Monday, 29 April 2013

Review - Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

 Obsidian (Lux, #1)

Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I'd pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring.... until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something...unexpected happens. 

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon's touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I'm getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades. 

If I don't kill him first, that is.

Amazon UK

I’ve seen so many people raving about this book I decided to check it out. Jennifer L. Armentrout is a fantastic author and I’m really glad I picked this up! The last aliens book I read was I Am Number Four, but ‘sci-fi romance with badass aliens’ isn’t a category I usually go for. But I loved it.

Katy’s not happy about moving to the middle of nowhere – and even less happy to meet her new mysteriously hostile neighbour, Daemon, who seems to hate her for no reason.  Although the novel starts out with the cliché of moving house, I loved Katy right off the bat. She’s intelligent, independent and won’t put up with crap from Daemon – a good thing, otherwise I’d have found their relationship incredibly irritating. As it was, I thought their interactions were hilarious, even though Daemon acts like a total ass for the first half of the book, and Katy is angry with herself for being attracted to him anyway. For this NOT to annoy me, the book has to be pretty damn good! I also love that she’s a book blogger, and clearly has her own life outside of her ‘love (or hate?) interest’. The YA world needs more of this!

Daemon appears the cliché ‘hot bad boy’ with superpowers he refuses to explain and an attitude problem – yet Jennifer Armentrout manages to make the chemistry between him and Katy believable. The sci-fi element was really well integrated into the story, and I was really interested to read about the Luxen and their enemies, the Arum. The action scenes were really well-written and the story kept me gripped throughout. With well-drawn characters, a male lead who isn’t annoying, and a great plot with a genuinely original paranormal/sci-fi element, you can’t go wrong with this. I’m off to buy the second book!

Rating: *****

Friday, 19 April 2013

Review - My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent

My Soul to Take (Soul Screamers, #1)

Goodreads summary: She doesn't see dead people. She senses when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally.

Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about her need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who'll be next.

Amazon UK

I’ve had my eye on this series for a while, but it took me a while to pick up the first book. There have been quite a few YA novels in recent years which use the concept of someone being able to predict others’ deaths, but Rachel Vincent’s Soul Screamers series does something different with the idea. My Soul to Take introduces us to Kaylee, a teen with the unnerving ability to sense when someone nearby is about to die. This gives her the urge to scream uncontrollably – a reaction which made her aunt and uncle think she’s crazy. But when she meets Nash, a surprisingly understanding guy who doesn’t think she’s mad, she starts to uncover the secrets surrounding her life. However, teens are randomly dropping dead around her, and she suspects foul play. Someone is playing games with death, and only Kaylee knows who will be the next victim…

This was a highly engaging YA novel with a refreshingly original concept. Vincent rewrites the banshee for a YA audience in the same way that Amanda Hocking re-invented trolls in the Trylle series. Kaylee is a likeable protagonist, and her relationship with Nash was sweet and believable, not like some YA romances I could mention! This is a fantastic start to the series, with an original storyline and a unique concept. I’ll definitely be picking up the next book!

Rating: ****1/2* 

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Review - Scent of Magic by Maria V. Snyder

 Scent of Magic (Healer, #2)
 Hunted, Killed—Survived?

As the last Healer in the Fifteen Realms, Avry of Kazan is in a unique position: in the minds of her friends and foes alike, she no longer exists. Despite her need to prevent the megalomanical King Tohon from winning control of the Realms, Avry is also determined to find her sister and repair their estrangement. And she must do it alone, as Kerrick, her partner and sole confident, returns to Alga to summon his country into battle.

Though she should be in hiding, Avry will do whatever she can to support Tohon’s opponents. Including infiltrating a holy army, evading magic sniffers, teaching forest skills to soldiers and figuring out how to stop Tohon’s most horrible creations yet; an army of the walking dead—human and animal alike and nearly impossible to defeat.

War is coming and Avry is alone. Unless she figures out how to do the impossible ... again.

Amazon UK

Scent of Magic is the second in Maria V. Snyder’s new series, beginning with Touch of Power. The author won me over with a gripping, original storyline and a unique take on magic, and the sequel more than lives up to the first book!

Avry’s in hiding and everyone believes she is dead – but in fact she’s infiltrated the army opposing Tohon, desperate to do everything she can to prevent him from taking over the Fifteen Realms – and also to repair her relationship with her sister, whom she hasn’t seen for three years since the plague struck. But Tohon has managed to do the impossible and created an army of the dead, and no one believes her even though she has seen them for herself. Kerrick, meanwhile, travels alone to his home country to summon them to war.

I like that we get Kerrick’s perspective, as he’s a character who was quite difficult to understand throughout most of the first book. All the characters are multi-layered and complex, and the villains are extremely well-drawn. The world-building is just as great, and we get to see more of the Fifteen Realms as the action expands. Meanwhile, we see Avry and Kerrick face struggles that push them to their limits as they fight an apparently impossible battle. This is a real page-turner, and as with the first book, the gripping narrative held me until the end. The pace remains high and there are many heart-tugging moments – and a Maria V. Snyder sure knows how to keep readers hanging on!

This epic fantasy series has it all - action, romance, adventure and magic. I’m recommending this to all my friends who love fantasy and I’m on tenterhooks for the next book! For now, I’ll definitely be checking out Maria V. Snyder’s other work!

Rating: ****

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Blog Tour - Lichgates by S. M. Boyce

Tour Schedule


Kara Magari is about to discover a beautiful world full of terrifying things--Ourea.

Kara, a college student still reeling from her mother's recent death, has no idea the hidden world of Ourea even exists until a freak storm traps her in a sunken library. With no way out, she opens an ancient book of magic called the Grimoire and unwittingly becomes its master, which means Kara now wields the cursed book's untamed power. Discovered by Ourea's royalty, she becomes an unwilling pawn in a generations-old conflict--a war intensified by her arrival. In this world of chilling creatures and betrayal, Kara shouldn't trust anyone... but she's being hunted and can't survive on her own. She drops her guard when Braeden, a native soldier with a dark secret, vows to keep her safe. And though she doesn't know it, her growing attraction to him may just be her undoing.

For twelve years, Braeden Drakonin has lived a lie. The Grimoire is his one chance at redemption, and it lands in his lap when Kara Magari comes into his life. Though he begins to care for this human girl, there is something he wants more. He wants the Grimoire.

Welcome to Ourea, where only the cunning survive.

Lichgates is FREE
Download your copy now!

Praise for Lichgates
Wow, the world building on this one was breathtaking. The world of Ourea is just full of so many things. Surprises are around every corner.
~Alexia P.

From the first few pages into this story, it was obvious that Boyce has a way with words.
~Author Becca Campbell

Author S.M. Boyce

International Amazon Bestseller. Fantasy Author. Twitter addict. Book Blogger. Geek. Sarcastic. Gooey. Odd. Author of the action-packed Grimoire Saga.

S.M. Boyce is a novelist who loves ghosts, magic, and spooky things. She prefers loose-leaf tea, reads far too many books, and is always cold. She’s married to her soul mate and couldn’t be happier. Her B.A. in Creative Writing qualifies her to serve you french fries.

Boyce likes to update her blog a few times each week so that you have something to wake you up in the morning.


Tour Giveaway
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 4/25/13
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Kara Magari pushed her way down an unkempt trail in the Rocky Mountains, its trees hunching and swaying overhead as she crunched her way along the rotting foliage that served as a carpet. The canopy grew steadily thicker and swallowed the setting sunlight, casting a murky green glow over her pale skin as she hiked. Her hiker’s build made her look a year or two younger than she really was—a curse at twenty—but she knew she would be grateful for it someday.
She ran a hand through her blond hair as she examined the forest. This was a new path, one she found on the way back to her car after an early dinner at the visitor center. She bit her lip and scanned the empty forest. Even though there hadn’t been any empty beer cans or syringes littering the way, solo hiking on an unfamiliar trail was never safe. It would be dark in just a few hours.
She patted the side pocket of her backpack. The edges of her stun gun pushed against the cloth. Kara smirked—she would be fine.
Two minutes later, the footpath ended at a simple gazebo built from unpainted wood. Low-hanging branches hid half of its paneled roof, and a tree trunk on either side blocked the way around. Waist-high wooden railings surrounded most of the structure, but left a break in the fencing just wide enough to walk through. A path stretched from this opening across the gazebo to the other side, where yet another gap in the rails would let her through to the blinding daylight. Benches lined the miniature lane through the shelter.
The landscape on the other side was blurred and bright: a stark contrast to the heavy green glow of the forest, where only freckled rays of sunlight could break through the leaves. She narrowed her eyes as she got closer to the gazebo, but couldn’t distinguish anything through the sun’s sharp glare.
A plank of wood framed with odd carvings had been nailed to the space above the entrance, and she squinted in an effort to read the dull cuts and make out the word:

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Wednesday, 3 April 2013

IWSG Post 1 - On Writing Sequels

For some reason this is my first time participating in the Insecure Writer's Support Group, which takes place on the first Wednesday of every month - thanks to the Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh! Possibly I was too busy being insecure to blog about it! But today I'm here to talk about the often difficult and discouraging process of writing sequels.

Writing a sequel is hard work - even harder, I'd argue, than writing the first book! I'm working on Book 3 of the Darkworld series so it's been the target of my writer's neuroses for the past couple of weeks. Progress is fine, but because the first book hasn't been published yet, those old annoying doubt demons keep whispering that if no one buys the first book, then they won't be interested in any sequels...

I'm sure I'm not the only writer who suffers from this insecurity! My experience with trying to promote The Puppet Spell has been like shouting into an empty room, which probably hasn't helped  much, but for every reasonable part of me that says that this time I have a far better support network, another unwelcome voice in my head insists on trying to bring my confidence down. It's the real-life version of the demons that constantly plague the protagonist of the Darkworld series. Maybe subconsciously the demons are based on writer's insecurity!

I think everyone has doubt demons - the important thing is to ignore them! Ultimately I'm writing this series because I want to - not because I expect a ton of raving fans eagerly anticipating the next book (although that would be nice!). I love the characters. I love writing the action scenes. And I think it's the best series idea I've had - so I'm going to strive to make each book better than the last, even if by Book 5 I'm the only person left to read it!