Thursday, 28 February 2013

Guest Post: Rapunzel's Red Hair By Kate Forsyth


Welcome to the fourth stop on the Bitter Greens Blog Tour. Today I'm bringing you a guest post by the lovely author of Bitter Greens, Kate Forsyth. Bitter Greens is a spectacular novel and there will be a link to my review below. Today Kate will be talking about why she decided to give her Rapunzel red hair. So here we go, over to Kate: 


A year or two ago, I was having lunch with the UK writer Philip Ardagh and telling him about the book I was then researching and writing - BITTER GREENS, a retelling of the ‘Rapunzel’ fairy tale. 

‘Is your Rapunzel a blondie or a foxy?’ he wanted to know. 

‘Foxy,’ I said at once. I knew just what he meant. Many paintings of Rapunzel have the maiden in the tower with beautiful flowing red hair, and that was how I imagined my heroine to look. 

Red hair runs through my novel like a glittering thread. Margherita, my maiden in the tower, has red-gold. So too does the witch who imprisons her. She is a courtesan and muse to the famous Venetian artist Tiziano Veceill (Titian), who painted a particular shade of red-gold hair so often that it is now called ‘Titian hair’. 

Here are thirteen fascinating facts I found out about red hair while researching BITTER GREENS: 

1. Red hair is a recessive gene, which means both parents must carry the gene in order to have a child with red hair. Recessive traits often come in pairs, which means redheads are more likely to be left-handed than people born with another hair colour. (My heroine Margarita is left-handed) 

2. It is the rarest of colours. Only 1-2% of the entire world’s population have red hair.

3. Scotland has the highest percentage of redheads in the world at 13%. 

4. Some say Adam, the first man, had red hair since the Hebrew word ‘adom’ means red. 

5. In Ancient Egypt, redheads were buried alive as sacrifices to the god Osiris. 

6. The ancient Greeks believed redheads would turn into vampires when they died. 

7. In ancient Rome, redheaded slaves were worth more than slaves with any other hair colour. 

8. During the witch hunts of the 16th and 17th centuries (the times in which my novel is set), many women were burned at the stake for no other reason that having red hair. 

9. Hitler is said to have banned the marriage of redheads 

10. Red hair rarely turns grey, and redheads bruise more easily and require greater amounts of anaesthesia 

11. Red hair is thicker than any other hair, but they have fewer individual hairs. A blonde has approximately 140,000 hairs on their head; redheads only 90,000. 

12. So many people find redheads irresistibly sexy that a term ‘rutiluphilia’ has been coined to describe a red hair fetish. 

13. On the opposite scale, so many people have an irrational fear and loathing of redheads that the term ‘ginger phobia’ has entered our lexicon. There has even been a case of murder with the only motive being the murderer’s hatred of red hair. 

That's one really interesting post, Thank you Kate! I actually love some of these facts. 

About the Book: 

Bitter Greens
Release Date: 25th February 2013
Publisher: Allison and Busby
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 542

Synopsis: Bitter Greens is an historical novel for adults which interweaves the Rapunzel fairytale with the true story of Charlotte-Rose de la Force, a 17th century French writer who wrote the version of the fairytale we know best, while locked away in a convent by the Sun King, Louis XIV, for her bold and unconventional views on love and society. 

Charlotte-Rose has scandalized the court by falling passionately in love with a young nobleman, then dressing up as a dancing bear to rescue him from imprisonment. Banished to a strict Benedictine convent by the king, she remembers her life and loves at the magnificent and corrupt court of Versailles. Charlotte-Rose is filled at despair at her imprisonment, but she is comforted by an old nun, the apothicairesse at the convent, Sœur Seraphina, who tells her the secret history of a young girl in 16th century Venice, who is sold by her parents for a handful of bitter greens …

Margherita’s parents love her dearly but the penalty for stealing in Venice in the late 16th century is cruel, and so they agree to give up their child at the age of seven to Selena, a courtesan whose walled garden is famous for its herbs and flowers. Selena is the famous red-haired muse of the artist Titian, first painted by him in 1513 and still inspiring him at the time of his death, sixty-one years later. Called La Strega Bella, Selena is at the centre of Renaissance life in Venice, a world of beauty and danger, seduction and betrayal, love and superstition. Selena is determined to never surrender the power that her beauty gives her, and so she turns to black magic and a spell that requires the blood of a virgin. Yet in the decadent world of Renaissance Italy, where courtesans supped with kings, where convents were hotbeds of illicit love, and where a girl’s virginity was sold many times over, how was Selena to ensure her spell would work, not just once, but over and over again? The only way was to build a tower without door or stairs, deep in the forest … and this is where she locks Margherita at the age of twelve. As Margherita grows into womanhood, she sings in the hope someone will hear her. One day, a young man does and climbs her rope of hair into the tower … and so begins a beautiful love story that retells one of the world’s most mysterious and enduring fairytales.

The story of Margherita’s escape from the tower is interwoven with flashbacks that recount Charlotte-Rose’s tragic childhood and her scandalous life at the Sun King’s glittering court, and also the dark and tragic story of the courtesan Selena and how she came to be Titian’s muse. Three women, three lives, three stories, all braided together to create a compelling story of desire, obsession, black magic, and the redemptive power of love.

About the Author: 

Kate Forsyth is the award-winning and bestselling author of more than 20 books for adults and children ,translated into 13 languages. She was recently named in the Top 25 of Australia's Favourite Novelists. Since The Witches of Eileanan was named a Best First Novel by Locus Magazine, Kate has won or been nominated for many awards, including a CYBIL Award in the US. She’s also the only author to win five Aurealis awards in a single year, for her Gypsy Crown series of children's historical novels. Kate’s latest novel, Bitter Greens, interweaves a retelling of the Rapunzel fairytale with the scandalous life story of the woman who first told the tale, the 17th century French writer Charlotte-Rose de la Force. It has been called ‘the best fairy tale retelling since Angela Carter’ and ‘an imaginative weaving of magic, fairy tale and history’. A direct descendant of Charlotte Waring, the author of the first book for children ever published in Australia, Kate is currently studying a doctorate in fairy tales at the University of Technology in Sydney, where she lives by the sea, with her husband, three children, and many thousands of books.

Please visit Kate Forsyth's WEBSITE and BLOG for more information. You can also find her on FACEBOOK and follow her on TWITTER.

Thank you to Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and Amy Bruno for letting me take part in this tour. Also thank you to the author for writing an incredible book! You guys can find the rest of the tour over here. You can also find my five star review of the novel here.  

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Blog Tour: Bitter Greens By Kate Forsyth


Welcome to the third stop on the Bitter Greens Blog. I am super excited and pleased to be hosting Kate Forsyth and her enchating novel over the next two days. Today you will find a 5* review from yours truly and then tomorrow I will have a guest post from Kate. So without further ado, check out my review of this truly breathtaking novel: 

Bitter Greens
Release Date: 25th February 2013
Publisher: Allison and Busby
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 542

Synopsis: Bitter Greens is an historical novel for adults which interweaves the Rapunzel fairytale with the true story of Charlotte-Rose de la Force, a 17th century French writer who wrote the version of the fairytale we know best, while locked away in a convent by the Sun King, Louis XIV, for her bold and unconventional views on love and society. 

Charlotte-Rose has scandalized the court by falling passionately in love with a young nobleman, then dressing up as a dancing bear to rescue him from imprisonment. Banished to a strict Benedictine convent by the king, she remembers her life and loves at the magnificent and corrupt court of Versailles. Charlotte-Rose is filled at despair at her imprisonment, but she is comforted by an old nun, the apothicairesse at the convent, Sœur Seraphina, who tells her the secret history of a young girl in 16th century Venice, who is sold by her parents for a handful of bitter greens …

Margherita’s parents love her dearly but the penalty for stealing in Venice in the late 16th century is cruel, and so they agree to give up their child at the age of seven to Selena, a courtesan whose walled garden is famous for its herbs and flowers. Selena is the famous red-haired muse of the artist Titian, first painted by him in 1513 and still inspiring him at the time of his death, sixty-one years later. Called La Strega Bella, Selena is at the centre of Renaissance life in Venice, a world of beauty and danger, seduction and betrayal, love and superstition. Selena is determined to never surrender the power that her beauty gives her, and so she turns to black magic and a spell that requires the blood of a virgin. Yet in the decadent world of Renaissance Italy, where courtesans supped with kings, where convents were hotbeds of illicit love, and where a girl’s virginity was sold many times over, how was Selena to ensure her spell would work, not just once, but over and over again? The only way was to build a tower without door or stairs, deep in the forest … and this is where she locks Margherita at the age of twelve. As Margherita grows into womanhood, she sings in the hope someone will hear her. One day, a young man does and climbs her rope of hair into the tower … and so begins a beautiful love story that retells one of the world’s most mysterious and enduring fairytales.

The story of Margherita’s escape from the tower is interwoven with flashbacks that recount Charlotte-Rose’s tragic childhood and her scandalous life at the Sun King’s glittering court, and also the dark and tragic story of the courtesan Selena and how she came to be Titian’s muse. Three women, three lives, three stories, all braided together to create a compelling story of desire, obsession, black magic, and the redemptive power of love.


Review: Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth is an enchanting retelling of Rapunzel combined with the real tale of Charlotte-Rose De la Force. Bitter Greens is a brilliant novel, I cannot get over how overwhelming and beautifully written this book is. I really wasn’t expecting it and now here I am adding it to the top of my best reads of the year. Not only do we get a historically accurate setting but also some very strong female characters who showed us their strengths in different ways. 

Bitter Greens is told from three different points of view. We get the scandalous life of Charlotte-Rose De La Force as she is banished from court and sent to a convent. There she stands out like a sore thumb, nobody cares about court life and hence Charlotte-Rose is a nobody, dressed in a black dress to look like everyone else. We get to see Charlotte rebel against the nuns and her only friend comes in the form of Sœur Seraphina who tells Charlotte the tale of girl who was sold by her parents. 

We then get Margherita’s point of view, she’s a young girl who at the age of seven is taken from her parents because of one of their actions before she was born. The pretty red-haired girl is stolen from her parents and locked up in a tower by the witch La Strega Bella, to live out her short life helping La Strega Bella stay young and youthful. 

Then we get some chapters from the witch La Strega Bella or also known as Selena. We get to see her past and how she became a witch and what made her twisted outlook on life develop. We see how she becomes infatuated with the thought of eternal youth and would stop at nothing to get it. 

All of the female characters were so well developed and we were shown how strength in women appears in different ways. I loved the little flashbacks we got to the character’s past so the reader could learn where and why everything was the way it was. I loved these parts of the novel where we saw the characters innocent before being changed and influenced by the world around them. Their stories were all interwoven brilliantly to create one breath-taking story. 

Bitter Greens also has a strong feminist streak throughout the novel, I’m not sure if the author did this on purpose or if the characters just took over. I loved it though. We got to see Charlotte ahead of her times and rebelling against the King. The scene when her mother is arguing with the king also struck a chord with me, she wouldn’t back down to him even when it was a women’s place to. She had her beliefs and she would tell them to him whether he liked it or not. Also Selena the Venetian courtesan who proved to men that women are not the weaker sex and she soon got her revenge on any man that crossed her path. It’s this book that made me want to explore the whole world of feminism more because these strong female characters are so inspirational even in this day and age they are role models. I want to thank the author for making these incredible characters that will stay with me for a long time. 

The writing was so beautiful and flowed so well, the reading was effortless and you could tell from the start this was going to be a masterpiece. The historical world was so detailed too and in your mind you could just easily slip into the past and join the crowds. Oh I loved this novel. It was such a delight to read and I could never put it down, I wanted to keep reading even at the end. I am sure I will read more books by the author in the future especially the upcoming The Wild Girl.



About the Author: 

Kate Forsyth is the award-winning and bestselling author of more than 20 books for adults and children ,translated into 13 languages. She was recently named in the Top 25 of Australia's Favourite Novelists. Since The Witches of Eileanan was named a Best First Novel by Locus Magazine, Kate has won or been nominated for many awards, including a CYBIL Award in the US. She’s also the only author to win five Aurealis awards in a single year, for her Gypsy Crown series of children's historical novels. Kate’s latest novel, Bitter Greens, interweaves a retelling of the Rapunzel fairytale with the scandalous life story of the woman who first told the tale, the 17th century French writer Charlotte-Rose de la Force. It has been called ‘the best fairy tale retelling since Angela Carter’ and ‘an imaginative weaving of magic, fairy tale and history’. A direct descendant of Charlotte Waring, the author of the first book for children ever published in Australia, Kate is currently studying a doctorate in fairy tales at the University of Technology in Sydney, where she lives by the sea, with her husband, three children, and many thousands of books.

Please visit Kate Forsyth's WEBSITE and BLOG for more information. You can also find her on FACEBOOK and follow her on TWITTER

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Blog Tour: The Murmurings By Carly Anne West


Welcome to this stop on the Murmurings Blog Tour. Here you will find my review of the YA thriller. Read Write and Read Some More is incredibly pleased to be hosting this book and author. At this stop you will find my review of the novel and my favourite quote. Also be sure to enter the giveaway at the end! 

The Murmurings 
Release Date: 5th Match 2013
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Format: Ebook
Pages: 384

Synopsis: A teen girl starts hearing the same voices that drove her sister to commit suicide in this creepy, suspenseful novel.

Everyone thinks Sophie’s sister, Nell, went crazy. After all, she heard strange voices that drove her to commit suicide. But Sophie doesn’t believe that Nell would take her own life, and she’s convinced that Nell’s doctor knows more than he’s letting on. 

As Sophie starts to piece together Nell’s last days, every lead ends in a web of lies. And the deeper Sophie digs, the more danger she’s in—because now she’s hearing the same haunting whispers. Sophie’s starting to think she’s going crazy too. Or worse, that maybe she’s not…

Review: Just the cover of this novel is really creepy and promises the reader they are in for a scary ride. Although after reading the novel the cover really doesn’t convey what’s inside the book, for one this book is not as scary as the cover itself it. 

The Murmurings follows Sophie, a teenager who just happens to hear murmurings in her ear and feels hot breath on her neck. She thinks she’s going crazy and wants to stop the madness in her mind. She knows her sister Nell heard the voices and she ended up killing herself. Sophie doesn’t want to suffer from the same fate and knows she needs to find out more about her sisters last days to get the bigger picture. Did her sister really commit suicide or were the mysterious murmurings behind it all? 

Sophie is an odd character. Yes we feel sorry for her because she’s suffering because of the murmurings but apart from that I didn’t relate to her very much at all. She was whiny and quite lazy really; she didn’t do much at all. She just drove back and forth from school, oakside institution and the little town of Jerome. And when she’s at home she complains about her mother and then wallows in her grief reading her sisters diary. Apart from that her character did do the job but there wasn’t anything else to her, she isn’t a character I will remember after reading. 

Then we have Evan who came into the whole novel all too conveniently. Ok, Sophie has been at the same school for ages so why all of a sudden should this boy Evan start talking to her? Hmm and then he also has a relative who happens to hear some murmurings. I think the reader will realise that this is all happening so the novel can move swiftly on. There’s no other reason. Oh and their relationship was just so plain, there was no chemistry and gosh he annoyed me. 

Nevertheless I went into this book wanting a scary spine-chilling story; I didn’t really care about the characters I just wanted to read a good scary story aimed at YA. There were some really freaky things in the novel, like the weird rotten women who comes out of the mirror after Sophie, now that was freaky. The murmuring didn’t really scare me as that’s all it was mumbling. The institution freaked me out as I personally am intrigued by them and in the novel it was interesting to see an institution that focuses on the supernatural. Leaving all normal mentally ill people to practically waste away. It was horrible in a way that it was morally wrong. Overall though this was nowhere near as scary as I would have liked. For a novel that has been marketed as a horror, it really disappoints in that category. We also get information about Takers and Seers but even now I don’t have a clue what they were trying to explain to us. 

Overall The Murmurings is a readable YA Horror novel but don’t expect to be chilled to your bones. I was expecting so much more and was disappointed. If you’re looking for an average spooky story then try this but die hard horror fans will be disappointed.


My Favourite Quote: "There's something quiet about you, like you've lived an entire lifetime already." 

Giveaway: 


Thank you to the author and Shane at Itching for Books  allowing me to be a host on the tour. You can find the rest of the tour hosts over at Shane's site. Thank you for stopping by! 

Monday, 25 February 2013

Long Night Moon By S. M. Reine

Long Night Moon
Series: Seasons Of The Moon #3
Release Date: 3rd March 2012
Format: ebook
Pages: 183
Source: Bought

Synopsis: Something is killing innocent people around Rylie Gresham's town. The police think it's a wild animal, but she has other suspicions. There are new kids at school, and they have a lot in common with her: gold eyes, super strength, and a habit of turning furry. It seems Rylie's not the only werewolf around anymore.

It's up to Rylie and her werewolf-hunting boyfriend, Seth, to stop the killings. But saving lives doesn't come naturally to a monster, and territory battles could risk the life of her sickly aunt--not to mention her own. Rylie has no choice but to stand her ground, protect her home, and stop the murderers before anyone else gets hurt.

Review: This is book three in the wonderful Seasons of the Moon series By S. M. Reine and it certainly keeps the reader engrossed. It’s fast paced from the first page right until the end and even then I was sitting there wanting more and practically shouting NO! to anyone who would listen. This book stirred up so many emotions in me, it was superb. That ending is a killer and it’s now got a place in my heart for books that keep the reader guessing and then completely blow their mind. Reine has really upped the notch in this novel and the stakes just keep getting higher. 

Long Night Moon begins when Seth stumbles upon a dead farmer, who has literally been torn apart by an animal. When Rylie turns back to her human self, she wants to know if it was her but Seth reassures her it wasn’t as he followed her most of the night. Seth discovers there have been more killings recently and what’s even more suspicious is the two new werewolves who have just moved to town. Rylie knows she will need to show the intruders that this is her territory and they need to back off but it seems these new werewolves know a lot more than Rylie and they just want to talk to her. Things aren’t what they seem and things in Rylie's personal life aren’t any better. Her aunt is seriously ill and her boyfriend’s brother might be turning into a werewolf. Then there’s the matter of the school dance, add in two new werewolves and a bunch of killings and things really aren’t going to go smoothly. Rylie and co need to put a stop to these killings before someone else gets seriously hurt. 

In this novel we get to see Rylie battle some more of her personal demons. She has to cope with her ill aunt and this puts so much pressure on her to do things right. We see her struggle to cope while the wolf wants to prey on this weak victim. Rylie also has to cope with a threat to her territory which is a first for her and the wolf is not going to stay quiet for long. There’s also this new attraction to Abel, Seth’s brother, which excites the wolf inside of her. Rylie has to battle so many of her inner demons while keeping a cool head and trying to act as normal as possible. But it’s so hard and we see her struggle with it and you just want to go and hug her. She does grow a lot in this book and learns many new lessons that she will need in the future. 

We get a few chapters from Seth’s point of view which is rather interesting in this novel. We get to see how he interacts with his brother and how he’s cautious of this new side to his brother. These new werewolves were different… to say the least. I didn’t like them though no matter how much they tried to help Rylie and prove they were friends I just couldn’t get past the fact that they turned up in her territory and flaunted in front of her. Oh and the weird Wiccan man was giving off some horrible vibes and I didn’t like him at all. 

I did really enjoy Long Night Moon although some things I wasn't so sure about such as the new additions to the cast of characters but I can live with that. The mystery was brilliant, maybe even better than usual. The action was fast paced and gosh that ending was mind-blowing. It was so good. I just can’t begin to fathom how? Reine you really do keep your readers on their feet. 


Sunday, 24 February 2013

Letterbox Love (#32)


Letterbox Love is a weekly meme hosted by Narratively Speaking. The UK book bloggers have joined together and made a British version of IMM, and here it is. I'm proud to be a UK book blogger so this seemed like an excellent new meme to participate in.

Hey guys! This is a two week edition as I didn't have time to post last week. The upcoming week on the blog will be jam packed with blog tours and reviews. Be sure to check back next week! Remember you can also enter to win a copy of The Nightmare Affair By Mindee Arnett, I will post the link below. 

Here's what I got this week:
The book links will take you to the book's Goodreads page.


For Review:
Received this for review from Harper Collins. Thank you! 

Bought:
I have heard so much about this book and thought it was time to give it a go! 

I've been dying to read this, I'm such a huge fan of the series and this is the finale!


Won:
I won this from Gollancz and I cannot wait to read it. It's a retelling of Snow White by the incredible Sarah Pinborough. 

Thank you to Bloomsbury for these and the rest of the book swag!

Won: 


Sci Fi and Fantasy Cloth-bound classics By Harper Voyager:
-Magician By Raymond E. Feist
-The Once and Future King By T. H. White
-A Game Of Thrones By George R. R. Martin
-Assassin's Apprentice By Robin Hobb
-The Hobbit By J. R. R. Tolkien 
-I Robot By Isacc Asimov
-Farenheit 451 By Ray Bradbury

I won these gorgeous special editions from Harper Collins Publicity and they are so damn gorgeous  I cannot wait to read them all!

Weekly Wrap Up: 

I would love to see what you received this week, leave a link in the comments below! 
Happy Reading!

Friday, 22 February 2013

Blog Tour and Giveaway: The Nightmare Affair By Mindee Arnett


Welcome to this stop on The Nightmare Affair Blog Tour. Read Write and Read Some More is incredibly pleased to be hosting this awesome book and very talented debut author. At this stop I will feature the book and my favourite quote from the novel. Also there will be a international giveaway! 

The Nightmare Affair
Series: The Arkwell Academy #1
Release Date: 5th March 2013
Publisher: Tor Teen
Format: Paperback
Pages: 367
Source: Received from author.

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

Literally.

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 Favourite Quote: "Just because someone has the power to do something doesn't mean they will. Sometimes people choose to be good even when they don't have to."

I was lucky enough to get a review copy from the author and you can find my 5* Review here. The Nightmare Affair By Mindee Arnett. 

Here's a quote from my review: 

"The Nightmare Affair is an enchanting novel, with fast paced action and plenty of mystery that will keep the reader flipping through the pages until the very end."

You can find the book at these places: 



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.

Giveaway: 


Trailer: 



Thank you to both Mindee Arnett and Shane at Itching for Books for allowing me to take part in the blog tour. Be sure to check out the rest of the stops on the tour, they can be found here. Thanks for stopping by! 

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Lorien Legacies #4 Title Reveal!

I am a huge fan of the Lorien Legacies series by Pittacus Lore and you must go and read the books if you haven't already, as they are mind-blowingly awesome! Anyway earlier today the I Am Number Four facebook page revealed the title to the fourth novel in the series and I thought I'd share it with you guys as it's pretty awesome. The title for the fourth book is: 

-

-

-

The Fall of Five

All of the titles in the series have a cryptic meaning and this one's no different. I am so damn excited for this novel now! How mysterious is the title, we must be in for a whole big adventure with our favourite characters. Although it does sound like there will be fatalities, oh gosh! Can the summer hurry up so I can get my hands on a copy? 

What do you guys think of the Title? 
You can find my review of the Rise of Nine By Pittacus Lore, Book three in the Lorien Legacies series here

Florence By Ciye Cho

Florence
Series: Florence Waverley #1
Release Date: 1st July 2012
Format: Ebook
Pages: 366
Source: From Author to review.

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Florence Waverley is out of her depth. Literally. Kidnapped and taken below the waves to the mer world of Niemela, she is the ultimate gift for merman Prince Kiren: a human familiar tied to his side. But nothing is what it seems amid the beauty and danger of a dark ocean.

Every Niemelan has a role to play, from the mermaids who weave towers out of kelp to the warriors who fight sea monsters. But in trying to survive, Florence will end up in the middle of a war between the mer and the Darkness. A conflict that will push her between two brothers: Kiren, the charmer inexplicably drawn to both her and the monsters; and Rolan, the loner who has been pushing her away since the day they met. But in order to take a stand--and find out where she belongs--Florence will have to risk it all: her life, her heart... and her very soul.

Review:  The author asked me a while back to read and review his novel. I accepted but didn't get around to it until recently. The novel sounds very interesting, a young girl taken hostage to be the familiar to a merman. How awesomely creepy does that sound? I'm pretty sure most of you know that mermaids in some peoples views can be evil nasty creatures and I was very interested in seeing how Ciye created them. Although this was a good novel it had some problems which I shall explain in a moment. 

We join Florence as she's on a school trip, it's here she's taken down into the depths of the ocean by a merman. She's taken and hidden away but soon one of the princes realises the mistake his soldiers made. When he asked for a familiar for his brother he didn't want a human. Angry he tries to get rid of her but his father the king of Niemela finds out about her and is just as angry as his son. The mermaid princess Yolee saves Florence and takes her on as a personal assistant  With the help of a polyp a little creature attached to her neck she can swim and breath underwater just like any mermaid. Florence's presence sends a stir through the world of Nimela and she soon sees that their underwater world is threatened by the Darkness. Trying to make sense of this new world, she has to choose between the two princes and deciding whether to go back to the surface or live in Niemela forever. 

At first Florence's character really had some spark. You could easily relate to her as she didn't fit in her school and she was always trying to hide amongst others. She didn't want people paying any attention to her. We've all been there some time in our life and we can relate to that easily. We then see her passion for photography shine through when she goes to take underwater photos. When she's behind the camera she lets everything go, she has confidence. Then she's pulled under to Niemela and her whole world is turned upside down. The thing is she wasn't that shocked about it. There seemed to be a lull in character and plot during the next third of the book where, I think the author focused more on the setting than anything else. Florence is really let go here and we don't really get much from her, she's just a bland girl whose lost all spark and that was worrying. Where had the quirky girl we met at the start gone? Just over half way through she comes back with a vengeance and I loved it. She soon stood up for all the things she believed in even if this meant defying all rules of Niemela. 

We then have the two brothers who were battling for the right to rule Niemela. Kiren the prince who was about to take over the thrown and he draws Florence towards him. I honestly did not like him at all even from the start he was too smug and we soon got to know the real him. Rolan on the other hand was the sensible brother who was very drawn back and not very sociable. I loved him from the start, how he was very moody and mysterious. Even though he wasn't very warm towards Florence at the start, he was the only one who saved her and came to her side in times of need. The coin really did flip from Kiren being the nice brother to becoming the freaking worst and then Rolan being very dark and moody to becoming, well, lovely. I will let you discover more when you read the novel. 

The description in this novel was incredibly beautiful. The world was so detailed and in depth, everything was described so well. I just wanted to float down in the ocean and watch the world of Niemela pass by. Oh and the Darkness was so creepy it really gave me chills. The monsters were horrible and made you flinch, but then the lovely animals inside Niemela were so cute. Ciye Cho was a master at creating an uniquely beautiful world that will leave the reader in awe. 

This is where there were problems. About a quarter of the way into the book, once Florence was in Niemela  the author seemed to be so focused on the description and setting that the character and plot fell flat. And this goes on until just over halfway through the book. The novel loses it steam and really drags on the reader, there were times I wanted to put the novel down and just stop as things got so boring for me. I'm glad I didn't though as things did pick up again in the end and I'm glad I stuck with it. 

The world of Niemela is magical and so enchanting you'll be dreaming of the vivid world, Ciye Cho has created. This is an charming read about mermaids and mermen, and all the Darkness that surrounds Niemela. If your looking for an enchanting new world to fall into this book will be great for you. Yes there are some drawbacks but the book soon comes flipping back to the surface and leaves you gasping for breath.


Monday, 18 February 2013

All Hallows' Moon By S. M. Reine

All Hallows' Moon
Series: Seasons of the Moon #2
Release Date: 5th September 2011
Format: ebook
Pages: 189
Source: Bought

Synopsis: Rylie survived becoming a werewolf at great cost. She moves to her aunt’s ranch in the hopes she can enroll in a new high school and quietly continue her life... with a few distinct changes. She transforms into a beast every new and full moon and struggles to control her murderous urges.

Without many werewolves left, it’s hard to stay in hiding. A family of hunters -- Eleanor, Abel, and Seth -- recognize the signs and follow Rylie to her new home. They want to stop her before she murders someone, and the only way to do it is with a silver bullet. Seth soon realizes the werewolf is Rylie, the one monster he failed to kill. Worse yet, he’s still in love with her.

Torn between family and love, Rylie struggles to reconcile her feelings and control the wolf within while Seth fights to do what’s right. But what is right-- obeying desire or duty?

Review: All Hallows Moon is the epic sequel to Six Moon Summer. In this book we get to see Rylie's character grow and develop in a new environment and it's very interesting. Reine's writing is still on top form and doesn't disappoint in the slightest  The reader is hooked from the first pages and is gripped in Rylies jaws until the very last page. We got to see many more characters come into play and each were very interesting and all had a part to play in Rylies future, be it good or bad. 

All Hollows Moon follows Rylie as she goes to live at her auntie's ranch to try and escape her life before the change. Rylie thinks moving will solve all of her problems but instead it adds some more to the equation. After her first change some of her aunts cows are slaughtered and Rylie believes she knows the culprit Rylie thinks she will be able to work away on the ranch and not interact with people if she can help it but her aunt thinks very different. Her aunt decides that Rylie must go to school if she wishes to stay with her. Grudgingly she goes but her inner wolf doesn't like it one bit. She ends up causing trouble on the first day when she lets the wolf lose control. All of her actions are drawing a group of hunters towards her and they will kill her. Things get worse when Seth enrols at her new school and she realises that his family are the group of hunters and she is their prey. His family will stop at nothing until she's dead. 

In this novel we really get to see how much the wolf has changed Rylie and how she's always battling it for control. We see how she is becoming more wolf like in herself and how she sees everyone at school as prey. Rylie has to act as normal as possible but when there's a wolf inside you, it won't always rest. She gets into trouble in this book because the wolf takes over, and we get to see how she reacts to it when shes back to being herself. We see Rylie put through quite a bit in this book, we see her pain, anger, sorrow and even panic. It was great seeing this so very detailed and developed character becoming even more complex and realistic. 

We learn more about Seth and his family of hunters in this book and it's really interesting. His mother was such a brilliant villain. She was so cold and just plain evil, she didn't care about anything except killing wolves. Even her sons fell down the ladder because of that. Abel, Seth's older brother has a huge scar on his face from when he was bitten by a werewolf. We know that with Seth's help he resisted the wolf and remained human. We truly get to see the piece of work he is, he doesn't care about anything except his family. Seth has to make a big decision in this book, will he betray his family or the girl he loves? It all depends on his answer. We saw their lifestyle and how they were constantly moving and living off the most basic of things all because their calling in life was hunting wolves, they didn't do anything else. 

Again the world building was brilliantly done! I want to go to the ranch and explore the grounds, it was just so detailed and described, it really conveyed that homey feeling. You realise why Rylie loves it so much. As far as sequels go this one was great, it kept up the fast paced action from book one and the plot was complex and so good! It really doesn't disappoint readers of the series. 


Friday, 15 February 2013

The Nightmare Affair By Mindee Arnett


The Nightmare Affair
Series: The Arkwell Academy #1
Release Date: 5th March 2013
Publisher: Tor Teen
Format: Paperback
Pages: 367
Source: Received from author.

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

Literally.

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.

Review:  I was incredibly lucky to receive a paperback copy of The Nightmare Affair from Mindee Arnett herself! It was a complete surprise and I'm still giddy thinking about how I was one of the few people to get my hands on a solid copy, instead of an ebook before release. Thank you so much Mindee! Now onto the novel itself, to put it simply I loved it. It was so magical! It incorporated magic, paranormal and fantasy elements all into one novel and it was written so well. The novel was fast paced and full of action that grips the reader from the start. It was a journey with some incredible characters and ones I cannot wait to read about again. I don't normally compare books to others but this reminded me of Harry Potter in the way that it is a strong novel which follows incredible characters who try and solve a mystery before it's too late. Ooh and the world was incredible, I would love to be one of the may magic kinds and attend Arkwell academy! It would be so awesome! 

Dusty Everhart is a Nightmare and to survive she has to feed on peoples dreams. To do so she has to sit on top of her victims chest. Dusty cannot chose who to feed from, The Will does for her. The Will is a mystical energy that keeps all of magic kind in check and prevents them from harming one another. If the Will wants you to do something, it will pull at you to make you comply. Dusty breaks into a house and when she see Eli asleep in the bed she tries to turn around and run but The Will will have none of it. Dusty reluctantly begins to feed from Eli's dreams but she soon realises that his dreams are too realistic and what's worse is he's dreaming of a murder. To top it off the unthinkable happens, Eli wakes up and find Dusty upon his chest. How embarrassing! Dusty escapes back to the academy only to find that the murder has really taken place and a student has been killed, exactly like in the dream. Dusty realises that she's somehow connected to the dreams and murders so she begins to try and find clues, hoping she can stop the killer before he strikes again. 

Dusty is the only Nightmare at the Arkwell Academy, one of three in the whole area she lives in. They are very rare and hence others are afraid of her. Dusty is used to being teased and taunted about her powers and she knows that it's not worth arguing back. Not only is she a rare Nightmare she only came into her powers a couple of months ago, while everyone else knew what they were from the very beginning of their lives. Dusty really sticks out at the academy but what I really liked about her is that she didn't let it get her down, at all. She continued living her life without a backward glance. She was a typical teenager full of anger at her mother for not always being there for her and leaving her alone with her human dad when growing up. She was also a really fun character full of humour which she may have used quite often at the most inappropriate times. She was just an all round great character, yes she had flaws just like real people do, but that's what made her a believable character! 

Ok, Let's talk about the incredible fleshed out world that is featured in the Nightmare Affair. There are three categories of Magickind in the novel. You have witchkind, which are, as you can probably guess witches and wizards. Naturekind such as fairies and mermaids. And finally the group Nightmares belong to, Darkkind, also featuring demons and werewolves. Then you have the mysterious force that is the Will that keeps every group in check. It was really interesting plunging into this dark and vividly described world, so different to many others  which are around. Mindee Arnett has truly added a unique twist to the paranormal genre and one that is very original. I believe she is one of the first to step away from vampires, werewolves and angels and in doing so she has a fresh idea and she certainly hasn't lost anything from not including those.  I would even say that The Nightmare Affair is ten times better than other paranormal novels out there at the moment. I loved how the author also incorporated well know myths and legend into her own world with a supernatural twist. 

I really don't want to let this book go, I want to cling onto the last page until the second novel is released! Oh and after that ending, there promises to be more adventures with Dusty and co. The Nightmare Affair is an enchanting novel, with fast paced action and plenty of mystery that will keep the reader flipping through the pages until the very end. Mindee Arnett is a very promising new author whose debut novel will exceed all of your expectations! I cannot wait to see what she produces next! 


Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Speechless By Hannah Harrington

Speechless
Release Date: 1st February 2013
Publisher: Mira Ink
Format: Paperback/ebook
Pages: 288
Source: Netgalley

Synopsis: Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can’t keep a secret
Until now. Because the last secret she shared turned her into a social outcast—and nearly got someone killed.

Now Chelsea has taken a vow of silence—to learn to keep her mouth shut, and to stop hurting anyone else. And if she thinks keeping secrets is hard, not speaking up when she’s ignored, ridiculed and even attacked is worse.

But there’s strength in silence, and in the new friends who are, shockingly, coming her way—people she never noticed before; a boy she might even fall for. If only her new friends can forgive what she’s done. If only she can forgive herself.

Review: I've been very intrigued about this book ever since I first heard about it. I know Hannah Harrington is meant to be a very talented author and her first book is meant to be great, so I decided to request this novel for review. Speechless is a very interesting novel, because Chelsea decides to stop talking, she doesn't go mute or fall into shock, so I was really interested in how Harrington would deal with this. 

At the start of the novel Chelsea Knot is one of the popular kids at school. It all begins at a party when she discovers one of her classmates in bed with a fellow boy. Not being able to keep it a secret she rushes down and tells everyone. She didn't realise that two of her friends would go after the boy and beat him up for being disgusting. Noah only just gets away with his life. Chelsea feels so guilty for her actions she tells her parents what happened and gets the two of her friends arrested. It's because of this the popular group disown her. Chelsea decides to take a vow of silence so that her mouth doesn't get anyone else nearly killed. As an outcast she's now alone at school and people are beginning to pick on her. It's with this new silence that brings new friends and a better outlook on life. 

At first I didn't like Chelsea, she was stuck up and popular. The whole world would fall at her feet and she knew it, she went along with Queen Bee Kristen's every word. She wasn't very likable at the start, her whole persona was very all about her and how much gossip she could collect. She soon shows us that there's heart under it all when she turns in her two friends and this is where we begin to see the true person underneath. This vow of silence allows Chelsea to see the world from an outsiders point of view as all she can do is watch and listen. She soon begins to see the devastating affects her actions have on others and her eyes begin to open. She sees how much of a bitch Kristen really is and how she treats everyone like dirt. Taking this vow leaves Chelsea alone with her thoughts as she soon discovers who she really is. It was a great journey watching Chelsea find herself and begin to live her life to the fullest. 

Asha is an outsider too and begins to talk to Chelsea and they soon become friends. Chelsea is very cautious at first after all that's happened, but she soon realises that Asha needs a friend too. Asha introduces her to Rosie's Diner and it's here she meets Sam. Sam is Noah's best friend and isn't very keen on Chelsea's presence at first but he soon realises there's more to her than meets the eye. They become partners in art class and begin to talk through notes, it's here their relationship begins to spark. Oh and how it grows! 

One thing I really loved about this was the atmosphere that came with Rosie's. It really was like a character on its own. The atmosphere was so laid back and everyone had a laugh, it was a really great place to read about and everyone who worked there was fabulous! 

Speechless is full of hidden messages. The main and most obvious is the discrimination against gays and how they are treated as outcast. Harrington shows the reality of things that happen in high schools and how people won't say anything because they are afraid. This type of discrimination needs to stop after all it is the modern day and Harrington addresses this issue very well and it's a great read if you wish to know more about it. 

Speechless is a very interesting novel that contains many life lessons and shows that even at the hardest of times things can get better. It's a novel that teenagers should all read. I now must read Saving June.


Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Cover Reveal: Deception By C. J. Redwine


Guys!!! The cover for Deception By C. J. Redwine has just been revealed and I had to share the gorgeousness with you all! Although I haven't read book one, Defiance yet, (I know shame on me) Its high on my list. Anyway you're probably no longer reading this and have zipped down to the cover, so without further ado: 


Deception
Series: Defiance #2
Release Date: 27th August 2013
Publisher: Balzer + Bray/ Atom
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 400

Synopsis: Baalboden has been ravaged. The brutal Commander's whereabouts are unknown. And Rachel, grief stricken over her father's death, needs Logan more than ever. With their ragged group of survivors struggling to forge a future, it's up to Logan to become the leader they need—with Rachel by his side. Under constant threat from rival Carrington's army, who is after the device that controls the Cursed One, the group decides to abandon the ruins of their home and take their chances in the Wasteland.



But soon their problems intensify tenfold: someone—possibly inside their ranks—is sabotaging the survivors, picking them off one by one. The chaos and uncertainty of each day puts unbearable strain on Rachel and Logan, and it isn't long before they feel their love splintering. Even worse, as it becomes clear that the Commander will stop at nothing to destroy them, the band of survivors begins to question whether the price of freedom may be too great—and whether, hunted by their enemies and the murderous traitor in their midst, they can make it out of the Wasteland alive.


In this daring sequel to Defiance, with the world they once loved forever destroyed, Rachel and Logan must decide between a life on the run and standing their ground to fight

Oh My gosh just look at the gorgeousness! I didn't think they would be able to match the epicness of the cover of Defiance but they totally have and I am blown away! Can I just say, I want that girls hair so damn bad! 

Here's the first cover for comparison: 


US Cover / UK Cover

What do you think of the cover for Deception? Let me know in the comments! 

Monday, 11 February 2013

Six Moon Summer By S. M. Reine

Six Moon Summer
Series: Seasons of the Moon #1
Release Date: 29th April 2011
Format: ebook
Pages: 198
Source: Bought

Synopsis: Rylie's been bitten.

She's changing.

And now she has three months to find a cure before becoming a werewolf... forever.

Rylie Gresham hates everything about summer camp: the food, the fresh air, the dumb activities, and the other girls in her cabin. But the worst part is probably being bitten by a werewolf. Being a teenager is hard enough, but now she's craving raw flesh and struggles with uncontrollable anger. If she doesn't figure out a way to stop the transformation, then at the end of summer, her life is worse than over. She'll be a monster.

Review: You know you get those books where the world is just so realistic that you fall into it and the characters are so fleshed out that they are real? Yes, Six Moon Summer is one of those books. I sat and read this book on an spring day with the sun shining down upon me and the birds chirping outside and I felt that  I could be sitting at the summer camp with Rylie. I don't get that overwhelming feeling very often but I love it and how realistic and relaxing it is. Six Moon Summer is one brilliantly written book, it easily conveys the story without being overly complicated or descriptive and it's straight to the point. It was a lovely easy read that I cannot wait to explore further. 

Rylie's parents are going through a nasty divorce and to keep Rylie away from it all they send her off to Summer camp. Rylie does not want to be here and what's worse is the other girls don't want her there either and they will make her life a living hell until camp is over. That's the beginning of Rylie's problems, she then gets bitten by a werewolf and has four moons to find a cure before she ultimately turns into a mindless monster. With the help of the mysterious Seth, they find as much information as possible that they can gather at the camp while trying to make sure the werewolf doesn't strike again. Rylie begins to change and this makes the other girls back off but she becomes more violent and blood thirsty. She knows time is running out and it's only getting harder. 

Rylie's used to being in a city so when she's sent to summer camp, she isn't pleased in the slightest. The thing is she's written so well and doesn't come across as a stroppy teenager. I just want to write here that she is amazing! She's going through a tough time at home as her parents are going through a divorce and they've sent her away, she must be feeling pretty betrayed because of that. Then she has all of the stuck up rich bitches who are her cabin mates, who just want to make her time at camp hell. After all she is an outsider to them and the inner wolf will try and make them all pay for their actions. Rylie will try to get away from everyone and not participate at all but the camp leaders will not have that. She's forced to participate, the only person she can tell her secrets too is her journal and even that is ripped away from her. Rylie doesn't mind being rebellious and once she's been bitten this is in full force. The bite changes her, she becomes aggressive and bloodthirsty, she breaks out in a fever before every moon. I just love Rylie's character and how she grows throughout the book and how she sacrifices everything at the end. 

Seth was also an interesting character but he wasn't in the book all the time which allowed us to bond with Rylie and get to know her. I really liked how Rylie was mainly on her own allowing us to see and experience everything from her point of view without it being clouded with boys. It was so different to paranormal novels on the market, we don't get to see the love interest much at all and I loved this. It shows us that Rylie is a damaged but strong heroine who doesn't need a boy to save her whenever she gets into trouble. 

S. M. Reine has really added her own twist to the werewolf legend and it's very good indeed. I loved this book and everything about it. I don't think I found any flaws in it at all and I just happened to devour the next two books on the same day. Reine truly is a unique and talented author and I cannot wait to continue the series. If you're looking for a paranormal novel that is different and written incredibly well, then you should give this book a go. It is perfect! It was just the novel I was looking for.