Friday 29 March 2013

Dance the Moon Down by R.L Bartram

Publisher: Author's Online
Published: 4th November 2011
Pages: 300
In 1910, no one believed there would ever be a war with Germany. Safe in her affluent middle-class life, the rumours held no significance for Victoria either. It was her father's decision to enroll her at university that began to change all that. There she befriends the rebellious and outspoken Beryl Whittaker, an emergent suffragette, but it is her love for Gerald Avery, a talented young poet from a neighbouring university that sets the seal on her future. After a clandestine romance, they marry in January 1914, but with the outbreak of the First World War, Gerald volunteers but within months has gone missing in France. Convinced that he is still alive, Victoria's initial attempts to discover what has become of him, implicate her in a murderous assault on Lord Kitchener resulting in her being interrogated as a spy, and later tempted to adultery. Now virtually destitute, Victoria is reduced to finding work as a common labourer on a run down farm, where she discovers a world of unimaginable ignorance and poverty. It is only her conviction that Gerald will some day return that sustains her through the dark days of hardship and privation as her life becomes a battle of faith against adversity.

Dance the Moon Down, randomly titled but never mind, is the story of Victoria and her life after her husband goes off to fight in the First World War. As noted in the Author's Notes, not much thought is given to those left behind in the world wars and I think it is an important part of our history, you know how we coped as a country - or not, as the case may be.

This is typical historical fiction, fully immersing the reader in the world of suffragettes, rations, politics and manners. Bartram uses an interesting story-telling style, beginning at the end, as it were. Victoria, an old lady of 60, is watching tourists at her village monument and remembers her husband. She tells the story as if remembering it and living it at the same time. Well written, I might add, as I completely forgot she was supposed to be looking back most of the time! The story spans the whole four years, which makes it interesting to see how Victoria and her quest developed alongside the war efforts.

Victoria and Gerald, who met at university, were only married less than a year before war broke out and Gerald went off to fight for his country. I didn't really fall for Gerald, maybe because it was written kind of fast or because they were together for such a short time before he was shipped off to war. Anyway, Victoria is relentless in her quest to find out what happened to him after he stops writing to her, which leads her to the War Office - where she was tempted to stray, and honestly I didn't like her for that. But after she runs out of money and has to sell her cottage, she ends up working on a farm. There, she quickly loses her high-strung attitude and realises what it's really like for the women left behind and the people who were not as lucky as her in life.

Although this might not be for everyone, as it is an adult novel, it is a touching tale of never-ending love and the tough times of war. Bartram does a fantastic job of weaving the love story and the horrors of war leaking back into England. All in all, a well-worth read for any fan on the genre.

This went towards my genre variety challenge. And thank you to the author for the copy.

Monday 25 March 2013

Existence by Abbi Glines

Publisher: Wild Child Publishing
Published: 13th December 2011
Pages: 194
Format: ebook
What happens when you're stalked by Death? You fall in love with him, of course. Pagan Moore doesn't cheat Death, but instead, falls in love with him.

Seventeen year old Pagan Moore has seen souls her entire life. Once she realized the strangers she often saw walking through walls were not visible to anyone else, she started ignoring them. If she didn't let them know she could see them, then they left her alone. Until she stepped out of her car the first day of school and saw an incredibly sexy guy lounging on a picnic table, watching her with an amused smirk on his face. Problem is, she knows he's dead.

Not only does he not go away when she ignores him, but he does something none of the others have ever done. He speaks. Pagan is fascinated by the soul. What she doesn't realize is that her appointed time to die is drawing near and the wickedly beautiful soul she is falling in love with is not a soul at all.

He is Death and he's about to break all the rules.

This is the story of Pagan, the teenage girl that can see lost spirits. But then all of a sudden, one surprises her by actually speaking to her, which proves annoying at school. Then the soul is real! Really at her school, talking to other people, instead of just bugging her! This was the start of something that could have been awesome, a soul that wasn't a soul but something different. Unfortunately, it was really confusing and I almost skipped over the fact that this soul was suddenly real! Then there was a car accident that was a miracle she survived, even though she should not have. And Dank, the soul that isn't a soul, was being all brooding bad-boy, flirting with other girls but saying he really liked Pagan. Then she sent herself to a mental institute for no reason... yeah, this is what I felt when reading it.

I had such high hopes for this. It was an fascinating concept, Death being a teenage boy that falls in love, plus I've read Abbi Glines before and loved it, but this one fell short. It started out fine, if a little slow and confusing - just expecting the reader to understand that Pagan could see dead people - but all the little details, like the dead people thing and the seatbelt thing in the car accident took too long to piece together. And considering the whole Death thing is in the synopsis, it took Pagan way too long to put that together - I was on nearly 90% when she finally figured it out!

Even though I started out enjoying it, too many little things annoyed me. Like, stupidly, their names. What kind of name is Pagan? Or Dank? Or Leif? All in all, I really wanted to like this and even though I did actually like the characters, the story was almost too long-winded to keep up with all the small dramas that turned out to be important then not, and the huge events that were brushed over like they were nothing.

This went towards my ebook challenge.

Tuesday 19 March 2013

Speechless by Hannah Harrington

Publisher:  Mira Ink
Published: 7th September 2012
Pages: 288
Format: ebook
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.

Speechless is a story about a girl who can't keep her mouth shut telling a secret that nearly costs someone their life. Granted, she was drunk and shocked, but I kind of hated her a little when she spilled the secret. And I definitely hated the rest of them after what happened next. After this huge event that rocked the high school and the town, Chelsea takes a vow of silence.

I didn't know what to expect from this book, having never read anything by Harrington before but it was surprising how much I loved it. It was very open about the concept of bullying, the effects of witnessing it from both sides and how much it can hurt. Trust me, I know all too well the world Harrington captured perfectly. Chelsea came off as incredibly shallow at first, I really disliked her, but after she did the right thing of telling and after she was shunned from her "perfect" world and realised it was all hurtful gossip and back-stabbing, she began to behave like a real person and I really liked her.

After her vow of silence, she gets a lot of crap from students and teachers alike. But even though she nearly loses it a couple of times, I definitely would have, she just grows a tougher skin and learns to deal with it. The friendships she makes because of this, because she lost her superficial nature, are just brilliant. Asha is adorable and really sweet, Sam is the perfect geek - kinda love him! The sense of family she finds at Rosie's diner was exactly what Chelsea needed to feel like she was doing the right thing. After the days and weeks past, I wondered what it would take for Chelsea to speak again, and what did I wasn't expecting but at the same time, I wasn't surprised.

Although the main topic was bullying, Speechless also dealt with friendships and love, making it a really thorough and thoughtful read.

This counted towards my ebook challange. Thank you to Mira and netgalley for my copy

Saturday 16 March 2013

On My Bookshelf (13)

My own version of IMM and Letterbox Love. I've been trying to cut down on the books I buy, so these may be more spread out, at least until May when I hand in my dissertation and have nothing else to do!

God Save the Queen by Kate Locke
The Year is 2012—and Queen Victoria still rules with an immortal fist.

She's the undead matriarch of a Britain, where the Aristocracy is made up of werewolves and vampires, where goblins live underground, and mothers know better than to let their children out after dark. A world where technology lives side by side with magic, where being nobility means being infected with the Plague (side-effects include undeath) and Hysteria is the popular affliction of the day.

Xandra Vardan is a member of the elite Royal Guard, and it's her duty to protect the Aristocracy. But things get complicated when her sister goes missing. Xandra will not only realise she's the prize in a dangerous power struggle—but she'll also uncover a conspiracy that threatens to topple the empire itself.

A present from Sophie, along with its sequel. Thank you Sophie, it looks awesome!

The Change by Angela White (free)
500 Years into the future, nine of every ten babies conceived are female. Men have been enslaved for their own protection and the only way to get a mate is to enter the Network Games and fight for one. The catch? It's a live battle to the death and the competition is fierce.

Hopeless by Colleen Hoover
Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…

That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.

Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever.

Blood Calling by Joshua Grover-David Patterson
Lucy Leary's eighteen year old life is a wreck. Her parents divorced, she's earned a DUI, and her grandfather has died. He left her a single possession: A vampire slaying kit with a note that says, "They're real. Fight them."

Lucy finds answers in a place she never expected--the homeless shelter where she has to perform her community service. The Sundown Shelter is only open at night, and the man who runs it disappears during the day. But digging into the truth is dangerous. What Lucy learns will force her to abandon her life and confront an ancient vampire out to get her family.

Existence by Abbi Glines 
Seventeen year old Pagan Moore has seen souls her entire life. Once she realized the strangers she often saw walking through walls were not visible to anyone else, she started ignoring them. If she didn't let them know she could see them, then they left her alone. Until she stepped out of her car the first day of school and saw an incredibly sexy guy lounging on a picnic table, watching her with an amused smirk on his face. Problem is, she knows he's dead.

Not only does he not go away when she ignores him, but he does something none of the others have ever done. He speaks. Pagan is fascinated by the soul. What she doesn't realize is that her appointed time to die is drawing near and the wickedly beautiful soul she is falling in love with is not a soul at all.

He is Death and he's about to break all the rules.

The Eternity Cure by Julia Kagawa (netgalley)
In Allison Sekemoto's world, there is one rule left: Blood calls to blood 

She has done the unthinkable: died so that she might continue to live. Cast out of Eden and separated from the boy she dared to love, Allie will follow the call of blood to save her creator, Kanin, from the psychotic vampire Sarren. But when the trail leads to Allie's birthplace in New Covington, what Allie finds there will change the world forever-and possibly end human and vampire existence. 

There's a new plague on the rise, a strain of the Red Lung virus that wiped out most of humanity generations ago-and this strain is deadly to humans and vampires alike. The only hope for a cure lies in the secrets Kanin carries, if Allie can get to him in time. 

Allison thought that immortality was forever. But now, with eternity itself hanging in the balance, the lines between human and monster will blur even further, and Allie must face another choice she could never have imagined having to make.

Wednesday 13 March 2013

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

Publisher: Vintage
Published: 31st January 2013
Pages: 240
Format: ebook
'R' is a zombie. He has no name, no memories, and no pulse, but he has dreams. He is a little different from his fellow Dead. Amongst the ruins of an abandoned city, R meets a girl. Her name is Julie and she is the opposite of everything he knows - warm and bright and very much alive, she is a blast of colour in a dreary grey landscape. For reasons he can't understand, R chooses to save Julie instead of eating her, and a tense yet strangely tender relationship begins. This has never happened before. It breaks the rules and defies logic, but R is no longer content with life in the grave. He wants to breathe again, he wants to live, and Julie wants to help him. But their grim, rotting world won't be changed without a fight...

I have developed a slight thing for zombie stories. I have no idea how this came into being, especially considering I can't watch scary movies, but it is a thing none the less. And Warm Bodies was a surprising read, incredible and touching without losing what it is that makes it a zombie book.

Warm Bodies tells of R, a zombie with no memory of what he was before he died, only the initial of his name, but he is different. He has amazingly coherent thoughts and dreams and he himself was just plain awesome. I very quickly fell for him, even though he is pretty disgusting. He was sweet and caring, considering he's dead. And his interactions with Julie were priceless. Julie was pretty badass, having put up with so much already in her dying world then getting "kidnapped" by R but she doesn't lose it. They were a sweet pair that helped piece together R's memories and understanding of what had happened.

The reason for the zombie apocalypse wasn't really alluded to until the end, but as it was from R's point of view and he had no memories, it was sort of nice to just concentrate on the surviving aspect. But after you get to the Stadium, the miniature village tucked inside where it's safe, you get the impression of something awful. The breakdown of the world was well-written and scarily realistic, with an amazing commentary on the human condition. The extent of how much mankind can screw up out world is astonishing. It ended... not exactly happily, but at least with hope for a better future.

This went towards my Genre variety and ebook challenges. Thank you to Vintage and netgalley for my copy.

Friday 8 March 2013

Tigers and Angels Giveaway!

So I was clearing out my room - aren't you lucky? - and having a bit of a sort through of books and instead of just getting rid of them, I have two series that are worthy of a home!

First we have the Tiger Saga by Colleen Houck, the first of the series is Tiger's Curse:
Passion. Fate. Loyalty.

Would you risk it all to change your destiny?

The last thing Kelsey Hayes thought she’d be doing this summer was trying to break a 300-year-old Indian curse. With a mysterious white tiger named Ren. Halfway around the world. But that’s exactly what happened. Face-to-face with dark forces, spellbinding magic, and mystical worlds where nothing is what it seems, Kelsey risks everything to piece together an ancient prophecy that could break the curse forever.

Included in the bundle to win is the first four (Tiger's Curse, Tiger's Quest, Tiger's Voage and Tiger's Destiny), ready for the fifth and final part coming out this year.

Second is the Angel series (Angel and Angel Fire) by LA Weatherly
Ordinary mortals yearn to catch a glimpse of one of these stunning beings and thousands flock to The Church of Angels to feel their healing touch.
But what if their potent magnetism isn't what it seems?
Willow knows she's different from other girls. And not just because she loves tinkering around with cars.
Willow has a gift. She can look into people's futures, know their dreams, their hopes and their regrets, just by touching them. But she has no idea where she gets this power from.

Until she meets Alex…
Alex is one of the few who know the truth about angels. He knows Willow's secret and is on a mission to stop her.
The dark forces within Willow make her dangerous – and irresistible.
In spite of himself, Alex finds he is falling in love with his sworn enemy.

Angel Fever is coming out this November, perfect time to get the first part of the series!

- Two giveaway's, one for each series - you can enter both but only win one
- UK only - sorry guys this is coming out of my own pocket!
- Each giveaway will last two weeks

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday 4 March 2013

Devil's Due by Rachel Caine

Publisher: Mira INK
Published: 1st February 2013
Pages: 329
Format: ebook
In the series: Devil's Bargain
The psychic world will never be the same again...

Lucia Garza is trapped in a supernatural power struggle. To save a friend she adreed to work for sinister psychic organisation The Cross Society. But after a death threat that almost succeeds, she's starting to think they want her out of the way. Forever.

Worse, as Lucia uncovers the society's most dangerous secrets, she discovers that she's being used as a pawn between two warring paranormal factions. Caught in a battle no-one can win, Lucia's only choice could be to go against long told prophecy to destroy both the Cross Socitey and its sworn enemies. But what are the consequences of defying destiny?

Devil's Due is the continuation of Devil's Bargain, the story of two women who play a very important role in the shaping of the future. Unfortunately the sequel does not let on to anything else that might make it easier to understand why the Cross Society thinks so or what the hell is up with Max Simms! At least we got some more of Manny and Pansy.

Devil's Due is very much Lucia's story rather than Jazz's which was weird to begin with but very fast you realised why. Not to say that Jazz and Borden wasn't in the story, they were, but as their relationship - weird as it is - had already been formed, Caine focused on Lucia and McCarthy's this time round. And I must say that their relationship was awesome and yet a little scary when you find out the story behind it.

As I said, Devil's Due didn't release many more details on the Cross Society. We did see more of them and get some more hints and maybe it's just me and my lack of interest in politics but I did not feel like it cleared anything up! Also did not get told much of Lucia's past, which was frustrating because it's a big secret and as we were inside her head this time, you'd have thought we'd get some clue! But no. Luckily the sheer awesome that is Lucia and Jazz saved it, if only because they were just as confused by the whole situation but also managed to get some cool lines in and kick some ass. And boy did they!

Although no less confusing than Devil's Bargain, just to have more of the story is impressive and worth it, but you really do need to focus to get anything out of the convoluted plot!

This counted towards my e-book challenge, and thank you to Harlequin and netgalley for my copy.