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!

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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
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No Good Deed by Bill Blais – Book Review

Don’t get me wrong, I love YA fiction, but this is one seriously good grown up demon fighting awesome book that all age groups will love!

 
Summary Courtesy of Amazon“In the last ten days, I’ve resigned myself to three things: Your kid’ll break his arm the day after you lose your job; you should always look a gift horse in the mouth; and nothing, not even ridding the world of demons, is as straightforward as you’d think.”Kelly McGinnis has spent her adult life trying to do the right thing, but as a newly down-sized mother of twins and the wife of a man living with Multiple Sclerosis, she also knows that trying isn’t always enough. While interrupting a scene of police brutality, Kelly unwittingly releases a real, live demon. After she manages to kill the creature through gut instinct and blind luck, she is approached to join a secret group of demon hunters who reveal an underworld of monsters and magic. Against her better judgment, Kelly accepts the lucrative, if bizarre, offer; but when she meets Umber, a compelling incubus with an unexpectedly human story, she learns that the truth is far stranger and more terrifying than she imagined.
 
This is the #1 book in the Kelley and Umber series by Bill Blais. Bill is such a great guy, and having posted and interview with him here on the blog before I read the book he made some pretty bold statements that had a lot to live up to. But I have to say it was more. This is a seriously good book!
 
At the ripe age of 21 I find very few characters I can really relate to. YA protagonists seem to always be young teens and I see their flaws and strengths in relation to when I was that age. Kelly though, is a character I will inspire to be like! Middle aged, slightly over weight but with a fantastic family that she loves and an exciting change of career. She is likeable, funny, imperfect and most of all KICK ASS!
 
At no time was I left feeling like this was similar to another book, that I could predict where the next page would take me or felt it slowing down at all. Even domestic scenes of dinner parties had their exciting twists that left me wanting more.Speaking of twists; the introduction of the character Umber in the late stages of the book is something I have not seen before and I loved it. As the whole series is named after the pair I know he will star more in the future books and I can’t wait.
 
The main flaw in this book from my opinion is not really its fault. Being written by an American, being set in America it holds and lot of references to America that do fit is well with the international audience. Struggling to pay medical bills just does not happen in the UK with the NHS, and this was something that bugged me a little. However it is integral to the story and I of course understood that healthcare is insurance based and has to be paid for. Other American cultural references I feel were lost on me, but it did not hold the book back in any way.
 
Overall I loved this book. The protagonist Kelly is awesome, her family adorable and the character of Umber is really one I look forward to reading more about. 
 
9/10 (1 point lost because I’m not American)
 
I am taking part in a blog tour for this book with some really awesome book bloggers. You can see their out their reviews, interviews, guest posts and giveaway from here.
 
Thanks as always for reading,
 
Love Rie x

Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky – Book Review

Today I have a guest book review for your from my good friend Ross Phillips. He has done a number of reviews for my blog now, and has slightly different tastes in books so can give you another perspective from me gushing about hot vampires! I do intended to get round to reading all these little gems and give my perspective too, so look out for my comments at a later date!


Without further ado I will hand you over to Ross:

Metro 2033 by Dmity Glukhovsky

“The year is 2033. The world has been reduced to rubble. Humanity is nearly extinct. The half-destroyed cities have become uninhabitable through radiation. Beyond their boundaries, they say, lie endless burned-out deserts and the remains of splintered forests. Survivors still remember the past greatness of humankind. But the last remains of civilisation have already become a distant memory, the stuff of myth and legend. More than 20 years have passed since the last plane took off from the earth. Rusted railways lead into emptiness. The ether is void and the airwaves echo to a soulless howling where previously the frequencies were full of news from Tokyo, New York, Buenos Aires. Man has handed over stewardship of the earth to new life-forms. Mutated by radiation, they are better adapted to the new world. Man’s time is over. A few score thousand survivors live on, not knowing whether they are the only ones left on earth. They live in the Moscow Metro – the biggest air-raid shelter ever built. It is humanity’s last refuge. Stations have become mini-statelets, their people uniting around ideas, religions, water-filters – or the simple need to repulse an enemy incursion. It is a world without a tomorrow, with no room for dreams, plans, hopes. Feelings have given way to instinct – the most important of which is survival. Survival at any price. VDNKh is the northernmost inhabited station on its line. It was one of the Metro’s best stations and still remains secure. But now a new and terrible threat has appeared. Artyom, a young man living in VDNKh, is given the task of penetrating to the heart of the Metro, to the legendary Polis, to alert everyone to the awful danger and to get help. He holds the future of his native station in his hands, the whole Metro – and maybe the whole of humanity. “

This book is a bit of a departure for me as I usually stay away from the whole post-apocalyptic genre as in my experience books in such a setting tend to be either gritty depressing trudges through a ruined version of whatever part of the world the author happens to know best, or wholey unrealistic frag-fests which are all action and take no account of pratical difficulty or plot.

So when a friend bought me Metro 2033 as a present purely on the fact it was set in Russia (and I’m a well know Russophile) I was skeptical, having put it off for months on end I finally decided to get on with it and to my utter shock I actually quite enjoyed it.

The world Dmitry has created within the Moscow subway system (of which there is a VERY handy map inside the cover) is completly engaging, with threats of all variety around every corner from zealot political cults to mutants to the downright paranormal let alone the radiation and chemical threats.

There is a very real sense of the well characterised Artyom being a very small, delicate cog in a very big, broken machine. Action is well paced and the tension in some scenes is almost palpable. Supporting characters are very human indeed with almost the whole book highlighting just how fragile humans are both physically and mentally and that the survival of humanity is by no means a safe bet.

If I’ve got any real issues with this book it comes mostly from that fact its Russian. Cyrillic languages are notoriously hard to translate effectively and while on the whole its perfectly readable there are odd phrases and sentences that seem a bit ‘odd’ (for want of a better word), a bit like when you run something through Google translater, what might be a comon enough phrase in Russian doesn’t come out right when directly translated to English.

Another small niggle is that while the districs and subway stations of Moscow may be familiar to the people who have been/lived there it has the tendancy to get slightly confusing for those of us with no knowledge of Moscow.

So all things considered I think you could sum this book up by saying that it’s a good book thats tad spoiled by its localisation.

7.8/10 (shall we call it an 8!)

Irriatingly there is a sequal (Metro 2034) but so far i cant find any copies in English. German, Spanish and French yes but apparantly a real niche Language like English doesn’t get a translation . . . . understandable, its not like English is the 3rd most Spoken langauge in the world or anything . . .



Thanks for reading,


Love Ross & Rie x

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins – Book Review

When I had finished the first Hunger Games book I was gushing my love for it. I gave a glowing review for both the book and the the movie and couldn’t help telling anyone who cared to listen that they needed to read this book. But part of me wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy the second book. I knew of course I would read it soon, but because I enjoyed the first one so much, I didn’t think that the second book, Catching Fire, could ever live up to it. And it didn’t. But it wasn’t half bad either!

***Spoiler alert!! I try as always not to give away ANY spoilers for a book, but with a series this is particularly difficult. If you haven’t read the first book, please go ahead and read the review first and then the book before coming back to this one. I don’t want to give away anything that might spoil it for you! ***
***Second note, if you haven’t read this book yet I do give away one piece of information that could be considered a spoiler, but is in the description of the book. It is something I think will make you want to read the book even more. Read this review under your own discretion***


Summary courtesy of Amazon:  Katniss survived the Hunger Games. Now the Capitol wants revenge. It’s payback time, and her chance of survival is even slimmer than ever…

Like the first book, the opening chapters are back in District 12 and could be considered a little slow. A lot happens and things change dramatically after the end of the Games but nothing that is essential in my eyes to the narrative. The awkward love triangle between Katniss, Peeta and Gale does develop better than I expected but I am left more confused than Katniss appears to be as the second book closes around her love life!
The second half of the book though was fantastic. As we return to the Hunger Games arena our favourite capitol characters return along with some new ones that build fantastic relationships and add to the narrative. The new arena is so complex and exciting that I was left again reading in a frenzy. There is something about the building rebellion in the districts and the new dramas within the arena that makes for fantastic reading. I was setting my alarm an hour early just so I could cram in another hours reading before I got started with my day, it was like an addiction.
The concluding events to this second book are well worth the slightly tedious start. The cliff hanger of a final sentence left me dying to read the next book. However I was left with a slightly sour note. Katniss’ character developed scarily out of control in the final chapter and the result was not nice. I have heard a lot about her character in the final book and I couldn’t help but agree with the rumors she turns from a strong female lead we all want to look up to into someone that is imperfect, selfish and some what unlikable. Haymitch on the other triumphs yet again to become a character I truly adore, along with the selflessness of Peeta they restore my faith in Collins character development.
This all taken into consideration it is difficult to score this book. I gave the first book in the series 10/10 and although it wasn’t as good as the first, it still had me reading like a mad woman and consumed my life for the four days it took me to read. I think it will have to be:
8/10 
Have you read this book? What did you think it compared to the first one? Let me know in the comments below.
Thanks for reading,
Love Rie x

Wild Child by Mike Wells – Book Review

I first found this Author when for some reason I ended up following him on Twitter. When I read the behind the scenes story of how ‘Wild Child’ came to be published and the story behind its cover art I was intrigued, yet I was never converted to making the purchase. But when I then saw that it had become free on Amazon I downloaded it immediately and it moved faster than anticipated to the top of my TBR pile as I read more and more about the book. I have to admit this was not what I was expecting, but so much more.

Summary courtesy of AmazonBriana Fox is the wildest girl in school. She and Kyle have been close for a long time…almost lovers. But Kyle is afraid that if he pushes her, he’ll have his heart broken and lose his best friend. When Briana challenges him to a swim across the lake, she’s injured in a horrific accident, but she discovers a mysterious substance in an underwater cave that saves her life. What seems to be a magical yet harmless “power drug” invokes superhuman abilities, and Briana soon becomes dependent on it for her very survival. When two government agents learn of the discovery, they will stop at nothing to find the source and turn Briana into a human experiment. Is Kyle willing to risk everything to protect his love?

When I started reading this I was expecting a novel, but instead I was presented with a perfectly formed short story. Taking me just over 2 hours to read this book sucked me into the murky depths of the lake with Kyle and Brianne (referred to in the book as Brie) and only came up gasping for air once finished. I had read reviews that it was gripping and fast paced but I didn’t really understand what this meant until I began reading. The YA themes of teenage defiance of parental rules and awkward romances is over shadowed by a surprisingly thought provoking narrative, that developed into a fantasy science fiction themed focal point that is completly unexpected.

The character of Brie, although essential to the narrative, I felt very little connection to unlike the protagonist Kyle, who is fantastic! With his ability to both panic and stay calm under pressure, his devotion to Brie and the relationship with his Father creating a well developed and interesting character that I only want to know more about. What truly cemented my admiration for this fictional boy was the cliff hanger of an ending that left me with far more question that answers, and possibly the best reason to get my hands on the next book in the series!

The only downside however being the next book in the series. Now being a Kindle lover, I have become accustomed to only paying a certain amount for a eBook. Promising to be as ‘lean’ as the first one I am finding it difficult to bring myself to pay the £3.65 being asked for the rather unimaginatively named ‘Wild Child Book 2’ with the world ‘Lilith’ added on to the end almost as an after thought.

Overall I would give this book a 8/10.

You can book this short story up for free on here, but no promises you wont feel as frustrated as me when you are forced to pay for the second one!

Thanks for reading,

Love Rie x

Guild Wars: Ghosts of Ascalon by Matt Forbeck & Jeff Grubb – Book Review

This book review has been kindly provided by my friend Ross Phillips. Only recently have I discovered that my old school friend is also a complete fantasy and science fiction book worm and has a real talent for review writing. This book review is for ‘Guild Wars: Ghosts of Ascalon which is based on the computer game Guild Wars. Ross is a self confessed Guild Wars nut, and so this review is from his perspective. I have never even heard of this game, never mind the book (sorry Ross!) but after this review I will be sure to seek it out and give you my comments on it as a ‘newbie’. Without further a do: 

Summary courtesy of Amazon250 years ago, Ascalon burned . . .Desperate to defend his land from advancing hordes of bestial charr, King Adelbern summoned the all-powerful Foefire to repel the invaders. But magic can be a double-edged sword—the Foefire burned both charr and human alike. While the charr corpses smoldered, the slain Ascalonians arose again, transformed by their king’s rage into ghostly protectors and charged with guarding the realm . . . forever. The once mighty kingdom became a haunted shadow of its former glory.
Centuries later, the descendants of Ascalon, exiled to the nation of Kryta, are besieged on all sides. To save humankind, Queen Jennah seeks to negotiate a treaty with the hated charr. But one obstacle remains. The charr legions won’t sign the truce until their most prized possession, the Claw of the Khan-Ur,is returned from the ruins of fallen Ascalon.
Now a mismatched band of adventurers, each plagued by ghosts of their own, sets forth into a haunted, war-torn land to retrieve the Claw. Without the artifact, there is no hope for peace between human and charr—but the undead king who rules Ascalon won’t give it up easily, and not everyone wants peace!



‘This is a book that was recommended to me a long time ago by a fellow Guild Wars nerd but I have been putting it off for a while, why? Because I have yet to read a single book based on the lore of this computer game that hasn’t been utter rubbish, and since I view Guild Wars lore as the best of them all (by a huge margin) I was loath to go and ruin it by reading a half baked attempt by a slightly broke author to make a quick buck out of its success.

But boy was in for a treat.

Now I should kick off by saying as a Guild Wars fan my review will be bias, as I already know a lot of the histories, places and cultures featured and therefore ‘get’ a lot of the references and little in-jokes but even with that considered I think a newcomer to the lore of Tyria would not find it much of a challenge to keep up as everything that you need to know is explained along the way in a concise and not too intrusive manner. This is helped by a few of the less well informed characters asking the questions themselves that the reader is may be asking, but whether any of this works or not is not really my place to say.

What I can say is this is possibly the most well rounded and enjoyable fantasy book that I have read this year at the very least. It is written from the 3rd person perspective but only from the point of view of the main character, while seeming quite a basic way of doing things at first it becomes more and more engaging throughout, as we truely see not only how he sees the rich and well fleshed world around him but more importantly his companions.

Not only is the world very rich but the supporting characters are as well. Each one having depth and true personality whole still retaining a cultural identity which means you find yourself getting increasingly attached to them as the book goes on.

But nothing is perfect, if I had to find faults with this book I would start with the fact that it is very short. While this means there are no real ‘boring segments’ it also means that all the history and character back story is a little crammed in. While I had no problems keeping up, a reader not so well aquainted with Guild Wars lore may find it difficult to digest (but as I’ve said, thats not something I can really judge on). Another thing which slightly irritates me is this book has rather an abrupt ending, at the end of the last chapter you turn the page expecting to find a epilogue but its just not there, which is a shame because it could really do with one.

So if I(as a Guild Wars fan) had to rate this book id give it a 8/10′

Thanks for reading,
Love Ross & Rie x

Chronicle – Film Review

On Thursday night, whilst visiting my best friend Sam in Plymouth, we decided to have a visit to the cinema. The trip to the Vue in Plymouth was organised originally with The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel in mind, but as you can tell by the title we had a change of heart.

Summary courtesy of IMDbThree high school friends gain superpowers after making an incredible discovery. Soon, though, they find their lives spinning out of control and their bond tested as they embrace their darker sides.

I first saw the advert for this film in the cinema and thought it looked right up my street. Teenagers with telekinetic powers sounds like something right out of one of my favourite fantasy fiction books. Yet this movie was more than that. It was weird!

This is a Hollywood feature film, with a predicted $12 million budget, it was not lacking on the special effects department! This wasn’t some 3D thriller that jumped out at you and made you scream, but a really cleverly directed narrative with believable special effects inter-spaced with hand-held camera POV shots from one of the protagonists that worked really well. Not once during the movie did I sit back and think “that looked so fake”, but this is 2012, and graphics are getting better with every movie.

But what makes it more than any old Hollywood clone, was that it had a narrative. The characters were well rounded, if not stereotypically challenged teenagers (Sam & I both agreed that if every ones teen years were as bad as movies suggest, we would all be psychologically damaged, if not dead). The supernatural aspect of the movie was almost believable. It is not pink, or fluffy, but moody, dark and boarding on the side of bizarre! No real explanation is given for how they get these powers, and the end is satisfyingly ambiguous, which in my opinion is always good.

Overall, I would recommend going to see this movie. It has awesome special effects, a good narrative and well developed characters, but with a warning it is a little dark and weird.

4/5

Let me know in the comments below if you have seen Chronicle and what you thought of it?!

Thank you for reading,

Love Rie x