13 by Kelley Armstrong – Book Review

This final book in the Women of the Otherworld series is all that fans could have wanted… and more! Action packed, fantastically written and some fab character development make this a 10/10!

13 by Kelley Armstrong – Final book in the Women of the Otherworld Series.
Summary courtesy of Amazon: War is coming to the Otherworld. A sinister cult known as The Supernatural Liberation Movement is hell-bent on exposing the truth about supernaturals to the rest of the world. Their violent, ruthless plan has put everyone at risk: from werewolves to vampires, from witches to half-demons.
This has easily been my most anticipated book release of all time. Over time I have done a number of posts on this series including reviews, reading challenges and even an interview with Kelley Armstrong herself (the highlight of my blogging life :D). This book as the final instalment in the Women of the Otherworld had a lot to live up to. Which it did – and more!
Released on Wednesday, my busy schedule meant I didn’t get my hands on my copy (which was waiting for my at the post office) until the Sunday. I sat down with best friend and fellow Armstrong super fan, Sam Crossley, and devoured this book in pretty much one day. 
At 419 pages this is not a short book, but the hard back with a reasonable size font is easy to read. Having read everything published around the series we were also able to skip the first few chapters which were a re-publish of the opening chapter of Bitten, the first book in the series and a preview published in The Hunter and the Hunted. If you haven’t read anything by Armstrong before, this wouldn’t be a bad place to pick it up.
Each characters from all the previous books makes an appearance and readers are treated to some great character development.This action packed book pulls at the emotions with worry, loss and anger, but more importantly returning to the lust, romance and love amongst the characters that the latter books in the series have lacked.
The narrative moves so fast, but even so at just over the half way point I was baffled at how Armstrong was going to tie up all the loose ends.Yet the ending works fantastically. Not falling into the trap of trying to deliver too many happy endings the extra little short story From Russia with Love, in my opinion, was the perfect finish.
I am so sad that the series is over, but having been promised a new adult series, Omens & Shadows, with the first book Cainsville being released next year, there is so much to look forward too!
10/10
I would love to know your thoughts on this book if you have read it, please let me know in the comments below.
Thanks for reading,
Love Rie x
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Acorss the Universe by Beth Revis – Book Review

A seriously good YA science fiction that grips from the first page to the last twist!

Across the Universe by Beth Revis. 

Summary courtesy of Amazon:

Trapped in space and frozen in time, Amy is bound for a new planet. But fifty years before she’s due to arrive, she is violently woken, the victim of an attempted murder. Now Amy’s lost on board and nothing makes sense – she’s never felt so alone.

Yet someone is waiting for her. He wants to protect her; and more if she’ll let him.

I fell in love with this book the moment I read a review on Grazing Pages. I think we can all agree this is a truly beautiful cover, and partnered with a glowing review from Katie I knew I had to get my hands on a copy. Kindly best buddy Mr Crossley purchased this for me to cheer me up one day and I was thrilled.

So now about the book! The majority of the narrative is set onboard Godspeed, a spaceship destined for a new planet now that Earth (which they call Sol Earth) has spiralled into decline. The ship, big enough to house 3,000 occupants and a secret level full of frozen passengers to populate the new planet, is part way through its 300 year journey.


Now as a sci-fi lover this is enough to get my pulse racing about a book. But this is so much more. The frozen passengers are being unplugged. Amy is violently awoken and brought into a miniature world where she is very different. Everyone is mono-ethnic: caramel skin, brown eyes,brown hair and Amy with her pale complexion and fiery hair couldn’t look more different. But if this wasn’t enough more Frozens are getting unplugged and left to die trapped in the glass coffins they were frozen in. This is more than a YA sci-fi, this is a mystery / thriller / crime / sci-fi that is a cracking good read.


There are some really interesting topics brought up in this book that got me thinking, in a way that I really enjoy. To say any more or give examples would give to much away, but it is well worth reading just to chew them over in your mind every time you put the book down. 


This is a YA so the construction of sentences, word choice and the narrative as a whole, although shocking at times, is deliciously easy to devour and not a difficult read. I did find some of my short term predictions of the plot coming true in a way that is flattering rather than predictable, yet the narrative as a whole isn’t short of its twists. Some revlations at the end of the book left me reeling – and I think it is safe to say the second book in this series, A Million Suns, will be making its way to me in the post very soon!


Overall I think you can tell that I think a lot of this book, and really couldn’t give it anything less than:


10/10


In the comments below let me know if you have read this book and what you though of it. As always I love receiving book recommendations, so if you know something similar to this I might like to read please let me know here, on Facebook or Twitter.


Thanks for reading,


Love Rie x

The Calling by Kelley Armstrong – Book Review

Non stop, action packed and  fantastic addition to the YA series by Kelly Armstrong.
Summary courtesy of KelleyArmstrong.comMaya Delaney’s paw-print birthmark is the sign of what she truly is—a skin-walker. She can run faster, climb higher, and see better than nearly anyone else. Experiencing intense connections with the animals that roam the woods outside her home, Maya knows it’s only a matter of time before she’s able to Shift and become one of them. And she believes there may be others in her small town with surprising talents.

This second book in the YA series, Darkness Rising, doesn’t need to start with a bang. The bang has already happened at the end of the first book in the series, The Gathering, and this starts if it was only a turn of a page rather than a new book. As a companion series to her other YA series Darkest Powers, they compliment each other perfectly, throwing in inter-textual references left, right and centre from both Darkest Powers and her adult fantasy series Women of the Otherworld, this is a real treat for Armstrong fans.

Maya Delaney is soon becoming one of my favourite YA protagonists. Strong willed, talented and a skin-walker. What more do you need to look up to? Superbly written the love triangle in the book is just on the right side of teenage awkward without being overly predictable. Rafe is troubled, invincible and most of all hot for a 15 year old! But with a minor revelation at the end of this book I feel that the relationship may develop in a way I have never imagined before.

As this group of teens struggle to find out who, or what, they really are they are forced to flee for their lives with no one to trust. There is something about this narrative that I really fell in love with, and I can’t wait to see where the next instalment will take us next.

Not read any of Kelley Armstrongs YA fiction before? What are you waiting for! My recommendation would be to start with the Darkest Powers series, and work your way to this companion series. Although I don’t doubt you will enjoy it as a stand alone novel, its well worth the wait to understand all the complexities and inter-textual references.

Overall I have got really fan girl over this book. In my mind YA fiction doesn’t get much better than this!

10/10!

Let me know in the comments below what you think of this book? Think you have a better YA series I will like, let me know!

Thanks for reading,

Love Rie x

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – Book Review

It is fair to say I read a lot of books. I get even more books recommended to me that I never get the chance to read. So when something like the Hunger Games comes along it takes something really special to make me go – Wow. Suzanne Collins did this.

Summary courtesy of Amazon: A fight to the death – on live TV. The game show where you kill or die, and where the winner’s prize is survival. In District 12, where Katniss Everdeen lives, life is harsh and brutal, ruled from afar by the all-powerful leaders of the Capitol. The climax of each year is the savage Hunger Games – where twelve boys and twelve girls from each District face each other in a murderous showdown. When sixteen-year-old Katniss is chosen to represent her district in the Games, everyone thinks it’s a death sentence. Only one person can survive the horrors of the arena. But plucky Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature…

I have heard about this book EVERYWHERE. Originally released back in 2008, it has taken a while to build the hype around this book, but with the up coming release of the movie at the end of next week it had reached fever pitch and I couldn’t ignore it any longer. No matter where I turned people where talking about it, particularly in the beauty blogging world, and it was finally Corrie, over at DizzyBrunette3 who got me to download it and launch into the arena.

Hunger Games is the first book in the YA (young adult) series by Suzanne Collins set in a fantasy dystopian world ruled by the Captol. To remind the 12 surrounding districts of their place, they get them to sacrifice 2 people from each district to fight to the death for their entertainment. Sounds bad, it gets worse – they are all between the ages of 12 and 18! This book it too good for just teens, no matter what your age you will enjoy this book!

The story follows the protagonist of Katniss, who volunteers for the games to save her 12 year old sister, Prim. Accompanied by fellow District 12 tribute Peeta, they are groomed, trained and flung into the Captol controlled arena. With only 3 days training behind them they must use everything that they have to offer to just stay alive, never mind win. With just the right amount to blood, death and romance this book draws you in and doesn’t let you go.

After 2 practically sleepless night I finished this books in a frenzy. This is superbly written to make you think about feel what the characters feel, and you begin to believe you are one of the people sat back at home forced to watch their children fight to the death for other peoples entertainment, and it feels so wrong, but you just keep reading.

Collins is a fantastic author, and Katniss has been crafted into a well rounded a likable character that any one can relate to. I can’t wait to see how this is translate on the big screen, and will be the first in line when it is pre-released on Thursday in the UK. I am infamously critical of my favourite books being turned into movies, and there is still some Harry Potter movies I have refused to watch because I feel it would ruin the books for me. This film has a lot to live up to, and I have a feeling it might do very well.

It has taken everything I had not to start reading the next book straight away. I get so absorbed into series, but also get so sad when they end. I have a lot of books I want to read (I have over 50 already downloaded to my Kindle in a folder called ‘To Read’) but I know they next book in the series, Catching Fire, will find its way to the top sooner rather than later!

I think you can tell by the tone of this review what I am going to give it. It has come to my attention that maybe marking books out of 5 does not give enough distinction between the good books and the fantastic books, so from this review on I am going to bump up my scale to 10.

10/10!

You can pick The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins up from just £3.59 on Amazon in multiple formats, so if you haven’t read it already, what are you waiting for?

Thanks for reading,

Love Rie x

[Stupid side note: I have been complaining for days that my hands have been aching. The fleshy bits below my thumbs appear bruised and tender to the touch and I just couldn’t work out why. It was only last night, whilst finishing this book it dawned on me – I having been gripping my Kindle so tight whilst reading that I have injured my hands. Kind of ironic/ and pathetic/ alongside the theme of this book. When you hurt Katniss, I really do hurt too!!]

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Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) by George. R. R. Martin – Book Review

This review was written by my friend Sam Crossley. After raving about the TV series, he craved and purchased the whole series on Kindle. But I will let him tell you more:


I first came across Game of Thrones from the season 1 TV series. After the first episode I was hooked and decided to buy the books. So I had a slight advantage when I read the first book, as each book is a TV series.

Summary courtesy of Amazon

Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun.

It will stretch from the south, where heat breeds plot, lusts and intrigues; to the vast and savage eastern lands; all the way to the frozen north, where an 800-foot wall of ice protects the kingdom from the dark forces that lie beyond. Kings and queens, knights and renegades, liars, lords and honest men… all will play the Game of Thrones.
Winter is coming…

The story line is based in a medieval setting on a different world. It follows multiple characters of different high born families. One of the things I love about these books is that the different families have different sayings and sigils for example; The Stark’s sigil is the dire wolf (A different breed of wolf twice the size and only found in the north.) and their motto is “Winter is coming.” And the Lannisters sigil is a golden lion and there motto is “A Lannisters always pays his depts.” You realise as you read through the book that every sigil and motto has been carefully thought out and applies to the families perfectly.


In the same way as the families have been thought out, each character has so many different sides to them and have all been completely well rounded. The author has said that he intends to write seven books so as you might guess the plot twists turns and rolls in ways I could never guess! Despite this is keeps you enthralled with every page. My only minor negative point about this series of books is trying to remember all the house names and who they are in allegiance with. However, you don’t really notice this until you put the book down and eventually you put it down and suddenly realise that you’ve known them all for quite a while.

You will notice a reoccurring theme in this review but something I really credit this book for is its depth of characters and detail. This is again shown in how the author has intertwined each different religion into the story and managed to give you enough information that without knowing it you understand everything about it.


I give this a 5/5.

You can pick up Game of Thrones on Kindle for just £3.99 or if your old school and love you papers back you can grab a bargain at £3.86.
I also advise everyone to watch the TV series, I rate it a better book to TV conversion than the LOTR’s trilogy. 

Thanks for reading, Love Rie & Sam x

Hunt for the Phoenix by Emma & Christopher Byford – Book Reivew

I came across this book through Twitter. But before I knew it, It had stolen my heart and I couldn’t stop reading until the last page.

[Scroll down to the bottom of my review to read added comments by my friend Ross Phillips.] 

Summary courtesy of AmazonA tale of redemption and duty – Mana Seraph is host to the Spirit of the Phoenix; a creature entwined within her being that is far from human understanding. 

This ghastly process was carried out by the tyrannical Empire of Fusion. However, Mana was not fused with the entire Spirit as a daring escape interrupted the procedure. Offered sanctuary in the forests of Pheo, by a tribe who worship the Phoenix, their survival is now synonymous with her own. 

Fusion retaliates by giving their General, Qwuiff Lavation, the means to hunt her down across the lands of Airone. Soon, Qwuiff starts eradicating any nation who stands in their way, not just for the Empire but for his own glory as well. 

Protected by the Pheo Tribe and her vigilant Guardians, Mana is bound to the servitude of the people. Hidden in the treetops somewhere on Airone, the tribal village had done well to elude those searching for it. 

It isn’t until a failed kidnapping on Pheo brings the entire situation into focus. Blooded and broken, a mercenary employed by Fusion is captured. He reveals himself as Dark, an Angel, once sword of the Holy Sorceress and fallen far from his heavenly duty. Shocked at the depth of corruption by Fusion, Mana encourages Dark to redeem himself and serve by her side as a Guardian to fight against the Empire once and for all.

Reluctantly accepting this proposition, Dark embarks on a path of redemption. This will not only position him against the Fusion Empire but will also inch Mana further towards an uncertain future. 

This is the first book in the Fusion Series which I stumbled across via Twitter when I followed one of the authors and was enticed to download it. Whilst on a long train journey to Plymouth I decided to pick it up and give it ago. The only reason I knew the journey was long because I woke up out of a dream world when I arrived at my station and noticed five hours has passed. The characters Dark and Mana along with the rest of the Pheo tribe had stolen my heart and drew me into their world. I couldn’t quite put my finger on where it sat between pure fictional time and place and reality, but the very nature of fallen angels and spirit host fitted right into my genre at the start.

Mana & Dark as illustrated by Kathleen Dent

This book is co-authored by Emma & Chris Byford, and I learnt whilst reading the Byford’s blog about The Fusion Series that the character of Mana is the literary child of Emma, whilst the character of Dark has been developed over time by Chris. This creates a unique and interesting reading experience that is truly great to read. The mysterious past of Dark twinned with the growing relationships between the main characters is made better only by a gripping narrative that left me wanting more. Mana’s struggle with the spirit of the Phoenix within her reminds me of all the best bits I loved from The Host, whilst being infinitely better.

The differing writing styles of both the authors also works very well with the juxtaposition between violent battle scenes and tender moments between father and daughter working really well. Having said this, there does appear to be some unnecessary characters, namely Wyld that I can only assume will hold larger parts in the next books.
The narrative which is at times can be very serious does not lack some humour, my all time favourite quote from the book having to be: “Look at him. So uptight I bet you could break walnuts between his ass cheeks”! Love it!
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was one that I read at every opportunity (with one comical moment at breakfast nearly leaving a bite mark out of my Kindle as it was confused with toast) and I think that it can only mean one thing:
5/5

You can download this book to your Kindle here currently just £2.56 – a good price for a great read. I just picked up a copy of the Dark Entity short stories also from the Fusion Series, so check back for a review on these soon!

Thanks as always for reading,
Love Rie x

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
After sharing this review and recommending it to a my friend Ross, a fellow book worm, he devoured it whole in one night! He has very kindly offered to share a his thoughts on the book, as a male reader and from a different perspective. This does contain a mild spoiler, but nothing that will ruin the book!

I know this book was written by 2 different authors, at first I thought that you would have Christopher Byford witing the parts from the male perspective and Emma Byford doing the female parts but I dont think this is the case as its a book which is clearly in two halves.

The first half I REALLY enjoyed, the war between the alliance of smaller nations againts the all consuming, technologically advanced, militaristic empire of fusion was mostly a background to the relationship of almost mutual dependence of the lead two characters, with Dark seeing Mana as some sort of opportunaity for redemption (although he doesn’t quite know how) and Mana seeing Dark as a slice of freedom in her ‘bird cage’ world.  

In stark contrast the second half seems to bear very little resemblance to the first half, with the plot separating into a (not fantasticly well done) war story and the political inner workings of the Fusion empire whenever the story flits back to Mana. There also seems to come a number of inconsistencies, huge plot holes and places where I just cannot understand the reasoning behind what some characters do/dont do. 


Also the introduction of some of the ‘new’ characters was almost completly unnecessary (namely Wyld and Leylan). 


. . . and im still not really convinced by the ending . . .  


So there we are, if I had to rate it id give it a 6/10 

I wish I could share more of Ross & I’s discussion around this book, however there is far to many spoilers that I have already had to edit out so not to spoil it for the rest of you. I think you will all agree that Ross is a fantastic writer, and has put my book rambles to shame! I hope to be inviting him to do a few more book reviews in the future and you will give him warm welcome.

Thanks for reading, again,

Rie & Ross x


City of the Falling Sky by Joseph Evans – Book Review

I began reading this book last Tuesday and stayed up a lot longer than anticipated. Four hours of reading later the only thing that stopped me from going on was falling asleep with a Kindle on my face, and I knew this was going to be a good book.

Summary Courtesy of Amazon: When Seckry Sevenstars is forced out of his village by the greedy Endrin Corporation and relocated to the daunting metropolis of Skyfall City, he harbours resentment for the company and vows to get them back one day for taking away his home, his school and his friends.

Fortunately, the marvels of the city do a good job in distracting Seckry from his anger and homesickness, and it isn’t long before he’s competing at Friction (the city’s most popular multiplayer video game), slurping awe-inspiring multicoloured milkshakes, and getting butterflies on his first date.

Then, when a mysterious email asks Seckry to break into the headquarters of the Endrin Corporation and steal a container full of worms for a hefty sum of money, his anger resurfaces, and he can’t resist the revenge he promised himself.

Alone at night, Seckry creeps through the sewers whilst wondering what experiments Endrin might be doing on the worms, and emerges into the silent complex. But the worms aren’t the only thing that he finds. Staring at him through the darkness, with wide, innocent eyes, is something that makes Seckry’s heart almost stop.

A girl.

She’s shaking, petrified, and has no recollection of who she is or what she’s doing there. Floodlights bleach the area and Seckry has no choice but to grab a hold of the girl and escape with her. Suddenly the question of what Endrin were doing with a few worms becomes the last thing on Seckry’s mind. What were Endrin doing with a human?

This book was a suggestion from Amazon, and without even reading the description, I decided to purchase it on a whim for just 99p. 
My first impressions of this book was its recommendations on its cover, in this image it is a little to small to see, but one recommendation says it is “even better than Harry Potter” from one young reader who claims it was the best book they have ever read. This is a big statement to make. One I didn’t think much of and read on regardless of this claim.Yet there is a serious similarity to J K Rowlings characters within the book. Snibble, the class bully, for example bears an uncanny resemblance to the character of Draco Malfoy accentuated by his thug-like body guards that follow him around. The headmaster of the school and Mr. Vance & could almost be translated into Professor Dumbledore and Prof. Lupin at a push. 
Despite this, the narrative is surprisingly original. Drawing influences from the bible, (with “for Geddins sake” being my new expletive of choice!), current debates of genetic modification, corporate responsibility and even school budgets it is topical and engaging. It is like a neatly tied braid, with no detail being provided that is not essential to the story line, no complex red herrings are used or for that point needed, but a clean and satisfying narrative that is almost impossible to put down. The only unanswered question which is teased upon the entire book is enough motivation for me to read the next book in the series. 
The need to be creative, and invent new names for things, was a little annoying. God is now Geddin, and Jesus = Sekry (or his nick name anyway). Ellonberrys sound delicious, but was it really necessary to rename blackberry’s? I am just not sure it adds much too the book. 
One of the books unique creations on the other hand is something I do wish was real. Friction. A virtual video game that suspends your body in a pod while you play though an avatar in a virtual game of treasure hunt. Sign me up now! This book is set in the future, so I will keep my fingers crossed. 
As a young adult (YA) book, at first I found it a little tedious. These are young protagonists currently in senior school and you can tell that. But when Seckry fell in love, I fell in love with this book. It is beautifully written (some Kindle books feel like they have missed out on the editing process but this is almost perfect) and I was sad to finish it.
From one lover of fantasy fiction to another, I loved this book. This is one of the best YA fictions I have ever read. And one day, with the right publicity maybe it could be as big as Harry Potter. I struggled marking this but as a YA I have to give it:

5/5

Since purchasing this book, it has now gone up to £2, but I still think this is great value for a good book. You can download it from Amazon here.

Thanks for reading,
Love Rie x
[since purchasing this book, it has now gone up to £2, but I still think this is great value for a good book!]