Thursday, 23 October 2014

Review: Talon by Julie Kagawa

Talon by Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication date: October 28th 2014
My rating: 2 stars 


Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they're positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser. Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George. Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon's newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember's bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.

The last dragon themed book that I read and loved was Seraphina, I loved the world and character’s that Hartman created and her world building was fantastic. So when I heard about Talon I was beyond excited. The beginning actually started out really great too, Kagawa did a fantastic job at setting the back story of this world; dragons have been hunted by order of St. George for as long as anyone could remember. The men of St. George have been trained to track down and kill down any dragons, but what they never expected was one of their own men to fall for one of the enemies.

When Ember and her brother Dante move to the area, all they want to do is fit in, no one so more than Ember, yes she knows she has to remain under cover, fit in as much as possible and of course remain loyal to Talon. But the more time Ember spends with other humans and of course the rogue dragon Riley the more she realises that there’s much more to life than Talon. But her brother is all she has, she doesn’t want to leave him to Talon, but what choice does she have? Kagawa once again did a brilliant job in getting you stuck in with the story. We wanted Ember to succeed in her disguise around humans, to keep her temper in check and as we didn’t know much about the order of St George I couldn’t wait for Garret’s arrival and for things to kick off. And whilst at the beginning I was all for whatever was developing between Ember and Garrett, it became a bit too obvious and forbidden for my liking. Yes Ember was a dragon and shouldn’t be falling for a human being, but she couldn’t help herself and yes Garrett knew from the beginning (which was another thing which rubbed me the wrong way), that Ember could be his target, but he decided to keep it undercover for way too long. Usually I’m all for forbidden relationships, but in my eyes Ember and Garrett fell for each other way too quickly. Yes in parts their relationship was sweet, but still I didn’t find myself completely behind them. And then when Kagawa decided to add a third component to this already strange relationship, it made me even less concerned with what was going down in this book. How quickly could Ember shift her feelings, I was totally baffled when this person even became a potential love interest as I always saw him as a friend. And then when we were given his pov too in the middle of the book, that made me even more confused.

All in all I was left slightly disappointed with Talon; it had the great potential to actually deliver an interesting start to what could have been a great series. But sadly I don’t think this will be one series I will be returning to.



Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Blog Tour & Review: Every Breath by Ellie Marnie

http://tundrabooks.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/every-breath-blog-tour/

Hello readers! I'm (Rachel) so excited to be part of the Blog Tour for Every Breath the first in Ellie Marney's YA Mystery/Romance series because I adored this story! As part of my tour stop I have my review. For a complete schedule of tour stops which include fun guest posts, reviews, & interviews, click HERE.


Every Breath (Every #1) by Ellie Marney
Publisher: Tundra Books
Publication date: October 14th 2014
My rating:  4 stars 
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository 

 https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18755773-better-homes-and-hauntings
When James Mycroft drags Rachel Watts off on a night mission to the Melbourne Zoo, the last thing she expects to find is the mutilated body of Homeless Dave, one of Mycroft's numerous eccentric friends. But Mycroft's passion for forensics leads him to realize that something about the scene isn't right--and he wants Watts to help him investigate the murder.

     While Watts battles her attraction to bad-boy Mycroft, he's busy getting himself expelled and clashing with the police, becoming murder suspect number one. When Watts and Mycroft unknowingly reveal too much to the cold-blooded killer, they find themselves in the lion's den--literally. A trip to the zoo will never have quite the same meaning to Rachel Watts again...



My Thoughts:
My first obsession in reading was mysteries, with a little romance, of course!  So when I heard the premise of Every Breath, a sort of teenage Sherlock Holmes genius, I was completely excited, and I’m happy to report it lived up to my high expectations! Mystery, romance, danger and even well placed humor made for an awesome start to this addictive series!  I need book two, STAT!

Rachel Watts has had to move from the country to the crowded city of Melbourne, and the change wasn’t a welcome one.  She pines away for the country as she adjusts to the harsh realities of city life.  Cramped living spaces and a hardly seeing her family, all working hard to make ends meet separately instead of the team they once were on the farm.  

James Mycroft, Rachel’s neighbor, is one of the bright spots in her life, even if his genius mind seems to get them into quite a bit of trouble.  She’s never bored hanging around him, and her growing attraction to him is hard to ignore.  When Rachel and Mycroft stumble upon their murdered friend, Homeless Dave, “the game is afoot” as they try and piece together the clues and get justice for Dave.

This story was a pure joy to read.  The aspects of the mystery were fun and exciting.  I felt like I was right there with Rachel and Mycroft deciphering clues, sizing up potential suspects, and trying to figure out a motive.  There was plenty of danger, and at the end, that “light bulb” moment where everything comes together was wicked thrill ride! I liked the fact that even though these were teenagers trying to solve a crime it didn’t come off as unbelievable, as can happen sometimes in YA crime/mysteries.

But that was just part of the story.  I enjoyed gradually getting to know both Rachel and Mycroft and see their relationship develop into more as they sleuthed about.  Each had struggles, Rachel was adjusting to city life after financial crisis forces her family to move, and she’s understandably sad and bitter because she loved her life on the farm.  Mycroft struggles with the loss of his family, and their love, often with self-destructive behavior.  Rachel and Mycroft provide support and understanding for each other and grow closer as they do. It’s apparent to everyone around they’re more than just friends even if they’re the last ones to admit it.  I loved their slow burn romance! This may be YA, but let me tell you their chemistry was off the charts once they finally get a clue!

There was a well developed cast of secondary characters: their awesome friends, Mai and Gus, as well as Rachel’s family make this the story come alive. I like that Rachel had caring, albeit imperfect, parents that were present and aware of their children’s actions and mental state.

Every Breath was a breath of fresh air. As you may know I’ve had a struggle enjoying YA lately, but Ellie Marney’s talented writing captivated me with multi-layered characters, a twisty mystery and a swoon-worthy romance! Even though Every Breath wraps up nicely, I still can’t wait to pick up Every Word!




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:






Friday, 17 October 2014

Cover Fever #13 Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

 

 Jasprit and I are back with another Cover Fever.  Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta is one of my all-time favorite books and I know Jasprit loved it as well.  There are several different covers, but I only picked four to display.  Down below Jasprit and I will pick our favorites but let us know in the comments which you prefer!



US Hardcover                                        AU paperback





Swedish edition                                Norwegian edition




Jasprit: 
Since I read this book, I've known it for its vibrant coloured US hardcover, it stands out and I love having it on my shelves. The three other covers give off a more somber tone and I know the book does have aspects of that, but its not what I remember this book for, so that's one of the reasons that I prefer the US edition. Also the Norwegian and Swedish covers tend to come across as a bit dull and boring.

Jasprit's Verdict: The US cover for sure!


Rachel: 

I have a copy of the US Hardcover on my shelf and I've always loved the look with the vibrant orange poppy that ties right into the story.  I've never really liked the AU Paperback cover but it does tie in with the story the best. Maybe it's the coloring. I wish it wasn't so yellow. I do like the Swedish cover, the tree looks a little sparse to be the one from the story, though. The Norwegian cover is just okay to me.

Rachel's Final Verdict:
The US Hardcover.


Which of these covers would you like to have on your shelves?

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Come Back to Me By Mila Gray giveaway!

Hi everyone, if you know me by now, you'll know I'm a huge fan of Sarah Alderson, when I first heard that she was writing a New Adult book, I was way excited, firstly I haven't fallen in love with NA books as I know a lot of readers have, but I knew if Sarah was writing anything, I would totally love it, and I was spot on. I had to deal with all the swoon and heartbreak that was thrown at me in Come Back to Me, you can read my review here

Mila (Sarah) has been having a great amount of success with Come Back to Me so far, its been set up for release in the US sometime in 2015 and in Australia in November 2014. It's also reached number #8 in the bestsellers chart in WHSmith in the UK. So to help celebrate its paperback release here in the UK on October 23rd, Sarah has a great giveaway for you guys, which you can enter by completing the rafflecopter form below. But before that here's a bit about the book.  



Come Back to Me by Mila Gray


Home on leave in sunny California, Marine and local lothario Kit Ryan finds himself dangerously drawn to his best friend's sister, Jessa - the one girl he can't have. But Kit's not about to let a few obstacles stand in his way and soon Jessa's falling for his irresistible charms. What starts out as a summer romance of secret hook-ups and magical first times quickly develops into a passionate love affair that turns both their worlds upside down. When summer's over and it's time for Kit to redeploy, neither Kit nor Jessa are ready to say goodbye. Jessa's finally following her dreams and Kit's discovered there's someone he'd sacrifice everything for. Jessa's prepared to wait for Kit no matter what. But when something more than distance and time rips them apart they're forced to decide whether what they have is really worth fighting for. A breathtaking, scorchingly hot story about love, friendship, family and finding your way back from the edge of heartbreak.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Review: On the Fence by Kasie West

Review: On the Fence by Kasie West
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: July 1st 2014
My rating: 4 stars


For sixteen-year-old Charlotte Reynolds, aka Charlie, being raised by a single dad and three older brothers has its perks. She can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows—including her longtime neighbor and honorary fourth brother, Braden. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn't know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world of makeup, lacy skirts, and BeDazzlers. Even stranger, she's spending time with a boy who has never seen her tear it up in a pickup game. To cope with the stress of faking her way through this new reality, Charlie seeks late-night refuge in her backyard, talking out her problems with Braden by the fence that separates them. But their Fence Chats can't solve Charlie's biggest problem: she's falling for Braden. Hard. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.

You’ve probably noticed a pattern in my reviews the last couple of weeks, I’ve either had a hard time connecting with books, so they’ve taken me either days or weeks to finish or there’s been a few spectacular books which all I’ve wanted to do is read all day. On the Fence was one of the latter books, I started it late one night and before I knew it I was already half way through and thoroughly loving it,  This book was just freaking adorable.

Charlie was a fantastic character, she’d grown up with three older brothers and her dad and Braden next door, so she was always one of the guys, played soccer, was used to messing around with them, so never really had time for herself or even paid attention to what other girls focused on; hair, make-up, thinking through her out fit for the start of the day. I knew what it could be like for Charlie, I’d grown up with my cousins, so had been engrossed into sports from a very young age (I still am) and was used to being chucked about just so they could practice the latest wrestling move. I liked that Charlie felt comfortable in herself with the guys and who she was. But I was delighted that many more opportunities were thrown her way, which gave her the opportunity to try out things which she hadn’t done and actually hang around with girls. It was really sort of confidence building for Charlie, having three over protective brothers around all the time, I liked that Charlie finally had time to herself.

What I also enjoyed about On the Fence was how family played a forefront in this book. There are far too many YA books where, family don’t give a toss about what their kids up to or are never around when they get into trouble. But in On the Fence this was not the case, we had a father, who was in the know how (most of the time) with what was going on in his kid’s lives and actually put his foot down and made them take responsibility for when they messed up. He actually made Charlie get a job to pay off her speeding tickets. Then there was Charlie’s brothers; Jerom, Nathan and Gage, I absolutely loved these guys, especially Gage. I loved the fun they could have with each other, which was mainly goofing around. But also how they had Charlie’s back (maybe the over protective brother came through strong a few times, but isn’t that what brothers are there for?)

Then there’s Braden, he wasn’t your typical character which created all the swoons when you first meet him, for me it did take a while to totally fall head over heels for, this may be largely due to the fact that whenever Gage was about he was quickly able to distract me. But I loved the secret meetings him and Charlie had at the fence, how he was great at distracting Charlie when she was stressed out. There was that will they won’t there for a while, and a bit of heart break along the way, but I think West did a great job in dealing with it all.

What surprised me the most I think was that I was expecting a light, fluffy book throughout, but there was also a darker underlying theme, and I really did like it, as we were never fully clued in on what was going on, until the very end. I always knew that West was a super talented author after devouring Pivot Point and Split Second, but for me I think On the Fence was my favourite book of hers yet. I highly recommend giving this book a go if you haven’t already done so, it was a cute funny read and full with many memorable characters. 




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