Friday, 31 January 2014

Review: Clean Sweep - Ilona Andrews

On the outside, Dina Demille is the epitome of normal. She runs a quaint Victorian Bed and Breakfast in a small Texas town, owns a Shih Tzu named Beast, and is a perfect neighbor, whose biggest problem should be what to serve her guests for breakfast. But Dina is . . . different: Her broom is a deadly weapon; her Inn is magic and thinks for itself. Meant to be a lodging for otherworldly visitors, the only permanent guest is a retired Galactic aristocrat who can’t leave the grounds because she’s responsible for the deaths of millions and someone might shoot her on sight. Under the circumstances, "normal" is a bit of a stretch for Dina.

And now, something with wicked claws and deepwater teeth has begun to hunt at night . . . Feeling responsible for her neighbors, Dina decides to get involved. Before long, she has to juggle dealing with the annoyingly attractive, ex-military, new neighbor, Sean Evans—an alpha-strain werewolf—and the equally arresting cosmic vampire soldier, Arland, while trying to keep her inn and its guests safe. But the enemy she’s facing is unlike anything she’s ever encountered before. It’s smart, vicious, and lethal, and putting herself between this creature and her neighbors might just cost her everything.

Innkeeper Chronicles:
Clean Sweep
Sweep in Peace
One Fell Sweep

The Edge Series:
(These two series are set in the same world and characters from The Edge make an appearance in the Innkeeper Chronicles)
On the Edge
Bayou Moon
Fate's Edge
Steel's Edge

Visit Ilona Andrews' website for more information

Review:
Clean Sweep was originally published as a free serialised novel on the Ilona Andrews website, I hated the idea of having to wait between instalments so I decided to hold off until the story was complete before reading it. When the authors were looking for beta readers to help edit the story before it was published I jumped at the chance of helping and I feel it's only fair to point that out even though I've tried very hard not to let that effect the way my review has been written. If you look closely you'll spot my name in the acknowledgements but even though I received a free ebook from the author I loved it so much that I also purchased a print copy to sit on my bookshelves.

Part of the Clean Sweep Acknowledgements

Anyway, to get back to my review I have to tell you that I'm a huge fan of Ilona Andrews and their Kate Daniels series, they have become an auto buy author for me and Clean Sweep just helped to confirm the reason for that. They really do create such fantastic and unique worlds and I adore all of their characters, the fact that they treat us to strong heroines and alpha heroes who respect women and never step over the line into a-hole territory just seals the deal.

This story may have vampires and werewolves but it's far from your normal paranormal affair and you will also be treated to alien worlds and unusual races - the scope for future adventures in this world is just astounding! Dina is an Innkeeper, part of a magical race who offers safe haven to intergalactic travellers who are visiting foreign realms. She has an almost symbiotic relationship with the Inn she runs, the house protects her and she is able to draw from it's strength but without her keeping the Inn would wither away and die. Innkeepers have a duty of care to their guests and will do anything in their power to keep them safe but they are supposed to remain neutral when it comes to anything outside of their territory. Dina finds herself unable to sit back and do nothing when something starts attacking people in her neighbourhood though and she soon finds herself in a whole heap of trouble.

I don't want to say too much about Dina's relationship with the Inn so I'm just going to say I loved it, the Inn is almost like an additional character in the story and I really enjoyed getting to see how they were able to work together against their enemies. Dina has certain abilities on her own but she is stronger by far when she is in her own territory and has the Inn's power to back her up. She really is a great main character, someone who is honourable and determined to do the right thing even if it puts her life at risk, in fact Dina is the kind of person you'd want at your back if you were in trouble. There has been tragedy in her past but that has just made her all the more determined to make a success of her Inn and to build a legacy that she can be proud of.

The romance takes a back seat in this story which is a good thing because the authors spend more time focusing on their world building and introducing the characters but we are treated to a couple of alpha hotties who I'm looking forward to getting to know better. Normally even a hint of a love triangle would have me running in the opposite direction but I'm glad to say that isn't the case here and I'm actually really intrigued by both of the potential love interests. First you have Sean, an alpha werewolf who knows very little about the supernatural world and where he came from, he has his eyes opened in a big way but although it comes as quite a shock he takes most things in his stride. The scenes between him and Dina had me laughing out loud on several occasions and I loved seeing her put him in his place rather than going stupid around him just because he's a sexy man. They have great chemistry and I want to see them spending more time together as the series continues.

Alpha werewolf Sean

The other guy Arland is a vampire from a powerful family, he is noble and proud but very respectful when it comes to Dina. He understands her abilities so knows just what she is capable of but he still wants to help keep her safe. Both guys are protective and they can be quite growly towards each other but Dina won't accept any of their crap and she is more than capable of standing up to them. We don't get to know Arland quite as well but there are some great scenes with him and I found myself really liking him too. I'm not going to say who I think Dina will end up with because although I have picked a team I don't think it would take a lot to make me switch sides!

Vampire Arland

I could go on and on about the things I loved about this book but I really think you should just read it for yourself rather than have me spoil it for you. The special edition print version contains beautiful images of the main characters (these could only be improved if they were in colour) and I believe these illustrations are included in the ebook too. I'm excited that this is the first book in a new series and any new books will automatically go to the top of my to buy list the second they are released! If you're looking for a new urban fantasy series that is unique and memorable then Clean Sweep is a must read, as is anything else Ilona Andrews has ever written!

Source: I received an ebook of this from the author in exchange for an honest review but I have also purchased my own print copy

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:

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Review: Seize the Night - Sherrilyn Kenyon

Valerius isn't a popular Dark-Hunter - he's a Roman, which means that the largely Greek Hunters have a major grudge against him and his civilisation for superseding them. To make things worse, he's very conscious of his aristocratic background and breeding. So it serves him right when he runs into Tabitha Devereaux. She's sassy, sexy and completely unwilling to take him seriously. (Not to mention she's also the sister-in-law of Kyrian, a former Dark-Hunter and Val's mortal enemy.)

What Tabitha does take seriously is hunting and killing vampires, and soon she and Val have to grapple with the deadliest of all Daimons - one who's managed to come back from the dead, and one who holds a serious grudge against both of them. To win against evil, Val will have to loosen up, learn to trust and put everything on the line to protect a man he hates and a woman who drives him crazy.

The Dark-Hunters Series:
The Beginning (Short Story)
Fantasy Lover
Dragonswan (Novella) (Were-Hunter 0.5)
Night Pleasures
Night Embrace
Dance with the Devil
Kiss of the Night
Night Play (Were-Hunter 1)
Seize the Night
Sins of the Night
Unleash the Night (Were-Hunter 2)
Dark Side of the Moon (Were-Hunter 3)
The Dream-Hunter (Dream-Hunter 1)
Fear the Darkness (Short Story)
Devil May Cry
Upon the Midnight Clear (Dream-Hunter 2)
Dream Chaser (Dream-Hunter 3)
Acheron
One Silent Night
Dream Warrior (Dream-Hunter 4)
Bad Moon Rising (Hellchaser 1)
Dark-Hunter: An Insider's Guide (Hellchaser 2)
No Mercy (Were-Hunter 5)
Retribution
The Guardian (Dream-Hunter 5, Were-Hunter 6, Hellchaser 3)
Time Untime (Were-Hunter 7, Hellchaser 4)
Styxx
Dark Bites (Short Story Anthology)
Son of No One (Were-Hunter 8, Hellchaser 5)
Dragonbane (Were-Hunter 9, Hellchaser 6)
Dragonmark (2016)

Chronicles of Nick Series:
(This is a YA spin off from Sherrilyn Kenyon's adult Dark-Hunters series)
Infinity
Invincible
Infamous
Inferno
Illusion
Instinct
Invasion (2016)
Intensity (2017)

Visit Sherrilyn Kenyon's website for more information

Review:
I'm going to admit that I was a bit nervous about picking up Seize the Night, having seen Valerius through both Kyrian and Zarek's eyes I went into this book feeling quite prejudiced towards him. Although we had started to see a nicer side to him in Night Play I still wasn't expecting to like him all that much but I should have known that Sherrilyn Kenyon would completely turn my opinion on it's head. It didn't even take her that long to do it and I found myself feeling sorry for him very quickly!

Valerius comes across as very high and mighty like he thinks he is better than everyone else but when you get to know him you realise that it is a self defence mechanism that he has perfected over the centuries of his life. We already knew a little about his background and the family he was born into but we get to see just how badly he was treated by his father and older brothers and it was quite heartbreaking to watch. As much as I understand why Zarek was so angry with him seeing things from Valerius's side show that he was as much a victim as Zarek was. Kyrian has even less reason to treat Valerius the way he does and there were times I actually found myself getting quite annoyed with him. After everything Valerius suffered in his human life he has gone through centuries of exile from his fellow Dark-Hunters, they don't trust him and nobody willingly spends time with him so it is no wonder that he has developed such a bad attitude.

Tabitha is the first person to see through his defences to the vulnerable man underneath. She accepts him for who he is and doesn't blame him for his family's actions. The two of them are complete opposites in a lot of ways, where Valerius is very buttoned up and acts like he has a stick up his ass Tabitha is much more fun loving. She likes to have fun, doesn't take life too seriously and takes great pleasure in shocking Valerius with her actions. The interactions between them were absolutely hysterical, there were so many times I found myself snorting with laughter at the way she provoked him and his shocked responses. I just loved every minute spent with the two of them and it was great to see Tabitha stand up for her man around the other Dark-Hunters. Seeing how their opinions about him were slowly changed was wonderful and Tabitha played a massive role in that.

Alongside the scorching hot romance there are some really interesting developments in the world as a whole. There were times when I had my heart in my mouth and I can't tell you how shocked and horrified I was by some events that occurred - this really was quite a traumatic read and parts of it brought tears to my eyes. This series just gets better and better with every instalment and I can't wait to continue the journey in Sins of the Night.

Source: Received from Piatkus 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:

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Review: The Dark Inside - Rupert Wallis

The House on the Hill has been abandoned for as long as James can remember. So when he discovers Webster, a drifter, hiding there, he's instantly curious about the story behind the homeless man. What is he running from?

Afflicted by a dark curse, Webster is no longer who he used to be. But there is said to be a cure and it might just be that by helping Webster, James will find some solace of his own. Together they embark on a journey, not knowing that what they discover will impact them both in ways they never imagined...

A gripping and haunting story about loss and hope, perfect for fans of Patrick Ness and David Almond.

Visit Rupert Wallis's page on Goodreads for more information

Review:
James is a 13 year old boy who is struggling to come to terms with the death of his mother. He doesn't have the best home life and is stuck living with a step-father who drinks too much and can become violent. Everything changes for James when he meets Webster, a homeless man who is staying in an abandoned house that James spends time in when he needs an escape. Webster is running from something and claims to have a dark curse hanging over him but can James help him find a cure?

I have to admit I wasn't too sure what to expect from The Dark Inside, it's not the kind of book I would usually pick up but after hearing a reading by Rupert Wallis at a Simon & Schuster blogger event I just had to try it and I'm glad that I did. Sometimes it's nice to step out of your comfort zone - especially when you find a gem like this book! If I had any fears that I wouldn't be able to relate to a 13 year old boy they were quickly proved unfounded and within the space of a couple of chapters I was fully invested in James's story. He is such a sweet boy and he reminded me of my younger brother at that age, they have the same curiosity about the world and eagerness to find adventure. Even though James has been through a lot and has been let down by the people who should protect him he is still the kind of boy who sees the good in people, he wants to help Webster even if he isn't sure what to believe about Webster's curse.

One of the things that is done particularly well in this novel is the paranormal element. Nothing is ever completely laid out so although you are given strong hints about what happened there is enough ambiguity for the reader to be able to make up their own mind about things. You can choose to take the paranormal events at face value or you can decide that they are the product of an incredibly over-active imagination. I'm not going to tell you my decision though - you'll just have to read the book and make up your own mind.

I loved the characters in The Dark Inside, both James and Webster are both well developed and have intriguing backgrounds that make you want to spend time getting to know them but we also meet some other interesting people along the way. I don't want to say too much about them for fear of giving spoilers so I'll just tell you that Ma was one of the creepiest old ladies I've ever come across! The story touches on some difficult subjects dealing with James's grief and his sense of loneliness and Webster's anguish about things that happened in his past but there is also plenty of action and danger from more than one direction. This is the kind of book that it is easy to get lost in and the short chapters make it an incredibly quick read - I kept telling myself I'd read just one more chapter and before I knew it I was at the end of the story. This is a fantastic debut from a new British author and I'm looking forward to seeing what Rupert Wallis comes up with next!

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.

Hardback / Kindle:

Blog Tour Guest Post: Editor Jane on Editing the Dark Inside by Rupert Wallis

To celebrate the release of Rupert Wallis's debut novel The Dark Inside I'm thrilled to welcome Rupert's editor Jane to the blog today so she can tell you about her experience editing the story. Before I hand over to Jane let me give you a bit more information about the book:

The House on the Hill has been abandoned for as long as James can remember. So when he discovers Webster, a drifter, hiding there, he's instantly curious about the story behind the homeless man. What is he running from?

Afflicted by a dark curse, Webster is no longer who he used to be. But there is said to be a cure and it might just be that by helping Webster, James will find some solace of his own. Together they embark on a journey, not knowing that what they discover will impact them both in ways they never imagined...

A gripping and haunting story about loss and hope, perfect for fans of Patrick Ness and David Almond.

Visit Rupert Wallis's page on Goodreads for more information

Author Bio (Taken from Goodreads)
Rupert Wallis read Theology at Cambridge University and holds an MFA in Screenwriting and Writing for Television from the University of Southern California. In 2010/11 he was one of five novelists chosen from the South West of England to participate in a mentorship programme funded by the Arts Council. He now lives in Cornwall.


Now please give a very warm welcome to Jane from Simon & Schuster!

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

It’s almost an editorial cliché to say that you know a manuscript is special as soon as you start reading it, but in the case of Rupert’s novel, it’s completely true. Ingrid Selberg, Simon & Schuster Children’s Managing Director, read THE DARK INSIDE first (although it wasn’t actually called that at the time, but more on that in a minute…), and almost instantly urged me to do the same and once James and Webster’s story had me under its spell, I found it hard to stop reading. In fact I did the rare thing of reading practically the whole manuscript at my desk (usually looking at submissions is something I find time for when I’m at home or on my commute). Ingrid and I soon made sure that the rest of the team were reading this special manuscript, and the response was overwhelming positive: we had to have this book! Within just a few days we’d made an offer to Rupert’s agent and were very pleased when she told us that Rupert would love to publish his debut novel with us.

The editorial process is different with every author, as you work out a balance between their vision for the book and your suggestions for changes that you think will help improve their work. In the case of THE DARK INSIDE, the draft I read on submission was especially strong and whilst I had some ideas, overall it wasn’t a heavy edit as Rupert knew his story and characters inside out. But even in a strong manuscript like THE DARK INSIDE, when you start the editorial process, it soon becomes clear how even just small changes can make one element or plot thread shine.

I don’t want to give away too much of the story, but one of the key changes we made was removing the “W” word… and by that I mean “werewolf”. In the first version of the manuscript, Webster vocalises the word werewolf, making it clear what creature he believes attacked him, but I wanted it to be more uncertain. By removing the word werewolf itself from the text, the supernatural element of the plot became much more ambivalent. It’s a change that might seem fairly simple, but that actually dramatically changed the feel of the book, especially the moment when you discover Webster believes he is “cursed”. Having Webster’s ailment unnamed – even if some of the text strongly alludes to what his “curse” might be – somehow makes it all the more powerful and also in keeping with Rupert’s own vision that readers should make up their own minds as to whether the supernatural side of the story is real or just within the characters minds. The other main change we made during the edits was to the ending. I’m sure Rupert won’t mind me saying that the original ending was perhaps a little bleak… and whilst I didn’t want everything to be completely resolved, there definitely needed to be more of a glimmer of hope. I’ll leave you to find out the actual ending yourselves, but I feel that now it’s a more fitting conclusion for the characters.

Aside from changes to the text, something else we discussed was the title. Initially the book was called DON’T BE SCARED, an intriguing title, but in-house we felt that it wasn’t quite right, it just didn’t say enough. Rupert then sent me a long list of alternatives he’d come up with whilst writing, and after discussions back and forth with the sales and marketing team and with Rupert and his agent we decided upon THE DARK INSIDE. It came from a line within the book that seemed to resonate with lots of people and alluded to both the darkness of some of the characters in the book and the metaphorical void of darkness that both Webster and James feel. Somehow it was just the right fit for the novel and seeing it on the beautiful cover – as designed by the talented Paul Coomey – I think we definitely made the right decision.

Of course once the text and title are finalised there is still plenty to do as an editor: discussing the cover brief with design, talking through marketing ideas, and in the case of THE DARK INSIDE I even went with Rupert to the printer to help with his author signing for a special edition we’re doing for independent bookshops… all these things and more are part of the process of working on a book. In-house an editor is the person who drives the book and keeps the enthusiasm going by making sure that as many people know about a book internally as possible – basically you become a bit of a broken record as you enthuse and enthuse about your books! Luckily with THE DARK INSIDE the whole team fell in love with the novel from the outset, making that part of my role very easy. I just hope that readers will see how special this book is, and that it gets the response it deserves. It is one of the books I am most excited about on our list this year, and definitely one that I feel lucky to have been able to work on. Now I’m looking forward to reading the first draft of Rupert’s next book which should be landing on my desk any day now…

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

Thanks for a fabulous guest post Jane, I've already read The Dark Inside and have to say I really enjoyed it so I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what Rupert comes up with next! I'll be posting my review later today but in the meantime make sure you check out the rest of the stops on The Dark Inside blog tour, see the banner below for details:

Cover Reveal: Sex on The Beach Series by Jenna Bennett, Jen McLaughlin & Jennifer Probst (#SEXONTHEBEACH) + International Giveaway


Today is the big cover reveal for the SEX ON THE BEACH series! This series includes the novellas BEFORE YOU by Jenna Bennett, BETWEEN US by Jen McLaughlin, and BEYOND ME by Jennifer Probst. All three novellas will be released on the 4th of March.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHORS:

Dear Reader,
Prepare yourself for Sex on the Beach, a trilogy featuring BETWEEN US (Jen McLaughlin), BEYOND ME (Jennifer Probst), and BEFORE YOU (Jenna Bennett). Three separate novellas. Three different authors. One literary world. Read them all, or just read one. It's up to you! No matter which route you choose, these standalone novellas are sure to satisfy your need for sizzling romance and an emotion packed story.

Happy Reading!
Jen, Jenna, and Jennifer

Before You by Jenna Bennett

BOOK SUMMARY:

It’s all fun and games

I had a simple plan for spring break.

Sun, sand, and a hot guy. Sex on the beach, with no strings attached.

A chance to get rid of this pesky virginity once and for all.

And when I met Tyler McKenna, I thought I had it made.

Until someone gets hurt

But then girls started turning up at Key West landmarks. Girls who looked like me, but with one crucial difference: They’d all been drugged and relieved of their virginity.

The virginity I still have. The virginity Ty refuses to take.

And now I've begun to wonder whether there isn't more to him than meets the eye.

Suddenly, sex on the beach doesn't sound so good anymore...

BETWEEN US by Jen McLaughlin

BOOK SUMMARY:

I'm just a girl…
I'm a famous country star who's spent her life cultivating a good girl persona to avoid bad press, but I've reached my limit. I'm going away for spring break with my two best friends from college, and we've vowed to spend the vacation seeking out fun in the sun—along with some hot, no-strings-attached sex. The only thing I needed was the perfect guy, and then I met Austin Murphy. He might be totally wrong for me, but the tattooed bad boy is hard to resist. When I’m in his arms, everything just feels right.

And I'm just a guy…
I'm just a bartender who lives in Key West, stuck in an endless cycle of boredom. But then Mackenzie Forbes, America's Sweetheart herself, comes up to me and looks at me with those bright green eyes…and everything changes. She acts like she's just a normal girl and I'm just a normal guy, but that couldn't be further from the truth. My past isn't pretty, you know. I did what I had to do to survive, and she'd run if she learned the truth about my darkness. But with her, I'm finally realizing what it's like to be alive. To laugh, live, and be happy.

All good things must come to an end...

Beyond Me by Jennifer Probst

BOOK SUMMARY:

CAN FUN IN THE SUN TURN INTO LASTING LOVE?
Spring break in Key West with my besties was supposed to be casual fun. But I never expected to meet James Hunt. Sex and frolic? Yes! A relationship? No. But his hot blue eyes and confident manner drew me in. And when he let me see the man behind the mask, I fell hard, foolishly believing there could be a future for us. Of course I never considered our relationship might be based on lies...or that his betrayal could rock my foundation and make me question everything I believed in...

OR WILL A LIFE BUILT ON LIES RUIN EVERYTHING?
The moment I saw Quinn I knew I had to have her. She hooked me with her cool eyes and don’t touch me attitude. I had it all, money, social status, and looks. I could get any girl I wanted...until her. When my friends challenged me with a bet to get her into bed by the end of the week, I couldn’t pass it up. But sex wasn’t supposed to turn into love. She wasn’t supposed to change me, push me, and make me want more for myself. She wasn’t supposed to wreck me in all ways. And now, if I can’t turn my lies into truth, I just might lose her forever...

GIVEAWAY:

The authors are giving away a $60 Gift Card to one lucky winner. You can enter using the Rafflecopter form below, the winner will be contacted directly by the authors so they can arrange to send out your prize.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


GOODREADS CONTEST:

For each book that gets to 500 adds, 5 pages of that novella will be released! 10 pages will be released after 600 adds, 15 pages after 800 adds, and 20 pages after 1000 adds! So, spread the word and be sure to add each book to your goodreads list.

LINKS:
BEFORE YOU - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20371409-before-you
BETWEEN US - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20369409-between-us
BEYOND ME - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20371567-beyond-me

Time for some Teasers!




About the Authors:

Jenna Bennet

Bio:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jenna Bennett (Jennie Bentley) writes the Do It Yourself home renovation mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime and the Cutthroat Business mysteries for her own gratification. She also writes a variety of romance for a change of pace. For more information, please visit her website, www.jennabennett.com

Links:
Website: www.jennabennett.com
Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jenna-Bennett-Jennie-Bentley/192400104127600
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Bennett_Jenna
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1549070.Jenna_Bennett

Jen McLaughlin

Bio:
Jen McLaughlin is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She writes steamy New Adult books for the young and young at heart. Her first release, Out of Line, came out September 2013. She also writes bestselling Contemporary Romance under the pen name Diane Alberts.Since receiving her first contract offer under the pen name Diane Alberts, she has yet to stop writing. She is represented by Louise Fury at The Bent Agency.

Though she lives in the mountains, she really wishes she was surrounded by a hot, sunny beach with crystal clear water. She lives in Northeast Pennsylvania with her four kids, a husband, a schnauzer mutt, a cat, and a Senegal parrot. In the rare moments when she’s not writing, she can usually be found hunched over one knitting project or another. Her goal is to write so many well-crafted romance books that even a non-romance reader will know her name.

Links:
Website: http://dianealberts.com/
Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/DianeAlberts6
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DianeAlberts
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6921962.Jen_McLaughlin

Jennifer Probst

Bio:
Jennifer Probst wrote her first book at twelve years old. She bound it in a folder, read it to her classmates, and hasn’t stopped writing since. She took a short hiatus to get married, get pregnant, buy a house, get pregnant again, pursue a master’s in English Literature, and rescue two shelter dogs. Now she is writing again.

She makes her home in Upstate New York with the whole crew. Her sons keep her active, stressed, joyous, and sad her house will never be truly clean.

She is the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of sexy and erotic contemporary romance. She was thrilled her book, The Marriage Bargain, was ranked #6 on Amazon's Best Books for 2012. She loves hearing from readers. Visit her website for updates on new releases and her street team at www.jenniferprobst.com.

Links:
Website: www.jenniferprobst.com
Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/jenniferprobst.authorpage
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jenniferprobst
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2965489.Jennifer_Probst

Monday, 27 January 2014

Review: The Forever of Ella and Micha - Jessica Sorensen

Ella and Micha have been through tragedy, heartbreak and love. When they are together, anything seems possible, but now they are thousands of miles apart.

Micha spends the days touring the country with his band, but being away from Ella is harder than he thought. He wants her closer to him - needs her with him. But he won't ask her to leave college, just to be with him. The few moments they do spend together are fleeting and filled with passion. They know they want to be together, but is wanting something enough to get them to their forever?

The Secret Series:
The Prelude of Ella and Micha (Novella)
The Secret of Ella and Micha
The Forever of Ella and Micha
The Temptation of Lila and Ethan
The Ever After of Ella and Micha
Lila and Ethan: Forever and Always (Novella)
Ella and Micha: Infinitely and Always (Novella)

Visit Jessica Sorensen's website for more information

Review:
I really enjoyed The Secret of Ella and Micha so I was looking forward to seeing how the couple are getting on in this sequel. Ella is now at college studying while Micha is on tour with his band so they aren't getting to spend as much time together as either of them would like but they're just as in love as ever. Being so far away from each other is hard but I loved the fact that they trust each other, there are no doubts about whether one of them is being unfaithful and neither of them ever considers asking the other to give up their dreams so they can be together immediately. It's so nice to read about a NA relationship that is so supportive!

Ella is still struggling to deal with her past, she is suffering with depression and is in a bad place mentally. Micha wants to be there to help her through but Ella is smart enough to realise that she can't let him be her crutch forever. She has to make changes within her own life if she wants to get better and she needs to take a step back from her relationship to do that. She loves Micha but needs to do this on her own if they're going to have a chance of making a success of their relationship in the future. I absolutely LOVE the fact that Ella makes this difficult decision and that Micha is there for her as a friend even though he wants them to be so much more than that. It is hard for him to understand her reasoning at first but he loves her enough to let her do what she needs to do and to support her in any way she'll let him.

It was hard to read about Ella's depression at times because Jessica Sorensen has written it so well but that just made seeing her work through things even more satisfying. With the help of her councillor she is able to work through a lot of her issues and she even starts to build some bridges with her family. Nothing improves instantly and she still has a way to go but you're left with a real sense of hope that she is finally putting the past behind her. Micha has his own issues to deal with and there were times I wanted to strangle his father for being such a self-centred ass. Micha copes much better than Ella does but he still finds it hard and it was good to see Ella taking her turn in supporting him through his pain.

I really do love reading about Ella and Micha, it is so nice to come across a realistic relationship - one that has it's ups and downs and that isn't perfect but that is overall a healthy and supportive one. I also enjoyed seeing more of their friends Lila and Ethan and am looking forward to getting to know them better in the next book. The Forever of Ella and Micha is a great follow up to the first book and one I'd highly recommend to fans of this couple.

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.

Paperback / Kindle:

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Review: The Stone Demon - Karen Mahoney

The just-unleashed demon hordes have delivered an impossible ultimatum to the Order of the Crow: produce the Philosopher's Stone, or suffer a deadly reaper storm of retribution. If Donna cannot recreate the mythical artefact, the world will be plunged into a devastating modern-day Dark Age.

Pitting her dangerously unpredictable powers against a vengeful demon king, two maleficent faery queens and an immortal magus with his own shadowy agenda, Donna must be willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. But, this time, death may not be enough . . .

The final, breathtaking story in the Iron Witch trilogy.

The Iron Witch Series:
The Iron Witch
The Wood Queen
The Stone Demon

Check out Karen Mahoney's website for more information

Review:
The Stone Demon is the third and final book in the Iron Witch trilogy so this review may contain spoilers for the first two books. The story picks up not long after the end if the last book and there is very little recapping so I really would recommend reading this series in order. Donna has been sent to London as a punishment for freeing the Demon King and his minions and is now continuing her training with the Order of the Crow. The Demon King has demanded that the alchemists hand over the philosopher's stone but the original was destroyed and they have been trying to recreate a new one for decades. Unfortunately their time is running out and if they don't find a way to stop the Demon King for good then the whole world is in danger.

I really enjoyed the first two books in this series so I was disappointed by the long wait between the release of The Wood Queen and The Stone Demon. I was excited to finally get my hands on this one but I have to confess that my enthusiasm for the series had died down a little during the long gap. As someone who reads a large number of books I'm really losing interest in starting series that haven't been fully released - it's just too hard to remember what happened in the first book if you've read over 200 new books in the year or longer gap between publication. Anyway, even though I've had this book for a while now it took me a long time to get around to starting it. Thankfully I found it quite easy to slip back into Karen Mahoney's world and it was good to catch up with Donna and see how she was getting on.

I was expecting big things from this book, a fast paced and action packed finale to the series that would see Donna face some incredibly difficult trials in order for her to keep her friends and family safe. Unfortunately while it delivered this to a certain extent I felt that things came too easily for Donna, she seemed to instinctively know how to solve things that the other alchemists have been working on for centuries and the way things fell into place so easily removed the sense of danger I was hoping for. I liked the story but I just didn't love it as much as I hoped I would.

The stand out character for the whole series has to be Nav and he stole the show in this book too. He added humour to the story and I loved the way he is such a good friend to Donna without expecting anything in return. We didn't see as much of Xan in this story as I'd expected to but I didn't really find myself missing him, in fact I just would have liked more scenes with Nav to make up for it. I don't think the romance was quite as prominent in this book as it was in the previous two and things were left quite open ended so I do wonder if the author will revisit these characters in the future. Even though this wasn't my favourite book in the series if you enjoyed the first two books then I'd say its definitely worth reading The Stone Demon so you can find out how the trilogy ends. I love Karen Mahoney's writing style and this was a quick and easy read that answered the majority of the questions raised throughout the series.

Source: Received from Random House 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:

Friday, 24 January 2014

Review: Alien Research - Gini Koch

When rumours of a new super-drug surface, the FBI comes to Jeff and Kitty Katt-Martini for help. It soon becomes apparent that the drug is merely the tip of a deadly iceberg and a much more insidious plan is underway involving Titan Security, Gaultier Enterprises, and YatesCorp.

As newly discovered A-Cs and hybrids begin to surface, each with expanded dangerous talents, more and more signs point to a new evil genius who's using both the A-Cs and their enemies as guinea pigs.

Then Area 51 and the Dulce Science Centre go silent while Alpha Team, Airborne, and most of the worldwide A-C Security team are there for training. And if that's not bad enough, Centurion Division is hit with more terrible news: Chernobog the Ultimate isn't a hacker myth, he's a real person - and he's on the bad guy's side.

Now Kitty and company must find the real Dr. Feelgood and stop him or her before the latest version of Surcenthumain hits the streets and more people they love are harmed - or worse.

But when the inconceivable happens, Kitty's focused on only two things: reviving the ACE entity before their enemies realise Earth's best protection isn't actually active . . . and revenge.

Katherine "Kitty" Katt Series:
Touched by an Alien
Alien Tango
Alien in the Family
Alien Proliferation
Alien Diplomacy
Alien vs. Alien
Alien in the House
Alien Research
Alien Collective
Universal Alien
Alien Separation
Alien in Chief
Camp Alien
Alien Nation
Alien Education (May 2017)
Aliens Abroad (December 2017)
Alien Rescue (May 2018)

Visit Gini Koch's website for more information

Review:
I absolutely love this series so I couldn't wait to read Alien Research and yet again Gini Koch has delivered a fun and action packed story full of my favourite characters. One of the things I loved most about this book was seeing Kitty and Jeff get to take a step away from Washington politics and back into their role as joint heads of operations. When both Area 51 and the Dulce Science Centre are taken offline with pretty much the entire security staff inside Kitty and Jeff don't have much choice but to get back into the thick of things and try to discover what is happening. As much as I love this series I have missed them taking a more active role so it was great to see them getting back to what they do best.

As always Gini Koch has woven this story in an intricate pattern using multiple plot threads and huge cast of characters we're already familiar with along with a few new faces too. She throws in so many twists and the way she ties everything together in the end is nothing short of masterful. You just never know what she is going to throw at Kitty and the gang next and in this book they are definitely in for heartbreak. There are some really shocking and emotional events that I would never have predicted and I was on the edge of my seat dreading what else she could do. There were actually a couple of occasions I was in tears so this is the first time I'm going to warn you to have tissues on hand for this series.

I love all of these characters and considering how many of them there are I'm always surprised by how quickly I can slip back into this world and just know who everyone is. With a lot of series I find I struggle to remember who the main players are or how everyone is connected but I don't tend to have that problem here. I would really like a family tree though to remind me quite how everyone is related, especially now we have so many marriages and children amongst the group. I love that the animals play such important roles in the series too, the poofs and peregrines add so much humour to the story - I just wish they were real and I could adopt some!

If you're a fan of this series you won't want to miss Alien Research, it really is another fabulous instalment. If you haven't discovered these books yet but are looking for a fast paced, action packed series full of humour and sexy aliens then I can't recommend it highly enough - you really do need to read the books in order though so make sure you start with Touched by an Alien.

Source: Received from DAW Books 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, 23 January 2014

Review: Guardian for Hire - Christine Bell

Psychologist Sarabeth Lucking’s life is turned upside down when the upscale couples’ retreat she works for winds up embroiled in the biggest scandal of the year. With her reputation in tatters, she can’t imagine things getting worse, until her former co-workers are murdered, one by one. A bad-ass, ex-Army Ranger might be able to keep her safe, but something tells her she’s getting more than she bargained for...

Gavin McClintock grew up on the streets of Edinburgh, and protecting prissy Dr. Stick-Up-Her-Rear isn’t high on his list of things to do. Still, a promise is a promise, and he’ll need a clear head if he’s going to keep her off the growing list of victims. He didn’t count on the fire in her, or how distracted he’d be by her. As the flames grow hotter, he starts to wonder if she’s the one who needs protecting.

Will Sarabeth and Gavin outrun a killer and give into the passion burning between them?

For Hire Series:
Wife for Hire
Guardian for Hire

Visit Chrisitne Bell's website for more information

Review:
After reading and loving Christine Bell's novel Dirty Tricks I jumped at the chance of reading Guardian for Hire when I saw it come up on Netgalley for review. I'm a bit annoyed with myself for not realising it was the second book in a series though because I wish I could go back in time and read the books in order. Although both stories feature a different main couple this book does give away who the bad guy was in the previous one as there is a continuing plot across the series. The fact I haven't read Wife for Hire didn't dampen my enjoyment for this book but I think I'd have loved the first one too so I'm upset that I spoiled the ending for myself and now don't want to read it.

Anyway lets get back to get back to my review of Guardian for Hire! I'll admit that I didn't think I was going to like Sarabeth at first, she comes across as quite stuck up in the beginning but it doesn't take long for you to see a nicer side to her. She was raised by her rich grandparents but they didn't really want her and she was never shown any love or affection. She has spent her whole life trying to win their approval but no matter what she does it has never been enough and they always see her as an embarrassment to the family. In a lot of ways she has lived a life of privilege but all the money in the world isn't worth the cold upbringing she had. As you get to know her you realise that she has worked hard to become independent and stand on her own two feet, she refuses to live her life by her grandparent's rules even though she does want them to love her. Sarabeth is a strong woman who is prepared to fight for what she wants and I liked that about her. She can also be incredibly naive in some ways and I had to laugh at the situations she manages to get herself into.

Gavin was a great hero who it was easy to like, he is strong, protective and incredibly sexy. His upbringing couldn't be more different to Sarabeth's and he has a bit of a chip on his shoulder about the fact that she comes from money. Gavin is a self made man who has worked his butt off to get where he is and is proud of what he has achieved, he takes great pleasure in showing Sarabeth that there is more to him than meets the eye. He also enjoys teaching her to protect herself and seeing how independent she is. The chemistry between them was fantastic and I loved their banter but I think I really fell for him when he forced down the horrific dinner that Sarabeth cooked him. She was certainly no gourmet chef but he could see how hard she had tried and he appreciated that enough to attempt to eat it with a smile on his face.

I said in my review of Dirty Tricks that I wanted to start working my way through Christine Bell's back list and reading this story has just confirmed to me that I need to do that. She has a knack for writing great characters who have smoking hot chemistry but she also excels at witty banter and had me laughing out loud all the way through this book. If you're looking for a quick, light hearted read that will make you smile, swoon and fall for a rugged Scottish hero then you can't go wrong with this book.

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.

Kindle:

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Winner: 4th Blogoversary Giveaway £10 Amazon Voucher


I have a lucky winner to announce today with the help of Rafflecopter! I'm pleased to announce the winner of my 4th Blogoversary Giveaway is:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Congratulations Andrea! You should have already received an email from me asking which prize you would like out of the following options:

1. A £10 Amazon UK Voucher (I will need to know which email address you would like this sent to)

OR

2. Your choice of books from The Book Depository up to the value of £10 (this is only available if you live somewhere that they offer free delivery - see list here. If you chose this option I need to know which book/s you would like and your postal address so that I can order them for you).

If I don't hear back from you within 48 hours then a new winner will be chosen.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

The 'One Day' Book Tag


I saw this book tag created by the lovely Carly from Writing from the Tub and couldn't resist joining in. If you'd like to take part you can find Carly's original post HERE.

1. Which book has been on your TBR for the longest?

Young Adult: The Secret Circle by L.J. Smith

Adult: Hellfire by Ann Aguirre

According to Goodreads both of those books have been on my to read pile since May 2010. I probably have books that have been waiting even longer for me to get to them but those are my best guesses.

2. Name an author you've been wanting to read for ages now?

Young Adult: John Green - I have quite a few of his books on my to read pile and really have no excuses as to why I haven't read one yet!

Adult: Ben Aaronovitch - I love urban fantasy books and am always saying there aren't enough paranormal stories set in London so I have no idea why I've still not read the Peter Grant series which hits both of those categories.

3. Tell me a series you're determined to finish but need to play catch up with?

Young Adult: I'll have to pick Rachel Caine's Morganville Vampires series. I have read the first book twice now and enjoyed it both times but for some reason I've never carried on with the series.

Adult: Two series I'm determined to catch up with this year are Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark-Hunters and Nalini Singh's Psy-Changelings. I love both of these authors so it won't be a hardship :o)

4. Let's go one better - tell me a full series you want to read but haven't started yet?

Young Adult: Maggie Stiefvater's Raven Cycle series, I've loved all her other books but haven't got around to this series yet.

Adult: I'm a huge fan of Ilona Andrews, I devoured her Kate Daniels series last year but haven't started her Edge series yet.

5. What are five books published over a year ago that you want to read this year?

Young Adult:

  1. Daughter of the Flames by Zoe Mariott
  2. Storm Glass by Maria V Snyder
  3. Huntress by Malinda Lo
  4. White Cat by Holly Black
  5. The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness

Adult:

  1. The Sweet Scent of Blood by Suzanne McLeod
  2. The Last of the Red-Hot Vampires by Katie McAlister
  3. Changeless by Gail Carriger
  4. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams
  5. Johnny be Good by Paige Toon

6. Which book have you been wanting to reread but haven't got the chance?

Young Adult: Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Adult: Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison (I actually read the first 6 or 7 books in the Hollows series back in 2009 and it's another series I really want to reread and then catch up with this year)

7. To finish, give me one book to film adaptation you missed in the cinema but want to catch on DVD?

The Host - I wanted to read the book before going to see the film but I never found the time to read it before it came out at the cinema. In fact I STILL need to read the book but once I've done that I can watch the movie :o)

Now I wonder if I'll actually manage to read any of these books in 2014 - it's definitely a personal goal I'm going to set myself!

Which books are you hoping to finally get around to reading this year? Are there any on my list that you've already read?

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Review: Taste of Darkness - Maria V. Snyder (+ UK Giveaway)

The final battle begins . . .

Powerful healer Avry knows hardship and trouble. She fought a plague and survived. She took on corrupt King Tohon and defeated him. But now her true love, Kerrick, is missing and Avry fears he's gone forever.

Yet she faces a more immediate - and deadly - threat. The Skeleton King plots to claim the Fifteen Realms for his own.

With the territories' armies in disarray and the dead not staying dead, Avry's powers are needed now more than ever.

Torn between love and loyalty, she must choose her path carefully. For the future of Avry's world depends on her decision . . .

Healer Series:
Touch of Power
Scent of Magic
Taste of Darkness

Visit Maria V. Snyder's website or the Touch of Power website for more information

Review:
I have been a huge fan of this series ever since I read Touch of Power two years ago so I was eagerly waiting for the final instalment in the trilogy. It's always a bit scary seeing a favourite series come to an end though, you have all those fears about whether it will live up to expectations and you'll be pleased with the way things turn out and you have to prepare to say goodbye to the characters you've come to love. I'm happy to say that Taste of Darkness was worth the wait and was a fitting end to the series.

Maria V. Snyder has really upped the stakes in this last book, not only is Kerrick missing and presumed dead by everyone apart from Avry but they are also facing a new enemy who seems even more powerful than Tohon. As if that wasn't bad enough Prince Ryne's soldiers are getting sick and it looks like Avry has a new version of the plague on her hands. There is so much going on and the story is pretty much non-stop action as the characters push forward from one disaster to another trying to save the Fifteen Realms.

I was very happy to see that Avry and Kerrick spend more time together in this book than they did in the last one, if I'm honest I still wanted to see more of them as a couple but every interaction between them is just so good that I can't complain too much. They really are so perfect together and I love the fact that even though Kerrick's instincts are to protect Avry and keep her out of harms way he knows that she'd never be happy if she didn't play her part and he doesn't try to stop her from doing what she needs to. Avry is a fabulous heroine, one who constantly puts herself at risk to protect others, she has such strong instincts to take care of others even when it costs her a great deal of pain and I've always been in awe of the way she is so willing to use her healing abilities. She uses her wits, intelligence and instincts to keep herself and her friends safe and she always keeps her promises no matter how hard that may be.

As much as I'm going to miss Avry and Kerrick I was also sad to say goodbye to the other characters I've come to love throughout the series. Flea, Belen and the monkeys have all played such major roles and I've also grown really fond of Odd since the last book. The interactions between all of the characters always leads to some light hearted moments which was desperately needed since this book was quite dark in places. I'd say this is easily the darkest of all the books in the trilogy and while I loved that I enjoyed the light hearted banter even more because of it. Having read both Maria V. Snyder's Healer series and her Study series I have to say it's very hard to pick a favourite but I'm tempted to say that this one wins out slightly. They are both wonderful series with strong, kick ass female characters which seems to be a trademark of this author and I'd highly recommend both of them. I'm quite pleased that I still have the Glass trilogy to dive into - I'm hoping it will help me get over my withdrawal symptoms from this one!

Source: Received from Mira Ink 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:



Giveaway Details:

Thanks to Mira Ink I'm very excited to be able to give away a copy of Taste of Darkness to a lucky UK winner. To enter just fill in the rafflecopter form below.
  • One winner will receive a paperback copy of Taste of Darkness by Maria V. Snyder.
  • This giveaway is open to UK entrants only and the winner's prize will be sent out directly by Mira Ink so by entering the giveaway you are agreeing that I can give your address to my contact if you are the winner.
  • To enter please use the rafflecopter widget below, there are optional extra entries for following or tweeting about the giveaway but these are not required to enter.
  • Duplicate and invalid entries will be deleted and the winners will be chosen at random from all remaining entries.
  • The giveaway will close at Midnight GMT on the 2nd of February 2014 and the winner will be contacted soon afterwards with their prize.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Review: Reaver - Larissa Ione

UK Cover
WARRIOR OF HEAVEN
Reaver is an angel with a past, a record and a less-than-heavenly attitude. Powerful enough to fight alongside the fiercest battle angels - and crazy enough to risk his wings on a one-way mission to hell - he's agreed to go where no angel has ever gone before . . . to steal the most seductive and dangerous prize of Satan himself.

ANGEL OF HELL
Harvester is one of the Fallen, a once-heroic angel who sacrificed her wings to work as an undercover agent in hell. But now her cover has been blown, and she's been doomed to an eternity of agonizing torture. Even if Reaver can snatch her away from Satan's lair, even if they can fight their way out of the underworld's darkest depths, there is one thing Harvester can never escape - her newfound thirst for angel's blood . . .

The Demonica Series:
Pleasure Unbound
Desire Unchained
Passion Unleashed
Eternity Embraced (Novella)
Ecstasy Unveiled
Sin Undone
Eternal Rider (Lords of Deliverance book 1)
Immortal Rider (Lords of Deliverance book 2)
Lethal Rider (Lords of Deliverance book 3)
Rogue Rider (Lords of Deliverance book 4)
Reaver
Azagoth (Novella)
Revenant
Hades (Novella)
Base Instincts (Novella)
Z (Novella)
Razr (Novella)

For more information visit Larissa Ione's website

Review:
Please note that this review will contain spoilers for previous books in the series so look away now if you haven't read Rogue Rider! I absolutely love the Demonica and Lords of Deliverance books but although each book focuses on a different couple the stories are very intertwined and I think it is essential to read the series in order so you can follow what is happening in the wider world. This is definitely one of my favourite paranormal romance series though so I'd highly recommend giving it a try.

After the shocking revelations in the last book I couldn't wait to pick up Reaver and once I started reading I absolutely devoured it. This series really does get better and better with every book and once again Larissa Ione smashed it. Reaver had everything I hoped for - fantastic romance, super hot sex, action, danger, shocking plot twists and superb world building that introduces us to some fab new characters while still giving us a chance to catch up with some of our old favourites.

When I first found out that Harvester was going to be Reaver's heroine I wasn't convinced that I'd enjoy the story but that was before the revelations in Rogue Rider. How can you not root for a heroine who gave up as much as she did to prevent the end of the world? Yes she has done horrific things as part of her goal to infiltrate hell but she did it with the goal of protecting the Horsemen and preventing the apocalypse. One of the things that I love so much about this series is how the line between good and evil is so blurred. Nothing is black and white so time and time again we have seen "evil" characters do something wonderful and "good" characters who are anything but pleasant. There is a particular archangel in this book that I damn well wanted to punch because he was so nasty!

So anyway, we know that Harvester is an angel who chose to fall so that she could be a spy for heaven, she knew exactly what it would cost her if she was ever discovered and it was a risk she was prepared to take. That doesn't mean she's enjoying the torture though, she is suffering so badly that all she wants to do is die but that isn't an option for her. When Reaver goes to hell to attempt a rescue mission he does it against explicit orders from heaven, they can't risk hell being able to prove that Harvester was a spy or it will start the war to end all wars, one which earth will once again be slap bang in the middle of. Having just averted one apocalypse they aren't keen on starting another but Reaver can't leave Harvest to her fate knowing what she went through for his children. Reaver and Harvester have a much deeper and more complicated history than I could have imagined, I'm not going to go into details but trust me Larissa Ione will astound you with revelation after revelation and I'm sure you'll be as shocked as I was by some of them. It was absolutely fantastic to see this couple start to figure things out and get things back on track but there is just so much going against them - how can a relationship between one of the fallen and an angel ever work? You'll just have to read the book if you want to find out but buckle up and hold on tight because it's one hell of a roller coaster.

I loved the developments in the rest of the Demonica world too. We get to catch up with not just the Horsemen but also the demons from the earlier books and it was great to see how everyone is getting on now. We are also introduced to the next hero Revenant and going by the banter between him and the woman who I strongly suspect will be his heroine I'm going to LOVE his book too. I just can't get enough of these books and I wish we didn't have to wait so long for Revenant to be published!

Source: Initially received from publisher via NetGalley but I also received a print copy from Piatkus in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
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US Cover
Paperback / Kindle:

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Review: Red Rising - Pierce Brown

Break the chains.
Live for more.

Darrow is a Helldiver, one of thousands of men and women living in the vast caves beneath the surface of Mars, a people who spend their entire lives toiling to mine the precious elements that will make the planet habitable.

Until the day Darrow learns that it is all a lie. That Mars has been inhabited by generations by a decadent ruling class of people known as the Golds, who view the workers beneath them as nothing more than slave labour, to be exploited without a second thought.

With the help of a mysterious group of rebels, Darrow disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside.

But the command school is a battlefield - and Darrow isn't the only student with an agenda . . .

Red Rising Trilogy:
Red Rising
Golden Son
Morning Star

Sons of Ares:
(This is a prequel comic series set in the Red Rising world)
Sons of Ares #1

Visit Pierce Brown's website for more information

Review:
Sometimes you stumble across a book that is so good it just blows your mind. Red Rising is one of those books and I want to grab a stack of copies and walk around the streets handing them to everyone I come across telling people that they NEED to read this book! I know it's only January but I would be incredibly surprised if this book isn't at the top of my list for best books in 2014. I've been putting off writing this review for days because there is no way I can do it justice but I'm going to try, I can't put it any more simply than "BUY THIS BOOK NOW" but we'll see if I can come up with something a bit more meaningful.

Darrow is from a family of pioneers and for generations his people, known as the reds, have worked in the mines on Mars digging for the Helium 3 needed to terraform the planet and make it hospitable for humans to live on the surface. They live hard and die young but they do it for the greater good of humanity knowing that their sacrifices will create a home that is desperately needed for future generations. Things may be tough but Darrow is generally happy with his lot, he loves his wife and lives for her and his family, they don't have much but they find joy in the small things and that's what makes life bearable. That is until he discovers the extent of the betrayal against his people and discovers that the higher echelons of society have been living on the surface in luxury for centuries. The Golds look down on the reds seeing them as nothing more than slave labour and everything that Darrow has ever been told about his role is a lie. With the help of a group of rebels Darrow is given the chance to fight back against the oppression of his people but in order to do that he will have to give up all that he cares about, he will have to turn himself into the one of the people he hates most and if he fails it will cost him everything.

I can't even begin to tell you what an emotional roller coaster Red Rising is, this book completely tore my heart out and ripped it into tiny little pieces - I don't think I've ever cried so hard less than 50 pages into a book before! It's incredible that Pierce Brown had me invested in his characters so quickly but that's a strong testament to how powerful his writing is. I was hooked into this story from the very first page and with an opening like "I would have lived in peace. But my enemies brought me war." who can blame me? Darrow has to be one of the most memorable characters I've come across in a long time. He isn't a natural leader, he was happy with his life as he knew it and didn't go looking to change things but when his hand is forced his need for vengeance takes him to places he never could have imagined. I loved the fact that Darrow isn't perfect, he is fallible and he makes a lot of mistakes along the way but he is constantly learning from them and doing his best to improve. He is the kind of guy who is prepared to fight for what he believes in even if the battle was brought to him rather than one that he went searching for. He is forced into a world that his upbringing could never have prepared him for but his will to live, his strength and his need for revenge pull him through.

Along with Darrow we are treated to a whole host of memorable side characters, I don't want to tell you too much about what happens during the rest of the book because I really think you'll get more enjoyment out of it if you go in blind but trust me it will be a memorable journey. This is a dark story, Darrow finds himself in a violent world where things are cut-throat and kill or be killed. He is forced into situations where there is no safe or easy outcome and that means he has to do terrible things to survive, he takes no pleasure in it but he will gorydamn do whatever it takes to make it. He can't survive alone though and that means putting his trust into people who are his natural enemies. He has to battle with himself as he starts to see some of the people he should hate as his friends but nothing is ever quite what it seems and it is impossible to know who he can really trust or who will stab him in the back at the first opportunity.

Red Rising is an impressive debut and the start of what is sure to be an incredibly popular trilogy. I don't say that lightly and I honestly believe that we will see big things from Pierce Brown in the future. If you are only going to take my recommendation for one book this year then please let it be for this one - this really is a book that I definitely want everyone to read. Whether you are a fan of dystopian stories or if it's a genre you're sick to death of you will love this book. It has none of the typical YA clichés and will surprise you at every turn. My only complaint is that I've got to wait to get my hands on the sequels but I guarantee that I'll be rereading this story to tide me over until they're published.

Source: Received from publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

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