The Dragon Blood Collection – Lindsay Buroker

hatWell. Here I am. It’s been awhile! 8 months have passed since I last wrote and so much has happened! I now have an MA in publishing and seem to be getting a book published next year. I’ve had three jobs and am looking for the next as my temporary position winds down at the end of the year. A lot has happened. Have I stopped reading hence why no posts? Nope, but having 2 jobs and trying to complete an MA at the same time can leave one with very little downtime to not only read a book but to then review it!

Ah well. I am back. Just in time for Christmas. And this new book series I am about to review I would recommend to get someone for Christmas.

Plot21797289

We start of this series with Balanced on the Blade’s Edge. Here we meet Colonel Ridge Zirkander and he is in trouble. So much so that he is shipped off from his flight crew and sent to manage a prison in the middle of the snowy mountains.

Below this prison, Sardelle Terushan awakens after 300 years in a magic coma. She awakens to world where Dragons no longer exist and their dragon blood has weakened in humans, meaning no more sorcerers.  In fact, anyone with magic (or accused of magic) is so greatly feared that they are often sentenced to horrific deaths. No longer physically attached to her soulblade, Jaxi, Sardelle has to face this new world alone without magic.

Ridge and Sardelle must battle their own issues to trust one another and leave this hell-hole.

22307971The next in the series is Deathmaker and here we meet two new characters. Cas is the youngest in Zirkander’s flight crew. She has an uncanny ability to always shoot her target and loves to be part of the wolf flight crew.

Deathmaker is a scientist/warrior who was kicked out by his army and now lives as a notorious pirate with a grudge against Zirkander. When captured and placed within a cell, his luck changes as he finds himself with Cas, his enemy’s lieutenant. They need each other to escape but can they trust each other.

Opinion

These are just the first two of the six book collection. So far I am hooked. Ironically, I had bought the first three as a set and had never gotten round to them, then BookBub offered me the first one for free and having read it, tried to get the 2nd one on Amazon to then be told I already had it. Whilst this suggests the blurb was good enough for me to download the books, it clearly didn’t entice me enough to want to read it. However, I am glad I did.

Fast paced, witty and enjoyable are what I would use to describe this collection thus far. The characters have depth and by making the 5 main characters known through the first two books separately means we have a deeper understanding and knowledge of them and can now move on to the rest of the series with this greater understanding instead of having just 2 dimensional characters but having them in all of the books all of the time.

The setting seems a mix between modern day and medieval. There are flying machines similar to our fighter planes and airships yet magic is tolerated as much as it was during the Pendle Witches or Salem trials and is believed to have died out. Guns are used but so are swords. Buroker has used the best of all fantasy worlds and merged them together to enable primitive mindsets to live alongside mechanical evolution with magic.

If you are not a fan of independent authors due to the utter rubbish that can be out there then I suggest you have a go at these books to alter your mindset. Buroker has managed to create a very complete and accurate book that flows and feels like traditionally published book without actually being one. For fans of the Inheritance Cycle or the Lord of the Rings Trilogy this should be on your “to read list”.

All in all a great read so far and I am excited to have a complete book series to get my teeth into once more. My verdict a solid 7.5/10. 

51098R0ACNL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Book Review, Fantasy, Lindsay Buroker

The Geneva Decision – Seeley James

Screenshot_2015-03-23-11-38-34For those of you in the publishing world, in a few weeks we have the Bologna Book Fair! With my MA course, I am able to go to Bologna for free (well free as long as you don’t count the course fee!). So hopefully I will have something fun to report when I get back. Who knows, maybe I’ll see you there!

This book today was found, once again, via BookBub. For those not subscribed to BookBub, go for it! It’s a great way to discover new titles and genres!

Plot

We meet our protagonist, Pia Sabel, right from the get go. An ex Olympic soccer player (or football if your English!), she becomes the boss of her adoptive father’s security company. Apparently Pia had a rather traumatic first few years, where she saw her mother and father murdered and threatened to be killed herself. Luckily, her adopted dad had a bit of money to be able to employ body guards and decided to start up his own security company to help Pia.

Pia is out on a ‘job’ and spots a shady guy. Following him, she sees him shoot her potential employer. After she tackles him and hands him over to the police, we see that he has an accomplice. The police blunder and the assassin escapes, plunging Pia and Sabel security into the shady world of bankers and assassins. A journey that takes her from Switzerland to Colombia and back to continental Europe, rookie Pia makes mistakes, friends, loyalty and respect in her new playing field.

Opinion

Enjoyment wise, this was a great book. Pia was a relatable character. She had been moddle-coddled by her over-protective father all her life. Even when she was on a soccer tour, she had her own security. The two agents with her show how inexperienced Pia in the spy game and the derision showed by some of the team is one that is very believable in a male orientated world.

The problem for me with this book was the level of disbelief. How does an olympic soccer player know what an assassin looks like from his demeanor on her first case out? I’d expect James Bond, a secret service spy and ex-officer in the Navy to be able to but not Pia. Her ability to incapacitate the assassin is slightly ridiculous, when again, she has no ‘spy’ experience. The fact that Pia is the leader of her group is just asking for her to die. Yes she is the owner of the company but relying on the experience of other people is more believable, and when she is seen to have promoted someone for this specific role, she still ignores them. Why would someone who wasn’t the best shot, is a rookie and no ability to decide if a situation is too dangerous lead a team to potential slavers?

If it wasn’t for these problems, this book would easily be an 8 or 9. However, due to my inability to believe some of the situations, my verdict is 6/10. Worth a read but just lacking a decent editor.suicide-tourism

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Review, Seeley James, Spy

Harry and the Wrinklies – Alan Temperley

IMAG0733_1Hello! I hope this finds you all well. Today’s book is one of my favourite children’s books, Harry and the Wrinklies. I can’t remember how I ended up with such a copy but I loved it and watched the tv series when it aired on CITV.

Plot

We meet Harry at the funeral of his wealthy parents and he is being shipped off to live with his ancient Aunties in the middle of no where. As soon as he sees them on the platform he feels so disappointed in how his life is turning out to be. He loved his parents and his life. However, on the drive to his new home, Auntie Florrie shows off her car’s ability and this old rusted car turns into a purring race car. This is just beginning of the strange happenings that occur around his Aunts. Upon arriving at Lagg Hall, Harry meets the rest of the inhabitants and his Aunt’s friends: Mrs. Good, the housekeeper; Nutty Slack, Gardner and Handyman; Dot, Fingers, Huggy, Angel, Max and Tangle – Harry’s new dog. In the first few days, he has more fun with these pensioners than he has ever had in his life and he realises that perceptions can be deceiving. With the stories of a haunted woods, the arrival of his evil ex-nanny and the burning question of what are the OAP’s up to late at night, Harry has plenty to keep him (and us) occupied at Lagg Hall.

Opinion

I’ve already stated that this was my favourite book and it is easy to see why. As a child, this book holds all the mystery and danger needed as well as good guys and bad guys. Everything is seemingly black-and-white but with grey areas only noticeable as you get older. The idea of grandparent like figures being as fun and as adventurous as Harry’s new family is, is one that many children’s authors have grasped and run with i.e. David Walliams’ Gangsta Granny. 

Temperley creates an idyllic world, not dissimilar to Enid Blyton’s world. Harry lives in a massive old mansion, with a tower bedroom, woods, lake, folly and animals. The ideal place to grow up. The amount of danger present does suggest more of an older child reader, with bodily harm coming to Harry often. Yet the good guys win and the bad guys pay, as how it should be.

All in all, a great book. One that I still read now and remember my love of it as a child. My verdict 9/10. The follow up isn’t as good but if you loved this one then get the sequel; Harry and the Treasure of Eddie Carver. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Alan Temperley, Book Review, Children's Fiction

YA – My top 10

Hello, Hope this post finds you all well! So much is happening in real life that I’m struggling to find time to post to all you lovely people. My sister is getting married in just under 1 week  so it is a very exciting time for the family :).

Young Adult literature can be traced back to WWII where our teens found themselves needing a form of book that could bridge the gap between childhood and adulthood. Many books can be seen as YA (The Lord of the Rings, Catcher in the Rye) but it has been the sudden increase in popularity (thanks to Harry Potter) that has seen an emergence of some great YA books.

Today I thought I would share my top 10 of YA books and series. Some of them will have been reviewed on here but some haven’t so take a look and see if you would add any to this list! (not in a particular order)

#1 – The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Yes I thought I would start with the most obvious YA series and one that is on everyone’s list. The Hunger Games is a great trilogy and I feel that the films are just as good (quite an anomaly). It follows Katniss as she volunteers for her sister in the 74th annual Hunger Games, a disgusting reminder of the power the Capitol has over the districts of Panem after the destruction of the USA and the uprising that occurred. Portrayed as a ‘competition’, this is really a way for the government to remind the citizens that they can kill anyone who crosses out of line. Unfortunately for Katniss, in trying to keep alive she unwittingly becomes the face of the new revolution.

#2 – Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

An excellent series that has spawned the spin off of Dangerous Creatures. Far superior to the film (which completely changes the ending). Whilst I haven’t really enjoyed Garcia and Stohl’s stand alone novels, Beautiful Creatures has great main and supporting characters, interesting plot and well crafted romances.

#3 – Shiver Trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater

This trilogy was just equisitly written. A werewolf romance story is the basic storyline but it is so much more. When the tempreture gets below a certain level, Sam has no choice but to be a wolf. He is ripped from his human form no matter the place or time. If he wishes to stay human for longer, then he needs to stay warm and not just pull a jumper on warm. Grace has always seen the wolves near her garden, in fact she had a strange interaction with one when she was little and now always sees him as her wolf. When she discovers what he is, they fall in love but can they cope with the pressures of this lifestyle and can Sam keep returning into his human form?

#4 – Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

From my last post you could have probably surmise that Vampire Academy was going to make it onto this list. The story of friendship, love and high school mixed with vampires and guardians makes Mead’s first foray into YA a truly great one. The characters are great, the twists surprising and the plots enjoyable. A series of 6 and it seems to end too soon.

#5 – Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

Luckily, Mead must have thought it ended too soon to as she carries on the world forged in Vampire Academy in Bloodlines. Instead of following Rose, Dimitri and Lissa, we follow Sydney, Adrian and Jill. Sydney was a secondary character appearing in a few of the VA books. It’s interesting to see her as she is so anti-Vampires to begin with and has to overcome this prejudice but in return is shunned by her own people for this acceptance. A very different problem to that of VA but one that seems much more realistic and poignant in today’s world.

#6 – The Girl in the Box series by Robert J Crane

Robert J Crane is a self-published author and someone who has been kind enough to help me with my MA. He recently answered some questions for me towards one of my case studies. Besides being a lovely man, he is also a great writer. The Girl in the Box Series is excellently written, edited and set out. It’s very professionally done and I would highly recommend that if you have never read a self published work before, start with Crane’s. Writing with a female protagonist as a man must be hard but Crane has managed to get all the teenage girl angst so true and congratulations to him for being the only male writer on this list!

#7 – Legend Trilogy by Marie Lu

The Legend Trilogy is like a cross between The Hunger Games and The Divergent Trilogy. There is the shunned part of the city (as District 12 is) and the elite part of the city (think Panem). However, there are classes like there are in Divergent that the elite can partake in. We see that this new country is flawed and our two protagonists are thrown together. The ending is better than both of the above mentioned books. It doesn’t let you down as much as The Hunger Games does and it doesn’t destroy you as Divergent does. Great solid trilogy and a worthy option within this list.

 

#8 – Duff by Kody Keplinger

This is coming out this year as a film and I felt I should get the book in before that occurred. From the trailers I can already see that they have changed certain parts of the book so I am not too happy about that. This book is one that I feel all girls will be able to relate to. Duff stands for Designated Ugly Fat Friend and whilst the Duff doesn’t need to be fat or particularly ugly, she is the one who isn’t as pretty as her friends. However, we see that all girls feel that they are the Duff at some point in their lives. All girls seem to have this ability to only see the bad in themselves and see how perfect that is in one of our friends whether it be they have better legs or eyes, when in reality you have better hair and smile. As a girl, give this a go and as a boy, read it to discover that what bad you say will stick with girls longer than the multitude of good things you say and do.

#9 – The Host by Stephanie Mayer 

If anyone has read my review of The Host will know, I found this highly superior to the Twilight series. The storyline of a love box in three bodies is excellent. How you are never confused between Wanda and Melanie shows just how strong the characters are when they share the same body and space. Mayer may have hit gold with Twilight in terms of fans and money but it is this book that should be her crowning moment. Better written, better characters and a nicer love story, The Host is the Mayer book you should be reading.

#10 – The Testing Trilogy by Joelle Charbonneau

A very recent read of mine and an excellent one at that. Similar to the other’s in that it is dystopia, we find people who are chosen by the city to be potentially educated at the University. Here, the 16 year olds must pass tests of logic, memory, ruthlessness and leadership. They forge alliances, create friendships, enemies and learn how far they are willing to go. Once successful, their memories wiped and they know nothing of the horrors of what they have done… or do they? A brilliant read.

I could have added Harry Potter but I feel everyone knows that this will always be in any book lovers top 10 so I felt it needed to let other books take centre stage! If there are any you think I should have added, let me know in the comments!

Leave a comment

Filed under Top 10, YA, Young Adult

Richelle Mead

All I ever seem to do on this blog is apologise for the delay in writing a new post but as it is has been the festive period I won’t this time. Christmas and New Year are the busiest time to be working in any form of customer service and working in a nightclub just adds to this. So yes, I have been busy working and studying (*cough* relaxing *cough*).

So as the perceptive of you would have noticed, there is no book title above. Just “Richelle Mead”. No I haven’t forgotten to put one up there, I just don’t see the need to with Mead. So far I have read 20/23 of her books and I cannot give any a lesser mark than the other. If you have read my Vampire Academy review, you can see how much I gushed over that and the following series’ have been the same. You may be wondering why I haven’t just written about an author before but the answer is simple. Richelle Mead is the first author since Enid Blyton that I can honestly say I will read any of their work. I kid you not. I love Rizzoli and Isles but haven’t read any of Gerritsen’s others; Harry Potter is one of the greatest series’ ever written but I am not enthralled by Rowling’s other narratives; I could perhaps say they same thing about Stephanie Mayer later if she writes any more but only due to my love of The HostTwilight never really putting itself into the ‘must read every year’ category on my shelves.  From this we can surmise that I love characters. I will follow them to the ends of the earth and back. Their relationships, quests and challenges enthral and amuse but I often find authors to be disappointing in other areas. Take Garci and Stohl from Beautiful CreaturesTogether they have created these characters and world that mesmerises and amazes, yet separately and on separate stories, I found them uninteresting.

Back to Mead. It started with Vampire Academy which lead onto the spin off series of Bloodlines. From there I decided to give the Georgina Kincaid series a go and then The Age of X and now, finally, The Dark Swan series. I am literally devouring every one of her novels as quickly as she can produce them and have even accepted the £5+ charge for the e-book editions (something I usual avoid doing – you don’t get the physical book so why pay more than £3?) Every single one has had a developed plot line, interesting main AND support characters and twists that are sometimes completely out of the blue (I’m looking at you Dimitri from VA!) The first two mentioned are YA books but this doesn’t take away from a developed Adult writer. All Mead did was tone down the sex scenes (which are quite detailed in some of the books – when you write about a succubus who feeds off of sex that tends to happen) and take out the swear words. The essence of Mead’s work stays the same, excellent dialogue and believable stories.

In conclusion; if you are struggling for a book to read, a friend to buy for or just want to explore a new author give Richelle Mead a go. Every one of her books are easily a 10/10. Trust me, you wont be disappointed!

1 Comment

Filed under Book Review, Fantasy, Richelle Mead, Vampire Academy, YA

Help with a survey

Hey guys. As you may or may not be aware, I am currently an MA publishing student in the UK and part of my course is to create a new product for the book world. As this is a book review site, I thought I’d see if any of you would complete my survey to help me with market research on the new product.

My idea is based in the French bracelet idea of Cicret. The plan is to put an e-reader in a bracelet that then projects on to your arm. This bracelet would then have a motion detector to see what you are pressing and where to give you the experience of a normal e-reader but on your arm.

To complete my survey click here.

Thank-you to any who complete it!

2 Comments

Filed under Side Note

The World Is A Book

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Contagious Chaos – Emily Goodwin

Hello. It seems every time I write this blog now I am apologising for the delay between posts! If you want to check out the reason click here. So back to book reviewing! For those that follow this blog, Emily Goodwin’s Contagium Series has been a firm favourite of mine and since it was picked up by Permuted Press, I have had to wait nearly two years for the release of the new book. However, Contagious Chaos didn’t disappoint.

Plot

We start book three where we left off. Orissa has just been kidnapped and Riley left for dead outside the walls of the prison which houses the deranged men that tried to kill Hayden. Once inside the prison, Orissa finds out that it is an asylum for the criminally insane (as well as just the insane). They are survivors of the zombie apocalypse but due to their slightly unhinged ways, they aren’t as civilised as the compound we know. (Side note, how often does Orissa get kidnapped by psycho people?) This book focus’ on how to escape this place and how to deal with the people inside who are making it dangerous for any other expeditions to occur from the compound. Big decisions have to be made and now it isn’t human vs zombie, but human vs human…

Opinion

As I have previously stated, I love this series. It was the first zombie book that I picked up that was actually ok. I know many people love this sub-genre but I just never found it that interesting. I was also never over the whole eating people’s brains thing. However, Orissa is such a strong and interesting character that you become invested in her life and her quest to survive. Any book that can make you continue to the next  has to be doing something right!

The twists are as usual, sublime and although some coincidences are just too useful, you don’t exclaim at their sheer audacity to exist (*cough*The Templar’s Quest*cough*). The fight of human vs human brings a great moral dilemma and shows how Orissa has to deal with that idea. (Although I am sure it is easier to kill people who tried to kill you than a Joe Boggs.) Obviously, Hayden and the other men have all got military backgrounds, making it easier for them. Still, they all marvel at the fact that instead of helping some of the few remaining survivors, they are plotting their demise.

The end isn’t a cliff-hanger as the other two books were but it definitely changes life at the compound significantly, for better or worse to be determined next time.

Overall a solid third outing for the Contagium Series and check out the excellent new book covers! Being more traditionally published certainly has its advantages! My verdict 9/10. Same standard as the last two and I can’t wait to read the fourth!

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Review, Contagious Chaos, Emily Goodwin, The Contagium Series

Reclaiming the Sand – A. Meredith Walters

It’s been a while since I last posted. Many posts have been started and then life seemed to get in the way.  I currently have a second blog that if you are interested in being in publishing might be of some interest to you but it has taken my time away from this one. I found this book through bookbub and was a little apprehensive. It includes a boy who has Aspergers. I find these, if done badly, can be offensive. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime was excellently done and I feel many people just jumped on the Autism bandwagon. However, if done well then you bring the readers into this world and it can be beautiful.

Plot

Reclaiming the Sand starts off based on Ellie’s point of view. We see that she is in a dead end job, with dead end friends and on the road to living a life probably in prison, already having spent a stint in jail for arson. Ellie is on the brink of joining the local community college to study English Literature but is in fear of not being good enough, something her life in foster care has taught her.

Having committed to a study course, she runs into Flynn. He is the reason she was in jail, he is the reason she thinks she isn’t good enough, he is the reason she thinks she is a bad person. We learn about their teenage relationship through Flynn’s eyes and it shows how adult Ellie is still as confused as teenage Ellie. She wants to be friends with Flynn but doesn’t know how he could fit into her life of abuse, lies and status.

Flynn likes Ellie. He always has. In his head he can’t understand why she is sometimes nice to him and sometimes mean but he likes nice Ellie so much that he can forgive mean Ellie. Even when she pushed it too far, Flynn has already forgiven her for everything she did. The only question is can she forgive herself?

Opinion

This book is just breath taking in its elegance and structure. It was a stroke of genius to tell the story originally from Ellie’s point of view and to see her struggle to better herself and break free of her ‘friends’. It means that when you see how she acted in high school, you don’t hate her. You feel sorry for her, disappointed in her weaknesses but you admire her even more for the changes in her life that she managed to accomplish.

Flynn is exquisitely written. I have a slight understanding of Autism through a mother working within social services and Flynn is how someone with Autism acts. It never feels forced or contrite and you never cringe at the storyline and what he says. Walters either knows someone with Autism or did extensive research but Flynn is perfect. His attitude towards life is refreshing and his ability to forgive is one we should all hope to aspire to. He knows all the bad things about Ellie and while he might not be able to understand it or vocalise his feelings about it, he does forgive her because he loves her. It is that simple for him.

All in all an excellent read full of emotion. My verdict: 9/10. Don’t be put off by the seemingly heavy subject matter, give it a go! It wont disappoint!

Leave a comment

Filed under A. Meredith Walters, Book Review, Chick Lit, kindle, Romance

Loving Mr. Daniels – Brittainy C Cherry

Ever hear of BookBub? Neither had I until I saw an internet advert. Intrigued I followed the link and found something truly amazing. A website that sends you an email every day with some great book offers. BookBub scours the internet for books relating to your favourite genres (as chosen on their website), they then send you the list and you can follow the link to get it. I have selected that I only read off of Amazon kindle so I get to find out the latest free or cheap books. Loving Mr. Daniels came through a few days ago as there is currently an offer on for it. Try out the website and you might be surprised what you get.

Plot

Loving Mr. Daniels starts off with Daniel, the titular character (yes he is called Daniel Daniels), and his horrific story. He picks up his drug dealer and user brother only to then find he is wanted by a drug gang. This gang then shoot the boys’ mother at their family home. Cut to Ashlynn and our main protagonist. She is at the funeral of her twin sister, Gabby, who died of Leukaemia. Ashlynn’s mother can no longer handle a daughter and sends her to live with her estranged father. An important note here is that Ashlynn was ill as a child so was held back a year at school, meaning she is 19 starting her last year of American high school. Gabby also left her twin letters for every big stage of Ashlynn’s life.

On the train to her father’s house and new life, she meets a young man (Daniel) who invited her to see his band perform in a local bar. After getting to know each other they realise that they are both broken individuals but seem to be able to mend slightly with each other. They share a passionate kiss and arrange to meet up for a ‘proper’ date.

On Monday at high school, Ashlynn enters into her AP English class to find her teacher is non other than Daniel…

Opinion

I don’t feel that my plot section has done this book justice. It truly is one of the best chick flick/romance books I have ever read. It has the taboo of Teacher/Student romance with an unjust feeling as she is technically a year older than high school. It has the typical romance situation of two broken people but with two people who are broken because of a real life occurrence (a girl dying of Leukaemia and a drug killing is more plausible than two people who happen to find each other but were both sexually abused). It doesn’t pander to people who might not be that intellectual reading a romance book for the thrill. Intelligence and reading is seen as sexy and knowing Shakespeare is a turn on for both characters. Daniel and Ashlynn’s love is never seen as sleazy or wrong and their professional relationship is not the reason for their personal one.

Cherry has written a very smart book and it is not the actions of the characters that add the sexual tension but the words. Daniel’s quotes are amazing and are what every girl/woman wants to hear her man say; “I love you because I was born to do so”, “You’re beautiful… I don’t just mean your looks. I mean your smarts, your tears, your brokenness. I think that’s beautiful”. Imagine if your boyfriend said that too you!

twitter quoteI cried throughout the book. Each letter opened by Ashlynn from Gabby made me cry, the joyful events made me cry and the sad events made me cry. Unfortunately I then had to go to work…  A fantastic look with puffy and red eyes for bar work!

The interactions between all the characters are great and I think it is this that adds what has been lacking for me in books of this genre. Usually you have the two main characters and everyone else is a side note. Where as Cherry has actually taken then time to create a wealth of characters, all interesting and all vital to the plot. Daniels and Ashlynn actually have lives outside of each other and this is what adds depth to the story.

All in all a great read. One you should definitely pick up and a welcomed relief after the terror of the last book! My verdict 9/10. Give it a go!

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Review, Brittainy C Cherry, Chick Lit, Loving Mr. Daniels, Romance