Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Review: Reborn (Shadow Falls: After Dark #1) by C.C. Hunter

Thanks to Kimba’s awesome post recently, I thought I’d try to mix things up here. My reviewing format tends to be the same formatted/freestyle set-out which I’m finding repetitive so I’ve made some minor changes to my style for something a little different, let me know what you think – any and all feedback is always welcome.

Reborn (Shadow Falls: After Dark #1)Reborn

Author: C.C Hunter
Series: Shadow Falls: After Dark #1
Pages: 400
Publisher: St Martins Griffin
Amazon
Release date: 20th May 2014

Synopsis: (Goodreads): Return to the beloved world of Shadow Falls, a camp that teaches supernatural teens to harness their powers—and where a vampire named Della will discover who she’s meant to be.
For Della Tsang, Shadow Falls isn't just a camp: it's home. As a vampire who's never fit in with her human family, it's the one place she can truly be herself. But when a mysterious new guy arrives at camp, Della’s whole world is thrown into turmoil. Chase is a vampire with secrets, who knows more than he’s telling. But the more time she spends with him, the more she begins to trust this attractive stranger—and feel drawn to him. But romance is the last thing she wants—as she keeps telling Steve, the hunky shapeshifter who won’t stop trying to win her heart. And if Della isn't careful, he just might succeed.  When a new case puts everyone she cares about in danger, Della’s determined to do everything she can to save them . . . even if it means teaming up with Steve and Chase, who leave her more confused than ever. With their lives on the line, will Della and her friends survive—with their hearts intact? 

Review: 4 out of 5 stars

Reborn is a spin-off from C.C Hunters Shadow Falls series which I absolutely loved and follows the MC of that series best-friend Della Tsang, a reluctant snarky vampire with familial, acceptance and anger issues; she doesn’t allow herself to like or love easily out of fear of being hurt or shunned.

The setting of Reborn is Shadow Falls, a camp for supernaturals learning to hone their abilities, accept what they are be it a werewolf, chameleon, fae, Vampire etc and live a perfectly normal life once they are out in in the normal world living with humans.

The characters are all fabulous, I adored them in the first series and I enjoyed catching up with them again in the sequel. I loved Della’s devoted best friends Miranda & Kylie, Derek, Lucas and Perry make cameos, camp leaders Holiday and Burnett are amazing and treat Della like a family member and we have a love interest in Steve who was wonderfully protective and Chase Tallman who I’m not sure whether I like, distrust or despise; he’s going to take some time to grow on me.

The plot was well structured and follows Della in her search for any possible family members, her parents have no idea she is a vampire; believing she is just a rebellious teen so she yearns to have relations who she can turn to and who understand her vampiric side, Della also has a ghost following her and some mysterious health ailments so it is ongoing drama as she tries to sort through a few issues. It was fast-paced and entertaining with a bit of a twist thrown in to surprise us.

C.C. Hunters writing is engaging and wonderfully detailed, I did feel a few things were repetitive and there were similarities between this series as a spin-off and Shadow Falls but it was to be expected since it is the same world so I wasn’t overly fussed.

What I loved:
  • Della’s feisty, kick-butt wanting to beat everyone up attitude, it won’t be for everyone but I sympathised with how she felt and just wanted to hug her.
  • The vivid details we are given about the camp and surroundings, you get a clear picture in your mind of the set-out, water falls, cabins etc. which I enjoyed.
  • Steve – loved the tidbits we got about him in the previous books, adored his interactions with Della despite her constantly trying to push him away.
  • The beautiful friendship Della has with Miranda and Kylie – they are just as good as family.
  • The different supernaturals and C.C. Hunters unique twist on each of them.
What I wasn’t a huge fan of: 
  • The secrets Della was keeping, she was hesitant to let anyone in.
  •  The possibility of a love-triangle between Della, Steve and Chase – I wasn’t a fan of it in the Shadow Falls series with Kylie, Lucas and Derek so I think I’m going to feel the same here, it makes it tough when there are two guys who are perfect for the MC yet one will lose out; the only difference here is I still don’t trust mysterious Chase.
  • Della’s cousin Chan – I won’t go into details to avoid spoilers but I was shocked by his character.
  • The sorrow I felt with the way Della’s family treated her, especially her father. Who believed she was an unappreciative, uncaring teen.
  • The close similarities between this book and the previous in the Shadow Falls series - ghost hauntings, reluctant relationships and friendships. 
Overall, Reborn is an entertaining start to the After Dark series, I’m excited to see what happens in the sequel, Eternal which has an anticipated October 2014 release date.

Memorable quote: “We’re vampires and we’re no more monstrous than any other species. Humans included. Good, bad, evil isn’t species-specific. Don’t you ever question that.”

Thank-you kindly to St. Martin's Griffin via Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review Reborn by C.C. Hunter. 


C.C. HunterAbout the author: C.C. Hunter grew up in Alabama, where she caught lightning bugs, ran barefoot, and regularly rescued potential princes, in the form of Alabama bullfrogs, from her brothers. Today, she's still fascinated with lightning bugs, mostly wears shoes, but has turned her focus to rescuing mammals. She now lives in Texas with her four rescued cats, one dog, and a prince of a husband, who for the record, is so not a frog. When she's not writing, she's reading, spending time with her family, or is shooting things-with a camera, not a gun.

C.C. Hunter is a pseudonym. Her real name is Christie Craig and she also writes humorous romantic suspense romance novels for Grand Central. www.christie-craig.com

Waiting on Wednesday - The Beautiful Ashes (Broken Destiny #1) by Jeaniene Frost

 
Hi everyone!! thank-you so much for stopping by today.

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

My WoW for this week is The Beautiful Ashes by Jeaniene Frost which is the first book in the Broken Destiny series, as a huge fan of this author I am SUPER excited to read this.

The Beautiful Ashes (Broken Destiny, #1)
Author: Jeaniene Frost
Series:  Broken Destiny
Genre: New adult
Publisher: Harlequin
Release date: 26th August 2014

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis. (Goodreads)

In a world of shadows, anything is possible. Except escaping your fate. 

Ever since she was a child, Ivy has been gripped by visions of strange realms just beyond her own. But when her sister goes missing, Ivy discovers the truth is far worse—her hallucinations are real, and her sister is trapped in a parallel realm. And the one person who believes her is the dangerously attractive guy who's bound by an ancient legacy to betray her. 

Adrian might have turned his back on those who raised him, but that doesn't mean he can change his fate…no matter how strong a pull he feels toward Ivy. Together they search for the powerful relic that can save her sister, but Adrian knows what Ivy doesn't: that every step brings Ivy closer to the truth about her own destiny, and a war that could doom the world. Sooner or later, it will be Ivy on one side and Adrian on the other. And nothing but ashes in between…

What are most anticipating this week?

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Review: Bird by Crystal Chan

BirdBird by Crystal Chan

Author: Crystal Chan
Series: -
Pages: 295
Publisher/Source: Text Publishing
Amazon
Release date: 29th January 2014

Synopsis:

Nothing matters. Only Bird matters. And he flew away.

Jewel never knew her brother Bird, but all her life she has lived in his shadow. Her parents blame Grandpa for the tragedy of their family’s past; they say that Grandpa attracted a malevolent spirit—a duppy—into their home. Grandpa hasn’t spoken a word since. Now Jewel is twelve, and she lives in a house full of secrets.

Jewel is sure that no one will ever love her like they loved Bird, until the night that she meets a mysterious boy in a tree.

Grandpa is convinced that the boy is a duppy, but Jewel knows that he is something more. And that maybe the time has come to break through the stagnant silence of the past.

Entrenched secrets, mysterious spirits, and an astonishing friendship weave together in this extraordinary and haunting debut

Review: 4 ½ out of 5 stars

Bird was such a pleasant surprise, with beautiful poetic prose, elegant writing and intriguing characters it is a book which captured and held my attention.

Jewels five year-old brother John ‘Bird died the day she was born, a tragedy that broke a family – Grandpa stopped talking and her parents were grief stricken; it has been that way for twelve years.

On Jewels twelfth birthday she climbs a tree and meets John, an African American boy who soon becomes her closest friend; they made a wonderful pair with their ambitions and friendship, the way they played and interacted were reminiscent of what we’d do as children which I really appreciated.

Jewels life was filled with sorrow, her family dynamic was strained; she was extremely lonely, I found her story heart-breaking. I couldn’t help but hope that her parents would pay her the attention she craved and needed but they were seemingly lost in their own misery and oblivious whilst Jewel navigated her childhood more or less alone.

I enjoyed the way the author explored culture and spirituality and the small astronomy and geology tidbits and references; I also had no idea what a duppy was (an evil spirit) but I found this aspect to be fascinating and incorporated into the story well. The sublime setting of Iowa was vivid, the details and dialogue entertaining, I relished the depth in which the story was told.

Bird is a book filled with heart and hope and reflects on a family’s guilt, grief and loss; it was an emotionally poignant read that was written exquisitely and with compassion, told in first person narrative it gave us great insight into Jewels character which I feel was important to gain a sense of her true inner voice and to fully understand her emotions.

As an older reader, I don’t tend to read and enjoy MG but Bird was a book with a mature protagonist, storyline and the wisdom that I felt was perfect for not only the younger reader but the more mature reader as well, it was a captivating read.

Thank you to Text Publishing Australia for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  

Crystal ChanAbout the author: Crystal Chan grew up as a mixed-race kid in the middle of the Wisconsin cornfields and has been trying to find her place in the world ever since. Over time, she found that her heart lies in public speaking, performing, and ultimately, writing. She has published articles in several magazines; given talks and workshops across the country; facilitated discussion groups at national conferences; and been a professional storyteller for children and adults alike.

In Chicago, where Crystal now lives, you will find her biking along the city streets and talking to her pet turtle. Her debut middle-grade novel, Bird, is published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers. She is represented by Emily van Beek of Folio Literary Management.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Review: Take a Chance: A Rosemary Beach novel by Abbi Glines

Take a Chance (Chances, #1; Rosemary Beach, #6)Take a Chance: A Rosemary Beach novel.

Author: Abbi Glines
Series: Chance #1
Pages: 288
Publisher/Source: Simon & Schuster Australia
Amazon
Release date: 25th February 2014

Synopsis:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Abbi Glines comes the story of Grant, the sexy Playboy who first captured readers hearts in Fallen Too Far.

When Harlow Manning's rocker father goes on tour, he sends her to Rosemary Beach, Florida, to live with her half-sister, Nan. The problem: Nan despises her. Harlow has to keep her head down if she wants to get through the next nine months, which seems easy enough. Until gorgeous Grant Carter walks out of Nan's room in nothing but his boxer briefs.

Grant made a huge mistake getting involved with a girl with venom in her veins. He'd known about Nan's reputation, but still he couldn't resist her. Nothing makes him regret the fling more than meeting Harlow, who sends his pulse racing. Yet Harlow wants nothing to do with a guy who could fall for her wicked half-sister even if there are no strings between Grant and Nan. Grant is desperate to redeem himself in Harlow's eyes, but did he ruin his chances before he even met her?

Review: 2 ½ out of 5 stars

Take a Chance is the sixth book in Abbi Glines Rosemary Beach series but the first book for Grant and Harlow and despite enough background details given on the previous books and characters to fully understand what has happened it is tied in strongly to the other books so I do recommend reading them first.

This book unfortunately had so many elements I found myself not enjoying but it was also a story I found I couldn’t put down because I needed to know what would happen.

The characters in Take a Chance were all flawed, we revisit a few from previous Rosemary Beach books which I enjoyed but womaniser Grant who I liked in Fallen Too Far turned out to be my biggest disappointment; he was a complete douchebag in this book and treated Harlow like absolute rubbish, I lost all respect for his character, I found his actions insulting and his behaviour to be inconsistent. Harlow had hidden depth and a quite strength and determination; I sympathised with her and felt the pain and the betrayal she went through but I admired that she was no push-over. Nan is a character I continue to despise; she’s a real piece of work! A character we do get to meet and who I really liked was Mason Mannign, Harlow’s brother; he was intriguing.

The storyline follows not only the complex relationship between Grant and Harlow and how Grant slowly comes to terms with his insecurities about allowing himself to love but we also got more background details about Kiro, who I was pleasantly surprised about, there were some admissions I definitely wasn’t expecting. If it wasn’t for Grant’s actions I think I would have enjoyed this book a lot more than what I did.

Despite being a huge Abbi Glines fan, I can’t say this book was a favourite mainly because of Grant’s poorly thought out decisions, especially when it came to Nan, the drama, angst and betrayals were overload and it finished on a cliff-hanger. I’m curious to see how it all pans out but I’ll be reading other reviews before I pick it up.  One More Chance is their second book. It releases September 2.

Thank-you to Simon & Schuster Australia for the opportunity to read and review Take A Chance.

   

Abbi GlinesAbout the author: Since publishing her first novel Breathe in May of 2011, Abbi has also released The New York Times bestselling Seabreeze Series which includes Breathe, Because of Low, While It Lasts, Just For Now and Sometimes It Last, The Existence Trilogy that includes the USA Today Bestseller Ceaseless. New York Times and USA TODAY bestsellers The Vincent Boys and The Vincent Brothers. Last but not least her most popular series to date, Rosemary Beach which includes The New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers Fallen Too Far, Never Too Far, Forever Too Far, Twisted Perfection and Simple Perfection. Her newest book scheduled to be released on December 17th, 2013 is Misbehaving (Seabreeze).

When Abbi isn’t locked away in her office typing away she is hauling her kids to and from their many social activities. You could say her second job is the Glines Kids personal chauffeur. It’s a rather illustrious job.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Waiting on Wednesday - Trial by Fire (The Worldwalker Trilogy) by Josephine Angelini

  
Hi everyone!! thank-you so much for stopping by today.

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

My WoW for this week is Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini  which is the first book in the Worldwalker trilogy.

Trial by Fire  ( Worldwalker Trilogy Series, #1)
 Author: Josephine Angelini
Series:  The Worldwalker trilogy
Genre: Young adult
Amazon pre-order
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Release date: 2nd September 2014


Synopsis. (Goodreads)

Love burns. Worlds collide. Magic reigns.

This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying many of the experiences that other teenagers take for granted...which is why she is determined to enjoy her first (and perhaps only) high-school party. But Lily's life never goes according to plan, and after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class Lily wishes she could just disappear.

Suddenly Lily is in a different Salem - one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruellest of all the Crucibles is Lillian . . . Lily's identical other self in this alternate universe. This new version of her world is terrifyingly sensual, and Lily is soon overwhelmed by new experiences.

Lily realizes that what makes her weak at home is exactly what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. It also puts her life in danger. Thrown into a world she doesn't understand, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can't hope to shoulder alone, and a love she never expected.

But how can Lily be the saviour of this world when she is literally her own worst enemy?

What are most anticipating this week?

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Review: The Wicked We Have Done by Sarah Harian

The Wicked We Have Done (Chaos Theory, #1)The Wicked We Have Done by Sarah Harian

Author: Sarah Harian
Series: Chaos Theory
Pages: 272
Publisher: Penguin/Intermix Books
Amazon
Release date: 18th March 2014

Synopsis: Evalyn Ibarra never expected to be an accused killer and experimental prison test subject. A year ago, she was a normal college student. Now she’s been sentenced to a month in the compass room—an advanced prison obstacle course designed by the government to execute justice.

If she survives, the world will know she’s innocent.

Locked up with nine notorious and potentially psychotic criminals, Evalyn must fight the prison and dismantle her past to stay alive. But the system prized for accuracy appears to be killing at random.

She doesn’t plan on making friends.

She doesn’t plan on falling in love, either.

Review: 3 ½ out of 5 stars

Ever since reading Nereyda’s (Mostly YA Book Obsessed) review of this book I have been really eager to read The Wicked We Have Done which is the first book in Sarah Harian’s Chaos Theory series. With a unique premise that reminded me of a mix between The Hunger Game & Diverget, I was eager to see how this book would play out and to say I devoured it would be a gross understatement!

Evalyn Ibarra is an accused killer and has chosen to be an experimental test subject in the compass room which will hopefully decide her moral code rather than see her face the death penalty. Locked up with nine potentially crazed criminals, its literally a fight for survival as we see each of the characters forced to relive the crime they had committed; it was dark and terrifying and not knowing if at any time they would be wiped out turned it into a high stakes live or die game where pretty much anything goes and you don’t know who on earth could be trusted.

We get to learn about Evalyn’s life before being accused through flashbacks which was relatively happy to post incident which hardened her as a character; I really enjoyed her self-sacrificing determination and I was eager to know how she had ended up in such a horrible situation which did take some time to find out but it made me sympathise that little bit more with her in the end.

I felt the romance was a weak point; it wasn’t the most ideal setting to form a relationship so I wasn’t completely sold on the bond Evalyn had formed with Casey. I thought it was great they came to trust and rely on one another but there were no moments that left me yearning for them to have their HEA, especially with the re-appearance of Liam – Evalyn’s ex who isn’t really an ex because of her situation so I’m eager to see how it all plays out.

I thoroughly enjoyed the intense suspenseful moments, with the characters having to relive their crimes and the compass room and science more or less deciding their fate; I was curious to see how it all worked, complications were bound to arise and they sure did so the sequel is going to be interesting. A few background details were sparse, including the creation and workings of the room so I would have liked more details about the whys and whens which I think are critical in this type of world/book, I also had no idea in which year it took place but all in all I appreciated the concept.

It took me a little while to grasp Sarah Harian’s writing style which I still can’t pinpoint what was different to other books I have read, it felt a little choppy but I did enjoy her imaginative ideas and her notions of dealing with innocence versus guilt.

The storyline of The Wicked We Have Done is pretty unforgiving and ruthless, at times it read like a horror with characters dying a few chapters in, quite brutally. I don’t think it would be for everyone as it was a little gruesome but all in all I enjoyed the uniqueness of it.

Overall, The Wicked We Have Done is a great start to the series and nice debut for Sarah Harian - dealing with morals, ethics and science; I was intrigued by the authors’ creativity, the diverse cast of characters and the fact it is NA Dystopian! I’m definitely looking forward to reading the sequel, A vault of Sins which has an anticipated September 2014 release date.

Thank you kindly to Penguin / Intermix Books for the opportunity to read and review The Wicked We Have Done.

  

Sarah HarianAbout the author: 

Sarah Harian grew up in the foothills of Yosemite and received her B.A. and M.F.A. from Fresno State University. When not writing, she is usually hiking some mountain or another in the Sierras, playing video games with her husband, or rough-housing with her dog.