Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Teaser Tuesdays - The Vampirates Series

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!  Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser:
My teaser this week is a shanty that is repeated throughout the Vampirates series by Justin Somper

"I'll tell you a tale of Vampirates,
A tale as old as true.
Yea, I'll sing you a song of an ancient ship,
And it's mighty fearsome crew.
Yea, I'll sing you a song of an ancient ship
That sales the oceans blue...
That haunts the oceans blue

They say that the captain, he wears a veil
So as to curtail your fright
At his death-pale skin
And his lifeless eyes
And his teeth as sharp as night.
Oh, they say that the captain, he wears a veil
And his eyes never see the light."

Just to remind you, I'm on holiday this week. I'm taking my laptop with me but I have a feeling I'm not going to get signal so I probably won't get back online until I get home. I will reply to any comments & return the visit but it might not be until after Easter when I'm back :o)

Monday, 29 March 2010

It's Monday, What are you Reading? (12)

This meme was started at J. Kaye's Book Blog but has now moved to One Person's Journey Through a World of Books run by Sheila. 

Books read last week: (Click on the links to read my reviews)
What I'll be reading next:

We're on holiday this week so I'm hoping to get a lot of reading done.  I've packed loads of books, in the end Ant had to make me remove some so we could fit everything in the car!  He did promise I can buy more while we're away if I run out though LOL.  I can't even remember all the books I packed but I know it included the last 2 books in Larissa Ione's Demonica series and the first 2 Mortal Instruments books by Cassandra Clare.
Challenge updates:

Paranormal Reading Challenge - Read 50/50 - COMPLETE
Speculative Fiction Reading Challenge - Read 24/24 - COMPLETE

What are you reading?

Just to remind you, I'm on holiday this week. I'm taking my laptop with me but I have a feeling I'm not going to get signal so I probably won't get back online until I get home. I will reply to any comments & return the visit but it might not be until after Easter when I'm back :o)

Sunday, 28 March 2010

In My Mailbox (13)

Thanks to Kristi at The Story Siren for hosting In My Mailbox every week.

Books Purchased:

I'm still doing well with my book buying ban - 2 weeks in a row now with no book purchases!  That must be some kid of a record for me LOL.  I have a feeling that I'm going to break my ban next week though - it's my birthday though so I must be allowed to treat myself :o)

Birthday Gifts:
Since we're going to be on holiday for my birthday I got to open my presents from my Mum a little early.  She got me Original Sin by Tasmina Perry and The Best of Times by Penny Vincenzi.  I've read books by both of these authors in the past so I'm sure I'll enjoy both of these.

Library Finds:

  1. Generation 18 - Keri Arthur
  2. The Devil's Due - Jenna Black

Competition Prizes:
I received a copy of A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire from Rebecca at Dirty Sexy Books & I can't wait to read it.  I've heard great things about the October Daye series & this is book 2 so I need to get hold of book 1 asap!

For Review:
I received the thriller Blood Harvest by S.J. Bolton this week & it looks like it's going to be a fantstic read.  It's been a while since I read a thriller so I'm looking forward to getting stuck into this one!  Thanks to Transworld Publishers for sending me a copy.


What was in your mailbox this week?

Just to remind you, I'm on holiday this week.  I'm taking my laptop with me but I have a feeling I'm not going to get signal so I probably won't get back online until I get home.  I will reply to any comments & return the visit but it might not be until after Easter when I'm back :o)

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Holiday Time

I just wanted to let you all know that I'm going to be on holiday for the next week.  I'm going to take my laptop with me but as we're going to be spending most of the week in the middle of nowhere I don't think I'll get enough signal to get online.  I have scheduled a couple of posts for while I'm away but things will be back to normal next week.  Please feel free to leave me lots of comments - it might take me a while to catch up but I promise to return your visit when we get home :o)  I do have internet access through my phone so I'll still be getting my emails & should be appearing on Twitter occasionally (just in case you miss me while I'm gone LOL)

Ant is a keen fisherman so we're going to Devon for the week, he can fish & I'm going to be spending my days relaxing by the lake reading - sounds good to me!  I'm hoping for a little sunshine but its supposed to rain all week so that could make things interesting - although we do have a lovely villa with a 4 poster bed and a whirlpool bath so I'm sure we'll think of something to amuse ourselves :o)
It's my birthday while we're away & I'm planning a giveaway - I just didn't have time to sort out all the details before I left so keep an eye out for it at the beginning of April.  I'm also planning on getting a new tattoo done for my birthday so I'm very excited about that - I know it's completely unrelated to books but I'm sure I'll be posting pics when I get back anyway LOL.

Well we're leaving in less than an hour so I'd better get off the computer & finish packing!  Hope you all have a fab week :o)

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Review: Kiss the Night Goodbye - Keri Arthur

Private Investigator Nikki James wants nothing more than to pass the Circle's strict entry exams so she can plan her wedding to Michael Kelly.  But when one of the testers attempts to kill her, she realises buying a wedding dress is the least of her worries.  Especially when Michael is shot and kidnapped.

The trail leads her to the ghost town where Michael once killed a murderer.  She's not surprised to discover that Weylin Dunleavy, the brother of that long-ago sorcerer, has set out to raise his brother's spirit from hell.  Nor is she truly surprised to discover that a barrier of magic surrounds the old town, leaving her to battle Dunleavy with only her wits, strength and the one psychic gift she cannot fully control.  The one thing that does surprise her, the one thing she cannot accept, is the fact that Michael no longer remembers who she is...

The Nikki and Michael Series:
Dancing with the Devil
Hearts in Darkness
Chasing the Shadows
Kiss the Night Goodbye

For more information visit Keri Arthur's website

Review:
This is the 4th and final book in the Nikki and Michael series & I'd strongly recommend that you read the series in order.  Although I won't give spoilers for Kiss the Night Goodbye in this review it will be impossible not to include things that may spoil the previous books so if you're new to the series I'd suggest you read my review for Dancing with the Devil.  This is a series I really loved so I'd definitely recommend you check it out!

Now that Michael has finally agreed to let Nikki join the Circle so she can join him on his missions but first she has to pass her training course.  Nikki has worked hard to improve her fitness and her psychic abilities but it she doesn't pass the entry exam then her upcoming wedding will have to be put on hold.  The exam seems to be going well - until one of the instructors tries to kill her that is.  It appears that one of Michael's enemies has managed to infiltrate the Circle and they are investigating when Michael is kidnapped.

With Michael being held hostage in a psychic dead zone Nikki is forced to go and find her man.  They are facing their most deadly enemy without their strongest weapons.  Worse still Michael doesn't even remember who Nikki is.  Nikki is going to have to keep her wits about her if she is going to get them through this - especially if she wants to do it in time for their wedding.

I really enjoyed the other books in this series and Kiss the Night Goodbye didn't disappoint.  If anything this last book in the series was even more action packed and there was still plenty of romance despite Michael's memory loss.  I love the growth we have seen in both of the characters throughout the series and although Keri Arthur has tied up the ends of the series well I would love it if she would bring out more adventures with Nikki and Michael in the future.  I almost didn't want to finish the book as I wasn't ready for their story to end.  I'd definitely recommend the series & I know it is one I'll be reading again in the future.

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: Desire Unchained - Larissa Ione

UK Cover
Pleasure is their ultimate weapon...

Runa Wagner never meant to fall in love with the sexy stranger who seemed to know her every deepest desire. But she couldn't resist the unbelievable passion that burned between them, a passion that died when she discovered his betrayal and found herself forever changed. Now, determined to make Shade pay for the transformation that haunts her, Runa searches for him, only to be taken prisoner by his darkest enemy.

A Seminus Demon with a love-curse that threatens him with eternal torment, Shade hoped he'd seen the last of Runa and her irresistible charm. But when he wakes up in a dank dungeon chained next to an enraged and mysteriously powerful Runa, he realises that her effect on him is more dangerous than ever. As their captor casts a spell that bonds them as lifemates, Shade and Runa must fight for their lives and their hearts - or succumb to a madman's evil plans.

The Demonica Series:
Pleasure Unbound
Desire Unchained
Passion Unleashed
Eternity Embraced (Novella)
Ecstasy Unveiled
Sin Undone
Demonica: Overkill (Free online short stories on Larissa Ione's website)
Eternal Rider (Lords of Deliverance book 1)
Immortal Rider (Lords of Deliverance book 2)
Lethal Rider (Lords of Deliverance book 3)
Rogue Rider (Lords of Deliverance book 4)
Reaver
Azagoth (Novella) (2014)
Revenant (2014)

For more information visit Larissa Ione's website

Review:
This is the second book in the Demonica series and although I would recommend reading the series in order to get the most of the ongoing background story I think you would be able to read this as a stand alone book without too much confusion.

When Shade wakes up to find himself chained in a dungeon he knows he's in trouble. Then he realises that his cell mate is his ex-girlfriend Runa, who he'd split up with the previous year after she found him in a rather compromising position. He isn't surprised that she's angry with him but he had no idea how much her life has changed since he last saw her. She has changed in ways he would never have expected.

Runa had her heart broken by Shade and all she wants is to get her revenge. She hadn't planned on meeting him when they were both in chains being held prisoner by a madman though. They are going to have to work together if they are going to escape from the Ghouls but it isn't going to be easy to put her feelings on hold. There is a thin line between love and hate and the more time they spend together the more the lines begin to blur. This is only made more complicated by Shade's curse which means falling in love could lead to the death of them both.

I loved the first book in the series Pleasure Unbound so had high hopes for Desire Unchained and it was even better than I was hoping for. I absolutely loved both Shade and Runa and the chemistry between them is amazing. Alongside the romance there is plenty of action and some fantastic plot twists and I loved getting to know more about some of the characters in the previous books - particularly Gem and Kynan.

If you're a fan of J.R. Ward & Lara Adrian then I'm sure you're going to love this series. It has everything you could ask for in a paranormal romance - scorching hot romance, characters you can't help but fall in love with and a fantastic plot line that means you won't be able to put the book down. Only 2 books in I know this is going to be one of my favourite series and I can't recommend it enough!

Source: Purchased

Other Reviews:
Darkly Reading
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:

Review: Generation Dead - Daniel Waters

The dead boy reached for her, his pale eyes glowing in the darkness.

All over the country, teenagers who die aren't staying dead.

Against her better judgement, Phoebe finds herself drawn to Tommy Williams.  He's gorgeous, funny, on the football team.  And dead.

But not everybody is as accepting as Phoebe.  There are those who would like to rid the community of this sinister phenomenon, and they'll stop at nothing to achieve it...


Generation Dead Series:
Generation Dead
The Kiss of Life
Passing Strange (July 2010)

For more information visit the Daniel Waters' Blog



Review:
All over America teenagers who have died are coming back from the dead but not as your traditional zombies.  They have very slow speach and aren't very fast at moving but other than that they are basically able to carry on as normal - even attending school.  No one knows how or why some teenagers are coming back but it is happening more often and the living-dead community is growing larger.  Some people are very understanding but the majority aren't happy - some even think that it's a sign of the end of the world. 

I have really mixed feelings about this book, I thought the premise was brilliant and I really thought I was going to love the story but unfortunately I was disappointed.  To start with the positives I thought the way Daniel Waters dealt with the relationship between the living and the not quite dead was very well done.  I'm sure if teenagers ever do start coming back as zombies then the reaction from society in general (and teenagers in particular) would probably be very similar to how it was described in the book.  The book tackles important issues regarding discrimination and prejudice and it did make me think a lot about racism.  I love a book that can make me think so I really enjoyed this aspect of the story - especially as we are able to get inside the heads of both the people who are prejudiced and those who are being discriminated against.

On the other hand I found it really difficult to relate to Phoebe who was the main character.  Even half way through the book I was feeling that I hardly knew anything about her & I still have no idea why she was interested in Tommy.  I think if she'd known Tommy from before he died then it would have been a lot easier to believe her attraction to him.  I actually found the fact that she had a crush on a dead guy that she'd never even spoken to & knew absolutely nothing about really creepy.  I was also really unimpressed by Tommy - as a friend or a minor character he would have been fine but he just didn't strike me as main love interest material and I spent most of the book thinking "please don't go there Phoebe". 

My favorite character by far was Adam who is Phoebe's best friend.  I thought he was great - at first he doesn't seem like the nicest guy, he's got anger issues who gets in fights and hangs out with a rough crowd but it soon becomes clear that he is changing.  He isn't happy with his old crowd and although he isn't keen on the living dead characters to start with he doesn't like the way his old friends bully them.  Throughout the book you really get to see him grow up and come into his own and I loved him for that.

It took quite a long time for the story to suck me in but once it did I was curious to find out what was going to happen.  I'm don't want to give any spoilers so I'll just say I was gutted by the ending!  I'm going to have to read the second book just to find out what happens next.

Source: Library

Other Reviews:
Curling Up By The Fire
Obsessed!
I Swim For Oceans
Parajunkee's View
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.



I'm very excited to have been picked as Top Reviewer for Generation Dead by Blog With Bite - thanks so much girls!

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Author Interview - Alex Bell

Alex Bell is the author of 2 adult novels The Ninth Circle and Jasmyn and her latest book Lex Trent versus the Gods is her young adult debut.  I really enjoyed Lex Trent versus the Gods (you can read my review here) and was thrilled when Alex agreed to do an interview with me.

Cheats never prosper.  At least that's what everyone else would have you believe.  But Lex Trent knows better.  Lex knows that, with a bit of luck, the quickest route to success is to lie, swindle and cheat all the way to the top.

Unfortunately Lex has taken his scams a step too far...  Rather than see his neck in a noose, he's forced to go on the run in a world of irritable Gods, fearsome magicians and strange beasts.

But luck is still on his side, just.

The God's favourite pastime is The Games... and Lex has just become one of the human playing pieces.  With fame, glory and untold wealth at stake, Lex isn't going to lose (especially as that so often involves dying) - in fact, he fully intends to beat the Gods at their own game.
----------------------------------


Interview with Alex Bell
 
S: Thank you so much for coming to chat with us today Alex, it's great to have you here!

S: Can you tell us about yourself?
AB: I'm a full time writer, proud Great Dane owner, and avid reader. I've travelled extensively, studied law for quite a long time, and have a special fondness for vegetarian haggis. I also suffer from an advanced stage of Siamese-cat-besotment.

S: It mentions in your biography that you're only 23 so having 3 books published already is an amazing achievement!  How did you find the road to becoming a published author?
AB: I was quite lucky, and got published relatively young, but I still wrote three books, a load of short stories, and spent two years sending things out and getting rejections before I got my agent, and then my publisher. So although I got there in the end there were still a few bumps along the way!

S: What is your writing routine - where & when do you write?
AB: I used to write at night when there were fewer distractions, but I can't do that any more because of my Great Dane, who wakes up very early each morning. Now I write during the day until about six o clock in the evening. I prefer to write at home as I generaly find public places too noisy, but I do occasionally go to a coffee shop for a bit of variety.

S: Do you have any advice for would-be authors?
AB: Read as much as you can! Also, write as much as you can - even if it isn't very good at first - and try not to be too discouraged by rejections. But I would also say to take in advice that is helpful to you, and disregard that which isn't, because I got a fair bit of bad advice when I was starting out, and am glad I didn't listen to it!

S: I love to find out what sort of music my favorite authors like.  Do you have a sound track you listen to when you're writing?  What kind of music do you listen to when you want to relax?
AB: I can't listen to music when I'm writing as I find it too distracting. If I want to relax then I will probably listen to Leonard Cohen. Leonard is the only thing that enables me to sleep on planes! Other than that my tastes are quite eclectic, although I think my Bobby Vee and Herman's Hermits albums are the ones I've played the most.

S: You've created such a detailed world for Lex - you could never tell which fairytale or mythological creature would crop up next!  Did you have to do a lot of research before writing the story?  Where do you get your ideas from?
AB: I didn't really do any research for Lex because the mythological/fairy tale stuff was already there in my head. I'm not really sure where the ideas came from either - they just seemed to pop into my head as I was writing! But I was inspired by the Jason and the Argonauts film, and some of the Ancient Greek legends I'd read.

S: I really enjoyed reading Lex Trent versus the Gods and was excited to see that you will be publishing book 2 in the series next year.  Can you tell us anything about book 2?  How many books are you planning to have in the series?
AB: Book 2 sees Lex involved in another Game, but this time with bigger and better locations, and even more exciting hijinx! Lex also meets his match in the form of a new companion - an outlaw cowboy named Jesse who is almost as much of a scoundrel as Lex is himself. I don't have a set plan for how many books there would be in the series, but I definitely think I could have a lot of fun with Lex before his story was over.

S: Could you tell us a little about your adult books The Ninth Circle & Jasmyn? (I can include cover pictures & book blurbs here if that is easier?)
AB: The Ninth Circle is a religious-themed, mystery thriller whose main character is suffering from amnesia, and trying to work out who he is and what's happening to him. It's set in Budapest, told in the form of diary entries, and involves a lot of angels and demons.
Jasmyn is a supernatural mystery with an element of romantic suspense. After the main character's husband dies unexpectedly she discovers a host of things she never knew about him, and finds herself drawn into a fairytale mystery involving swans, black roses and Bavarian castles.

S: Do you have any other projects on the go?
AB: I'm working on another adult book at the moment, which I hope will be finished in the not too distant future!

S: I'd like to say a massive thank you to Alex for taking the time to visit us today.  It's been great fun chatting to you & I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I have.
 
You can find Alex online at her Website, her Blog or on Twitter

Monday, 22 March 2010

It's Monday, What are you Reading? (11)

This meme was started at J. Kaye's Book Blog but has now moved to One Person's Journey Through a World of Books run by Sheila. 
Books read last week: (Click on the links to read my reviews)
  1. Shiver - Maggie Stiefvater
  2. Hex Hall - Rachel Hawkins
  3. Chasing the Shadows - Keri Arthur
  4. The Demon's Lexicon - Sarah Rees Brennan
  5. Pleasure Unbound - Larissa Ione
What I'm reading now:
What I'll be reading next:

I;m not sure how much reading I'll have time for this week as I'm going to be busy getting ready to go on holiday next Saturday.  We're going to Devon to spend the week fishing - well Ant will be fishing & I'm planning on doing a lot of reading and relaxing LOL.  I'll just see how this week goes & try to get as much reading as I can done before we go :o)  It's actually my birthday while we're away so I'm planning on holding a giveaway soon - if I have time I'll try to get it posted before we go but otherwise I'll have to start it a little late.

Challenge updates:

Paranormal Reading Challenge - Read 50/50 - COMPLETE
Speculative Fiction Reading Challenge - Read 24/24 - COMPLETE

Contests won:

I was really excited to win a copy of Personal Demon by Kelley Armstrong from Brook at Brooke Reviews as part of her Blogiversary giveaway.  I really need to catch up on this series so I'm ready to read Personal Demon when it arrives!

What are you reading?

Sunday, 21 March 2010

In My Mailbox (12)

Thanks to Kristi at The Story Siren for hosting In My Mailbox every week.

Books Purchased:
I managed to stick to my book buying ban this week so I'm feeling really pleased with myself.  For once Ant actually brought a book when I didn't - you'd understand how shocking that is if you actually knew how little Ant reads!  He discovered that the book he chose last week (The Day of the Jack Russell) was actually the 2nd book in the series so he had to pick up book 1 - Mystery Man by Bateman.

Library Finds:
I was trying to make sure I took all my library books back before we went on holiday (we go next weekend yay!) but 4 of the books I had on order came in this week & when I went to collect them I ended up spotting another 4 that I just couldn't resist.  I've not read anything by Christine Feehan before but I've heard so many great things about her books that I've been wanting to try them out for ages.  They finally had the first 2 books in her Ghost Walkers series.  I've not read anything by Colleen Gleason either but the covers caught my eye & they sound great so I had to pick them up too LOL.  They don't have to be back until after we get home so I'll probably take some of them with me (we're staying in the UK so there is no risk of lost luggage) the rest I can read when we get home.
  1. Generation Dead - Daniel Waters
  2. Kiss the Night Goodbye - Keri Arthur
  3. Circle of Fire - Keri Arthur
  4. Beneath a Rising Moon - Keri Arthur
  5. Shadow Game - Christine Feehan
  6. Mind Game - Christine Feehan
  7. The Rest Falls Away - Colleen Gleason
  8. Rises the Night - Colleen Gleason
For Review:
  1. The Prophecy - Gill James (Thanks to publisher Red Telephone Books for sending me this)
  2. The Chosen One - Carol Lynch Williams (Thanks to Simon & Schuster UK for sending me this)
  3. Viola in Reel Life - Adriana Trigiani (Thanks to Simon & Schuster UK for sending me this)

What was in your mailbox this week?

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Review: Pleasure Unbound - Larissa Ione

UK Cover
In a place where ecstasy can cost you your life...

Tayla Mancuso is a demon-slayer who hungers for sensual pleasure - but fears it will always be denied her. Until she lands in a hospital run by demons in disguise, and the head doctor, Eidolon, makes her body burn with unslakable desire. But to prove her ultimate loyalty to her peers, she must betray the person who saved her life.

Two lovers will dare to risk it all.

Eidolon cannot resist this firey, dangerous woman who fills him with both rage and passion. Not only is she his avowed enemy, but she could very well be the hunter who has been preying on his people. Torn between his need for the truth and his quest to find his perfect mate before a horrific transformation claims him forever, Eidolon will dare the unthinkable - and let Tayla possess him, body and soul...

The Demonica Series:
Pleasure Unbound
Desire Unchained
Passion Unleashed
Eternity Embraced (Novella)
Ecstasy Unveiled
Sin Undone
Demonica: Overkill (Free online short stories on Larissa Ione's website)
Eternal Rider (Lords of Deliverance book 1)
Immortal Rider (Lords of Deliverance book 2)
Lethal Rider (Lords of Deliverance book 3)
Rogue Rider (Lords of Deliverance book 4)
Reaver
Azagoth (Novella) (2014)
Revenant (2014)

For more information visit Larissa Ione's website

Review:
Tayla knows from experience that demons are evil and she has spent her life training to kill them. She is a Guardian (warrior) for The Aegis, a human society who protect the world from demons. When she is injured in a fight and wakes up in a demon hospital she meets Eidolon who is one of the doctors. Meeting Eidolon forces her to start questioning everything she has ever learned about demons - who knew they would have a hospital and actually take care of their own let alone help a slayer like her, one of their sworn enemies?

Eidolon is a seminus demon (incubus) and on the verge of reaching maturity - he needs to find a mate soon or he will transform into something terrible. The last thing he wants or needs is to be attracted to Tayla, an enemy of his kind who can't be trusted - he has more important things to deal with. Someone has been slaughtering demons and stealing their body parts for use in black magic. Eidolon is determined to stop them but as they believe The Aegis is involved he is going to need Tayla's help to discover what is happening.

I've heard so many great things about this series and I wasn't disappointed with this first instalment. I loved the idea of a demon hospital which is very unique and nothing like anything I've read before. I also enjoyed learning about some of the different kinds of demons & liked the fact that they aren't all portrayed as purely good or evil. I loved Eidolon - he is one hot demon and the chemistry between him and Tayla is great. I also like the relationship between Eidolon and his brothers Shade and Wraith and can't wait to read both of their stories.

Alongside the hot romance and plenty of sex (Eidolon is an incubus after all) there was plenty of action involving a lot of different characters. The plot was fast paced and had a enough twists to keep me guessing and I literally couldn't put the book down. If you're a fan of J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood or Lara Adrian's Midnight Breed then I'm sure you'll love Pleasure Unbound. I never expected to say this but move over vamps - the demons are taking over!

Source: Purchased

Other Reviews:
Darkly Reading
Wayfaring Writer
Love To Read For Fun
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:

Review: The Demon's Lexicon - Sarah Rees Brennan

Sixteen-year-old Nick knows that demons are real.

Magicians call up demons in exchange for their power.  The demons can appear in any shape, show you marvels, promise you anything - until you invite them in and receive their mark.
What happens next?
First you get possessed.
Then you die.

Nick's been on the run his whole life, ever since his mother stole a charm from the most feared magician of them all, and the only person he trusts is his brother Alan.  Alan's just been marked by a demon.  Only Nick can save him, but to do so he must face the magicians - and kill them.  The hunt is on, and Nick's going to discover things he never dreamed were out there...

The Demon's Lexicon Trilogy
The Demon's Lexicon
The Demon's Covenant
The Demon's Surrender

For more information visit the Sarah Rees Brennan's website

Review:
Nick and Alan have been on the run for as long as Nick can remember.  Their Dad died trying to keep them safe from the magicians who have been chasing after them and their Mum ever since their Mum stole a powerful charm.  Since then it has been Alan and Nick who have had to work together to keep their Mum safe.  When Jamie and his sister Mae come to them for help because Jamie has been marked by a demon Nick doesn't want to have anything to do with them - as far as he's concerned they have enough of their own problems.  It is Alan who convinces him to help them although Nick is furious when Alan ends up marked too.

Nick is very loyal to Alan, who is the only person in the world he can trust, so he is devastated when he finds out Alan has been keeping secrets from him.  When he sets out to uncover the truth he ends up finding a lot more than he bargained for - nothing will ever be the same for him again.

I thought this was a great debut from Sarah Rees Brennan - completely different from anything I've read before.  I found it interesting that the magicians are shown as evil and that in order to use their magic they have to give human sacrifices to the demons.  Nick may not be a perfect hero, he doesn't seem to have any compassion or empathy and the only real emotion we see from him is anger but he does care for his brother and it is obvious he will do anything to keep Alan safe.  The other main characters are likeable but I found Nick was definitely my favorite.

The story is a little slow to start but I think this is usually to be expected at the start of a series where the author is introducing their world & the rules.  Overall I really enjoyed the story and the twist at the end knocked me sideways - I really didn't see that one coming!  I can't wait to see how this is going to play out over the next 2 books, I'm sure Sarah Rees Brennan has some more shock up her sleeves for us!

Source: Recieved for review from publisher Simon & Schuster

Other Reviews:
The Bookette
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, 18 March 2010

Review: Chasing the Shadows - Keri Arthur

Private Investigator Nikki James is in San Francisco at the request of her business partner and best friend, Jake.  His friend's wife is missing, and he is determined to find her.  The authorities believe the kidnapping is the work of a sick mind: Nikki knows it is something much worse.  Vampires.  Six of them.  And they know who she is and why she's there.

Michael Kelly has just returned from a vampire hunting exhibition in his homeland.  When he discovers Nikki's gone to San Francisco, he has no choice but to follow - not only to keep her safe from the vampire gang, but because he fears the psychic talents she's beginning to develop: abilities she should not have and cannot control.  But as the body count begins to rise, so too does the danger.  Soon Nikki becomes a target, but she has no intention of obeying Michael's demands that she leave.  She's tired of playing it safe and wants him to realise it's all or nothing: she's either a full-time partner in his life, or she's out.  Nothing, however, prepares Nikki for the price she has to pay for her stubbornness - the life of someone she loves.

The Nikki and Michael Series:
Dancing with the Devil
Hearts in Darkness
Chasing the Shadows
Kiss the Night Goodbye

For more information visit Keri Arthur's website

Review:
This is book 3 in the Nikki and Michael series & I'd strongly recommend that you read the series in order.  Although I won't give spoilers for Chasing the Shadows in this review it will be impossible not to include things that may spoil the previous books so if you're new to the series I'd recommend you read my review for Dancing with the Devil.  This is a series I'm thoroughly enjoying so I'd definitely recommend you check it out!

Nikki & Michael have now been a couple for several months but although they are very happy together Michael's work with the Circle has meant he is spending a lot of time away from their home.  Nikki isn't happy that he leaves her behind & wants to be able to work with him.  She knows her talents have been useful in the past and believes she can help him.  Michael on the other hand is determined not to let her put herself in danger - he wants to protect her and the best way to do that is to keep her away from Circle business.  This is causing a lot of conflict between them so Michael isn't happy when he comes home from a case to find that Nikki is in San Francisco working on a case with Jake. 

Women are being kidnapped and although the ransoms are being paid their mutilated bodies have started turning up.  The latest kidnapping victim is Jake's best friend's wife and they need to work fast if they are going to find her before she is murdered.  But it isn't just a normal killer they are dealing with and Michael has also been asked to investigate by the Circle.

This was a fantastic installment to a great series & I can't wait to read the next book.  I love Nikki & Michael and am really enjoying watching their relationship develop.  The romance is really well done but it is only part of the story and there was plenty of action that kept me on the edge of my seat.  Nikki's psychic abilities are changing since Michael made her into a Thrall and I'm really curious about what is going to happen to them in the future.  Keri Arthur has definitely earned a place on my favorite authors list & I'm looking forward to reading more of her books.  I'd recommend this series to any urban fantasy fans - especially if you like a little romance thrown in for good measure.

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: Hex Hall - Rachel Hawkins

When sixteen-year-old Sophie Mercer discovers she's a witch, she imagines life will be full of magic, fun and ... well ... broomsticks!  But her first attempt at a love spell goes disastrously wrong and, as punishment, Sophie is shipped off to Hectacte "Hex" Hall, a reform school for witches, shapeshifters and faeries.

By the end of her first day among her fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tag-along ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person on campus and the only vampire.

Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students and her only friend is the number-one suspect...

Hex Hall is being released in the UK on 1st April 2010
Rachel Hawkins is currently writing a sequel

For more information visit Rachel Hawkins' website

Review:
Sophie is a witch but being raised by a human mother means she's had no training and she doesn't know how to control her talents.  After an unfortunate incident at her school prom she is sent to Hex Hall to learn how to keep her powers secret from normal humans.  The last thing she wants is to be sent to boarding school but she doesn't have a choice in the matter so she's going to have to make the most of it.

Having struggled to fit in at any of her other schools (and she's been to a LOT of schools) Sophie secretly hopes that at Hex Hall she will finally find a place where she belongs.  However, by the end of her first day she has managed to make enemies of a coven of 3 dark witches, deveolped a crush on a cute warlock who just happens to be dating a member of the coven and found herself a ghostly stalker.  Not only that but she's also stuck with the most hated girl in the school (who also happens to be the school's only vampire) as her new roommate.  It isn't the greatest start and leaves Sophie wondering how she is going to survive the next 2 years.

I was really impressed with Rachel Hawkins' debut novel and can't wait to read future books in the series.  I really loved Sophie and her best friend Jenna - Rachel really brought their characters to life and their friendship comes across as very real.  There was plenty of action and there were some fantastic twists that I really didn't see coming.  The dialogue had me laughing out loud in places and I'm really looking forward to getting to know some of the other students better in the future.

Source: Recieved for review from publisher Simon & Schuster

Other Reviews:
Book Crazy
Unbound
Katie's Book Blog
Wondrous Reads
La femme Readers
The Story Siren
Nayu's Reading Corner
Girls Without a Bookshelf
He Followed Me Home...Can I Keep Him?
Lily's Bookshelf
The Bookshelf Sophisticate
Story Wings
What Book Is That?
Chrissie's Corner
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.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Author Interview - Jacquelyn Wheeler

Jacquelyn Wheeler is the author of The Soterians series, the first book Rising Shadow was released last year and book 2 Merger will be coming out within the next few weeks.  I really enjoyed Rising Shadow - you can read my review here - and I can't wait to read Merger!

So this is my life.

I've developed special powers, which I don't get to keep, to battle the ultimate source of evil, which can never be destroyed.  And the man of my dreams just moved two thousand miles away.

Not exactly what I'd had in mind for my junior year.

Ashlyn Woods has just transferred to one of the most beautiful campuses on the west coast, where she can't wait to start her life over as a normal college student.  But her plans take an unexpected turn when she discovers that she is a Soterian: a person who develops amazing powers when the balance of good and evil shifts too far in evil's favor.

Soon she and the other Soterians are studying martial arts and learning to use their powers to prevent California from being plunged into chaos.  But they quickly discover that they're up against a much more dangerous enemy than they anticipated.

And when Ashlyn meets Kai, a devastatingly gorgeous guitar player, she realises she must sacrifice more than she ever imagined.
----------------------------------

Interview with Jacquelyn Wheeler
 
S: Thank you so much for coming to chat with us today Jacquelyn, it's great to have you here!
JW: It's great to be here!

S: Can you tell us about yourself?
JW: I have a million hobbies, but writing, both fiction and non-fiction, is my favorite thing. My day job is writing technical manuals and online-help systems for a software company, which is geeky and challenging and fun all at the same time. But of all the creative writing I've done (screenplays, children's stories, poetry), writing young adult novels is the best thing there is.

S: It mentions in your biography that you enjoy martial arts in your spare time.  I really enjoyed finding out about some of the different types of martial arts you mentioned in Rising Shadow, most of them were ones I've not heard of before!  Which types do you practise?
JW: Martial arts are so much fun. I studied Tae Kwon Do many years ago, then did Hapkido, and am now studying Kuk Sool Won. They all have similarities: learning to kick, punch, and defend yourself. But Kuk Sool Won is great because we also learn how to use pressure points on your opponent, we learn to fall and roll, and we also get to work with weapons--staffs, nunchucks, and (my favorite) sword.

S: You're obviously a very active person as another thing you have in common with Ashlyn is taking part in triathlons.  Where do you find the time?
JW: The problem with me is that I have a million interests and am always taking up a new hobby. I get very enthusiastic about just about everything I get involved in, so I'm always overbooking myself. I've found that I can't really train for triathlons and do martial arts at the same time AND write novels, so I'm taking a break from triathlons right now while I'm working on my black belt. But I'm getting really antsy to start training for triathlons again, so I don't think I'll be able to stay away for long.

S: I love to find out what sort of music my favorite authors like.  Do you have a sound track you listen to when you're writing?  What kind of music do you listen to when you want to relax?
JW: I don't usually put on music, but sometimes songs will start playing in my head when I write. When I wrote the scene where Ashlyn is totally depressed and hitting bottom, "Into Dust" by Mazzie Star started going through my head. I ended up putting on the CD and listening to that song over and over while I worked on that scene until my family yelled at me to turn it off. I have pretty eclectic taste, so it's hard to say what my favorites are, but the artists I keep coming back to over and over are Alanis Morissette, 10,000 Maniacs, Finger Eleven, Pink Floyd, Indigo Girls, Radiohead, REM, and Ayub Ogada. My favorite song of all time is the cello and piano version of Fratres by Arvo Part.

S: What is your writing routine - where & when do you write?
JW: I write at my dining room table, right in the center of the house. I find that if you try to look for a quiet time/place to write, you'll never write, so I've learned to write with lots of activity and noise around me. I used to write on the train every day on my commute. It was a great place to write, because I could tune everything out and lose myself in the story. I actually modeled Jesse, one of my favorite characters, after this hilarious guy I overheard talking on the train

S: Do you have any advice for would-be authors?
JW: Do a little bit every day. Don't wait until you "have time," because you never will. If you write a page a day, in a year you'll have written a novel. And most importantly, don't edit yourself as you write--that comes later. Even if I know something I'm writing is crap, I write it anyway, because sometimes I have to write the crap scene to get it out of my head to make room for the good scene to come out. But then, once I've finished writing, I spend many months editing and rewriting. I wrote Rising Shadow in nine weeks and then spent nine months editing it. So just write a little every day, check your inner critic at the door, and promise yourself you'll edit meticulously later.

S: Rising Shadow is the first self published novel I've read & I was wondering what made you decide to go down that route?
JW: I'm too impatient for traditional publishing. Now that print-on-demand publishing is so advanced, I don't see any reason to wait around by the phone for months for an agent to accept me so I can then wait around for a publisher to want my book so I can then wait two years to have my book published and STILL have to do all my own marketing and publicity anyway. That model just isn't a good fit with my personality. I do work with editors, and for my second book I hired a cover designer, so I'm still doing the things necessary to create a high-quality book. I just didn't have to wait for years and years to get it into the hands of readers, which was my main goal. I'm not setting out to write a best-seller; I'm setting out to tell a great story. So self-publishing has worked out perfectly for me.

S: I love the fact that The Soterians can never truely defeat evil & can only bring the world back into balance - this makes the story so much more realistic.  I also found it interesting that when they restore the balance they will lose their special powers.  How did you come up with these ideas?
JW: It's always annoyed me that the resolution in most stories is that the bad guy dies in the end. How does that prepare us for life, where we often have to deal with someone unbearable day in and day out at school or work or home? So when I got the idea for the Soterians (which just basically dropped out of the sky one day as a convergence of several interests I had at the time, including martial arts, genetics, and the online game City of Heroes), it occurred to me that it would be really cool if you could develop special powers because of a genetic marker that gets triggered when evil starts rising, but even more cool is the idea that the powers would fade once you restored the balance. I love this idea, because it creates a lot of inner conflict for the characters that they don't even know they're experiencing, and it also puts the emphasis on finding your true powers, such as moving past your fears and learning to love yourself, which are powers you never have to give up.

S: Can you tell us a little more about the next book in The Soterians series Merger?
JW: Merger picks up right where Rising Shadow left off. This time, instead of politicians, the evil is a corporate merger that puts an entire town out of work, and a terrible secret that puts the Soterians to a much greater test than they've had to face so far. At the same time, Ashlyn and Kai's relationship starts hitting some bumps, and because Candace graduates, Ashlyn and Rebecca get a new roommate who is, um, challenging. So the main theme in Merger is navigating relationships--both on an individual and corporate level--and the choices we make along the way.

S: Do you have any new projects on the go?
JW: Oh boy, I keep getting all these new ideas! But I've promised myself that I'm finishing the Soterians series before I do anything else. I've finished the first draft of book three, and I've got outlines and some scenes written for books four and five. The story is just pouring out of me, but I think it'll keep me busy for at least a couple more years. After that, I'd love to work on screenplays for the series.

S: I'd like to say a massive thank you to Jacquelyn for taking the time to visit us today.  It's been great fun chatting to you & I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I have.  I can't wait for Merger to come out!!
JW: Thanks, Sarah! It's been great fun. I think bloggers are the best thing that ever happened to books, because it's the perfect way for readers with specific interests to learn about books they'd actually like to read. So thank you so much for the time you put into reviewing and sharing your favorites with your followers!

You can find Jacquelyn online at the Soterians Website, her Blog or on Facebook

Review: Shiver - Maggie Stiefvater

The pack circled around me, tounges and teeth and growls.

When a local boy is killed by wolves, Grace's small town becomes a place of fear and suspicion.  But Grace can't help being facinated by the pack, and by one yellow-eyed wolf in particular.  There's something about him - something almost human.

Then she meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away...

The Wolves of Mercy Falls Trilogy:
Shiver
Linger (July 2010)
Forever (TBC)

Visit Maggie Stiefvater's website for more information

Review:
When Grace was attacked by wolves she would have been killed if one of the wolves hadn't protected her.  Ever since then her yellow-eyed wolf has watched over her and she has become obsessed with him.  She loves the winter because that is the only time she sees him but has no idea where he spends the summer months.  When Sam is in trouble he turns to Grace for help & she finally learns his secret.

I feel like I'm probably one of the last people to have read Shiver.  I've read so many great things about this book that I was more than a little nervous that it wouldn't be as good as I was hoping but I have to say I was far from disappointed.  I was completely captured by the story and didn't want it to end.  I loved the way the story was told from both Grace and Sam's points of view.  Although it can sometimes be confusing when the narrator switches between chapters Shiver was so well written that I had no problem keeping track of who was telling the story at any one time.

I loved the twist that Maggie Stiefvater has put on the usual werewolf mythology so that rather than changing once a month the pack are human in the summer and change into wolf form when the temperature drops.  Although there is some action in the book I found the story was more about the emotional connection between Grace & Sam.  It was a beautiful romance that had me captivated and I can't wait to read the rest of the series. 

Source: Library

Other reviews of this book:
The Bookette
Find the Time to Read
Laughing Stars
Paranormal Obsessed
Once Upon a Bookcase
The Bookshelf Sophisticate
Narratively Speaking
I'd So Rather Be Reading
What Book Is That?
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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