Monday, February 25, 2013

Review: Wombstone by Jessica Roscoe

Title: Wombstone - A Vampireland Novel
Author: Jessica Roscoe
Age Group: Young Adult (Warning: Not suitable for under 15's due to graphic content; sex scenes, violence, adult themes and swearing.)
Release Date: 23rd February 2013
Publishers: Self published
Available from: Amazon
Source: Author

Mia Blake wasn’t the first girl to be taken by the vampires. 
She is kidnapped and held prisoner by Caleb, the world’s oldest and most powerful vampire. Turned against her will, Mia must find a way to free herself from Caleb’s grip and get back to those she loves. But defeating the world’s most powerful vampire isn't going to be easy…


________________

Don't you love it when you come across a new book/author who completely surprises you? Jessica Roscoe has done just that. I was lucky enough to beta read Wombstone and was so happy that this wasn't your typical vampire story. There's no girl meets vampire and they fall helplessly in love with one another. This novel is dark and dangerous, what a vampire novel should be. These are the vampires that make you fear the dark. This review may be short because I don't want to spoil anything.

Mia thought her life was pretty good; she might not have the best home life but she had an awesome best friend, had fallen in love over the summer break and was a track star applying to some of the best colleges. Then she gets kidnapped and it all falls apart from there. Even through her fear Mia is still snarky and I really loved that about her. She's surrounded by death but still manages to give them lip. This girl is definitely a fighter. Mia is the type of heroine I love to read about.  

Caleb is the first vampire created and he's the reason Mia has been taken. Caleb carries a lot of presence even though he's hardly in the book at all. His name is enough to stir the fear of everyone around him. He is one creepy mofo. Then there's Ryan, I'm not sure how to take him. It's almost like he has mood swings. In the beginning he's selfish and arrogant, but he tells Mia she has made him see the error of his ways. He thinks he's saving her but just ends up damning her.

Roscoe has packed the pages with enough action and intrigue so it never lets up. There is always something happening. I thought I had it all figured out, but I was thrown for a loop. I devoured Wombstone in one sitting and could not pull my eyes away from my Kindle. It's a shiver inducing book that will make you want to keep the lights on. Get yourself a copy of Wombstone now!
5/5




Sunday, February 24, 2013

Review: Recalled by Cambria Hebert

Title: Recalled (A Death Escorts Novel)
Author: Cambria Hebert
Age Group: New Adult
Release Date: 15th February 2013
Publishers: Self published
Available from: Amazon
Source: Author
 Love or Death? A simple question really. The choice seems obvious. But. What if you never knew love, what if your life was spent just trying to survive? What if you knew your fate before you were fully grown? 
And then you died. 
And you were given another chance. A better chance. 
This new life depended upon one thing: your job. And so you agreed. You thought it would be simple. You thought it would be cut and dry. 
It never is.
And now you are left holding the fate of someone else in the palm of your hand and you have to make the ultimate choice.
Love or Death?
_____________

This is my first Cambria Hebert novel that I have read, and if this book is anything to go by I should have been reading her novels long ago. Recalled is a great book, I enjoyed it immensely. It was definitely not what I was expecting. The blurb is very vague and doesn't give you much insight into the book, but I love how I was drawn into the pages straight away. The book is told in alternating points of view, Dex and Piper who's chance meeting changes both their lives forever. 

I love the world Cambria has created; if you were given a second chance at life and the only thing you had to do to have money, a flash car and a mansion, was to take the life of the girl you saved, would you do it? This is the decision that Dex has to make, he thinks it's easy. He didn't realise it would be harder than he thought possible. Dex is kind of a bad boy, after living on the streets for as long as he has you can understand why. He has a tough exterior but inside he has a good heart. He's one of those characters you can't help but love. 

Cambria has created an interesting and somewhat creepy process for Dex to 'come back'. I don't want to give anything away because it's pretty cool. You'll have to read Recalled to find out. Dex's new boss, G.R, is one of those guys that looks almost nice and harmless, but it hides the creepy, dangerous part that you can see swimming under the surface. 

After Dex saves her life, Piper is kind of lost. The young man has no identity and no matter how hard she tries she can't find out anything about him. Who is he and why did he save her? Why has no one claimed him? She thinks it's her duty to remember him and honour his death because no one else has. (I think she may have survivors guilt.) Piper is an incredibly caring person; she's studying to become a doctor and works a diner while interning at a clinic. All she wants to do is help people. I think Piper's best friend is awesome, she has so much sass and personality she just leaps off the pages. They compliment each other really well, even though they seem like complete opposites. 

Dex and Piper's romance is no insta-love, it builds and grows over the course of the book, making it seem so much more real. Although, when you get to the end of the book, you're kind of left with a hollow feeling, asking 'is that really it?' I can't wait to see where she takes the next book. 
4/5



 

 


Sexual Content in YA - On the Fence by Donna




I’m always on the fence with sex in any YA book and it’s not because I don’t enjoy it, because I do, but mainly I believe sometimes it doesn’t come across clear. I’ve lost count how many books I’ve read where I’ve had to ask someone, well did they or didn’t they?  And while I understand why the author has to tone it down, I believe there are ways of doing it without confusing the reader or making the reader frustrated – which I’ve had a number of times.

The perfect example of well written sex scenes in YA book are from Jennifer L. Armentrout, Simone Elkeles and Veronica Rossi. I believe that these authors take the time to give the readers the right amount of information to make the sex scene work, make it believable and not confusing. The main thing for me is that it is believable. This is one of the reasons why sometimes I enjoy reading adult books more, because the sex scenes are always believable. It could possibly be down to my age (I’m 27) but I know many younger readers that think the same as me. Sex is a huge part of the world and even though we try to protect our children from it, I believe honesty is the best policy. I don’t think sex scene’s need to be fully graphic in any YA book, but do believe it should be clear to make the reader fully aware of what is happening.

Check out Donna's awesome blog Book Passion For Life.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Sexual Content in YA - 'That' in YA by Kelly Martin



I have a lot of thoughts about sex/sexual content in young adult novels. As a mother of 3 small girls, I want there to be no sex in the books (and no sex on TV, or in movies, or in song lyrics… you get the idea). I’d love to protect their little ears, eyes, and whatever else as long as I can. That also includes books. I love reading YA books, but some I wouldn't want my teens reading because of the level of sexual content (I didn't have that much ‘sexual content’ when I was a teen….)

As a reader of YA novels, I don’t mind an occasional rendezvous if it’s not too graphic and is part of the story line  I don’t want over the top ‘do it just to do it’, but if it’s tame and I don’t have to ‘see’ every detail, I’m okay reading it. (Still don’t want to my girls too, though ;) )

As a writer, I don’t like to write sex scenes in my YA novels. Mainly, I write sweet romances (ie no cursing or ‘pink parts’ as my publisher, Astraea Press, calls it). My personal writer philosophy is I want to write books that aren't full of sex and language because not everyone wants to read it. There has to be another side to the coin. You can absolutely tell great stories without either sex or language (okay… the language is hard to cut… sigh. I do it, but sometimes my characters aren't happy about it.)

I do believe some YA books go too far in the sex, especially if it’s casual with no consequences (I’m not talking about pregnancy in all of them… but the emotional issues it can cause as well).

To sum up, as a mommy and a writer, I’m not a fan of sex scenes in YA novels. Am I na├»ve enough to think teens don’t “do it”? Of course not, but I believe there can be a happy medium between great storytelling and ‘taboo’ subjects.

~Kelly

Author Bio: Kelly Martin is a teacher, writer, and blogger. She has a handsome husband and three angelic (and energetic) daughters ages 2 to 7. Her first novel, CROSSING THE DEEP, is a young adult/Christian novel about two teens stranded in the woods during a hike and how being stuck for 4 days with no idea if they’ll get home changes them. It’s published by Astraea Press. Her second novel, SAINT SLOAN, will be out February 28th, 2013. Kelly loves God, is addicted to chocolate, and would rather write than sleep.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Sexual Content in YA - Sex and Teens by Erin


Hi everyone! I was very pleased when Jo-Anne asked me to write a guest post here on her blog concerning sex in YA books, not only because I love her blog but because I love talking about sexualized topics in YA books since we all know people are always talking about it! It’s controversial even today, but who doesn’t love a good debate on it? Anyway here’s my opinion on the topic:
When you think about mixing the themes of “sex” and “teens” together in a YA book, most people would either cringe at the thought of it, giggle and blush like a schoolgirl because it’s such a ‘taboo’ subject (I know how rude of me to even mention it now!) or say it’s just not appropriate. Period. Parents especially, I find, believe their teen readers should not have to be subjected to sex at all (I do understand why though!) but the thing is and even with me not being a parent myself . . . sex is REAL. It’s happening. How do you think you and me were made? By magic?
But with so many opinions on sex in YA books, I know we would probably all disagree with each other from time to time, but for me personally I’m totally fine it. Adult books, on the other, are a completely different story and are for a completely different audience. And we know it too. But since I’ve read many YA books that have dealt with sex in general (even in the most innocent way), I still find it give us readers a far more realistic approach to teen life and it’s just . . . normal especially for me since I’ve known people in high school who have already had sex. Again it’s normal. So while I do understand the ramifications of ‘sex’ being talked about and so openly too in a YA book, but just because a teen in a book is having sex doesn’t mean the teenager reading the actual book will do the same thing if you get my meaning? Sex in books shouldn’t have to be shamed for what comes naturally to human nature, you know? We should embrace journeys of self-discovery no matter what form it comes in . . . even in YA books.
But look, in the end what I’m really trying to say is, whether people like it or not, sex is everywhere! It’s a scary topic for just about anyone, but believe me teens are far more aware of sex nowadays (more than you will ever know) and quite frankly why hide sex in YA books? The YA genre IS for teens after all and we’re going to know about sex eventually anyway. We need to know these things! Even adults read YA, so what's the problem? I mean sure, I will admit that some books are read by a younger audience (sex may be considered a little too extreme for under 16-year-olds and so on) and some books perhaps put sexualized themes in a bad light at times, but whether it’s in fiction or on our television screens or in our magazines, sex and other related themes to it will always be there and is . . . well . . . here to stay. YA books are here to educate us, so why not let it and decide for yourself?
Check out Erin's cool blog Tales of the Inner Book Fanatic.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Sexual Content in YA - Too Hot to Handle by Frankie Rose


Too Hot To Handle



Let’s talk about sex, baby. Let’s talk about you and me. Let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be. Let’s talk about sex.

Let’s talk about sex.

But if we do, remember… you’re probably gonna cop a rough deal from it. Parents are likely going to write you strongly-worded letters about the fact that you’re corrupting their babies’ minds. Critics will say that you have cheapened your craft and devalued the impact of your characters by making them irresponsible role models. You will, essentially, become the devil incarnate.

Good luck with that.

When I wrote my second novel, Eternal Hope, the second in my YA series, I hit the same brick wall that many authors have to face, and that, of course, was the potential for the relationship between my protagonist and her love interest to go beyond the hand-holding stage. Knowing my characters and having so carefully imagined their world, their adventure together and the hardships they faced alongside one another, it was a very natural progression in my mind that they would want to share something special. Farley, the eighteen-year-old protagonist, loves Daniel, and while it would have been possible to fudge over their experiences with one another and keep things well above the waistline, that certainly wouldn’t have been realistic. More than that, however, it would have been dishonest.

There are so many young adult series out there that never hint at sexually active teenage characters, yet it’s no secret that kids today are curious about sex and want to learn more. I believe it would be remiss of us to try handling the delicate subject of first love and the life-changing experiences that occur in our youth, forming who we will later become as adults, without broaching the most crucial aspect of teen love. Sex is important. It’s important to talk about it, to help teenagers understand what it’s worth and what it really means, and in doing so hopefully we can instil a healthy amount of respect into our reader’s minds. Respect for themselves and for their own self-worth.

My own teen years weren’t exactly textbook. But then again, what is textbook these days? Do most young women get to experience falling in love and sharing their virginity with the boy they’re going to spend the rest of their lives with? It happens, sure, but the truth is that people who get to have that are about as rare as lottery winners, scoring big.  More kids might win that lottery if they valued themselves enough to wait for that perfect guy, the one who will respect them and always honour them. In the end, that’s what I feel most young adult novels are promoting. I’ve read an awful lot of these books for my own pleasure as well as research, and the point is that the kids in these books aren’t out having promiscuous sex. They’re committing to someone for the rest of their lives, and while there may be a whole lot of teen angst thrown in there for good measure, the novels aren’t sensationalising sex as a bit of fun. They’re showing it to be something valuable and precious, and in most cases a very big deal.

Parents may get upset when writers talk to their children about sex. The key thing to understand here is that these parents are making a mistake in thinking that their precious gems are children anymore. They’re growing into young adults, as the genre name would suggest, and they have hormones coming out of their ears. I am not one to argue the idea that it’s a parent’s responsibility to educate their sons and daughters, but if they want to do that then I encourage them to do it! More often than not, a brief, embarrassing conversation about the birds and the bees is enough to turn most parents green around the gills. Teens might be out experimenting less if the topic weren’t still such a taboo in most households.

In saying this, however, there are many books out there that can no-longer be called Young Adult, and it’s important that we’re careful when we categorise our work. The genre, New Adult, is a necessary addition to the YA market. While the level of reading is often very similar to young adult (uncomplicated, easy to read works), the content of these novels is not. With an inundation of books containing graphic, intense sexual situations, following the success of the Fifty Shades series, it’s our responsibility as writers to make sure our work is very clearly defined. Personally, I have written my New Adult works under a pseudonym to avoid confusion with my already established readers. A lot of authors have gone down the same path, and that in itself is a responsible way to ensure teens aren’t reading something inappropriate. Labelling fiction for over eighteens is important, too, alongside making sure graphic content is indicated from the outset.

At the end of the day, it’s hard to walk the fine line between being realistic and helpful to teenagers, and going too far. It’s a great honour that young readers want to read our works, and we are playing a small but important part in the way they grow up. Sex should be handled with the appropriate level of respect, but it should be handled. That way, kids aren’t liable to go out unprepared into the world and dive feet first into something they’re ill-equipped to understand.  As writers, our job is also to remember that despite the cross-over appeal of most young adult books- the fact that the readership more often than not is comprised largely of adults as well as teenagers- we have a duty to be good role models and uphold kids safety while keeping them informed.

In then end, after a long internal debate when writing my book, I decided that my main characters wouldn’t ‘go all the way’ in that particular novel.  Yes, that is certainly something that will happen in their future, but I wanted to demonstrate that it wasn’t a casual act. And despite how much my guys want it, sometimes that wait can be just as sweet…

You can find out more about Frankie and her awesome books at www.frankierosewrites.com

Sexual Content in YA

Sexual content in Young Adult books is always a controversial subject, and I have enlisted the help of several authors and bloggers for their opinion on the topic. My views aren't very out there, but I believe the topic needs to be covered in the story and not glossed over. Kids these days are far from stupid and know more about sex than ever; it's splashed across billboards, in magazines and on tv, but there is still such a stigma attached to it. But why? We're all taught about the birds and the bees at school, but when your parents try and broach the subject there's a lot of mumbling, red faces and embarrassment. What makes this issue so touchy? 

Young Adult books are written for ages anywhere between 13 - 18, and cover a wide range of genre's. You will find that in most of them there is a love interest and that these two teenagers will be discovering the boundaries of their relationship. Where does the right and wrong of sex begin in a book and shouldn't it be the authors decision on how far their characters are willing to go?

I think when the subject is glossed over it insults the reader and their intelligence; but I also understand that not every couple is the same. The key topics when talking about sex in anything should be about what it means when you do actually decide to go through with, a proper understanding of the consequences and the respect you have for yourself and your partner. 

If you are going to comment on any of these posts, please keep it clean and respect each guest post authors opinion and we will respect yours. I hope you enjoy reading them and thank you for stopping by my blog. :)



Monday, February 11, 2013

Cover revamp: Touching Eternity by Airicka Phoenix



Before Fallon was created to destroy. Before love became the ultimate weapon of destruction. There was Amalie and the horror that started a revolution that tore the fabric of humanity, of everything standing in the balance between power, hope and survival.


Amalie has one wish, one gnawing desire — she wants to die. 



She wants to leave this world behind with its pain and darkness. She wants to finally breathe. But Amalie is a prisoner, a disease, not fit for life. She is unwanted, unnatural. She is defective, something useless and broken. Her own mother hadn’t wanted her. Her father hated her. The world shunned her and the only person she had ever loved, truly and with all her heart and soul, couldn’t stand the sight of her, couldn’t stand the thought of ever being with her. She repulsed him. Her insanity disgusted him. He’d forgotten her. He’d left her behind, deserted and abandoned her to a madman hell bent on crushing her, stealing her soul and shattering her will. 



But what if she’s finally given hope? A reason to live? Can Amalie finally accept the hand offering so much for so little in return? Can she love again when she has nothing left to give? 



Can she finally be free?



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Airicka Phoenix Author
Twitter (@AirickaPhoenix) - https://twitter.com/#!/AirickaPhoenix 

Cover revamp: Touching Smoke by Airicka Phoenix



For sixteen-year-old FALLON BRAEDEN being on the run had been the easiest part of her life. Packing up and crossing whole cities on a split second decision had been tedious, having no friends and being alone had been painful, but being caught by the truth was something she learned too late was worse.

Fallon is a weapon. She was created to destroy. Keeping her alive, keeping her safe is all Isaiah knows. It’s all that matters, because Fallon is his. She belongs to him. She is a part of his body, his soul, his heart. He will do anything, kill anyone to keep her, even if it means sacrificing himself.

But can Fallon believe the stranger on the motorcycle claiming he was there to die for her? How do you trust when you have no one but the memories of a girl you’ve never met and a tall, dark, gorgeous boy that you feel pulsing deep in your soul? What do you do when you’ve been lied to your whole life? When you’re told you’re normal even though nothing about you is normal? Fallon must learn quickly just what she is before the evil chasing her finally gets what it wants… her blood.

The world depends on her not falling in love, not giving in. But what happens when the temptation becomes too great, when falling is her only option? Can she live knowing the world will burn because his touch is the only thing keeping her alive?

Touch Passion. Touch Power. Touch Smoke!


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Airicka Phoenix Author
Twitter (@AirickaPhoenix) - https://twitter.com/#!/AirickaPhoenix 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Review: Black City by Elizabeth Richards

Title: Black City (Black City  Chronicles book 1)
Author: Elizabeth Richards
Age Group: Young Adult
Release Date: 13th November 2012
Publishers: Putnam
Available from: Amazon
The Book Depository
Source: Own Purchase 

A dark and tender post-apocalyptic love story set in the aftermath of a bloody war.

In a city where humans and Darklings are now separated by a high wall and tensions between the two races still simmer after a terrible war, sixteen-year-olds Ash Fisher, a half-blood Darkling, and Natalie Buchanan, a human and the daughter of the Emissary, meet and do the unthinkable—they fall in love. Bonded by a mysterious connection that causes Ash’s long-dormant heart to beat, Ash and Natalie first deny and then struggle to fight their forbidden feelings for each other, knowing if they’re caught, they’ll be executed—but their feelings are too strong.

When Ash and Natalie then find themselves at the center of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to pull the humans and Darklings back into war, they must make hard choices that could result in both their deaths.


________________

I've been dying to read Black City for months and was so excited to see it in my local bookstore I pretty much screamed when I saw it. (My inner 16 year old broke free.) I have split feelings about this book and I really enjoyed it but there were a few things that I didn't like, mainly the beginning of Ash and Natalie's relationship, I actually thought I'd missed a page and reread that part twice, but no. I felt she accepted it to easily. To me it should have been drawn out a little longer, but one minute they're talking and the next bam! she's totally into it. It didn't feel realistic. I wanted a little more angst and yearning on their part.   

The story is told from alternating points of view from Ash and Natalie. They live on opposite sides of the same world, Ash's is dark, dirty and drug fueled, while Natalie's is bright and shiny; and it helps when you're the emissary's daughter living in a mansion. Ash is the bad by who deals Haze, a drug that is produced from venom sacks that sit behind his fangs. He needs the money to support him and his father. Natalie is the good girl striving to make her mother proud. I found Natalie a little immature and hard to stomach in the beginning; I just couldn't believe how naive she was in some cases, it was like she was in a sort of bubble. She thought giving her maid/servant a gold bracelet that pretty much amounts to being the equivalent of a dog collar, was a nice thing. She does grow and come to realise the depth of deceit around her, and this when I really started to like Natalie. She pretty much grows a pair and is determined to take on whoever she has to stop what is happening. I think I liked Ash a little more because he was a little more real living in the bad side of town, a little him versus the world thing going on. Because he's a twin blood (half darkling, half human) he never feels like her belongs in either world, but does his best to be human. You can't help but feel for the boy who longs to belong. He acts tough but really has a heart of gold. 

With saying that though I really enjoyed the book on a whole. The dystopian world Richards has created is dark and gritty; a postwar city full of darklings and humans who are trying to rebuild their lives and city. Black City reminded me a lot of Berlin with a wall that separates darklings from humans, add in some serious racial tensions and segregation and you've got yourself a recipe for disaster. This culminates near the end of the book in a fight that divides the city. For me the plot was what kept me flipping pages, their romance playing a small role in the overall book. I hate comparing books, but I feel like I should say that Marie Lu has created the right balance between the dystopian world and the love story of her main characters. This is what kept Black City from reaching book coma status. It's hovering between decent read and book high. 

These two are the catalyst for change and their spirit to fight for equality and freedom from oppression is huge. This is what I love about dystopia's; it only takes one thing to change their lives and make them fight for what they believe in to make their world a better place.  

Now that you've read my muddled feelings over Black City, I really do hope you give it a try. It's dark, gritty and intense and I will definitely pick up Phoenix. I need to know where Richards takes the story line. So I think I will give it 4/5.

(I enjoyed it, honestly.)




  




Saturday, February 9, 2013

Review: Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

Title: Unravel Me (Shatter Me book 2)
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Age Group: Young Adult
Release Date: 5th February 2013
Publishers: Allen & Unwin
Available from: Amazon
The Book Depository
Source: Allen & Unwin 


Our lips touch and I know I'm going to split at the seams. He kisses me softly then strongly like he's lost me and he's found me and I'm slipping away and he's never going to let me go.

Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. A place for people like her - people with gifts - and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance.

She's finally free from the Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch. Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible.

Haunted by her past, terrified of her future, Juliette knows that in her present, she will have to make some life-changing choices.

Choices that may include choosing between her heart - and Adam's life.


________________

I absolutely adored Shatter Me so I knew I had to request Unravel Me. I sent an email off to Allen & Unwin begging them to let me review it (I think I even offered them my first born child) and was beyond ecstatic that they said yes! (Thank you Lara.)

It's always daunting reading a sequel and wondering whether or not it's going to live up to it's predecessor but Unravel Me blew me away. It definitely surpasses Shatter Me. Everything about this book was amazing. I love Tahereh's writing style; it is so unique and captivating. I fell head first into this book and couldn't surface until I had read it in its entirety. The wait was worth it.

Omega Point and The Reestablishment are on the brink of war, and Juliette is struggling to find her place among them. Unravel Me is more about her journey of self-discovery and acceptance of who she is; by the end of the book she has been reforged into someone stronger and braver than she could have thought possible. Mafi evokes such emotion with her prose, that I was constantly fighting tears (I'm a pansy, I admit it) and being knocked around by Juliette's revelations about herself, Adam, and Warner. I have to say I'm a HUGE Adam fan, but by the end of this book Warner had me in his grip and wasn't letting go. I had so many FEELS I thought I was going to explode with the intensity of it!

Adam and Juliette's relationship takes a turn down a road I was not expecting, the saying 'hitting a rough patch' is an understatement. Juliette has trust issue's piled so high it's amazing the poor girl can still function. I mean, who wouldn't when you could never let your guard down for fear of killing someone you love, and also having the added bonus of being locked up by the people who are supposed to love you the most. An then there's Warner who adds a whole new dynamic to their relationship. I'm not entirely sure if it's a love triangle or not. Even though I said I'm a Warner fan, I'm still not sure on whether or not he's right for Juliette.  

Unravel Me is an intense and compelling read; with danger lurking around every corner and sexy, passion filled pages I dare you to put it down. Your addiction for these characters and the world Mafi has created will grow until in seeps into your bones and you are so far into a book coma you'll wonder how you'll ever get out....although I for one hope I never do.
5/5



Monday, February 4, 2013

Release Day Blitz - Ashes & Ice by Rochelle Maya Callen


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Title: Ashes & Ice
Author: Rochelle Maya Callen          
Release Day: February 4th, 2013
Genre: Young Adult
Blitz Host: Lady Amber's Tours

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She is desperate to remember.
He is aching to forget.
Together, they are not broken.
But together, one may not survive.

​Jade wakes up with no memory of her past and blood on her hands. 

Plagued by wicked thoughts, she searches for answers. Instead, she finds a boy who doesn't offer her answers, but hope. But sometimes, when nightmares turn into reality and death follows you everywhere, hope is not enough. 

LUST. LOVE. LOSS. Sometimes, all that is left are Ashes and Ice

Autrhor Bio:
Rochelle grew up dreaming up stories. When she entered high school, she tucked away her creative side and jumped head-first into academics, work, and service projects. She graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Political Science and Communication when she was twenty years old. After years away from her writing, Rochelle picked up a pen and started fleshing out a character sketch that she outlined when she was twelve. That sketch was the start of the Ashes and Ice story. Rochelle lives in the DC metro area with her husband and daughter. By day she works as a behavioral therapist. By night, she is a dreamer and is busy tapping out new stories on her keyboard.

Links:
twitter: rockyiswriting

Excerpt

He smiles a bit wider and hands out the pin.
            As, I reach to pluck it from his palm, he snatches my wrist with one hand, my bicep with the other and crushes me against his chest.
            His grip is tight—too tight, it hurts—and the bend of him hovers over me, leaning in. I try to shake him off, but he doesn’t let go. I squirm as I feel his thumb trace circles on the inside of my wrist. The touch sends a skitter of sensation over me. Something tinges the air; a sweet, cool feeling brushes over my skin, making my knees want to buckle. He smells like mint, his breath tickles my face. I pull back, hating the sensations that please my skin and curdle my insides. Bile surges in my throat. I tear myself away from him, glaring.
            “What?” He says coolly as if he hadn’t just bruised my arms with his clutching fingertips.
            “That. Hurt.” I say. I don’t say he smells sweet or his breath is refreshing on my skin or his touch sends chills up my spine, delicious chills. I step away.
            His smile is unnerving. “Don’t worry, Jade.” He winks at me. Damn that wink of his. “One day, you’ll like it.”

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Review: Prodigy by Marie Lu

Title: Prodigy (Legend book 2)
Author: Marie Lu
Age Group: Young Adult
Release Date: 30th January 2013
Publishers: Penguin Teen Australia
Available from: Amazon
The Book Depository
Source: Penguin TEEN Aus 

June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the two join a group of Patriot rebels eager to help Day rescue his brother and offer passage to the Colonies. They have only one request—June and Day must assassinate the new Elector.
It’s their chance to change the nation, to give voice to a people silenced for too long.
But as June realizes this Elector is nothing like his father, she’s haunted by the choice ahead. What if Anden is a new beginning? What if revolution must be more than loss and vengeance, anger and blood—what if the Patriots are wrong?

___________

It's not often that you read the second book in a series and have it be better than it's predecessor, but Prodigy is just that. I absolutely loved Legend and was so excited when Penguin Teen sent me Prodigy. It continues on from Legend, with Day and June on a train bound for Los Angeles to find the Patriots. While they are searching for the rebel group, the old Elector Primo dies and his young son Anden takes his place. The Partiots believe Anden to be exactly like his father and recruit Day and June to help assassinate him. 

June's job is to get close to him and inform him of the Patriots plan. Of course she is giving him false information, she has to make him believe that an assassination is planned in one place when it's actually going to occur in another. As June spends more and more time with Anden she begins to question the Patriots plan. She's discovering that he may not be like his father; Anden has big plans to reshape The Republic into something better, but he needs the support of the people and the only way he is going to be able to convince the people that he isn't a tyrant is to have June and more importantly Day, back him. June's loyalty is really put to the test; she discovers more about herself and what she truly believes in. She is loyal to The Republic and it's people but realises there has to be a way to save them from destruction.

Anden is a great addition to the story; you're lead to believe he's just like his father, but throughout the book we are given an insight into his character. I was never sure if how he was portraying himself to June was just a facade  or his actual personality. Lu keeps you guessing and it added a new dimension to the whole story line.


Meanwhile Day is helping The Patriots in anyway he can, and is determined for the Elector Primo to die, so they can pull down the corrupt government of The Republic and rebuild it.The Patriots monitor June all the time and while he is watching a feed from an interaction she has with Anden, he catches a glimpse of a signal they made up. He doesn't understand why she would send him the signal or what it means. Could she have discovered something or was she letting him know that she had returned to The Republic and wouldn't go a head with it? Day is always fighting for what he believes in and it was interesting to see him question whether or not destroying The Republic is what is needed for the people, or if Anden could be what they need to build it into something greater.

I really enjoyed seeing more of June and Day's characters in Legend. Sometimes in books like this, character development is only a small part of a novel with the action and story line taking center stage. Lu manages to combine all these elements to give us one incredible read. Her world building is outstanding, and it's so easy to get swept up into the story and the tale of deception, romance and intrigue. Prodigy is a heart-pounding, adrenaline fueled read. 
5/5