Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Scent of Magic by Maria V. Snyder

Hunted, killed, survived?

As the last Healer in the Fifteen Realms, Avry of Kazan is in a unique position: in the minds of friends and foes alike, she no longer exists. Despite her need to prevent the megalomaniacal King Tohon from winning control of the Realms, Avry is also determined to find her sister and repair their estrangement. And she must do it alone, as Kerrick, her partner and sole confidant, returns to Alga to summon his country into battle.

Though she should be in hiding, Avry will do whatever she can to support Tohon's opponents. Including infiltrating a holy army, evading magic sniffers, teaching forest skills to soldiers and figuring out how to stop Tohon's most horrible creations yet: an army of the walking dead — human and animal alike and nearly impossible to defeat.

War is coming and Avry is alone. Unless she figures out how to do the impossible ... again.

Release Date 18th December 2012

Sequel to Touch of Power.

Avry has the blessing of having her enemies think she's dead, she uses this to infiltrate an enemy army of Tohon's. As she helps the soldiers train to walk silent in the forest, Kerrick is back at his home getting ready for his own battle with some invaders to his land. As they both worry about the other, they have to ensure they stay alive and hope that they'll meet again.

I love, love, LOVE Maria V. Snyder's writing. I loved her Study books and, even though I haven't finished it yet, I love her Glass books - I'm sure they're not the proper series titles, but it's what I've always called them.

Avry and Kerrick are just getting to know one another when they have to separate to different ends of the realms. We get to see a lot of Kerrick's homeland in this as he returns home, and Avry meets back up with the gang.

There's a nice surprise in this book that I don't want to spoil for anyone, but there is also some bad to balance the good. Snyder creates an amazing world with extremely loveable (and horrible) characters, but the fact you can love them or hate them is proof as to how well written they are. If you've never read anything by Snyder, you're missing out and I suggest picking something up.

Book Depository: Scent of Magic
Amazon UK: Scent of Magic

Alice in Wonderland by Raven Gregory

The one thing known is that her time spent in a world full of insanity left her a broken adult. However, her courageous will to survive is what ultimately saved humanity.

Now the story of Alice's visit into Wonderland is fully revealed and the truth of the terror will be told in full!

From Raven Gregory, Ralph Tedesco, and Joe Brusha, the minds behind Grimm Fairy Tales and Return To Wonderland, comes the series that Zenescope fans have been waiting for!

Follow Zenescope back down the rabbit hole and discover a world of madness like you've never seen before!

This is the tale of what REALLY happened down the rabbit hole. The artwork in this book is completely amazing!! Alice in Wonderland has always been (to me) a fairly creepy story and the art in this really brings that to light. I've never been more scared of the Cheshire Cat before - he's a seriously creepy cat!

The story is similarly paced as other graphics I've read. Fast enough to keep you interested and, since this is technically a collection of several shorter stories, there's enough hooks to keep you in.

I think with this, and many other graphics, it's the artwork and perhaps love of a classic tale told in a different, and much darker, way.

Book Depository: Alice in Wonderland
Alice in Wonderland

Monday, 29 October 2012

One Last Shot by Danielle La Paglia

High school sweethearts, Justin and Shelby, were destined to be together forever. But when Justin decided to give up a college scholarship to stay close to Shelby, his family stepped in, convincing Shelby she was holding him back from his life-long dream of playing Major League Baseball. She took her guilt and ran, and he never knew why.

Ten years later, they find themselves back in the small Texas town they grew up in. Shelby's come home to run the bar she inherited from her dad and Justin is looking for a safe haven after a career ending injury. With years of buried hurt and regrets, and the secret of his family's betrayal hanging between them, is Cupid's arrow enough to help them reignite the passion of first love?

Cupid may have missed in the first round, but he's willing to give this true love one last shot.

Justin comes back to town and goes to Shelby's bar where they both mutually ignore their feelings for one another until he turns up at her house with some beer and ... well, we all know what happens when alcohol is involved. Shelby runs away again in the morning and we find out she's in financial trouble, Justin also finds out why Shelby left him 10 years ago and heads back to LA only to be reminded of Shelby (from a certain chubby Eros) and decides he has to be with her.

La Paglia has written plenty of flash fiction over on her blog but this is her first (I believe) entry to the novella world. (She'll correct me if I'm wrong, LOL). I enjoy her flash fiction, she has a great talent for description and writing emotions in such a short piece so I knew her Cupid's Conquest entry would be good.

I'm really glad to say she didn't let me down. With more words to work with she's done a great job at setting everything up, La Paglia really does a fantastic job at describing people and places, I find it very easy to picture everything as it happens. She also writes two very different, but both equally likeable, characters as her leads and has you shouting at your kindle for them to wise up ... What do you mean you don't shout at your kindle?!?

A great addition to the Cupid's Conquest series and another author I get to be proud to call a friend. As I've said before, if you like short, steamy reads then pick up this series starting with Gunshy by Seleste deLaney.

Amazon UK: One Last Shot

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Magick by Trish Milburn

The covens are coming for her.

But is she a White Witch or a Dark Witch? In a war for control of the witch world, the answer will save - or doom - everyone she loves.

In White Witch, Jax gained friends she'd die for and a staggering power that threatens them all.

In Bane, Jax did the unthinkable and killed a supernatural hunter to protect her friends. She found herself lost in darkness and prisoner to the Bane, a secret society of witches sworn to prevent the use of the dark magic.

Now, in Magick, the powers of Jax and her friend Egan have been magically bound by the Bane. She must convince the Bane she can learn to control her power and become a White Witch in truth. She's their only hope now that the dark covens have called a Conclave with one purpose - to kill this generation's White Witch and anyone who has ever stood with her. If Jax can't amass an army of her own, rebuild the trust of her friends and boyfriend, and find the White Witch's elusive weapon against the dark, it may be too late.

Reviews of White Witch and Bane, the first two books in this series.

This book starts with Jax waking up chained to a chair, put there by the Bane after her dark magic took over. Determined to prove herself, she focuses all her energy into trying to harness her white witch powers and help end the dark covens forever. Along the way, new bonds are formed and Jax finds out some interesting and possibly life altering facts about herself and her new powers. All this leads up to the ultimate blow-out fight between white and dark witches.

I didn't realise this was the last book ... this saddens me 'cos I was really liking Jax and Egan. My annoyance at Jax in the last book wasn't an issue in this one, she's not as "me, me, me" as she was in Bane. She's a bit too angsty at the beginning for my liking but with good reason - she did kill a man!

She has to learn to cope with her dark magic to get her white magic under control, all while winning back Toni and Keller's trust and also gaining the Bane's trust as an ally against the dark covens. Egan and Jax manage to find other coven defectors that will help them and Jax gains an exceptionally helpful power thanks to the Bane's original ancestor.

As I said, I'm quite sad to see this series end. I'd definitely recommend the trilogy to anyone, all three books are very light quick reads so don't worry about starting another new series, it won't take long.

Book Depository: Magick
Amazon UK: Magick

Friday, 19 October 2012

How Beauty Met the Beast by Jax Garren

The Beast

Scarred. Damaged. Living with a terrible secret. Agent of the Underlight Wesley "Hauk" Haukon has nothing left but the fight for liberty against the oppressive Order of Ananke. He's starting to lose hope ... and then he sees her.

The Beauty

Despite her night job as a burlesque dancer, grad student Jolie Benoit has always played the mostly good girl. That all changes following a scorching sexual encounter with a stranger whose face she doesn't see. After she's kidnapped by thugs and rescued by a man with a very familiar voice, Jolie becomes a pawn in a struggle she never knew existed.

Hauk knows he cannot have her, and resolves to protect his heart and his secrets. But as they work together and grow closer, he finds new reason to keep fighting. Dare he risk hope in a new life, one where Jolie can see past his ravaged face and where their friendship can grow into something more?

Release Date 19th November 2012

Hauk takes refuge in a friends burlesque club after being chased by some police-y type people, while there he sees Jolie dance and is instantly entranced. He catches her backstage and they have a steamy moment while a sheet separates them, she never sees his face. Later on he rescues her from kidnappers but she doesn't know it's him, he takes her back to his place and she discovers the Underlight - an underground anarchy group. As she gets to know Hauk, his appearance means nothing to her and she finds that she actually likes him - even more so when she discovers that he's her secret backstage seducer.

I actually really enjoyed this wee story, I liked Jolie - her being a burlesque dancer helped - and I loved Hauk, it's so refreshing to have a leading male that's not drop-dead gorgeous.

Hauk is used to hiding from the public eye, he can do without the stares, so I think he's kind of freaked out by someone who's just met him not being bothered by his looks, not to mention the fact that he wants to get in her pants - that makes things a bit awkward!

Definitely a recommendation from me and I am very much looking forward to the next book in the series.

Amazon UK: How Beauty Met the Beast

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Fractured Soul by Rachel McClellan

Llona will do whatever it takes to protect her new found friends and home, but the dark plot that is threatening Lucent Academy, a school that's supposed to be a safe place for Auras, may be too powerful for even Llona to defeat. This fast-paced tale of love, loyalty, and overcoming the darkness will keep you on the edge of your seat until the last page!

Release Date February 2013

Following the events of Fractured Light, Llona and May are at Lucent Academy. Llona doesn't feel like she fits in with the other auras and is keeping a big secret from everyone, but on one of her nightly dangerous jaunts she finds out some stuff that leads her to uncover a huge undergound Vyken plot at the academy. Determined to help the school whilst also keeping her dark side at bay, she ends up enlisting the help of May and her new friends as well as Christian to fight the ultimate battle on school grounds.

When Rachel offered copies of this for review on her Twitter page, I jumped at the chance to continue this series. I loved the first one and let me tell you something ..... this one is even better! Loved it! The action was better in this since Llona already new how to fight so we didn't have to watch her learning, it was all action from the beginning. Her relationship with Christian is gaining momentum but she put it on hold when she felt like the darkness from her Vyken bite could overtake her personality.

Aah Christian, I love him. He's willing to lose his Guardian title to be with Llona, she's his happy! I get that, I have a comfy and I miss him when I'm not with him or he with me.

MAJOR SPOILER! (Highlight to read)
The ending is brutal! Llona loses Christian ... in the permanent sense. I was really shocked but I know why Rachel did it. It's going to help Llona in the long run but I think it could also cause some problems to pop up.

So, if you read and enjoyed the first, you MUST continue with this series. If you haven't read it and want to read a YA fantasy with something unlike the others out there, then go and pick up Fractured Light. I swear you won't regret it.

*rubs hands together and waits for Fractured Truth to come out*

Book Depository: Fractured Soul
Amazon UK: Fractured Soul

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

The Sweet Life by Francine Pascal

Three years after the events of Sweet Valley Confidential, Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield are back in Sweet Valley and inseparable once more. But Jessica, now a mother, finds her marriage to Todd hanging by a thread. Meanwhile, Lila Fowler, reality TV star extraordinaire, embarks on a risky scheme that could win her fame but cost her everything. And the scandal rocking Sweet Valley deepens for Elizabeth and Bruce, who find themselves at odds when loyalty conflicts with the need for the truth.

The Sweet Life
The Sweet Life begins three years after the events of Sweet Valley Confidential; Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield are back in Sweet Valley and inseparable once more. Things are looking up for both twins: Elizabeth is a star reporter at the LA Tribune with a popular blog, and Jessica's PR career is on the fast-track. But while the professional lives of the Wakefield sisters are secure, their personal lives may be in jeopardy. Jessica, now a mother, finds that managing parenthood, marriage and a job is harder than she expected, while Elizabeth and Bruce must face a scandal that could strengthen their bond ... or tear them apart for ever.
Meanwhile, life goes on in Sweet Valley. Families are made, hearts are broken, and ... Lila Fowler is a reality TV star? Some things never change.

Todd & Jessica are separated with a 2 year-old boy, Jessica is a big-shot VP in the marketing department for a green company owned by Lila's dad. Elizabeth is living with Bruce and working as a reporter at The Tribune. Steven and his partner, Aaron, have a daughter by a surrogate mother. Lila Fowler is married to a football player and, after auditioning, gets a starring role in what sounds like possibly the most BORING TV show in the world, on which she puts down her hubby constantly so he leaves her. After Jessica discovers a reporter who has a thing for Todd has plagiarised her and get the reporter fired, Todd decided Jess is just vindictive and is disgusted by her, Jessica decided there's no chance of a reunion. Bruce gets accused of attempted rape by an intern at his company and Elizabeth sets out to clear his name with Jessica's help but after hearing the intern's side of the story, she doesn't know who to believe.

Lies & Omissions
Three years after the events of Sweet Valley Confidential, Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield are back in Sweet Valley and inseparable once more. But Jessica, now a mother, find her marriage to Todd hanging by a thread. Meanwhile, Lila Fowler, reality TV star extraordinaire, embarks on a risky scheme that could win her fame but cost her everything. And the scandal rocking Sweet Valley deepens for Elizabeth and Bruce, who find themselves at odds when loyalty conflicts with the need for truth.
After Todd tells Jessica he wants to work things out, she decides not to tell him that she had sex with Liam but of course he finds out anyway (cue the town gossip, Caroline). Elizabeth, still unsure about her feeling for Bruce, helps his accuser by signing a lease for a new apartment so she can escape the newspaper reporters. Bruce discovers the accusers name and where she's staying with the help of a PI and, after getting drunk, shows up at her house and gets arrested. After trying, and failing, to win her husband back, Lila stoops to the ultimate low and fakes a pregnancy.

Too Many Doubts
Three years after the events of Sweet Valley Confidential, Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield are back in Sweet Valley and inseparable once more. But Jessica, now a mother, finds her marriage to Todd in jeopardy after she makes a terrible mistake. meanwhile, reality TV star extraordinaire, Lila Fowler's fame-seeking scheme backfires in the worst way. And the scandal threatening to tear Elizabeth and Bruce apart only gets worse when the District Attorney gets involved.
After discovering that Elizabeth has been talking to, and helping, his accuser Bruce loses his temper and hurts Liz so moves out but continues to work on his story, meanwhile Bruce flees the country. Jessica starts dating Liam and Todd lets Sarah (the reporter that Jess got fired) move in with him after she loses her apartment. Steven and Aaron hire a nanny and she manages to leave the baby with a stranger and she gets kidnapped, turns out by the surrogate mother who then hands her back a few hours later 'cos she cries too loud (?!) Jessica tries to get Todd back again but backs off when Sarah answers the door in her lingerie.

Secrets & Seductions
Three years after the events of Sweet Valley Confidential, Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield are back in Sweet Valley and inseparable once more. But Jessica, now a mother, is trying to reconcile a colossal mistake that may have cost her Todd forever. Meanwhile, reality TV star extraordinaire Lila Fowler's in desperate straits after her fame-seeking scheme has unexpected repercussions. And Elizabeth and Bruce struggle to cope with the fallout of the scandal that's torn them apart, made worse after Bruce makes a shocking decision.
Lila fakes a miscarriage but the town gossip finds out and tells Ken who leaves her ... again, but then Lila finds out she's ACTUALLY pregnant and doesn't tell Ken 'cos she doesn't know whether she's going to keep it or not. Elizabeth quits the paper after they find out she knew who Bruce's accuser is and she didn't tell them, trying to help Bruce, she sends Aaron undercover to Bruce's enemy's company to see if he has a link to Bruce's accuser. Jessica and Todd both think the other filed for divorce so Jessica asks her boss on a date and Todd sleeps with Sarah, turns out it was Sarah that spread the rumour about the divorce so she could have Todd.

Cutting the Ties
Three years after the events of Sweet Valley Confidential, Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield are back in Sweet Valley and inseparable once more. But Jessica, still paying for her mistakes with Todd, finds herself at a crossroads in a new relationship. Meanwhile, reality TV star extraordinaire Lila Fowler is facing a life-altering choice. And as Elizabeth fears Bruce is slipping away, she makes a bold decision to act that could change the course of their lives.
After dating her boss and he becomes distant with her, Jessica goes on a date with a co-worker of Steven who also doesn't respond to her texts and calls so she continues to date Liam, much to Todd's anger after their son tells him he's scared of Liam. Aaron discovers that Robin (Bruce's accuser) isn't who she says she is while Elizabeth goes back to "Robin's" home town to dig around a little.

Three years after the events of Sweet Valley Confidential, Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield are back in Sweet Valley and inseparable once more. But Jessica, now a mother, finds herself in grave danger when a man she trusts betrays her. Lila Fowler's shocking secret comes to light. Elizabeth learns the dark origins of the scandal that's ravaged Bruce's life, but is it too late?
Ken finds out about Lila's pregnancy and they get back together .... again. Elizabeth discovers that "Robin" (actually Mona) was blackmailed into accusing Bruce of rape by his enemy/competition in the business field and manages to get Bruce's name cleared and even though she wants her name kept out of it she thinks he knows during a press conference but he actually ends up announcing his love for another woman. Jessica tries to break up with Liam but he won't take it and she discovers it's his fault that her 2 dates went badly and Lila fell out with her - he made a fake Facebook profile for her and got nasty. When he gets angry and tries to rape Jessica, Todd arrives just in time to save the day and knock Liam out - apparently this is exactly what their relationship needed and they get back together.

Did you read all that? Can you believe there are so many little intricate stories in these six tiny little novellas? Yeah, I really couldn't either.
I LOVED the Sweet Valley books as a kid so was hella excited last year when Sweet Valley Confidential came out and was very excited again when I saw The Sweet Life was coming out - I though it was one book but then when I was looking for it, I saw it was 6 novellas that were being bound together in one book and re-released so I quickly downloaded all six.

I was disappointed to say the least. As a huge fangirl, I was really let down by these stories, it's disappointing that the characters don't seem to have grown up - they've just gotten older. I hated Lila (she was never my favourite character when I was growing up anyway), she was immature and more spoiled than ever. The mini storyline of Steven and Aaron's daughter being kidnapped had absolutely no input to the novellas - it was a couple of chapter total and it didn't add anything - seemed a weird storyline to put in the middle of all the other storylines that were going on. I mean, LOADS of them!

One disappointed former Sweet Valley fangirl right here.

Book Depository: The Sweet Life: The Serial
Amazon UK: The Sweet Life 1
The Sweet Life 2: Lies and Omissions
The Sweet Life 3: Too Many Doubts
The Sweet Life 4: Secrets and Seductions
The Sweet Life 5: Cutting the Ties
The Sweet Life 6: Bittersweet
The Sweet Life: The Serial