Monday, 28 February 2011

Review: Magic Under Glass - Jaclyn Dolamore

Nimira's life takes an unexpected turn when she's hired by the mysterious Mr Hollin Parry to accompany an exquisite piano-playing automaton.  But Nimira's happiness with her new lifestyle is short-lived.  She soon discovers that the spirit of a handsome young fairy gentleman is trapped inside the machine's stiff limbs.  As they gradually fall in love, they become enmeshed in a plot to save the fairy realm from a ruthless gang of sorcerers - a battle that risks their very lives.

Magic Under Series:
Magic Under Glass
Magic Under Stone (2012)

Visit Jaclyn Dolamore's website for more information

Review:
Nimira has been working in a music hall and earning a very low wage so when she is offered a well paid job by sorcerer Hollin Parry she jumps at the chance.  He wants her to sing along with an automaton who plays the piano, she isn't the first person he has offered the job but the others have always left believing the automaton is haunted.  When Nimira first sees the lifelike automaton she can understand why the girls who came before her were nervous but she doesn't believe it could really contain a ghost.  However, she soon discovers that a fairy prince is trapped inside and as they find a way to communicate she becomes determined to find a way to set him free.  All is not as it seems in Hollin Parry's mansion but is there anyone who would be willing to help her and how does she decide who she can trust?

Magic Under Glass is one of those novels that had huge potential and could have been brilliant but unfortunately didn't quite live up to my expectations.  That isn't to say it's all bad though, I loved the descriptions of Lorinar and especially Tiansher where Nimira grew up.  Jaclyn Dolamore has a beautiful way with words that makes it very easy to picture the places she is describing and she has created a world I wanted to know more about.  However, although I can picture the world I don't feel like I know very much about it's inhabitants.  I wanted to know more about both the fairies and the sorcerers, there is a lot of background politics going on but I never felt like I had the full story which was disappointing.  I know there is going to be a sequel and I will definitely be reading it but I can't help feeling that if this novel had been fleshed out a bit more I would have loved it.  The ending felt rushed to me and we weren't given enough of an ending for me to feel satisfied.  In some ways it felt like my copy was missing half of it's pages.

Nimira was a likable main character, she is treated very badly by the locals because she is different and I liked the way she was prepared to stand up for herself.  She knew what she wanted and was determined to get it and it made a nice change to read a story where the girl gets to rescue the guy and not the other way around.  I felt for bad for Erris - it must have been awful for him being stuck inside the automaton - but because of his limited communication I didn't really feel much of a connection with him and didn't get to know him very well.  I wanted more of his history and to know how he ended up trapped but we didn't get an explanation for that.  I have high hopes that we'll get to know him much better in the sequel though and from what I saw towards the end of the book I think I'll really like him.  I guess because we don't get to know Erris well I found it difficult to believe that he and Nimira had fallen in love within such a short space of time.  I could understand her wanting to help him but I just didn't believe they were madly in love, I would have liked a stronger romance between them.

I will definitely be reading the sequel but I wish I'd waited until Magic Under Stone was available before I read this one.  I think I'd have been less disappointed by the ending if I could have gone straight on to the next book.  Like I said at the beginning of my review this story has a lot of potential and I'm sure a lot of people would really enjoy it, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the next book will be even better!

Source: This book was given to me by Becky from The Bookette, thanks Becky!

Other Reviews:
The Bookette
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Review: Reveal Me - Cari Quinn

Alana MacGregor craves excitement, but when her sometimes lover dumps her at a popular sex club, she wonders if she’s outgrown her live-fast-and-recover-later lifestyle. The last thing she expects is to run into the nerdy guy she rebuffed in high school—or for him to rock her world in ways no other man ever has.

Hot on the trail of a story, Carter Nicholas can’t believe his luck at encountering the one woman he’s never forgotten. He’s come a long way from being a wall-hugging geek. Now he gets all A’s between the sheets. But can he convince Alana he’s her sure ticket to an unforgettable night—and maybe much more?

Visit Cari Quinn's website for more information


Review:
Alana is a party girl who loves to take risks but getting dumped by her boyfriend in the middle of a sex club was not in her plans for a fun evening out.  When she bumps into the nerdy guy who had a crush on her at high school she can't believe how much he has changed since she last saw him.  Gone is the nerd and Carter Nicholas (Nicky) has changed into a hunk who could turn any girl's head.  Nicky has never forgotten Alana but can he convince her to give him a chance?

From reading Cari Quinn's novella Ex Appeal I was expecting Reveal Me to be a sexy quick read and I wasn't disappointed.  I really don't know how Cari manages to pack a full story line, character development and of course plenty of spice into a short novella - I've honestly read full length novels and cared less about the characters.

Alana isn't the easiest person to like when you first meet her, she is incredibly selfish and one of those girls I would have avoided like the plague at school.  However as you get to know her better you get to see through the bitchy exterior to the insecure and vulnerable person she is inside.  She has a deep need to be liked and is terrified of getting hurt which makes it hard for her to open up to anyone.  When you get to see the real Alana you can't help but wish for a happy ending for her.  Nicky is a hero any woman could fall for - he is sweet and sexy, a man who knows how to take control without being overbearing and he obviously cares deeply for Alana despite her flaws.  He sees through the front she puts on and loves the person inside, what girl could resist that? 

The heat levels are scorching and will leave you wanting more but as much as I would happily have devoured a longer story about this couple I would still highly recommend Reveal Me as a fab quick read, perfect for when you want to read a full story but don't have much time to spare.  Cari Quinn has definitely earned a place on my must buy list of authors and I'm looking forward to reading more by her in the future.

Source: Thanks to Cari Quinn for sending me this for review

Other Reviews:
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Sunday, 27 February 2011

Review: His Darkest Embrace - Juliana Stone

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

Jagger is a creature of the night - Skye Knightly soars in the sun.  Natural adversaries, they are now joined 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 - but can she trust 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 towards the ultimate sacrifice for a love they may never live to claim.

Jaguar Warriors Series:
His Darkest Hunger
His Darkest Embrace
His Darkest Salvation (July 2011)

For more information visit Juliana Stone's website

Review:
Jagger has spent the last 2 months living in the jungle in his jaguar form trying to forget the things he witnessed in the army.  He has no intention of returning to the real world and wouldn't even have taken his human form if he hadn't witnessed an attack on Sky by 2 other jaguars.  After stepping in to rescue Sky he finds himself attracted to her and feeling strangely protective of her.  Sky has other ideas though, as an Eagle shifter the jaguars have always been her sworn enemy so the last thing she wants is one following her through the jungle as she tries to complete her mission.  She is the last protector of an ancient artifact and she has to destroy it before her enemies can get their hands on it and cause the end of the world.

I really enjoyed His Darkest Hunger so was looking forward to reading the second installment in the series but unfortunately I have mixed feelings about His Darkest Embrace.  From what I saw of Jagger in the first book I was really expecting to love him but the way he treated Sky was a complete turn off, especially at the beginning of the story.  I did find myself liking him more towards the end but I found it hard to understand how Sky could be attracted to him after the things he'd said and done to her.  It just made it difficult to believe the relationship that developed between them.

Sky was full of contradictions, on the one hand she was tough and independent and quite a kick ass heroine but then she would do something incredibly stupid (like take off in her eagle form leaving behind all of her clothes and other belongings) which I found irritating.  On a more positive note I did enjoy the physical chemistry between the two them and the scene at the waterfall particularly sticks out in my memory.

I enjoyed the action but would have liked to have seen more of the other characters we already met in the previous book.  I was disappointed that this seemed like more of a filler between the other books rather than a complete story in it's own right.  While I think you could probably read this book without reading the one before it you're definitely left needing to read the next book to find out what happens.  I would have read the next book anyway because I'm curious to find out more about the final brother Julian but I like to have more of a complete story even when a book is part of a series.  I'm hoping that I'll love the next book as much as I loved the first one because I do really like the world that Juliana has created and the jaguars are definitely some hot shifters!

Source: Received for review from publisher via NetGalley and I also won a paperback copy from Ramblings of a Book Bitch (thanks Claire!)

Other Reviews:
Ramblings of a Book Bitch
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Thursday, 24 February 2011

Review: The Iron King - Julie Kagawa

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny - one she could never have imagined ...

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fitted in at school...or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar and her little brother is taken, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.

She could never have guessed the truth. Meghan is the daughter of a faery king and a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will have to choose between a normal life and her magical destiny - and between her best friend and a darkly dangerous prince.

It's time for Meghan to enter the faery world...

The Iron Fey Series:
The Iron King
Winter's Passage (Novella)
The Iron Daughter
The Iron Queen
The Iron Knight

Visit Julie Kagawa's website for more information

Review:
Meghan has never quite fitted in either at school or at home with her family, ever since the disappearance of her father something has just felt wrong.  She should be excitedly looking forward to her 16th birthday but too many strange occurrences are making her nervous.  Then her young brother seems to have a complete personality transplant and Meghan makes the horrifying discovery that the real Ethan has been kidnapped and a violent changeling has been left in his place.  Meghan is determined to get her brother back, even if it does mean venturing into the Nevernever and facing some of her worst nightmares.  But will she succeed and if she does what will it cost her?

I have heard so much about the Iron Fey series since The Iron King was released in the US last year that although the fey tend to be my least favorite paranormal creature I have been really looking forward to reading this book.  When I started reading it didn't take long before I was noticing things that reminded me of several other stories (A Midsummer Night's Dream, Alice in Wonderland and Labyrinth along with many others) and I loved the way Julie Kagawa has managed to give the flavor of some of my favorite fairy tales but still come up with a unique and interesting story that is completely her own.  You will find plenty of familiar mythology in there but Julie has also added a twist that I've never seen before and was very impressed with.  It's hard to say more about the twist without giving spoilers but I'm sure anyone who has read the book will know what I mean.

I liked Meghan, she was completely selfless when it came to her search for her brother and I liked the fact that she was willing to risk anything to make sure she got him home safely.  She does make mistakes but I think that is understandable considering the way she is thrown into the deep end with this whole new world with rules that she knows nothing about.  What I really appreciated was the fact that she learnt from her mistakes and didn't keep repeating them.  Her character really grew in confidence as she learnt more about her new surroundings and although she did need help from her friends at times she didn't just sit back and expect anyone to save her, in fact she tried hard to make sure she could save herself.

The Iron King has an interesting cast of supporting characters of which my favorite would have to be Grimalkin the talking cat who I adored.  I also really found myself liking Puck and the banter between him and Ash.  I want to learn more about both Puck and Ash and I'm hoping they have major roles in the rest of the series.  My only complaint would be that the romance happened a little too quickly and without me feeling much of a connection between the two characters.  I would have preferred more time spent on them getting to know each other, especially when there is a whole series for us to see things develop between them.  Having said that I am hopeful that we will see much more of this in future books and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next.

Overall I'd say The Iron King is an impressive debut and the start of a series that I'm looking forward to reading more of.  I'm very curious to find out more about Julie's mythology and would recommend this book to any fans of a good fairytale.

Source: Received from Mira Ink in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
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Author's Animal Antics - Julie Kagawa


Author's Animal Antics is a regular blog feature here at Feeling Fictional where I'm very excited to have some fantastic authors come and chat to us about their pets or share animal related stories.  I'm thrilled to introduce the lovely Julie Kagawa as my guest today...

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Hello, my name is Julie Kagawa, author of The Iron Fey series.  As a full-time writer, I'm often asked what I did before I was published.  The answer to that question is: a lot of things.  I worked as a clerk in a bookstore (which didn't go over so well; apparently, the managers frown upon reading books instead of shelving them), I was a pet store employee, I worked the desk at a veterinarian's office, and most recently, I was a dog trainer.

You might notice that most of my jobs either involved books or animals.  And you would be correct.  I love animals.  This probably comes from growing up on a farm and having every kind of pet imaginable: horses, rabbits, dogs, cats, chickens, pigs, ducks, cows, goats, and so on.  I've trained everything from horses and dogs, to parrots and cats.  Including a very special cat who helped me in my dog training classes and ultimately became the inspiration for Grimalkin.

He was a big, pure black cat named Shinobi (which is another word for "ninja".").  We adopted him from a rescue organization to keep our other cat (Sniper) company.  It quickly became clear that this cat was much smarter than your average feline.  I wondered how smart he really was so I decided to find out.  Using lunch meat and a clicker, I started short little training sessions with him.

It became quite clear that I wouldn't be able to train him the way I would a dog.  For one, while he was quite eager to work for lunch meat and pepperoni, it was only when he wanted to.  I couldn't force him to do anything, and when he decided we were done, we were done.  Still, he caught onto things faster then any dog I'd ever trained; he learned Sit in one session, Roll Over, Jump, Down, and Wave in a day.  I even got him to walk on a leash.

The greatest triumph came in one of my training classes, however.  I was working with a roomful of noisy, barking dogs, trying to explain the basics of clicker training, when one of the students asked, rather dubiously, if it would really work.  I brought Shinobi out, and in front of a dozen barking dogs, he performed all his tricks perfectly.

No one ever questioned me after that.  And people started coming into the store just to see the "trained cat."  Unfortunately, after a few weeks of this, Shinobi decided he'd had enough and simply stopped performing in public, no matter how much I begged.

So now he lives a life of luxury at home, playing with Sniper and our two dogs, his few weeks of fame behind him.  Sometimes, though, just for fun, I'll wave at him, just to see if he remembers.  And every so often, he waves back.

For more information on the Iron King and to find out about forthcoming releases from Mira Ink visit www.miraink.co.uk

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Thank you so much for visiting today Julie, I'm so impressed you managed to get Shinobi to perform on command - especially in front of a room full of dogs!  I know how stubborn my cats are and I can't imagine them doing anything like that.  I'm very tempted to go out & buy a clicker and give it a try though :o)  Grimalkin is one of my favorite characters in The Iron King so it was really nice to find out more about the cat who helped bring him to life.

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny - one she could never have imagined ...

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six.  She has never quite fitted in at school...or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar and her little brother is taken, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.

She could never have guessed the truth.  Meghan is the daughter of a faery king and a pawn in a deadly war.  Now Meghan will have to choose between a normal life and her magical destiny - and between her best friend and a darkly dangerous prince.

It's time for Meghan to enter the faery world...

Julie Kagawa is the author of the popular Iron Fey series that took the US by storm when it was released last year.  I've been wanting to read the series for what feels like forever so I was incredibly excited when book 1 The Iron King was released by Mira Ink in the UK in January.  Let me tell you now I really enjoyed the book (I'll be posting my full review later today so make sure you check back for more information) and I can't wait to read the rest of the series.  Luckily we don't have too long to wait book 2 The Iron Daughter will be out in the UK in April and book 3 The Iron Queen will be released in August.

If you'd like a chance to read a free ebook of The Iron King the Sunday Express is giving 1,000 copies away to UK readers.  Make sure you get hold of your copy quickly before they run out - you can find all of the details here.

Find out more about Julie and her work here - Julie's WebsiteThe Iron Fey Website / Blog / Twitter / The Iron Fey Facebook Page

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

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Review: Soulless - Gail Carriger

Alexia Tarabotti is labouring under a great many social tribulations.

First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire - and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia is responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing?  Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

Parasol Protectorate Series:
Soulless
Changeless
Blameless
Heartless
Timeless

Finishing School Series:
(This is a YA series set in the Parasol Protectorate world but set 25 years before the first book)
Etiquette & Espionage
Curtsies & Conspiracies
Waistcoats & Weaponry (2014)
Manners & Mutiny (2015?)

Visit Gail Carriger's website for more information

Review:
Alexia was born with no soul which means she has the unusual ability to neutralise the supernatural powers of anyone she is touching. At the grand old age of 26, in Victorian London, she has resigned herself to the life of a spinster - having an Italian father and inheriting his Mediterranean looks certainly didn't help her find a husband. After being rudely attacked by a vampire who didn't even bother to introduce himself first she finds herself at the centre of a mystery of disappearing supernatural creatures. But what is really happening to the lone werewolves and rogue vampires? Can Alexia get to the bottom of things before more lives are lost?

I'm fairly new to the steampunk genre but I've had my eye on Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series for a while now and on impulse picked up the first 3 books a couple of weeks ago. I'm so relieved I bought all 3 books because after reading Soulless I can't wait to dig into Changeless and Blameless! This series is an absolute delight combining urban fantasy with Regency romance and of course a nice splash of steampunk and the humour had me laughing out loud more than any other book I've read in ages.

Alexia is a fantastic heroine, she is full of contrasts but it works surprisingly well and creates one of those ones characters that you'd actually love to meet up with in real life. She manages to be both prim and proper like any well brought up Victorian young lady but at the same time she can be surprisingly outrageous. Alexia isn't afraid to stand up for herself and is never far from her trusty parasol but she is also fairly insecure which is hardly surprising considering the attitude of her horrible mother. I love her strange ability to negate the supernatural powers, I've read a lot of paranormal stories and have never come across someone with quite the same talent before and it will be interesting to see how she uses it in the future.

I also adored Lord Maccon the alpha werewolf and chief investigator into the missing supernaturals for BUR (the Bureau of Unnatural Registry). He is an aggressive, arrogant alpha male who doesn't like to be told what to do but he also has an incredibly sweet side that I couldn't resist. I loved the chemistry between Maccon and Alexia but it was the banter between the two that I enjoyed the most, Alexia really comes into her own when it comes to putting Maccon in his place. One of the things I really love about this series is that it doesn't have a typical love triangle which is something I've started to get a little bored of in the books I've been reading recently.

Soulless has a great range of supporting characters from the very camp vampire Lord Akeldama to Alexia's unpleasant family and her very human best friend Ivy not forgetting beta werewolf Professor Lyall and I'm looking forward to seeing more of all of them in future instalments to the series. The writing style may take a little getting used to if you've not read many stories about Victorian England but within a few pages you will be so immersed in the world Gail Carriger has created that you won't even notice. This is a fantastic start to a series and definitely one to add to your wish list if it's not already on there.

Source: Purchased

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Monday, 21 February 2011

Review: Siren - Tricia Rayburn

Something deadly waits beneath the waves off Winter Harbor, and this summer, no one's safe.

Timid seventeen-year-old Vanessa Sands has always had her sister Justine to protect her.  Until Justine is found dead near their holiday home and her boyfriend Caleb goes missing.

Looking for answers, Vanessa finds solace in Simon, Caleb's handsome brother.  But time is running out as more men disappear, their bodies washed ashore grinning from ear-to-ear.

As Vanessa delves deeper into Winter Harbor's murky past she discovers that nothing is what it seems.  Not even her.  And only she may have the power to stop this.

Will she find the courage to face up to what she really is - before Simon becomes the next victim?

Siren Trilogy:
Siren
Undercurrent (US release date July 2011, UK release date not known at this time)
I was unable to find a name for the 3rd book in the trilogy

Visit Tricia Rayburn's website for more information

Review:
Vanessa is timid and shy, the complete opposite of her daredevil, fun loving sister Justine but they have always been close and Justine has always protected and looked out for Vanessa.  When Justine dies after what is assumed to be a tragic accident Vanessa can't help but be suspicious of the circumstances of her sister's death.  Vanessa is determined to get to the bottom of what happened and the first person she wants to speak to is Justine's boyfriend Caleb. When she finds out that Caleb is missing so she turns to his brother Simon for help but the more digging they do the more it looks like she never really knew her sister at all.  With more bodies appearing every day it is up to Vanessa and Simon to investigate and try and stop whatever is happening before they end up as victims themselves.  Nothing is what it seems and the secrets Vanessa discovers will change her life forever.

Siren is one of those books that I picked up expecting to enjoy but had no idea just how much I would love.  I loved the characters, the mythology, the mystery, in fact Siren ticked just about every box and kept me captivated enough to stay up all night reading.  If you're looking for something a bit different in the YA paranormal genre you can't go far wrong with this one, I just hope I don't have to wait too long before I can read the rest of the series!

Vanessa is a very easy character to relate to, she is very shy and scares easily but has always had her big sister Justine to protect her and make her feel safe.  After Justine dies it would have been easy for Vanessa to stay at home with her parents and try to ignore her doubts about what caused her sister's death but she is determined to do the right thing and find out what really happened.  We get to see big changes in Vanessa as she faces her fears head on and learns that she can cope living on her own. 

Simon is another character you can't help but like - he is a science geek but very cute with it and you can tell how much he cares for both Vanessa and his brother Caleb.  I loved the romance between Simon and Vanessa, they have been friends forever so they have a real connection and I always enjoy a good friends to lovers romance.

I don't want to say too much about the mystery surrounding the deaths at Winter Harbor and the mythology Tricia Rayburn has created because I don't want to give any spoilers.  All I'm going to say is that the story is fast paced and full of twists and turns and will keep you on the edge of your seat.  I've not come across many YA books about sirens but I think this one will be hard to beat and I can't wait to get my hands on Undercurrent.

Source: Received from Faber & Faber in exchange for an honest review

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Saturday, 19 February 2011

Review: The 13 Treasures - Michelle Harrison

A family secret, a fateful inheritance . . .

While visiting her grandmother's house, Tanya discovers an unsolved mystery.  Fifty years ago, a girl vanished in the woods nearby - a girl Tanya's grandmother will not speak of.  Fabian, the caretaker's son, is tormented by the girl's disappearance.  His grandfather was the last person to see her alive, and has lived under suspicion ever since.  Together, Tanya and Fabian decide to find the truth.  But Tanya has her own secret: the ability to see fairies.  Can it help them to unravel the mystery?  Soon they are facing terrible danger - could the manor's sinister history be about to repeat itself?

Thirteen Treasures Trilogy:
One Wish
The 13 Treasures
The 13 Curses
The 13 Secrets

Visit Michelle Harrison's website for more information

Review:
Tanya's mother is at her wits end with her daughter's strange and destructive behaviour and sends Tanya to stay with her grandmother so she can get a break.  Tanya has never felt comfortable at her grandmother's house, she has always felt that her grandmother doesn't want her there but she is also plagued by the fairies that only she can see, fairies that seem to be found in greater numbers than ever near Elvesden Manor.  When Tanya discovers the mystery of a young girl who went missing 50 years ago, a girl that was last seen not far from the manor but that her grandmother refuses to talk about, she wants to find out what really happened.  Along with caretaker's son Fabian she sets out to discover if there is a connection with the disappearance 50 years ago and the young children that continue to go missing locally today.  The deeper they dig the greater the danger they find themselves in becomes but will they be able to find the truth before one of them is hurt?

I have to confess that fairies tend to be my least favorite paranormal characters so I tend to avoid books about them and I probably wouldn't have given this book a try if it hadn't come highly recommended by several friends.  I'm so glad that I didn't let my reservations put me off as it was one of the best fairy stories I've read and I'm really looking forward to continuing with the series.  In The 13 Treasures Michelle Harrison has created a dark world full of spiteful and vicious fairies that you really wouldn't want to meet under any circumstances, a world that draws you in and makes you need to know more.

Tanya has had the curse of second sight for her entire life and is constantly bullied and harassed by fairies wherever she goes.  It was easier to pass off strange incidences when she was a small child but as she has grown older adults have become increasingly less understanding of her behaviour.  Who is going to believe her if she tells them that the fairies cause it?  In her grandmother's house where the fairies appear in even greater numbers than usual her life is even harder - surely there must be a way to prove to them that she means no harm and get them to leave her alone?  Tanya was an easy character to like and you can't help but feel for her with all she has gone through at the hands of the fairies, she was definitely a lot braver that I would have been in her circumstances.  I didn't like Fabian much to start with but he really grew on me by the end of the story when I'd got to know him better, it was interesting to watch him grow as the story progressed.  My favorite character would have to be Red but I'm not going to say anymore about them as I don't want to give spoilers.

This book sucked me in from the beginning and I found it easy to picture the manor and the weird and wonderful creatures that inhabit it.  I loved the mystery surrounding the house, the secret rooms and passages that could lead anywhere, you really were never quite sure who or what would turn up and where Tanya and Fabian would find themselves next.  The descriptions of the fairies were fantastic and I especially enjoyed the scenes with the goblins who could only talk in rhyme.  The 13 Treasures was a gripping read that I would highly recommend and I'll definitely be picking up a copy of The 13 Curses to see what happens next.

Source: Received from Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
Serendipity
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Friday, 18 February 2011

1st Blogoversary Celebration Giveaway: Shiver & Linger by Maggie Stiefvater - NOW CLOSED

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


So it's time for the last giveaway in my 1st blogoversary celebration week & I've saved my favorite for last!  If like me you've already read Shiver and Linger by Maggie Stiefvater then you're probably eagerly awaiting the release of Forever in July.  How would you like to win signed UK copies of Shiver & Linger to read while you're waiting?  Meeting Maggie and having afternoon tea in London's weirdest restaraunt was one of the highlights of my first year of blogging so of course I had to buy extra books to get signed for a giveaway.


As with my giveaway for Fallen and Torment by Lauren Kate (which you can still enter by clicking here) I wasn't sure if people would prefer to have 1 winner who would receive both books or 2 winners who would receive 1 book each so I'm going to let you choose by voting using the poll below.  Whichever option has the most votes at the end of the giveaway will be the one I go with so make sure you vote now for your preference!
How many winners should there be?

While you're here don't forget to enter the other giveaways I have going on, I'm giving away 9 signed books by various different authors (you can see a full list at the top of my blog above this post)

Giveaway Details:
  • This giveaway is international so anyone can enter no matter where you live.
  • Depending on the results of the above poll there will either be 1 winner who will receive both signed books or 2 winners who will receive 1 book each.
  • The winner/s will be chosen at random from all entries received. If you vote to have 2 winners the first winner picked will win Shiver and the second winner will receive Linger
  • To enter the giveaway all you need to do is fill in your name and email address in the form below (please have permission from your parents if you are under 16). Extra entries are available but they are entirely optional.
  • Only one entry per person please, any duplicate entries will be deleted
  • You have until the 28th of February to enter the giveaway and I'll announce the winner/s soon afterwards on my blog. The winner/s will have 48 hours to contact me with their postal address or another winner will be chosen.
  • Winners addresses will only be used by me to send out the prizes and will be deleted afterwards.

UK ARC Review: Across the Universe - Beth Revis

Amy has left the life she loves for a world 300 years away

Amy is a cryogenically frozen passenger aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed. She expects to wake up on a new planet, 300 years in the future. But fifty years before Godspeed's scheduled landing, Amy's cryo chamber is unplugged, and she is nearly killed.

Now, Amy is caught inside an enclosed world where nothing makes sense. Godspeed's passengers have forfeited all control to Eldest, a tyrannical and frightening leader, and Elder, his rebellious and brilliant younger heir.

Amy desperately wants to trust Elder. But should she? All she knows is that she must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets before whoever woke her tries to kill again.

Across the Universe is currently available in the US and releases in the UK on the 3rd of March 2011.  It is Beth Revis' debut novel and the first book in a trilogy although I couldn't find the titles or release dates for the next two books yet.

Visit Beth Revis' website or the Across the Universe website for more information.

Review:
Amy's parents have signed up to be part of an exciting expedition to a new planet that is a 300 year journey from Earth.  Amy must make the difficult decision to be cryogenically frozen and travel with them or remain behind and never see her parents again.  After deciding to go with them she is expecting to wake up with her parents on a new planet so it comes as quite a shock to discover that she has been woken 50 years early and is still on the spaceship Godspeed.  Life on the ship is nothing like the life she remembers on Earth and with someone systematically unplugging the cryo chambers and murdering the sleeping passengers Amy is determined to find out what is going on before something happens to her parents.  Elder was born on Godspeed and has been raised by the leader Eldest to take over as leader himself when he is old enough.  As he gets to know Amy and she raises her concerns about life on the ship Elder starts to doubt things he has always considered to be natural.  The deeper he digs the more secrets he discovers that Eldest has been keeping from him but can Elder and Amy get to the bottom of the mystery in time to save the remaining frozen passengers?

There has been so much buzz about Across the Universe that I've been looking forward to reading it for ages.  I was a little nervous that it wouldn't live up to the hype but if anything it actually surpassed my expectations.  I haven't read a great deal of science fiction so this was completely different to anything else I've read before and I was sucked in from the very first chapter.  I've always been a little freaked out of the idea of being cryogenically frozen and I have to say the graphic description of what Amy and her parents go through didn't make me feel any better about the idea - it was almost enough to give me nightmares!

The story is told from both Amy and Elder's points of view in alternating chapters which was a great way for us to get to know both characters and to see life on the ship from very different perspectives.  Amy's perspective is much easier to relate to - she finds things just as strange as we do as she had a normal upbringing on Earth - but I think I enjoyed reading Elder's story even more.  For him life on the ship is all he's ever known and he was very accepting of things that seem very strange to both Amy and the reader.  It is only from talking to Amy that he learns more about what is going on and starts to question the leader Eldest.

Although I figured out quite early on who was unplugging the cryo chambers there were still quite a few surprises that I didn't see coming and I have a feeling that there are more mysteries to uncover as the series progresses.  Both of the main characters are very likable and easy to relate to and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the romance didn't overtake the rest of the story.  Although there is an attraction between Elder and Amy I definitely felt it more on Elder's side but that was understandable and felt more realistic.  I have high hopes for more romance developing in further books but was glad that they didn't immediately jump into a full on love affair.  Instead Beth Revis focuses far more on showing us what life is like on Godspeed and she did a great job of describing the claustrophobic feel of life on board, I don't think it's something I could cope with.

I don't want to give any of the storyline away as I think it will be much more enjoyable if you go into the story not knowing what to expect.  I will say that this was a fantastic debut and one that I would highly recommend trying - I can't wait to read future books in the series!  If you're not a science fiction fan don't let that put you off giving Across the Universe a try, I would look at this more as a dystopian mystery that just happens to be set on a spaceship.  I would be very surprised if this book doesn't make my top 10 list by the end of 2011 and would definitely suggest you give it a try.

Source: Received from Penguin in exchange for an honest review

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

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Author's Animal Antics - Beth Revis


Author's Animal Antics is a regular blog feature here at Feeling Fictional where I'm very excited to have some fantastic authors come and chat to us about their pets or share animal related stories.  I'm thrilled to introduce the lovely Beth Revis as my guest today...

**************************************************


I've always named my pets after characters I've loved, starting with a beagle puppy I named Meg, after the heroine of A WRINKLE IN TIME, one of my all time favorite books.  Around the same time I got married, my husband and I adopted a black Lab puppy.  We both adored the little guy, but he definitely needed a name we could yell at him when he ate (another) door handle or chewed through (another) wall.

The problem, though, is that my husband isn't a fan of Harry Potter.  And, well...I am.  Given my habit of naming pets after characters, and given the fact that the puppy was a BLACK Lab, I knew I wanted to name him Sirius, after my favorite character in HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN.  But I knew the husband would never approve of this name.


Fortunately, the husband also knew I loved astronomy.  So, I got out my star chart, pointed to the constellation Sirius, and told my husband that I wanted to name the puppy after the dog star.  He agreed, thinking I was being quite scientific about the whole process.

Eventually, of course, the husband made the connection between Sirius the puppy and Sirius the character...but by then, it was too late to change his name!  Now I've just got to figure out a way to write my destructive dog onto my spaceship, and Sirius's infamy will live forever

**************************************************

Thank you so much for visiting today Beth, I love the fact you named your dog after one of my favorite Harry Potter characters!  How sneaky to manage to get your husband to agree by saying you wanted to name him after the dog star, I'll have to remember that tactic in the future :o)

Amy has left the life she loves for a world 300 years away

Amy is a cryogenically frozen passenger aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed. She expects to wake up on a new planet, 300 years in the future. But fifty years before Godspeed's scheduled landing, Amy's cryo chamber is unplugged, and she is nearly killed.

Now, Amy is caught inside an enclosed world where nothing makes sense. Godspeed's passengers have forfeited all control to Eldest, a tyrannical and frightening leader, and Elder, his rebellious and brilliant younger heir.

Amy desperately wants to trust Elder. But should she? All she knows is that she must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets before whoever woke her tries to kill again.



Beth Revis' debut novel Across the Universe was released in the US in January and will be released in the UK on the 3rd of March.  It is the first book in a science fiction trilogy and if it's not already on your wish list then you should definitely add it.  I will be posting my review later today and I can't wait to read further books in the series!  If you'd like to read the first chapter while you're waiting for the release date you can find it online here.

Find out more about Beth and her work here - Beth's WebsiteAcross the Universe Website / Blog / Twitter / Across the Universe UK Facebook Page

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

Book Trailer: This Side of the Grave - Jeaniene Frost

In case you haven't noticed before I'm a massive fan of the Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost (how could anyone not fall madly in love with Bones?).  This Side of the Grave is book 5 in the series and is released in the US on the 22nd of February - yes I have already pre-ordered my copy!  I can't wait to read it and the trailer has only made me even more excited to get hold of the book. Who else is as excited as I am?

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

1st Blogoversary Celebration Giveaway: Random & Hellhole - NOW CLOSED

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


Today's giveaway is for thriller Random by Craig Robertson and Hellhole the first book in a new science fiction trilogy by Kevin J Anderson and Brian HerbertRandom is a hardback copy signed by Craig Robertson and Hellhole is a large paperback that has been signed by Kevin J Anderson.  As these books are quite heavy I'm going to have to make this a UK only giveaway but international entries are allowed if you are prepared to pay postage costs.


Random by Craig Robertson:
Glasgow is being terrorised by a serial killer the media have nicknamed The Cutter.  The murders have left the police baffled.  There seems to be neither rhyme nor reason behind the killings; no kind of pattern or motive; an entirely different method of murder each time, and nothing that connects the victims except for the fact that the little fingers of their right hands have been severed.

If DS Rachel Narey could only work out the key to the seemingly random murders, how and why the killer selects his victims, she would be well on her way to catching him.  But as the police, the press and a threateniing figure from Glasgow's underworld finally begin to close in on The Cutter, his carefully-laid plans threaten to unravel - with horrifying consequences . . .

Hellhole by Brian Herbert and Kevin J Anderson:
Only the most desperate would ever dare to make a home on Hellhole

Ravaged by volcanic eruptions, destructive storms and asteroid impact, Hellhole is a dumping ground for undesirables, misfits and charlatans.  But it's location out on the wild frontiers of the Constellation, among the Deep Zone worlds, makes it the final refuge for those fleeing from the rule of Diadem Michella Duchenet - a tyrant with a sweet face, but a dark heart.

General Adolphus, the military leader exiled to the planet when he was defeated in the first revolution against the Diadem, is determined to transform Hellhole into a place of opportunity.  While the colonists work to develop the planet, the General is forging secret alliances with the leaders of the other Deep Zone worlds.  He dreams of turning his prison into the centre of a new coalition of planets free from the Diadem's iron grip.

Back on the decadent capital planet of Sonjeera, surrounded by corruption and feuding old guard nobles, Diadem Michella is confident that the General has been neutralised.  She has no idea of the revolt growing in the Deep Zone . . . or does she?

But what no one knows is this: planet Hellhole hides a secret of historic magnitude.  Lurking beneath the surface are the remnants of an obliterated alien civilisation, detailing an unrecorded past, which, if unearthed, could tear the fragile human civilisation apart.


They sound good don't they?  Neither of these books are the kind of thing I've been reading much of recently but I used to read a lot of both crime thrillers and science fiction when I was younger and am looking forward to trying both of these.  See the details below for how to enter the giveaway and don't forget to check out the other giveaways I have going on this week (see links at the top of the blog for all current giveaways)

Giveaway Details:
  • As these books are both quite heavy I'm going to have to limit this giveaway to UK entries only to save on postage costs.  International readers are welcome to enter if they are happy to pay postage though.
  • I will draw 2 seperate winners at random from all entries received, one for each book.  You can enter just one giveaway or both it is entirely up to you.
  • To enter the giveaway all you need to do is fill in your name and email address in the form below (please have permission from your parents if you are under 16). Extra entries are available but they are entirely optional.
  • Only one entry per person please, any duplicate entries will be deleted
  • You have until the 28th of February to enter the giveaway and I'll announce the winners soon afterwards on my blog. The winners will have 48 hours to contact me with their postal address or another winner will be chosen.
  • Winners addresses will only be used by me to send out the prizes and will be deleted afterwards.

Review: Witchfinder Gallows at Twilight - William Hussey

A War Has Begun

Human will fight demon

The past will battle the future

Jake Harker will become the enemy...


Witchfinder Trilogy:
Dawn of the Demontide
Gallows at Twilight
The Last Nightfall (September 2011)

Visit the Witchfinder website for more information







Review:
Gallows at Twilight is the second book in the Witchfinder trilogy so although I won't include spoilers for this book it will be difficult not to mention some things from Dawn of the Demontide.  If you haven't read Dawn of the Demontide yet I'd highly recommend you start there and don't read the rest of this review.  If you're a fan of horror this is a series that is well worth picking up!

Jake and his friends may have managed to close the demon door but not before the Demon Father could escape from hell.  With the Demon Father gathering his allies and preparing for war it looks like things have taken a turn for the worse.  Jake is struggling to control his new powers but he is going to have to get a grip on them fast if they are going to survive the latest battle.  In order to save the future Jake finds himself faced with a journey into the past but can he change history and make it back to his own time or will he be executed for witchcraft before he can complete his mission?

I really enjoyed Dawn of the Demontide but William Hussey has managed to completely step things up a gear in Gallows at Twilight.  This book surpassed my expectations on every level and believe me that isn't because my expectations were low!  Gallows at Twilight is a gripping, action packed thrill ride that I didn't want to put down.  The story is even darker than the first book and Jake certainly isn't in for a comfortable ride in this book, in fact there are times that it seems impossible for the good guys to come out on top but you'll have to read it for yourself to find out if there are any casualties.

One of the things I wasn't too sure about before I started reading was the time travel aspect but I was pleasantly surprised at how well that worked.  Jake finds himself travelling back to 1645 in search of an item that could be vital in the war against the Demon Father but appearing out of nowhere in the middle of a crowded village probably wasn't the best way to make an entrance.  Jake is immediately accused of witchcraft and placed under arrest to await the arrival of Witchfinder General Matthew Hopkins.  What makes the scenes of torture that Jake suffers even harder to read is the fact that Matthew Hopkins is a real character from history and the methods used in the story have been taken straight from the English history books - you can't beat real life when it comes to inspiration for truly horrific things to do a character! 

Being at risk of execution for witchcraft is actually the least of Jake's worries though and he has far more dangerous trials ahead of him before the story is over.  Along with the characters we have already met in the previous installment William Hussey has pulled out all the stops when it comes to introducing a whole range of interesting creatures from trolls to banshees and much more besides and it can be difficult to tell who's side these creatures are on.  I don't want to give away anything in the plot as I don't want to spoil the journey for you but if you were a fan of Dawn of the Demontide then you're going to love Gallows at Twilight.  If you're new to the series but enjoy a truly gory horror story then get hold of the first book now.  I for one can't wait to read The Last Nightfall when it comes out later this year!

Source: Received from OUP in exchange for an honest review.

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

1st Blogoversary Celebration Giveaway: Girl, Missing by Sophie McKenzie - NOW CLOSED

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


So it's day 4 in my 1st blogoversary giveaway celebration week and today I'm giving away a signed copy of Girl, Missing by Sophie McKenzie.  I've heard so many good things about Sophie McKenzie's books and have several on my to read pile that I'll be reading as soon as I have time.

Lauren is adopted and eager to know more about her mysterious past.  But when she discovers she may have been snatched from an American family as a baby, her life suddenly feels like a sham. 

Why will no one answer her questions?  How can she find her biological mum and dad?  And aree her adoptive parents really responsible for kidnapping her?

Lauren runs away from her family to find out the truth, but her journey takes her into more and more danger - as she discovers that the people who abducted her are prepared to do anything to keep her silent . . .


Don't forget to enter my other giveaways (see links at the top of the page) and check back every day this week for your chance to win more signed books.

Giveaway Details:
  • This giveaway is international so anyone can enter no matter where you live.
  • The winner will be chosen at random from all entries received.
  • To enter the giveaway all you need to do is fill in your name and email address in the form below (please have permission from your parents if you are under 16). Extra entries are available but they are entirely optional.
  • Only one entry per person please, any duplicate entries will be deleted
  • You have until the 28th of February to enter the giveaway and I'll announce the winner soon afterwards on my blog. The winner will have 48 hours to contact me with their postal address or another winner will be chosen.
  • Winners addresses will only be used by me to send out the prizes and will be deleted afterwards.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

1st Blogoversary Celebration Giveaway: A Summer Fling by Milly Johnson - NOW CLOSED

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


Since it's Valentine's Day (well it should have been when I posted this but I'm running a little late so apologies for that!) I thought I'd give away a romance novel for today's giveaway.  I've not read this one yet but I had the chance to meet Milly Johnson a couple of weeks ago and managed to get her to sign an extra copy of A Summer Fling for this giveaway. 

These girls are about to have a summer they'll never forget!

When dynamic Christie blows in like a warm wind to take over their department, five very different women find themselves thrown together at work . . .

Anna, 39, is left reeling after her fiance's departure with a younger woman.  Can she ever learn to trust again?  Then there's Grace, in her fifties, trapped in a loveless marriage with a man she married because she fell for his motherless brood.  Can she prevent 33-year-old Dawn - orphaned as a teenager and engaged to love-rat Calum - from making the same mistake she did?

At 28, Raychel would seem to be the happiest, with a loving husband, Ben, and their cosy nest for two.  But what dark secrets are lurking behind this perfect facade, that make sweet, pretty Raychel so unwilling to open up?

Under Christie's kindly hand, the girls know they have some difficult choices to make.  Indeed, none of them quite realised how much they needed the sense of fun, laughter, and loyalty that abounds when five women become friends.

I'm having problems with my camera so haven't been able to upload a picture of the signed book but I'll try and update the post to include one later today.  Good luck & don't forget to check back every day this week for more chances to win signed books.


I finally got my camera working so here is a picture of the signed book in this giveaway.

Giveaway Details:
  • This giveaway is international so anyone can enter no matter where you live.
  • The winner will be chosen at random from all entries received.
  • To enter the giveaway all you need to do is fill in your name and email address in the form below (please have permission from your parents if you are under 16). Extra entries are available but they are entirely optional.
  • Only one entry per person please, any duplicate entries will be deleted
  • You have until the 28th of February to enter the giveaway and I'll announce the winner soon afterwards on my blog. The winner will have 48 hours to contact me with their postal address or another winner will be chosen.
  • Winners addresses will only be used by me to send out the prizes and will be deleted afterwards.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

1st Blogoversary Celebration Giveaway: Entangled by Cat Clarke - NOW CLOSED

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


So it's day 2 in my blogoversary celebration giveaway week and today I'm giving away a signed copy of Entangled by Cat Clarke.  It is an advanced copy so doesn't have the finished cover but it is a very pretty pink ARC and I'm also including the cover flat shown in the picture below.  Entangled is a fantastic 2011 debut and I was lucky to be invited to Cat's launch party in January.  You can read my review of Entangled here or my write up for the launch party here for more information

More giveaways to come every day this week so make sure you come back and enter them all.

Giveaway Details:
  • This giveaway is international so anyone can enter no matter where you live.
  • The winner will be chosen at random from all entries received.
  • To enter the giveaway all you need to do is fill in your name and email address in the form below (please have permission from your parents if you are under 16). Extra entries are available but they are entirely optional.
  • Only one entry per person please, any duplicate entries will be deleted
  • You have until the 28th of February to enter the giveaway and I'll announce the winner soon afterwards on my blog.  The winner will have 48 hours to contact me with their postal address or another winner will be chosen.
  • Winners addresses will only be used by me to send out the prizes and will be deleted afterwards.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

1st Blogoversary Celebration Giveaway: Fallen & Torment by Lauren Kate - NOW CLOSED

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


I still can't believe I made it past my 1st blogoversary on 1st January 2011!  When I started my blog last year I had no idea the book blogging community even existed and never dreamed of all the wonderful new friends I'd make through blogging - both on and offline.  It's been such a fantastic year that although I'm late with the celebrations I can't let it pass without doing something special.  This week is going to be a celebration week here on the blog and there will be lots of fantastic giveaways for you to enter - in fact I'll be giving away 10 signed books from all kinds of genres so I'm hoping that there will be something here for everyone!


First up I have signed ARC copies of Fallen and Torment by Lauren Kate to give away.  I couldn't decide if I should have 1 or 2 winners for this one so I've created a poll to let you decide for yourselves.  We can either have 1 winner who will receive both books or if you'd like a higher chance of winning you can vote for 2 winners who will win one book each.  Whichever result has the most votes at the end of the giveaway is the one I'll go with so get voting now.

How many winners should there be?

Don't forget to check back throughout the week to enter the other fantastic giveaways I have lined up for you!

Giveaway Details:
  • This giveaway is international so anyone can enter no matter where you live.
  • Depending on the results of the above poll there will either be 1 winner who will receive both signed books or 2 winners who will receive 1 book each.
  • The winner/s will be chosen at random from all entries received.  If you vote to have 2 winners the first winner picked will win Fallen and the second winner will receive Torment
  • To enter the giveaway all you need to do is fill in your name and email address in the form below (please have permission from your parents if you are under 16). Extra entries are available but they are entirely optional.
  • Only one entry per person please, any duplicate entries will be deleted
  • You have until the 28th of February to enter the giveaway and I'll announce the winner/s soon afterwards on my blog.  The winner/s will have 48 hours to contact me with their postal address or another winner will be chosen.
  • Winners addresses will only be used by me to send out the prizes and will be deleted afterwards.

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