Blud and Magick by Preston Norton

Wednesday 27 February 2013.

Blud and MagickBlud and Magick by Preston Norton
Published: 8th January 2013
By: Cedar Fort Inc. 
Source: Netgalley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was honestly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. For two reasons. The first being that the protag, Darla, is only 14. This must have slipped my notice when I requested this book because, with the exception of Harry Potter, I prefer the characters to be a bit older.

The second reason, is that this book was written by a male author, and with a female protag. In the past, I've found that I struggle more to connect with females, written by men, though there have been a couple of exceptions.

Darla Summer was born out of the ashes of the evil Remmus Alrad, also known as The Shadow Lord, in front of a Council of Sages who mostly thought she should be killed immediately. Except for Edwin, who said that someone born out of something so evil, would be the complete opposite and would be inherently good. He offered to take her to the human world where he names her Darla Summer, and raises her as his niece, constantly on the move, so as not to be found by any of the Shadow Lord's followers.

But, on her first day at a new school, Darla and three of her fellow students are attacked at school by some of these followers, known as Shadow Risers. They believe his soul still resides inside Darla and they want to release him and have him back as their leader.

Darla, and two of the boys, adopted brothers Ash and Cirrus, a wizard and half vampire respectively, and who happen to also be living in the human world are taken back to Trivaesia, to attend The Alrad Academy of Blud and Magick, where they can live and learn among their own kind. But things will not be easy for Darla, being what she is. A vessel for the most feared and evil man in Trivaesia.

This book is set in two worlds, the world of Trivaesia and the human world. I enjoyed the world building, and the explanations and history of the gods, and how Remmus came to be. Darla was a great little character who had a lot thrown onto her shoulders after believing she was human for the first fourteen years of her life, but she handles it well. Her friendship with Cirrus and Ash begins because they are together at the wrong place at the wrong time, but blossoms as the book continues. Ash is quite a surly character but I actually enjoyed his attitude. Darla and Cirrus are better friends. He's caring and fun loving and I can't help but wonder if this will turn into more down the road. I did enjoy the interactions between this trio.

This book doesn't have any romance, which would usually be a negative for me, as I never truly enjoy a book that lacks in the romance department, but this was an exception. It actually didn't quite register with me that there was none until I had finished the book.

The ending surprised me and I'm really looking forward to the next book because there was a bit of a twist. But, sadly, with a release date of January 2014, I'll have quite the wait.

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Buy the book: Amazon/The Book Depository


Through the Lens by Shannon Dermott

Monday 25 February 2013.

Through the LensThrough the Lens by Shannon Dermott
Published: 22 November 2012

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When Shannon released a contemporary novel, while not my regular read, I knew I'd have to read it. I love how she writes romance in her Cambion series, and having been a beta reader for the first book in her new series, Remember, I knew she'd done a great job there too.

We're led into the story knowing that Jessa has just lost weight, having been the fat twin. She's not like her identical twin Jenna, who is beautiful and part of the popular crowd. Jessa doesn't see herself as beautiful and prefers to just stick with her two best friends. She lacks the confidence of her sister and so does nothing about her crust on Josh, one of the popular guys at school, who used to date her sister.

One weekend, with nothing better to do, she helps her dad clean out the attic and comes across an old camera. She heads out to take some photographs, not realising that this is about to change her life. While snapping away at a local park, she suddenly comes across a gorgeous guy sitting on a bench, lost in thought and begins snapping photos of him. When he notices, he takes her into the Butterfly Museum where he works and allows her to take pictures there.

Before she knows it, she has a job and two new friends, Ethan and his girlfriend Allie. Bummer, because Jessa has a major crush on Ethan but really likes Allie too so has to keep reminding herself that he's her friends boyfriend.

Things change one night, when Jessa spots an anklet on Ethan's leg, and immediately jumps to conclusions causing them to have a falling out. So when her old crush, Josh, starts showing an interest in her, she decides to give it a go.

This book had a thriller mystery kind of feel to it. Plenty of suspense and I was on the edge of my seat while reading. I really enjoyed the romance, as I had expected to and the characters were well written and awesome. Ethan = swooning.....It wasn't predictable at all as I really couldn't figure out the direction that this book was going to take, every turn of the page left me anticipating something awful happening.

The only negative thing I would have to say about this book is that I felt the ending to be a bit rushed. I felt it could have been played out a bit more with more detail. It did however, end well, and realistically. I can't wait for the next book, Broken Lens, which continues on but is written from Ethan's POV, while he's away at college.

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Buy the book: Amazon/Barnes & Noble


Blog Tour: The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett

Wednesday 20 February 2013.
Release date: March 5th, 2013
Publisher: Tor Teens
Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Sixteen-year-old Dusty Everhart breaks into houses late at night, but not because she’s a criminal. No, she’s a Nightmare.


Being the only Nightmare at Arkwell Academy, a boarding school for magickind, and living in the shadow of her mother’s infamy, is hard enough. But when Dusty sneaks into Eli Booker’s house, things get a whole lot more complicated. He’s hot, which means sitting on his chest and invading his dreams couldn’t get much more embarrassing. But it does. Eli is dreaming of a murder.

Then Eli’s dream comes true.

Now Dusty has to follow the clues—both within Eli’s dreams and out of them—to stop the killer before more people turn up dead. And before the killer learns what she’s up to and marks her as the next target.

My thoughts:
One of my most anticipated reads of 2013, this book didn't disappoint. While it didn't blow me away, I still enjoyed it quite a lot.

There were just a few issues I had with it. The story is built around a lot of mystery and suspense but I found it to be really predictable. I worked it out almost from the beginning and found that the character that I suspected was bland uninteresting and there seemed to be no other reason for him to be there, but for him to be the bad guy when it came to it.

I don't know whether I would really call this a love triangle or not. There were two guys, but one relationship finished before another started, so I'm not sure. But I didn't find the romance in this to be very appealing. There was some enjoyable tension between two of the characters but I felt it was resolved too quickly, which for me, gave it an insta lovey kind of feel. And I didn't quite take to the other guy, I had my suspicions of him, so that was fairly disappointing.

I was happy with how this story started off, I just felt that we got to the bones of it too quickly. I would have liked to see Dusty interacting at the Academy and one or two uneventful dream feeds first before getting to the important one. But I did manage to connect with the story straight away but I then felt it waned a little in the middle before picking up again for an exciting ending.

Dusty is a nightmare, literally. This is original for me, as I've only come across one once before, and it wasn't as a main character so it was nice to have this whole book based around one. I loved the idea of dream seers, especially with someone as hot as Eli, I wouldn't complain. Dusty's smart mouthed attitude endeared her to me and her only friend, Selene, who is a siren, was also a character I just couldn't help but like.

I really liked Eli too. He holds it against Dusty because he had to leave his school and attend the Academy. I enjoy tension between characters that gradually builds into something more, but here, I just found him being overly nice to Dusty far too soon for my liking. He was a part of the "in" crowd and very few people seemed to like Dusty because she was a nightmare, so I felt it could have been played out a bit longer.

Looking back, this review does sound extremely negative and that's not the impression I wanted to give. None of these issues really hindered my enjoyment of the book and I will have no hesitation in recommending it. It is well written, with a decent plot and good characterisation, for the most part. For me, it just could have been slightly better.

Breaking and entering wasn't as easy as it looked in the movies. Especially not from the second story of a house in the suburbs. Yet there I was, perched on the ledge by my tippy toes and tugging on the stupid window that refused to budge even though I could see it wasn't locked. My feet were starting to cramp.

I gave the window another hard tug, and it came free at once, smacking the top of the frame with a loud thump. The force of it knocked me off balance, and I tumbled inside, landing on my face. Way to go, Dusty, I thought.

But, it could've been worse. Might've gone the other way.
Panicked by the noise I was making, I sat up, certain the bedroom's occupant would be coming at me with a baseball bat any second. My heart felt like a jack hammer trying to break its way through my chest. I froze, listening for movement but heard only the sound of someone sleeping. I looked up and saw a huge bed towering over me. A repugnant smell, like the inside of a gym locker, filled my nose. I glanced down and realised I was sitting on a pile of clothes, including what appeared to be several pairs of dirty boxer shorts. Gross.

About the Author
Mindee Arnett lives on a horse farm in Ohio with her husband, two kids, a couple of dogs, and an inappropriate number of cats. She’s addicted to jumping horses and telling tales of magic, the macabre, and outer space. She has far more dreams than nightmares.



Stacking the Shelves #26

Sunday 17 February 2013.

Stacking The Shelves is all about the books we are adding to our shelves each week, (and filling our kindle) sharing with you our excitement for our newest titles and maybe have you discover a new book in the process! Hosted by Tynga over at Tynga's Reviews

Hey there everyone. I hope you're all enjoying your weekends and getting lots of reading done. I haven't done a STS post in three weeks so this is not a big haul. I have so many good books at the moment, and I just need more reading time :) A cleaner and a nanny would soon sort that lol... 

While you're here, why not enter my giveaway to win your choice of book by Shannon Dermott, who is my favourite indie author.

Click on the book title for Goodreads information

Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1) Sealed with a Curse (Weird Girls, #1) Recalled (Death Escorts, #1)

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Sealed with a Curse by Cecy Robson
Recalled by Cambria Hebert

For Review:

Crossfire (Darkride Chronicles, #2) The Eternity Cure (Blood of Eden, #2) Day After (The 19th Year, #2) Strangelets

Crossfire (Darkride Chronicles #2) by Laura Bradley Rede (author)
The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa (publishers)
Day After (The 19th Year #2) by Michele Vail (publishers)
Strangelets  by Michelle Gagnon (Netgalley)

So, what have you got in your haul this week. Leave me your links so I can stop by and check out your goodies :)

Fire and Ice Giveaway Hop: Author Shannon Dermott

Thursday 14 February 2013.

Today, I'm happy to be spotlighting my favourite indie author, Shannon Dermott. Anyone who knows me, already knows how much I enjoy her books. I've spotlighted Shannon's Cambion series on the blog before, but Shannon released the first book in a new contemporary series recently, which I read and loved. And there's also another paranormal series on the way. I was lucky enough to beta read the first book, Remember, and I can testify that it is awesome.

Beg for Mercy (Cambion, #1)
Beg for Mercy (Cambion #1)
Everyone dreams of that first kiss. Of that magic moment when your lips finally meet those of that special person you’ve waited your whole life for. A little awkward, a little scary, a little hot and every bit amazing. We speculate that the whole world will shake and time will just stop. No one, however, ever imagines that kiss to bring Death himself knocking.

Sixteen year old Mercy Moore's life just got more complicated. The kiss that originally could have meant she would finally have a boyfriend now was the kiss that could have very nearly ended his life. A small detail her mother conveniently never told her will take her life for an abrupt u-turn. Dating, no love, was now completely and utterly impossible. And the boy well, that boy would never be the same.

But life, however cruel, goes on. Far too soon for her taste, Mercy finds herself at a senior party with the elite students of her school and her best friend. And of all things, playing a stupid game that could very well mean the death of someone in that small room. If it were not for her best friend, the hottest guys in school, and a small need to fit in, she may have been able to escape the disaster that was to come. Her worst nightmare, her personal curse, her very life, only gets dangerously worse.

Flynn and Luke were best friends, but I'd hardly paid any attention to Luke these past two years. I'd been too busy ignoring Flynn with the best of my abilities, to know much about him. Then it dawned on me. I had forgotten to count Luke. There weren't seven of us. Luke made eight. Each pair was a couple except Luke and me. Was I being set up with him?

“You're the kind of girl a guy can fall for," he said then paused before speaking again. "And you of all people know that love is not possible for people like you and me.”

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Buy a copy of Beg for Mercy Amazon/Barnes & Noble

Through the Lens
Through the Lens (Through the Lens #1)
Being a twin isn’t all that bad, nor is it all that good. Being the fat twin makes things a little worse. Seventeen year old, Jessa Shelby has been all but ignored. Trimmed down, but not skinny like her sister, she has decided to make her mark in her final year in high school.

Things begin anew the summer before her senior year when she makes friends with Ethan Hart, a boy with a twisted past, and Allie, his near celebrity status girlfriend, while taking pictures with her new prized possession. Hanging out with them opened her eyes to a lot of new possibilities including Josh Macon, whom she’s secretly crushed on all through high school. No longer the ‘fat girl’, Josh now seems interested in her too.

Long before the day comes to graduate, Jessa finds herself gasping for air. With her vision clouded from tears born of pain as the straps from her precious camera tighten around her throat, clarity sets in. They say that just before you die your life flashes before your eyes. And on the threshold of death claiming her, she finds that partially true. Her flash begins as if to explain just how she ended up on Death’s door. With mere moments left, she has to wonder if trust had come at a very high price.

Prologue:People say that right before death, your life flashes in front of your eyes. Well, choking and gasping for mine, I can testify that it's sort of true. But the likelihood of my telling anyone was drifting away as I could no longer get air into my lungs. Coasting into the blackness, I looked through the haze that was my vision and wondered why, why he was doing this.
My life in surround sound didn't start at the beginning. No. it isn't my whole life. It started just months before, at a crucial moment in my life, when I brought my camera up to my face and looked through the lens for the first time.

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Buy Through the Lens Amazon/Barnes & Noble

Sixteen year old Charlize Daniels didn’t crave the limelight and relished being ignored. That until she finds herself being hunted. With no memory of how she ended up lost near her home, it was an angel face boy with an uncanny ability to disappear who saved her. Her obsession with the supernatural, one she developed after her father’s unnatural death, had her hoping her rescuer was her guardian angel. But little did she know, that couldn’t be further from the truth. With a new resolve gained after her brush with death, she no longer wanted live in the shadows. But her biggest obstacle will be to survive being hunted. Her only hope might be to remember the truth.

My gloom deepened when I checked the street. Peter wasn't parked there. I hung my head for a second before I began the slow walk down the front steps, and onto the lawn students were lounging on. My only wish was that before I made it down to the sidewalk, Peter would appear. I couldn't believe he'd stood me up. But two steps in, I felt burning eyes on me. Glancing to the left of the student parking lot, I met Alex's eyes. They were cold and his mouth was in a tight grimace. I was confused by his emotion, when he hadn't acted that way in class not long ago. Besides, he should have been getting ready for the game, why was he in the parking lot waiting for me? Then glancing away from his unease, my eyes fell onto Peter, parked only two cars away. 

"You just roll up to my school with your smouldering good looks, in a car I'm sure no one around here has ever even seen before, with your snappy comments and I wonder how real you can be."He pinched my arm. "Ouch." I said.See, you're not dreaming," he said furtively.
(from an unfinished copy)

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And now for the giveaway. I'm giving you a chance to win an ecopy of a book of your choice from the three above. If you've already read Beg for Mercy, you can choose another book in the series and if you decide to choose Remember, it will have to be a pre-order as this has yet to release. The giveaway is open internationally as long as you can accept an ebook gift from me from Amazon etc.

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Shannon's links: Twitter/Facebook/Blog/Website

You can view the rest of the blogs who are taking part in this hop here.

Blog Tour: Phoebe Pope and the Year of Four by Nya Jade

Wednesday 13 February 2013.

Phoebe Pope and the Year of Four (Shapers, #1) 

Phoebe Pope and the Year of Four
Author: Nya Jade
Published: 30th October 2012
By: Dreamwell Publishing

While I've cut down almost completely on signing up for blog tours, I liked the sound of Phoebe Pope. I always tend to enjoy books that are based around schools or academies and I also love books with shifters, so it sounded like a win/win.

And I'm happy to say that it was. While not perfect, it was still really enjoyable and I quickly became engrossed in it. There were a few similarities to Harry Potter in the beginning but I got over that as the book moved into it's own original story. And one of the main characters being a movie star was something completely new to me.

For the first few chapters, I felt Phoebe's character was quite emotionless and bland and she was overshadowed personality wise by her friends, Hayley and Scott who were both bubbly, passionate characters. Thankfully, this flaw in Phoebe's character did rectify itself before long and I found myself really warming towards her.

Colten, the movie star, is quite the mystery from the start and I spent most of the book trying to figure him out. I really liked him though and times that Phoebe spent with him made up some of my favourite scenes in the book.

Phoebe Pope and the Year of Four has shifters, enemy tigers, kidnapping, mystery, suspense and star crossed lovers with some surprises popping up in the final few chapters.

I was hoping this wasn't going to be a stand alone, as I know I'd enjoy more time spent in this world, and it seems it's not. But with no information whatsoever on a sequel, I'm hoping it's not going to be too long a wait.

Overall, a great debut novel for Nya, that I would definitely recommend.

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Check out the rest of the tour here

Teaser Tuesday

Tuesday 12 February 2013.

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. You know the rules: grab your current read, open to a random page and share a two sentence teaser with us (no spoilers!). Be sure to tell us about the book, so we can add it to our TBR list!

Forsaken (The Demon Trappers, #1)
This week my teaser comes from The Demon Trappers by Jana Oliver.

'How's about some hot chocolate?' Ori asked. 'We can get some at a tent down the way.' 'Ah,' she began. This was the third time she'd run into this guy: twice in the market and once on the street near the coffee shop. That wasn't just coincidence. He didn't feel like a psycho stalker, but you never knew. 'I'll buy,' he offered. They'd be in a public place. What was the harm?

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The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

Friday 8 February 2013.

The Sea of TranquilityThe Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
Published: 13th November 2012 on kindle, Paperback 1st June 2013
By: Atria Books
Source: Netgalley

My rating: 4.5 stars

The Sea of Tranquility was a heart wrenching, bitter-sweet story that stayed with me long after I finished reading.

Nastya and Josh both have pasts that are marred by trauma and they are still broken as a result. Nastya can't bear being around her family at the moment, so she moves two hours away to live with her aunt and start her senior year, where no one knows her. On her first day, she spots Josh sitting alone in a crowded lunch area. It reminds her of someone with a force field keeping people away. But that's the way Josh likes it. And Nastya soon finds herself spending her lunch hour hiding away in the bathroom. But they seem to constantly get thrown together, until they reach a stage where Nastya can't seem to stay away from Josh and he can't seem to make her.

Nastya, Josh and Josh's unlikely best friend, Drew, are the main characters here, with the book being written from the POV of both Nastya and Josh. Nastya has had something really bad happen to her and is still dealing with it on a daily basis, and she doesn't speak. She doesn't want to act like herself as she feels that the real her, died three years ago, so she has created a new persona for herself. Josh has lived through his own personal hell and now, everyone just leaves him to himself. And he likes it this way. Things happen to the people he gets close to. And Drew, the manwhore, always trying to get into the girls panties and dumping them afterwards. Himself and Nastya build an interesting relationship, to say the least. No love triangle though.

While contemporary fiction is not my first love, this book just captured me with no release until I'd read the last line, and not even then. This book still invaded my thoughts for days afterwards. And with parts that made me want to cry, there were also times when I couldn't keep the smile from my face. Especially the last line. I closed the curtains on this book with an enormous grin.

This review has been a long time coming as I read this book back in December, but writing this review, I want to read it again right now. One you should definitely pick up.

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Buy the book on kindle: Amazon
Pre-order the paperback: The Book Depository
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