Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Review: Half Bad - Sally Green

Half Bad by Sally Green is a breathtaking debut novel about one boy's struggle for survival in a hidden society of witches.

You can't read, can't write, but you heal fast, even for a witch.

You get sick if you stay indoors after dark.

You hate White Witches but love Annalise, who is one.

You've been kept in a cage since you were fourteen.

All you've got to do is escape and find Mercury, the Black Witch who eats boys. And do that before your seventeenth birthday.

Easy.

Half Life Trilogy:
Half Bad
Half Wild (2015)
Final title and release date to be confirmed

Visit Sally Green's website for more information

Review:
Half Bad is one of those books that has had a huge amount of hype surrounding it and since I love all things fantasy, magic and witches especially, I couldn't wait to read it. I had high expectations for the story though and I have to confess I was kind of disappointed. There were parts of the story that I really loved but at other times I found it quite slow and almost boring because not much was happening so while I would say it is worth a read it won't be making it onto any of my favourites lists and I'm not convinced it deserves the amount of hype it has been given. I've certainly read better and less well known books about witches.

There are two types of witches, the good white witches and the evil black ones, we're not actually told a great deal of information about why white is good and black is bad so you'll have to guess that for yourself but the white witches are definitely in charge. Nathan is a rarity, he is a half code witch, his mother is a white witch and his father is one of the most notorious black witches who ever lived. The white witches aren't too sure what to do with him, they believe he is destined to become evil like his father and because they fear him they are incredibly prejudiced towards him and do whatever they can to make his life a misery. They are constantly inventing new rules and regulations that only effect half codes and since Nathan is the only one it is quite obvious who they are aimed at. Nathan is being raised by his grandmother and she, along with two of his siblings, Deborah and Aaran, are the only ones who have ever really cared for him. His mother is dead, something his older sister, Jessica, blames him for and he's never met his father.

Life isn't easy for Nathan, in fact for the majority of the book it's pretty damn depressing seeing how terribly he is treated by the supposedly good white witches. At school he is befriended by a white witch Annalise but this has terrible consequences because her family are not happy to see her anywhere near Nathan, and he is punished badly for it. It is incredibly easy to like Nathan, he starts the story as such a sweet and confused young child and we see him grow into an angry young man because of the treatment he receives. Considering everything he goes through it almost wouldn't be surprising if he completely flipped and went on a killing spree but he really just wants to find a place where he will be left alone and allowed to live in peace. My heart broke for him so many times and I was so angry at the white witch council for the way they acted towards him. This is definitely one of those stories where the people who are supposed to be good are actually anything but. I get that the author was trying to show how bad life was for Nathan but honestly I felt there was just too much emphasis on the torture he suffered. It just never stopped and since it was so painful to read about it made me put the book down and walk away on several occasions. I kept coming back to it because I wanted to see Nathan escape but I think I'd have enjoyed the story more if it hadn't been quite so graphic or gone on for such a huge length of time.

As much as I was depressed by the amount of torture I was also disappointed by the lack of magic considering this is a book about witches! I would have loved to learn more about how magic works in this world, I wanted to see Nathan learning great things and perhaps that would have given me more of a sense that there was light at the end of the tunnel for him. I would also have liked more information on the world, is this modern day England or is it set in the past? A lot of the story had an older feel to it but then it mentions the children watching TV which confused me. I also wanted to know more about how the witches have remained hidden from the humans for so long. Considering how long this book is the world didn't feel very fleshed out which is disappointing.

Although Half Bad didn't wow me it is still a fairly solid start to a new series and considering it's Sally Green's debut novel I think the series will only get better from here onwards. I think if it hadn't been so over-hyped and my expectations hadn't been so high when I picked it up I would probably have enjoyed it more. One thing this story does really well is show how groups of people can become prejudiced to a ridiculous degree when they fear something or someone strongly enough. It also raises interesting questions about whether someone can be destined to be evil just because of who their parents are or whether their upbringing can help them learn to be good. Poor Nathan has spent so many years being tortured by the white witches that he really has every reason to hate them and turn black and I'll be interested to see what happens to him as the series continues.

Source: Received from Penguin in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Paperback / Kindle

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Review: The Beautiful Ashes - Jeaniene Frost

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

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

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

Broken Destiny Series:
The Beautiful Ashes
Further titles and release dates to be confirmed

Visit Jeaniene Frost's website for more information

Review:
As a huge fan of Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress series I have had The Beautiful Ashes on my wish list ever since I first found out she was writing a new adult urban fantasy series. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that this was probably one of my most anticipated reads of the year so I can't even tell you how excited I was to get my hands on a review copy! This is quite a departure from the Night Huntress books though and Jeaniene Frost has created a fascinating new world full of demons living hidden amongst us preying on unsuspecting human victims.

Ivy has suffered from horrifying hallucinations for her entire life, her parents have tried everything to help her but no amount of therapy or medication was able to stop them. In the end Ivy pretended that they had stopped just so that she would be allowed to live a normal life, well as normal as possible considering she sees monsters everywhere she goes. Ivy always thought she was crazy and she definitely never believed that her visions were real but when her sister Jasmine goes missing and her parents are killed she suddenly finds herself faced with her worst nightmares. Not only are the monsters real but they have taken Jasmine. Ivy is determined to do whatever it takes to rescue her sister but she isn't going to be able to do it alone and she desperately needs the help of mysterious stranger Adrian. The trouble is that she knows Adrian is keeping secrets and she isn't sure if she can really trust him to have her back.

While I liked this story and am definitely intrigued enough to want to carry on reading the series I have to admit I was a little disappointed in this first instalment. I just had such high expectations for this book and it didn't quite manage to live up to them which was a shame. There was a lot to like about the world building though and for the most part I liked both of the main characters but it missed that elusive spark that takes a story from a good one to an amazing one.

Ivy is thrown completely out of her depth when her sister is taken but she handles herself quite well and I liked seeing her determination to get to the bottom of what was happening. For the most part she is quite a strong character, she does have a few meltdowns but considering everything that she uncovers in such a short period of time I'd say she was entitled to them. I liked Adrian too, he was a decent guy who had good reasons for keeping his distance from Ivy once he realises who she is. What I found incredibly frustrating was his refusal to answer any of her questions or to give her any information about what was happening to her. There were times when her life was needlessly placed in danger because he just hadn't bothered to explain why certain things need to be avoided. It was infuriating and if they could just have had a proper conversation she would have been much more aware of the dangers and less likely to fall into a trap set by the demons.

I liked the chemistry between Ivy and Adrian but I did feel that they fell for each other just a little too quickly. I would have liked more of a slow build between them, especially since this is just the first book in a series, and it would have made things more believable considering how many secrets Adrian was keeping. In spite of the issues I did still enjoy The Beautiful Ashes, the world is interesting and I'm very curious to see how things will play out as the series continues.

Source: Received from publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Paperback / Kindle:

Release Day Blast: The Beautiful Ashes - Jeaniene Frost (With Extract & Giveaway!)

I'm a huge fan of Jeaniene Frost so I couldn't wait to start reading her new series and I'm excited to be taking part in the release day blast for The Beautiful Ashes. I have a fabulous extract and giveaway for you but before we get to that I want to give you a bit more information about the book!

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

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

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

Buy Links:
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Beautiful-Ashes-Jeaniene-Frost/dp/0373779054/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389195949&sr=8-1&keywords=the+beautiful+ashes
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-beautiful-ashes-jeaniene-frost/1117716198?ean=9780373779055

Goodreads Link:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17158976-the-beautiful-ashes?from_search=true

Book Trailer:


About Jeaniene Frost:
Jeaniene Frost is the New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of the Night Huntress series, the Night Prince series, and the upcoming Broken Destiny series. To date, foreign rights for her novels have sold to twenty different countries. Jeaniene lives in North Carolina with her husband Matthew, who long ago accepted that she rarely cooks and always sleeps in on the weekends. Aside from writing, Jeaniene enjoys reading, poetry, watching movies with her husband, exploring old cemeteries, spelunking and traveling – by car. Airplanes, children, and cook books frighten her.

For information on Jeaniene's books, reading the first 20% of each book free, book trailers, deleted scenes, creature mythology, and more, please visit: www.jeanienefrost.com

Social Links:
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/669810.Jeaniene_Frost
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jeaniene_Frost
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JeanieneFrost
Website: http://jeanienefrost.com/

Extract:
A familiar song was playing, but I couldn’t remember the name. That bugged me enough to open my eyes. A wall of black met my gaze, slick and smooth like glass. I reached up to see what it was, and that’s when I realized my hands were tied.

“Silent Lucidity” by Queensryche, my mind supplied, followed immediately by, I’m in the backseat of a car. One that was well taken care of, going by that flawless, shiny roof. With those details filled in, I also remembered what had happened right before I’d passed out. And who I was with.

“Why are my hands tied?” I said, heaving myself into an upright position.

For some reason Adrian didn’t have a rear view mirror, which was why he had to glance over his shoulder to look at me.

“Does anything make you panic?” he asked, sounding amused. “You’re tied up in the backseat of a cop-killer’s car, but I’ve seen people get more upset when Starbucks runs out of pumpkin spice flavor.”

Anyone normal would panic, not that it would do any good. Besides, I ran out of “normal” a long time ago, when I realized I saw things no one else did.

Speaking of which, why wasn’t I in pain? The lump where Mrs. Paulson had whacked me was gone, and my shirt was red from blood, but aside from a mild kink in my neck, I felt fine. When I pushed my shirt up, somehow, I wasn’t surprised to see smooth, unbroken skin on my abdomen. Well, that and a bunch of crumbs, like I’d eaten a dessert too messily.

“Why does it look like I have angel food cake on my stomach?” I wondered aloud.

Adrian snorted. “Close. It’s medicine. You were injured.”

“You can tell me how I’m not anymore,” I said, holding out my bound hands, “after you untie me.”

Another backwards glance, this one challenging.

“You may be the calmest person I’ve ever been sent to retrieve, but if I tell you now what you want to know, that will change. So pick—the truth, or being untied?”

“Truth,” I said instantly.

He let out a laugh. “Another first. You’re full of surprises.”

So was he. He’d just admitted that he regularly kidnapped people—which was how I translated “retrieve”—so I should be trying my damnedest to get free. But more than anything, I needed answers. Besides, I still wasn’t afraid of him, and somehow, that had nothing to do with him magically healing me.

“Truth, Adrian,” I repeated.

He turned once again and his gaze locked with mine, those odd blue eyes startling me with their intensity. For a moment, I could only stare, all thought frozen in my mind. I don’t know why I reached out, awkwardly touching his arm to feel the hard muscles beneath that bulky jacket. If I’d thought about it, I wouldn’t have done it. Yet I couldn’t make myself pull away.

Then I gasped when his hand covered mine. At some point, he’d taken off his gloves, and the feel of his warm, bare skin sent a shock wave through me. The touch seemed to affect Adrian, too. His lips parted and he edged over the back of the seats—

He yanked on the steering wheel, narrowly avoiding another car. A horn blared, and when the driver passed us, an extended middle finger shook angrily in our direction. I leaned back, my heart pounding from the near collision. At least, that’s what I told myself it was from.

Dyate,” Adrian muttered.

I didn’t recognize the word, and I was at a loss to place his accent. It had a musical cadence like Italian, but beneath that was a harsher, darker edge.

“What’s that language?” I asked, trying to mask the sudden shakiness in my voice.

This time, he didn’t take his eyes off the road. “Nothing you’ve heard of.”

“I picked truth, remember?” I said, holding up my bound hands for emphasis.

That earned me a quick glance. “That is the truth, but you don’t get more until you meet Zach. Then we can skip all the ‘this isn’t possible’ arguments.”

I let out a short laugh. “After what I saw on Detective Kroger’s face, my definition of ‘impossible’ has changed.”

Adrian swerved again, but this time, no other car was near.

“What did you see?”

I tensed. How did I explain without sounding insane? No way to, so I chose to go on the attack instead.

“Why were you in my hotel room? And how did you heal me? There isn’t even a mark—”

“What did you see on his face, Ivy?”

Despite his hard tone, when my name crossed his lips, something thrummed inside me, like he’d yanked on a tie I hadn’t known was there. Feeling it was as disturbing as my inexplicable reaction to his clasping my hands.

“Shadows,” I said quickly, to distract from that. “He had snakelike shadows all over his face.”

I expected Adrian to tell me I’d imagined it, a response I was used to hearing. Instead, he pulled over, putting the car in park but keeping the engine running. Then he turned to stare at me.

“Was that the only strange thing you saw?”

I swallowed. I knew better than to talk about these things. Still, I’d demanded the truth from Adrian. It didn’t seem fair to lie in return.

“I saw two versions of the same B and B earlier. One was pretty, but the other was old and rotted, and my sister was trapped inside it.”

Adrian said nothing, though he continued to pin me with that hard stare. When he finally spoke, his question was so bizarre I thought I’d misheard him.

“What do I look like to you?”

“Huh?”

“My appearance.” He drew out the words like I was slow. “Describe me.”

All of a sudden, he wanted compliments? I might have finally met someone crazier than me.

“This is ridiculous,” I muttered, but started with the obvious. “Six-six, early twenties, built like Thor, golden brown hair with blond highlights, silvery blue eyes…you want me to go on?”

He began to laugh, a deep, rich baritone that would’ve been sensual except for how angry it made me.

“Now I know why they came after you,” he said, still chuckling. “They must’ve realized you were different, but if they’d known what you could see, you never would’ve made it out of that B and B.”

“You can stop laughing,” I said sharply. “I get that it’s crazy to see the things I do.”

Lots of kids had imaginary friends growing up. I had imaginary places, though at first, I didn’t know I was the only one who could see them. Once my parents had realized that what I kept describing went far beyond childhood fancifulness, the endless doctor visits and tests began. One by one, diseases and psychoses had been crossed off until I was diagnosed with a non-monoamine-cholinergic imbalance in my temporal cortex.

In other words, I saw shit that wasn’t there for reasons no one could figure out. The pills I took helped a little, though I lied and said they got rid of all my hallucinations. I was sick of doctors poking at me. So whenever I saw something that no one else did, I forced myself to ignore it—until Mrs. Paulson and Detective Kroger had tried to kill me, of course.

Adrian did stop laughing, and that unblinking intensity was back in his gaze.

“Well, Ivy, I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is, you’re not crazy. The bad news is, everything you’ve seen is real, and now, it’ll be coming for you.”

Giveaway:

To celebrate the release Jeaniene Frost is holding a fab giveaway for print copies of The Beautiful Ashes and assorted swag. You can enter using the Rafflecopter form below, winners will be contacted directly by Jeanine or her publicity team so they can arrange to send out the prizes.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 25 August 2014

Review: Trial by Fire - Josephine Angelini

I'm a witch, and witches burn.

Lily Proctor is allergic to virtually everything, and growing up in Salem she's never been able to do the things her friends take for granted . . . which is why she's determined to enjoy her first (and perhaps only) high-school party. But Lily's life never goes according to plan, and after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class when she wishes she could just disappear - she does.

Suddenly Lily is in a different Salem - a terrifying new world where she is overwhelmed by new desires and new experiences, and her weakness is replaced with extraordinary power. She soon discovers that this world is ruled by dark and powerful witches, and that the strongest and cruellest of all is Lilian . . . Lily's identical other self in this alternate universe. Thrown into a war she doesn't understand, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can't hope to shoulder alone, and a love she never expected.

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

Worldwalker Trilogy:
Trial by Fire
Trail of Tears (2015)
Traitor's Pyre (2016)

Visit Josephine Angelini's website for more information

Review:
I have to confess that I wasn't really too sure what to expect from Trial by Fire, I hadn't heard a great deal about it before I started reading but the shiny foil cover caught my eye and when I realised it was about witches and alternate realities I couldn't resist. I'm so glad I took a chance because this turned out to be one of my favourite YA reads of the year. There is just so much to love about this book and once I'd started reading I didn't want to stop.

Lily is such a fantastic main character. She isn't one of the popular crowd at school, in fact her allergies to pretty much everything have made her a bit of an outcast but no matter how tough things are she just gets on with it. She knows that it won't be long before her increasing allergies leave her housebound and she's determined to make the most of attending school while she still can. I loved her automatically for having so much courage but what tipped me over the edge into complete girl crush mode was the way she reacted when a potential love interest broke her heart. Lily isn't a simpering fool who will forgive a guy any asshat behaviour just because he is hot, no Lily is the kind of heroine who knows exactly how she deserves to be treated and who would rather be alone than let a boy walk all over her. Do you know how rare a heroine like that is in YA these days? It's so hard to find positive female role models and I could have jumped for job at Lily's response to the boy in question!

All that was before we'd made it beyond the first couple of chapters and I could already tell I was going to love this book. Now take this fabulous heroine and drop her unexpectedly into an alternate reality, one where magic is real and where witches rule. Lily suddenly has an explanation for her allergies and finds herself in a place where she isn't an outcast, in fact she is incredibly powerful. She is completely out of her depth and has no idea who she can trust so it's understandable that she quickly bonds with the people she recognises from her own reality but even then she doesn't blindly trust them or expect them to act the way they would in her world. Lily is sensible, she thinks things through and trusts her instincts rather than go along with what other people want her to do, even in an alternate universe Lily is my kind of heroine!

There are two other characters who I really want to talk about and the first is Lillian, Lily's alternate self, who happens to be the witch in charge of the whole of Salem and all of the other covens around the new world. Lillian is a fascinating character, she does some horrific things and you can't help but hate her for them but the more you learn about her the more you start to wonder about her motives. I'm not saying her actions are justifiable but she does have reasons and I think we've only started to uncover them. There is so much more to Lillian than a cardboard cut-out villain and the choices she makes raise some really interesting questions. Can you ever justify doing terrible things? Is it worth losing the life of a few people if you can potentially save thousands? What if the cost is more than a few - how much life are you willing to sacrifice?

The other character who deserves an honourable mention and a round of applause is love interest Rowan. He really is the kind of guy that we all wish we could meet, he's strong, protective, caring, intelligent and brave but best of all he can admit when he's made a mistake and he can actually apologise for it! Imagine that - a guy who will say sorry! It's a rare and beautiful thing indeed, especially in YA. There is no alpha asshat behaviour here, yes he's wary of Lily in the beginning but considering he thinks she is is mortal enemy Lillian (because they do look identical after all!) that was completely understandable. To be fair, considering the things that Lillian has done to him I actually thought he reacted quite reasonably to Lily's arrival. I absolutely loved seeing their relationship develop over time, there is no insta-love here and the couple spend time getting to know each other and learning to trust. Lily isn't afraid to call Rowan out when he is unreasonable and he is equally willing to push her when she needs it which makes them very well matched.

I don't want to say too much about the alternate world that Lily ends up in because I think it is somewhere that you should have fun exploring for yourself by reading the book. What I will say is that I loved the way magic works, the way it is based on scientific principles and has been so cleverly set up that it comes across as completely believable. I don't have much difficulty thinking there is an alternate universe out there somewhere where magic is real! I think it's quite obvious that I loved this book, I could spend hours writing this review trying to give you more reasons to read it but to be honest if I haven't already sold it to you then probably nothing else I could say will either. If you're only going to take one young adult recommendation from me this year then make it Trial by Fire, this book is such a refreshing change, it breaks so many of the current YA trends and is well worth the money it costs.

Source: Received from Macmillan in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Paperback / Kindle:

Trial by Fire Blog Tour: Josephine Angelini's Top 5 Books about Witches


Today I'm thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour to celebrate the release of Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini. Josephine will be sharing her favourite books about witches but before I hand over to her let me tell you a bit more about her new book!

I'm a witch, and witches burn.

Lily Proctor is allergic to virtually everything, and growing up in Salem she's never been able to do the things her friends take for granted . . . which is why she's determined to enjoy her first (and perhaps only) high-school party. But Lily's life never goes according to plan, and after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class when she wishes she could just disappear - she does.

Suddenly Lily is in a different Salem - a terrifying new world where she is overwhelmed by new desires and new experiences, and her weakness is replaced with extraordinary power. She soon discovers that this world is ruled by dark and powerful witches, and that the strongest and cruellest of all is Lilian . . . Lily's identical other self in this alternate universe. Thrown into a war she doesn't understand, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can't hope to shoulder alone, and a love she never expected.

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

Worldwalker Trilogy:
Trial by Fire
Trail of Tears (2015)

Visit Josephine Angelini's website for more information

What do you think? Doesn't it sound awesome? I've actually been lucky enough to already read the story so I can tell you right now you're going to love it! Look out for my review that will be posted later today but in the meantime let me hand you over to Josephine Angelini so she can recommend some of her favourite books!

Top 5 books about Witches
by Josephine Angelini

I tried to think of my all-time favorite witch books, and I have to admit it was hard. I don’t think I’ve read that many books about witches. Sure, there are plenty of books with witches in them, but my exposure to books where witches are at the heart of the story is slim. In a way that’s good. I didn’t feel like I was copying others while I was writing Trial by Fire. I just did what popped into my head and let other people decide if they’d seen it before.

Here are five good books (and I use the term “book” loosely on some of these entries) about witches.


1. Wicked by Gregory Maguire. I loved this book, but I loved his Confessions of an Evil Step Sister even more, I think. No witches in that one, though.

2. Harry Potter (like, all of them) by J. K. Rowling. I know—technically this series is about a wizard, not a witch, but since Hermione is such a huge character it’s gotta count, right?

3. The Crucible by Arthur Millar. A play, not a book, but one of the cornerstones of my idea for Trial by Fire. Also, it’s just a superior piece of writing. I think everyone should read it, even if you aren’t forced to in school.

4. Grimm Fairy Tales by the Brothers Grimm. This is pretty much my childhood introduction to witches, and therefore, my innermost understanding of witches in general. The witches in Sleeping Beauty and Snow White have loomed large in my mind for all my life and, strangely, I’ve always loved them. Maybe what I loved was a woman in power. A woman wearing the crown is always nice.

5. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. I waited to read this until after I’d finished Trial by Fire just in case there was any overlap and I needed plausible deniability. Our books are so different, which was a relief.


Thanks for a fabulous guest post Josephine! I have to confess that I've only read the Harry Potter ones but I do have several of the others on my to be read mountain just waiting for me to get to them. I think I'll have to bump them up the list now!

What about you? Have you read any of the books on Josephine's list? Which are your favourites? Do you have any recommendations for other witch books you've loved?

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Review: Crave the Night - Lara Adrian

She has no choice but to seek shelter in his arms . . .

Ice-cold breed warrior Nathan is on a mission for the Order to expose the members of a secret cabal called Opus Nostrum, comprised of both human and Breed members. But Nathan's allegiance to the Order is challenged when his pursuit leads him to Martin Gates, the wealthy patriarch of a high society Breed family, and the father of ethereal Jordana Gates, a woman far out of Nathan's league and one he craves like no other.

A few weeks before the couple shared an unexpected, stolen kiss . . . a kiss that Nathan is unable to forget. And soon Nathan and Jordana are swept into a passion that will force him to choose between duty towards his Order brethren, and desire for the one woman he cannot resist.

The Midnight Breed Series:
A Touch of Midnight (Novella included in The Midnight Breed Series Companion, now also available separately)
Kiss of Midnight
Kiss of Crimson
Midnight Awakening
Midnight Rising
Veil of Midnight
Ashes of Midnight
Shades of Midnight
Taken by Midnight
Deeper than Midnight
A Taste of Midnight (Novella)
Darker After Midnight
The Midnight Breed Series Companion
Edge of Dawn
Marked by Midnight (Novella)
Crave the Night
Tempted by Midnight (Novella) (October 2014)

Visit Lara Adrian's website  for more information about the Midnight Breed series you will find excerpts from each of the books.  Lara can also be found on Facebook & Twitter where she posts regular updates or you can join other fans to chat about the books over at the LAMB (Lara Adrian Midnight Breed) Forum

Review:
I am such a huge fan of Lara Adrian and the Midnight Breed series, it was one of the first paranormal romance series I discovered and in my opinion it's still one of the best. Book 10 (Darker After Midnight) was a massive game changer and I have to say I'm loving the new direction that the series has taken since then. I'm enjoying getting to know the new younger generation but I'm happy that we still get to see regular glimpses of the original couples. I'm also glad that we now have an explanation about where the Breedmates come from and what makes them so different to other humans. There is so much more that we have yet to uncover though and I'm glad that the series doesn't seem anywhere close to coming to an end.

Fans of the series will already be familiar with Nathan, he is Corrine's son and he was raised in one of Dragos's labs to be an assassin. Although Corrine and Hunter rescued him when he was 13 and he has been raised by them and the Order ever since Nathan is still mentally scarred by the torture inflicted upon him as a child. He was conditioned to show no emotion and to always ruthlessly follow orders and that is something he has never had trouble doing now that he is a fully fledged member of the Order who is in charge of his own squadron. Nathan is a Gen One Breed male which makes him incredibly powerful physically but he also has a strong will and determination to protect his brothers in the Order and to fight alongside them to protect the rest of his race. When he finds himself attracted to Jordana he is completely thrown off balance, he is so used to being able to push his feelings to one side but he can't seem to do that when it comes to her. Jordana is all he can think about and it's causing him to make mistakes in his job, something he can't forgive himself for.

Jordana had a privileged upbringing, she was raised in the Darkhavens by her adopted father and she has always been spoilt and cosseted by him. She isn't a weak willed female though, she has fought hard to gain her independence and wants to be allowed to make her own choices. She feels stifled by the expectations her father has for her, he wants to see her settled and mated but the man he is encouraging to pursue her isn't someone that she has feelings for and the last thing Jordana wants is to be stuck with a permanent bond to someone that she doesn't love. Nathan is everything she has always been told that she shouldn't want in a man, he isn't a sophisticated, wealthy male who is part of the Darkhaven elite, instead he is a dark, dangerous and brooding warrior. But Nathan gets her blood boiling like no other and she finds it impossible to resist temptation.

I really liked Nathan and Jordana as a couple, in a lot of ways they are opposites but they bring out the best in each other and I enjoyed seeing them work out their differences. I loved how dominant Nathan is, in fact I think he might just be the most dominant Breed male we've met so far which is saying something really because this series is full of hot alpha heroes! Nathan's upbringing has left him always needing to be in control and that shines through in every aspect of his character, especially when it comes to his sex life. Jordana does bring out a softer side to him but even with her he finds it difficult to let go of the reigns. Their romance has some incredibly sweet moments but it is also full of heat and sexual tension. You won't be disappointed when they give in to their desire!

I don't want to say too much about the rest of the plot but there are some very interesting developments after the thwarted attack by the Opus Nostrum terrorist group in the last book. We find out a little more about the Atlanteans and it definitely has me curious to see what will happen next. I enjoyed spending more time with the rest of the younger generation, I was slightly disappointed that we didn't see more Mira and Kellan but I already love Carys chase and I'm really hoping we don't have to wait too long for her story. I'm also hoping that Zael might be a character we get to see more of as the series continues, I have a feeling he could be quite important in the upcoming battle with their new enemies. If you're a fan of the series I'm sure you'll love Crave the Night, the only disappointment is that I've not got to sit around waiting for the next book to be published!

Source: Received from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review but I've already purchased a copy to take pride of place on my shelves with the rest of the series.

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Review: Marked by Midnight - Lara Adrian

Determined to solve a string of brutal slayings in London, vampire warrior Mathias Rowan is forced to seek the help of Nova, a fiery tattoo artist who ignites an unexpected, yet undeniable, passion in the grim Order enforcer.

Nova’s shadowy connections and dark talents may be Mathias’s best hope of unmasking a treacherous enemy . . . but falling for a woman with her dangerous past will risk both their hearts and their lives.

The Midnight Breed Series:
A Touch of Midnight (Novella included in The Midnight Breed Series Companion, now also available separately)
Kiss of Midnight
Kiss of Crimson
Midnight Awakening
Midnight Rising
Veil of Midnight
Ashes of Midnight
Shades of Midnight
Taken by Midnight
Deeper than Midnight
A Taste of Midnight (Novella)
Darker After Midnight
The Midnight Breed Series Companion
Edge of Dawn
Marked by Midnight (Novella)
Crave the Night
Tempted by Midnight (Novella) (October 2014)

Visit Lara Adrian's website  for more information about the Midnight Breed series you will find excerpts from each of the books.  Lara can also be found on Facebook & Twitter where she posts regular updates or you can join other fans to chat about the books over at the LAMB (Lara Adrian Midnight Breed) Forum

Review:
I'm a huge fan of Lara Adrian's Midnight Breed series, it was the first paranormal romance series I discovered and I've even got a Breedmate mark tattoo so you could say I'm a little obsessed with these books. It's felt like a very long wait between the last two books but I was able to dive straight back into this world without any problem. Fans of the series will already be familiar with Mathias and remember him working alongside the Order in Boston and I was really pleased we were going to finally get to see him find his happily ever after.

Mathias is now living and working in London where he runs the local branch of the Order, he still reports directly to Lucan but he also works alongside JUSTIS (the Joint Urban Security Taskforce Inititaive Squad) a human and Breed law enforcement group. JUSTIS are investigating the murders of several gang members and Mathias has offered to help them discover who is behind the killings. His investigation leads him to a tattoo shop where he finds Breedmate Nova working as a tattoo artist. He knows immediately that Nova isn't telling him the whole truth but what he isn't sure of is whether she is innocent and just scared or whether she is guilty and trying to hide it from him. He is determined to get to the bottom of her secrets and the closer he gets the more he starts to realise how special she is.

I enjoyed Marked by Midnight but it is a fairly short novella so you have to be prepared for Mathias and Nova's relationship to progress at quite a rapid pace. This doesn't usually bother me as much in paranormal romance, especially not in novellas, but I have to admit that even I found the declarations of love came a bit too quickly and that made them slightly less believable. I think I would have preferred things to have been left more open ended or for there to have been an epilogue set a few months after their first meeting to tie up their love for each other.

I've always liked Mathias, he's a man with principles who is very protective of those who fall into his circle. He is quick to add Nova to the list of people under his protection and nothing will stop him from looking out for her, even if it means keeping things from the Order which goes against everything he's ever believed in. It was interesting to see him a bit unsure of himself, he's not used to feeling that anything is more important than his brothers in the Order so it throws him off balance when he starts to care for Nova. As for Nova I thought she was a really interesting character, we are given hints of some terrible things that happened in her childhood and I would have really liked to see this as a full length novel so we had more time to delve into her background and really get to understand her. I liked her character, she's spunky and very capable of standing up for herself but I felt she let Mathias get close a little quickly considering what we know about how she was treated by other Breed males in the past. Extending the story would have given more time for her to get to know him and for Mathias to slowly earn her trust.

Marked by Midnight is a fun instalment to the series, it's nice to get out of Boston and visit London for a change and I'm hoping we might see more of Mathias and Nova in future instalments to the series. I think fans of the series will enjoy this story and it's definitely whet my appetite for the next full length book, Crave the Night.

Source: Purchased

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