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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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

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

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

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

Marked (House of the Night #1) by P.C. & Kristin Cast – Book Review

I first mentioned this series in My Top 10 Books I Have Always Wanted To Read, But Never Got Round To, and I am slowly making my way down the list. I had a copy of Marked on my Kindle, and decided it was better late than never to get into this series.

Short summary courtesy of GoodreadsThe House of Night series is set in a world very much like our own, except in 16-year-old Zoey Redbird’s world, vampyres have always existed.
 
This book starts off as any over YA fantasy fiction, a dysfunctional family, difficult school life & a big change – Zoey was ‘Marked’. This character is a little more ‘popular’ than the average protagonist, going out with the most popular boy in the school, but she is the same 16 year old wannabe that had me rolling my eyes.
Having said this, the concept of this book is really interesting. The first chapters felt very similar to Twilight, but it soon merged into a far more original and intriguing world. The House of the Night school defiantly feels a little like Hogwarts, with it unusual lessons and flamboyant teachers, just with vampires which is spelt Vampyers in the book. It worked really well, pulling in contemporary references of the real world, including anecdotes about  celebrities that the protagonist did and didn’t like in a way that set this book as a fantasy based in the real world.  

The writing style works well, the Mother and Daughter writing team must be difficult to master, but it results in an easy to read and engaging prose that both paints an amazing picture and lets you inside the 16 year girls mind (with a series of comments in brackets adding Zoey’s thoughts along the way).

The character stereotypes were a little predictable, and even although this is going to be a ten book series I can guess where it is going already. But this is part of the appeal for YA books, and I found myself wanting to whip out the Kindle at any opportunity to devour another chapter. 
My biggest grudge has to be the formatting of this eBook. I am not sure how they converted it from paperback onto the Kindle store, or if it is just my font size on the Kindle (which is smaller than the default) but someone needs to sort out the formatting! Line breaks happened at random, chapters started and finished on the same page and other major errors which at times were not just annoying but distracting from the content.
This is a great little read, and when I finished it I was almost sad to see it end, but the 10 book series does intimidate me. The £5 price tag on each of these books is a little pricey considering the size of the series, and this does put me off reading more and getting hooked! This is one to borrow from your library or a friend, and maybe not one to read on your Kindle!
Overall I give the book a generous:
7/10
Have you read this book &/or series? What did you think? Will you be checking it out?
Love Rie x

Impulse Control by Susan Bischoff – Book Review

I discovered this book for free while doing one of my regular Amazon free download trawls. When I mentioned it in one of my Spotted blog posts I commented that it sounded similar to one of the YA series by Kelley Armstrong and I was defiantly intrigued. One night when I was tired with long novels and struggling on what to read I chose this short story and was in for a little treat!

Summary Courtesy of AmazonIn the world of the Talent Chronicles, kids born with supernatural powers are taken from their families and forced into government research facilities called State Schools. At one such school, a dangerous experiment has killed two young inmates and threatens others. Ethan, a shape-shifter, is reluctantly recruited by his best friend Karen, a telepath, and Elle, the unique Talent he has a crush on, to thwart the faculty’s plans. If they’re caught they face Detention, and Detention at a State School has a whole different meaning.

I must first reiterate that this is not strictly a book. Advertised as a short story, it is only 12,000 words long and I easily devoured it in one evening. It is drawn from Bischoff’s series the Talent Chronicles, a YA supernatural series that focuses on ‘talents’, people born with supernatural powers. Feared by society they are destined to a life of hiding their abilities or institutionalised under the preconception they will be taught how to control their powers, but in reality are little more than lab rats.

Immediatly when reading the description I likened them to the Darkest Powers series by Kelley Armstrong, which I loved as an easy to read YA fantasy series, and was excited to find something similar. I was not disappointed by this short taster into this series but fear it may be targeted even younger than imagined. The titles of the second book ‘Heroes before Curfew’ saying a lot. This being said I did really enjoy getting drawn into the pubescent mind of young supernatural’s, the pure escapism proving much more enjoyable than some more complex adult reads. The characters promised to be well developed and likeable whilst engaging in a action filled narrative with just the right amount of awkward romance. Ethan promises to be a perfect substitute for troubled Derek from the Darkest Powers series, in a way that is teasingly familiar.

I can’t say this book offers something new or revolutionary but it is a taster to a series I want to read more of. The first book in the series, Hush Money priced at just 77p has been downloaded and added on to my Kindle’s TBR folder, so watch this space for the review!

Overall I rate this a 7/10.

Thanks for reading,

Love Rie x