Monday, 30 April 2012

It's Monday! What are you Reading? (30th April 2012)

This is a weekly meme hosted by Book Journey that gives us all a chance to list the books that we read last week and what we hope to read this week.

Books Read:

The Pack by Jason Starr (Pack #1)

Faefever by Karen Marie Moning (Fever #3)

Bad Girl Lessons by Seraphina Donavan

Books Reviewed:
(Click on links to read reviews)

Another Jekyll, Another Hyde by Daniel and Dina Nayeri (Another #3)

The Pack by Jason Starr (Pack #1)

Books I'm Currently Reading:

Racing to Love by Amy Gregory (Carter's Treasure #1)

Books Up Next:

Dreams by Daniela Sacerdoti (Sarah Midnight #1)

Current Giveaways:

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa (INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY!)

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Series of the Week: Raine Benares Series by Lisa Shearin

Each Sunday I will be highlighting a series that I have been wanting to read for a while, and that I hope to read very soon! This week my pick is Raine Benares series by Lisa Shearin. I hadn't heard of this series until recently when my co-reviewer Ally recommended it to me, but I think it looks amazing!

Have you read this series? Let me know what you thought!

1. Magic Lost, Trouble Found
Raine Benares is a Sorceress Seeker of average ability until she comes into possession of an amulet that amplifies her powers-and her enemies.

2. Armed and Magical
My name is Raine Benares. Until last week I was a seeker—a finder of things lost and people missing. Now I’m psychic roommates with the Saghred, an ancient stone with cataclysmic powers. Just me, the stone, and all the souls it’s ingested over the centuries. Crowded doesn’t even begin to describe it. All I want is my life back—which means getting rid of the stone and the power it possesses. To sort things out, I head for the Isle of Mid, home to the most prestigious sorcery school, as well as the Conclave, the governing body for all magic users. It’s also home to power- grubbing mages who want me dead and goblins who see me as a thief. As if that’s not enough, Mid’s best student spellsingers are disappearing left and right, and I’m expected to find them. Lives are at stake, goblins are threatening to sue, mages are getting greedier, and the stone’s power is getting stronger by the hour. This could get ugly.

3. The Trouble With Demons
For seeker Raine Benares, a demon infestation on the Isle of Mid couldn't come at a worse time. Already fighting the influence of the Saghred, a soul-stealing stone, Raine discovers she is also magically bonded to a dark mage and a white knight, two dangerous and powerful men on opposing sides.

Turns out, the demons want the key to unlock the Saghred. As a seeker, Raine should be able to find it first. As the axis of light and dark powers, she's a magical cataclysm waiting to happen.

4. Bewitched and Betrayed
Raine Benares is a seeker. She finds lost things and missing people- usually alive. But now she's been bonded with the Saghred, a soul- stealing stone of unlimited power, and must hunt down its escapees. Especially since one of them is also hunting her...

5. Con and Conjure
Raine Benares is a seeker who finds lost things and people. Ever since the Saghred, a soul-stealing stone that's given her unlimited power, has bonded to her, the goblin king and the elves have wanted to possess its magic themselves. Which means a goblin thief and her ex-fiancé-an elven assassin-are after her. To survive, she'll need the help of her notorious criminal family.

6. All Spell Breaks Loose
My name is Raine Benares—and it sucks to be me. The Saghred, a soul-stealing stone that has given me unlimited power, has been stolen by a goblin prince, and with it went my magic. The Saghred is in the goblin capital of Regor, in the hands of Sarad Nukpana, who’s on the verge of becoming the most powerful mage ever...just as soon as I’m dead.

Because Sarad can’t use the stone while I’m alive. Incentive enough to plan a little trip to Regor with a small band of good friends, not-so-good friends, and outright enemies. All we need to do is destroy the Saghred, kill Sarad, and put a renegade prince on the throne. Did I mention I’ll be doing this without magic?

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Review: The Pack by Jason Starr (Pack #1)

Publisher - Berkley UK
Publication Date - 26th April 2012
Paperback - 368 pages
Genre - Urban Fantasy

Source - Received from publisher for review

Rating - 2 out of 5: It was ok

Reviewed by - Chrissie

Book Info - When Simon Burns is fired from his job without warning, he takes on the role of stay-at-home dad for his three-year-old son. But his reluctance pushes his already strained marriage to the limit. In the nestled playgrounds of the Upper West Side, Simon harbours a simmering rage at his boss's betrayal.

Things take a turn when he meets a tight-knit trio of dads at the playground. They are different from other men Simon has met, stronger and more confident, more at ease with the darker side of life - and soon Simon is lured into their mix. But after a guys' night out gets frighteningly out of hand, Simon feels himself sliding into a new nightmarish reality.

As he experiences disturbing changes in his body and perceptions, he starts to suspect that when the guys welcomed him to their 'pack', they were talking about much more than male bonding...

My Thoughts - When I first heard about this book, I was excited about it and looking forward to reading it. I thought that the whole 'stay-at-home dad' thing was a great new idea for the Urban Fantasy genre and not something that I had come across in fiction before. The premise sounded great and I was looking forward to finding out how being a father affected Simon as he was going through all these changes. But I think I may have got my hopes up a bit too much with this one and I actually found I was pretty disappointed with the book.

My main problem with The Pack is that the author focuses too much on the small details of Simon's life. There is a huge amount of detail about the day-to-day things that a stay-at-home parent does. Not only did I feel that this does not necessarily add much to the story, but I don't particularly want to get bogged down in all that detail either. I am a stay-at-home parent - a lot of what is described in the book are things I experience everyday (except for sprouting fur and fangs and stuff :P) and I don't find it at all exciting to read about. It also means that the plot moves along at a slow pace and the real action doesn't start happening until the last 50 pages or so.

On the whole, I liked the character of Simon. He finds himself out of a job and having to look after his young son on a daily basis. At first he is a bit reluctant - as I think most people would be with such a major life change - but he soon takes it on the chin and makes the most of his time with his son. He is a devoted husband and father and, although he doesn't always get things right, he always does things with the best of intentions. However, I didn't really like his wife Alison at all. She is the type of person who is never happy with her lot in life and unless things are going her way she is prone to the odd temper tantrum. There were a few moments in the book where I felt that Simon would be better off without her.

I really liked the author's style of writing. I have already mentioned that there isn't much action in the book until the end, but even so, I still found the book incredibly easy to read. I think that without the action to drive the reader on, there is the possibility that this book could take a long time to get through but I actually managed to read it over two evenings - very quick by my standards - and I'm impressed that the author was able to pull this off.

My final complaint will have to be a bit vague I'm afraid to avoid leaking any spoilers, but I wasn't very happy with the way the book ended. Although everything is wrapped up nicely - phew, no cliffhangers here - I still felt dissatisfied with the way things turned out. Although I can appreciate that it had to end this way to allow for further books in the series, I just wish everything could have ended differently for Simon.

Summary - A premise that held a lot of promise, but that becomes too bogged down with the details of everyday life. If you are a hard-core werewolf fan then this book may still be worth a try, but if you're looking for edge-of-your-seat excitement then this may not be the book for you.

Other books in this series:
1. The Pack
2. The Craving

Other reviews of this book:
Smexy Books / The Salted Peanut

This book counts towards the following challenges:
Book #27 for 2012 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge

Blog Tour: The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa: Spotlight and International Giveaway (Giveaway Now Closed!)

About the Book:
This is not your average vampire story, and these are not your average vampires. A rabid virus has killed off 6 billion humans, leaving a shell of a world, with the remains of the human population serving as blood cattle to the Vampire Prince and his followers. This is a world where vampires rule...

Allie Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten. Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them - the vampires who killed her mother and instil fear in the repressed population.

But after a disasterous food expedition, Allie is forced to make the decision she hoped she'd never have to face - die, or become one of them. Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most - a vampire. To survive, she must work with her vampire creator and learn the rules of the immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.

When Allie is separated from her creator, she flees into the unknown, to the world beyond the wall of her vampire city. There she joins a ragged band of humans who don't know what she is. These humans seek a legend, a cure to the Red Lung virus that decimated the population and created the rabids, the mindless creatures responsible for spreading the infection. But does such a cure exist? And can Allie prevent her vampire urges from destroying her new found family?

About the Author:
Julie Kagawa is the New York Times number one bestselling author of The Iron Fey series. The Immortal Rules is the first book in Kagawa's dystopian adventure series Blood of Eden, which explores friendship, loyalty and the strength of the human spirit. Kagawa was born in Sacramento, California and now lives in Kentucky. She has worked as a professional dog trainer and lived in Hawaii. She now writes full-time.

About the Giveaway!:
I am offering up my review copy of The Immortal Rules for a giveaway! The contest is open internationally and all you have to do is leave a comment here with your email address.  
Entries close on 3rd May.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Review: Another Jekyll, Another Hyde by Daniel and Dina Nayeri (Another #3)

Publisher - Candlewick Press
Publication Date - 27th March 2012
Genre -  YA Paranormal

Source - Received from NetGalley for review

Rating - 4 out of 5: I really liked it

Reviewed by - Ally

Book Info - An elusive stalker is targeting Marlowe kids - and something unearthly has gotten into its wealthiest student - as the Another series builds up to a fiendish finale.

When his billionaire father marries French governess Nicola Vileroy, high society is all abuzz - but Thomas, the most popular student at Marlowe, is just plain high. Ever since his girlfriend Belle dumped him, he's been spending less time with old friends and more time getting wasted at clubs. But after someone slips him a designer drug one night - and his stepmother seems to know way too much about his private life - things really start to get scary. As Thomas's blackouts give way to a sinister voice inside his head, and as news of a vicious hate crime has students on edge, Thomas comes to the sickening realization that Madame Vileroy has involved him in a horrifying supernatural plan. How can he muster the strength and will to stop it? The pulse-quickening climax revisits Jekyll and Hyde as a current-day cautionary tale laced with a heady dose of paranormal intrigue.

My Thoughts - A loose retelling of an All-time favourite classic of mine we see the finale of this series. Again following the same villainous Boogey man versus the good-ish we see the conclusion of a very well loved series.

With a new “person” on the scene it’s safe to say we know why the book is called “Another Jekyll, Another Hyde” This entertaining re-telling feature the evil Nicola Vileroy whom I might just dub my favourite villainess.

I  have been so excited to read Another Jekyll, Another Hyde because with the way Another ended! Well let’s just say lots of breath taking twists. The plots and twists are well *spoiler ALERT* so we’ll brush over that. What I really loved was the duo personalities, the writing style was wow when it switched between Edward and Thomas. This book had a lot of parts which had me too scared to read the next just for the sheer fear of what would happen next (even if I knew *covers face*).

Summary - Sad to see this series end but A must read for ‘Another’ fans (can also be read as a stand-alone). There is not much I can say or sniffle about this wonderful retelling. Thanks Nayeri’s.

Other books in this series:
1. Another Faust
2. Another Pan
3. Another Jekyll, Another Hyde

Other reviews of this book:
Chapter by Chapter / Choose YA Books / YA Litwit

Monday, 23 April 2012

It's Monday! What are you Reading? (23rd April 2012)

This is a weekly meme hosted by Book Journey that gives us all a chance to list the books that we read last week and what we hope to read this week.

Books Read:

Oakleaf Bearers by John Flanagan (Ranger's Apprentice #4)

Books Reviewed:
(Click on links to read reviews)

Dark Kiss by Michelle Rowen (Nightwatchers #1)

Bloodfever by Karen Marie Moning (Fever #2)

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi (Under the Never Sky #1)

Always the Designer, Never the Bride by Sandra D. Bricker (Tanglewood #3)

Books I'm Currently Reading:

Faefever by Karen Marie Moning (Fever #3)

The Pack by Jason Starr (Pack #1)

Books Up Next:

Eternal Hunger by Laura Wright (Mark of the Vampire #1)

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Blog Tour: Excerpt from Beneath the Surface by Joya Fields

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Joya Fields to the blog who has given us a little teaser from her romantic suspense novel, Beneath the Surface. Be warned though: it is a teaser that will leave you craving for more!

For the first time since the accident, Brooke forgot about her leg. Forgot about all she’d lost and focused on the way Garrett made her feel.

She knew she needed to stop him. She should find a way to resist the temptation to be with him. But for a few minutes, she could enjoy the taste of him, the feel of him, couldn’t she?

He dropped his hands to her waist and softened the kiss before trailing a line of kisses down her neck. A weak cry slipped from her mouth. “Garrett,” she whispered.

She should stop this now before it got any more intense.

He lifted her chin and forced her to meet his brown eyes, smoky with desire. Heat spiraled to her middle and she caught a whiff of his sawdust scent.

“I…I can walk you back to your own room before I head to mine.” His voice broke as he whispered.

She swallowed hard. She couldn’t do this right now with him. Too many obstacles stood in their way. But as she looked in his somber eyes, she realized none of those complications were bigger than her need for Garrett.

“Let’s go to your room,” she said, her voice shaking. She moved her hands inside his shirt and ran them over his tight abs and chest. Heat soared through her body at the feel of him. “Together…”

About the book:
She’s fighting to stay independent — he’s determined to protect her no matter what...

Brooke Richards survived the earthquake that took her parents and most of her leg, but she needs time to regroup. A trip to Florida for a state-of-the-art prosthesis and to visit her best friend Linda seems ideal.

But the trip turns traumatic when Brooke witnesses Linda’s boat disintegrating in a fiery explosion.

Police Officer Garrett Ciavello believes the blast was intentionally set to hide something Linda found on a dive. When Brooke offers her expertise in underwater archaeology, Garrett accepts her help with the investigation. But since his fiancĂ©e’s death years ago, Garrett has become overprotective, and as they are drawn to each other, Garrett realizes he will risk anything to keep Brooke safe.

Brooke is fiercely independent. Garrett is fiercely protective. Will they heal each other’s wounds and find a killer... before it’s too late?

About the Author:
Joya Fields has had over 100 stories and articles published in local and national magazines and her debut novel, BENEATH THE SURFACE, a romantic suspense, released in January, 2012. LOVE DELIVERED, a romantic comedy, is also now available.

Over the years, Joya has taught arts and crafts, worked in public relations, owned a daycare center, helped her children raise prize-winning 4-H livestock, competed in three marathons, and even spent a year as a Baltimore Colts cheerleader. Joya loves spending time with her high school sweetheart/husband of over twenty years, two very supportive children, and a pug who follows her everywhere.

You can stalk Joya at the following places:

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Review: Always the Designer, Never the Bride by Sandra D. Bricker (Tanglewood #3)

Publisher - Abingdon Press
Publication Date - 1st April 2012
Genre -  Contemporary Romance

Source - Received from NetGalley for review

Rating - 2.5 out of 5: I liked it

Reviewed by - Ally

Book Info - It’s taken Audrey Regan years to establish herself as a wedding dress designer, and to date she’s been roped into creating dresses for nine of her girlfriends. Request #10 follows her vow to “Just say no!” and comes from her very best friend. She can hardly turn Carly down!

Audrey arrives in Atlanta early to perform all of her maid-of-honor duties along with final fittings for a one-of-a-kind dress. But Carly’s wedding is nothing short of an event, complete with Prince Charming, and the festivities make Audrey question whether there’s a prince of her own anywhere in her future.

Enter the groom’s brother and best man. Shaggy-haired, tattooed bad boy J.R. Hunt couldn’t be any more different from Prince Charming if he rode in on a Harley Davidson. Oh, wait. He actually did ride in on a Harley!

My Thoughts - Always the Designer, Never the Bride keeps the laughter going and the tears rolling, funny, romantic and damn well crazy. This book introduced a litany of characters that you can’t help but fall in love with. The third in the series, though I read as a standalone, this book brings to life every girls dream.

The book is set at the The Tanglewood Inn, a wedding destination hotel in historic Roswell, Georgia. The book brings to life Audrey Regan crazy and sad adventure in the world of Haute couture and romance - a wedding dress designer - who finds herself at the Tanglewood Inn, designing a dress for her best friend, Carly.

As Audrey tries NOT to fall for Carly's soon-to-be brother-in-law, J.R. Hunt – the rugged, fun loving, never stay in one place - is the most unlikely candidate for a prince charming. Carly’s Manoeuvres and fate's crazy antics inevitably bring them together.

Always the Designer is a light, "make you laugh" book. You'll find yourself cheering on for the loveable cast at the inn. Although this book was cute I found it dragged on in some parts and I think it needed more editing, the writing was good but It could have been much shorter, I found myself skipping over paragraphs waiting for something to catch my interest. I found the ending to be bit fantastical everything wrapping up a bit too nicely.

This book could have passed-if edited more- as a light hearted romance and would have saved me 2 extra hours of “reading”. This for me outweighed the good in the book, though u do have to say a certain scene with a door and a sister and husband asking loudly “are they kissing, they aren’t talking” will forever hold me in tears.

A solid book (for those who need some time wasting) that sparks my interest for the rest of the series( if I need something to do).

Summary - A cute love story that lead with the classic “he can’t be…no, I can’t be…We can’t be doing this” Definitely a series to read If you’re looking for warm fuzzy romance, and light hearted read.

Other books in this series:
1. Always the Baker, Never the Bride
2. Always the Wedding Planner, Never the Bride
3. Always the Designer, Never the Bride

Other reviews of this book:
I'd So Rather Be Reading / The Readers Den

Friday, 20 April 2012

Review: Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi (Under the Never Sky #1)

Publisher - Atom
Publication Date - 7th February 2012
Paperback - 336 pages
Genre - YA/ Dystopian

Source - Received from publisher for review

Rating - 5 out of 5: It was amazing!

Reviewed by - Dani


Aria has lived her whole life in the protected dome of Reverie. Her entire world confined to its spaces, she's never thought to dream of what lies beyond its doors. So when her mother goes missing, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland long enough to find her are slim. Then Aria meets an outsider named Perry. He's searching for someone too. He's also wild - a savage - but might be her best hope at staying alive. If they can survive, they are each other's best hope for finding answers.

My Thoughts - I'm worried in case this review, my first for the lovely Chrissie of Once Upon a Series, might sound a bit demented. Reason being, I ADORED this book - it's one of the best I read this year. First of all, the story: yes, it's pretty formulaic - sheltered girls ends up out in the wide world, where she meets rough-around-the-edges boy. It's Lady and the Tramp, the Walt Disney movie, isn't it? And the setting, Dystopian - a ravaged world threatened by terrible Aether storms that burn everything in their path - we've heard it before, haven't we? Every second YA these days is Dystopian. So, what makes Under The Never Sky so special? Why does is feel so fresh, so new, the formulas reinvented and brought to life?

First of all, the writing. Veronica Rossi writes beautifully, and surprisingly. So many of her turns of phrases made me do a double take...well, a double read! And then I found out that Veronica is actually native of Brazil, which made me wonder if her creative, innovative way of using the language comes from her being bilingual. This inspired me very much, with me being a bilingual writer too.

Second: the characters. I fell in love with Aria, Perry, and later in the book, Roar. The relationship between Aria and Perry grows slowly, naturally, and is born of mutual respect - Perry's silent kindness, Aria's resilience in the face of adversity, which Perry grows to respect. Perry is such a vivid character, and his relationship with nephew Talon is tender and moving. Aria is strong and yet vulnerable, full of wonder as she discovers the real world after a whole life spent in the safety of a virtual life. And Roar...well, I might say I'm a little bit in love with him:).

Summary -  SPLENDID. Buy it, and keep it. Many heartfelt thanks to Chrissie for having given me the chance to read it and write this review!
My first YA, Dreams (Sarah Midnight #1) is out 12th of May:

Other reviews of this book:
Feeling Fictional / The Book Pushers / Wondrous Reads

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Review: Bloodfever by Karen Marie Moning (Fever #2)

Publisher - Gollancz
Publication Date - 13th October 2011
Paperback - 336 pages
Genre - Urban Fantasy

Source - Purchased

Rating - 3 out of 5: I liked it.

Reviewed by - Chrissie

Book Info - I used to be your average, everyday girl but all that changed one night in Dublin when I saw my first Fae, and got dragged into a world of deadly immortals and ancient secrets.

In her fight to stay alive, MacKayla must find the Sinsar Dubh - a million-year-old book of the blackest magic imaginable, which holds the key to power over the worlds of both the Fae and Man. Pursued by assassins, surrounded by mysterious figures she knows she can't trust, Mac finds herself torn between two deadly and powerful men: V'lane, the immortal Fae Prince, and Jericho Barrons, a man as irresistible as he is dangerous. For centuries the shadowy realm of the Fae has coexisted with that of humans. Now the walls between the two are coming down, and Mac is the only thing that stands between them.

My Thoughts - After really enjoying the first book in the series I was very excited to start Bloodfever, and for the most part I wasn't disappointed.

I didn't really like Mac in the first book but she is definitely starting to grow on me now. She has matured a lot and has lost a lot of her shallowness. Instead it has been replaced with a much darker, grittier Mac who I respect a lot more. I also like the way she doesn't allow hormones to control her decisions in the deadly world she has found herself in. She is caught between V'lane and Barrons, both of whom are incredibly sexy, but she doesn't allow her attraction to these men cloud her judgement. She manages to keep a cool head around them (most of the time!) and knows them for what they are - deadly and untrustworthy.

And as for Barrons - well, I think I may be becoming slightly obsessed with him. He is dark, dangerous, mysterious and carnal and I keep turning the pages hoping that I will find out something about who/what he is. Those of you who have read this series, please tell me we find out what he is! I can imagine him being mysterious enough to still be a complete enigma at the end of the series - in which case I will be incredibly frustrated!

However, I didn't enjoy Bloodfever as much as I did Darkfever, and the reason for that is that I felt as though this book was a bit of a filler in the series. Although I was hooked and couldn't put the book down (which is due to the author's amazing writing ability) I didn't really feel as though the story moved along at all - until, of course, we got to the cliffhanger at the end! Instead, the author is just lining up all the major players in the story and giving us hints about where the series will go. But it did get me intrigued enough to start the third book in the series straight away.

Summary - An enjoyable instalment to the Fever series that has definitely whet my appetite for more Mac and Barrons - well, mostly Barrons really! I can't wait to see how their story continues.

Other books in this series:
1. Darkfever
2. Bloodfever
3. Faefever
4. Dreamfever
5. Shadowfever

Other reviews of this book:
Dark Faerie Tales / Saz101 / Vampire Book Club

This book counts towards the following challenges:
Book #7 for 2012 TBR Pile Reading Challenge
Book #25  for 2012 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Review: Dark Kiss by Michelle Rowen (Nightwatchers #1)

Publisher - Harlequin Teen
Publication Date - 22nd May 2012
Genre - Young Adult Paranormal Romance

Source - Received from NetGalley for review

Rating - 3 out of 5: I liked it

Reviewed by - Ally

Book Info - I don't do dangerous.

Smart, uber-careful, ordinary Samantha - that's me. But I just couldn't pass up a surprise kiss from my number-one unattainable crush. A kiss that did something to me - something strange. Now I feel hungry all the time, but not for food. It's like part of me is missing - and I don't know if I can get it back. 

Then there's Bishop. At first I thought he was just a street kid, but the secrets he's keeping are as intense as his unearthly blue eyes. If he's what I think he is, he may be the only one who can help me. But something terrifying is closing in, and the one chance Bishop and I have to stop it means losing everything I ever wanted and embracing the darkness inside me.

My Thoughts - First things first, let’s take a minute to revel in the hotness of this cover, “Look at that face...and uhh umm, o-other things!” Ok enough! *surreptitiously wipes drool from corner of mouth*

Every girl dreams of being kissed by that one guy who makes her blood hot, and with a guy like Stephen Keyes one hot passionate kiss can’t do any harm…even if he warned her, can it..?

When Angels and Demons come together and souls are commodities, Samantha finds her life changed and she’s not sure if she likes it. Either way she’s hungry all the time, always cold and only one guy seems to chase that chill away might only be using her. Samantha's drawn to him and there's one gigantic problem when it comes to her wanting to kiss him, it might be their undoing.

A pawn in a battle between lesser Evils, who will save the world? Does she dare break out on her own, that mind shattering kiss seems to have awakened powers she never knew she had. This book is no average Angel versus Demons and not just ANY girl’s life changes. When angels and demons band together and secrets of millennia’s before surface, this much anticipated book delivers.

I have to admit this book did give me flashbacks to Charmed, when they mentioned the source and described the hollow, there was no Black and White, between the true good and true evil and H.M Ward’s “Valefar” seem to be called the grey in this series. Samantha though was level headed and I loved the fact that she didn’t keep secrets that were TOO life threatening. I found her actions at the end a bit frustrating I mean are you really going to be THAT slow, THAT dumb and then STILL hope that the Calvary will come riding in. Are you THAT optimistic!

Summary - All in this entire book delivers; the writing was good the characters were good and I look forward to seeing more of it! The romance blossomed like a good book should, none of the tinned stuff, the action well paced and the story line bold and refreshing. I don’t want to go in to it too much because of lot of it would be spoilers :)

Other reviews of this book:
Burnt Pages Book Reviews / Livin' Life Through Books / Paperbook Princess

Monday, 16 April 2012

It's Monday! What are you Reading? (16th April 2012)

This is a weekly meme hosted by Book Journey that gives us all a chance to list the books that we read last week and what we hope to read this week.

Books Read:
Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer (Nightshade #3)

Bloodfever by Karen Marie Moning (Fever #2)

Books Reviewed:
(Click on links to read reviews)

Halflings by Heather Burch (Halflings #1)

Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean (Love by Numbers #1)

Partials by Dan Wells (Partials #1)

Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer (Nightshade #3)

Books I'm Currently Reading:

The Oakleaf Bearers by John Flanagan (Ranger's Apprentice #4)

Books Up Next:

Faefever by Karen Marie Moning (Fever #3)

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Review: Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer (Nightshade #3)

Publisher - Atom
Publication Date - 21st February 2012
Paperback - 416 pages
Genre - Young Adult/Urban Fantasy

Source - Received from publisher for review

Rating - 4 out of 5: I really liked it.

Reviewed by - Chrissie

Book Info - Calla has always welcomed war. But now that the final battle is upon her, there's more at stake than fighting.

There's saving Ren, even if it incurs Shay's wrath. There's keeping Ansel safe, even if he's been branded a traitor. There's proving herself as the pack's alpha, facing unnamable horrors and ridding the world of the Keepers' magic once and for all.

And, when the battle finally ends, then there's deciding what to do and who to love. That is, if Calla can make it out alive.

Review - I am a big fan of the Nightshade series so I was incredibly excited when I received this final instalment of the series through the post. Although I will admit to starting it with some trepidation - it is always a nerve-wracking experience to find out how a much-loved series is going to end. But luckily I was not at all disappointed!

Although Nightshade gets off to a slow start, once the action does start it doesn't let go and I was completely wrapped up in the story. There is a lot of suspense surrounding how the war against the Keepers was going to end and this kept me turning the pages until late in the night.

Plus, the way that the impending war affects the people involved made me fall in love with the characters even more. They are sure that they're taking part in a suicide mission and so they are trying to make the most of every last moment together - leading to some heart-melting and bitter-sweet interactions between them.

The ending was, for me, perfect. I read a huge spoiler about the ending a while ago in another review and I didn't think I would like the conclusion of the series, but after reading the rest of the book I could see that it couldn't end in any other way. And for the most part it is a happy ending - that made me shed a tear or two!

The only thing that I didn't like too much was Calla's treatment of Ren. She brings him back to the Guardians and Searchers to help them with the war but she makes him believe that he has a chance with her in the future just so that he'll stick around to fight. Although it is obvious Calla loves him in her own special way, it is also very obvious that her heart belongs to Shay. I just felt that she should have treated him better and this made me dislike her a little bit at certain points (in case you couldn't tell I am firmly in Team Ren :P).

Summary - Despite a slow start, this book managed to grab me and pull me into the story. With suspense, romance, betrayal and intrigue I really can't recommend this series enough. I loved the ending but I'm sad that it has now come to an end. If you haven't read this series yet then these books need to be added to your TBR list now!

Other books in the series:
1. Nightshade
2. Wolfsbane
3. Bloodrose

Other reviews of this book:
A Cupcake and a Latte / Literary Exploration / The Overflowing Library

This book counts towards the following challenges:
Book #2 for 2012 Finish the Series Reading Challenge
Book #24 for 2012 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge

Friday, 13 April 2012

Review: Partials by Dan Wells (Partials #1)

Publisher - Harper Collins Children's Books
Publication Date - 29th March 2012
Genre -  Young Adult Dystopian

Source - Received from NetGalley for review

Rating - 4 out of 5: I really liked it

Reviewed by - Ally

Book Info - Humanity is all but extinguished after a war with partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the world’s population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island. The threat of the partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to the disease in over a decade. Humanity’s time is running out.

When sixteen-year-old Kira learns of her best friend’s pregnancy, she’s determined to find a solution. Then one rash decision forces Kira to flee her community with the unlikeliest of allies. As she tries desperately to save what is left of her race, she discovers that the survival of both humans and partials rests in her attempts to answer questions of the war’s origin that she never knew to ask.

Combining the fast-paced action of The Hunger Games with the provocative themes of Battlestar Galactica, Partials is a pulse-pounding journey into a world where the very concept of what it means to be human is in question—one where our sense of humanity is both our greatest liability, and our only hope for survival.

Review - Take a peek between the covers (or in my case my shiny new laptops Adobe programme) and you’ll get sucked into a post-apocalyptic dystopian book where you’ll meet Kira and her world. It’s crazy! Insane! Mindboggling-ly good, with well written characters and a good plot. Go Dan Wells!

Eleven years ago the Partials, genetically engineered super soldiers created by the US government rebelled. They released RM, a virus that wiped out the human race, and for those left there isn’t much hope left. The pregnancy age is dropping, the pregnancy rate is increasing and the senate is “Doing things wrong!” The senate has created the Hope Act to ensure the future of humanity; they must produce children with immunity. The Hope Act requires every woman of eighteen years to get pregnant as quickly as possible and stay pregnant as often as possible. The American survivors have gathered on Long Island waiting for the Partials’ attack, but none have come. Many women feel they are being treated as cattle.

One woman…ok, ok “teen” is willing to brave the senate and the partials to make a difference. A medic, Kira is brave and stupid brilliant and all round loyal. She has an amazing boyfriend and great friends with names like Kochi and Isolde, who all love her and are rather goofy. I loved the relationships between the characters. There is a large cast to get to know but the somewhat slow beginning gives this time to know each, quirks and all.

This book is well explained with not too many big gaping holes in the logic or explanation (though there is quite a bit of explanation) The thing that was not so great about this book was the beginning there was a lot of world building and character building for the first 100-150 and that kinda dragged but when things kicked of it really kicked off! The last ¼ was non-stop awesomeness.

This book is for the brave and stupid we have lurking inside of us it will appeal to you on a level you won’t have realised it could reach and it will definitely have you hooked. Mindboggeling-ly amazing has you hanging on the edge of your seat awesome, you won’t be able to read it and read it again and then read the next one!

Summary - The book was really good and Kira is a fantastic character, a YA heroine that isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty, she is very strong and determined. The supporting characters are cool and funny. Although there are some holes in the plot, they’re most likely for the sequel to fill in. Look out for this book and its sequel because Dan Wells seems to be making pretty awesome books.

Other reviews of this book:
Cosy Books / Endlessly Bookish / YA Reads

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Review: Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean (Love by Numbers #1)

Publisher - Piatkus Entice
Publication Date - 14th February 2012
Genre -  Historical Romance

Source - Received from publisher for review

Rating - 4 out of 5: I really liked it

Reviewed by - Chrissie

Book Info - "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...

Review - I am very new to the world of historical romance (this is only my second book from the genre) but Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake is such a fun and entertaining read that I can't wait to read more from this series, and the genre as a whole.

I absolutely loved the descriptions of the fashions and customs of the times. It was all just so elegant, with all the dances and traditions that seem to surround everything that happens, and it made me want to travel back in time to the 19th Century.

And the characters were so much fun! Callie, a wallflower who believes she is now too old to find herself a husband and will spend the rest of her life 'on the shelf', decides that she will now no longer be restrained by society's rules. She writes a list of nine things that she would like to do, all of which would thoroughly ruin her reputation. I loved this sense of adventure that she shows, and the courage that it must have taken for a young woman to do these things at that time. And to add the icing on the cake, Callie does not take any nonsense from Gabriel St. John. She tells him exactly what she thinks, often leading to some hilarious exchanges between the two of them. The only thing that did irritate me slightly about Callie is that she sometimes has the tendency to look down on others, but this wasn't really enough to make me dislike her.

And as for Gabriel *sigh*, he is a character that I fell in love with instantly. He is a complete womaniser, but at the same time he is so charming it is easy to forgive him for this. But he is trying to mend his ways as a sister unexpectedly arrives on the scene who he has to introduce to proper society. He knows that his own bad reputation could reflect badly on his sister so he decides to take a break from his womanising ways. However, then Callie arrives on the scene with her list and he gets drawn into her little adventures, risking both of their reputations and once again providing some very funny moments. He often becomes frustrated with her and her list, leading to much bickering and then much *ahem* making up!

The romance between Callie and Gabriel is steaming and I loved reading about the two of them together. They really complement each other well and I enjoyed the bickering between the pair of them just as much as the intimate moments. The ending is a perfect happy ending, although there were probably one too many diversions on their route to happiness for my liking.

Summary - Overall, I absolutely loved Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake. It was just so much fun and I couldn't get enough of the humour, the loveable characters, and the descriptions of people, places and customs. I can't wait to read more from this author in the future.

Other books in the series:
1. Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake
2. Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord
3. Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart

Other reviews of this book:
Alexa Loves Books / Book Whore Blog / Under the Covers

This book counts towards the following challenges:
Book #23 for 2012 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Rift by Andrea Cremer

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week my "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Rift by Andrea Cremer
Set 500 years ago in a world ruled by hostile factions of Mages, this novel is the precursor to Andrea Cremer’s hit Nightshade series. Ember, one of the only female warriors in her tribe, has always known that she owed her life to a mysterious order of Knights who saved her life as a baby and called her best friend into service. But when Alistair returns unexpectedly, Ember places her trust in him as her only chance to escape. As warring magical forces close in, Ember is caught in the struggle between dark and light – with her heart on the line. A magical fantasy prequel for fans of the compulsive Nightshade series and Twilight.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Review: Halflings by Heather Burch (Halflings #1)

Before this post kicks off I would just like to say that this is the first review from new Once Upon a Series reviewer, Ally. So please show Ally some love and make her feel welcome in her new little bit of space in the blogosphere :) ~Chrissie~

Publisher - Zondervan
Publication Date - 1st February 2012
Genre - Young Adult/Paranormal Romance

Source - Received from NetGalley

Rating - 2 out of 5 (but edging towards a 3): It was ok

Reviewed by - Ally

Book Info - After being inexplicably targeted by an evil intent on harming her at any cost, seventeen-year-old Nikki finds herself under the watchful guardianship of three mysterious young men who call themselves halflings. Sworn to defend her, misfits Mace, Raven, and Vine battle to keep Nikki safe while hiding their deepest secret—and the wings that come with.

A growing attraction between Nikki and two of her protectors presents a whole other danger. While she risks a broken heart, Mace and Raven could lose everything, including their souls. As the mysteries behind the boys’ powers, as well as her role in a scientist’s dark plan, unfold, Nikki is faced with choices that will affect the future of an entire race of heavenly beings, as well as the precarious equilibrium of the earthly world.

My Thoughts - Having been my first angel book I was practically flying off my chair when I got the chance to read this book, thank you Netgalley and my beautiful beautiful ARC! This book is Action packed and showcases this from the upstart. As if being a teenager wasn’t crazy enough with just human boys, but when love triangles emerge with ANGELS!! Yes angels…ok Halflings, but Angels nonetheless, and being chased by hells little pets, Nikki has more than she’s cut out for. So much for normal *sigh*.

But then again, what’s normal in this world eh? From vampires to angels - unbelievably hot, powerful Angels - who are here to guard you and dog your every step Mace, Raven and Vine (may I take a minute to say how much I adored these “lost boys”). Who are these boys? They are Halflings - half angel and half human; the product of fallen angels and humans, sent by the “higher power” to guard those who are foretold for greatness.

There were a few things about this book which bugged me. Nikki is meant to be a Kick ass girl with a motorcycle and a black belt in Karate, why the hell is she crying and/or fainting all the time. I mean get it together!

Of course there’s a love triangle, what book doesn’t have one nowadays, but a love triangle between 2 brothers? That’s a whole other WORLD of trouble. (Can I just take this time to say *Blech!*) I’m all for being “unique” in your plot and characters, but this seems a bit extreme - can I mention the whole Clare-Jace “are we brother and sister?” debacle from mortal instruments *yuck*, I haven’t been back to that series since.

The thing is despite all this books vices; the slow pace (at points), awkward disjointed moments and well let’s face it Icky factor, it still managed to be a good book.

Nikki is at the centre of a war that’s brewing and she’s going to need all the help she can get, caught between two worlds, two boys and two sides. Falling from grace has never been so fun! However be warned this book ends in a major cliff-hanger and having been the first book in the series there are quite a few loose ends and the plot is somewhat lacking but with the amazing grace (ok, ok I’ll stop with my not so great puns) amazingly hot characters and an intriguing back story this book managed to ensnare me.

Summary - I LOVED the synopsis. I LOVED the cover. I… liked the book. This series seems to be starting off…ok. I love the “lost boys” there’s a sadness that just draws me to them. Unfortunately Nikki just reminds me WAY to much of Bella Swan, and at least Bella did not go parading around as some kick Booty Chick…much. An interesting premise and I’ll wait it out to see if this series has any wings (Ok now I’ll stop!).

Other reviews of this book:
Alexa Loves Books / Confessions of a Bookaholic

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Blog Tour: Crave by Melissa Darnell: Review + Author Interview

Publisher - Mira Ink
Publication Date - 6th April 2012
Paperback - 432 pages
Genre - Young Adult/Paranormal Romance

Source - Received from publisher for review

Rating - 3 out of 5: I liked it

Book Info - Bloodlust. Magic. Forbidden secrets.

When Savannah Colbert returns to school after a mystery illness, the fact that she has changed is clear to everyone. None more so than every school girls golden boy Tristan Coleman. Ever since their first kiss in fourth grade, Savannah and Tristan have been cruelly and inexplicably banned from associating with each other. Now, as the pair navigate the tricky social life of high school, the truth is about to be revealed.

As Savannah learns of their paranormal ancestry and Tristan deals with the repercussions of her new powers, the relationship they have been denied for so long becomes utterly irresistible and all consuming. Like Romeo and Juliet centuries before them, Savannah and Tristan’s love is destined to fail; and Tristan’s powerful magical family, the Clann, are watching.

My Thoughts - I was very excited when I was asked to take part in the blog tour for Crave as I have heard a lot of good things about the book. And, for the most part, I did really enjoy reading it.

The characters of Savannah and Tristan were both likeable and realistically written. At times I found Savannah to be a bit too whiny for my liking but overall I thought she was caring, brave and selfless. And I loved the way Tristan looks out for Savannah throughout the novel, showing that he really does care about her. He also comes across as very charming and friendly, making him seem pretty irresistable.

The romance between the two is sweet and slow-burning. They have known each other since childhood but have never been able to act on their feelings due to the fact that their families have forbidden them to talk to each other. I am glad that this book wasn't another case of insta-love that seems so common in paranormal romance these days.

The only complaint I have about this book is that the storyline does move along at quite a slow pace and there were a few times when I wished that something would happen. But Crave does have a unique plot that I haven't come across before so in that respect it was quite a refreshing read.

I would definitely recommend this book to fans of young adult paranormal novels.

Author Interview

I am also very excited to welcome Melissa to Once Upon a Series today to answer a few of my questions! Thank you Melissa!

What three words would you use to describe Crave?
Bloodlust. Magic. Forbidden love. (I know, I know, that's four not three; I tend to write long!)

How long did it take you to write Crave?
A month to plot it and a few weeks to write it. And then a year to revise it.

Where did you get your inspiration for the Clann series?
When the YA vampire craze started to take off, as a long time lover of vamp romances I was thrilled but felt the genre was really missing something...namely a vampire heroine. Why should the boys get all the fun here?! But I wanted to see her start off as a normal, clueless human and then have to experience this crazy transformation process as well as learn how to deal with the final result of becoming a vampire. I also wanted a real Romeo and Juliet forbidden kind of love, one where both the hero and heroine were equally powerful, equally interesting in a paranormal way, and equally dangerous to each other so the forbidden aspect of their love would have a huge rippling effect not just on each other but on their worlds as well. When I considered what kind of hero could possibly be as strong and powerful as a vamp, the answer seemed natural...a male witch.

Do you already know how the series will end, or do you just see where your writing takes you?
I've already plotted the third book, which will probably be the final book for Savannah and Tristan, and am currently working on its rough draft. So I definitely know how their saga will end. As for a few key other characters, they "might" end up getting a story of their own in the series.

What made you want to write about forbidden love?
I hate sucky endings to romances (and by "sucky" I mean anything short of a full on happy ending!). Therefore Romeo and Juliet simply had to be rewritten with a better ending. And what could make that classic story even better than reworking the ending? Why, to throw in some witches and vampires, of course!

Please feel free to visit my sites at and to learn even more about the history of Savannah's race of vampires and the Clann, listen to each Clann Series book's playlist online, contact me with any additional questions you or your readers may have, and much more!
And a HUGE thank you for featuring me on your blog today!
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