Monday, 21 July 2014

The Jewel by Amy Ewing

Summary from Goodreads

A shocking and compelling new YA series from debut author, Amy Ewing; The Handmaid's Tale meets The Other Boleyn Girl in a world where beauty and brutality collide.

Violet Lasting is no longer a human being. Tomorrow she becomes Lot 197, auctioned to the highest royal bidder in the Jewel of the Lone City. Tomorrow she becomes the Surrogate of the House of the Lake, her sole purpose to produce a healthy heir for the Duchess. Imprisoned in the opulent cage of the palace, Violet learns the brutal ways of the Jewel, where the royal women compete to secure their bloodline and the surrogates are treated as disposable commodities.

Destined to carry the child of a woman she despises, Violet enters a living death of captivity – until she sets eyes on Ash Lockwood, the royal Companion. Compelled towards each other by a reckless, clandestine passion, Violet and Ash dance like puppets in a deadly game of court politics, until they become each other’s jeopardy – and salvation.

Paperback, 368 pages
Expected publication: September 4th 2014 by Walker Books Ltd

My Review

Aw man! This was total first book perfection for me and I really can't sing it's praises enough! Amy Ewing is a debut author to seriously watch!

I love that I've never read anything quite like this before, it really is quite unusual. The world building is complex and ever so inviting - I really loved how disturbing normal had become for the characters living there. The storyline is so imaginative that I revelled in each minute detail.

Main character Violet is a highly memorable and very strong heroine. She is beautiful, talented, caring and also intelligent. Her journey from a poor girl to a prized surrogate for the Duchess of the Lake in the Jewel is a dangerous one full of shocks, thrills and so many big twisty turns. Getting to know her was a real treat.

There are so many fabulous characters crammed within these pages. I particularly enjoyed the Duchess herself, she is a vile, self-centred creature but she had moments of something softer breaking through...really that was more disturbing as you never quite knew what to expect. Another fascinating character is Lucien, you never get much of a read on him but you will want to, very intriguing.

Another thing that really added to the story were the girls' abilities in the Augeries. They were trained in 3 Augeries and scored in their performance as a selling factor. A little added magical extra - which I LOVED!

OMG - that ending!! *huffing face*

The Jewel is a kick-ass debut that truly had a little bit of everything. Stand-out characters, a twistingly dangerous plot set in a thrilling cut-throat world filled with surprise at every turn. We see the beginnings of a forbidden romance which had the sizzle factor. I just need the next book already!

5 / 5 Stars

*Special thanks to Walker for the review copy*


Friday, 18 July 2014

The Spell of Summer by Dianna Hardy

Summary from Goodreads

Words can change everything, but can they change your destiny?

Meredith is leading a straight-laced life in London with her straight-laced fiancé, determined to forget her reckless, wild-child past. They're about to get married.

Jamie is an old, poetic soul with a broken heart returning home to Cornwall to get his life back in order.

What binds them?

One chance meeting thirteen summers ago; one innocent spell spoken after one perfect night...

And now history is unravelling; the past and present, merging...

Words can change everything, but can they change your destiny?

And in the messy world of magic, what part does love play?

It's summer all over again, but the spell has only just begun.

Full length, contemporary romantic fiction, written in British English.

Paperback, 332 pages
Published June 17th 2014 by Satin Smoke Press
My Review
The Spell of Summer is quite a bit different from Dianna Hardy's usual works. I went into it thinking it was going to be a light and fun summer read and while it was those things on occasion, it had a whole lot of emotion and some darker issues that were handled with a lot of care.
Main character Merri, is acting out the straight and narrow life with her fiancee. Her wild child days firmly behind her, she is looking to the future and her upcoming wedding. Something forces her back to the town she grew up in, with her best-friend Candy. She stumbles upon, Jaime, her first...and most memorable...
It seems fate is pushing the pair together - but where are they truly destined to be?
I really loved Merri and Jamie's journey. They are both broken in their own way and need an escape, which they seem to find in each other. Merri has a lot of dark parts in her past that still haunts her present, but being with Jamie seems to ease her suffering. The little magical kick to the story was really natural and believable - which I really appreciated.
The secondary characters are also very strong and I found myself immersed in their back stories. Candy has had it tough and finding out about her was a bit of a shock but it pushed home the positive point that there is love out there for everyone - if you only choose to open your eyes to it.
I really enjoyed the ending. The epilogue was a favourite though and I think there could be another story to be found there...
The Spell of Summer was a tough read for me in places as it's so raw and utterly true to real to real life, where things rarely run smoothly and things are so complex. The characters are so down-to-earth and I really liked each for their differences. Dianna always manages to touch me with her writing and this one was no different, I felt a LOT! This beautiful book proves that Dianna really can turn her hand to anything!
4 / 5 Stars
*Special thanks to Dianna for the review copy*

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Conspiracy Girl by Sarah Alderson - Cover Reveal!

I'm so excited to share the amazing cover for Sarah Alderson's new book today. It's called Conspiracy Girl and it looks AWESOME! Be sure to check out the little exclusive teaser at the bottom!

Summary from Goodreads

Everybody knows about the Cooper Killings – the Bel Air home invasion that rocked the nation.

There was only one survivor - a sixteen year-old girl.
And though the killers were caught they walked free.

Now eighteen, Nic Preston - the girl who survived - is trying hard to rebuild her life. She’s security conscious to the point of paranoia and her only friend is a French Mastiff bulldog, but she’s making progress. She’s started college in New York and has even begun dating.

But then one night her apartment is broken into and the life Nic’s worked so hard to create is shattered in an instant.

Finn Carter - hacker, rule breaker, player – is the last person Nic ever wants to see again. He’s the reason her mother’s killers walked free from court. But as the people hunting her close in, Nic has to accept that her best and possibly only chance of staying alive is by keeping close to Finn and learning to trust the person she’s sworn to hate.

Fleeing across a snowbound New England, frantically trying to uncover the motive behind the murders, Nic and Finn come to realize the conspiracy is bigger than they could ever have suspected. But the closer they get to the truth and the closer they get to each other, the greater the danger becomes.

To survive she has to stay close to him.
To keep her safe he has to keep his distance.

Paperback, 320 pages
Expected publication: February 19th 2015 by Simon & Schuster

Exclusive Excerpt

Collapsing to my knees, I stare wide-eyed at the door. Three minutes, I tell myself. The armed response unit will be here in three minutes.
The door is reinforced with steel. Nothing, no one, can get through it. The security guy told me my apartment was as safe as the President’s nuclear bunker. Even so, my whole body is locked rigid and a sob is blocking my throat. The room is starting to close in on me.
Glass shatters somewhere in the apartment and I shrink back against the bed with a whimper, drawing my knees to my chest. Oh god. Not again.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #71

 "Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas

Summary from Goodreads

Three teens venture into the abandoned Monroe estate one night; hours later, only two emerge from the burning wreckage. Chloe drags one Reznick brother to safety, unconscious and bleeding; the other is left to burn, dead in the fire. But which brother survives? And is his death a tragic accident? Desperate self-defense? Or murder?

Chloe is the only one with the answers. As the fire rages, and police and parents demand the truth, she struggles to piece together the story of how they got there-a story of jealousy, twisted passion, and the darkness that lurks behind even the most beautiful of faces…

Paperback: 336 pages 
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Childrens Books (14 Aug 2014)

Why This Book?

*clears throat* have you guys read Dangerous Girls? OMG I'm still reeling from that book, it was edgy, thrilling and the ending was explosive! Abigail Haas is a fantastic writer and I seriously can't wait to dive into Dangerous Boys. I actually squealed a little when I found out about *squeee* :)

What are you 'Waiting On'?

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Easy & Breakable by Tammara Webber - SIGNED UK Giveaway!

Hi guys, I'm so excited to be able to give 4...YES 4 UK residents a chance to win signed sets of Easy and Breakable by Tammara Webber. Easy was one of my favourite reads of last year any easily gained a 5 star rating from me (you can read my review here). This awesome prize will be handled by Penguin, so your details should you win, will be passed on to them. Below is a little bit about each book and then the Rafflecopter for you all to fill in. Easy?! Right!

Don't forget it's a UK only giveaway, the 4 winners will be notified via e-mail and each winner will receive signed copies of both Easy and Breakable. As this prize is handled by Penguin, I will not be held responsible for any postage losses or damages. Good luck!

Summary from Goodreads

The New York Times bestseller

I took a deep breath and exhaled it slowly before turning around. It was Lucas who stood there. His gaze was penetrating, not wavering for a moment, and my pulse hammered under his silent scrutiny. I couldn't remember the last time I'd been so full of pure, unqualified desire.

Lucas is the stranger who saved Jacqueline from an attack by a fellow student - she'd never noticed him before then, and now he's everywhere. But can Jacqueline trust him - or will the secrets he's hiding come between them?

(Mature Young Adult / New Adult)

 Summary from Goodreads

He was lost and alone. Then he found her.
And the future seemed more fragile than ever.

As a child, Landon Lucas Maxfield believed his life was perfect and looked forward to a future filled with promise — until tragedy tore his family apart and made him doubt everything he ever believed.

All he wanted was to leave the past behind. When he met Jacqueline Wallace, his desire to be everything she needed came so easy…

As easy as it could be for a man who learned that the soul is breakable and that everything you hoped for could be ripped away in a heartbeat.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 14 July 2014

Spook's: A New Darkness (Starblade Chronicles #1) by Joseph Delaney

Summary from Goodreads

A chilling new trilogy from the author of the internationally bestselling The Last Apprentice series! Tom Ward is an apprentice no longer—now he is a fully fledged spook battling boggarts, witches, and other creatures of the dark. This three-book arc will introduce brand-new readers to Joseph Delaney’s haunting world, and delight longtime fans.

Tom Ward is the spook, the one person who can defend the county from ghosts, ghasts, boggarts, witches, and other bloodthirsty creatures of the dark. But he’s only seventeen, and his apprenticeship was cut short when his master died in battle. No one trusts Tom’s skill, not till he’s proven himself. And a fifteen-year-old girl named Jenny knows more about the three mysterious deaths in the county than Tom does. She is a seventh daughter of a seventh daughter and she wants to be Tom’s first apprentice—even though a female spook is unheard of. Together, Tom and Jenny will uncover the grave danger heading straight toward the county, and they’ll team up with a witch assassin to confront it.

A New Darkness begins a three-book series that will introduce new readers to Joseph Delaney’s deliciously scary imagination and delight his longtime fans. A New Darkness is perfect for every reader who loves thrills, chills, action, and adventure-no prior knowledge of the Last Apprentice series necessary!

The Last Apprentice series, the first internationally bestselling series about Tom Ward, is soon to be a major motion picture, Seventh Son, starring Jeff Bridges, Ben Barnes, Alicia Vikander, Kit Harington, Olivia Williams, Antje Traue, Djimon Hounsou, and Julianne Moore as Mother Malkin.

Hardcover, 320 pages
Published June 5th 2014 by Bodley Head
My Review
The dark and very inviting world of the Spook's books are something I love to fully immerse myself in. I was terribly delighted that Joseph Delaney was kick-starting a new series with one of my all-time favourite characters - Tom! I love that this could be read by old die hard fans and also new readers alike. Admittedly not as spooky as some of the other books but still a fantastic read.

The tone to this book has changed somewhat as Tom has matured as a person and taken on a great responsibility. He's following in his masters footsteps and I loved seeing him making the same decisions and wondering what he would of thought. Although his master taught him well, he's still thinking outside the box and making his own mind up.

When girls are found murdered in their beds, their troubled ghosts left to haunt their place of death - Tom knows he needs to intervene. The beast causing all the trouble proves to be a seriously dangerous threat that Tom knows nothing about. He must act fast and make some dangerous decisions if he has any hopes of stopping this fearsome beast in it's tracks.
This beast is only the start of the problem though. An army of them plan to sweep the earth, killing and enslaving as they go. We were introduced to such beasts in a previous book 'Slither's Tale' and I've been intrigued with their race ever since. When Grimalkin shows up to help Tom out, he knows he needs to think hard about joining her on her mission against this great threat.
The ending is....infuriating though!
A New Darkness is only the beginning in what I expect will be another fantastic series from Joseph Delaney. The writing is so engaging, descriptive and darkly moreish. Action, adventure, danger, mis-hap and an intriguing new character to get to know - whats not to love? Bring on the next!
4 / 5 Stars
*Special thanks to Bodley Head for the review copy*