Saturday 31 July 2010

Review: Circle of Desire - Keri Arthur

In ten years of working for the Damask Circle, shapeshifter Katherine Tanner has never come across anything that goes after kids the way this monster does.  It's not something she wants to confront, but with the Circle's resources stretched to the limit, she's given very little choice.  And the last thing she needs is interference from a cop who has no idea what he's up against.

Ethan Morgan's niece is missing and he's determined to bring her back alive, even if he has to break every law in the land to do it.  He will use anyone to achieve his aims - even a woman who claims to be a witch.  Yet time is ticking away and the monster rarely keeps victims alive for more than seven days, and four of those days have already passed.

Damask Circle Trilogy:

Circle of Fire
Circle of Death
Circle of Desire

For more information visit Keri Arthur's website

Kat and her grandmother have been working for the Damask Circle for 10 years but this is their hardest case yet.  Children have been disappearing, with their bodies turning up within a week showing that they have been brutally murdered.  With their psychic abilities Kat & her grandmother are working with the police trying to track down the killer and rescue the children who are still missing.  Ethan is a police officer but since his niece was kidnapped he has been removed from the case - that isn't going to stop him from doing everything he can to find her though and he quickly realises that Kat is going to be the key to help him.  As a werewolf Ethan has abilities that can help Kat much more than the police can so they need to work together if they are going to stop the murderer before any more children go missing or end up dead.

Circle of Desire is the last book in the Damask Circle trilogy by Keri Arthur but as the series each revolve around a different set of characters and there is no continuation of the story it is easy to read the books out of order or as stand alone stories.  I've enjoyed and would recommend all 3 books in the series though this was probably my favorite of them all.

I really liked both Kat and her grandmother, the relationship between them was really nice to see and they obviously cared for each other deeply.  Kat's grandmother had me laughing out loud in several places with her open attitude to sex and the way she was so upfront about Kat and Ethan's growing relationship.  Kat was a strong character, her abilities really take it out of her but she was very strong and determined to stand on her own two feet.  Ethan was one hot werewolf and if you've ever read Keri Arthur's Riley Jenson series then you'll know all about wolves and their natural appetites as the full moon draws nearer!  Because he was hurt in the past Ethan is very reluctant to face up to the feelings he starts to develop for Kat but will he admit how he feels before he loses her forever?

As I've come to expect from Keri Arthur Circle of Desire was an enjoyable paranormal romance with great chemistry between the main characters, plenty of action and a strong plot line.  I'd happily recommend this series to paranormal romance and urban fantasy fans.

Source: Library

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.

ARC Review: Claire de Lune - Christine Johnson

Hanover Falls hasn't had a werewolf problem in over one hundred years, but when people suddenly start dying in Claire Benoit's town, panic spreads fast.  The gruesome killings are all anyone can talk about at Claire's sixteenth birthday party, though the only thing on Claire's mind is gorgeous Matthew Engle chatting and flirting with her as if she's the only girl there.  But that night, Claire discovers something that takes away all sense of normality: she's a werewolf.

Claire knows she must keep her changing identity a secret, especially from Matthew, whose father is leading the werewolf hunt.  But then a rogue werewolf threatens to put everyone she knows in danger.  Struggling to feel comfortable in either skin, and with her lupine loyalty at odds with her human heart, Claire is forced to make a choice that will change her forever.

Claire de Lune Series:
Claire de Lune (releasing in the UK on 5th August 2010)
Nocturne (due to be published in 2011)

For more information visit Christine Johnson's website

When Claire finds out just after her 16th birthday that she is a werewolf she is completely shocked.  She has to keep her identity a secret from everyone - especially with a rogue werewolf on the prowl killing innocent victims in her town and the town's feelings against werewolves running high.  Things are made even more complicated by the fact that her new boyfriend's father is the man leading the hunt for the rogue werewolf.  Trying to come to terms with her new identity isn't easy and lying to everyone she knows is even harder.  Will she be able to keep her secret & will they discover the rogue before it's too late?

Claire de Lune was a book I've been looking forward to reading for ages so I was very excited when I received a review copy.  Unfortunately I was slightly disappointed, while there were some parts of the story I really enjoyed there were a few things that irritated me and left me unable to say I completely loved the book.  I really loved the new twist that Christine Johnson put on the werewolf mythology but I would have liked to have had a bit more detail - how the world knows about the existence of werewolves, and some more pack history and information would have been good.  I'm hoping that we'll see more of that in the sequel though and I will definitely read be reading it to find out.

I felt that Claire was a very realistic character, it was so easy to relate to the confusion she felt after finding out about her werewolf heritage.  She doesn't have a great relationship with her Mum so she doesn't really have anyone to talk to about what is going on.  Where she would usually turn to her best friend Emily for advice, now she has to actively lie to her to keep her secret.  I did feel there was possibly a little too much time spent on conversations between Claire & Emily that revolved around nothing but boys but it was nice to see a positive friendship between 2 people who obviously care for each other.  While love interest Matthew was sweet I didn't feel like I got to know him well enough to form a crush on him, again this may be something that develops throughout the series though.

I found it hard to believe that Claire's mum wasn't more understanding when she dropped the massive bombshell on her.  While I could understand Marie keeping the secret until Claire was old enough to fully take in the fact that she was going to become a werewolf it didn't make sense to me that she then refused to give Claire any more information about what was happening to her and what life would be like when she had completed her change.  I just would have expected a parent to be more supportive in the circumstances but perhaps that is just me.  With regards to the rogue werewolf, I enjoyed reading the scenes that were written from their point of view.  I had 2 suspects from very early on in the book and although I swung from one to the other and then back again I was almost disappointed to find out my suspicions about one of them were correct - I'd have liked it to be a little harder to work out who the killer was.

Overall I thought Claire de Lune was an enjoyable story and a good start to a new series.  Most of the novel is more character driven rather than action packed but the fight scenes towards the end were very well written.  While it wasn't my favorite young adult paranormal romance I'm still interested to see where Christine Johnson takes us with this series.

Source: Received for review from publisher Simon & Schuster

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 30 July 2010

Review: Bone Crossed - Patricia Briggs

There was I thinking being a shifter had its upsides. Looks like I was wrong.

Car mechanic and sometime shapeshifter Mercy Thompson has learned - the hard way - why her race was almost exterminated. When European vampires emigrated to North America, they found Mercy's people had a hidden talent for vampire slaying. Unfortunately for Mercy, the queen of the local vampire seethe has discovered her true identity.

The undead queen is also furious when she learns Mercy has crossed her and killed one of her own.  Mercy may be protected from direct reprisals by the werewolf pack (and her interesting relationship with its Alpha), but that just means Marsilia will come after Mercy some other way.  So Mercy had better prepare to watch her back.

Mercy Thompson Series:
Homecoming (Graphic Novel)
Moon Called
Blood Bound
Iron Kissed
Bone Crossed
Silver Borne
River Marked
Frost Burned
Hopcross Jilly (Graphic Novel)
Night Broken
Shifting Shadows: Stories from the World of Mercy Thompson
Fire Touched
Silence Fallen

Alpha and Omega Series:
(This is a spin off to the Mercy Thompson series)
Alpha and Omega (novella found in the On the Prowl anthology)
Cry Wolf
Hunting Ground
Fair Game
Dead Heat
Burn Bright

For more information visit Patricia Briggs' website

When Stephan appears in Mercy's trailer on the verge of death she discovers that Marsilia (queen of the local vampire seethe) has found out about the vampire that Mercy killed.  To say that Marsilia is unhappy is an understatement.  Stephan has been thrown out of the seethe for helping keep Mercy's secret & Marsilia wants blood - preferably Mercy's but she is happy to target her friends too.  With Adam & Samuel determined to keep her safe it looks like this could be the start of a war between the werewolves and the vampires.  When Mercy's friend from college Amber turns up asking for Mercy's help dealing with a ghost everyone thinks this would be the perfect way to get Mercy out of Marsilia's reach.  But nothing is as it seems and Mercy soon finds she has jumped out of the frying pan straight into the fire.

I'm a big fan of Patricia Briggs and love the Mercy Thompson series so was really looking forward to reading Bone Crossed & I wasn't disappointed.  I love Mercy and was devastated for her at the end of the last book so I really wanted to know how she was getting on.  A week after the ending of Iron Kissed Mercy is in a mess both emotionally and physically, suffering regularly from panic attacks and flashbacks of the event.  She knows she loves Adam but she is finding it hard to allow him to get close to her and I felt her reactions were very realistic considering what she has been through.  I've always had a soft spot for Adam but he is so patient and caring towards Mercy in this book that I couldn't help liking him even more.  He understands what she is going through and is determined to help her recover.

Spending time in Mercy's world is like visiting with friends and I always find myself easily slipping into her world like I never left.  I love each of the characters in their own ways and even the more minor characters like Jesse and Warren are so well rounded that it feels like you actually know them.  If I had one minor disappointment it was that I would have liked to have spent a little more time with Stephan in this installment of the series, especially as the main plot revolves around the vampires.  He suffers so much in Bone Crossed and I hope we get to see how he deals with the things Marsilia has done over the next few books.  We didn't see that much of Samuel either but that was more understandable considering the plot but we get to see a lot of Adam so that makes up for it!

If you're yet to discover the Mercy Thompson series then I would highly recommend it to urban fantasy fans.  It is one of my favorite series and Mercy is a fantastic heroine.  Although you could probably read this as a stand alone novel I would strongly recommend reading the series in order so you don't miss any of the back story.  If you're already a fan of the series & haven't already read Bone Crossed what are you waiting for?  This was probably my favorite book in the series so far so I'm sure you're going to enjoy it!

Source: Library

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.

Thursday 29 July 2010

Review: A Safe Harbor - Moira Rogers

Find out how it all began...

During the bite of the Great Depression, sole female dominant Joan Fuller struggles against the rise of cruelty among her alpha counterparts. The men tolerate her interference--until she breaks from the pack and allies with a witch and a vampire. Now the Boston alpha intends to bring them all forcibly back into the fold--and teach her a lesson she may not survive.

Seamus Whelan and his werewolf bootleggers intend to retire from smuggling and savor their fortune, but first they must do a favor for an old friend: escort some female wolves to safety. An easy job, if their leader wasn't a prim ex-debutante with enough power to challenge Seamus himself. Chance makes them allies; powerful need makes them lovers.

Together, they have the opportunity to build a sanctuary for their kind, but first they must free themselves from Joan's past, and the powerful man who would see her destroyed.

Building Sanctuary Series:
A Safe Harbor
Undertow (October 2010)

Visit Moira Rogers' website for more information

When Joan was turned, against her will, into a werewolf by rich playboy Edwin she was thrown into a shocking new world that she had no idea existed before.  The males of her pack, lead by Edwin, treat the women appallingly and Joan is determined to help them escape.  Teaming up with a vampire and a witch she becomes alpha of her own pack and is desperate to get her friends away from Edwin and the rest of the Boston pack.  Seamus and his bootlegger friends are intending to retire from smuggling and enjoy their wealth in peace when they are asked by a friend to help the women.  When he meets Joan and sees the state of her pack he is determined to do whatever he can to keep them safe.

A Safe Harbor is the first story I've read by Moira Rogers (a pseudonym for writing duo Bree & Donna) but it won't be the last.  I will definitely continue the Building Sanctuary series and am also planning on starting the author's Red Rock Pass series which this series is a prequel to.  Although this is a novella I was quickly sucked into the story and finished it at a fast pace.  Joan is a great character, she is a strong Alpha but she is exhausted from caring for her pack and from the energy they are draining from her.  She is determined to keep everyone safe but she knows that she has to be ruthless at times to make sure the majority survive and isn't afraid to make tough decisions.  Although she has had bad experiences at the hands of male werewolves and is naturally wary of Seamus and his men when they first come into her life as she sees them prove themselves she is quick to accept their help as she knows its for the good of the pack.

Seamus was a fab alpha male, he's strong but caring and he wants to protect Joan and her pack but he treats her as an equal not a simpering female that needs to be wrapped up in cotton wool.  He quickly understands why Joan is wary of him and is determined to take things slowly with her and let her see she can trust him.  Joan hasn't had a lot of romance in her life so the feelings she has for Seamus are new and frightening to her and she is very easily embarrassed but it doesn't take long for her to warm up to him and discover her passionate side.  I'm just going to say watch out for the kitchen loving - Hot with a capital H!

Overall I really enjoyed A Safe Harbor, it had the perfect blend of romance and action with the fight scenes feeling realistic and Joan getting to show what a kick ass heroine she really is.  I would have liked to have spent more time with Joan and Seamus, it would have been perfect as a full length novel but for a novella we were given a very complete story.  This makes a perfect read for fans of paranormal romance - especially if you're looking for something quick to read - and I would highly recommend it.

Source: Thanks to Moira Rogers for sending me this story for 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

Wednesday 28 July 2010

Review: Tempting Evil - Keri Arthur

Half werewolf and half vampire Riley Jenson is now an agent with the DOR - the Directorate of Other Races. However, trusting her superiors and lovers barely more than she trusts her worst enemies, Riley plays by her own set of rules.

Her latest mission: to enter the heavily guarded pleasure palace of a criminal named Deshon Starr - a madman-scientist who's been messing around in the gene pool for decades. With two sexy men - a cool, seductive vampire and an irresistibly hot werewolf - vying for her attention, Riley must keep focused. Because saving the world from Deshon Starr will mean saving herself from the trap that's closing in around her...

Riley Jenson Guardian Series:
Full Moon Rising
Kissing Sin
Tempting Evil
Dangerous Games
Embraced by Darkness
The Darkest Kiss
Deadly Desire
Bound to Shadows
Moon Sworn

Dark Angel Series:
(This is a spin off from the Riley Jenson Guardian series)
Darkness Unbound
Darkness Rising
Darkness Devours
Darkness Hunts
Darkness Unmasked
Darkness Splintered
Darkness Falls

For more information visit Keri Arthur's website

Riley has taken the final step and become a fully fledged Guardian for the Directorate of Other Races, she still isn't sure that it is for the best but she wants to be part of the team that takes down Deshon Starr. Her first mission isn't going to be easy - it is up to her to infiltrate Deshon's stronghold and try to discover where his secret labs are hidden so that the DOR can destroy them. While deep undercover she is going to have to be wary about who she trusts but she will also find friends in unlikely places. With Rhoan, Quinn and Kade also inside the compound she will have to be careful not to give away their identities or her own. Will they be discovered before they can find the location of the labs? Will they all make it out of there in one piece?

I really enjoyed the first 2 books in this series but I think Tempting Evil was probably my favourite book so far. I'll admit that this series isn't going to be to everyone's taste - Riley is a werewolf with a high sexual appetite and several regular partners but as a Guardian she uses sex as a tool to gain information from her enemies. This would be quite disturbing in real life but in the world Keri Arthur has created it is quite natural for the werewolves to give into instinct and their animal desires. As long as you're prepared to accept that I'd highly recommend the series for urban fantasy fans. The series has plenty of action, not just in the bedroom and I'm enjoying following Riley's story.

I was pleased to see Quinn start to redeem himself in this book, I absolutely loved him in Full Moon Rising but was really annoyed with his attitude in Kissing Sin. As much as he still has some making up to do in my eyes I'm feeling a bit more confident that he will manage it over the next few books. I had hoped to see more of the super hot alpha werewolf Kellen but I can understand why there wasn't much room for him in this storyline, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we get to see a lot more of him in the series. I did enjoy getting to spend more time with Kade though - I'm still loving that horse shifter!

Overall I loved the pace of Tempting Evil, there was so much going on that I didn't want to put it down, I'm curious to find out more about Riley's growing psychic abilities and I'm looking forward to getting to know some of the newly introduced characters better. It won't be long before I'm getting stuck into the next book in the series Dangerous Games.

Source: Library

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 27 July 2010

Review: The Chosen One - Carol Lynch Williams

Thirteen-year-old Kyra has grown up in her isolated community without ever questioning the fact that her father has three wives and she has twenty brothers and sisters; without ever questioning the strict rules imposed by 'the Prophet' who leads them.

But now Kyra has started keeping secrets.  She reads books that are forbidden and sneaks away to meet Joshua, the boy she hopes to choose for herself, instead of having a husband chosen for her.

Kyra knows that it's only a matter of time before her two secret loves are discovered.  And when the Prophet decrees that she is to become the seventh wife of her sixty-year-old uncle, Kyra is forced to make a desperate choice.  But saving herself means endangering everyone she's ever cared for.

How far should she go for freedom?

For more information visit Carol Lynch Williams' website

Kyra is 13 years old and has grown up in The Chosen Ones compound, life was good until the old Prophet died but since his son took over things have changed radically for everyone.  Being raised in a polygamous cult means she doesn't know anything different and she doesn't find it strange that her father has 3 wives and she has 20 brothers and sisters.  That is until she discovers books via the county mobile library and finds out more about the outside world.  When her family is told they will be visited by the Prophet they are very excited thinking it means great things will happen to them all, but Kyra is secretly worried that they have discovered about the forbidden books she has been reading or about her secret boyfriend.  What nobody expects is that the Prophet will tell them he has received a vision from God - Kyra must become the 7th wife of her 60 year old uncle.  Naturally she is horrified by this but will she manage to escape before she is forced into a marriage she doesn't want?  What will happen to her family if they try to go against what the Prophet has decreed?

The Chosen One is a powerful read and one that had me on the edge of my seat.  It is quite a short book but that just meant I was easily able to devour it in one sitting - there was no way I could put it down until I knew what would happen to Kyra.  I have to say I know very little about polygamous cults so I wasn't too sure what to expect when I started reading the book but Kyra's story was so intense and her emotions were so well written I found it surprisingly easy to relate to her.  Her family may not be conventional but they obviously love each other and they cared about what would happen to Kyra.  Her father tries to stand up to the Prophet but it soon becomes clear that if they don't agree to the marriage then the whole family will suffer the consequences.

Things that happen throughout the book make for an emotional story and are quite horrific to read in places so I'm not sure I'd recommend this for younger teens.  It is however a book I would highly recommend to older teens and adults alike.  Kyra's life isn't easy and the odds are against her but she shows an incredible strength and bravery throughout her ordeal.  Although this isn't a true story it is easy to believe that things like this do actually happen in the modern world - quite a frightening thought!  The Chosen One is an incredible story and one that I haven't been able to get out of my mind since I finished reading it a week ago.  This is the first book I've read by Carol Lynch Williams but it definitely won't be the last.

Source: Recieved for review from publisher Simon & Schuster

Other Reviews:
Fluttering Butterflies
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.

Sunday 25 July 2010

Review: Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night - Kresley Cole

UK Cover
Her breathless kiss haunts him...
Bowen MacRieve of the Lykae clan was nearly destroyed when he lost the one woman meant for him. The ruthless warrior grew even colder, never taking another to his bed - until a smoldering encounter with his enemy, Mariketa the Awaited, reawakens his darkest desires. When sinister forces unite against her, the Highlander finds himself using all his strength and skill to keep her alive.

His slow, hot touch is irresistible...
Temporarily stripped of her powers, Mari is forced to take refuge with her sworn adversary. It's rumored that no one can tempt Bowen's hardened heart, but soon passion burns between them.  Though a future together is impossible, she fears he has no intention of letting her go.

No deed is too wicked for her seduction...
If they defeat the evil that surrounds them, can Mari deny Bowen when he demands her body and soul - or will she risk everything for her fierce protector?

Immortals After Dark Series:
The Warlord Wants Forever (Novella in the Playing Easy to Get anthology)
A Hunger Like No Other
No Rest for the Wicked
Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night
Dark Needs at Night's Edge
Dark Desires After Dusk
Kiss of a Demon King
Untouchable (Published in the Deep Kiss of Winter Anthology)
Pleasure of a Dark Prince
Demon from the Dark
Dreams of a Dark Warrior
Shadow's Claim (The Dacians book 1)
Dark Skye

For more information visit Kresley Cole's website

Bowen is taking part in the Talisman's Hie (the immortal version of the amazing race) hoping to win a prize that will let him go back in time to save the life of his mate Mariah who died in a tragic accident years ago.  Bowen has grieved and searched for a way to save her ever since but this is the closest he has ever come to making his dream come true and he is determined to win at any cost. Mariketa (Mari) is a witch who is also entered in the contest, hoping to prove her ability to the rest of her race. When Bowen is attracted to Mari, the first time he has felt something for anyone since he lost is mate, he believes she must have cast a spell on him. Disgusted with himself for feeling attracted to her he traps her, along with other participants in the Hie and leaves her. When her family threaten war against the Lykae (werewolves) if she is not safely returned to them he has no choice but to rescue her and bring her home. Can he get her back in time? Will she remove the spell she has cast on him? Will he find a way to bring Mariah back to him or will his attraction to Mari win over the desire to find his lost love?

Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night is the third book in the Immortals After Dark series by Kresley Cole and I would recommend reading the series in order. We have already met Bowen in the previous books and this book does actually start before the ending of the previous one allowing us to see the same events from a different perspective. If you've not already read book 2 (No Rest for the Wicked) this story would include spoilers.

I have to say that I put off starting this book because I didn't think I was going to like Bowen much from what I've seen of him in previous stories. I wish I'd read it sooner because I actually found myself really liking him. This is one of my favourite books in the series so far & Bowen is up there with the best of Kresley Cole's heroes. I also really liked Mari, she is a powerful witch but is still young and learning how to use her powers. She comes across as quite vulnerable at times but she is also prepared to fight back when she needs to. I enjoyed watching the relationship developing between them and there were times when I really wasn't sure how they would manage to sort things out.

I have to mention how much I liked the demons Rydstrom and Cade, I'm really hoping that we'll get to read both of their stories later on in the series! Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night was a great instalment to a series that I'm liking more and more with every book. If you've not yet discovered the series then I'd recommend it to all fans of paranormal romance, especially if you like an action packed plot to go along with the romance. Although I felt the series got off to a bit of a shaky start it is improving with every book and I'm looking forward to seeing where Kresley Cole takes us next.

Source: Library

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.

US Cover
Paperback / Kindle:

Saturday 24 July 2010

Review: Chasing Brooklyn - Lisa Schroeder

Restless souls and empty hearts

Brooklyn can't sleep.  Her boyfriend, Lucca, died only a year ago, and now her friend Gabe has just died of an overdose.  Every time she closes her eyes, Gabe's ghost is there waiting for her.  She has no idea what he wants, or why it isn't Lucca visiting her dreams.

Nico can't stop.  He's always running, trying to escape the pain of losing his brother, Lucca.  But when Lucca's ghost begins leaving messages telling Nico to help Brooklyn, emotions come crashing to the surface.

As the nightmares escalate and the messages become relentless, Nico reaches out to Brooklyn.  But neither of them can admit that they're being haunted.  Until they learn to let each other in, not one soul will be able to rest.

Visit Lisa Schroeder's website for more information

Brooklyn's boyfriend Lucca died a year ago but she can't let go of his memory and isn't coping well, then her friend Gabe also dies and she finds things even harder.  When Gabe's ghost starts haunting her she has nobody to turn to and can't understand why this is happening to her.  Ever since Nico lost his brother Lucca he has been running, hoping to escape his memories and the pain.  But now Lucca's ghost is leaving him messages asking him to help Brooklyn.  What does he mean and how can Nico help Brooklyn when he isn't coping with his own grief?

Chasing Brooklyn is the first verse novel I've ever read, to be honest I wasn't sure if I'd like that style of story but I was curious enough to want to give it a try.  When I first started reading I didn't think it was going to be for me as it felt so different to reading a normal book but within about 15-20 pages I'd got into the rhythm and the story got it's claws into me.  I then found I couldn't put it down, I kept thinking just a few more pages and I'll stop reading but the next thing I knew I found myself at the end of the book.  It really was a quick read but that doesn't make it any less special.

If you've ever lost someone that you love, be it a family member or a friend, then I'm sure you'll find it easy to relate to both Brooklyn and Nico.  They are both struggling to cope with the empty space Lucca has left in their lives.  Neither of them really feel they have anyone they can turn to so the connection between them builds really quickly when they start talking.  Although both of them deal with things in different ways it was easy to see their pain and I really felt it alongside them.

Chasing Brooklyn is a powerful story about love, loss and grief but it also has a very positive theme about moving on with life.  People often say "things will get better in time" and that never seems believable when you're in a difficult situation or have lost someone you love but this novel helps to show that it really is true.  It may not be easy to see a way forward but you just have to take one step at a time and when you least expect it you'll suddenly find the light at the end of the tunnel.

I have to say that I don't think verse novels are going to be for everyone but if you've never tried reading one before Chasing Brooklyn would be a good one to start with.  Lisa Schroeder has a style of writing that sucks you in and I found the story more powerful in verse than it probably would have been as a standard novel.  This may be the first book I've read by this author but it definitely won't be the last and I'd really recommend that everyone give it a try. 

Source: Received as part of a book tour arranged by International Book Tours, this book has already been sent on to it's next destination.

Other reviews of this book:
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 23 July 2010

Review: Night Game - Christine Feehan

Gator Fonetnot of the Special Forces paranormal squad can't refuse an urgent request to save the elusive Iris Johnson, a victim of the same horrific experiments that warped Gator.  Now unleashed, she's a flame-haired weapon of unimaginable destructive powers, a walking time bomb bent on revenge in the sultry bayous of New Orleans, and hunted by the shadowy assassin.  It's Gator's job to reel Iris in.

But can two people haunted by violent betrayals trust the passion that soon ignites between them?  Or is one of them just playing another seductive and deadly night game?

GhostWalkers Series:
Shadow Game
Mind Game
Night Game
Conspiracy Game
Deadly Game
Predatory Game
Murder Game
Street Game
Ruthless Game
Samurai Game (2012)

For more information visit Christine Feehan's website

When Gator is asked to return home to the Bayou to investigate the disappearance of a family friend Lily has another task for him.  She has reason to believe that Iris (known as Flame), one of the girls Dr Whitney experimented on as a child, is in the area.  Gator is the only GhostWalker with psychic abilities to match Flame's so it is up to him to track her down.  Flame has every reason not to trust Lily or any of the other GhostWalkers so it's going to take all of Gator's charm to bring her round.

Although Night Game is the third book in the GhostWalkers series I think you could easily read this as a stand alone story.  However, I'm really enjoying this series so I'd definitely recommend reading the books in order starting with Shadow Game.  I think Night Game was probably my favorite book in the series so far, it will take you on a complete roller coaster of emotion laughing one minute and close to tears the next.  I think Christine Feehan managed to create the perfect blend of action and romance along with some great bedroom action.

I really loved Gator - he is charming, funny and sexy as hell.  He fell for Flame hard and wasn't afraid to show his feelings despite her reluctance to get involved.  I loved the banter between him, his brother and the other GhostWalkers and they had me laughing quite a few times.  Another great character was his Grandmother - all I'm going to say is watch out for the bag she gives to Flame, hilarious! 

Flame was a great heroine, she was strong and tough and prepared to stick up for herself but at the same time she had a vulnerable side and my heart went out to her.  She had an incredibly tough start to life at the mercy of Dr Whitney and it isn't surprising that she doesn't trust anyone who was involved in the experiments that were carried out on her as a child.  Some of the scenes with her were heartbreaking and I was close to tears on several occasions.

Overall this was another great installment of the GhostWalkers series & has left me very keen to read the next book.  I'm very curious to see if Flame's theory is correct - I have a strong suspicion that it is but I'll have to read Conspiracy Theory to find out.  If you're a fan of paranormal romance I'd definitely recommend giving this series a try.

Source: Library

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.

Thursday 22 July 2010

Review: Best Friends Forever - Jennifer Weiner

Can you keep a secret?

Addie Downs and Valerie Alder will be best friends forever.  At least that's what nine-year-old Addie believes when Val moves into the house across the street.  But in the wake of betrayal during their teenage years, Val is swept into the popular crowd, while mousy, sullen Addie becomes her school's scapegoat.

Fifteen years on, Val has found a measure of fame and fortune as the local weather girl.  Addie, meanwhile, lives alone in her parents' house, looking after her troubled brother and trying to meet Prince Charming on the internet.  She's just returned from Bad Date No. 6, when she hears a knock at her door.  There, on the step, is her long-gone best friend, blood on the sleeve of her coat.  'Something terrible has happened,' Val tells Addie.  'Can you help me?'

Visit Jennifer Weiner's website for more information

Addie and Val became friends when they were 9 years old and promised to be best friends forever.  That was until their senior year at school when Val became part of the popular crowd and left Addie behind.  Addie was bullied mercilessly by Val and her friends and has never got over it.  Now Addie lives alone in her parent's old house, working from home and having no friends she looks out for her disabled brother.  After returning home from yet another disastrous date fifteen years later Addie is shocked when Val turns up covered in blood and in desperate need of help.

When I first read the description of Best Friends Forever I thought it would be a fun read and having liked some of Jennifer Weiner's previous books I was looking forward to reading it.  Unfortunately I was disappointed and although I thought the book was OK there were just too many things that were completely unrealistic and stopped me truly loving the story.

Although I found myself quite liking Addie I couldn't believe the trouble Val managed to get her into.  If your best friend ruined your life I don't think you'd be quite so quick to welcome her back into your life with open arms and you certainly wouldn't be willing to go along with her crazy plans!  Val wasn't a very likable character, yes you get to find out what a difficult life she has had but that doesn't really excuse the way she treats Addie now or how she expects to walk through life getting away with anything just with a little flirting.

The narration jumps from present to past and is told mainly by Addie but with some chapters written from the point of view of police chief Jordan and the occasional section by their childhood tormentor Dan.  At first I found the constant jumping around a little confusing but I did find I got used to this eventually.  I think the sections I enjoyed most were told from Addie's point of view and I particularly liked the flashbacks to their time at school.  The things going on in the present were so ridiculous that I found myself wanting to skip pages just to get through them.  Dan is a horrible character & very unlikeable, although I think that was the whole point but I didn't even find myself liking Jordan (the main love interest) very much and I didn't really feel the relationship between him and Addie was believable.

Overall I'd say this definitely isn't a book I'd read again but if you're a fan of Jennifer Weiner it might be worth giving it a try.  If you're new to her work this probably isn't the best one to start with but I would definitely recommend her book Good In Bed.

Source: Thanks to Simon & Schuster for sending me this review copy

Other reviews of this book:
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.

Wednesday 21 July 2010

Review: Spirit Bound - Richelle Mead

Rose's life will never be her own.

Rose Hathaway has been outrunning death ever since she swore to be the protector of her best friend, Lissa, no matter what.

She's finally made it back to the haven of St Vladimir's but with Dimitri, the boy she once loved, stalking her, Rose can only run so far.

She failed to kill him when she had the chance, and now her worst fears are about to come true.  Dimitri has tasted her blood, and she knows in her heart that he is hunting her.  And if Rose won't join him, he won't rest until he has silenced her...forever.

Vampire Academy Series:
Blood Promise
Spirit Bound
Last Sacrifice

Bloodlines Series: (This is a spin off from the Vampire Academy Series)
Adrian's Lost Chapter (Free Short Story can be read here)
The Golden Lily
The Indigo Spell
The Fiery Heart (Release date to be confirmed)

Visit Richelle Mead's website for more information

Although this review won't include spoilers for Spirit Bound as this is book 5 in the Vampire Academy series it may include spoilers for previous books.  If you haven't discovered this series yet then I'd highly recommend it - it is without a doubt my favorite young adult urban fantasy series.  If you're already a fan of the series then you need to read this latest installment as soon as possible - I'm not sure how I'm going to survive the wait until December to read the final book in the series Last Sacrifice!

In Spirit Bound Rose is back at St Vladimir's and getting ready to graduate - as long as she can pass the trials.  Due to the amount of school she has missed she has had to do a lot of catching up but has she done enough to pass?  Her dream has always been to be Lissa's guardian but with plenty of black marks against her name she is worried about what her assignment will be.  On top of that, since she failed to kill Dimitri in the previous book he is now stalking her, determined to kill her if she won't join him as a Strigoi.  She is safe while on campus but what will happen when she is out in the real world?

I don't want to tell you any more as it would be too easy to give spoilers but let me just assure you that Spirit Bound is as action packed as you'd expect from a book by Richelle Mead.  Alongside the action there is also a lot of emotion thrown in.  Rose has so much to deal with and she has grown so much throughout this series, she is definitely one of my favorite characters in a young adult series. 

We get to see a lot more of Adrian in this book & I really am liking him more and more.  I have to say I did feel a little sorry for him in this one - I didn't really like the way Rose treated him at times and I hope we get to see him happy by the end of the series.  I'm still a massive Dimitri fan but he had me on the edge of my seat this time.  The last book left me heart broken and things don't get much easier this time round but I'm still holding out hope for Last Sacrifice.  I would have liked to have seen more of Dimitri in this book but I'm sure he's going to feature more in the future.

Lissa impressed me this time round, she has at times been quite a selfish friend in the last few books but she finally starts showing how much she cares for Rose and actually going out of her way to help her.  Richelle Mead really is the queen of cliffhangers and Spirit Bound was no exception to this.  It has left me itching to get my hands on the final installment in the series & December seems like a very long wait. 

Source: Library

Other Reviews:
Ink and Paper
Story Wings
I'd So Rather Be Reading
So Many Books, So Little Time
Just Another Book Blog
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 20 July 2010

Random House Children's Books Blogger Brunch

On Saturday I was very lucky to be invited to Random House Children's Books Blogger Brunch at their offices in Ealing Broadway.  I've never been to a publishers offices before so I was very excited and we had a fantastic morning! 

I had an early start to the day having to get to Charing Cross to meet Sammee (I Want To Read That) at 9:15am and we managed to navigate the underground to make our way to Ealing Broadway where we met up with Becky (The Bookette) & Caroline (Portrait of a Woman).  Much excited chatting about books ensued as we made our way to the RHCB offices.  We were met by Lauren and Kelly who took us downstairs to the boardroom and introduced us to the rest of the publicity team Clare, Corinne & Rosi.

The publicity department had laid out a lovely spread of food for us all and while we were busy munching they started telling us about all the fab new books they have coming out over the next few months & we even got some hints about things to come next year.  Corinne was very excited about The Necromancer, the newest book in the Nicolas Flamel series by Michael Scott.  I've not actually read any of this series yet but after hearing Corinne talk about it I know it is one I need to start reading.

When Clare started talking about Terry Pratchett's new book I Shall Wear Midnight there was a lot of excited squealing going around the room - especially from me!  This is the 4th book in the Tiffany Aching series & I can't wait to read it, I love the Nac Mac Feegles from these books :o)

We got to see different cover ideas for Malorie Blackman's next book Boys Don't Cry, they had already chosen the final cover but it was really interesting to see some of the different ideas that they had come up with.  Luckily the one they had chosen was the one that most of us liked best.  It sounds like a really interesting read - a story about teen fathers which is different from anything else I've read before.

We were all given a great selection of ARCs for upcoming releases I can hardly decide which one I want to read first as they all look so good!  I've not read the first book in the Dark Touch series yet but The Hunt looks so good that I'm going to have to get hold of a copy soon so I can read them both.  I loved Fallen so am really excited about Torment & of course I already mentioned I Shall Wear Midnight & The Necromancer (again I need to get hold of the first 3 books before I read this one).  I've not read anything by Jonathan Stroud before but Ring of Solomon looks really good too.

The lovely RHCB publicity team - Rosi, Clare, Kelly, Corinne & Lauren

After telling us about all the new upcoming releases we all got given a tour of the publicity department offices.  I was impressed at how tidy everything was and loved seeing all the book cover posters and of course the massive bookshelves everywhere.  This was where we ended up getting really excited - we were literally told to help ourselves to any books we saw that we wanted to read!!  It reminded me a bit of Charlie and the Chocolate factory except we were all walking around with arms full of books rather than sweets!  In the end most of us had to ask for extra bags so we could carry everything. 

My loot (now I really don't know what to read next!)

It was such a fun event and I'd like to say a massive thank you to everyone at Random House Children's Books for organising it for us and for being so generous.  I enjoyed every minute of it :o)

Back Row: Carly, Lauren, Kaz, Liz, Caroline, Me, Lynsey
Front Row: Becky, Sammee, Nayu

If you'd like to check out the blogs of all the other fab UK bloggers who attended the event here is a list of everyone's links:

After the blogger brunch ended a few of us had planned to go book shopping but as it was we had almost more books than we could carry so Sammee, Lynsey, Becky, Caroline, Lauren & I ended up deciding to go for a pub lunch.  We found a nice pub not far from the RHCB offices and ended up spending about 4 hours there chatting about books of course and life in general.  It was a lovely relaxing afternoon but I decided to head home when the others had worked up the energy to hit Waterstones in Picadilly.  I really couldn't justify buying any more books lol.  I didn't get home until 7pm but it was a brilliant day & I'm so glad I had the opportunity to go.

Monday 19 July 2010

Review: Dear Dylan - Siobhan Curham

Fourteen year old Georgie Harris feels as if the summer holidays are over before they have even begun.  Banned from going to the local drama workshop by her bully of a step-dad and her increasingly fragile mum she is consigned to six long weeks of babysitting her kid sister.

Sick of feeling like the outsider at home and at school, she starts emailing the one person she thinks might understand; Dylan Curtland, star of the popular soap opera Jessop Close.  And when Dylan starts emailing back Georgie finally feels a spark of hope.  At last she has someone who really gets her, someone who really wants to help.  But in the faceless world of email all is not as it seems...

Visit Siobhan Curham's website for more information

Georgie has a lot going on in her life and feels like she has no one to talk to about her problems.  Feeling lonely she starts to email her favorite actor Dylan hoping desperately for someone who understands her.  At first the replies she receives are just standard responses but as the person who is replying starts to discover more about Georgie's home life they reach out to offer her friendship. 

When Siobhan Curham asked me to review Dear Dylan I was intrigued by the idea of a novel written purely in the form of emails.  I've not read anything like it before & I was very curious to see how it would work - I have to say I was impressed.  Reading took me right back to my teens reminding me how the smallest embarrassment felt like the world's biggest disaster and how just a smile from the boy you liked left you feeling on top of the world.

Georgie is a very real character, in her first few emails I was reminded of a typical teen who hero worships the actor Dylan - I can remember being very similar at her age.  As you get to know her you can't help but like her and hope that her dreams come true.  Georgie's situation at home is very difficult and I was genuinely concerned for her safety at times.  That for me is a sign of a great book - one where you care what happens to the characters.

I don't want to give away any of the storyline so I'll just say that this book will have you laughing out loud one minute and close to tears the next, I actually had goose bumps towards the end and really couldn't put the book down until I knew how things turned out.  This book may be aimed at young adults but it is one that I'm sure most adults will enjoy too & I'd highly recommend it.

Source: Thank you to Siobhan for sending me this book for review

Other reviews of this book:
Darlyn & Books
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.

Thursday 15 July 2010

Author's Animal Antics - Siobhan Curham

Author's Animal Antics is a new regular blog feature here at Sarah's Book Reviews where I'm very excited to have some fantastic authors come and chat to us about their pets.  I'm thrilled to introduce the lovely Siobhan Curham as my guest today...


I have always been a dog-lover and for many years dreamt of the day I would be able to own one of my own. Three years ago that dream finally came true when I bought a dog called Max. However, like a lot of dreams the reality has turned out a whole lot different to what I expected. Not worse, but very different!

Max came from a rescue centre and the staff knew very little about him as he had been found as a stray. All they were able to tell me was that he was between four and six years old and originally from Scotland. Over the three years we have had him we have been able to piece together a bit more information about Max’s past from his behaviour and it has often been quite sad.

A major factor in my dreams of being a dog owner had involved long relaxing walks through parks, woods and beaches, but for the first few months we had Max it was all we could do to get him to walk round the block. I had no idea that dogs could suffer from agoraphobia but Max was displaying all the signs; pressing himself against walls and lying down and refusing to move.

At first I got quite stressed about this and would watch TV show The Dog Whisperer obsessively in the hope of finding a solution. After weeks of watching dogs with just about every other issue under the sun, the show finally highlighted a dog exactly like Max. Barely able to contain my excitement I pressed record on the VCR and looked forward to Cesar Millan providing me with the perfect solution to my problem. But this time the solution seemed even more stressful than the problem! Apparently I was to attach the end of Max’s lead to his tail, to hold it in an upright and therefore confident position, and I was to put on a pair of roller blades when I took him out so he could feel as if we were on some kind of mission. Hmm – the only mission I would be going on if I donned a pair of roller blades would be to the nearest Accident and Emergency ward. I decided to resort to the constant coaxing with sausages method. It might have taken longer but at least I didn’t end up in hospital – or court for GTH – Grievous Tail Harm.

Another thing Max has a phobia of is football! He only has to hear the thud of a ball being kicked and he becomes a quivering wreck. This wouldn’t be so much of a problem if my teenage son Jack was into ballet or stamp-collecting, but he is a complete soccer nut. At first I thought this might help Max to face his fear – if he saw Jack (who he adores) playing keepy-uppies in the back garden it might help him realise that not everyone is going to kick balls at him (we are sure this is what must have happened to him in his previous home to have prompted such terror). However, our plan for rehabilitation badly back-fired. The morning after Jack tried to get Max to play football with him, we came down to find a huge dog poo balanced on top of the ball! We got the message and my dream of taking Max down to the touchline every Sunday to watch Jack play flew out of the window.

In the end a mixture of love and patience - and sausages - has meant that Max will now walk pretty much anywhere. He still hates footballs, but at least he hasn’t crapped on any in a while!


Thank you so much for visiting today Siobhan!  Siobhan Curham is the author of a self-help guide about Antenatal & Postnatal Depression, 3 adult novels - Frankie Says Relapse, Sweet FA & The Scene Stealers and her newest book Dear Dylan is her first young adult novel.

Find out more about Siobhan and her work on her Website

For more information about the Author's Animal Antics feature click here

Wednesday 14 July 2010

Review: Circle of Death - Keri Arthur

In one vicious night Kirby Brown's world is torn apart.  Her best friend is dead - killed by a madman who is now after Kirby - and she has no idea why.  Doyle Fitzgerald has been sent to Melbourne to hunt down the killer but what he doesn't expect to find is a circle of witches capable of controlling the elements, and a sorceress determined to take that power for herself.  And he certainly isn't expecting to play bodyguard to a woman who is more than she seems.

But while inexplicably drawn to Doyle, Kirby fears trusting him because of the magic that lies in his soul.  Because Doyle isn't the only one with power - Kirby's magic is capable of destroying the world.

Damask Circle Trilogy:

Circle of Fire
Circle of Death
Circle of Desire

For more information visit Keri Arthur's website

When Kirby returns home late and finds her best friend has been viciously murdered she is horrified but her night isn't over yet.  Under police protection in a motel she comes under attack again only escaping with her life when Doyle steps in to help her.  Meeting in such unusual circumstances doesn't help Kirby trust Doyle - what if he is in league with the killer? - but she doesn't have anyone else to turn to or anywhere to go so it looks like she'll have to accept his help.  As they find out more about the murders it soon becomes clear that the deaths are linked to Kirby's childhood - something she has no memory of but that she is going to have to discover if they have any hope of finding the killer.  Will she remember in time though?

Circle of Death is the second book in the Damask Circle series but as there is no continuation of the storyline and none of the previous characters make an appearance in this installment I think you could easily read this book even if you've not read Circle of Fire.  That doesn't mean I don't recommend the other book in the series though because I definitely do!  This series is set in the same world as Keri Arthur's Nikki & Michael series which is another series I'd really recommend.

Although Circle of Death is a paranormal romance it is definitely action packed right from the very first chapter - Kirby and Doyle are constantly up against different paranormal creatures that their enemy is sending after them & I was on the edge of my seat at times waiting to see what would happen next.  Doyle is a great character & I'm liking cat shifters more & more every time I come across one.  The romance between them develops nicely although I wouldn't have minded a few more bedroom scenes thrown in (but that is down to personal taste lol).

While this isn't my favorite Keri Arthur series I still really enjoyed this one & am looking forward to reading Circle of Desire and would recommend this to fans of paranormal romance - especially if you like a good suspense story alongside the romance.

Source: Library

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.

Review: Restoring Harmony - Joelle Anthony

Heading off on her own to a big American city might have been a fun adventure for sixteen-year-old Molly McClure in the good old days before the Collapse, when nearly all the oil ran out; but in 2041, when family calamities strike all at once and Molly must leave her isolated farming island in Canada for the very first time, the world she meets is anything but fun.  Food is in short supply, crime is rampant, and once-bustling cities stand abandoned and crumbling - danger lurking around every corner.

No one is as they seem, and Molly has to make some fast, tough choices about whom to trust, especially when a dangerous crime organisation sets her in their sights.  Luckily, Molly is a determined, can-do kind of girl, and with the help of a handsome stranger, she may just make it home alive.

Visit Joelle Anthony's website for more information

After the Collapse in 2031 the world is a very different place, one with food shortages and high crime rates.  16 year old Molly has been brought up on an isolated farming island in Canada but when her family hear world that her grandmother is very ill she must venture into the world to find out what has happened & to bring her grandparents back to the island with her.  Travel is made difficult by the lack of oil and poor public transport but Molly is the only one who can make the dangerous trip to help her grandparents.  When she arrives she finds them in a desperate situation with no money for food let alone enough to pay for their trip back to Canada.  It is up to Molly to help them survive and find a way to get them all home.

Joelle Anthony has created a very realistic word in Restoring Harmony - it is so easy to picture the Collapse actually happening, possibly even in our lifetime which is quite a scary though.  The Collapse was brought on by oil shortages and had a massive effect on the economy.  Living in a country that imports a lot of food it is very easy to picture how hard life would be if travel made importing food practically impossible.  You can easily picture yourself living in Molly's world and it isn't something I would particularly look forward to.

I really liked Molly but I did find it hard to believe that someone so young and with such an isolated upbringing would cope as well as she did on the journey to find her grandparents.  I can't picture myself doing as well as she did in her situation, especially if I was as naive as she is.  Although Molly faces problems on her journey I found that the solution always seemed to come about a little too easily - I'd have liked things to be just a bit harder for her to make for a more realistic read.  Having said that I still found myself really enjoying the story.

I loved Molly's grandparents - particularly her grandfather - and the handsome young man she met (Spill) was fab.  He was that great combination of someone who always seemed to be helping her but who you could tell had his secrets & you could never be quite sure if he was trustworthy or not.  The relationships between Molly and her family were well developed & I wanted to see them make it back to Canada safely. 

Overall this was an enjoyable story that I would recommend to fans of young adult dystopian stories.  The book includes some action and a little romance but the emphasis is on the importance of family and community which I think gives an important message.  I thought this was a great debut and I'm looking forward to seeing what Joelle Anthony comes up with next.

Source: Received as part of a book tour arranged by International Book Tours, this book has already been sent on to it's next destination.

Other reviews of this book:
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.


Related Posts with Thumbnails