Posted in Blog Tour, Reviews

Blog Tour! Review: Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder

Shadow Study (Soulfinders, #1)Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder

Title: Shadow Study (Soulfinders #1) (Chronicles of Ixia #7)
Author: Maria V. Snyder
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Okokokok, so I am a HUGE fan of the Chronicles of Ixia novels. The first book, Poison Study is my absolute favourite of the series, a five star read that I 100% recommend!

The Chronicles of Ixia started with the Study trilogy (Poison Study, Magic Study and Fire Study) following Yelena, then Maria V. Snyder gifted us with the another insight into this world with the Glass trilogy (Sea Glass, Storm Glass and Spy Glass) which follow a character called Opal. Now Shadow Study is the first in the Soulfinders series but its technically like book 7 in the Chronicles of Ixia.

So this book has been long awaited by me, I thought we were done with this world and so when I heard about this book I absolutely had to get my hands on a copy. It’s set 6 years after the events of the last book and follows Yelena, Valek and Janco with chapters alternating from each of their POV. This worked quite well and I enjoyed being in Valek and Janco’s head, a new insight from the previous books. However, at times, it was quite frustrating being cut off at the end of each chapter and knowing I had to wait like two chapters to carry on with what was happening, it occasionally pulled me out of the story whilst I tried to remember what was happening.

I love the characters in this series, I mean Yelena is one of my all time favourite heroines. She’s tough and resourceful but she’s not perfect and she doesn’t pretend to be. She’s honest and loyal and overall a really really likeable character (although I will admit she annoyed me temporarily in Fire Study, but she really came through and hey, nobody’s perfect!)
And Valek, oh Valek! What can I say? SWOON SWOON SWOON. Top of my book-boyfriends list! He’s everything I want. He’s more than just a love interest, he’s a brilliant character (assassin I might add!) all by himself. He’s not petty or shallow in his relationship with Yelena, and there is no insta-love! Its a perfect slow-burn turned epic love! My favourite thing about him is he doesn’t treat Yelena like a fragile girl, he knows what she’s capable of and he lets her handle things. He doesn’t coddle her when she’s being stupid, instead he calls her out on it and lets her deal with it and then doesn’t hold it against her afterwards. YES VALEK! He’s perfect.
So yeah, clearly I really enjoyed Valek POV chapters, especially getting to experience the flashbacks of his past and how he became the badass assassin he is today.
And YES! We got more Ari and Janco! I LOVE THEM, they’re just fantastic.

Another of my favourite aspects about this series is the world-building, my oh my, it is fantastic. Its all historical fiction, fantasy, magic and assassins ugh I can’t get enough.

AND DEAR LORD THE ENDING! THE GORYDAMNED ENDING! I NEVER EVEN SAW IT COMING OMG!

So what the hell are you waiting for?! GO AND READ! (I definitely recommend reading poison study and the other books first if you haven’t already! You can still follow this book without them but they are so damn fab why would you want to?!)

I am so damn excited for the next book, it’s unreal. Please let me know your thoughts on this book, or any of the Chronicles of Ixia books, I wanna fangirl with you all!

View my 2015 reads so far!

Advertisements
Posted in Blog Tour, Reviews

Blinded by the Light by Joe Kipling (Blog Tour)

20140130-114649.jpg

I first read Blinded by the Light back in January and, as you’ll know if you read my review, I absolutely loved it. I was fangirling all over the place aha! So of course I was more than happy to take part in the blog tour!

“Protected by the Boundary and guided by the Light MaryAnn enjoys a life of privilege, safe from the Feral Echoes who roam the Outside. It doesn’t matter that her friends can sometimes be cruel or the boy she likes just threw up on her shoes . . . . it’s all about being noticed at the right parties. It takes a single event to rip her life apart.

Struggling with physical and metal scars MaryAnn must face up to the truth about the foundations of the Neighbourhood and the legacy of her family. MaryAnn understands that once you learn the truth you can never go back . . . but can she really put her faith in the Union?”

You can find my four star review here.

So for this blog tour I thought I’d do something I haven’t done before and the lovely Joe Kipling has agreed to do a guest post! Super exciting! As I know a lot of you are interested in writing and you all love dystopia, I just know this is going to be brilliant for you! Enjoy!

‘Create your own dystopia!’

In order to create the world inhabited by the characters in “Blinded by the Light” I spent a lot of time reflecting on the idea of a dystopia. To be able to construct a world that was in some way terrifying or undesirable to the reader, I had to first consider what a dystopian society would mean to me. What things would I find frightening or intolerable? What type of society would I not want to live in?
On a long (but surprisingly punctual) train journey I began to compile a list, and these are the dystopian elements that made it into my top five:

1) Rule by corporation: don’t get me wrong I think that business has a place in society, but it shouldn’t have the power to manipulate the government or government policy. Businesses should also be held accountable for bad practices and forced to have some responsibility for the impact their decisions have on wider society. In “Blinded by the Light” the UK has been decimated by a virus and is now controlled by a pharmaceutical company who discovered The Cure. To reflect this, I deliberately made some of the language and terminology in the story sound business like.

2) Social separation or inequality: vast inequality in wealth creates tension in society. There’s nothing wrong with working hard and having a good standard of living, but there is something wrong with a society that creates a lottery, were wealth impacts on standards of healthcare, education and housing. In “Blinded by the Light” I deliberately created a classification system based on both wealth and an individuals perceived usefulness in society. This system was used by the government to determine who would be given The Cure to the virus. Everyone is divided into groups beginning with Alpha, who are the wealthy in society who could afford to pay for The Cure. Beta are the professionals and people useful to the survival of society (doctors, engineers, teachers etc). Delta are those with natural immunity who were designated servant status and Echo are those without wealth or skills who were left to die.

3) Massive urbanization: I love hiking and being outdoors so l would hate to live in a Blade Runner-esque world, without access to the countryside or green spaces. When I was nine years old I was trapped in a train toilet with my younger brother and sister. It wasn’t a particularly large toilet and it was a very hot day. Just as I thought we would never escape, assistance arrived in the form of a train guard who broke the door down. Obviously, by this point the noise and confusion caused by the trapped ‘Kipling children’ had grabbed the attention of the whole carriage. Being nine years old I soon got over the embarrassment of providing the ‘in train’ entertainment, but it left me with a phobia of small spaces and I hate feeling closed in or trapped. Just the thought of living inside a Boundary town like MaryAnn in “Blinded by the Light” makes me want to head outdoors and hike up the nearest hill.

4) Constant surveillance/lack of personal freedom: I’ve never wanted to be a celebrity. I would hate to have people constantly watching me and taking photos. Even speed cameras give me the creeps. I read 1984 by George Orwell when I was a teenager, and the thing that frightened me the most was the Big Brother element of constantly being watched. Also, the fear that someone’s going to discover you saying or doing the wrong thing and inform on you just terrifies me. Lots of conflicts around the world have relied on this method to maintain control, such as the Hitler Youth during World War 2 and the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, to name a few. Sometimes I think we forget how lucky we are in the UK to be able to challenge the government and express our opinions freely.

5) Quality media: this may seem unimportant, but the thought of turning on the TV and finding that the only programmes available are reality shows with vacuous, self absorbed celebrities fills me with a sense of dread. I’m not saying that I want to spend the rest of my life watching documentaries on the Discovery Channel, but I hate reality shows or any programme that has ‘celebrity’ in the title. In “Blinded by the Light”, reality shows are the only programmes available because they’re easy to make. Two of my characters Daryl and Peter rebel against this through a love of 80’s film, particularly Sci-Fi. Its no accident that they’re both fans of Star Wars, which happens to be my favourite film. Flash Gordon the dog is also named after the action hero who stared in another of my favourite ‘rainy day’ films. There’s nothing better than a rainy Sunday snuggled under a blanket on the sofa, with my dog Rosie, a glass of wine, a tub of Ben & Jerry’s and Flash Gordon on the telly.

Interestingly, when I read through my list I realised that some of the elements that I’d identified as typifying my dystopian hell also reflected the things that I dislike about our society today. It got me wondering whether future generations will look back through history and tell stories about the great dystopia of the 21st century, when gross inequality, corporate greed, persecution and war were common features of everyday life. I’m not sure I really have an answer, and I’ll leave you to consider this while you write your own dystopia. I’d be interested to hear what you come up with!

Blinded by the Light is an amazing book and I cant wait for the second, so what are you waiting for? Go read it!

And check out some of the absolutely brilliant posts from earlier in the tour!

Booktour_poster_

{NOTE: As you may have noticed, this post wasn’t up on the 30th, my deepest apologies for this, I had technical difficulties and some personal issues going on.}

Posted in Blog Tour, Competition/Giveaway, Posts/Features, Reviews

The Seers by Julianna Scott (Blog Tour)

20140127-203959.jpg

I took part in a blog tour for the first book in the Holders series, now I bring to you the second book by the fabulous Julianna Scott. The Seers! (check out the tour schedule!)

20140127-204134.jpg
The Book: The Seers (The Holders #2)
The Author: Julianna Scott
The Publisher: Strange Chemistry
The Pages: 430
My Rating: 5/5

“After nearly being drained of her ability and betrayed by a man her father trusted, Becca Ingle was left with one clue — Ciaran Shea. He holds the key to the downfall of the power-mad Holder, Darragh, and can ensure the safety of both Holder and Human kind alike… but is he willing to help?

Becca, Alex, Jocelyn, and Cormac set out for Adare Manor to meet with the Bhunaidh, an aristocratic group of pure blooded Holders of whom Ciaran is a rumored member. However, when Becca discovers that they might not be the only ones after the information Ciaran has, everyone begins to wonder if Bhunaidh might not be as uninvolved with Darragh as they claim.

A race to uncover Ciaran’s secrets begins, where the line between friend and foe is blurred, and everyone seems to have their own agenda. Becca will have to call on every ability at her disposal to uncover the truth, all the while knowing that sometimes the answer is more dangerous than the question.”

Review

I want to start by saying this must be one of the most underrated books ever. This series has been one of the best I’ve read in a long time and yet it doesn’t seem to be as well known as it deserves. If you only take one thing from this whole review let it be this: Read this series.

If you’ve read my review of the first book, The Holders, you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of this series already. When I got hold of a review copy of this book I was torn between being super super excited for it and ridiculously nervous that I wouldn’t enjoy it as much as the first book.

Luckily, all was well and I absolutely adored this book. It was everything I loved about the first book; so gripping that I just couldn’t put it down.

The characters are all so brilliant in this book, each is so individual, not just an extra to support the main character. I fell in love with Becca, Alex, and the others in the first book and I’m happy to say I wasn’t disappointed by The seers at all!

The storyline was gripping. It literally had everything. Tense moments that had me gripping the pages a little too hard; mystery that left me clueless as to why the next twist would be, and emotional in a way that had me laughing, crying and gasping throughout. (And I’m not just saying that, I really mean it. I had my hand over my mouth half gasping and half crying more times than I’d like to admit!)

One of the best things about The Seers was that Becca is still the most likeable main character that I’ve come across in a long time. She’s passionate, temperamental and feisty whilst still being honest and brave and loyal. The way she sees the other characters and the situations is so refreshing and a welcome break from the small minded heroes of more recent books. Also there’s a new character introduced in this book called Bastian, and oh my gosh he is so brilliant. His humour and his character is perfect, he’s just the personality that was missing from an otherwise perfect book!

So yeah, I may have fangirled slightly over this book. So please go and read The Holders, then read The Seers! Quickly now!

★★★★★

The Author!

20140127-205117.jpg
The author of this fabulous series is Julianna Scott, who is one of the most lovely and brilliant authors I’ve ha the privilege to talk to! Here’s a link to an interview I did with her back when I was part of her blog tour for her first book!

20140127-211050.jpg
The Seers is the second book in this series, and I’m telling you that you absolutely MUST go an read the first book: The Holders. You can find my review for it here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted in Blog Tour, Competition/Giveaway, Events, Reviews

Perfect Edge Triumvirate (Blog Tour)

20131106-164342.jpg“Welcome to another exciting publishing house spotlight tour from Novel Publicity. Join us as thee new titles from Perfect Edge–we’re calling them the Perfect Edge Triumvirate–tour the blogosphere in a way that just can’t be ignored. And, hey, we’ve got prizes!”

I am reviewing Gripped by Jason Donnelly!
20131106-165730.jpg
About the book: Hi, Friend. Have you ever read an advertisement and felt like it was written directly to you? Well, what if it was? And if you were told that there’s an underground group telling you and those around you what to buy, what to wear, and what to consume? Join the fun. The only thing holding you back is your own personality. We recommend that you read Gripped with a nice bottled water.

My Review:

20131106-170031.jpgThe Book: Gripped
The Author: Jason Donnelly
The Publisher: Perfect Edge
The Pages: 279
My Rating: 4/5

I think the quote from Roberta Donnelly, the authors mother, on the front cover pretty much summed up my thoughts on the book. “After the shock of the first paragraph, I actually liked the book.”
Yep. This book starts of kinda like ‘woah, what am I reading?’, but it’s a seriously good book I promise. (Even if it did forever ruin the song ‘Come on Eileen’ for me.) (thanks for that Jason.)
It took me a while to warm up to the main character Marky, he’s almost too realistic. Most authors sugar coat their characters, ignoring the not so dignified parts of life. We’ve all seen them, characters who never seem to need to go to the bathroom? Well Marky is most definitely not sugar coated, in fact if there’s an opposite to sugar coated then he’s that, as you find out extremely quickly. All the characters are well developed and they all show some serious personality, none of this dull secondary characters who’s only purpose are to move the story along for the main character, even the cat has more of a personality than most secondary characters in other books (yep, the cat was one of my favourite characters).
Your Personality Is What’s Holding You Back, is the program that Marky had never heard of and never signed up for but ends up taking part in. It promises to completely change his life for the better, and his personality is the only thing holding him back.
After I’d gotten over the shock of the opening few lines, I was utterly gripped (haha, see what I did there?), this book was so refreshing. It had a whole different tone to the majority of popular books out at the moment. And it was scary, now this book is by no means a horror but it scared me, the idea of something like The Program being real is totally believable it shook me up a bit. And I really felt the confusion and helplessness that Marky felt throughout the book.
Overall I really enjoyed this book and the ending was good drawing the book to a satisfying close. However there was a few things that felt unexplained, making me feel like someone had cut a couple of chapters from right near the end.
But I definitely recommend this book to everyone, it really pushed me out of my comfort zone, it was uncomfortable and edgy, and if the first chapter does seen abit iffy, power through cause it’s definitely worth it.
Now is anyone else craving a bottle of Evian?

20131107-204020.jpg
Pick up your copy of this Humor/Coming-of-Age/Satire through Amazon US, Amazon UK, or Barnes & Noble.

20131106-170711.jpgAbout the author: Jason Donnelly

20131106-170855.jpgJason Donnelly is a writer in NYC currently seeking world domination. He has an MFA in creative writing and a horrible amount of debt from a University in Pennsylvania that shall not be named. Over the years, he’s held the title of juggler, college recruiter, adjunct professor, headhunter and is currently a copywriter at a NYC ad agency. Connect with Jason on his website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

20131106-171233.jpgAbout the prizes: Who doesn’t love prizes? You could win either of two $25 Amazon gift cards, an autographed copy of Gripped, or an autographed copy of one of its tour mates, Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa? by Andrez Bergen or Spiral Bound Brother by Ryan Elliot Wilson. Here’s what you need to do…

  1. Enter the Rafflecopter contest
  2. Leave a comment on my blog.

That’s it! One random commenter during this tour will win a $25 gift card. Visit more blogs for more chances to win–the full list of participating bloggers can be found here. The other $25 gift card and the 3 autographed books will be given out via Rafflecopter.

You can find the contest entry form on the official Perfect Edge Trifecta tour page via Novel Publicity.

Good luck!

Perfect Edge Books was founded in late 2011 to unite authors whose books weren’t “obviously” commercial. Our books tend to sit in various genres all at once: literary fiction, satire, neo-noir, sci-fi, experimental prose.
“There are many who dare not kill themselves for fear of what the neighbours will say,” Cyril Connolly wrote, and we believe he was right.
Perfect Edge seeks books that take on the crippling fear of other people, the question of what’s correct and normal, of how life works, of what art is.
Our authors disagree with each other; their styles vary as widely as their concerns. What matters is the will to create books that won’t be easy to assimilate. We take risks, not for the sake of risk-taking, but for the things that might come out of it. We prefer to cultivate a word-of-mouth approach to marketing, and keep production as simple as we can. Learn more at www.PerfectEdgeBooks.com.

Learn more about Gripped’s tour mates HERE.