Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Sneak Peak: The Body Finder - Kimberly Derting

Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend, she is more disturbed by her "power" to sense dead bodies – or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes the dead leave behind in the world...and the imprints that attach to their killers.

Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift, but now that a serial killer is terrorizing her small town Violet realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.

Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet find the murderer – and Violet is unnerved by her hope that Jay's intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she's falling in love, Violet is getting closer to discovering a killer...and becoming his prey herself.

If you're a UK blogger like me then you've probably seen all the buzz about The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting since it released in the US earlier this year.  I've been wanting to get my hands on this book for ages and I'm sooooo excited that we're now finally closing in on the UK release date - 11th November 2010!

The Body Finder is the first book in an exciting new series - for more information about the book and it's sequel Desires of the Dead you can visit Kimberly Derting's website but why don't you check out the US book trailer below first:



Are you as excited as I am yet?  Do you still want more?  Well you can read a sneak peak of the prologue & first 2 chapters HERE you can also check out Kimberly's page on The B Word website for more information.

I'm very happy to tell you that Kimberly is going to be making an appearance in my Author's Animal Antics feature on October 21st with a lovely guest post about her gender confused cat Princess Beachball (you'll have to read the post to find out more!).  I'm also going to be hosting a giveaway thanks to the lovely Sam at Headline so make sure you check back in October so you don't miss out.

If you've been lucky enough to have already read The Body Finder please leave a comment to let me know what you thought of it.  Make sure you leave a link to your review if you've posted one as I'd love to read it!

Giveaway: Noah Barleywater Runs Away - John Boyne NOW CLOSED

*UPDATE - THIS GIVEAWAY HAS NOW ENDED - Winner announced here*

Noah Barleywater left home in the early morning, before the sun rose, before the dogs woke, before the dew stopped falling on the fields.

Eight-year-old Noah's problems seem easier to deal with if he doesn't think about them. So he runs away, taking an untrodden path through the forest.

Before long he comes across a shop; it's a toyshop, full of the most amazing toys, and brimming with the most wonderful magic. And here Noah meets a very unusual old man.

The old man takes Noah on a journey. A journey that will change his life. And it could change yours too.

Noah Barleywater Runs Away releases in the UK on September 30th 2010 in hardback.

Visit John Boyne's website for more information

I'd like to say a massive thank you to publisher Random House Children's Books for offering 3 copies of the illustrated hardback of Noah Barleywater Runs Away by John Boyne to giveaway to my UK readers.  I really enjoyed this book - you can read my review here - and am really excited to be able to help share the book with this giveaway.



I want to share this story with my international readers too so I'm going to send the ARC I received for review to 1 international winner.  Unfortunately the ARC isn't illustrated but I'm sure you will still enjoy this wonderful story.
Giveaway Details:
  • RHCB have offered 3 finished hardback copies of this book for my UK readers, I will also give my ARC copy to 1 international reader.
  • You don't have to be a follower to enter (although of course I'd love it if you were LOL)
  • You can get extra entries by spreading the word but that isn't required
  • You can also get extra entries by commenting on my review of Noah Barleywater Runs Away here (again this is not required)
  • To enter please fill in the form below
  • You have until 14th October to enter the giveaway and I'll announce the 4 winners on my blog soon afterwards.  If you are a lucky winner you will have 48 hours to contact me with their addresses or I will have to chose a different winner.
  • The books will be sent to the UK winners directly by RHCB so if you win you agree for me to pass your address to them so they can send out your prize, I will be sending the prize to the international winner myself.

ARC Review: Noah Barleywater Runs Away - John Boyne

Noah Barleywater left home in the early morning, before the sun rose, before the dogs woke, before the dew stopped falling on the fields.

Eight-year-old Noah's problems seem easier to deal with if he doesn't think about them.  So he runs away, taking an untrodden path through the forest.

Before long he comes across a shop; it's a toyshop, full of the most amazing toys, and brimming with the most wonderful magic.  And here Noah meets a very unusual old man.

The old man takes Noah on a journey.  A journey that will change his life.  And it could change yours too.

Noah Barleywater Runs Away releases in the UK on September 30th 2010 in hardback.

Visit John Boyne's website for more information

Review:
Eight year old Noah has decided to run away from home, there are things happening in his life that he is struggling to understand and doesn't know how to deal with so he decides to go out into the world and have a great adventure.  Following a path through the forest he comes across a magical toy shop and the mysterious toy maker.  The toy maker takes Noah on a journey sharing the tales of his past adventures and helping Noah to make sense of the present.

Noah Barleywater Runs Away is a beautiful tale full of mystery and wonder, you never know what to expect next and that was one of the things I loved about the book.  Although the ARC I read isn't illustrated I understand that the final hardcover version has been beautifully illustrated by Oliver Jeffers and I'm definitely planning on buying a finished copy.

The story is suitable for all ages but I think it will particularly appeal to a younger audience or anyone who would like to re-connect to their inner child.  Reading it took me back to my childhood laying in bed and listening to one of my parents reading fairytales to me & I think this will quickly become a favorite story for both parents and children.

I loved the characters, John Boyne has perfectly captured an eight year old childs logic and thought processes in Noah and he is a character you can't help but fall in love with.  I laughed out loud at the antics of the donkey and the dachshund but you're going to have to read the book to find out more about them.  Although the toy maker shares his life story he is quite a mysterious character and we don't get to find out who he is until nearly the end of the book - I have to say it was a fabulous twist at the end and I'm surprised I didn't work it out for myself as I was reading.  The toy shop itself is a wonderful setting to the story and it really is a whimsical place where anything could happen.

This is a beautiful tale that covers topics such as love, loss and disappointment but it does so in a gentle way that a child can understand.  It includes plenty of humor so it isn't at all heavy to read but it did bring tears to my eyes in a couple of places.  Having said that I found the book also offered hope and left me feeling quite uplifted by the end. 

This really is a wonderful story and something to be enjoyed by all ages or together as a family for bed time reading.  I would highly recommend Noah Barleywater Runs Away so make sure you pick up your copy soon!

Source: Received from RHCB in exchange for an honest review

Other reviews of this book:
Wondrous Reads
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.

Monday, 27 September 2010

ARC Review: Taken by Midnight - Lara Adrian

At the crossroads of death and desire, a woman tastes a pleasure no mortal is meant to survive . . .

In the frozen Alaskan wilderness, former state trooper Jenna Darrow survives an unspeakable breach of body and soul. But with her narrow escape comes an even greater challenge. For strange changes are taking place within her, as she struggles to understand--and control--a new hunger. To do so, she will seek shelter in the Boston compound of the Order, an ancient race of vampire warriors whose very existence is shrouded in mystery. Perhaps the most mysterious of them all is Brock, a brooding, dark-eyed alpha male whose hands hold the power to comfort, heal . . . and arouse.

As she recovers under Brock's care, Jenna finds herself drawn to the Order's mission: to stop a ruthless enemy and its army of assassins from subjecting Earth to a reign of terror. Yet in spite of their resolve, a purely physical relationship without strings soon binds Brock and Jenna together with a desire fiercer than life and stronger than death itself--until a secret from Brock's past and Jenna's own mortality challenges their forbidden love to the ultimate trial by fire.

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

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

Review:
Taken by Midnight is the 8th book in the Midnight Breed series so although this review won't contain spoilers for this story it may include information from previous books.  You might want to skip reading this review if you're not up to date with the series.  If you haven't discovered this series yet then it is one I would highly recommend, it is by far my favorite paranormal romance series & the books have continued to improve with every new release with Taken by Midnight now my new favorite book in the series.

This story continues right after the ending of Shades of Midnight with Jenna having just been rescued from the Ancient who was holding her prisoner in her home in Alaska.  She has been taken back to the Order's compound in Boston to recover and is being cared for by her best friend Alex and the warrior Brock.  Brock has the ability to take away people's pain by absorbing it into himself which is something that Jenna has been badly in need of during her recovery.  Since her escape from the Ancient Jenna has been going through some surprising physical changes, nobody knows quite what is happening to her and it is up to the Order to try and solve the mystery.

Anyone who knows me can tell you that I'm a massive fan of this series, it was my first introduction to the world of paranormal romance but remains a firm favorite.  People tend to compare this series to JR Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series and although there are some similarities I only really found that noticeable in the first couple of books.  These are both series that I love but for me the Midnight Breed series comes out on top in any direct comparison.  Lara Adrian writes great stories with fabulous romance and and interesting, suspenseful story arc that has had me hooked from the beginning.  I love the fact that both the heros and the heroines have important parts to play in the overall story and we get to see all of the previous characters make regular appearances.

Jenna is probably my favorite of Lara's heroines, she is a strong character who has been through a lot but has managed to survive.  She's a tough cookie who has always had to work extra hard in her job as a police officer to prove she is as good as any man and she doesn't like to show any weakness or want to have to rely on anyone for help.  Although she has a tough outer shell she is much softer underneath and could really use a bit of looking after and Brock is the ideal man for the job.  Both of them have suffered from losses in their lives and understand how the other is feeling - they really are the perfect match for each other.

Brock is a newer member of the Order and one that we hadn't been given much information about until the last book in the series.  We know him as a tough warrior who loves trading snarky comments with Kade but in Taken by Midnight we get to see a much more sensitive side to him.  He is so caring towards Jenna and some of the scenes between them will melt your heart.  The passion between them is intense from the start (the shower scene is particularly memorable!) but neither of them are looking for long term commitment.  Their relationship develops in a completely believable way and I loved watching Jenna and Brock together.

As for the ongoing war between the Order and Dragos things are really hotting up so expect plenty of action on that front.  We get the answers to some of the questions raised in previous books but there are also new questions raised & I'm particularly looking forward to finding out more about what is happening with Jenna and the effect that may have in the future.  I enjoyed the build up for Hunters book which is coming next, he is a really interesting character and I'm looking forward to meeting the woman who will get under his skin.  There were some great scenes with Hunter and Brock but I especially loved one scene with Hunter & Mira where we get to see a new side to the aloof warrior.  It seems like a really long wait until Deeper than Midnight!

Overall I think any fans of the series will love Taken by Midnight, it is the perfect combination of suspense and romance that is both sweet and erotic.  I loved getting to see snippets of the Order's daily lives and spending time with the characters from the previous books but that didn't take anything away from the relationship between Brock & Jenna.  I can't wait to get my hands on the next book & would recommend this series to all fans of paranormal romance.

Source: I received an ebook ARC from Lara Adrian in exchange for an honest review but I've already pre-ordered my copy to take pride of place on my shelves with the rest of the series.

Other Reviews:
That's What I'm Talking About
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: Speak - Laurie Halse Anderson

"I wasted the last weeks of August watching bad cartoons.  I didn't go to the mall, the lake, or the pool, or answer the phone ... I have entered high school with the wrong hair, the wrong clothes, the wrong attitude.  And I don't have anyone to sit with."

From her first moment at Merryweather High, Melinda Sordino knows she's an outcast.  Her old friends won't talk to her, and people she doesn't know glare at her.  If only she could explain ... but she just can't find the words.

Visit Laurie Halse Anderson's website for more information

Review:
Melinda is just starting high school and her reputation is already in tatters.  At a summer party she called the police getting her classmates in trouble for underage drinking but no one knows why she made the call and Melinda just can't find the words to tell them.  With none of her old friends talking to her Melinda has nobody to turn to, feeling increasingly desperate and isolated she finds it harder and harder to talk to anyone about what she has been through.  Will she be able to find her voice & speak out about what happened to her?

Speak is one of those books that sucks you in until you're completely absorbed in the story and I didn't want to put it down.  Melinda is so easy to relate to and it really feels like you're inside her head experiencing life through her eyes.  Although the book deals with a difficult subject matter it does so without the need for graphic descriptions of the event that traumatised Melinda so badly.  It gives just enough information for you to experience her horror without having to read the full details.  Thankfully I've never experienced a sexual assault but as a long term sufferer of depression I could easily understand Melinda's feelings and she reminded me of myself at her age.

Melinda is isolated from her peers, most of whom won't even talk to her and she doesn't have much in the way of family support.  You would expect her parents to have picked up that something was wrong from the way her behaviour changed but they didn't really spend time together and perhaps were trying to bury their heads in the sand.  The only person who seems to be there for Melinda is her art teacher and it is him that gives her a way to express herself through her art.  It just goes to show how much of a difference a good teacher can make to a teenager's life. 

Although the book covers difficult topics it also includes humor and I loved Melinda's descriptions of the various school groups.  I think anyone would be able to find something in the story that reminds them of their own school experience - whether you were one of the popular crowd, one of the geeks or anything in between.  I think this really is a must read book for young adults and adults alike.  It is a perfect opportunity to open a discussion between parents and teens about some of the bad things that can happen in this world.  I don't think it helps to keep teens sheltered from the hardships of life and giving them the means to talk about these issues can only be a good thing.  For those who have unfortunately suffered abuse or sexual assault this may show them that they can come out of the other side and that they aren't alone.

Overall Speak is an incredibly moving read and one I'm very glad I came across.  I would recommend this story to both adults and teens and think it should be available in all schools and libraries.  I'm looking forward to discovering more of Laurie Halse Anderson's work.

Source: I purchased this book after reading about the controversy surrounding Dr Wesley Scroggins' article comparing this book to pornography.  I'm actually glad that he wrote this article as it gave me the opportunity to read a book I'd not heard of before the controversy - I find it quite ironic that in his attempt to get a book banned he encouraged even more people to read it!  I'm currently hosting an international giveaway to win a copy of Speak.  The giveaway closes on 30th September 2010 & you can click here to enter.

Other reviews of this book:
The Lost Entwife
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.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Review: Immortalis Carpe Noctem - Katie Salidas

Bleeding to death after a brutal mugging on the campus of UNLV, twenty-five year old Alyssa, is rescued by the cold and aloof, vampire, Lysander.  Taking pity on her, he shares the gift-and curse-of immortality.  She awakens as a vampire and is soon devastated by harsh realities of her new way of life: the loss of her friends, her independence, and her humanity.

As if having her humanity stripped away was not enough to make life interesting, Alyssa finds out her "turning", did not go unnoticed by the rest of undead society.  Old enemies; an ancient sect of vampire hunters, known as the Acta Sanctorum, as well as a powerful vampire mistress, each set plans in motion to destroy both Alyssa and Lysander.

Only by accepting her new found immortality, seizing the night, will Alyssa hope to survive.  She and Lysander must fight together against two sets of enemies bent on destroying them both.

Immortalis Series:
Immortalis Carpe Noctem
Immortalis Hunter and Prey (2011)

Visit Katie Salidas' Website for more information.

Review:
When Alyssa is walking home alone late at night she is brutally attacked by 2 muggers.  Lysander rescues Alyssa but she is so badly injured that she is almost dead leaving Lysander no option but to change her into a vampire or watch her die.  Waking up to discover she has been turned into a vampire comes as quite a shock to Alyssa - she had no idea that vampires even existed.  While trying to come to terms with her new life Alyssa also has to deal with a powerful vampire mistress who isn't happy that Lysander turned her without permission and the Acta Sanctorum - vampire hunters.  Will she survive long enough to learn how to use her new abilities?

I first heard about Immortalis Carpe Noctem when I saw it was going on a tour arranged by UK Book Tours, it wasn't a book seen before but it sounded interesting and I couldn't resist signing up to read it.  I'm glad I did as I've discovered a new author who I will definitely be keeping an eye on in the future.  This book is the first in the Immortalis series and I'm looking forward to reading future books as they are released.

I really enjoyed watching Alyssa deal with being turned into a vampire - she has been introduced to a whole new world without having any choice in the matter.  As Lysander says in the book "Becoming a vampire is easy.  Living with the condition, that is the hard part" I'm sure Alyssa would agree with this statement!  I've not really read anything that covers the issue of being turned without prior knowledge of what is happening and goes into as much detail as this book did.  I thought Katie Salidas did a great job of showing how hard that must have been for Alyssa.  She had no choice but to leave behind her old life, for their safety she could have no contact with her friends and wasn't able to return to her apartment.  Not to mention having to come to terms with needing to drink blood to survive.

I found it quite easy to relate to Alyssa and understand what she was going through.  She did complain a fair bit at the beginning but I think that was to be expected in the circumstances.  Lysander was a great character but at times he didn't make things easy for Alyssa.  He wanted to protect her but didn't always manage to explain his reasons to Alyssa which led her to feel suffocated by him.  I enjoyed watching the 2 of them interact with each other though and I really liked the Peregrinus - a travelling group of vampires who were friends of Lysander.

The action in the story was good but a little predictable in places, there was a good twist towards the end though.  Overall Immortalis Carpe Noctem was an enjoyable start to a new series. It's one of those stories that crosses the lines between paranormal romance and urban fantasy so I think fans of either genre would enjoy this book.  I'm looking forward to seeing what Katie Salidas comes up with next.

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

Other Reviews:
Chrissie's Corner
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: Undone - Rachel Caine

"I was one of the Old Djinn, the First Djinn, who came before any human walked the earth.  I was a spirit of fire and air, and Ashan cast me down to this heavy, crippling flesh..."

Once she was a powerful Djinn.  Then Cassiel defied her ruler, Ashan, who tore her very essence away, and reshaped her in human flesh as punishment.  Forced to live among mortals, Cassiel has found refuge among the Weather Wardens - whose power she must tap into regularly, or she will die.

Cassiel earns her keep by assisting the Earth Warden Manny Rocha on his missions - which she finds much easier than coping with the emotions and frailties of her human condition, especially her growing affection for Manny's brother, Luis.  But when Cassiel encounters a malevolent force that threatens the Rocha family, she discovers that her perceived human weaknesses may be her greatest strengths...

Outcast Season Series:
(This is a spin off from The Weather Warden Series)
Undone
Unknown
Unseen
Unbroken

The Weather Warden Series:
Ill Wind
Heat Stroke
Chill Factor
Windfall
Firestorm
Thin Air
Gale Force
Cape Storm
Total Eclipse

Visit Rachel Caine's Website for more information.

Review:
Cassiel is one of the Old Djinn, the more powerful Djinn who came before humans walked the earth.  She was one of the most powerful but when she refused to follow Ashan's orders he cast her away.  Stripped of her powers and trapped in human form Cassiel is forced to go to the Weather Wardens for help.  She needs to access their power regularly to sustain herself or she will die.  She is partnered with Earth Warden Manny and finds it easier to help him with his missions than she does to deal with her new human body and emotions.

Undone is the first book in Rachel Caine's Outcast Season series which a spin off from her popular Weather Warden series.  Being a massive fan of the Weather Warden series I was really looking forward to getting started on this series - I was expecting a fast paced thrill ride and Rachel didn't disappoint me. 

I loved getting to find out more about the Djinn by looking at the world from Cassiel's perspective.  She is one of the Djinn who had never chosen to take human form so her new body is a strange experience for her.  She has never had to deal with humans before so everything is very new to her - she doesn't know the rules and is still learning how her body works.  I really enjoyed her interactions with Manny and his family (his daughter Isobel is adorable) and watching her opinion of humans start to change as the story progressed.  I mustn't forget to mention Manny's brother Luis - the sexual tension between him and Cassiel was great & I'm looking forward to seeing how things may develop between them in the future.

It was nice to see Jo, David and Lewis (from the Weather Warden series) make an appearance although this was brief and only at the start of the book.  To be honest although I liked the chance to see them again I'm glad they didn't feature more prominently in the story as it would make it too easy to get confused between the 2 series.  I think you could probably pick up this series even if you've never read any of the Weather Warden books although that is a series I would highly recommend to those who haven't tried it yet.

Undone was a great start to a new series, it had me gripped from the very beginning and took me through a full range of emotions from tugging at my heartstrings to making me laugh out loud.  My one minor complaint would be the cliffhanger ending.  I think anyone who is familiar with Rachel Caine's work will know by now that she is a master at leaving you desperate for more and Undone was no exception.  I have already ordered book 2 (Unknown) but I'm not too sure what I'll do with myself between reading that and the long wait until Unseen is published next year.  Perhaps I'll finally make a start on the Rachel's Morganville series while I wait!

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, 23 September 2010

Review: Honeymoon of the Dead - Tate Hallaway

In wintry Wisconsin, occult bookseller  - and witch - Garnet Lacey isn't immune to the cold.  Thank the Goddess she has love to keep her warm, even though her new husband doesn't actually have a pulse...

No honeymoon is ever exactly perfect, but mine won't even get off the ground.  Literally!  After an extremely eventful wedding - and that's putting it mildly - Sebastian and I are about to jet-set to Transylvania for some quality R & R.  Yeah, I know it's not exactly every girl's fantasy honeymoon, but it suits me just fine.

Unfortunately, thanks to a vengeful frost demon, Sebastian and I - and our plane - are stuck in exotic Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Honestly, it wouldn't be so bad if I wasn't seeing Gods and Goddesses everywhere I turn.  I'm starting to think my new visions might be caused by the Goddess possessing my body, because ever since She moved in, I've been getting these weird waves of dizziness and seeing beings of a higher power.  And let me tell you, there are plenty in Minneapolis.  Go figure.

Now I'm learning quickly that dealing with Gods and demons - not to mention running into some people I would have rather left buried in the past - doesn't leave much quality honeymoon time for me and my new vampire hubby...

The Garnet Lacey Series:
Tall, Dark & Dead
Dead Sexy
Romancing the Dead
Dead if I do
Honeymoon of the Dead

Visit Tate Hallaway's website for more information

Review:
With Garnet and Sebastian finally married they are supposed to be jetting off on their honeymoon but with trouble attracted to Garnet like a magnet things don't go quite to plan.  Their plane is unable to take off due to a frost demon looking for revenge and the couple find themselves stuck in Minneapolis. Determined to make the best of things Garnet wants to share the favorite haunts from her old stomping ground with Sebastian.  However with 2 Goddesses fighting for control of her body she is suffering with dizzy spells and strange visions not to mention bumping into people she would rather have left in the past.  It isn't looking like this is going to be the holiday of a lifetime that they had planned on.

I have enjoyed reading the Garnet Lacey series so was sad to discover that Honeymoon of the Dead was going to be the last book in the series.  Garnet is a likable character - feisty and fun and her internal monologue usually has me laughing out loud.  This series has been great for fun light reads but I have to say I was a little disappointed with this last installment.

There were so many things going on in the plot that the story felt a bit disjointed and I never felt that everything was completely resolved.  One of my favorite things about the other books in the series has been the great cast of supporting characters.  I have to confess that I've never been Sebastian's biggest fan so I was disappointed that Parish didn't make an appearance (although I guess that is understandable considering they are on their honeymoon!).  We do get a brief visit from Matayas and William but I missed Izzy, Parish and the coven.  It was nice to see Agent Dominguez again but we didn't get to find out anything more about him and he was there more as a convenience for the plot.  I'm not even sure what he was doing in Minneapolis apart from the fact that Garnet needed a law enforcement friend.

There were still some laugh out loud moments and I'm glad I got to find out how things end up between Garnet and Sebastian.  This may not have been my favorite book in the series but I'd still recommend it to fans of the series.  If you've yet to read anything about Garnet then I would recommend the series to fans of light, humorous urban fantasy / paranormal romance stories.

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, 21 September 2010

ARC Review: Torment - Lauren Kate

How many lives must you live before you find someone to die for?

Lucinda is sure that she and Daniel are meant to be together forever.  Now, in this sequel to the bestselling Fallen, they are forced apart in a desperate bid to save Luce from The Outcasts - immortals who want her dead.  As she discovers more about her past lives Luce starts to suspect that Daniel is hiding something.  What if he has lied to her about their shared past?  What if Luce is really meant to be with someone else?

Fallen Series:
Fallen
Torment (30th Sept 2010)
Passion (2011)
Rapture (2011?)

Visit Lauren Kate's website for more information

Review:
After events in the previous book Luce once again finds herself starting at a new school and struggling to fit in.  Life at Shoreline couldn't be more different from her previous reform school Sword and Cross.  She has an angel and a demon for teachers and is in a class of Nephilim (part angel part human) students.  Daniel is being more elusive than ever and Luce knows he is keeping secrets from her.  Determined to find out what is going on Luce sets out with the help of her new friends to find the answers.

I'm finding this review a little hard to write because I can't help feeling frustrated that instead of getting answers to some of the questions raised in Fallen, Torment has just left me with even more questions.  While the plot has moved on and I have been able to make some guesses about what I think might happen I have no idea if I will be proved correct or not.  I do love a story that leaves me wanting more but I can't help wishing that we were given just a little more information in Torment.

I found Luce could be a frustrating character in Fallen - she doesn't make very wise choices and at times had me wanting to shake her - but I forgave her that considering everything she had been through.  I hoped she would have grown up a bit in Torment but I found her actions even more frustrating than ever.  She has been told by Daniel to stay on campus where she is safe yet, despite the fact that she is nearly killed when she ventures out, the very next day she decides to leave campus again.  I just didn't find that believable and I started to feel that perhaps Luce deserved to have the worst happen if she was going to be that stupid.

I was also a little disappointed in the relationship between Daniel and Luce.  Daniel keeps Luce at arms length, he won't explain anything to her and leaves her doubting the feelings between them.  Although I felt that Daniel genuinely loves Luce I didn't feel that she returned his feelings.  It felt more like she thinks she has to love him because of their shared past - a past that she can't even remember.  When they are together there is a connection between them but when they are apart (which is for most of the book) Luce seems totally lost and unsure of her feelings.  I guess that this is understandable but I did find her constant confusion started to irritate me.

On a more positive note I really loved the new characters that we are introduced to in Torment.  Luce's roommate Shelby was great - such a fun and snarky character & someone I'd love to have a conversation with!  Her teachers Francesca (an angel) and Steven (a demon) are interesting characters and I'm curious to find out if we will see more of them in the future.  Miles was a sweet guy too who genuinely seems to care for Luce.

Lauren Kate is a talented writer and her descriptions make it easy to picture Luce's surroundings.  I always have pictures in my head as I'm reading but I find the images are particularly strong when reading this series.  I know exactly what both Sword and Cross & Shoreline look like and have complete pictures of the characters in my head.  This works especially well in the action scenes.  Like Fallen the main action in Torment comes at the end of the story and for the last few chapters I was completely gripped.  But the cliffhanger... oh the cliffhanger!  I don't know how I'm going to wait until next year to find out what happens next!

While Torment was a frustrating read at times I did still like the story and am looking forward to finding out what happens next.  If you want a series that is non-stop action then this might not be the series for you but if you like paranormal romances that are more character driven then it is well worth giving this series a try.

Source: Thanks to RHCB for sending me this book for review

Other reviews of this book:
Once Upon a Bookcase
Girls Without a Bookshelf
Asamum Booktopia
Fluttering Butterflies
I Was A Teenage Book Geek
Chrissie's Corner
The Bookette
Lorelaycci
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.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Winners: Nearly Departed & Immortal Remains by Rook Hastings


I was planning on announcing the winners over the weekend but time ran away with me.  With the help of random.org I can confirm that the 2 winners of my Rook Hastings giveaway (each winning a copy of both Nearly Departed and Immortal Remains) are:

Maryam (From Books Glorious Books)
&
Spav (From Fiction Kingdom)

Congratulations to you both!  I'm just about to send you both an email asking for your addresses so I can get your books in the post to you.  If I don't hear back from you within 48 hours then different winners will be chosen.  Sorry if you didn't win but I have plenty more giveaways coming soon so check back for your chance to win.  In fact if you'd like the chance to win Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson click here to enter my current giveaway!

Giveaway: Speak - Laurie Halse Anderson - NOW CLOSED

*UPDATE - THIS GIVEAWAY HAS NOW ENDED - Winner announced here*

I'd still love to read your opinions on this issue though so feel free to comment!

I'm sure most of you have seen the buzz about the article written by Dr. Scroggins where he likens a rape scene in Speak to pornography.  He wants to see this book (alongside several others) banned from school libraries because he doesn't believe the content is appropriate for young adults.

While I don't claim to be an expert on this subject and have never read the book (I have ordered my copy though & will be reading it as soon as it arrives!) I am totally disgusted that someone can liken rape to pornography.  To make that kind of comparison is just sick!  We all might like to bury our heads in the sand and pretend that nothing bad ever happens but that isn't the case - bad things happen all the time.  Although rape is a difficult subject to talk about that is precisely why it needs to be brought to people's attention.

I respect that parents have a right to have a say in what their children read but it is important that people have access to information on topics like sex, rape and abuse.  Being ignorant of these issues isn't going to help anyone - we need to be aware of the things that happen both to try and prevent it but also to help us deal with the aftermath when something like this occurs.  I can't imagine being a rape victim - it must be a horrific experience - but victims have a right to be heard.  If a book like Speak helps just a tiny proportion of victims to deal with what happened to them then that has to be a good thing. 

There is nothing I can say really say that hasn't already been said on the blogosphere but I feel so strongly about this issue that I had to say something.  Dr. Scroggins has a right to voice his opinion but I don't want to live in a world where his voice is the loudest - a world where I don't speak out against what he has said.  Laurie has written a post about this on her blog here and you can also watch her read a poem that was written using reader responses to Speak below.  Both the video and this fantastic post by author C.J. Redwine moved me to tears.



Giveaway Details:
If you're like me and haven't yet read Speak I want to give you the opportunity to win a copy.  I'm keeping this giveaway really simple so it is easy for everyone to join in:
  • I will be ordering the winner a copy of Speak from the Book Depository so the giveaway is international as long as Book Depository delivers to you (check here to make sure this applies to you)
  • To enter all you have to do is leave a comment on this post with your opinion on this topic.
  • For extra entries post about this topic anywhere (Twitter, Facebook, your Blog - anywhere you like) and leave your link in a separate comment.  You can get an extra comment for each place you post (Only 1 extra entry per place for example 1 twitter comment & 1 blog post)
  • You don't have to be a blog follower to enter but of course all followers are appreciated!
  • The giveaway will be open until 30th September.
  • The winner will be chosen at random and announced on my blog - the winner will have 48 hours to contact me with their address and if I don't hear from you within that time a new winner will be chosen.
THIS GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED!

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Review: Embraced by Darkness - Keri Arthur

Just when Riley Jenson thought her life was getting back on track, fate throws another curve ball. The alpha of her estranged pack - and the man who tried to kill her by throwing her off a mountainside - demands her help to find his missing granddaughter.

Riley would love to refuse, but if she does, her mother dies. And if that isn't enough, something is tearing humans to shreds, and it's up to Riley as an agent for the Directorate of Other Races, to track down the killer before another soul is embraced by darkness...

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

Review:
Riley is supposed to be on holiday to recover from events in the previous books but she never has been one to sit around doing nothing.  This time her holiday is spoiled when she is contacted by a member of her mother's pack - the pack that exiled her & Rhoan for being half breeds. Riley wants as little to do with them as they have had to do with her but now they need her help - one of their pack members has gone missing and they want Riley to find her. If Riley refuses then her mother will be killed - a threat she knows they will be happy to carry out.

I'm already a big fan of this series and Embraced by Darkness was a great instalment. We have seen Riley go through a lot in the year we've been following her but she has some difficult personal decisions to make this time regarding her relationship with Kellen. I started getting really bad feelings about Kellen near the beginning of the story but I'm not going to say if I was right or not - you'll have to read the book to find out. I just find it very hard to trust Riley's taste in men given her history!

I liked finding out more about Riley & Rhoan's upbringing and their relationship with members of their old pack. It would have been nice to have a chance to meet their mother though. I do love the strong bond between Riley & Rhoan though - they have always been close but as you learn more about their mother's pack it becomes clear that they've only really ever been able to rely on each other. It's good that they are still always there for each other.

I enjoyed the hunt scenes with the bad guys towards the end of the book and was really unsure how Riley would escape. There was a really interesting twist to the way Riley's powers are developing due to the experimental drug she was given at the start of the series, I'm very curious to see how this changes things for her in the future. I did find the bad guys abilities were a little unbelievable and didn't think we were given enough of an explanation for that. I was also a bit surprised at how easily they are defeated at the end considering how powerful they were.

This is a great series for fans of urban fantasy but I would definitely recommend starting with book 1 Full Moon Rising. Riley has developed quite a lot as a character throughout the series & I think you'd be missing out if you didn't read the books in order. I liked the fact that Riley's hormones played a smaller part in this story - I don't mind sex in a story but it can get a little repetitive when the main character is repeatedly having sex with many partners, especially when it is often with people she doesn't like & just as a part of her job. If you haven't started this series yet but are an urban fantasy fan then I would definitely recommend giving it 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.

Top 5 Sunday's - Best Paranormal Romance Series


Top 5 Sunday's is a fab meme hosted by Larissa over at Welcome To Larissa's Life.  Every week Larissa has 2 choices posted on her blog for people to choose from and then she will post her top 5 answers to the winning category.  This week's theme is Best Paranormal Romance Series, click here if you want to join in.

I love paranormal romance stories so I'm going to have trouble picking just 5 series but I'll give it a try.
  1. Midnight Breed series by Lara Adrian - This was my first foray into the paranormal romance genre and let's just say it had me hooked!  I love the sexy breed warriors and even have a tattoo of the breedmate mark (can you say fan girl?).  If you've not already tried this series then I would definitely recommend it!  You can read my reviews of this series here: Kiss of Midnight, Kiss of Crimson, Midnight Awakening, Midnight Rising, Veil of Midnight, Ashes of Midnight and Shades of Midnight 
  2. Demonica series by Larissa Ione - Now I do love my vampires but Larissa Ione introduced me to hot demons, this is a fab series & I love every one of her heroes.  If you haven't tried this series yet then you really need to!  You can read my reviews of this series here: Pleasure Unbound, Desire Unchained and Passion Unleashed
  3. Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost - I never quite know wether to classify this series as paranormal romance or urban fantasy but for the purpose of this I'm going to call it paranormal romance!  I absolutely love Bones and Cat is one of my favorite kick ass heroines, they make a fab couple and who could forget about chapter 32 in One Foot in the Grave?  I seriously needed a cold shower after that!!  My reviews are here: Halfway to the Grave, One Foot in the Grave, At Grave's End and Destined for an Early Grave
  4. Black Dagger Brotherhood series by JR Ward - After loving the Midnight Breed series the Black Dagger Brotherhood was the next paranormal romance series I discovered.  I absolutely loved the first few books in this series but have to say I was put off after Phury's book and although I own the rest of the books I haven't read them all yet.  My reviews are here: Dark Lover, Lover Eternal and Lover Awakened
  5. GhostWalkers series by Christine Feehan - Hot military men with amazing psychic abilities after taking part in an experiment.  I love the fact that heroines of this series are just as strong as the heros.  My reviews are here: Shadow Game, Mind Game, Night Game and Conspiracy Game
Just in case any of you are interested - here is a picture of my breedmate tattoo!

So what do you think of my selection?  Which of your favorite PNR series have I missed?  Please feel free to leave your list in the comments - I'm always open for suggestions for books with a sexy couple! LOL

Review: Forget-Her-Nots - Amy Brecount White

Now! she thought.  Her right hand seemed to lift on it's own and reach toward the bouquet.  "Bright cut flowers," she whispered, "Leaves of green, bring about what I have seen."  When the last word left her tongue, her whole body tingled and hummed, as if a note was reverberating deeply inside her.

Something - some power - is blooming inside Laurel.  She can use flowers to do things.  Like bringing back lost memories.  Or helping her friends ace tests.  Or making people fall in love.

Laurel suspects her new found ability has something to do with an ancient family secret, one that her mother meant to share with Laurel when the time was right.  But then time ran out.

Clues and signs and secret messages seem to be all around Laurel at Avondale School, where her mother had also boarded as a student.  Can Laurel piece everything together quickly enough to control her power, which is growing more potent every day?  Or will she set the stage for the most lovestruck, infamous prom in the history of the school?

Visit Amy Brecount White's website for more information

Review:
Laurel is trying to cope with the grief caused by her mother's death, she doesn't have a brilliant relationship with her father and hopes to feel closer to her mother by attending the boarding school her mother graduated from.  Things start to change for Laurel when she gives a talk in her English class about the language of flowers.  As she is explaining to the class how Victorian lovers would communicate to each other by sending messages in bunches of flowers (called tussie-mussies) she creates a posy to encourage love and gives it to one of her teachers.  As her teacher finds love Lauren's reputation as the flower girl spreads around the school and she suddenly has more and more requests for help from other students.

Forget-Her-Nots is a light hearted read and I really enjoyed learning about the language of flowers.  This wasn't something I knew anything about before starting this book but I found the history of the language fascinating - it made me look at flowers in a whole new light.  Amy Brecount White incorporated magic into the story in an unusual way which made the story interesting to read.  I enjoyed the fact that Laurel was having to learn about her powers as she went along, to start with she had nobody to teach her or show her how things worked.

Laurel was a likable character but she wasn't someone that I found myself able to relate to or caring for a great deal.  None of the other characters are ones that will stick with me and I had trouble keeping track of who was who as I was reading.  Although I liked the idea behind the magic of the flowers I found the plot was a little slow moving without much happening - particularly at the beginning of the book.  Forget-Her-Nots was enjoyable for the differences to anything else I've read but although I liked it it wasn't a book that wowed me.

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:
Shut Up I'm 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.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Review: Wolf Games - Vivian Arend

After seven years of total denial, Maggie Raynor’s body—and her inner wolf—are in full revolt. Weak and shaky, she literally falls into the very large and capable arms of the Granite Lake Beta, Erik Costanov. The last thing she wants is a mate, particularly when just looking at another wolf scares her to death. And one as big and sexy as Erik? Really bad idea, no matter what her libido says.

Erik expected to meet Maggie in Whitehorse to escort her to the home of her sister, his pack’s Omega. Sheer chance puts him in the right place at the right time to catch her, but the realization that hits him with the force of a full body shot is no accident. She’s his mate. An even bigger shock? She wants no part of him—not until she resolves her issues.

She’ll have to work fast, because they’re both selected to represent the pack during the premier sporting event for wolves in the north. Not only will she have to work as a team with Erik, she’ll have to face down her fear of wolves. Especially her own.

Let the Games begin.

Granite Lake Wolves Series:
Wolf Signs (Novella)
Wolf Flight (Novella)
First Howl (Short Story free on Vivian's website)
Second Howl (Short Story free on Vivian's website)
Wolf Games (Novella)
Wolf Tracks (Novella)
Wolf Line (Novella)
Wolf Nip (Novella)

Takhini Wolves Series:
(This is a spin off from the Granite Lake Wolves series but can be read separately)
Black Gold
Silver Mine
Diamond Dust
Moon Shine (2014)

Takhini Shifters Series:
(This is a spin off off the Granite Lake and Takhini Wolves series but can be read separately)
Copper King (Novella)

Visit Vivian Arend's website for more information

Review:
Maggie is Missy's sister (we met Missy in the last novella Wolf Flight) but she was so traumatised by events in her past that she hasn't seen her sister or spent any time with other wolves for nearly a decade.  Missy has finally managed to convince Maggie to come and visit her and her new pack but Maggie is very wary and not looking forward to being surrounded by wolves. 

Erik is the Granite Lake pack's beta (second in charge) but as a favor to Missy he offers to collect Maggie from the airport and make sure she arrives safely.  As soon as they meet he recognises that she is his mate but Maggie doesn't trust the tie between them and Erik is going to have to convince her that they are meant to be together. 

I really enjoyed the first 2 novellas in the Granite Lake series so I was really looking forward to reading Wolf Games, let me just say Vivian Arend didn't disappoint & this was probably my favorite story in the series so far.  Vivian sure does manage to pack a lot into her novellas and although I would love to have one of these stories as a full length novel that is more because I just can't get enough of her wolves than because there is anything lacking from the stories.

Maggie has had a tough time when it comes to other wolves and she finds it impossible to trust them - completely understandable when you find out more about her past.  Although she is attracted to Erik she is scared of the bond between them.  She is having to deal with being around wolves for the first time in years and when she is forced to become a competitor in the Wolf Games she finds it really difficult.  I loved Erik, he is so supportive and protective of Maggie and is determined to help her see how good life could be with the pack.  He is also smoking hot but you'll have to read the story to find out just how sexy he is!

I really enjoyed watching them take part in the Wolf Games, they were kind of like the Amazing Race for werewolves & it was fun to see how things panned out.  We get to see more of TJ as he is another member of their team - I'm sure I mentioned in my previous reviews how much I love TJ & I am so excited to read his story which is released in October!  As usual TJ added a lot of comedy to the story with his clumsy ways, he would definitely be a fun guy to have around.  We were also introduced to Jared (another team member) who I'm looking forward to getting to know better in future stories.

Wolf Games is a great installment to the Granite Lake Wolves series and I'm looking forward to reading more from Vivian Arend.  I'd definitely recommend this series to fans of steamy paranormal romance - these novellas are perfect for when you want a quick but fun read and I'm sure you'll enjoy them as much as I have. 

Source: Purchased

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.

Win an ARC of His Darkest Embrace by Juliana Stone

A solitary hunter with no regard for the human world, Jagger Castille is a shifter living on the edge. It will take the woman who calls him enemy to give him a reason to live.

Jagger is a creature of the night—Skye Knightly soars in the sun. Natural adversaries, they have been joined by destiny in a mission entrusted to Skye’s family centuries ago: Nothing less than the salvation of the Earth.

Wounded and bitter, Jagger sought escape in the solitude of the jungle, driven by a need to disappear forever… until a mysterious shifter who calls to his soul and feeds a yearning long forgotten, pulls him from his dark path. A courageous warrior, Skye’s passion is equal to Jagger’s own—but can she trust a man on the edge? A man whose secrets are as devastating as her own?

Each is the other’s sole hope for survival. But a dark and twisted truth is leading them toward the ultimate sacrifice for a love they may never live to claim.

I read book 1 in the Jaguar Warriors series by Juliana Stone His Darkest Hunger earlier this year and have been excitedly waiting for the sequel His Darkest Embrace ever since!  His Darkest Hunger was a great start to this new paranormal romance series - you can read my review here.
 
Juliana is giving 2 digital ARCs of book 2 His Darkest Embrace on her blog here.  I can't wait to read Jagger's story!!  This book releases in the UK on October 26th & I've already pre-ordered my copy from Amazon.  For more information about this series check out Juliana's website.  You can also read an excerpt from His Darkest Embrace and find out more about this book here.
 
Juliana is also including a Digital copy of her newest time travel novella Black Destiny in her giveaway.  Black Destiny is book 2 in her Black Opals series and is another book that I've got on my wishlist.  I read & really enjoyed the first story in the series Black Legacy earlier this year - you can read my review here.  You can find out more and read an excerpt from Black Destiny here on Juliana's website or find the blurb below.  I just have to say - don't you think Juliana has the most fabulous covers?!
 
She will protect him at all costs, even if it means her life.
 
Undercover, deep in the heart of enemy territory, Lily Black has been charged with a mission: guard the life of Kerr Strome.

Like her warrior sisters, the Black Opals, Lily is a time traveller who shifts wherever she’s needed. She’ll do whatever it takes to foil an assassination attempt on Kerr by The New Order. There’s only one way to fly under his radar: pose as a man.

Kerr Strome is a warrior with his back to the wall. His planet is in chaos, his life threatened at every turn. The safe evacuation of his people from their war-ravaged planet depends entirely on his team of elite soldiers—and their ability to lie low for the next few days. The holding pattern might make him crazy, except for the intriguing new team member. A small soldier with big-time fighting skills, and something extra Kerr can’t quite figure out.

When Lily intercepts a New Order assassin—and a bullet meant for Kerr—her cover isn’t all that’s blown. Their pent-up desire reveals a bitter truth. The reason Kerr is marked for death? He is Lily’s destined mate. And the only way to save his life is to give her own.

Warning: Contains one hard-bodied soldier, illicit loving, a kick-ass lady and a little bit of time travel.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Review: Sex Magick - Laura Stamps

Noelle Wylie is a Rune Witch, and at thirty-five, she’s got it all. This year she bought her dream home. Then she let Wynn, her darkly handsome, shapeshifter boyfriend move in. One evening Wynn gives Noelle a book on “sex magick.” Intrigued, she decides to give it a try. However, just as she experiences some of the best sex of her life, she discovers Wynn has a hidden agenda. Uh-oh!

The Rune Witch Series is an erotica novella trilogy, featuring Noelle (a feisty alpha Rune Witch) and her HAWT boyfriend Wynn (a sexy shapeshifter). Wynn and Noelle appeared in two of The Witchery Series novels (What Witches Want and Call of the Witches) as secondary characters. Now this lusty couple has a series of their own, which takes place during the hot summer months of August and September in sultry South Carolina. Follow these two as they go from one sexcapade to the next, while Wynn tries everything he can think of to convince commitment-phobic Noelle to marry him. Good thing he never plays fair (naughty grin). Keep a cold drink handy for this series. You're gonna need it!

For more information about this series and purchase information check out Laura Stamps' website here

The Rune Witch Series:
Sex Magick
Bewitched at the Beach
The Harvest Moon

Review:
Noelle and Wynn appeared in 2 books in Laura Stamps' Witchery series but I haven't started that series yet so this was my first introduction to the couple.  Although I'm planning on reading The Witchery series I don't think it matters if you read The Rune Witch series before hand - I didn't feel like I was missing anything in this story because I've not met the couple before.

Noelle and Wynn have been together for 5 years now but Wynn only recently convinced Noelle to let him move in.  Things are going really well between them but Noelle is still terrified of long term relationships and is putting off marrying Wynn.  Wynn on the other hand is determined to get a ring on Noelle's finger & I'm looking forward to seeing how far he will go to try and convince her.  Personally I think Noelle is crazy - Wynn is super hot, they have an amazing sex life and you can see how well they suit each other as a couple - what else could she possibly ask for?  I'm hoping we get to see more of the reasons behind Noelle's reluctance to commit in future installments.

I already know from reading the first part of Laura's serial novel A Vampire's Kiss how good Laura is at writing hot smexy scenes and Sex Magick didn't disappoint.  The heat levels of this novella will make your eyeballs steam!  Wynn is one sexy shapeshifter who I'm looking forward to getting to see more of!

Sex Magick is a great quick read if you're looking for an erotic romance story with steamy sex alongside a couple's daily life.  I enjoyed watching Noelle & Wynn together and am looking forward to seeing what happens to them in the rest of the series.

Source: Received from Laura Stamps in exchange for an honest review

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.

Purchase Information:
Don't forget you can purchase this book, get more information at Laura's website here.  This series is also available for purchase in the Kindle store.

Monday, 13 September 2010

ARC Review: Raised by Wolves - Jennifer Lynn Barnes

He's in a cage, I reminded myself, but the words meant nothing to me, because I just couldn't stop staring into his wild eyes and playing the last words he'd said before he shifted, over and over again.

I GOT BIT... I GOT BIT... I GOT BIT...

At the age of four, Bryn watched a rabid werewolf murder her parents.  She was taken in by the mysterious Callum, the alpha of his pack.  Now fifteen, Bryn's been a human among werewolves, adhering to pack rule.  Little fazes her.

But the pack's been keeping a secret, and when Bryn goes exploring against Callum's orders, she finds Chase, a newly turned teen Were locked in a cage.  Bryn needs answers, and she needs Chase to get them.  Suddenly, all allegiances to the pack no longer matter.  It's Bryn and Chase against the werewolf world, whatever the consequences.

Raised by Wolves Series:
Raised by Wolves (releasing in the UK on 16th September 2010)
Trial by Fire (due to be published in 2011)

For more information visit Jennifer Lynn Barnes' website


Review:
When Bryn was just four years old her family was attacked by a rabid werewolf, she only survived because of the arrival of Callum and his pack but they weren't in time to save her parents.  Despite the fact that Bryn is human Callum adopted her and marked her as a member of the pack for her protection.  She has been brought up as one of just a few humans living amongst the werewolves and has never quite felt she belonged.  When Bryn finds Chase - a newly turned werewolf - locked in Callum's basement she begins to realise that the pack has been keeping secrets.  She is determined to uncover the truth and needs to work with Chase to do that.

I'm a huge fan of paranormal stories so have read a lot of books in this genre both adult and YA.  I was really looking forward to reading Raised by Wolves but was expecting the story to be similar to others I've read before.  I thought I'd seen pretty much everything that could be seen when it came to werewolves but Jennifer Lynn Barnes pulled out all the stops and created a story that had me hooked from the very first page.  She has created a captivating story with a first class heroine and plenty of twists that took me completely by surprise.  If you're a fan of paranormal stories then this is a must read book, one that I would highly recommend - I'd rate it right up there with Shiver, in fact I think I liked Raised by Wolves even more!

Bryn is a fantastic character, as one of the only humans in the pack she is used to being physically weaker than everyone around her. That doesn't mean Bryn is a pushover though - she is a rebel through & through and is constantly pushing the boundaries of the pack rules.  She needs to know about her past and about how Chase became a werewolf and will do whatever it takes - including breaking Callum's rules, which will have severe consequences if she is caught - to find out more.

Alongside Bryn there is a host of likable and fun characters.  I loved Bryn's adopted mother Ali, another human amongst the wolves she is someone else who is prepared to stand up for what she believes in no matter what the cost to herself.  She wants to keep Bryn safe and only joined the pack to be able to protect her.  I also loved Bryn's friends Devon and Lake, Devon has been Bryn's best friend since she first joined the pack, he is the strongest of the younger werewolves and an alpha in the making.  Lake is one of a very few female werewolves and has been brought up by her father away from the rest of the pack, she is very independent and knows how to protect herself.  Alongside Devon, Lake looks out for Bryn and wants to help her dig into her past and solve the mystery of where both Bryn and Chase came from.

The story is fast paced and has plenty of action and Jennifer Lynn Barnes has created an interesting world with an unusual twist to the werewolf mythology.  The story sucks you in and takes you along a roller coaster journey until the very last page.  Although the story ended well things have definitely been left open for the next book Trial by Fire and I can't wait to get my hands on it.  I'm very much looking forward to reading more of this series and will definitely be looking up some of the author's other books in the meantime.  This is definitely a book I would recommend to urban fantasy / paranormal fans.

Source: Received from publisher Quercus in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
Ms. Martin Teaches Media
I Was A Teenage Book Geek
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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