I love her books.
Purchase Location: Borrowed From Library
Edition:
Paperback
Buy the book:
Book Depository
Recommended for: Fans of Faerytales.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Review: The Last Star by Rick Yancey

The Last Star (The Fifth Wave #3) by Rick Yancey
Publisher: Penguin
Goodreads Summary: 
The enemy is Other. The enemy is us.

They’re down here, they’re up there, they’re nowhere. They want the Earth, they want us to have it. They came to wipe us out, they came to save us.

But beneath these riddles lies one truth: Cassie has been betrayed. So has Ringer. Zombie. Nugget. And all 7.5 billion people who used to live on our planet. Betrayed first by the Others, and now by ourselves.

In these last days, Earth’s remaining survivors will need to decide what’s more important: saving themselves…or saving what makes us human.
Rating: 3 Stars
Review: 
I can't really say much other than 'this book confused me'. I really like the idea and plot line of The Last Star, but it really wasn't executed well enough to make it a good book.

I've always had mixed feelings about Cassie. Liked her at times, hated her, that kind of thing. Cassie in The Last Star is no different. Ringer, on the other hand is an awesome character. Badass, unstoppable and extremely smart.

As I turned the pages, I really didn't see where the story was going. It seemed like everything was at a stand still, not even going in circles, just halted, suspended. Nothing much happened other than a trip where they met opposition, over and over again throughout the book.

The last fifty or so pages were a lot more interesting, and included action. The ending was very unexpected, and I have to say, I didn't really like it and felt that it was very random. It was somewhat impossible, and those actions were barely explained in the epilogue. Also, Eviopeia got blown up...

The series on a whole wasn't terrible, but I feel like ending the series at the end of The Infinite Sea is better than reading The Last Star, unless you really want to.
Purchase Location: Borrowed From Library
Edition:
Paperback
Buy the book:
Book Depository
Quotes: "This was it, the thing neither of us could put our fingers on, the unbreakable bond between love and fear. [He's] the love. I am the fear."

"I should give them three different names to keep them straight: Ben, Has-Ben, and What-Might-Have-Ben."

"Why do we always get the [one] we deserve instead of the [one] we want?"

"Your past is what you are."

"I wanted to punch him, caress him, kick him, hold him."

"[He] is looking straight down at the floor like he's never seen one before. What is this amazing hard surface under my feet?"

"What's the different between thinking it and actually being it? Is there a difference?"
Recommended for: Fans of Sci-fi.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Review: Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

Glass Sword (Red Queen #2) by Victoria Aveyard 
Publisher: Orion Books
Goodreads Summary: 
If there’s one thing Mare Barrow knows, it’s that she’s different.

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.
Rating: 5 Stars
Review: 
After I finished Glass Sword, read the last sentence, my heart literally stopped. The ending, very much a cliffhanger, caused me actual pain.

Following on from Red Queen, Mare's character really develops. She struggles to remain sane, almost becoming a cold hearted mechanical killing machine. She turns to Julian's list for some relief, and it is a race to find other likes her before Maven does.

When I was near the end, a few chapters away, I had to go to bed. I told myself I would finish the chapter and leave I stayed true to that promise, but the last few sentences of that fateful chapter killed me. I was in absolute shock.

Since the beginning of Red Queen, I've shipped Cal and Mare. They're perfect for each other. They did get together, though rather briefly in Glass Sword, but I fel as if their relationship was more that they needed each other rather than love. I hope this changes in book three, because they both deserve to love each other and have a genuine relationship.

It seems that Victoria Aveyard, like some authors loves killing characters. The deaths in Glass Sword were many, but the last two definitely were the most significant. Many minds are damaged in Mare's quest for revenge, with "revenge brings pain" a major theme in Glass Sword. It goes without saying that if you haven't read Red Queen, it's a must read for YA Dystopia fans.

Purchase Location: Borrowed From Library
Edition:
Paperback
Buy the book:
Book Depository
Quotes: "If I am a Sword, I am a sword made of glass, and I feel myself beginning to shatter."

"'Mare.' He grazes my arm and I flinch away, almost hitting the wall.

'Don't touch me anymore.'

The words sound like slamming a door. I suppose they are."

"Anyone, anything, can betray anyone. Even your own heart."
Recommended for: Fans of court intrigue and betrayals.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Review: City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong

City of the Lost (Casey Duncan #1) by Kelley Armstrong
Publisher: Sphere
Goodreads Summary: Casey Duncan once killed a man and got away with it. Since then she’s become a talented police detective, tethered only to her job, her best friend, Diana, and the occasional evening with her sexy, no-strings-attached ex-con lover, Kurt. But then Diana's abusive ex finds her again, despite all Casey has done to help her disappear. And Casey’s own dark past begins to catch up with her. The two women need to run—and Diana’s heard of a place where they won’t be found, a town especially for people like them…
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Review: Welcome to Rockton, city of the lost. Hideout for those with dark pasts, people wanting to disappear. The one catch; you cannot leave. City of the lost is an exhilarating rollercoaster ride. Casey is the perfect main character, and this book is exactly what I needed after The Masked Truth; it completely reassured my doubts about Kelley Armstrong.

Can I just talk about Casey and Eric for a moment? Well, I saw their relationship coming from the blurb on my hardcover edition, yet I got quite frustrated when they clearly had feelings for each other, but neither acted on it.

At first I was dubious about City of the Lost. The synopsis had me thinking about the likelihood of a ghost town, somewhere that no one knew about. Kelley Armstrong managed to pull it off extremely well, and certainly convinced me.

I definitely loved the thriller parts of the book, but the romance didn't satisfy me at all. I really hope that book two and beyond brings a major turnaround, I definitely have high hopes.
Purchase Location: Borrowed From Library
Edition:
 Hardcover
Buy the book:
Book Depository
Recommended for: Fans of small towns with secrets, and stories with police officers.