Friday, 2 December 2016

#ReadIndie Review: Veiled by Karina Halle


Veiled by Karina Halle book cover

Title: Veiled
Author: Karina Halle
Format: Kindle, bought
My rating: 4 / 5
Publisher: Metal Blonde Books

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Death.

It's something that Ada Palomino has always known so well, having grown up in a house of horrors, surrounded by a family plagued by ghosts and demons and things that go bump in the night. But after the sudden and tragic death of her mother two years ago, death has never felt so personal. Or so close.

Now eighteen, Ada is trying to move on with her life and the last month of summer holds nothing but sunshine and promises with her first year at a Portland design school just around the bend.

That is until her increasingly violent and realistic dreams, dreams of other worlds, of portals and veils where her mother is tortured and souls bleed for mercy, start to blend into reality. Ada has to lean on her older sister, Perry, to try and make sense of it all but even then, she's never felt more alone.

Then there's Jay. Tall, handsome and deeply mysterious, Jay would be just another stranger, a familiar face on the bus, if it wasn't for the fact that Ada has met him before.

Every night.
In every single dream.

And the more that Ada is drawn to him in both worlds, the more she's in danger of losing everything.

Including her heart.
And her very soul.

-- As seen on Goodreads


My Thoughts


As you may know, the Experiment in Terror series is one of my all-time favourite series and when I found out that Perry Palomino’s little sister, Ada, was going to get her own spin-off series, I was SO HAPPY! It’s been a long time coming, but it’s finally here, and it was worth the wait.


Veiled takes place in the same urban-fantasy style world as the Experiment in Terror series two years after the conclusion of Dust to Dust. Technically, yes, you can read this book without having read the original series and you’ll have absolutely no problems being caught up in the world. Buuuuut… okay, this will be bias-me talking, but if you have even a teeny tiny plan on reading the EIT series in the future, then I’d personally recommend reading those books first as you will be spoiled for the endings of both Ashes to Ashes and Dust to Dust in Veiled. Both of those books are crazy creepy emotional rollercoasters in their own rights, and I’d love everyone who chooses to read them to experience them as I did – with no spoilers or preconceived notions of what’ll happen – and to get the full impact of the horrors of the original series.


The best way I can sum up my feelings on Veiled is that it felt like an impromptu family reunion with of all your favourite relatives that you love and get along with really well. Perry and Dex do make an appearance, (YEEESSSS!) and I may have been grinning like a complete idiot when they showed up. Also, a few characters from The Devil’s Metal duology show up which was a complete surprise and I was completely in heaven! Yes, okay, I may have been fangirling and reminiscing like crazy for quite a huge chunk of this book, but it was so worth it.


And this brings me onto the main characters of Veiled: Ada and Jay. I adored Ada in the original series and I still really liked her here, but she didn’t quite manage to emerge from her big sisters shadow and stand out on her own merit. To be honest, as unfair as this may sound, I think she will always be Little Fifteen to me. Jay, well, his character didn’t really work for me. Uber alpha male tendencies don’t do anything for me, so some parts of his attitude and mannerisms weren’t winning any favours with me.


I hate to say this, but the romance between Ada and Jay was a bit too quick. The chemistry didn’t feel that strong or believable, and as I mentioned above, Jay isn’t the kind of character I’m particularly drawn to. Now, take my feelings on this with a grain of salt: the EIT series has one of the slowest-burning and most rewarding romances I’ve ever read, so with those HUGE expectations already floating around in my head for any developing romance in this book, having those expectations met over the span of one book isn’t really going to happen.


The story itself was just as creepy as I was expecting. Paranormal and creepy horror stories are, in my opinion, what Karina Halle does best and she manages to create so many genuinely creepy moments throughout the book that are so much fun to read. Ovarall, I really enjoyed Veiled, and it was so nice to be back in the Experiment in Terror world again. While I didn’t connect with Ada as much as I did with her sister, I still loved seeing her story and the aftermath of what happened at the end of Dust to Dust. Also, reading this book has reminded me why Perry and Dex are two of my all-time favourite characters, and I have a feeling I’ll be trying to reread the original series as soon as I possibly can!


4 Stars Really Liked


Wednesday, 30 November 2016

WoW #87: Hunted by Megan Spooner



Waiting on Wednesday Journey Through Fiction

This week, I'm waiting on...


Hunted


by Megan Spooner


 Hunted by Megan Spooner book cover


Expected publication: March 17th 2017

Genres: Fantasy; Retellings

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Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?


It’s a Beauty and the Beast retelling… so, I need it! You may be familiar with my fairy tale retelling addiction, and I really hope this will be the perfect fix. I hope it’s not too similar to A Court of Thorns and Roses… hopefully it’ll take a completely different direction. Fingers crossed, anyway!


Do you like retellings? What are some of your favourites? And are you planning on reading Hunted?

Thanks for stopping by!


* Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. *



Monday, 28 November 2016

Review: The Secret Fire by C.J. Daugherty and Carina Rozenfeld


The Secret Fire by C.J. Daugherty and Carina Rozenfeld book cover

Title: The Secret Fire
Authors: C.J. Daugherty and Carina Rozenfeld
Series: The Alchemist Chronicles, #1
Format: Paperback, bought
My rating: 3 / 5

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French teen Sacha Winters can't die. He can throw himself off a roof, be stabbed, even shot, and he will always survive. Until the day when history and ancient enmities dictate that he must die. Worse still, his death will trigger something awful. Something deadly. And that day is closing in.

Taylor Montclair is a normal English girl, hanging out with her friends and studying for exams, until she starts shorting out the lights with her brain. She’s also the only person on earth who can save Sacha.

There’s only one problem: the two of them have never met. They live hundreds of miles apart and powerful forces will stop at nothing to keep them apart.

They have eight weeks to find each other.

Will they survive long enough to save the world?

-- As seen on Goodreads


My Thoughts


Being a huge fan of the Night School series, I was really looking forward to reading more of CJ Daugherty’s works. I knew that her new series was going to be more fantasy focused, and I was so happy about this. Fantasy is my all-time favourite genre, so combining one of my favourite authors with my favourite genre seemed like it would be a win-win scenario. By contrast, this was my first time reading any of Carina Rozenfeld’s works, and I was intrigued to see how both authors would collaborate and how the story would develop.


Well… it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. When I began reading I quickly realised my fantasy expectations might be a little off. I kept reading and realised it felt like I had unexpectedly picked up a YA Contemporary novel that just happened to have a few paranormal and supernatural threads woven in. Now, here’s where I need to clarify something. All of this is not necessarily a bad thing… however, I’ve read dozens and dozens of Urban Fantasy books over the years and I’ve seen all these tropes many times before. Combine all this with lots of familiar YA Contemporary tropes and the story just wasn’t that unique to me, and I found my interest in the story wandering more than once.


The narration is split into two separate points-of-view. Taylor is an English teen and Sasha is French, and over the course of the book both characters stories become intertwined and they need to work together despite various outside groups trying to keep them apart. Each character had their own distinct voice throughout the book which was awesome to see and I always knew which character was narrating throughout. Out of the two main characters, Sasha was the one I was intrigued by the most. He does have a cheeky-chappy kind of personality, and they’re usually the most entertaining characters to read about! Taylor, on the other hand, I wasn’t that connected to. She was Little Miss Perfect incarnated, and to be honest, I find perfect characters to be very unappealing. Give me flaws and questionable morals in my characters any and every day! Personally, I find them more fun to read about.


I absolutely loved the family dynamic that both Taylor and Sasha had in their own respective homes. Absentee parentism is a plague that haunts Young Adult literature, and to see that both teens had a parent that was present in their lives, cared for them and took an interest in their wellbeing was EXCELLENT to see.


Now I move onto something that didn’t work for me. On the back cover of my book it says three sentences in lovely sparkly golden font: “A Battle Against Fate. A Race Against Time. The Clock Starts NOW” So after reading this I expected a blisteringly fast paced plot with the constant threat of impending doom as each day ticks by until death, destruction and despair. I hate to say it, but I never got any sense of fear, or desperation, or that time was actually running out. Everything felt very slow and cushy and cozy for well over half the book, and it didn’t match the sense of urgency that the synopsis on the back cover was promising right from the beginning.


I was really hoping to love The Secret Fire more than I did. Maybe my expectations were too high? Or maybe it was bad timing? I did begin reading it straight after reading A Torch Against the Night and Crooked Kingdom, and they were my two most anticipated releases of 2016! Yeah, okay, looking back on that decision, it probably wasn’t the best timing, was it?! Maybe it did have more of an influence that I thought, but I’ll never know for sure. Personally, I think this book would be a perfect fit for any contemporary readers that are looking to branch out and explore some new genres – Urban Fantasy in particular. Overall, I thought it was a good read, but didn’t quite live up to all my expectations.


3 Stars Good


Thursday, 24 November 2016

Review: Red Rising by Pierce Brown


Red Rising by Pierce Brown book cover

Title: Red Rising
Author: Pierce Brown
Series: Red Rising, #1
Format: Paperback, bought
My rating: 4 / 5

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Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations.

Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity's overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society's ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies... even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.

-- As seen on Goodreads


My Thoughts


I read Red Rising quite a while ago and I made the mistake of not writing a review straight away. I remember loving the story at the time, but I have a feeling this review won’t be quite as gushing as it would have been if I’d written it back in March.


The world building was easily my favourite thing about the book. The best way I can describe the story is if you put Harry Potter and The Hunger Games in a blender with a handful of Roman gods, blitz them together and throw the result 500-plus years into the future and set the story on Mars. And I really liked it! Despite the familiar HP and THG vibes, the story manages to bring lots of uniqueness to the table, which is always a good thing.


Darrow is the main character, and while I did like him as a narrator while I was reading, looking back on it now I’m a bit unsure why I liked him. I mean, there wasn’t anything that particularly bothered me about him, and in a way I think that’s the problem. When the book began he seemed quite interesting and I was looking forward to seeing how his character was going to develop. I really liked the Reds and the Helldiver aspect and then… things changed and he becomes all nice and polished and perfect. This makes sense for the faceless leader of a rebellion, but as a character in a book I’m supposed to care and root for, well, not so much.


Just thinking of the secondary characters for a second, I found myself more curious about their stories rather than Darrow’s. I really liked Mustang and hopefully she will have a main role in the sequel. I’m thinking of quite a few other characters right now, but I won’t mention them just in case I cross the line into spoiler territory.


He wasn’t in the book that much, but from what I have seen, Sevro is perfection and needs to be protected at all costs. That is all. Oh, and also the Howlers! I have a feeling they’ll be in future books, and I can’t wait to find out more about them.


Writing-style and pacing: Maybe it’s just me, but Red Rising was A LOT slower paced than I was expecting. Also the writing style, while really good, took me a while to like and enjoy. The first hundred pages or so seemed a bit… tense? Uptight? Maybe a little bit too structured? But after that, things slowly started to relax and the natural flow of the story took over and I began to really enjoy the book.


Trusting Pierce Brown is a bad idea, right!? Seriously, though! I mean, with all the characters he had no problem killing in this book I’m slightly terrified of what he has come up with for the rest of the trilogy! Also, can I just say, he’s a genius for planting VERY subtle clues. There were quite a few times when I was surprised when something was revealed, but I felt like I should have seen it coming as the clues were there, I just didn’t connect them because I was distracted by a billion other things. I love unpredictability like this, and it was SO well done!


Overall, I really enjoyed Red Rising, and now that I’ve finally written a review for it, I’m starting to remember why I enjoyed it so much. I do remember finishing the final few pages thinking I needed to get my hands on Golden Son ASAP. Well, fast forward eight months and I haven’t read it yet. (Oops?) I do plan on changing this status as soon as I can, and hopefully I’ll be able to complete the trilogy next year.



4 Stars Really Liked



Tuesday, 22 November 2016

10 Things I'm Thankful for this Year


Journey Through Fiction Book Blog 10 Things I'm Thankful for this Year

To everyone in the U.S. that’s celebrating Thanksgiving this week: Happy Thanksgiving! We don’t celebrate here in Ireland, but I hope everyone that does has an awesome day. For my list this week it will be separated into real life things and bookish things I’m thankful for. I'm linking up with Top Ten Tuesday this week, and it's a weekly meme run by The Broke and the Bookish.


Things I'm Thankful for in Real Life


My family and friends: How could I not be thankful for my friends and family?? They’re everything to me.

My dog: From angelic puppy to manipulative mastermind, this little bundle of fur came into my life almost five years ago, took over and has ruled with an iron paw ever since. All joking aside, she’s the most precious thing to me, and if you can’t already tell, I love her to pieces. (And, yes, that is my bed she insists belongs to her, not me. We may have regular disagreements over this!)


Music: “Without music, life would be a mistake.” -- Friedrich Nietzsche. I couldn’t agree more.

Having a warm home and food to eat: There are so many people out there right now that don’t have a single thing in the world beyond the clothes on their backs. And they don’t know where their next warm meal will come from. So, as we all sit down to feast ourselves on huge meals over the coming months for various holidays and celebrations, please take a moment to remember those that don’t have what we have. Please.

And on that sombre note, moving onto...


The Bookish Things I’m Thankful For!


Books and Reading: This one is pretty self-explanatory, really! I’m so thankful my mum got me into reading when I was very young. I may have wandered away now and again, but I always end up returning.

The Bookish Community: I love how welcoming the online bookish community is, and no matter what books we love we can find people that have similar tastes to us. It’s so hard to find people in real life that share what we love, and it’s awesome to have the space online where we can find those people, even if they live thousands of miles away from us.

Twilight: Regardless of whether the Twilight saga deserves the hype it got, I’ll be forever thankful that I read this series. It completely changed my attitude to reading, and liking Twilight gave me a much needed kick up the rear and encouraged me to find and read the books I really love and can become invested in, rather than what others or society deems acceptable.

The Hunger Games: Twilight might have changed my attitude toward reading, but The Hunger Games was the series that started my YA addiction. Once I finished the series, I began to be drawn to more and more Young Adult books, and to be perfectly honest I haven’t really looked back since!

Young Adult Authors: I never understand why the label “young adult” gets so much blind hatred and sneering, but that’s an argument for another day… What I would like to say is thank you to all the YA authors that keep sharing their awesome stories and don’t let any negativity silence their words.



All My Favourite Books! This list keeps growing, and it’ll never stop growing and evolving throughout my life, and the image above shows only a handful of my favourite books. From Pride and Prejudice to Angelfall to Nevermore to Crooked Kingdom, I love them all so much and I’m so thankful that I read each one.





Sunday, 20 November 2016

Mini-Reviews: The Secret of Ella and Micha and Crossed


Journey Through Fiction Mini-Reviews: The Secret of Ella and Micha and Crossed


The Secret of Ella and Micha book cover

Title: The Secret of Ella and Micha
Author: Jessica Sorensen
Series: The Secret, #1
Format: Paperback, bought
My rating: 4 / 5

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A rule-breaker with a fiery attitude, Ella always wore her heart on her sleeve. Then she left everything behind to go to college, where she transformed into someone who follows the rules, keeps everything together, and hides all her problems. Now it's summer break and she has nowhere else to go but home. But once there, Ella fears that everything she's worked so hard to bury might resurface-especially with Micha living right next door.

Smart, sexy, and confident, Micha can get under Ella's skin like no one else. He knows everything about her, including her darkest secrets. If he tries to tempt the old Ella to return, he will be impossible to resist. But what Ella doesn't realize is that when she left, she took a piece of Micha's heart with her. Now he's determined to win back the girl he lost, no matter what it takes.

-- As seen on Goodreads


My Thoughts


What a pleasant surprise! It’s been a really long time since I’ve read a contemporary romance and I’ve had The Secret of Ella and Micha sitting on my shelves for well over two years, and on a whim I decided to pick it up and give it a go a few weeks ago. I enjoyed it so much more than I initially expected to. Is it a bit predictable? Yep. Is it a unique story amongst the thousands of other contemporary romances out there? Ehh, probably not. But you know what, I don’t care. It ticks the boxes you expect to find within the genre and did it well. I got caught up in the story, I liked the characters, and overall I enjoyed reading it. All of that is exactly what I look for when I take a break from my more usual Fantasy/Sci-fi reads, so no complaints from me!


4 Stars Really Liked



 Crossed by Ally Condie book cover

Title: Crossed
Author: Ally Condie
Series: Matched, #2
Format: Paperback, bought
My rating: DNF

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The Society chooses everything.

The books you read.
The music you listen to.
The person you love.


Yet for Cassia the rules have changed. Ky has been taken and she will sacrifice everything to find him.

And when Cassia discovers Ky has escaped to the wild frontiers beyond the Society there is hope.

But on the edge of society nothing is as it seems...

A rebellion is rising.

And a tangled web of lies and double-crosses could destroy everything.

-- As seen on Goodreads


My Thoughts

DNF @ page 118


I read Matched in mid-2014 and I’ve been mildly curious about the sequel ever since. Fast forward two years, and I really wish I stomped that curiosity into oblivion. Two years isn’t that long ago and usually when I pick up a sequel the general gist of the story will come back to me after the first few chapters. Well, I don’t know what went wrong here, but I hadn’t a clue what was happening. Either Matched wasn’t as memorable as I thought it would be, or my memory is in need of a serious upgrade. The main character, Cassia, was a complete stranger. I did remember Ky, though vaguely. I don’t think the first book had multiple POVs, so I was a bit surprised to see both Cassia and Ky with their own separate viewpoints. The portion I read was way too mopey, too nauseatingly lovey-dovey and I just couldn’t stomach it any longer. Maybe it eases out later in the book, but I wasn’t interested in sticking around to find out. I was warned that this book was where the series began to go downhill, and I should have heeded the signs that were there from other readers I trust.


DNF Did Not Finish



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