Thursday, 31 May 2012

Dreams by Daniela Sacerdoti

Seventeen-year-old Sarah Midnight has never had a normal life. To the outside world she is a typical teenager, but on the inside, Sarah holds and unimaginable secret. Her parents are demon hunters, part of a web of secret Families who have sworn to protect the world. When they are mysteriously killed, Sarah's world is shattered but she knows she must now take up their fight.

Unprepared for the task ahead, she finds herself thrust into a world of incredible danger, full of things she never even knew existed. Including her enigmatic long-lost cousin who, out of the blue, turns up on her doorstep just when she needs him most. He claims to be there to help and protect her, but how will she know who to trust in this perilous new life? And can she stay alive long enough to complete her parents' quest when they have left her so defenceless?

Sarah has to learn, and learn fast - the demons are all around her and death waits for no one ...

I hadn't heard of this book until one of my fairly local Waterstones tweeted about a signing, I clicked and read the synopsis of the book and it struck my fancy so I went along to the signing and had a lovely wee chat with the author as well.

Sarah's parents are killed by a demon and she has to carry on with hiding the family secret and keeping the demon population down. She has inherited the "Midnight stare" (which is never fully explained but I think it causes pain?) and also Blackwater (which, again, is never fully explained. But she can basically burn (?) demons with her touch but then she's covered in water? Not entirely sure on the mechanics of Blackwater but I'm hoping it gets explained in further books). Her long lost cousin comes from London to help her as he knows she's in danger and he helps her defend herself from the demons attacking her, and also the people controlling them.

Now, the storyline itself was really enjoyable except for a few parts which I felt could have used more explanation but, as I said above, I'm hoping this will be expanded on in further books. A couple of my little bugs is the character interaction and Sarah's relationship with her "cousin". The interactions between characters come across as very false, and yes I know that it's a book and the whole thing is false but you know what I mean, the conversations didn't seem to flow well. Maybe it was because Sarah's speech doesn't identify her as a 17 year old Scottish lass, and I know she is more mature for her age since she had to grow up fast but it still doesn't gel for me. With her relationship with her "cousin", who we find out very early on is not her cousin but in fact her cousin's friend and partner who was sent by her cousin to protect her, is very weird. I get that he knows he's not her cousin and so he can admit his feelings for her etc etc. But she doesn't know he's not her cousin and she seems to think it's OK that he flirts with her and even kisses her, I find that a wee bit weird and creepy.

But those two annoyances aside, I will read the next two books in the trilogy as I want to know what happens with Sarah and Sean/Harry.

Book Depository: Dreams
Amazon UK: Dreams

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

WINNER of The Iron Witch Giveaway

The winner of The Iron Witch was deedee1369.

Thanks to all who entered and congrats to Deedee1369 who I'm sure will enjoy The Iron Witch as much as I did.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Shadow Bound by Rachel Vincent

Kori Daniels is a shadow-walker - she can travel from one shadow to another instantly. Ian Holt is a Blinder - he can impose absolute darkness, literally suck the light from a room. They can't exist together...they can't survive apart.

After weeks spent paying for betraying the boss she's bound to, Kori Daniels is done with Jake Tower and his syndicate. But they're not done with her. Tower has a new task for her - a chance to prove her loyalty - but Kori knows this assignment may be her only chance to free both herself and her sister Kenley. For good. The job? Recruit Ian Holt - or kill him.

Ian Holt knows he's being courted by the Tower syndicate and that Kori's been sent to reel him in, but he has no intention of actually being caught, by her or the syndicate. Ian is an independent - sworn to serve only himself - and he's only pretending to be recruitable so he can breach Tower's practically impregnable security. His goal? Free most of those unwillingly bound to Tower by killing his top Binder, Kenley Daniels - Kori's little sister.

Instantly attracted to each other in spite of opposing goals, both Kori and Ian fight a connection they cannot deny. But when that initial chemistry grows into something stronger and deeper, they'll be forced to choose between love and liberty - or they can risk everything for the chance to have it all.

Release Date 1st June 2012 (According to Goodreads and Netgalley, but the book is available just now from Amazon)

This is the second book in the Unbound series and it follows Kori and Ian, Kori was introduced in the first book so we know she's a traveller who is bound to Jake Towers. In Blood Bound, she unknowingly causes her own downfall by allowing Liv and Cam into Towers home and he got shot, this books starts off with her punishment for that event. She gets released purely to help Towers recruit a Blinder, Ian, which grinds on her since she doesn't want to force anyone into a contract with Towers but she has to do it to keep her sister safe. But Kori and Ian end up falling for each other and complicate matters just a tad, but in true stubborn fashion they find a way to keep everyone happy.

Vincent is one of those authors that I can't say anything bad about, I love her writing style and I love her characters. When I pick one of her books up, I can't seem to put it down. This one, for instance, I started reading this afternoon and have just finished it, which is actually quite a long time for me but I had breaks for eating and such menial tasks.

I highly recommend any of Vincent's books and, if you're going to start somewhere, her Unbound series is a good place to start. She writes unputdownable books and immediately likeable characters.

Book Depository: Shadow Bound
Amazon UK: Shadow Bound

Blue Blooded Vamp by Jaye Wells

Sabina Kane is on the hunt. Her prey: Cain, the father of the vampire race and the one who murdered her family and her friends. Unfortunately, Cain is hunting Sabina, too.

The one man who holds the key to defeating Cain is, of course, Abel. A mage with secrets to spare and, hopefully, the power to match it. Unfortunately, for Sabina, he's in Rome and may not want to be found.

Sabina sets out for Italy with her friends, Giguhl and Adam Lazarus, to track down the only man who can get her the revenge she hungers for. But will he help her or oppose her? And just who is Abel, really? Worst of all, when Sabina figures out the goddess Lilith has a plan for her - she realises this trip is getting deadlier by the minute. As they say: when in Rome - SURVIVE.

Release Date 1st June 2012

Heads up here but this review WILL contain spoilers. This is the last book in this brilliant series and I am not holding back! So if you haven't read it, here's a quick review for you : GO READ IT! IT'S AMAZING! OK, so you can go buy it now, right? And I'll carry on with my spoiler-y review? Good, good. Don't scroll down from here unless you want the spoilers.

And just in case you didn't heed my warning, I've hidden the spoiler-y bit.  Highlight if you want to read it.

So this is indeed an EPIC conclusion to the Sabina Kane series. After Cain killed Maisie in Silver Tongued Devil, Sabina wants revenge. Trouble is no-one can kill Cain without repercussions except for the Chosen, Maisie has seen Sabina as the Chosen but Sabina has always fought with it, now it's time for her to live up to that vision.
Sabina, Adam and Giguhl head off to Rome to find Abel as he's the only person that can help them. Trouble is, Asclepius has asked for payment and he wants Sabina to kill a vampire called Nyx since he's heard she's in Italy as well. So off they head to Italy, with Erron Zorn since he's the contact for Abel. Big shocker when they finally meet Abel and he's (are you ready to read this?) Sabina's father. But she has to deal with that to kill Cain, trouble is he doesn't believe she is the Chosen, he thinks it was Maisie and that with her death, all is lost. So they have some tests to see if she has what it takes to be the Chosen, oh and Sabina finds out that the vamp she's supposed to kill is part of her dad's team so she can't kill her but this pisses Asclepius off. The group must travel to Irkalla to find Lilith and Asclepius sets Cain on their tail. Tests await and Sabina loses her mage powers, her immortality and her vamp-ness only to find out she's not the Chosen after all, the Chosen is her and Maisie together. So they join up and kick his ass and then Sabina has to lead the Dark Races on earth while Maisie leads them in Irkalla so Lilith can have some time off. Oh yeah, and Giguhl gets married!

So that's my retelling (in a crap way) of the story. I loved loved loved this book, even though it brings one of my favourite series to an end *sad face*, it does it in a spectacular way.

Reading this book was both awesome and bittersweet at the same time. Awesome because it's Jaye Wells and she's such a great author, awesome because it finally sees Adam and Sabina define their relationship, awesome because it has such a poignant scene with Giguhl and Sabina, awesome because we get to see Sabina realise her potential. Bittersweet because it's the end of a great series, bittersweet because we won't get to see Giguhl's babies growing up and causing havoc, bittersweet because we don't get to see any more of Adam and Sabina.

But that's more awesomes than bittersweets so I'm happy to leave it at that. This book is a definite must read for anyone who has started this series. If you haven't read this series then go start with Red-Headed Stepchild and work your way through, you won't be sorry.

Book Depository: Blue-Blooded Vamp
Amazon UK: Blue-Blooded Vamp

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Country vs Country - Otherworld

No, I'm not condoning war, I'm talking about book covers. It always amazes me how different some book covers can be in different countries, and then for other books the cover can be the same.

Personally, the majority of the time I prefer UK covers to US or Canadian. This is purely because most US covers I see have half naked men or women on them and that just does not interest me, what it says to me is that sex sells in America.

I also prefer a cover that has some sort of clue to the story inside and, if it has a cover model, I like the cover model to actually look like the character(s). I never get a book that has a brunette on the cover and the main character is described as blonde, is the cover model supposed to be some obscure bit character? Or could the publishers not be arsed finding a new cover so maybe just recycle an old one? To be fair, I don't see this happen all that often but I have seen it happen.

Today I thought I'd compare the covers for one of my favourite series from the UK, US and Canada.

The Otherworld Series by Kelley Armstrong

The image above is the original UK covers. Of course these covers hold a very special place in my heart since these are the covers I have. I love them and each cover has an image that has something to do with the story. You'll notice the covers stop at Frostbitten, it was at Frostbitten that the publishers decided to give the covers a revamp so from Waking the Witch onward, it's all the new covers.

These are the new UK covers, the whole series has been re-released with the new covers. And, I have to admit, that even though I hated the fact that the covers got changed during the series (which I hate cause it messes up my bookcases), I really love these new covers. So much so that I am planning on re-buying the whole series so I have both sets of covers.

These are the US covers - I believe. I used both Kelley's website and Goodreads as reference for this post and it seems to me that perhaps the US are also getting a re-release to match the new style covers? Bitten and Stolen both have a cover that seems to fit in with Waking the Witch and Spell Bound and I couldn't find a similar cover for the rest of the books so I'm assuming that they're still being released? Either that or I just couldn't find the covers anywhere. Personally, I prefer the new covers to the old ones, I think it's the whole naked/half naked cover model thing. A lot of the old covers make absolutely no sense to me story wise.

And these are the new Canadian covers, I couldn't find any old Canadian covers so I'm assuming they just had the US covers before. Again, I'm not sure since I don't live there (yet, haha). I really like these covers, they're very eye catching and I love them even though they don't have the image to story link that I like.

And these are all the covers for 13 (or Thirteen if you're American). I know Kelley explained on the difference in title but I can't remember the reason behind it. Out of the 3 13 covers, I think the Canadian one has to be my favourite with the UK as a close second.

So yeah, this was just a post about the covers. The different country covers always intrigue me and I have several series that I will go out of my way to buy the US cover for but most of my books are UK covers.

I am thinking on making this a semi-regular series on my blog, using some of my favourite series to compare the cover differences. Depends on how well this one does, finding and sticking all those images together took a loooong time!

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

The Iron Witch giveaway

So for the first post on my updated blog I thought I'd try another giveaway of The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney.

I ran a giveaway for this when I reviewed The Wood Queen but I limited it to the UK as I was paying for postage. Unfortunately there were no takers so I'm doing a re-giveaway and this time it's open internationally.

All you have to do is follow and leave a comment below with your e-mail address and I'll randomly choose a winner.

Closing date Wednesday 30th May


Friday, 18 May 2012

Wilde's Fire by Krystal Wade

"There is no pain in this death, only peace, knowing I am going to die with the one I love the most."—Katriona Wilde.

Katriona Wilde has never wondered what it would feel like to have everything she's ever known and loved ripped away, but she is about to find out.

When she inadvertently leads her sister and best friend through a portal into a world she's dreamed of for six years, she finds herself faced with more than just the frightening creatures in front of her. Kate's forced to accept a new truth: her entire life has been a lie, and those closest to her have betrayed her.

What's worse, she has no control over her new future, and it's full of magic and horrors from which nightmares are made.
Will Kate discover and learn to control who she really is in time to save the ones she loves, or will all be lost?

Yet another reason why I love Netgalley, I get to find new authors that I may never have found, or heard of, otherwise. Wade writes a very believable world and extremely likeable characters (even the dude you're eventually supposed to not like).

Kate has been living a lie only she didn't know it. She's been dreaming of a hunk for 6 years now, every time she dreams of him he dies in horrific ways. Little did she know that said hunk actually existed in another world, a world she belongs in and a world she's destined to save from darkness.

I really liked the scenes between Kate and Arland, they start off as you'd expect and progress at a nice pace. It's not the overdone instalove relationship that a lot of books have so it's believable. Kate does seem to accept the whole different world/she's the saviour/hunky dream guy exists thing very quickly which I find a bit hard to believe, I'd expect someone to be pretty freaked out by that. The one big letdown in this book is the ending, it's a HUGE downer and a bit anti-climactic. But I know it's leading onto a sequel so I can (sort of) understand it and I'll live with it until the 2nd book is out. Although I have come to realise that I do, apparently, like cliffhangers or, at least, action packed endings.

Book Depository: Wilde's Fire
Amazon UK: Wilde's Fire

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Scottish words and their meanings

So my friend Bea from Bea's Book Nook gave me an idea for a blog post after I posted a couple of my favourite Scottish words on Twitter last week (or possibly just earlier on this week) and I thought, "Yeah! I'm going to do that."

Know what I didn't think of? Even though I am Scottish, live in Scotland, have never lived anywhere else and speak Scottish every minute of every day of my life ~ trying to think of a list of Scottish words is actually quite hard! Because I speak them every day, I don't think of them as being unknown to others, so yeah this list is a bit varied and is probably going to the first of a series since I'm sure I'll remember other words after I've written this post. Also, just because the words are written here do not mean that I personally say them, some words are regional. For instance, I'm from the West Coast of Scotland and my boyfriend is from the East Coast, I say words he doesn't know but, for some reason, there aren't as many words he uses that I don't know. He has, in recent years, started saying Ken though, which they do not say on the East Coast.

Also, I'd like to state for any Scottish people reading this: I have no idea how to spell a lot of these words! If I don't know how it's spelled, I'm writing it down phonetically. The problem with Scottish words is that it's slang or purely just an accent thing so it doesn't have an actual correct spelling. I'll try my hardest to list the phonetics with the words, they'll be in these funky brackets {}, if there are no funky brackets it means I think the word is already written like it's said.

But anyway, here goes:

Auld ~ old
Awfy {Aw-fay} ~ awful, really It's awfy cauld ootside
Aye {I} ~ yes
Baltic ~ really cold, freezing Man, it's baltic oot there
Blether {B-leather} ~ a chat, a chinwag, a wee bit of a gossip 'Mon in for a wee blether and a cuppa
Boggin ~ really dirty thing or person Gadz, he's boggin
Cannae {Can-nay} ~ can't
Cauld ~ cold
Chankin ~ really cold, freezing (you can see we have a lot of words meaning cold, it's a cold country, LOL)
Clatty ~ really disgusting thing or person
Couldnae {Could-nay} ~ couldn't
Cowp ~ to dump something. Also the actual dump to dump your stuff in Cowp it oot ower there / Gawn tae the cowp wi' this auld table
Cry/cried ~ call or called Whit dae yae cry him again? / He's cried Jim
Dae {Day} ~ do
Daein {Day-in} ~ doing
Didnae {Did-nay} ~ didn't
Disnae {Diz-nae} ~ doesn't
E/een ~ eye/eyes I hurt ma e / Open yer een
Fae {Fay} ~ from Whaur ye fae?
Faither {Fay-thur} ~ father
Fitba(w) ~ football. Can be said with or without the W
Fousty {Foo-stay} ~ mouldy or stale. Not just looks but also smell That breed's awfy fousty / The fridge smells a bit fousty
Foutery {Foo-terry} ~ small and hard to handle I cannae hold it, it's too foutery
Giy ~ a lot of, very This year's gone giy fast
Gonnae {Gaw-nay} ~ going to Gonnae shut up?!
Gowf ~ golf
Gowpin ~ sore My feet are gowpin
Isnae {Iz-nay} ~ isn't
Ken ~ know Dae ye ken where the car is?
Kip ~ bed
Lowp/lowpin/lowped {low more like cow than low} ~ jump/jumping/jumped The dug lowped the fence
Lug ~ ear
Manky {Man-kay} ~ really dirty Ma windaes are manky
Maw ~ mum
Mawkit ~ really dirty
Mither ~ mother
Nae ~ no as in number wise There's nae bread left
Naw ~ no as in opposite of yes
Oose {Oos} ~ fluff (on your clothes). I'm not entirely sure if this is Scottish or not
Pech/peched ~ tire you out/tired, gasping for breath. The "ch" is the hard Scottish phlegmy noise Man, I'm peched fae that hill
Pruch ~ dig through something e.g. cupboard, bag etc. Again the hard Scottish "ch" I love pruching through auld boxes
Rank ~ stinks, disgusting
Shouldnae {Should-nay} ~ shouldn't
Twa {Tw-aw} ~ two
Wan ~ one
Whaur ~ where
Whit ~ what
Widnae {Wid-nay} ~ wouldn't
Willnae {Will-nay} ~ won't
Windae {Win-day} ~ window
Wisnae {Wis-nay} ~ wasn't
Yin ~ One

So that's it. Hope you all enjoyed (and understood). Sorry if it's confusing but I'm not a dictionary and it's difficult explaining things. Questions? Put them in the comments and I'll either answer them here or in another post.

Blackwood by Gwenda Bond

On Roanoke Island, the legend of the 114 people who mysteriously vanished from the Lost Colony hundreds of years ago is just an outdoor drama for the tourists, a story people tell. But when the island faces the sudden disappearance of 114 people now, an unlikely pair of 17-year-olds may be the only hope of bringing them back.

Miranda, a misfit girl from the island’s most infamous family, and Phillips, an exiled teen criminal who hears the voices of the dead, must dodge everyone from federal agents to long-dead alchemists as they work to uncover the secrets of the new Lost Colony. The one thing they can’t dodge is each other.

4th September 2012

So apparently the whole missing people storyline in this book is a real thing? I never knew that, I've never heard of Roanoke Island before I started this book so forgive me for not knowing the backing behind this one.

People go missing from Roanoke, not just a couple of people though, 114 go missing all on the same night. Which is a bit weird, let's admit it. Philips left the island by choice years before but his dad calls him back 'cos he thinks his "gift" can help with this case. Miranda's family has always been ostracised on the small island but she finds out they're involved in the disappearance somehow. So of course Philips and Miranda work together and end up falling in love.

Now there's a pretty big thing that happens right at the beginning of the book but it's not mentioned in the blurb so I don't want to mention it and spoil the story, but not mentioning it prevents me from discussing more of the story so .... yeah, sorry.

The story itself develops pretty fast, as do most YAs, due to the length but what this story doesn't manage that a lot of YAs do is a believable love story. It goes way too quickly in my opinion, but then I'm also almost 30 so what do I know about young people these days. I know a lot of young kids think their in love when they're only about 14 and can get into "relationships" (or at least what they think are relationships) from a young age so maybe this fast moving love story isn't as unbelievable to some as it is to me. Another little annoyance is the author's need to put all these little geek references in ~ just seems overkill and I have to say, if I knew Miranda in real life? I'd teach her some new swear words rather than have her say frak for every little thing, you'd think she'd know other words since she watches a lot of TV.

So, in short, an interesting storyline (that some have heard of before the book ~ possibly just Americans or history buffs?) with a mix of Alchemy in there too. A nice quick read.

Book Depository: Blackwood
Amazon UK: Blackwood

Monday, 7 May 2012

Black Dawn by Rachel Caine

When a tide of ferocious draug, the vampire's deadliest enemy, floods Morganville, its eclectic mix of residents must fight to save their town from devastation.

Chaos has taken over the quiet college town of Morganville as the threat of the draug rapidly spreads with the help of the city's water system. Whilst most of the locals have already fled, student Claire Danvers and her friends Shane, Eve and Michael choose to stay and fight.

Things take a turn for the worse when vampire Amelie, the town's founder, is infected by the master draug's bite. Unless Claire and her friends can find an antidote to save Amelie and overcome the draug, Morganville's future looks bleak ...

So anyone who has read any of my previous Morganville reviews will know I love this series and Rachel Caine. I love anything that woman writes and refuse to believe there is anything bad to say about her books. You might think this would make writing the review easier but it's a lot harder since I feel like I just gush over her and her works.

For any who don't know, Morganville is a town in Texas that is run by vampires. Everyone, except for the Uni students, know about the vampires and live by certain rules etc. to keep themselves alive. Claire Danvers is one of those students but she finds out about the hidden background of Morganville and eventually starts working for the founder, Amelie. Throughout the books Claire deals with a lot: bullying, moving into a house with strangers, finding out vampires exist, learning how to live in Morganville, falling in love, almost dying, actually dying, saving the town, saving herself and her friends as well as other little trivial things. Black Dawn is the most recent in the series and we find out more about the even-more-baddy-than-vampire draug that were introduced in Last Breath.

So, like I said above, there are no bad things to say about Black Dawn. All Morganville fans will want to read this, it brings up some interesting ideas for future books and any non Morganville fans, I highly recommend you start the series with Glass Houses and work through it from there. For UKers there's a gorgeous Morganville omnibus available that includes the first 3 books: Glass Houses, The Dead Girl's Dance and Midnight Alley.

Book Depository: Black Dawn
Amazon UK: Black Dawn

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

katniss Everdeen survived the Hunger Games. Now the Capitol wants revenge.

Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark are still alive. Katniss should be relieved, but now there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol - a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.

As the nation watches Katniss and Peeta, the stakes are higher than ever. One false move and the consequences will be unimaginable.

The sequel to the amazing The Hunger Games, Catching Fire is the second in the Hunger Games trilogy.

I'm a tad behind in the Hunger Games phenomenon since I've only just read the 2nd and I haven't even bought the 3rd yet (although this is mainly through the change in cover in the UK and also lack of funds), but I have to say, I'm enjoying the series. Katniss is a likeable lead, even if she can be a bit whiny and self obsessed at times. One character I'd love to see more of is Gale, I much prefer him to Peeta for Katniss but only the 3rd book shall tell which one Collins chooses for her.

It's interesting to read about the victors after the Games. They don't return to work/school and instead have to take up a hobby, Katniss only has hunting which she's not legally allowed to do so she must choose something else. They also move house to the Victor's Village but they get to keep their old house so their family has somewhere to go if they die (cheery outlook on life). And then they also get to look forward to being future contestant's mentors in the Games, which really isn't any kind of fun.

Catching Fire was slow to start, for me, but has a good storyline once you get into the book. Nothing seems to happen for quite some time and then we get some action. The ending is intriguing and I shall be going out tomorrow night and buying Mockinjay so I can find out what happens next.

Book Depository: Catching Fire
Amazon UK: Catching Fire