Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Review: A Beautiful Evil - Kelly Keaton

All Ari ever wanted was to know who she really was.  But the truth was beyond her worst nightmare.  A descendant of Medusa, Ari is cursed to become a monster, able to kill with a single look or touch.  Haunted by the horrific image of her future, Ari, along with the brooding, sexy Sebastian, is doing everything she can to find out more about Athena, the goddess who cursed her family and kidnapped young Violet.

But time is running out, and Ari must fight back.  And now, as she prepares to face Athena.  Ari knows she must unleash the very thing she's most afraid of . . . herself.

Gods and Monsters Series:
A Beautiful Evil (Released in the UK on the 2nd of February)

Visit Kelly Keaton's website for more information

Review:
I really enjoyed Darkness Becomes Her so was looking forward to reading A Beautiful Evil, I have found that I've been disappointed by quite a few sequels recently though so was a bit nervous that this wouldn't live up to my expectations.  I shouldn't have worried though because if anything Kelly Keaton's second novel was even better than the first.  This really is a fantastic series and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next.  If you're new to the series but looking for something unusual in the YA paranormal market then I'd highly recommend checking out Darkness Becomes Her, I love the fact that the author has focused on Greek mythology and come up with something completely different to anything else I've read.  This series does need to be read in order though and my review will include a major spoiler for the first book so you might not want to go any further unless you've already read it.

A Beautiful Evil picks up the story just after the ending of the first book.  Ari is trying to come to terms with the fact that she is a descendant of Medusa and that she is turning into a gorgon.  She is scared to learn to use her new abilities but if she wants to have a hope of rescuing Violet from Athena then she is going to have to face her fears.  The more she learns about Athena the harder her task appears to be but luckily she still has good friends who want to help her.

I loved getting to spend more time with Ari's new housemates in this installment.  One of the things I liked the most about the first book was the interaction between the group of misfits who all share an abandoned house in New 2.  We get to see more of Sebastian, Henri, Dub and Crank and learn a few more of their secrets in this book.  I did miss Violet though as we didn't see as much of her this time around but that was completely understandable and I'm hoping she'll have a bigger part to play in the next part of the story.  It is so nice to see that Ari is finally letting people past her defences and learning to rely on her friends.  She spent so long looking after herself that she still finds it hard to trust but she has come a long way since the first book.

Athena is proving herself to be a frightening enemy, she knows exactly how to hit Ari the hardest and enjoys making her suffer.  Ari isn't one to sit back and just let it happen though and she is getting stronger all the time.  I have a feeling the final showdown between the two of them will be explosive and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens.  This series is fast paced and the author always manages to surprise me with a few twists that I didn't see coming.  A Beautiful Evil is a quick and fun read with plenty of action and a hint of romance that has left me keen to pick up the next book.  If you enjoyed Darkness Becomes Her you don't want to miss this one.

Source: Received from Simon & Schuster 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.

New Ebook First Romance Imprint - Piatkus Entice


I had a very exciting email from Piatkus last week about their newest imprint Entice.  I have to say that Piatkus are already one of my favourite publishers for adult paranormal and historical romances so I'm always excited to see what they have coming next.  Here is the press release with all the details:

Whether you're lucky in love or still waiting for The One, we've got something guaranteed to inject a little romance into your Valentine's Day this year . . .

February 14th sees the launch of Piatkus Entice, our brand new eBook-first romance imprint.

With new titles each month from authors including Eloisa James, Laura Wright, Sarah MacLean, Mariah Stewart and many more, Piatkus Entice will be a one-stop-shop for romantic fiction, offering readers everything from virile vampires to fairytale endings, ravishing rakes and so much more besides.

The website is now live at www.piatkusentice.co.uk. Have a look around the site, then follow us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up to the Entice newsletter for the latest romance news straight to your inbox.

Isn't it exciting!  Here is a quick sneak peak at the Piatkus Entice launch titles:

9 Rules to Break when Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean

A lady does not smoke cheroot. She does not ride astride. She does not fence or attend duels. She does not fire a pistol, and she never gambles at a gentlemen’s club.

Lady Calpurnia Hartwell has always followed the rules, rules that have left her unmarried—and more than a little unsatisfied. And so she’s vowed to break the rules and live the life of pleasure she’s been missing.

But to dance every dance, to steal a midnight kiss—to do those things, Callie will need a willing partner. Someone who knows everything about rule-breaking. Someone like Gabriel St. John, the Marquess of Ralston—charming and devastatingly handsome, his wicked reputation matched only by his sinful smile.

If she’s not careful, she’ll break the most important rule of all—the one that says that pleasure-seekers should never fall hopelessly, desperately in love . . .

10 Ways to be Adored when Landing a Lord by Sarah MacLean

Since being named ‘London’s Lord to Land’ by a popular ladies’ magazine, Nicholas St John has been relentlessly pursued by every matrimony-minded female in the ton. So when an opportunity to escape fashionable society presents itself, he eagerly jumps – only to land in the path of the most determined, damnably delicious woman he’s ever met!

The daughter of a titled wastrel, Lady Isabel Townsend has too many secrets and too little money. Though she is used to taking care of herself quite handily, her father’s recent passing has left Isabel at sea and in need of outside help to protect her young brother’s birthright. The sinfully handsome, eminently eligible Lord Nicholas could be the very salvation she seeks.

But the lady must be wary and not do anything reckless and foolish . . . like falling madly, passionately in love.

11 Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart by Sarah MacLean

She lives for passion.

Bold, impulsive, and a magnet for trouble, Juliana Fiori is no simpering English miss. She refuses to play by society’s rules: she speaks her mind, cares nothing for the approval of the ton, and can throw a punch with remarkable accuracy. Her scandalous nature makes her a favorite subject of London’s most practiced gossips . . . and precisely the kind of woman the Duke of Leighton wants far far away from him.

He swears by reputation.

Scandal is the last thing Simon Pearson has room for in his well-ordered world. The Duke of Disdain is too focused on keeping his title untainted and his secrets unknown. But when he discovers Juliana hiding in his carriage late one evening – risking everything he holds dear – he swears to teach the reckless beauty a lesson in propriety. She has other plans, however; she wants two weeks to prove that even an unflappable duke is not above passion.

Winning the Wallflower by Eloisa James

Lady Lucy Towerton

Plain and tall (according to the lady herself). Titled, and irreproachably proper (according to her fiancé).

Until, overnight, she becomes . . .

Lady Lucy Towerton

Heiress (thanks to an aged aunt’s bequest). Belle of the Ball (so say the fortune hunters of the ton).

In charge of her own destiny (finally!), Lucy breaks her engagement and makes up her mind to never be proper again . . .






Eternal Blood by Laura Wright

Gray Donahue is crippled by the guilt he feels for his father’s death. An Impure vampire cursed with the ability to hear the thoughts of others, he indulges in blood and sex to stave off the pain of his existence.

He is then abducted by the Eternal Order of Vampires, who subject him to a nightmarish ritual. But when he is rescued by the icy pureblood vampire Dillon, he finds something that is worth living for, dying for, and killing for . . .









So what do you think?  Which of these titles do you want to read first?

I have to say I can't wait to read Winning the Wallflower by Eloisa James.  This novella is linked to her Happily Ever After series of regency fairytale retellings which I absolutely love (read my reviews by clicking on the titles A Kiss at Midnight, Storming the Castle, When Beauty Tamed the Beast and The Duke is Mine) so any new installments go straight to the top of my wish list!

I'm also really looking forward to starting Laura Wright's Mark of the Vampire series.  Eternal Blood is a novella set after book two in the series but I have the first two books on my to read pile so am hoping to get to them soon.  I've not read anything by Sarah MacLean before but I've heard a lot of good things about her books and I've been really getting into my historical romance recently.  9 Rules to Break when Romancing a Rake is the first book in her Love by Numbers series and it's another one that has been added to my wish list!

Monday, 30 January 2012

Review: Mortal Chaos - Matt Dickinson

The Butterfly Effect: the scientific theory that a single occurrence, no matter how small, can change the course of the universe forever.

Jamie and Will have bunked off school to go hunting. Kuni, an 18-year-old Japanese climber is approaching the summit of Mount Everest. Tina is piloting a troublesome flight from Heathrow to Moscow. Six-year-old Bakili is desperately guarding his family's crops from bloodthirsty baboons in Malawi. Shelton, an unhinged father in Washington DC, is hooked on revenge and building a bomb . . .

Flashing between characters around the world, Mortal Chaos is a heart-stopping adventure that will leave readers breathless. Though the action starts with an innocent beat of a butterfly's wings in sleepy Wiltshire, this sets in motion a global chain of events that build to a nerve-jangling climax of mayhem and destruction.

Some will live. Some will die. All are connected.

Mortal Chaos Series:
Mortal Chaos
Deep Oblivion
Speed Freaks

Visit Matt Dickinson's website for more information

Review:
I was intrigued about Mortal Chaos from the moment I read the blurb "Some will live. Some will die. All are connected". I already knew about the Butterfly Effect but I was really curious to see how Matt Dickinson would take that theory and spin it into a story. How do you manage to connect a jockey racing at Newbury, two boys bunking off of school, a female pilot, a Japanese girl climbing up Mount Everest and a young boy in Africa? If you're Matt Dickinson you do it in a story that is fast paced, action packed and full of twists that will have readers on the edge of their seats!

Mortal Chaos is written in short, snappy 1-2 page chapters that really build the tension as you follow multiple characters throughout their day. I was a bit worried that it would be hard to keep track of so many different people but I was surprised at how easy it was to keep each story line separate. The book starts with a butterfly but doesn't end with a hurricane - it does end in disaster though. Some of the links between characters are obvious but will have surprising consequences and other links are slowly revealed as the story progresses. The book will really make you think about how the smallest thing like leaving for work 5 minutes late can have a huge impact on the lives of people you may never even meet.

The author is skilled at making you think one thing will happen and then surprising you with something completely different. In a way it reminded me a bit of the Final Destination films where you know something terrible is coming, you have multiple moments where you think you know what that will be and then suddenly you're blindsided by something that you never even guessed at.

Mortal Chaos is a fast and addictive read that it is easy to devour in one sitting. I was excited to find that this is the first book in a series and definitely have the next book Deep Oblivion at the top of my wish list. I would highly recommend the story to anyone who is looking for an action packed and surprising story and think the short chapters make this ideal for teenagers who don't do a lot of reading. That isn't to say that avid readers won't also love it though - the story is compelling enough to captivate readers of any age.

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.

Paperback / Kindle:

Mortal Chaos Blog Tour - Q&A with Matt Dickinson

To celebrate the release of his debut YA novel Mortal Chaos this Thursday (the 2nd of February) I'm thrilled to have Matt Dickinson here today to answer some of my questions.  I will be posting my review of Mortal Chaos later today but trust me this is an action packed thrill ride that you don't want to miss so if it's not already on your wish list you need to add it now!

The Butterfly Effect: the scientific theory that a single occurrence, no matter how small, can change the course of the universe forever.

Jamie and Will have bunked off school to go hunting. Kuni, an 18-year-old Japanese climber is approaching the summit of Mount Everest. Tina is piloting a troublesome flight from Heathrow to Moscow. Six-year-old Bakili is desperately guarding his family's crops from bloodthirsty baboons in Malawi. Shelton, an unhinged father in Washington DC, is hooked on revenge and building a bomb . . .

Flashing between characters around the world, Mortal Chaos is a heart-stopping adventure that will leave readers breathless. Though the action starts with an innocent beat of a butterfly's wings in sleepy Wiltshire, this sets in motion a global chain of events that build to a nerve-jangling climax of mayhem and destruction.

Some will live.  Some will die.  All are connected.

Mortal Chaos Series:
Mortal Chaos
Deep Oblivion (July 2012)

Visit Matt Dickinson's website for more information

So without further ado please give a warm welcome to Matt Dickinson!

Matt Dickinson

About the book:

· For anyone who is yet to read Mortal Chaos, can you describe your book in 5 words?

Chaos. Connections. Crisis. Carnage. Catastrophe.

· What was the inspiration for the story and what gave you the idea of exploring the butterfly effect?

I have always been really fascinated by the way that small incidents can so often lead to big events. But I think the moment when I got really hooked was when I made a film about avalanches and discovered that avalanches weighing millions of tons can be triggered by a single snow flake.

· Character Kuni has some pretty terrifying experiences when climbing the north face of Everest, how much of that was based on your own climb?

Kuni has kind of a hard time of it on Everest. We were quite lucky by comparison but we still had our scary moments. There was a huge storm when 12 people were killed, and some quite edgy climbing to do on the summit day. My heart was in my mouth right until I got back to base camp.

· Can you tell us anything about the next two books in the series? Will there be any cross over of characters or events?

Mortal Chaos books are stand alone. That’s to say the characters are fresh in each book and so are the incidents. So there’s no run on between them and you can read them out of order without any problem.

· Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Write about your passions! Ask yourself what you are in to and get writing about the things you love. It’s always good to set yourself a target. If you were a writer still studying at college, for example, you could say ok—a thousand words a week. Then you have to stick to that target whatever happens! One year later you will have a novel sitting on your computer!

And some fun questions:

· How would you spend your fantasy 24 hours, with no travel restrictions?

Only one contendor for this one; straight out to the Baikal space centre in Kazakstan and a Soyuz 5 rocket into space. How cool would that be to see the earth from space? I can’t think of anything which would quite match that adrenaline rush!

· Who would you invite to your fantasy dinner party and why? (dead or alive!)

Leonardo Da Vinci, a Neanderthal and Audrey Hepburn (aged 30). the first because it would be cool to know who the Mona Lisa really was, the second because I’ve always had a hunch they were a lot more intelligent than we give them credit for, and the third because I really wouldn’t mind having a photo of myself with the most beautiful woman who ever walked the earth.

· Who would you like to play you in a film of your life?

Ben Stiller---I wouldn’t want to lose the comedy element. Even when disasters happen on expeditions there’s still a funny side to everything and I like to think I can always find it.

Thanks so much for stopping by Matt.  I have to admit I was reading most of the parts about Kuni's climb from behind a cushion so I'm scared to even think about how frightening the real thing would be!  I love the idea of taking a rocket into space though, what an amazing experience that must be.

Don't forget to check back later today to read my review of Mortal Chaos and make sure you check out the rest of the tour stops below:

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Review: Dead Until Dark - Charlaine Harris

Sookie Stackhouse is a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana.  She's quiet, keeps to herself, and doesn't get out much.  Not because she's not pretty.  She is.  It's just that, well, Sookie has this sort of 'disability'.  She can read minds.  And that doesn't make her too datable.  And then along comes Bill: he's tall, dark and handsome - and Sookie can't 'hear' a word he's thinking.  He's exactly the type of guy she's been waiting for all her life.

But Bill has a disability of his own: he's a vampire.  Worse than that, he hangs with a seriously creepy crowd, with a reputation for trouble - of the murderous kind.

And when one of Sookie's colleagues is killed, she begins to fear she'll be next . . .

Sookie Stackhouse Series:
Dead Until Dark
Living Dead in Dallas
Club Dead
Dead to the World
Dead as a Doornail
Definitely Dead
All Together Dead
From Dead to Worse
Dead and Gone
Dead in the Family
The Sookie Stackhouse Companion
Dead Reckoning
Playing Possum (Short Story in the An Apple for the Creature Anthology)
Deadlocked
Dead Ever After
After Dead: What Came Next in the world of Sookie Stackhouse

Visit Charlaine Harris' website  for more information

Review:
I have to start this review by mentioning how much I wanted to love this book.  I'm a big fan of the True Blood TV series but it's taken me a long time to get around to reading the books (even though I was given a box set of the first 8 books for Christmas 2 years ago).  I've heard so many good things about the series that I picked up Dead Until Dark with really high expectations and I think that was possibly part of the problem because I ended up so disappointed.  I actually struggled to finish reading it and think I would have given up if I didn't already own the next 7 books.  I really think I'm in the minority though as most people can't seem to get enough of these books. 

I'm not going to go into great detail about the plot because so many people have already read the series or seen the TV show so I'm going to focus on the things that I did and didn't like about it instead.  One of the things that really bugged me was the pure amount of pointless information we are given, within a couple of chapters it felt like I'd spent hours reading about Sookie's daily routine, Gran's laundry habits and had a lesson on how to properly clean a house, none of which I found even remotely interesting.  This made the plot feel incredibly slow, especially for the first half of the book.  The action finally picks up right at the end when the murderer is revealed but at that point everything seems to go into fast forward and was over almost before it started.

Despite the amount of page time devoted to inane trivia hardly any time was spent developing the characters.  We get to know Sookie fairly well because she is the narrator but she has to be one of the least interesting heroines I've come across in a long time and I didn't enjoy spending time in her head.  The best thing about her is her telepathic ability and I did enjoy reading about how it effected her daily life and the kind of prejudice that she faces because of it but apart from that she was incredibly boring.

Bill is like a cardboard cut out, I know nothing about him that makes him even a tiny bit interesting and I didn't feel the slightest bit invested in their relationship.  As far as I could tell Bill looks at Sookie as his walking buffet, he takes so much of her blood that she gets sick but then complains when she takes iron tablets because he doesn't like the taste of them - the simple answer there would be for him to stop drinking so much!  Come on, Sookie is badly beaten and knocked out but when she comes round she finds Bill licking her head wounds, creepy much?  I don't care if he is the one that saved her if that had been me I'd have been running a million miles in the opposite direction!  Quite frankly Bill is a control freak, their relationship is at times abusive and not once did I find it sexy, even the love scenes left me cold.

As for Sookie I have no idea what she saw in Bill, there was nothing to him that made me understand the attraction.  She states herself that she has always wanted to meet a vampire and it was like she was attracted to him purely because he is the first one she comes across.  The fact that she can't hear his thoughts is a bonus but I get the feeling that if she had met any other vampire first then Bill wouldn't have got a look in.  We don't really get to know any of the other side characters enough to care about them but I do have a bit of a soft spot for Sam and I absolutely love Eric but it's hard to tell if that's from the book or from the TV show.

I've been told by a lot of people that the series really starts to pick up at book 3 so I am going to try and read at least that far before I discount the whole series but unless the second book is an improvement on this one I'm not sure I'll make it to the end.  I've already mentioned that I seem to be one of the few people who didn't enjoy the book so don't let me put you off trying it but I can personally think of many urban fantasy series that have much stronger starts.

Source: This book was given to me as a Christmas present.

Other Reviews:
Read in a Single Sitting
Mithril Wisdom
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.

News Roundup: Reading App, New Covers & More

Well the exciting news just keeps on coming so I think I'm just going to do a regular roundup with some of the press releases I get sent from various publishers.  Some of this I'm sure you'll have already come across but hopefully there will be something new to catch your interest!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you're anything like me you'll have had a collection of the Ladybird Classics when you were a child (I'm pretty sure I've still got most of mine in a box in the loft somewhere!).  I loved these books and read them over and over again, a particular favourite was Mick the Disobedient Puppy and there was another one about a carousel horse that came to life but I can't remember the title of it.  Anyway, kids today don't have to settle for just the books, they can now have a fully interactive reading experience with the Ladybird Classic Me Books App.  Here is the press release to give you all the details:

Sir David Jason joins Adam Buxton and Josie Lawrence for an exciting new update to the award-winning Ladybird Classic Me Books App


London, UK – 26th January 2012 - Due to popular demand Penguin Children’s Books is delighted to announce additional titles in its No1 hit, Ladybird Classic Me Books App, along with an exciting new SAVE feature! Me Books is an innovative picture book app that allows parents and children to interact with and personalize picture books in an entirely new way. The Ladybird Classic Me Books App is available from the App Store on iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch for £0.69.

Sir David Jason joins the voice talents of Adam Buxton and Josie Lawrence; the well-known personalities that made the initial launch so popular. New titles include Puss in Boots, Rumpelstiltskin, Cinderella ‘Well Loved Tales’, Tootles the Taxi and Nursery Rhymes. These tales will join the existing 13 titles that are available as In-App purchases through the App Store, at £0.69 each.

Sir David Jason explains:
"The first time I clapped eyes on Me Books I was blown away. I knew these beautiful little Ladybird books very well, as we all do, but this new technology really brings something special to the table. It's storytelling with super powers. I thoroughly enjoyed narrating these stories and was so impressed by Me Books I've just bought an iPad for my family."

The additional titles follow on from the critically acclaimed launch of the app in August. Accolades include:

- The Telegraph’s ‘Top 10 kid’s apps, 2011’
- Winner of the Lovie Award 2011
- Apps Magazine - Best Entertainment App 2011 Award
- Shortlisted for the FutureBook Awards – Best Children’s App


The app includes a range of innovative features that create unique and engaging reading experiences, including:

READ. Me Books brings the picture book app experience back to reading and telling stories. We’ve added nothing to the books themselves, just a new way to bottle the creativity and imagination they inspire.

LISTEN. Classic stories are brought to life with charming narration from well known voices along with enchanting sound effects. Simply touch the words and pictures to hear them.

RECORD. We all know you tell the best stories and do the best voices so Me Books lets you do just that. Add your very own narration and sound effects by drawing audio ‘hotspots’ anywhere on the page.

PLAY. Playing with books is a brilliant way for children to develop their creativity, language and literacy. Me Books allows them to express themselves which isn’t just important, it's a downright hoot.

SAVE. You can now save up to three versions of each book making it possible to cherish your favourite stories time and time again.

Me Books comes with the beloved Ladybird Classics title “The Zoo” and is available for £0.69 from the App Store on iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.

Eric Huang, Publishing Director Media & Entertainment Penguin Children’s Books, said: “When we launched the Me Books App in August it was an instant success, topping the UK iPad Book App charts in September. Parents who read the same story over and over again to their children naturally start to personalize the story – or focus on details in the illustrations that aren’t in the text. Me Books offer interactive tools to enhance this family reading experience.”

“The response to Me Books has been incredible and the enduring popularity of these classic Ladybird books has been at the heart of it. We're excited to be building on a great start with this update as well as lots more Me Books apps for 2012!" James Huggins, co-Founder of Me Books.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I have been looking forward to reading Wonder by R.J. Palacio ever since I first heard about it, I think this is going to be one of those books that will make me cry my eyes out but hopefully it will leave me feeling good by the end.  This book is being published for both the YA and the adult markets with two very different covers.  I thought I'd share both covers here & see which one you all prefer.  Personally I love the YA cover and am not a big fan of the adult one but do you agree?

YA Cover

Adult Cover

Just in case you've not heard of Wonder before here is the blurb:

The most poignant, moving and heart-warming tale you will read this year; a book to devour in one sitting and press urgently into the hands of your friends and family. A true wonder of a book.

WONDER is the funny, sweet and incredibly moving story of Auggie Pullman. Born with a terrible facial deformity, this shy, bright ten-year-old has been home-schooled by his parents for his whole life, in an attempt to protect him from the stares and cruelty of the outside world. Now, for the first time, Auggie is being sent to a real school - and he's dreading it. The thing is, Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, underneath it all?

The YA edition is being published in the UK on the 1st of March and the adult edition will be available on the 7th of June.  You can visit the Wonder Facebook page for more information.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I had an exciting email from Faber and Faber about their new project aimed at 13-16 year olds.  Check out the press release below for more information:


FABER AND FABER LAUNCHES THE SPARK - A PLACE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE TO SHOWCASE THEIR CREATIVE SKILLS

Faber and Faber has launched THE SPARK www.facebook.com/thesparkpage, a place for 13 - 16 year olds who have an interest in creativity and reading. During 2012 THE SPARK, hosted on Facebook, will invite young people to take part in some exciting projects around acting, film-making, writing and music, each linked to and inspired by a Faber Young Adult title. Whilst students aren’t obliged to read the books to take part, we hope that they will not only be inspired to produce some creative work, but will also be encouraged to engage with the related books, and develop a greater interest in reading generally. Our aim is that THE SPARK will become a vibrant community where young people who love reading and creating can meet, talk and share. We have been extremely impressed by the entries for our recent project, run in association with the GUARDIAN, to find a talented young artist to create a new, iconic cover image for William Golding’s LORD OF THE FLIES and we hope that we can discover a similar level of creativity in each of the new projects to be launched this year.

Launch Project

ACTING – THE GLIMPSE by Claire Merle publishing June 2012

Launching in January 2012, we’re looking to find a young actor to play one of the characters in Claire Merle’s debut YA novel, THE GLIMPSE, in a series of web films. Entrants are invited to film themselves performing one of two audition scripts available at www.facebook.com/theglimpse and all entries will be showcased on THE GLIMPSE You Tube Channel.

The competition is open to anyone aged 13-18 years old (see terms and conditions) and the winner will be announced in March 2012

Coming soon…

Over the next few months we’ll be launching further projects for musicians/composers, film-makers and writers.

Music – THE CREWEL by Gennifer Albin publishing October 2012
We’re calling on musicans, band-members and singer-songwriters to produce an original music track inspired by Gennifer Albin’s novel CREWEL, to feature in the official book trailer. Launches February
2012

Writers – THE THINGS WE DID FOR LOVE by Natasha Farrant
To coincide with publication of Natasha Farrant’sTHE THINGS WE DID FOR LOVE, we are looking for aspiring writers to submit stories, poems or articles inspired by the themes of love or war. Launches March 2012

Filmmaking – THE FURY by Alexander Gordon Smith publishing April 2012
Alexander Gordon Smith's terrifying new book THE FURY is sure to keep readers awake at night. We’re looking for a young filmmaker to make a trailer for it. Launches April 2012

We hope THE SPARK will inspire creativity and conversation around books and plan to continue with further book-related creative projects in the future.

Find out more at www.facebook.com/thesparkpage. Follow THE SPARK @thesparkfeed

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I'm a massive fan of Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (you can read my review here) so I've been waiting to find out more about the next book in the series.  I was very excited that Laini has announced the title of book 2 along with a teaser that you can read on her blog here.  Obviously this isn't the finished cover but it is a nice way to announce the title:


So what do you think?  I absolutely love it and Days of Blood and Starlight is at the top of my wish list!  Have you read Daughter of Smoke and Bone yet?  If you haven't you really should get to it ASAP because it's a fantastic read.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I'm loving the trend of using modern technology to add extra features to books and think this is something we're just going to see more and more of now that smartphones are so popular.  Have a look at this press release from RHCB to see what they have done with the cover for Lauren Kate's new book Fallen In Love.

RANDOM HOUSE CHILDREN’S BOOKS AND TRANSWORLD PUBLISHERS BRING LAUREN KATE AND SOPHIE KINSELLA BOOK JACKETS TO LIFE WITH AURASMA

Random House Children’s Books (RHCB) and Transworld Publishers (TWP) have teamed up with Aurasma, the world’s leading augmented reality platform, to bring bestselling authors Lauren Kate and Sophie Kinsella’s book jackets to life.

When fans download a free app on their Smartphone then hold their device over the front cover of the book, the jacket images will come to life. Special video messages from the author can also be viewed by ‘scanning’ the author photos on the book jackets. The app, which works on iPhone and Android Smartphones, as well as iPad 2 and iPod touch, uses Aurasma’s ‘virtual browser’ to recognise trigger images through the phone’s camera, which then generate video content directly onto the device’s screen.

Fans of Lauren Kate can download the FALLEN BOOKS app and bring the front cover of Fallen In Love to life. The SOPHIE KINSELLA app will activate Sophie Kinsella’s new novel I’ve Got Your Number.

Please click here to see the Aurasma-enabled Fallen In Love cover in action:



Gavin Hilzbrich, Head of Digital Marketing at RHCB and TWP comments: “Increasingly our readers are looking for new ways to interact with authors and we’re always looking for innovative ways to market and enhance our publications. Innovation and development is at the heart of what we do and this project is an example of how we can use cutting edge mobile technology to engage our readers. We’re delighted with the outcome and have had a very positive reaction from retailers and have already set the wheels in motion for incorporating AR into future publications.”

Martina King, Managing Director of Aurasma said; “We are delighted to be working with two of the biggest publishing houses, Random House and Transworld Publishers, in the world’s first use of Aurasma on a book. Both Lauren Kate and Sophie Kinsella have millions of loyal followers around the world who we know will love to use their mobile devices to get closer to the story and their favourite authors. Aurasma offers readers the best of both worlds, bringing together the joy of owning a new book with the excitement of watching it come to life with digital content.”

FALLEN IN LOVE, publishing 2nd February 2012 is a riveting collection of four intertwined love stories featuring the Fallen characters. Since the publication of the first book, Fallen, in December 2009, Kate’s series has become a bona fide smash hit with close to half a million copies sold in the UK alone. All bestsellers in the United States, the novels of the Fallen series: Fallen, Torment, and Passion, have become international sensations, hitting No.1 slots in the UK, Australia and New Zealand, rights have sold in 33 countries and counting. The final novel in the series, Rapture, will be released in the UK in June 2012 taking readers on a journey that will close the chapter on Luce & Daniel’s love forever. Hilzbrich comments ‘With almost 50% of teenagers in the UK owning a Smartphone (and an even greater number having access to an iPod touch) we knew that a large percentage of Lauren Kate’s fans would have one of these devices close at hand, and mobile phones play a very central role’

Random House Children’s books will also be creating augmented reality covers for two further titles this year; broadcaster Simon Mayo’s debut ITCH in March and Starters, a futuristic thriller by Lissa Price in April.

I’VE GOT YOUR NUMBER is published in hardback on 16th February (priced £18.99) and is the eagerly-awaited new standalone novel by Sophie Kinsella. It is the hilarious story of a young woman who loses her mobile phone and stumbles across another discarded phone. Through emails, text messages and mysterious phone calls, she becomes mixed up in the life of the owner in a way she could never have expected. With a mobile phone at the heart of the storyline, augmented reality is the perfect method to allow readers to connect with the author and the plot. Sophie Kinsella is the author of 11 number one bestselling novels including the fabulously popular Shopaholic series; her novels have sold over 6 million copies in the UK and Ireland.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Last but not least if you're looking for a little pre-apocalypse fun make sure you check out the new 13th Horseman blog.  I'm really looking forward to reading Barry Hutchison's next book - I'm sure it's going to be a really fun read!  It releases in the UK on the 1st of March so look out for my review towards the end of February and in the meantime here is a bit more information about the book and the new website:

The apocalypse is coming. There’s no way out of I’m afraid. Nope, not even through that sneaky door labelled “exit” – it’s fire and brimstone for us all.

But hey! Let’s not be downbeat about it! Why not laugh your way to the end of the world with some commentary from one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse himself? Ok so he might not be the most mysterious or powerful of the four, but he’s probably not the ugliest anyway. Pestilence has set up his very own blog to document the lead up to the end – which you can read at http://www.the13thhorseman.com/

Conveniently the countdown to the end of the world coincides with the publication of the hilarious new book from Barry Hutchison, The 13th Horseman on the 1st of March. Barry has created this innovative blog to feature all sorts of extra information on the lives of the horseman. You can now learn why exactly Toxie the Hellhound owes them one, where Pest got that nasty rash and watch Death descend into madness (well, waiting for an apocalypse for thousands of years can be pretty boring). The end of the world has never been so entertaining.

You can find out more about Barry and his books here:

@barryhutchison
http://www.barryhutchison.com/
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Barry-Hutchison/144602165575963

Drake is surprised to find three horsemen of the apocalypse playing snakes and ladders in his garden shed. He's even more surprised when they insist that he is one of them. They're missing a Horseman, having gone through several Deaths and they think that Drake is the boy for the job. At first he's reluctant to usher in Armageddon but does being in charge of Armageddon have to spell the end of the world?

An apocalyptic blend of riotous comedy, heart-stopping action and a richly imagined fantasy adventure.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So that's all the news I have to share with you today, hopefully you found it interesting!

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Review: Seizure - Kathy Reichs

A 300-year-old legend

The Virals' home on Loggerhead Island is under threat, and only one thing can save it: a lot of money.

Rumour has it that notorious pirate Anne Bonny hid her treasure somewhere in Charleston in 1720.  No one knows where, but Tory Brennan - great-niece of famous forensic anthropologist Dr Tempe Brennan - is certain that the Virals can work out Bonny's cryptic clues.

A deadly path

It isn't long before the Virals are on the right track.  But they aren't the only ones searching for the treasure.  Someone is following them, and will stop at nothing to get their hands on it.

Dead bodies litter the trail.  Time is running out before the island will be sold.

Will the Virals' special powers be enough to save them?

Virals Series (This is YA spin off series from Kathy's adult Temperance Brennan Series):
Virals
Seizure

Temperance Brennan Series:
Deja Dead
Death du Jour
Deadly Decisions
Fatal Voyage
Grave Secrets
Bare Bones
Monday Mourning
Cross Bones
Break No Bones
Bones to Ashes
Devil Bones
206 Bones
Spider Bones
Flash and Bones

Visit Kathy Reichs' website for more information

Review:
Seizure is the second book in Kathy Reichs' Virals series which is aimed at the young adult market.  Although it is a spin off from her Temperance Brennan series (the main character Tory is Tempe's grandniece) it is very different to the adult series.  That isn't necessarily a bad thing - I for one am enjoying this new series - I just think it helps to know what to expect when you pick up the book.  Personally I still think it would have been better if the author hadn't tried to link the two series together because they are so different and I think fans of her adult series are picking these books up with expectations that aren't going to be met.

Although I liked Virals I have to say I think things stepped up a gear in Seizure and I enjoyed the second book even more.  This is turning into a great adventure series and it still has a very strong Famous Five feel to it.  You have to suspend belief at the things this bunch of 14 year olds can achieve but it is so much fun to read that I'm happy to do that.  Despite the fact that this book has nearly 500 pages it still feels like quite a fast read and it is the kind of book I would have devoured when I was younger.

Tory and her friends Hi, Shelton and Ben were changed forever when they were infected by an experimental virus that has added wolf genes to their DNA.  They are still learning how to use their new abilities and don't have full control over the "flares" that often come over them at the most awkward moments.  They are horrified when they find out that the research institute where all of their parents work is going to be closed.  It would mean them all moving away from each other and they know they need to stick together so they can keep their abilities secret.  In a desperate bid to raise the money that is needed to keep Loggerhead Island open for business they decide to go in search of pirate Anne Bonny's treasure.

Anyone who has ever watched the Goonies will immediately pick up on the similarities between the two stories - a group of very close friends living near each other don't want to be separated but are going to have to move because they don't have enough money to stay, both groups go in search of hidden pirate treasure to try and save the day, many other people have searched for this treasure before but most of them have never been seen again - I could go on with the comparison but I don't want to give spoilers (everything I just mentioned happens very early in the book).  As a massive fan of the Goonies I loved the similarities, I think it helps that the characters themselves make a reference to the movie and I'm sure Seizure is meant as a homage to the original story.

If you are looking for a a realistic crime thriller like the Temperance Brennan books then Seizure probably won't be the book for you.  However, if you're after a fun, old fashioned adventure story with a bit of a sci-fi twist then look no further (I would recommend you start with the first book in the series Virals though).  I'm sure this series will be popular with teens and I for one am really hoping we get to see more of Tory and her friends in the future.

Source: Received from RHCB 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.

YA Edition / Adult Edition

Review: A Demon Does it Better - Linda Wisdom

Bestselling author Linda Wisdom, with 13 million category romances sold, is working to build her single title audience with the hottest new area of the romance category– sexy demon heroes.

Lovely witch Lili Carter takes a job at a paranormal hospital where patients have been disappearing. There she encounters Jared, a dangerously sexy demon on a mission that gets Lili into a world of trouble. Lili can't avoid Jared for long and soon they find themselves creating a whole new kind of magick...

Demons Series:
Demons are a Girl's Best Friend
A Demon Does it Better

Visit Linda Wisdom's website for more information


Review:
Lili is a witch who uses her healing magic to be the best doctor she can be.  She has returned to Crying Souls Hospital to investigate the disappearance of her close friend Sera who was last seen working there.  Lili quickly realises that Sera isn't the only nurse to have vanished and she is determined to discover what became of them and try to locate her friend.  When she is asked to work with the mentally ill patients in the dungeon asylum underneath the hospital she is horrified to discover how badly they are treated and the conditions they are forced to live in.  The biggest mystery of all is Jared, a patient in the asylum but someone she also keeps bumping into outside the hospital.  How is he getting out and why was he locked up in the first place?

Although I liked A Demon Does it Better I have to admit that it didn't wow me.  I think that is at least partly because I picked it up without realising it was the second book in a series so was therefore unfamiliar with the world.  I hate to read a series out of order and the fault is completely mine for not checking properly before I started reading.  Although I believe each book in the series focuses on different main characters I still felt like I was missing something.

The main focus of the story is the romance between Lili and Jared and I felt things developed a little too quickly between them.  It meant I found it hard to believe in their relationship, especially at the beginning when I wasn't sure if Jared could be trusted.  Lili is a sweet character but there was nothing about her that made her stand out as a memorable heroine and I kind of felt the same about Jared.  We were told how hot and sexy he was but I didn't really feel it and I didn't find myself routing for them as a couple.

There are several side stories that could have been really interesting but most of them weren't explored as fully as they could have been.  For example there is a young ghost girl in the asylum that Lili wants to help move on, a big question is raised about how she could have ended up at the hospital in the first place but that seems to be forgotten about and we are never given an answer.  Even the mystery of the disappearing staff doesn't have much focus until nearly the end of the book when everything wrapped up a bit too quickly and easily.  I could give more examples but I don't want to give spoilers.

The story was quite humorous though and I liked most of the side characters even though they could have been fleshed out more than they were.  The author has created an interesting world populated with all kinds of shifters, witches, wizards and demons and I'm interested to find out more.  I will probably go back and pick up the first book in the series (Demon's are a Girl's Best Friend) at some point and I will keep an eye out for future releases.  I think if you're looking for a more light hearted and fun paranormal romance then it would be well worth giving this series a try, if you're looking for something more action packed and with a deeper mystery then this probably won't be enough to satisfy you.

Source: Received from the publisher via Netgalley 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.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Review: My Soul to Steal - Rachel Vincent

Sometimes dreams do come true...
and that's the last thing Kaylee needs

Working things out with Nash - her maybe boyfriend - is hard for Kaylee.  She's already coping with being a teenage banshee.  Worse, Nash's gorgeous ex-girlfriend just transferred to their school.

Sabine's no ordinary girl.  She's a mara, a real-life walking nightmare.  Draining people's energy through their darkest dreams sustains Sabine...and makes her Kaylee's top suspect in a cluster of super-creepy deaths.

To win back Nash, Kaylee's determined to unearth the truth.  But Sabine knows the deathly secrets of Kaylee's subconscious - and she's not afraid to use them to get whatever and whoever she wants...

Soul Screamers Series:
My Soul to Lose (prequel novella)
My Soul to Take
My Soul to Save
My Soul to Keep
Reaper (novella)
My Soul to Steal
If I Die
Never to Sleep (novella)
Before I Wake
With All My Soul

For more information visit Rachel Vincent's website

Review:
Warning, although this review won't contain spoilers for My Soul to Steal it is impossible to review without including spoilers for previous books.  If you're new to the series then I'd highly recommend starting with the first book My Soul to Take and not reading any more of this review.  This is one of my favourite YA urban fantasy series though so it is one I would highly recommend!

Wow things certainly get complicated for poor Kaylee in this latest installment to the Soul Screamers series.  She still feels incredibly betrayed by Nash after his actions in the last book and I can't say that I blame her.  I was pleased that Rachel Vincent doesn't try to sweep the results of Nash's addiction under the carpet and each of the characters show very real emotions as they deal with the aftermath.  Kaylee still loves Nash but she can't trust him, she doesn't want to lose him but she is scared to take him back and I could really feel for her.  Nash is trying really hard to give up his addiction and move forwards but he doesn't really have anyone to turn to for support which makes everything so much harder for him.  I really felt for Nash too and although I didn't want Kaylee to forgive him too easily I did wish that Tod could have helped him more.  Nash needed someone to be on his side and I really thought that his brother should have been there for him.

Add in the complication of Sabine who is literally Kaylee's worst nightmare and things go from bad to worse.  Sabine is a mara, a creature that feeds from nightmares, she knows your deepest darkest fears and plays on them so she can feed from you.  She also happens to be Nash's ex girlfriend.  Sabine wants him back and is willing to do whatever it takes, no matter how underhand, to get him.  I have to admit that I can't stand Sabine, she was a complete bitch and I just wanted to slap her but I did find myself feeling quite sorry for her too.  She has had a difficult life and I could understand why she is so jealous of Kaylee and so determined to get Nash back, that doesn't mean I want her to succeed though.  Despite the fact I hate her I think she makes a very interesting addition to the series, not only is she a new supernatural creature that I'd not heard of before (Rachel Vincent is great at coming up with unique ideas in both her adult and YA series!) but she changes the dynamics between the other characters in a way that was really fun to watch.

You might think that Kaylee has enough drama to deal with considering the arrival of Sabine but frankly that is the least of her worries when people at her school start being murdered.  Alongside the very realistic teenage dramas you have the added element of the paranormal mystery and we get to find out more about the Netherworld.  That really is a creepy place to be and Kaylee gets to see a bit more of it than she would have liked.  The action is edge of your seat stuff and had me hooked from beginning to end.  My Soul to Steal is a fantastic installment to the series and one that left me desperate to get my hands on If I Die, I can't wait to find out what happens next!

Source: I was given this book by the lovely Sammee from I Want To Read That, thanks Sammee!

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.

Quick Review: Reaper - Rachel Vincent

Tod Hudson was a typical teenager. He liked girls, sports, food and tolerated his younger brother, Nash. In fact, he had his whole life in front of him--and due to his bean sidhe heritage, it was going to be a very long life indeed. And then the car accident occurred.

Suddenly Tod's future wasn't so sure, and he had to make a choice. Life... Death... or something Between....

An ebook exclusive Soul Screamers series novella.

Soul Screamers Series:
My Soul to Lose (prequel novella)
My Soul to Take
My Soul to Save
My Soul to Keep
Reaper (novella)
My Soul to Steal
If I Die
Never to Sleep (novella)
Before I Wake
With All My Soul

For more information visit Rachel Vincent's website

Review:
Reaper is a novella in Rachel Vincent's Soul Screamers series that gives us the story of how Tod died and became a reaper.  I'm not saying anymore than that because it would be too easy to spoil things for you so if you want to know more you'll have to read the story for yourself.

If you're a fan of Tod then this is a must read novella, if you ever wondered how he was recruited as a reaper then you'll love this story.  The more I see of Tod the more I like him and for reasons I can't go into I have even more respect for him now than I did before after finding out exactly what happened to him.  I love Tod's sense of humour and it was great to see how his relationship with Nash was before he died compared to how they act together now.

I actually think you could read this novella before you've read any of the books in the Soul Screamers series without picking up spoilers but it is suggested in the Goodreads series list that you pick it up after My Soul to Keep.  I think the main reason for that is that it mentions a character that we don't hear anything about until My Soul to Steal but like I said I think you're safe to read it before then.  Either way this is a welcome addition to the series and one I would definitely recommend.

Source: I downloaded this novella when it was available for free on Rachel Vincent's website

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, 26 January 2012

Review: Magic Graves - Anthology

New York Times bestselling authors Jeaniene Frost and Ilona Andrews bring you two short stories of paranormal.

Jeaniene Frost's story, One for the Money, features vampires Cat and Bones trying to protect a spoiled heiress with a price on her head and an undead hitman on her trail. Previously published in Death's Excellent Vacation. Also includes the first three chapters from Jeaniene's story in The Bite Before Christmas anthology, as well as a sneak peek at ONCE BURNED, the first novel in the new Night Prince series.

Ilona Andrews' story, A Questionable Client, is a prequel to her award-winning Kate Daniels series. In a world beset by magic waves, Kate Daniels works as a mercenary. She is tired, hungry, and there is foul-smelling blood on her boots. All she wants to do is to go home, but when Mercenary Guild offers her a job she can't refuse, she finds herself protecting a man against Russian wizards. Previously published in Dark and Stormy Knights. Also includes first two chapters of FATE'S EDGE, book 3 in the Edge series, and first two chapters of Magic Grieves, a Kate Daniels novella.

Visit Ilona Andrew's website or Jeaniene Frost's website for more information.

One for the Money by Jeaniene Frost - 3.5 Stars

Night Huntress Series:
Halfway to the Grave
One Foot in the Grave
At Grave's End
Destined for an Early Grave
One for the Money (Short Story in the Magic Graves Anthology)
This Side of the Grave
One Grave at a Time
Home for the Holidays (Novella available as an ebook or as part of The Bite Before Christmas anthology)
Up from the Grave

Night Huntress World Series:
(This is a spin off from the Night Huntress Series that fits into the time line after Destined for an Early Grave)
First Drop Of Crimson
Eternal Kiss of Darkness

Night Prince Series:
(This is a spin off from the Night Huntress series that fits into the time line after One Grave at a Time)
Once Burned
Twice Tempted

Review:
One for the Money is set between Destined for an Early Grave (book 4) and This Side of the Grave (book 5).  Our favourite couple Cat and Bones have had to cut their holiday short to babysit a heiress who has had a contract taken out on her.  I always love spending time with Cat and Bones but would have liked to have seen more of them alone and less of the spoilt brat they were looking after.  This was still an enjoyable short story though and has helped tide me over until the next book in the series is released.

A Questionable Client by Ilona Andrews - 4 Stars

The Kate Daniels Series:
A Questionable Client (Short Story in the Magic Graves anthology)
Magic Bites
Magic Burns
Magic Strikes
Magic Mourns (Novella included in the Must Love Hellhounds anthology or available separately as an ebook)
Magic Bleeds
Magic Dreams (Novella included in the Hexed anthology or available separately as an ebook)
Magic Slays
Magic Tests (Short Story included in the An Apple for the Creature anthology)
Magic Gifts (Novella available for a limited time as a free ebook from the authors and included in the print version of Gunmetal Magic)
Gunmetal Magic (Kate Daniel's World book 1)
Retribution Clause (Short Story in the Hex Appeal anthology)
Magic Rises
Magic Steals (Novella included in the Night Shift anthology)
Magic Breaks
Magic Shifts
Magic Stars (Novella, Grey Wolf book 1)
Magic Binds

Review:
A Questionable Client is a prequel short story for the Kate Daniels series and shows a bit of Kate's history with the Mercenary Guild and we see her first meeting with shape shifter Saiman.  This is a great introduction to the series and I loved finding out more about Saiman who is a character that intrigued me in the first book Magic Bites.  Although short this story is full of humour and was a quick, enjoyable read that has reminded me how much I liked the first book in this series and has made me keen to continue reading Kate's story.

Source: Purchased

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

Book Trailer: Hollow Pike - James Dawson

I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to getting my hands on James Dawson's debut novel Hollow Pike, I've been waiting very impatiently for this one since the Orion Indigo launch event last year so am very pleased that I'll finally be able to pick up a copy when it goes on sale next week (on the 2nd of February yay).  In the meantime I thought I'd share the awesome trailer with you all to help build up the excitement!  I know some of you have already got your hands on this one so if you've read it then please let me know what you thought of it (leave me a link to your reviews if you've already posted them!)

A killer is out there, and the birds see everything...

Lis London is hoping for a fresh start when she arrives in the sleepy village of Hollow Pike.

But nothing here is as it seems... and a killer stalks the night.

Something wicked this way comes...

She thought she'd be safe in the country, but you can't escape your own nightmares, and Lis London dreams repeatedly that someone is trying to kill her.

Lis thinks she's being paranoid - after all who would want to murder her? She doesn't believe in the local legends of witchcraft. She doesn't believe that anything bad will really happen to her. You never do, do you?

Not until you're alone in the woods, after dark - and a twig snaps...

Visit James Dawson's website for more information

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Poppy's Review: Sanctus - Simon Toyne

REVELATION OR DEVASTATION?

The certainties of the modern world are about to be blown apart by a three thousand year-old conspiracy nurtured by blood and lies …

A man throws himself to his death from the oldest inhabited place on the face of the earth, a mountainous citadel in the historic Turkish city of Ruin. This is no ordinary suicide but a symbolic act. And thanks to the media, it is witnessed by the entire world.

But few understand it. For charity worker Kathryn Mann and a handful of others in the know, it is what they have been waiting for. The cowled and secretive fanatics that live in the Citadel suspect it could mean the end of everything they have built – and they will kill, torture and break every law to stop that. For Liv Adamsen, New York crime reporter, it begins the next stage of a journey into the heart of her own identity.

And at that journey's end lies a discovery that will change EVERYTHING …

Sancti Trilogy:
Sanctus
The Key (April 2012)
Title & release date for the third book TBC

Visit Simon Toyne's website for more information

Poppy's Review:
Sanctus is a story about an ancient order of monks and a secret that they are prepared to keep at any cost. I was totally hooked by intrigue within the first couple of pages and read the book at every opportunity until I reached the final word. The story opens at the Citadel in the Turkish City of Ruin where the monks live and following a curious death, the race is on for the monks to ensure that their secret is protected, while others outside the Citadel see it as the time to finally uncover it. Liv Adamsen is a reporter who lives many miles away in New York and her day to day life changes forever, as she embarks on a journey into the biggest story sending ripples around the world.

I really enjoyed the way the story unfolded through the first three quarters of the book. Segments of information are shared with the reader bit by bit, and they slowly start to knit together and a picture starts to form from the past and you can see how they led to current events. Having grasped what is going on and getting to know the characters and how and why they are involved in the story, the final quarter of the book increases to a fast pace and the short chapters finally bring you to [what I found to be] a satisfying end. I found that I had to read this final quarter of the book in one sitting as it was so compelling.

What I loved was not just the story itself and how it unfolded, but also the characters. As each character was revealed and became involved in events, I got the measure of each of them and although they were not created in great depth, I still cared about some and despised others, which made the concluding chapters of the book all the more breath taking and page turning.

For me Sanctus is a brilliant mystery thriller debut novel by Simon Toyne, which I enjoyed even more than The DaVinci Code.

Source: Poppy's own copy

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

Review: Betrayal - Lee Nichols

Emma Vaile is the most powerful ghostkeeper in centuries - which is great for battling the wraith master, Neos, but awful for her social life.  Emma knows fellow ghostkeeper Bennett Stern is her soul mate, but when ghostkeepers fall in love, the weaker one loses all power.  And until Neos is defeated, Bennett and Emma can't risk it.

When the temptation of being with Emma gets to be too much, Bennett disappears.  Heartbroken and alone, Emma tries to lose herself in school.  But when the Knell, a secret ghostkeeping society, sends two new ghostkeepers to Echo Point, Emma throws herself back into training to battle Neos.  As the team grows stronger, so do the ghosts.  And worse, one of their own will betray them.  One Emma never suspected . . .

Haunting Emma Series:
Deception
Betrayal
Surrender

Visit Lee Nichols' website for more information

Review:
With Emma trying to cope with the devastating events at the end of the first book and on a sharp learning curve when it comes to her ghostkeeping abilities she is going to need her friends more than ever.  Unfortunately Sara and Harry blame her for what happened to Coby and Bennett has done one of his vanishing acts so she finds herself more alone than ever.  Luckily she still has Natalie to rely on and she is kept busy training so that she can fight against Neos.

I loved Deception so had been really looking forward to reading Betrayal.  Unfortunately it didn't quite manage to live up to my expectations but it was still a good read and has left me looking forward to the final installment, Surrender, later this year.  I loved the fact that there was more action in Betrayal, the story has a much faster pace and kept me on the edge of my seat with some surprising twists and turns.

Now that Emma is aware that she's a ghostkeeper she is working hard to learn how to use her abilities against Neos.  She is determined to do whatever it takes to bring him down but she isn't going to be able to do it alone.  She has some surprising allies but she is also going to face some shocking betrayals, one in particular that really upset me.  I enjoyed finding out more about the Knell although I have to say that as a supposedly powerful organisation they seem rather weak when it comes to protecting themselves.  I did like getting to know Lukas and Simon though and it was interesting to see the dynamic between them, Emma and Natalie as they all learnt to trust each other and work together.

I think what I missed most were the interactions with Emma and Bennett, I really loved the two of them in Deception and wanted more of that.  Things started off really well but then Bennett disappears for most of the book which was disappointing.  When we do finally see him again I found myself annoyed with some of the decisions he has made and I'm concerned about how things will play out in the future.  I had also hoped to find out more about Emma's family in this book, I want to know more about why they have abandoned her and exactly what they are up to but it seems like I'll have to wait for the next book to get answers to all of my questions.

Although I didn't think this installment was quite as strong as the first I'm still really enjoying the Haunting Emma series and am looking forward to finding out what happens next.  The mythology Lee Nichols has created is unique and I'm enjoying finding out more about the ghostkeepers.  If you haven't picked up this series yet then it's one I would definitely recommend but you do really need to start with the first book Deception before you pick up Betrayal.

Source: I was given this book by the lovely Carly from Writing from the Tub, thanks Carly!

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.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails
There was an error in this gadget