Thursday, 28 June 2012

Prototype 2 by Dan Jolley

Return to the virus-infected Manhattan of Prototype in this new graphic novel bridging the blockbuster game with its highly anticipated sequel! Written by Prototype 2 game writer and comics writer Dan Jolley (JSA: The Liberty File, Firestorm,BloodHound), this volume includes three original stories, previously only available digitally, enriching the stories of the central characters of Prototype 2 and revealing secrets of the devastated NYZ! Release Date 1st August 2012 This prequel graphic novel is split into 3 separate stories. The first of which, "The Anchor", follows Alex Mercer after the events of the first Prototype game. Alex was the main character you played in Prototype, following his story of what happened to him when he awakes in a goverment morgue. And I won't spoil what the ending of the story was here. In this story, Alex travels the world trying to fit back into humanity but only finding that humans are "worse than worthless, humans are vermin". Just seeing how people treat other in every day life, showing no care for your fellow human on the street. This story which no doubt leads straight into the events of the second Prototype game which, at this date, I have still to play. The second story, "The Survivors", follows a small group of 3 people - Conrad, Marcie and a young boy called Ami Levin. We follow this group just trying to escape the red zone, which is the area most affected by the blacklight virus. Giving us an idea of the extreme measures they need to take just to survive which includes attacking the private military that are there to supposedly protect the uninfected. We follow the journey with them making it back to the green zone where no infection exists at - which point I will not spoil what happens. With these people I am not sure if the story continues into the game itself but, considering it is from the same writer of the game, I would like to hope so. The third and last story, "The Labyrinth", follows the origin of your character in Prototype 2, Sgt. James Heller. He wakes up with a stranger in some sort of prison cell where he is told people are getting experimented on, after his cell mate is removed from the cell something happens and his cell opens up. He discovers nobody seems to be around except a few of the infected, after dispatching them he finds a store room and a weapon and discovers more survivors. And when in a situation of taking the life of an unarmed scientist that had done experiments on people, he decides not to execute him and we discover it was all a test. He wakes up on a military base with no memory of what had happened and is told a sniper grazed his head with a bullet. The art design for each story is done by 3 seperate people so each one has its own style. My personal opinion is the 1st and 3rd were very well drawn. The 2nd story I wasn't as keen on, especially the writing, it was dificult to read on the e-reader. So if you have a choice and really want these little extra stories in the Prototype world I would pick up a physical copy as the digital copy, even on my PC monitor, got hard to read at some points. With that being the only negative, I found the sories were well writen and involving. I highly recommend anyone that enjoys the world of Prototype to check this out. Book Depository: Prototype 2 Amazon UK: Prototype 2

Vampires, Banshees and Angels

Enter a dark and thrilling world of dangerous magic and unforgettable romance. From an addictive vampire story set in a desolate future that will give Hunger Games fans their next pulse-racing adventure fix to a truly original historical tale with a unique fantasy twist, this collection from MIRA Ink is the perfect treat for paranormal lovers to sink their teeth into. With four FREE chapters from New York Times Bestselling authors Rachel Vincent and Julie Kagawa and up and coming paranormal stars Michelle Rowen and Kady Cross, it’s the perfect taste of our favourite YA fiction.

This free (yes, I said FREE) preview anthology thing from Harlequin/Mira Ink includes The Immortal Kiss by Julie Kagawa, My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent, Dark Kiss by Michelle Rowen and The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross. I've read My Soul to Take before (I love the whole Soul Screamers series) but the other three had captured my attention and I wanted to give them a try so this was a nice way to do it.

I really enjoyed the preview of all the books. It's the first chapter of each book so you don't have to worry about spoilers, but they're long enough to capture your interest and make you want to read more. I have now added The Immortal Kiss, Dark Kiss & The Girl in the Steel Corset to my To-Be-Read list on Goodreads. A list which is gradually getting longer and longer.

The preview is available on Kindle so click the following link to download it for free: Vampires, Banshees and Angels

Queen of Swords by Katee Robert

When the cards tell Ophelia Leoni she's supposed to marry the Prince of Hansarda, the gunrunner grits her teeth and boards the starship that comes for her. It doesn't matter if the ship's commander is the gorgeous stranger whose bed she just spent a wild, drunken night in. As a Diviner, she's painfully aware the cards don't lie. Ever.

Boone O'Keirna knows Ophelia is trouble the second he sees the way she moves. Not about to let the deadly little hellcat marry his sadistic half-brother, Boone pretends to be the Prince's emissary and kidnaps Ophelia. Too bad they can't be in the same room without him wanting to throw her out an airlock – or into bed.

Even as they fight each other – and their explosive attraction – Ophelia and Boone sense something is wrong. Too much is going their way. Soon, they realise while the cards may never lie, the truth is sometimes hidden between them ... and the future king of Hansarda is not one to take defeat lying down.

So Sanctify 0.5 (prequel novella) was The High Priestess and I really enjoyed it so I was looking forward to reading this.

We start off with Ophelia having trouble finding her knickers (best opening EVER), can't run from a one night stand with no pants now, can we? Then her mum (Marianna) tell her she has had a marriage proposal from some prince and, after reading her cards, she accepts. Turn out Boone is the guy that comes to collect her, only she soon finds out that he wasn't really there to collect her ... he kidnapped her instead. she realises some things on her journey and ends up liking him, then must go save him and then has to go save her and they (sort of) get their HEA.

First off, I don't think I'd mind getting kidnapped by Boone - he sounds yummy. I mean, if you're going to be kidnapped it should at least be by a sexy dude, right?

Anyway back to the story, I really enjoyed this possibly more than the prequel. It's a lot longer so you get more story for your pennies, and more character development. I would've possibly liked more background on what happened with Ophelia's former crew, but who knows? Perhaps we shall find more in a later book, which I am really looking forward to reading.

Book Depository: Queen of Swords
Amazon UK: Queen of Swords

Monday, 25 June 2012

Bane by Trish Milburn

To protect those she loves from herself, Jax will leave them all behind.
She'll risk everything in a desperate search for answers.

Jax Pherson fled the darkest of covens and from her own father's evil. For a brief moment, her courage was rewarded. She found everything she'd ever wanted. A normal life. An amazing boyfriend. An envy-worthy best friend.

But her past put them all in danger, forcing a confrontation with the dark covens. In a life-and-death battle to save those she loved from the covens, Jax gained staggering power. Power so intense, so dangerous, she fears the darkness that now dwells inside her like a living thing.

If she can't control the power, she may yet become as evil as the witches she conquered.

With her friend Egan, Jax leaves all she's built and heads for the one place that might hold the answers she desperately needs to hold back the darkness - Salem, Massachusetts. Her research unearths a shocking discovery: the Bane, a secret group of witches dedicated to thwarting the covens.

Jax desperately needs their help in her fight against the covens, but finding the Bane is easier said than done and takes all her skills and courage. As Jax gets closer, her dark powers begin to rise and control her actions. If she succumbs to the darkness, Jax may have as much to fear from the Bane as the evil covens and the determined hunter on her trail.

Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy this one as much as I enjoyed White Witch. The story was alright but, for some reason that I don't know, I just didn't enjoy it the same.

Jax and Egan are in Salem looking for anything that'll help them overthrow the dark covens. They attract the attention of a family of witches who didn't take in the dark powers at the time of the witch trials, so they have no power. But they do have knowledge, knowledge that will help Jax and Egan. They discover a group of witches called the Bane, who seem to stand somewhere in between the dark witches and the no-power witches. But they also attract the attention of an infamous witch hunter, one who is known for not seeing shades of grey when it comes to his prey.

Jax came across as very selfish in some parts of this story, particularly near the end. She seems to be becoming and "everything is about her" character, and I'm hoping this will change as I'm liking this series so I'd like to continue but if Jax becomes too annoying, I probably won't.

Book Depository: Bane
Amazon UK: Bane

Friday, 22 June 2012

Never To Sleep by Rachel Vincent

Don't close your eyes.

Sophie Cavanaugh is not going to let her freak of a cousin's strange psychotic condition ruin high school for them both. Not after all the work she's put into cultivating the right look, and friends, and reputation.

But then, Sophie sees something so frightening she lets out a blood-curdling scream - and finds herself stuck in a bizarre parallel world where nothing is safe and deadly creatures lurk just out of sight, waiting for her to close her eyes and sleep ... forever.

Could this world be real? Or does insanity run in the family ... ?

This novella is FINALLY available in the UK. I've been wanting to read the Soul Screamers novellas since Reaper came out (which, by the way, is not available yet over here even though it was out before Never to Sleep).

I really enjoyed this one, it was fun getting into Sophie's head cause all we've ever had so far is Kaylee's take on her spoiled cousin. Although the first part of the novella stands to only strengthen those traits.

Sophie gets transported to the Netherworld with Luca (new guy) and has no idea where she is or why she got there, luckily Luca knows (the why is explained in the novella and hopefully further explained in the next novel) and guides her in how to stay alive.

It's set at the same time as If I Die but, apart from Kaylee and Tod's PDA scene, you don't get any of the storyline. One of my favourite lines is when Sophie is so sure that Kaylee would never be able to handle what she saw in the Netherworld since she's not stable enough. I snorted at that part.

Amazon UK: Never to Sleep

Wilde's Army by Krystal Wade

"Hello, Katriona."

Those two words spark fear in Katriona Wilde and give way to an unlikely partnership with Perth, the man she's been traded to marry for a favour. Saving her true love and protector Arland, her family, and their soldiers keeps her motivated, but the at-odds duo soon realises trust is something that comes and goes with each breath of Encardia's rotting, stagnant air. The moment when concern for her missing sister spirals out of control, all thoughts of trust are pushed aside and she finds herself trapped by the daemon tricks Perth warned her of.

However, rescuing those she loves is only half the problem.

Kate still must get to Willow Falls, unite her clashing people, and form an army prepared to fight in order to defeat Darkness. When so many she's grown fond of die along the journey, her ability to play by the gods' rules is tested.

How will she make allies when the world appears stacked against her? And will she still be Katriona Wilde, the girl with fire?

Release Date 4th July 2012

Wilde's Army takes off exactly where Wilde's Fire stops. Kate has to trust Perth to help her save all her new friends and her family then get to Willow Falls for more help to fight Darkness. Along the way, she loses friends and almost loses her own life. Then she has to play happy girlfriend with Perth to fool his dad so he doesn't try to kill Arland.

I really didn't know whether to trust Perth or not, and I'm still not sure if he's on the level or not. I'm still enjoying Arland and Kate's relationship and how it's progressing, but I wish Kate would get along better with her mother. I get that she's kept loads from her and still does, blah blah, but she has to realise that there's a reason for it. Also Kate's sister, Brit, is kind of annoying and I'm still not certain whether I like her or not. Only time (and more books) will tell.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Pursuit of a Kiss by Lola Drake

Ousted from Olympus until he can restore true love back to the world, Eros stumbles upon a match made in heaven - if they can survive through hell first.

Juliet doesn't have much in common with her namesake. Her career-centric life sorely lacks romance. Then one night everything changes when she witnesses a gang shooting and ends up getting shot herself.

FBI Agent Jake Parker has known Juliet for years, but only as the baby sister of his best friend. He still imagines her as the awkward teenager she used to be. When Jake must protect Juliet from the gang determined to eliminate the only witness against them, he discovers that he's not the only one who's changed in the last ten years.

Will Jake take the risk of having a real relationship? Will Juliet survive long enough for him to decide? The pursuit of a kiss has never been so dangerous, or so much fun.

This is the 3rd in the Cupid's Conquests series from Evernight Publishing, put together by Seleste deLaney who also wrote the first story, Gunshy. The second, Going the Distance, is by Angela Addams.

In this one, we get to meet of Eros' family at the beginning when his father comes and gives him a kick up the arse to get a move on. He sets about putting Juliet and Jake together, Juliet's just broke up with her 5 year boyfriend and Jake has never had an actual relationship. Turns out Juliet has had a crush on Jake since she was a kid but Jake never noticed her, now he wants her bad but doesn't want to take advantage of her in her traumatic state. Turns out he doesn't need to worry about that, Juliet wants him to help her forget.

As with most short stories, there isn't time to build up characters the same as in an actual book but Drake manages to write her characters well in the short time. The build up the kiss happening is hot, and when they actually get together it's amazing. Loved it. Definitely recommended, especially if you're a fan of the previous two Cupid's Conquests stories. Even if you're not but you love a short steamy tale? I recommend reading all three.

Buy Pursuit of a Kiss from Amazon.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Country vs Country - Soul Screamers

And welcome to my second cover comparison post, I've actually found it difficult to find more Canadian covers like I did in my Otherworld post, I'm thinking poor Canada just gets stuck with the US covers.

This post we are going to compare one of my favourite YA series, Soul Screamers by Rachel Vincent.

The above image are the US covers which are alright. The US books were released quite a fair bit ahead of the UK ones and I liked the covers and was about to start buying them when Rachel Vincent posted the 1st UK cover and I thought "Nope, I'm waiting." And you're about to see why.

I mean, just look at the pretty. I think these covers are stunning! And so different from the US covers, although I have seen other country editions use the same images but for different books. So yeah, as soon as I saw these covers there was NO way I was going to buy the US ones. And the cover for My Soul To Steal (I believe) in animated on the eBook version, the butterfly moves, how awesome is that?!

So, as you can see, the UK is most definitely my favourite with this series. What about you, dear readers?

Saturday, 9 June 2012

The High Priestess by Katee Robert

Marianna Zain is in trouble. The handsome stranger she just kissed? He's a member of the most terrifying hate-group in the universe. Even after he takes her captive, Marianna can't shake her initial instincts that he's a man of worth ... and her only chance at escaping death.

One of Sanctify's most decorated lieutenants, Gerard Leoni thought he had everything figured out. But then he crosses paths with a Diviner, the most despised of the alien races, and is honor-bound to bring her in. One night with Marianna makes him question everything he knows.

As the day of her scheduled execution draws near, Marianna forms a plan. She's going to seduce Gerard — a task that would be simpler if she weren't being seduced as well. But Sanctify doesn't take kindly to their people cavorting with aliens, and instead of finding a savior, Marianna may be dragging Gerald to his death alongside her ...

I hadn't read anything by Katee Robert but she's a friend's friend, a friend who's taste in books I trust, so I thought I'd give the sanctify prequel a bash. I really enjoyed it.

Dammit, you guys are so freaking needy with the reviews! Fine.

The characters of Marianna and Gerard (who's name I pronounced like Gerard Butler, not the American way since that sounds weird coming out of my mouth) are the ultimate enemies. Gerard has been raised to follow Sanctify beliefs, all aliens are bad and must be killed (in a very nasty way) and Marianna is the worst of all, she's a diviner, an abomination in the eyes of Sanctify. They meet in a bar and there's instant attraction, and then Gerard realises what she is and is bound to take her in. Only he doesn't want to, he wants to have smexy-sex with her (let's be honest, so do we :D ), Gerard's faith is rocked when he hears of proof of her powers and he must save her.

I liked the world that Robert has created and she writes some compelling characters. This is really just a prequel novella so it's very short, which makes it a very quick, fun read. Definitely worth a gander, it costs less than two quid.

Amazon UK: The High Priestess

League of Strays by L.B. Schulman

This suspenseful debut follows a group of teenage misfits in their delicious quest for revenge on those who have wronged them at their high school. When a mysterious note appears in Charlotte's mailbox inviting her to join the League of Strays, she's hopeful it will lead to making friends. What she discovers is a motley crew of loners and an alluring, manipulative ringleader named Kade. Kade convinces the group that they need one another both for friendship and to get back at the classmates and teachers who have betrayed them. But Kade has a bigger agenda. In addition to vandalizing their school and causing fights between other students, Kade's real intention is a dangerous plot that will threaten lives and force Charlotte to choose between her loyalty to the League and her own conscience.

Release Date 1st October 2012

OK so one thing I have learned not to do is read reviews on Goodreads just as I've started reading a book, cause people on there are really judgemental and a bit weird about what they find to be "disgusting".

League of Strays is about a group of misfits/outsiders that are rounded up by "alluring" (read: creepy as fuck) Kade, who seems to know everything about them. He groups them as friends but in reality he wants them to get revenge on their bullies. All of them have stories of their worst moments and they target the people that caused these. Turns out "alluring" Kade has an agenda of his own against the principal and is actually a bit of a sociopath! He's got history that no one knows about and has been stalker-y and crazy before, with an unhappy ending.

One scene in particular that a lot of Goodreaders are having a problem with is when the League set up the mandatory gay character's bully. They send a note to his team mate supposedly from a gay lover then contact the bully and fool him into thinking he's meeting a chick for sex, instead he meets his team mates and they beat him up while the League watches from afar, he ends up getting his arm broken. Now, I'm sorry, but that scene? Not disgusting. Sadly that scene could and probably does happen, some people are idiots and do think it's OK to treat gay people like crap. I'm not saying this sort of action is good, but I don't find it "disgusting", I find it believable and I don't find anything wrong with the author writing a scene like this. In fact, even worse things than this happen more often than they should. And it by no means says to me that the author is "condoning" this sort of treatment, it says to me that she's not afraid to write about stuff that (sadly) happens on a daily basis. What's wrong with that?

My one problem with this book wasn't the storyline, it intrigued me, my problem was the characters. They were supposed to be seniors in high school (So what's that? About 17ish?) and they acted about 13 or 14, they came across as pretty immature and very gullible. The fact that all 3 girls were more than happy to listen to this complete stranger just because he was "gorgeous"? Honestly, I find that a bit unbelievable.

So all being said, if you can get over the immaturity and naivety of the characters (especially the "heroine") then I think this book is a quick easy read.

Book Depository: League Of Strays
Amazon UK: League of Strays

Friday, 8 June 2012

The Ravenous Dead by Natasha Hoar

This time the dead are hungry...

Rachel Miller doesn't just see dead people, she rescues them. As a member of The Order of Rescue Mediums, she spends most of her time helping stubborn spirits move on from the world. But after she learns the details of three brutal murders, she knows the culprit can only be a reaper, an undead monster that relentlessly stalks its victims to feed on their souls.

A reaper once consumed the soul of Rachel's mentor as she watched frozen in fear. Now, Rachel is in the role of teacher to Kit Elkeles, a rodach just learning to control his wraithlike powers. After Kit and Rachel rescue a half-vampire, they work to protect him while searching for a way to stop the reaper. But when Rachel realises who the monster is really after - and just what kind of dark magic she'll need to stop it - will she be able to do what is necessary before it devours one of her friends ... or even herself?

Release Date 16th July 2012

Since I really enjoyed The Stubborn Dead, I jumped at the chance to read this when I saw it on Netgalley, and I wasn't disappointed. Hoar picks up the storyline and, happily, the "certain someone" I spoke about in the 1st review is back in the 2nd.

Rachel has taken on full responsibility for training Kit and he has moved in with her (Woohoo! Possible sexy times ahoy!), she hears about 3 cases of very similar supernatural deaths and knows it's a reaper. Unfortunately she's had a run in with a reaper before and doesn't entirely feel confident in handling them. But this one isn't the one she's dealt with, it's unusual in it's hunger patterns, they catch it mid feed and save the dude he's eating, he then joins them in the hunt. After another run in, the reaper sets its sights on Kit (NOOOOOO, not Kit! I loves him!).

Excellent addition to this series, I loved the familiarity between Rachel and Kit and the growth of their relationship. I'm really looking forward to the next book.

Amazon UK: The Ravenous Dead

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Freakshow Volume 1 by Joe Suitor

Ape Entertainment's critically-acclaimed dark superhero epic is fully collected here for the first time!

When five refugee survivors develop horrific mutations from a devastating chemical explosion, they band together to seek revenge. But are they monsters… or heroes?

Release Date 23rd August 2012

I received this from Netgalley and was told it would just be a part of the book, not the whole thing. Unfortunately it was the beginning that had been cut out, my kindle started at 13%, so I'll admit to being overwhelmingly confused about what was happening.

Luckily for me, one of the characters decided to have a little trip down memory lane. The story seems like it could be interesting, trying to figure out the monsters from the villains, the monsters are only monsters because of something humanity done to them. From what I can gather, some scientist tried to create a superhero and ended up making some mutants instead. They, understandably pissed, want to kill said scientist.

I don't think this is the type of graphic novel I'll read, the artwork didn't do it for me. As much as the storyline interests me, I don't think I'll be reading this.

Book Depository: Freakshow Volume 1
Amazon UK: Freakshow Volume 1