Thursday, 19 April 2018

Review: Spare and Found Parts - Sarah Maria Griffin

We are all more than the sum of our parts.

Nell Crane has never held a boy's hand.

In a city devastated by an epidemic, where survivors are all missing parts - an arm, a leg, an eye - Nell has always been an outsider. Her father is the famed scientist who created the biomechanics limbs that everyone now uses. But she's the only one with her machinery on the inside: her heart. Since the childhood operation, she has ticked. Like a clock, like a bomb. And as her community rebuilds, everyone is expected to contribute to the society's good . . . but how can Nell live up to her father's revolutionary ideas when she has none of her own?

Then she finds a lost mannequin's hand while salvaging on the beach, and inspiration strikes. Can Nell build her own companion in a world that fears advanced technology? The deeper she sinks into this plan, the more she learns about her city - and her father, who is hiding secret experiments of his own.

Visit Sarah Maria Griffin's website for more information

Review:
Spare and Found Parts is a futuristic story set in a world that was nearly destroyed by some kind of epidemic that left the majority of the population with missing body parts. Nell's father is a respected scientist who created the biomechanics that are used by those who can afford to have their missing limbs, be they arms, legs, hands or even eyes, replaced. Nell is a bit of an outsider, she struggles to connect with people and she's different because her machinery is on the inside and her mechanical heart that is the only thing that has kept her alive since she was a small child.

This is a society that is very suspicious of computers because it is believed they caused the epidemic but it was never fully explained what actually happened to the world or why, if technology was to blame, that everyone is so happy to walk around with biomechanical limb replacements. I wish the world had been explained better because I was left with so many questions and it really stopped me from fully getting sucked into the story.

Nell was an interesting character but she was quite hard to connect with because she's quite selfish, she has a goal to build herself a robotic companion and she doesn't care what she has to do to achieve that goal. She walks all over people who are just trying to be her friend and that doesn't endear her to me as a reader but at the same time she could also be quite vulnerable and it was easy to see she was just trying to find her place in a world that has always treated her as different.

This story is partly based on the story of Frankenstein and it has some really interesting concepts but unfortunately I found it quite a heavy going read, particularly in the first half, so it took me a long time to read. The story picks up pace later on and becomes much more interesting but I still have so many unanswered questions and feel like I wanted more world building.

Source: Received from Titan Books 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.

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Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Review: You Will Call Me Master - Lexi Blake

Thanks for joining me for this series of vignettes featuring the men of Thieves. We all know Zoey’s point of view, but I thought it would be fun to take key scenes from the series and rewrite them from the men’s point of view. I hope you enjoy seeing the series in a different light. I’m enjoying playing around with all of Z’s guys!

This is a scene from Steal the Light. It takes place roughly midway through the book after the fight at the hotel with Stewart, the demon. Daniel has been shot with silver bullets and he’s expended his energy saving Zoey by flying her safely from the top of the building down to the bottom. He wakes up, sure that he’s died only to discover that Zoey won’t let him go….

(This story is free for subscribers to Lexi Blake's newsletter)

Thieves Series:
Steal the Light
You Will Call Me Master (Free short story via the author's newsletter)
Steal the Day
Steal the Moon
Steal the Sun
Steal the Night
Ripper
Addict
Sleeper
She Will Be My Goddess (Free short story via the author's newsletter)
Outcast (release date to be confirmed)

Visit Lexi Blake's website for more information

Review:
You Will Call Me Master is a short scene from Steal the Light but told from Daniel's point of view instead of Zoey's. You'll receive a link to download this story for free if you sign up for Lexi Blake's newsletter and if you're a fan of the Thieves series then I think you'll enjoy this one. It's not a great introduction to the series if you've not already read the first book though, IMO it only really works if you know the context and the history between the characters.

I found it really interesting getting the chance to see inside Daniel's head. We know how much Zoey adores him but he's harder to read because we only have his actions to go on in the first book. It always felt to me that he loves her too but was trying to protect her by keeping her at a distance but this just confirms that. I'd love to see more of his POV in future books (& hopefully some of Dev's too!) but this was definitely a nice little snippet.

Source: Received for free via the author's newsletter

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.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Review: The Cruel Prince - Holly Black

By #1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black, the first book in a stunning new series about a mortal girl who finds herself caught in a web of royal faerie intrigue.

Of course I want to be like them. They're beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him--and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.


Folk of the Air Series:
The Cruel Prince
The Wicked King (2019)
The Queen of Nothing (2020)

Visit Holly Black's website for more information

Review:
Jude and her twin sister Taryn are humans who have been raised in Faerie, officially they are the adopted daughters of Madoc, the Red Cap General of the High King's army, and the person who murdered their parents when he came to take back his real daughter, their half-sister Vivi, but unofficially they are looked down on by everyone because of their mortality. Jude is sick of being bullied because the fae think they are better than her and she is determined to do whatever it takes to prove them wrong and take her revenge for the way they have behaved.

The Cruel Prince is one of those stories that starts out a little on the slow side but it gradually sucks you into the world that Holly Black has created and before you know it you've reached the end and find yourself desperate for the next instalment. I've not read this author's previous fae series but I'm definitely going to change that because she sure knows how to write the deliciously dark and devious fae that wouldn't make it into a Disney movie. These are Grimm's fae, ones who love to play games with humans and think nothing of hurting others purely for their own enjoyment.

Jude herself isn't always the easiest character to like, she is so totally set on her revenge that she can be quite cruel in her own right and she revels in proving that she can be just as bad as any of the fae. I found it pretty easy to see where she was coming from though, she didn't choose to be taken to faerie as a child and she's been surrounded by this amazing world and these supremely powerful beings for her entire life but she always has to look on as an outsider, she's never been accepted as part of things and it's made her jealous and more than a little bitter to be treated so cruelly. Even when I didn't like her actions I couldn't hate her character and I routed for her far more than anyone else we met.

I was a little disappointed that the bond between the twin sisters wasn't stronger but Taryn reacts to things in a totally different way to Jude. Rather than fight to prove her own power Taryn just wants to find someone else who can offer her protection and she just desperately tried to fit in. I actually found her pretty weak and I was really angry about the way she treated Jude most of the time. Their older sister Vivi was the voice of reason in the family, she's half-fae and fully accepted as her father's heir so she has a lot less to deal with than the twins but she wants as little to do with faerie as possible.

There is a lot going on in this story, I had actually guessed a couple of the biggest twists well before they were officially revealed but that didn't stop my enjoyment and the ending left me fully primed for the sequel. This was a brilliant start to the new series and I'm definitely planning on checking out Holly Black's other fae stories while I wait for the next book in the series.

Source: Received from Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
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Hardback / Paperback / Kindle:

Monday, 16 April 2018

Review: Steal the Light - Lexi Blake

When dealing with demons, the devil’s in the details…

Stealing mystical and arcane artifacts is a dangerous business, especially for a human, but Zoey Wharton is an exceptional thief. The trick to staying alive is having friends in all the wrong places. While having a witch and a werewolf on the payroll helps, being partners with a vampire really opens doors.

Zoey and Daniel were childhood sweethearts until a violent car crash took his life and left her shattered. When Daniel returned from the grave as a vampire, his only interest in Zoey was in keeping her safely apart from the secrets of his dark world. He has vowed to protect her, but his heart seems as cold as the night he calls home.

Five years later, a mysterious new client named Lucas Halfer offers Zoey a fortune to steal the Light of Alhorra. The search for the Light leads Zoey into the arms of an earthbound faery prince. Devinshea Quinn sweeps her off her feet, showing her everything the supernatural world has to offer, but Daniel still calls to her heart.

As the true nature of the Light is revealed, Zoey discovers Halfer is a demon and much more than money is at stake. Per her contract, she must give him the Light or spend an eternity in Hell. What’s a girl to do except fight for her soul…and her heart.

Thieves Series:
Steal the Light
You Will Call Me Master (Free short story via the author's newsletter)
Steal the Day
Steal the Moon
Steal the Sun
Steal the Night
Ripper
Addict
Sleeper
She Will Be My Goddess (Free short story via the author's newsletter)
Outcast (release date to be confirmed)

Visit Lexi Blake's website for more information

Review:
Zoey is a thief who specialises in stealing arcane artefacts, as the only human on her crew she often finds herself in dangerous situations but she's usually quite good at getting out of them too, especially with the help of her vampire ex-fiancé and the witch and werewolf they work alongside. That is until the day she is tricked into signing a contract with a demon and now her very soul is at risk.

I'm fairly new to Lexi Blake's writing, I've recently been devouring her rereleases of the books she previously published under the pen name Sophie Oak and when I realised she also had an urban fantasy series (one of my favourite genres) I just had to dive in. Steal the Light was a fab start to the series and I plan to devour the rest as soon as possible.

Zoey had her heart broken when her fiancé and childhood sweetheart, Daniel, died in a car crash. She was overjoyed when he came back as a vampire but then he was dragged away by the vampire council and when he returned two years later he wasn't the man she knew and loved. Zoey still desperately loves him but Daniel keeps her at arm's length and insists that there can be no future for them other than friendship. They work together and make a good team but Daniel's heart is completely closed off from her. When they are tricked into searching for a fae artefact for a demon the job leads Zoey to faery prince Dev and for the first time she finds herself attracted to someone other than Daniel. Romance is complicated though and she really should be focused on getting the demon off her back and saving her soul.

Normally I shy away from books with even a hint of a love triangle in them, it's a trope that has been done to death in UF and it's one I'm really sick of reading about but knowing Lexi Blake's penchant for writing menage stories I'm kind of hoping that this one will have a much different outcome to most! I actually thought the triangle was handled really well here and I have a hard time deciding which of the guys I like most. There is a lot of history between Zoey and Daniel and you can feel how much she loves him, he has always been the centre of her world but the new, brooding and secretive vampire is not the Daniel she fell in love with and he refuses to let her get close to him again. Dev, on the other hand, is far less complicated. He is warm, funny and leaves Zoey in no doubt that he is attracted to her. Dev gives her the attention she has been craving for such a long time and he makes it all so easy.

We know all along that Daniel is keeping things from Zoey but I have to admit I was angry with him when the depth of his deception was revealed towards the end of the story. I know he was trying to protect her but I hate it when people keep important things hidden from their loved ones so I could understand why Zoey felt so betrayed and I wasn't at all surprised by how things played out. I'm hoping that we'll see him start to redeem himself in future books though and I'm also looking forward to learning more about Dev.

Steal the Light has great main characters, plenty of humour, lots of action and all the heat you'd expect from a Lexi Blake book so I'm definitely looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

Source: Purchased

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:

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Review: Hollywood - Pearl Foxx

"All right, Hollywood, time for your first lesson: don't let some random stranger take you home. You never know what kind of trouble you might find."

He a charmed life in skycity
She’s got an attitude sharped in the Cyn City Slums.

Fresh out of the Cyn City Academy, Bryant is ready for a military career of ease and luxury. Even his smart-ass mouth can’t get him in too much trouble, all he has to do is flash those pearly whites and remind everyone he’s Commander Gideon’s nephew and he’s made in the shade. Besides, he’ll be off this rock and on Zynthar Space Station sooner than you can shake a tail feather.

Sage makes her living as a scrapper, stripping anything she can find for metal and bio-parts for a local cynker. When a hot-shot academy kid comes to see how the other half lives, she lures him away from the local bar, the Ball & Joint, intending to strip his hovercar, and maybe him, for parts.

What she finds beneath his cocky attitude though is worth more than all the titanium on Earth. But without the technology, metal, and biology she’s promised the cynker, Sage is going to have to make good somehow, even if it means donating herself.

Cyn City Cyborgs Series:
Hollywood (Free prequel novella)
Chance
Enver (May 2018)

Visit Pearl Foxx's website for more information

Review:
Bryant is from a wealthy family and was raised in the skycity where he has just finished his military training and is ready for his first off world mission. Before he leaves the planet he's determined to have a night of fun down in the slums but he has absolutely no idea what he's just let himself in for. Sage is a scrapper who lives hand to mouth and survives by committing terrible sins. The minute she spots Bryant she can tell he'll be an easy mark and if she doesn't take advantage of him someone else will so she might as well get in their first.

Hollywood is a prequel to Pearl Foxx's new Cyn City Cyborgs series that you can get for free by signing up to her newsletter. It introduces us to a new world where human flesh is expensive and cyborg parts come cheap. Down in the Cyn City Slums the best way to make money is by selling your organs, limbs or tissue, or if you're brave enough you could sell someone else's. It's a hard world and pretty dark and grim but I'm very curious to see where the story takes us as the series continues.

I have to admit this story needed a little more world building for me, I get that it's just an introduction and I'm sure my questions will be answered in the next book, but I was left with a few too many questions and the romance felt more than a little rushed in this one which is why it didn't get a higher rating. It was enough to make me want to try the next book though so I'm hoping Chance, the first full length book in the series, will hook me in even further.

Source: Received for free via the author's newsletter

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.

Friday, 13 April 2018

Review: Society of Wishes - Elise Kova & Lynn Larsh

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR.

Josephina Espinosa makes her living as a hacker-for-hire in the Lone Star Republic, a remnant of the fractured U.S.A. That is, until the day she and her best friend are gunned down in a government raid.

With her dying breath, Jo uses magical lore passed down from her grandmother to summon a wish-granter. Her wish? To save her friend’s life. Except wishes have costs, and for Jo, the price is the erasure of her entire mortal existence.

Now, as the most recent addition to the mysterious Society of Wishes, Jo must form a new “life” alongside the seven other members, one of which being her savior himself. Living as an occupant of the Society’s lavish mansion should be quite the perk, but while it is furnished with everything its inhabitants could possibly need, it lacks one thing—freedom.

Her otherworldly identity crisis takes a backseat, however, when Jo learns that the friend she sacrificed everything for is headed down the same path to ruin. Jumping in head-first, Jo uses her newfound magical abilities to protect him, only to realize that the ripples of her actions have far-reaching consequences. When the Society’s aloof leader Snow decides to give her a taste of his own ancient magic, Jo discovers that there are threads woven into the tapestry of her new reality that reach far beyond the wishes she is now required to grant. Ones that, if tugged on, could mean the unraveling of the world itself.

Wish Quartet Series:
Society of Wishes
Circle of Ashes
Birth of Chaos (2018)

Visit Elise Kova's website or Lynn Larsh's website for more information

Review:
Jo's world is turned completely upside down when she uses her last breath to make a wish to save her best friend's life. Saving her friend has the unexpected consequence of also saving her own life but not the same version she used to live. Now her family and friends have completely forgotten she ever existed and she finds herself the newest member of the Society of Wishes, a group of people who use magic to grant the wishes of anyone who knows the correct ritual. As Jo struggles to come to terms with everything that has happened to her she realises that the best friend she gave up everything for is about to walk into the same trap she already saved him from once. Refusing to let her sacrifice be in vain she breaks all the rules to try and save him and ends up causing more trouble than she could possibly have imagined.

Society of Wishes is the first book in a new series by Elise Kova and Lynn Larsh, the idea of the Society is a really intriguing one but I have to admit I struggled a little with the world building. Jo is taken away from everything that is familiar with and thrown completely in the deep end within the Society, nobody takes the time to explain anything to her an it leaves both her and the reader very confused about what is happening. The way the other characters just tell Jo not to do things but don't explain why leads her to make some very stupid mistakes but that's pretty understandable when nobody bothers to talk through the consequences of her actions. If she was working alone that wouldn't be so bad but she has a lot of help from another member of the Society, one who should know exactly how badly her plans could screw up things for everyone else and I just couldn't understand why he was willing to go along with her.

We're introduced to a diverse group of characters and I'm definitely interested in learning more about all of them but I also really need some more answers about how the Society works and how it came to exist in the first place. I think because I didn't really understand why things happened I found it harder to connect to the story and the characters but I'm hoping that will get easier as the series continues.

One thing I really wasn't sure about here was the romantic element though. There are not one but two potential relationships thrown out there but they both pretty much came out of nowhere, there isn't much in the way of a slow build up and that made Jo's feelings hard to believe. The sex scene was well written but it felt out of place and didn't really fit in with the rest of the story, it felt more like an afterthought added to make the story fit the NA category and it could easily have been left out. I tend to prefer some romantic tension that takes a while to reach a payoff in urban fantasy, when you have a series you don't have to rush to fit it all in the first book and it can be better to tease your readers a little and keep them waiting.

I think this series has a lot of potential but unfortunately for me the first book didn't quite live up to that. It can be really hard to introduce a whole new world in just one book though so I'm always willing to give a series with an interesting premise at least two books to fully catch my interest. I'm hoping that things will start to fall into place in City of Ashes and I'm curious to see what will happen next.

Source: Purchased

Other Reviews:
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Thursday, 12 April 2018

Book Trailer: Scythe - Neal Shusterman

I usually post book trailers to talk about books I'm really excited about but just haven't got around to reading yet but in this case I want to talk about a book I read recently and absolutely LOVED. I've fallen behind on review writing and I'm currently having some computer problems so I want to spotlight this book now and encourage everyone to read it then I'll hopefully get a full review posted sometime next week!

Anyway, Scythe is the first book in Neal Shusterman's new sci-fi dystopian series about a world where  natural death has been all but eliminated. Now that disease and crime are no longer a factor and people are able to live long lives thanks to medical progress the only way to keep the population under control is manually and that's where the Scythe's come in. It is their job to kill, they can choose their victims and the method of death but they have a quota they must stick to and they must avoid bias in their choices. In a perfect world Scythes would be beyond reproach but what happens if the Scythedom becomes corrupt? Who can protect the world from the only remaining killers?

This book was dark, it was fascinating and it was like nothing else I've ever read. I absolutely devoured it and I can't wait for the sequel, Thunderhead, to publish in the UK next month!

In a perfect world, what is there left to fear? A chilling and thought-provoking sci-fi novel from New York Times bestselling author Neal Shusterman.

A dark, gripping and witty thriller in which the only thing humanity has control over is death.

In a world where disease, war and crime have been eliminated, the only way to die is to be randomly killed ("gleaned") by professional scythes. Citra and Rowan are teenagers who have been selected to be scythes' apprentices, and despite wanting nothing to do with the vocation, they must learn the art of killing and understand the necessity of what they do.

Only one of them will be chosen as a scythe's apprentice and as Citra and Rowan come up against a terrifyingly corrupt Scythedom, it becomes clear that the winning apprentice's first task will be to glean the loser.

Visit Neal Shusterman's website for more information



What do you think? I can't recommend this one highly enough but if I've not persuaded you with the trailer keep an eye out for my review which I'll hopefully get posted very soon!

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