Saturday, 30 April 2011

Frost Moon by Anthony Francis

Her Magic Will Get Under Your Skin

Her Story Will Fill Your Imagination

Dakota Frost's Enthralling Saga Begins . . .

In an alternate Atlanta where magic is practiced openly, where shapeshifters party at the urban clubs and vampires rule the southern nights like gangsters, where demure witches sip coffees at the local cafes and mysterious creatures command the dark caverns beneath the city, Dakota Frost's talents are coveted by all: She's the best magical tattoo artist in the southeast: a SkinDancer, able to bring her amazing tats to life. When a serial killer begins stalking Atlanta's tattooed elite, the police and Feds seek Dakota's help. Can she find the killer in the dark fringe of the city's magical Edgeworld? What kind of enemies and allies will she attract among the powerful outcasts and tormented loners, who see her as a threat, a seduction, an unexpected champion . . . or as delicious prey.

I loved this book so much! It has a sexy lead lady, with the most awesome hair plus she's a tattoo artist .... a magical tattoo artist at that! Obviously with my love of tattoos, the blurb jumped out at me as soon as I read about it.

I really enjoyed Dakota. She's a great character with an edge that, even she admits, is mostly an act. When I started reading this I instantly pictured a tattoo artist who's work I love. Her name is Rachael Huntington, and not only does she look like Dakota (well, how I pictured her anyway)but she's also an amazing artist who I one day hope to get a tattoo from.

Anthony Francis creates a fantastic world with really well written characters. I love the thought of magical tattoos and would love for them to be real. Definitely a must read and I can't wait to read the next book in the series. The author also has plans for a YA series featuring Cinnamon, Dakota's (reluctantly acquired) sidekick.

Book Depository: Frost Moon
Amazon UK: Frost Moon

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Summer's almost here

Yes, it's not a book review but I decided I'd write this to try and remind people that their pets can suffer in the warm weather, just the same as us.

If you're taking your dog on a walk to the beach or the park because the weather's lovely. Remember to carry fresh water for your pooch to drink so they don't become overheated. Just because they're running around having fun doesn't mean they're not burning up, hyperthermia (heatstroke) is a big worry and can be fatal. These things are great, they have the drinking trough attached so you don't need to carry a seperate bowl and you don't have to worry about the water leaking.

If you decide you need to pop into the shop and leave the dog in the car, even if you park in the shade and think "I'll only be 2 minutes", leave the windows open. And more than just a crack! I hate walking by cars and there's a dog inside with the windows either closed or open the tiniest little bit. Another great thing to get a hold of if you have a dog is this. Pop them in the gap of your window, stops your dog from escaping and also gives a bit of security.
Or, even better, don't leave your dog in the car at all. Think ahead, if you need to go into a shop or somewhere then leave your dog at home.

If you have a white or light coloured pet or a pet with white/light ears or nose, then apply sun cream before leaving the house. They can get sun burn just the same as we can. You can use any non-toxic waterproof sun block or get a specific Pet Sunscreen.

Make sure rabbits and guinea pigs have somewhere shady to go if they're running about. Also make sure they always have access to fresh water.
A big problem with rabbits in the summer is something called Fly Strike. This occurs if the hutch and rabbit aren't kept clean. Rabbits generally look after themselves but in the summer get into the habit of checking their rear ends for dirt and make sure to keep them clean.

Have fun with your pets in the summer but remember to be safe!

The black and white pets photo and the photo of the dog in the car came from 123rf, royalty free stock photos.
The rest of the photos are my personal pictures of my own pets.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Sweet Valley Confidential by Francine Pascal

It's been ten years since the Wakefield twins graduated from Sweet Valley High, and a lot has happened.

For a start, Elizabeth and Jessica have had a falling out of epic proportions, after Jessica committed the ultimate betrayal, and this time it looks like Elizabeth will never be able to forgive her.

Suddenly Sweet Valley isn't big enough for the two of them, so Elizabeth has fled to New York to immerse herself in her lifelong dream of becoming a serious reporter, leaving a guilt-stricken Jessica contemplating the unthinkable; life without her sister.

Despite the distance between them, the sisters are never far from each other's thoughts. Jessica longs for forgiveness, but Elizabeth can't forgive her twin's duplicity. Uncharacteristically, she decides the only way to heal her broken heart is to get revenge. Always the 'good' twin, the one getting her headstrong sister out of trouble, Elizabeth is now about to turn the tables ...

OK, first things first ...... eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!! *deep breath* It's off my chest now.
I was such a HUGE Sweet Valley fan when I was a kid. I read Sweet Valley Kids, Sweet Valley Twins, Sweet Valley High and Sweet Valley University, I owned most of them but gave them away many years ago .... this makes me sad, as I now wish to own them all again!

I almost wet myself with happiness when I first read that Francine Pascal, now aged 72, was releasing a new Sweet Valley book. I read that she used ghost writers for the actual writing but that the story was 100% hers (not confirmed, just read it somewhere on the internet).

The book was typical Sweet Valley, very light and fluffy. Jessica's betrayal was very easy to guess, even just from reading the blurb. The story of the actual betrayal happening was told through little flashback scenes that were, almost haphazardly, placed in every chapter. One thing that really bugged me was the first person Jessica parts, she still comes across as a 90s valley girl (e.g. Clueless) even though she's 27 and really should be a wee bit more mature.

From a fan's POV, it was major fun just reading this series again, getting to catch up with all the old favourites (who are obviously all succeeding in whatever they're doing). I would love if this was the start of a new series but, judging by the recap of everyone's lives at the end, it doesn't look like it will be.

Book Depository: Sweet Valley Confidential
Amazon UK: Sweet Valley Confidential

Friday, 22 April 2011

Sophia by D.B Reynolds

The Pacific Northwest . . . home to lush forests and constant rain, to lumberjacks and computer geeks, especially those of the vampire kind.

Sophia, beautiful and deadly, has spent the last hundred years dancing her way through the balmy nights and hot-blooded men of South America. But when her Sire sends an urgent summons, Sophia rushes home to Vancouver only to find he has disappeared, leaving nothing behind but three dead vampires and a letter with Sophia’s name on it.

Colin Murphy, a former Navy SEAL, came to the Northwest seeking a quiet place to heal the scars earned in more than a decade at war. But when someone starts killing local vampires and torturing their mates, Colin takes on the mantle of a warrior once again as he sets out to find the killers and do whatever it takes to stop them, even if that means hunting with vampires.

Following her Sire’s trail of death to a small town in northern Washington, Sophia unexpectedly discovers the heat of a South American night in Colin’s arms. But too soon Sophia and Colin find themselves in a race to uncover the killers before the next dead vampire becomes Sophia herself.

I've been waiting for this book for a long time! And happily, Reynolds didn't disappoint. Book Four in the Vampires in America series, following Raphael, Jabril and Rajmund.

I have to admit as much as I love this series ...... I'm still not a Cyn fan! She really bugged me in this book for some reason, I can't work out why exactly. I think it's the whole stubborn mule thing she has going? I mean, she chose to be with a Vampire Lord but she can't stand the protectiveness of him and how he tried to keep her from danger. I know she was all strong and independent before him but still ...... there's just a little thing always niggling at the back of my head when I read scenes with her.

I liked Sophia though (is it Soph-eye-a or Soph-ee-a? I constantly jumped between the two, neither one sitting comfortably in my mind) and Colin as well. And of course, more of the delectable Duncan =D

OK, so this next part should hopefully be blank (I've not done this before so this'll be my first try) since it contains spoilers. If you've read the book and want to know what it says them you should only have to highlight it to read it (I will be testing this theory before the actual post goes live though, lol).

I was actually quite sad that Cyn didn't die ...... let me explain myself before you get all angry.  Yes, I don't like her and know that her death would mean Raphael's death but I also thought that would be the perfect tie in to Duncan's book (which is next) since all the books up to now have been about Vampire Lords (and Lady).

So yeah, that's my thoughts.  If you've read the first 3 then you're undoubtedly going to read this and if you haven't read the first 3?  What the hell are you doing still reading this?  Go buy them all now!!!

Book Depository: Sophia
Amazon UK: Sophia

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Phoenix Rising by Pip Ballantine & Tee Morris

These are dark days indeed in Victoria's England. Londoners are vanishing, then reappearing, washing up as corpses on the banks of the Thames, drained of blood and bone. Yet the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences - the Crown's clandestine organization whose bailiwick is the strange and unsettling - will not allow its agents to investigate. Fearless and exceedingly lovely Eliza D. Braun, however, with her bulletproof corset and a disturbing fondness for dynamite, refuses to let the matter rest. . .and she's prepared to drag her timorous new partner, Wellington Books, along with her into the perilous fray.

For a malevolent brotherhood is operating in the deepening London shadows, intent upon the enslavement of all Britons. And Brooks and Braun - he with his encyclopedic brain and she with her remarkable devices - must get to the twisted roots of a most nefarious plot . . .or see England fall to the Phoenix!

Release Date 1st May 2011

OK, it took me a while to get into this book. It's not that it starts off slow, the 1st scene has explosions and deaths and people getting saved ...... so why did it take me so long to get into? I really don't know. I just didn't find it all that exciting.

I finished the book and all, but I wasn't hooked into it in the slightest. I liked Eliza but I wasn't a huge fan of Wellington. I think the setting may have put me off as well, it feels like I've been reading too many books set in the oldey-days and it's just not a seller to me anymore.

The storyline itself was well written, but the characters seem like they could have been thickened out a bit. There was numerous hints to backgrounds, in several characters, that we never find out about and it seemed too much for me. Yes, hint at backgrounds but don't keep us guessing on every character. I know if a series is planned the author would want to keep storylines open, that's what all good series books have going for them, but there was too many. That's just my opinion, however.

Not too sure if I'd read the next book in the series. I might pick it up just to see if any of my unanswered questions finally get answered.

Book Depository: Phoenix Rising
Amazon UK: Phoenix Rising

Thursday, 14 April 2011

My first video post

So this is the reason why I was having a wee shoofty through my books. I'm thinking of starting up video book reviews but just trying to see if they'd be liked or not. Please have a wee peek at my video and like it if you'd like to see more reviews done this way.

Oldest book in my collection (I think)

So I was having a wee shoofty through my books earlier (you'll see why in my next post) and I came across the following book. I believe it to be the oldest book I own, in the published sense but also in the sense of how long I've owned it.

It's a book called Carbonel by Barbara Sleigh. Look at the state of that cover? I've obviously owned this from before I realised how horrific it was to damage books.

Oh yeah, and apparently I thought it was OK to vandalise books as well. Look at that writing? So childish, lol.

Ok, so according to this picture, I've owned this book since at least 1991. So the reason the writing is so childish is because I was only 9. Actually 8, since it was August!
Why was I writing the dates in my books? I was playing libraries with my friends, I believe. There's a chance I've owned this book for longer. I honestly don't know.

So to my knowledge, this is my oldest books ~ in both senses.
What's the oldest book in your collection? Either the one you've owned the longest or the oldest published book?

Thursday, 7 April 2011

The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

Maya Delaney has always felt a close bond with nature. The woods around her home are a much-loved sanctuary - and the pawprint birthmark on her hip feels like a sign that she belongs.

But then strange things begin to happen in the tiny medical-research town of Salmon Creek. A young girl drowns mysteriously in the middle of a calm lake. Mountain lions appear around Maya's home, and won't go away. Her best friend Daniel starts experiencing bad vibes about certain people and things. One of those people is Rafe - the new bad boy in town. What is he hiding - and why is he suddenly so interested in Maya ...?

Another YA trilogy from the awesome Ms. Armstrong. A seperate trilogy from the Darkest Powers (The Summoning, The Awakening and The Reckoning) series, with different characters but still related because of the Edison Group.

As with all of Kelley's books before this, I read this in one sitting. Thank god I'd come off an early shift and was working later the next day! If I'd been early shift the next day as well, I would've been screwed, lol.

I love the new setting and I really like the new characters as well. I think a lot of the Darkest Powers fans were worried about the lack of Chloe, Derek and Simon but I think Maya, Rafe and Daniel are a nice team. I think the first characters you meet in a series always make an impression but I really enjoyed the friendship between Daniel and Maya. Plus I like Maya as a YA lead, she's a good role model.

If you like your supernatural YA and don't mind waiting to finish the story, this is a definite must read.

Book Depository: The Gathering
Amazon UK: The Gathering

Monday, 4 April 2011

Photographs and Phantoms by Cindy Spencer Pape

Brighton, 1855

As a member of the Order of the Round Table, Kendall Lake is overqualified to be investigating strange phenomena at a seaside photography studio. But since the photographer is related to the Order's most powerful sorcerer, Kendall reluctantly boards a dirigible to Brighton.

Amy Deland is haunted by a shadow that appears in some of her recent portraits. In each case, the subject died within days of the sitting. Does she have her grandmother's gift of foresight, or has she somehow caused the deaths?

As Kendall and Amy search for answers, their investigation draws them together in a most improper way-but it seems the evil presence in the studio is determined to keep them apart...

Release Date 25th April 2011

A sequel/companion to Steam & Sorcery. Set in the same time span with the Order of the Knights of the Round Table investigating some more weird goings on.

The characters in Steam & Sorcery are mentioned at the beginning and then they actually make an appearance a little later on. I liked Amy straight off, I always like characters that break from the norm. Plus I like to think that if I had lived in that time, I'd be more like Amy and less of an actual lady!

I like a strong leading man but I really can't fall in love with the oldy-timey men. I like a manly man and books set in bygone years never have manly men. But still I like to read the pretty words and hope for more.

Amazon UK: Photographs & Phantoms

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Fang Me by Parker Blue

The vampires want it. The demons want it too. And someone is willing to kill Val for it.
Val and Fang have to find the powerful Encyclopedia Magicka before either of San Antonio’s warring underworld factions locate it, or the consequences will be deadly for the entire city. As usual, Val’s vampire enemies (they still call her The Slayer), want her dead, and even some of her fellow demons may be less than trustworthy, since they'd like to grab the legendary book of spells before she does. Val has a personal claim to the Encyclopedia - her demon father left it to her when he died - but someone stole it recently. And that can’t be good.

Battling vamps and dodging demons, Val struggles to unravel the mystery and find the thief. At the same time, she's fighting her attraction to sweet, sexy Shade, her favorite shadow demon. Rumour has it that Val will lose her part-demon, vampire-fighting powers if she gives herself to him.

With a crowd of vamps and demons out to trick her or kill her, it’s not a good time for her to risk her job as the city's best vampire hunter by falling in love. The stakes are high and aimed right at her heart. But Lola, Val's hungry little lust demon, doesn't like being denied. Will Lola finally get her way?

What’s a part-lust-demon-teen supposed to do? Whatever it takes.

Third book in the Demon Underground series, following Bite Me and Try Me.

Story in this one felt kind of slow to start but was still a good story. The one thing that bugged me about this book was the fact that Val kept referring to Dan as her ex-boyfriend and I never ever read their "relationship" as the boyfriend/girlfriend type. It was really just a couple kisses, small thing but still it bugged me.

Val's relationship with Shade is moving on, making it hard for Val to try and keep her Succubus strengths in play. I also have to admit I figured out a fairly large part of the storyline about halfway through the book. It may have been intentional by the author or I may just read too many books, who knows.

It definitely didn't ruin the book for me, I still loved it and would definitely recommend the series to any of the genre's fanbase.

Book Depository: Fang Me
Amazon UK: Fang Me

Friday, 1 April 2011

Ascension by Sable Grace

The gates of hell have opened, and one woman will stand in the crossfire as the Dark Breed - vampyre, demons, shape shifters - and mankind fight their last battle for survival.

Kyana is half Vampyre, half Lychen ... and the last of her kind. Determined, dangerous, and damned, she has no love for the mortals who have imprisoned and misused her. But when the Order of Ancients entrusts her with a mission - to find the key that will send the Dark Breed back into Hell for eternity - Kyana has no choice but to accept.

She is furious to learn her assignment comes with an escort ... Ryker, a demigod and fierce warrior who long ago found a way under her skin and stayed there. In a shaky alliance, they discover an ancient cult with dangerous motives and a god who seeks to destroy all others. And as Kyana begins to feel the heat that threatens to bind her to Ryker, she knows she has to resist. For it could only mean the undoing of them both ...

Release Date 1st May 2011

I didn't realise when I read the info on this book that it was going to be a story about Greek gods ... with a nice wee twist. Not that there's anything wrong with that, I'm just saying! It's the 2nd book about Greek gods with a modern twist that I've read lately. They've both made me remember my interest in Greek mythology and I feel I must act on that interest somehow. Any clues how would be helpful!

Back to the book though ... Ascension was fairly awesome! Kyana is kick ass with a background to make her angry and pissed at everyone, just what I like in a heroine. The story and the characters are really well written. It was quick paced and easy to get lost in.

I loved it and can't wait to read more. There must be more judging by the ending!

Book Depository: Ascension
Amazon UK: Ascension

Try Me by Parker Blue

This part-demon teen vampire fighter and her faithful terrier hellhound are once again patrolling the dark streets of San Antonio, Texas. Val's hunky human partner, Detective Dan Sullivan, is giving her the cold shoulder since she beheaded his vampire fiancée. Vamp leader Alejandro is struggling to keep the peace between vamps, demons and humans. The mucho powerful Encyclopedia Magicka has been stolen, someone in the Demon Underground is poisoning vamps, and Val's inner lust demon, Lola, is getting very restless since Val's now partnered with sexy Shade, the shadow demon with the blond good looks of an angel.

Excellent follow up to Bite Me. Plus we get to see so much more of Shade ~ he's most yummy! And I absolutely adore Fang, he reminds me a lot of Giguhl from Jaye Wells' Sabina Kane series with his sarky sense of humour.

Val learns some new stuff about her demon powers and her background. Plus she's learning how to control Lola but still keep her fed. I really can't wait to get the next book read, Val is fast becoming a new favourite character for me (as is Shade).

Go out and get this series read!!

Book Depository: Try Me
Amazon UK: Try Me