Fallen by Lauren Kate – Book Review

Guest post by Ross Phillips: “Like genuine Picasso in a vat of wallpaper paste.”

Fallen by Lauren Kate: ‘When Lucinda Price was sent to Sword and Cross Reform School, she knew it would be hard, but she had no idea what lay in store for her. She never went looking for trouble, but it finds her–in the form of true love, death, murder, passion. Can she survive long enough to learn why she’s always been haunted, why disaster seems to follow her around… can she survive at all?’

Right well this is gonna be a difficult one for me, these books are very very easy to completely ruin if anything is inadvertently given away, so now I’ve got to tell you what I like and what I didn’t in such a way as to give absolutely no hint whatsoever to the plot hmmm here goes . . .

This series follows the adventures of Lucinda Price (commonly refered to as Luce) as she starts at a reform school after her involvement in a mysterious accident in her last school. Luce is a very ‘passive’ character who comes across as being somewhat dragged through the narrative rather than driving it. She also suffers a distinct lack of personality through most of the first book and although she gradually develops more of one through the series those looking for a strong female lead will probably have to settle for some of the supporting characters like Arriane.

In contrast to to Luce the supporting cast is much more vivid with each having a definite personality and place within the plot with no one character feeling superfluous.

In terms of plot there is a lot in this series I like, with plot elements which I really approve of, fresh ways at looking at old ideas and twists which took even me by surprise this series has a lot going for it and like Luce herself has great potential, but sadly all that potential feels squandered, crushed under a barrage of cliche that makes the romance (which is meant to be the driving force behind the plot) feel purile.

I can’t help but think this series would have been better off aimed at a more mature audience. It feels like the author started out writing a full-fat dark fantasy romance (to which all the ideas and elements lend themselves perfectly) but then decided to ‘cash-in’ on the current Twilight inspired trend of trashy, teeny paranormal romance.

Like genuine Picasso in a vat of wallpaper paste.

4/10

Love Ross & Rie x

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The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling – Book Review

Aside

The gritty story of Pagford lacks the Hogwarts magic in Rowling’s first published adult book.

The Casual Vacancy by J.K.Rowling: When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty facade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils… Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations? A big novel about a small town, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults. It is the work of a storyteller like no other.

Thanks to J.K.Rowling’s celebrity status and more than a little hype about this adult offering from the author of Harry Potter, The Casual Vacancy can be seen in book shops and supermarkets everywhere. For those looking for some more of the Potter magic you are looking in the wrong place.

This gritty narrative is told via a diverse selection of characters, with no real main protagonist. Instead the sleepy village of Pagford reveals its secrets from the point of view from overweight cafe owners to acne ridden teenagers. Introduced to drug addicts, sex in bushes and various forms of child abuse Rowling does everything she can to make sure this book is as different from Hogwarts is it can be.

The narrative flows well, with Rowling’s effortless story telling style being used to good effect. Yet it was punctuated by superfluous thesaurus raping that left me using the Kindle’s dictionary more than I would like to find out what she was going on about. One or two introductions to new words is what I expect from a book aimed at adults (and a reader who rarely ventures from YA) but it left me feeling more than a little but stupid at times, and could have been toned down a little so that it was more accessible to all.

With the age-old fight of what to do with the needy, whilst the rich are left to squabble about ‘higher’ council matters being displayed in a pleasant tongue-in-cheek way. I enjoyed the effortless flaunting of stereotypes  (think Hot Fuzz in a book, with less guns… actually no guns) in the setting of a pretty little village and council estate attachment, the blemish in Pagford’s facade.

As the book draws to a close, I was shocked by more than one of its twists and turns. Drawing a tear to my eye, and causing me to cringe in disgust as grown adults squabble like children, and the younger generation doing everything they can to add fuel to the fire. Yet I was left feeling very little happened. No epic battles or huge revelations, and very little character development over the dozens of names. To call it disappointing is all little extreme, it just missed a bit of magic!

I give it a:

7/10

The most expensive eBook I have ever purchased (at £11.99) I struggle to recommend this book to those who use e-readers. My suggestion would be to pick this up on offer in your local supermarket, and let me know what you think in the comments below.

Thanks for reading,

Love Rie x

Up and Coming Reviews

Apologies for the long time no post. As some of you will know I have just moved into a little flat with the other half. We don’t currently have internet so I am just doing a quick post from the local cafe with Wifi to let you know what reviews are up-and-coming!

Lilth by Victoria Limbert
The Casual Vacancy by J.K.Rowling
Hell Hath No Fury by Bill Blais
Fallen by Lauren Kate (Guest post by Ross Phillips)
True Blood (Series 1) from HBO.

I have an exciting new series of posts coming soon too, so watch this space!

Thanks for reading,

Love Rie x

Breaking the Devil’s Heart by H. A. Goodman – Book Review

An original fantasy concept that promised a lot, but failed to deliver.

 Summary: Breaking the Devil’s Heart is a rollercoaster afterlife experience that tests a young couple’s love, their grasp on reality, and the essence of human nature. What happens when Stewart and Layla tour Hell’s Marketing Department and Stock Exchange? What happens when their relationship is tested by Satan? This book is unlike anything you’ve ever read, or ever thought the afterlife might be like… look into an alternate world, a new afterlife, and a profound journey inside the human conscience.

When I was sent this book to review, I was warned that it was “a bit wild, out of the ordinary story” and it defiantly delivered on that promise. This original and highly creative production of heaven, hell and the dimensions in between was something that appealed to my fantasy radar.

I did at times enjoy Goodman’s concept of Hell being run as a ‘company’ to reek havoc on people’s lives. Eternal punishment on damned souls was having to meet impossible sales targets. The reward for doing well was a short break to torture another soul for fun. I can only assume a representation of the author’s opinion of the corporate world as a former Financial Advisor.

The ‘formula’ these pinstripe suit clad demons was considerably less clear. Possibly due to the intolerably long chapters that appeared to cover very little ground, the concept never really clicked. Inter-mingled with sickening romance scenes between protagonist Stewart and his life long love I failed to grasp what Goodman was trying to say.

The writing style was often very awkward and difficult to read. Stewart’s train of thought was erratic at times,  and painfully slow at others making it hard to pace as a reader. I have been assured by other reviews the dialogue improves in the second half of the book, yet I failed to pass the half way point.

It is very rare that I fail to finish a book, but after 150 pages I still felt as in the dark as the first chapter. It felt more like an opinion piece on corporate culture and human nature as a whole badly wrapped up as a fantasy novel.

This book does have some saving graces. I did enjoy the quotes that headed each chapter. Angels, Observers and Demons and their dynamics within the after life was an interesting concept, and learning how Stewart came to be within the afterlife, and his noble decision to become an Observer was a sad, but creatively told tale.

What the story really lacked, that would have made me read on was a solid explanation. A clearer description of what the ‘formula’ was and what Stewart was trying to achieve would have left me possibly wanting to read on to find out how he does it.

I have to give this book just a

3/10

Yet this book has been branded by many as an creative, original and intelligent book that possibly I do not have the brain power to process. At just 77p on Amazon I urge anyone with a Kindle to check it out and form your own opinions, but really cant endorse it being worth the £15 for the hardback!

If you have read this book I would love to know you thoughts in the comments!

Thanks for reading,

Love Rie x

This book was sent to be to review, to open a blog tour organised by Illuminated Tours. You can check out the tour schedule, and what other book bloggers thought of the book here.

Flight by Alyssa Rose Ivy – Book Review & Author Interview

The title of this book only hints to the treasures that lie within. Fans of YA fantasy will love this!

Sometimes you just have to take flight.

A summer in New Orleans is exactly what Allie needs before starting college. Accepting her dad’s invitation to work at his hotel offers an escape from her ex-boyfriend and the chance to spend the summer with her best friend. Meeting a guy is the last thing on her mind—until she sees Levi. 

Unable to resist the infuriating yet alluring Levi, Allie finds herself at the center of a supernatural society and forced to decide between following the path she has always trusted or saving a city that might just save her. 


I have been lucky enough to be invited to be part of the AToMR tour of Flight by Alyssa Rose Ivy. This first book in the Crescent Chronicals was sent to me to read and review, which you can read below.

However I was a little cheeky and asked if Alyssa would be willing to do a short interview about the book as well on my stop of the tour, to which she agreed! So before the review I thought I would share what she has to say about the book!

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Alyssa Rose Ivy

Author Interiview


You have written other YA novels. What makes this book stand apart?

Alyssa: Flight is a bit of a departure from my Afterglow Trilogy. One of the biggest differences is that Flight is a more mature YA, and has edgier content. Another difference is that the paranormal society in Flight exists completely within our own world, where as The Afterglow Trilogy has a more epic fantasy aspect to it.


What was the most difficult part about writing this story?

Alyssa: The most difficult part of writing Flight was deciding what about New Orleans to include. I love the city and it holds tons of memories for me, so it took some effort to decide what places to include in Flight and which ones to save for later books in the Crescent Chronicles. 
What part was the most fun to write?

Alyssa: I went to college in New Orleans, so writing Flight was an experience in nostalgia. I had a lot of fun reminiscing about college and remembering just how many cool parts of New Orleans there are. 

What is you favourite scene in the book?

Alyssa: My favorite scene is when Allie first discovers who Levi really is. I love her reaction, and it’s fun to finally reveal what he’s been hiding. 
What do you want readers to take away from this book that they might miss? 

Although Flight is a fun paranormal romance, I hope readers pick up on of the more realistic experiences that Allie and her friends experience as they make the transition from high school to college.
~~~

Book Review 

The title and cover of this book I feel tell you a lot. Flight certainly promises some sort of air travel, and the rather attractive young couple on the cover promise some romance. But I never learn not to judge a book by its cover. This does have all of the above, but it also has something more. Something much more!

I can’t really say its nothing I haven’t read before. The young lover with an attitude problem (Levi), insecure protagonist with family problems (Allie) and the new best friend (Hayley) all work really well together to make this a well written YA paranormal romance. But the introduction of a completely new supernatural race, and the teasing glimpses of the rest of the supernatural world in New Orleans promise to make this a series to keep an eye on. 
I started and finished this book in just three nights. Although the build up to the supernatural element of the book was slow, with the first third dedicated to introducing us to the characters and New Orleans. But when it got going, I flew (as always… pun intended) through the pages lapping up each new dimension to this new fantasy world. 
There were some unnecessary characters and plot items that, I feel, took up too many pages in the opening chapters to then be of little or no importance later on. The main example being best friend Jess, who lit the opening chapters with her vivacious personality and behaviour, yet dwindled into nothing before the book really got going.

The ‘will-she-wont-she’ bad boy romance did feel a little cliché to start with, but I urge you all to stick with it to the final pages for a great little twist that left me stunned!

Overall, I started this book with too many preconceptions of just another YA paranormal romance, to have all my expectations smashed and replaced with something a lot more gritty, well written and enjoyable.

I give it an 8/10.

At just £1.97 for Kindle download, this has to be worth a look (if you are in the U.S. you can download it for $3.11). I will defiantly be checking out the next book in the series!

~~~
As this is a book blog tour, there is also some other fab blogs getting involved, each offering something a bit different. Also writing a review today is Tee over at A Diary of a Book Addict, make sure to pop other to her blog and see what she makes of it.
Thanks for reading,
Love Rie x

Bookish Wonders #5 – Edible Book Treats

Today’s Bookish Wonders post is all about edible book related fun 🙂

I have always known that for those of us that are self confessed Book Worms, we have no shame in investing our lives in it.Us unfortunatly we cannot live off books along, we need to invest our passion in everything we do. Hence you will see my previous posts on how to store your books, so you can look at them even when you are not reading them, and even book jewellry so everyone can know your a book worm 🙂
Now I have been introduced to the world of Book related food. It was this picture that popped up on Facbook of some delicious looking Cake Toppers that stormed my world and since book related food can be found where ever I look!!
Book Toppers by Victoria’s Kitchen

Harry Potter sparked of a revolution in more than just getting children to read. She introduced a wealth of possible mechanising opportunities. Now the films have drawn to a close… you can now reminisce by eating the sweets we have heard about in both the book and the movie.
Edible books…. via Pinterest.

Green Eggs and Ham Party Food… via Pinterest.

This one is slightly more creative… In the Hunger Games book, whilst in the arena Katnis and Peeta eat bread spread with goats cheese topped with apple slices as an offering from the crowds. The goats cheese was significant to Katniss as it reminded her of Prim’s goat. However this is a cake!! Slices of cake topped with goats cheese frosting and apple slices! How cool.. well I thought so. You can see some other super creative Hunger games food over on Confessions of  a Cookbook Queen.
And to finish the slightly more predictable, but still awesome, book shaped cake… via Pinterest.
Seen, or made any of your own book themed food? Please send me the link or a photo and I will add it on here to share with the world 🙂 
Thanks for reading,
Love Rie x

Secrets by Dawn Kirby – Book Reivew

A gem for fans of the supernatural fantasy genre, whilst bringing something new to the table. Secrets has everything you could want and more besides!

Secrets by Dawn Kirby – 1st book in the Serenity series.
Summary: It is said that the truth will set you free, but for Leah it kills.


Leah always knew she was different. From her extreme light sensitivity, to her ability to read people by their auric scent, she kept these differences secret.


Not even Mia, Leah’s mother, knew the fullness of her daughter’s differences, but she held even greater secrets to Leah’s past – the truth about her father and Leah’s conception. 


With the escape of an old foe, Mia is too late to reveal to her daughter 

the truth before Judith can exact her revenge in a wash of blood and death.

Thrown into a world unheard of, Leah discovers that she is not alone in keeping her secrets. That there are people from her parent’s past who would die to protect her.If she only knew why.

Raine, placed as her protector, hides deadly secrets of his own. Drawn to each other, Leah and Raine must uncover the truth before one of both are killed.

This new offering on the teen/adult supernatural fantasy genre will be a read treat for fans of the genre. I can seen teenage readers of series such as Twilight, True Blood and the House of the Night who have now grown up loving Secrets for its similar themes of romance mixed with secrets, danger and adventure – just like me.
Leah is the extraordinary protagonist who has supernatural powers coming out of her ears. Super hearing, being able to view people auroras, smell their personality (yes I do mean smell) and withstanding, and enjoying extreme heat at times seem like a little too much. But her weaknesses balance her out to be a character I grew to love through-out the book. Fans of supernatural and fantasy fiction will recognise the signs of different fictional races common within the genre, which I really enjoyed. Yet Leah’s predicament in my reading experience still presenting something unique. 
Discovering Leah’s secrets as the book progresses became an really enjoyable read for me. With my habit of reading more than one book at a time, it was great to have to read only two sentences to be absorbed back into narrative. With dramatic and shocking scenes holding a serious tone, the personalities and relationships growing between characters provided light release, delivering the romantic domestic scenes I really enjoy.
I did feel like more than a few of the events throughout the book were rather rushed, in particular the romantic developments between characters. Alongside this, the constant addition of characters, often with similar names, sometimes required some hard concentration to keep up with (yes I am speaking to you David, Donovan and Declan). The enemies were often just as numerous and their intertwining motivations becoming clear eventually.
Despite my mixed feelings about the character developments and rushed narrative, I truly enjoyed going to bed every night to just read a bit more before I went to sleep. The writing style is effortless to read providing much needed escapism into another world where vampires, werewolves and everything else in-between exists. 
Overall I give Secrets:
7/10
Secrets is not cheap, priced at just over £6 for the Kindle version on Amazon in the UK (and nearly $10 in the US) and more the the printed version – but I think it is one to put on your wishlist. I will defiantly be picking up the next book in the series regardless.
Thanks for reading,
Love Rie x
I was gifted this book to read and review as part of the Secrets blog tour organised by Illuminated Tours