Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Mini review: Queen Song by Victoria Aveyard

Queen Song (Red Queen 0.1) by Victoria Aveyard
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: September 1st 2015.
My rating: 4 stars.

Queen Coriane, first wife of King Tiberias, keeps a secret diary—how else can she ensure that no one at the palace will use her thoughts against her? Coriane recounts her heady courtship with the crown prince, the birth of a new prince, Cal, and the potentially deadly challenges that lay ahead for her in royal life.

I normally don’t do novellas especially novellas set before the actual main book, but being such a big fan of Red Queen, I really couldn’t wait to get a back story to the characters I’ve been introduced to in Red Queen. Once I started Queen Song I hadn’t realised how much I had forgotten, and because of that it took me a while to realise what was about to go down and so I didn’t want it to happen.

I loved learning about Cal’s mum’s Coriane’s back story and how she came from a poor family and was chosen to be the prince’s wife. Coriane was such a sweet individual, after spending more and more time with the Tibe, still clueless to what he felt about her, never once believing that someone like Tibe could fall in love with her, when there were so many other ladies that potentially had more to offer. Tibe and Coriane made a sweet couple, in the 100 pages we were given I loved watching their romance unfold. But there was so much heartache along the way that they had to deal with and because I couldn’t remember a lot from Red Queen I totally forgot who was behind it all, I even believed she was innocent when she was accused of being behind it all. I loved all the love and hope that Coriane had for her son Cal and how it came through her diary entries, she wasn’t one of those characters who hid her feelings, her sadness and worries were clearly apparent in entries she made, that I’m grateful we got to know Coriane’s character in this beautiful novella.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Blog Tour Review & Giveaway: Every Word by Ellie Marney

Every Word (Every #2) by Ellie Marney
Publisher: Tundra books
Publication date: September 8th 2015
My rating: 4.5 stars 
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

James Mycroft has just left for London to investigate a car accident similar to the one that killed his parents seven years ago...without saying goodbye to Rachel Watts, his 'partner in crime'.

Rachel is furious and worried about his strange behaviour - not that Mycroft's ever exactly normal, but London is the scene of so many of his nightmares. So Rachel jumps on a plane to follow him...and lands straight in a whole storm of trouble.

The theft of a copy of Shakespeare's First Folio, the possible murder of a rare books conservator, and the deaths of Mycroft's parents...Can Watts help Mycroft make sense of the three events - or will she lose him forever?

Sparks fly when Watts and Mycroft reunite in this second sophisticated thriller about the teen sleuthing duo.

My Thoughts:
In Every Word, James Mycroft and Rachel Watts are back for more Sherlock Holmesesque sleuthing. We’re eight weeks in time past the first book.  Mycroft and Rachel are young and in love with Rachel settling more into Melborne, and Mycroft working at a forensic pathology lab.  When news comes through of a carjacking/murder with similarities to his parent’s accident in England, Mycroft flees in the night with just a short text message to Rachel saying ‘Going to UK with Walsh. Don’t’ be mad. Will stay in touch.’  

Rachel is understandably panicked because Mycroft has been known to go off the rails when anything comes up about the death of his parents.  She knows he’s haunted and obsessed with conspiracy theories and determined to get to the bottom of their murder.  Rachel’s also very hurt that he would just up and leave without breathing a word to her beforehand. It’s a punch to the gut, and I couldn’t help but feel her pain.  In a spur of the moment decision, Rachel hops on a plane and journeys to the UK knowing full well Mycroft probably won’t be happy to see her.  Tough, she’s going to be there to support him no matter what.

I was ticked at Mycroft at first, but as you get his side and see how the memories just gut him, it was hard to be mad.  Thankfully, their strong bond carries them through some tough times.  Even with everything going on, their romance was hotter than ever!  Their chemistry would spark and ignite with just a touch or a glance!

Ellie Marney has a beautiful way of writing, talented in making you feel her characters love, lust, pain, and despair profoundly.  There was a surprising amount of emotion and depth considering this was an action/mystery/suspense novel, but it made the characters come alive for me.  

I adored the relationship Rachel had with Mike, her brother.  He’s supportive, sweet, and protective. I’m happy to see how his relationship is developing with Alicia.  I’m again a little put off by Rachel’s mother, although, I guess I shouldn’t be too judgmental, because I’d probably be pretty upset if I were in her shoes.  But hey, after everything that happened I’d like to think I couldn’t hold a grudge like that.

Every Word was more than Every Breath in so many ways.  In a good way, Rachel and Mycroft’s relationship became more intense and, by the end, rooted.  But it was also more heart wrenching, raw, and brutal in parts!  Man these two were put through the ringer, and I know they’ll have a tough time dealing with the fallout.  I’m looking forward to finding out (hopefully soon) how it all plays out in Every Move.

About the author:
Ellie Marney was born in Brisbane, and has lived in Indonesia,Singapore and India. Now she writes, teaches, talks about kid’s literature at libraries and schools, and gardens when she can, while living in a country idyll (actually a very messy wooden house on ten acres with a dog and lots of chickens) near Castlemaine, in north-central Victoria. Her partner and four sons still love her, even though she often forgets things and lets the housework go.

Ellie’s short stories for adults have won awards and been published in various anthologies. Every Breath is her first novel for young adults.

 Connect with Ellie Marney:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads 

 A copy of Every Word was generously provided to one Readers Den follower.  The giveaway is open to US or CA residents only.  Simply fill out the rafflecopter for a chance to win.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Review: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Puffin Books
Publication Date: February 7th 2013.
My rating: 4 stars.  

This is not the fairytale you remember. But it’s one you won’t forget. Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. The police have closed her case. The only person Scarlet can turn to is Wolf, a street fighter she does not trust, but they are drawn to each other. Meanwhile, in New Beijing, Cinder will become the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive – when she breaks out of prison to stay one step ahead of vicious Queen Levana. As Scarlet and Wolf expose one mystery, they encounter Cinder and a new one unravels. Together they must challenge the evil queen, who will stop at nothing to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner . . .

Well I’ve certainly been a fool for not picking up Scarlet sooner. I think that the fact that I didn’t enjoy Cinder as much as I was hoping, kind of put the rest of the books in the series on the back burner for me. But with the release of Winter around the corner and friends such as Allie, Rashika and Siiri encouraging me to give Scarlet a go, I’m glad that I finally did.

I was a fan of Cinder, but I absolutely loved Scarlet’s character, she was a strong and fierce and would go to any means necessary to get her grandmother back. Her grandmother had been missing for more than two weeks now, and the police were doing nothing about it, so Scarlet had no choice but to take things in her own hands, her grandmother had practically bought her up, and so she owed it to her. But she didn’t expect to get help from the mysterious Wolf, she’d only known him a day, he was willing to go above and beyond for her in her search for her grandmother. Could she really trust Wolf? And what were his real intentions? To be honest I fell hard and fast for Wolf, his protective demeanour, growls and green eyes were sort of hard to resist. But most of all I adored how he wasn’t really sure of himself most of the time, how he would shy away when Scarlet would question him, but also because he gave this vibe that he really didn’t want to lose himself when he was fighting and I was hoping that the time he spent with Scarlet would make him realise that there was a lot more out there such as tomatoes!

I have to admit that at first I loved the chapters we had with Scarlet and the Wolf, I wanted to be able to spend more time with them, and I could see eventually the time they spent together could end up developing into something more and I was up for this. But I did also appreciate the chapters from Cinder, I adored the introduction of Thorne, he was great at bringing humour at scenes when he and Cinder found themselves in dire circumstances. Also which other guy is willing to help a cyborg out and offer his ship to her when he knows nothing about her? I for one can’t wait to get more of Thorne in the next book. But most of all I enjoyed the small revelations that Meyer gave us along the way and how these two groups of people were connected. I couldn’t wait for them to get together; I knew they would make a formidable team.

Meyer has effortlessly reignited my enthusiasm for this series with Scarlet. Not only was Scarlet a farce to be reckoned with, the entire story had me eager for more from the very first page, there were tantalising tense scenes thrown into the mix, with me having no idea whether my favourite characters would make it out in one piece. But there were also subtle sweet scenes that tugged my heart strings that I hugely appreciated, because with all the betrayal and chaos being thrown at us, I needed it to give me the hope that things would be alright. Cress I’ve heard is a beast of a read, but with the great impressions that Meyer has left on me with her intricate writing and brilliant characters, I’m sure I will have a blast devouring it right up.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Author Event Recap & Giveaway: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Last night I had the pleasure of attending an author event and signing of Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff at Once Upon a Time Bookstore in Montrose, California. These authors traveled all the way from Australia to come and talk about their fabulous young adult Science Fiction story.  I loved their accents! Margaret Stohl was added last minute as a speaker to the event to speak about her Black Widow novel. 

Margaret Stohl, Amie Kaufman, and Jay Kristoff
It was a lively and fun event, and all the authors were fun and entertaining.  As a special treat Johnathan McClain, one of the narrators for the audio book read an excerpt which just happened to be the passage I just left off on before coming in the store. What a coincidence, lol!

Audiobook narrator Johnathan McClain
I'm currently listening to the audio version and I highly recommend it. There are three main narrators, but also a whole cast of secondary narrators and special effects.

Jay said writing Illuminae with Amie has been the most fun writing experience he's ever had.  They were able to get immediate feedback, bounce ideas off each other, and help each other out of writing dilemmas.

It's funny to note that both Jay and Amie are not well versed in the science behind the stories they write, but because they wanted their story to be authentic and believable they had a trusted astrophysicist go over all the science and make corrections when needed. They said they both took Hollywood's version of science as correct and found out Hollywood sort of writes it as they like.

Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman signing my copy!

As most of you know, I'm a happy ending kind of girl, so I had to ask Jay what he had against happy endings (as proclaimed in his bio)?!  He laughed, and said a happy ending must be earned.  It doesn't mean as much if the characters don't go through major turmoil first.  He used the example of the Star Wars trilogy.  The first movie (spoiler alert if you haven't seen the movies. And if you haven't, what rock have you been living under?!!) Luke fires missiles, explodes the Death Star and they all go home and get medals. The End.  That was nice, but in Empire Strikes Back they leave Luke, Han, and Leia in emotional turmoil and danger, and yet that was the movie that resonated with him the most.  When we finally do get the happy ending in Return of the Jedi, it means so much more because of everything the characters went through. Coincidentally, Empire Strikes Back is also my favorite of the trilogy, so I do understand his thinking on happy endings.

I had a blast getting a glimpse into the minds of Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff!  I'm currently reading/listening to Illuminae, and I have to say for someone who reads as much as I do it's refreshing to get a story in such an original format.  The story is told through emails, interviews, and messaging, but there are also illustrations.  I highly recommend getting a physical copy as opposed to an e-copy because of all the fabulous extras.  

As usual when I attend an author event I like to share with our readers, so I have a SIGNED Hardcopy of Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff to give away to one Readers Den follower.  The giveaway is open to US or CA residents only.  Simply fill out the rafflecopter below for a chance to win.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Review: The Lies About Truth by Courtney C. Stevens

The Lies About Truth by Courtney C. Stevens
Publisher: Harper Teen 
Publication Date: November 3rd 2015
My rating: 3 stars 

Sadie Kingston, is a girl living in the aftermath. A year after surviving a car accident that killed her friend Trent and left her body and face scarred, she can’t move forward. The only person who seems to understand her is Trent’s brother, Max. As Sadie begins to fall for Max, she's unsure if she is truly healed enough to be with him — even if Max is able to look at her scars and not shy away. But when the truth about the accident and subsequent events comes to light, Sadie has to decide if she can embrace the future or if she'll always be trapped in the past.

The Lies About Truth was a story I was really looking forward to after devouring Faking Normal last year. Stevens just has a way of weaving such a beautiful story that you find yourself thinking about it days afterwards. And that was exactly what happened with The Lies About Truth. Four friends found themselves in the most difficult situation after a horrific accident. And nearly a year later, Sadie, Max, Gray and Gina aren’t any closer to forgiveness, listening to one another, or finding the beautiful friendship that existed amongst them. It was sad to see just how separated people could become after one life changing event and how one said event could change things dramatically.

I loved the story that Stevens gave us in The Lies About Truth, there was so much to think about when it came to what happened and what turned everything upside down. That I appreciated Stevens giving us the story in smaller chunks, it was an awful lot to deal with in one go and so made the heartache to deal with that much more bearable. If I had to go through with what Sadie had been going through the past year I honestly wouldn’t know how I would cope. She had so much to deal with and then that little incident that took place afterwards brought things crashing down even more. She lost her faith and confidence in herself, and best friends that were meant to help her through this difficult time. But I’m glad to say that Sadie was able to find a friend in the least expected of places. Sadie knew Max as Trent’s younger brother and although she hadn’t been that close to him before. He was everything that she needed; he was caring, considerate, gave her the space to think things through, but most of all helped to slowly build her confidence back. It was a really tough journey for all of the characters to go through, and one that I knew that would take time for the scars and hurt to heal. But I sort of assumed that they had already been through so much, so I didn’t really expect the later revelations to be thrown in my face (highlight to view spoiler) the way we were given this story I’d assumed that Trent had loved Sadie more than a friend, I had never had guessed he was gay. 

Despite experiencing one of the toughest years in their life, I loved the way Stevens brought their story to a close, it really was the best way to the end their journey: through forgiveness and closure. The Lies About Truth really was a tough read at times, it was horrible when Sadie would recall a happy memory, but had such a difficult time dealing with it, as she was pretty much still going through the grieving process. But The Lies About Truth isn’t all about heartache and sadness, Stevens throws in neat little scenes which bring about rays of sunshine and make you believe there is hope and that things will get better. 

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