Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Bookathonic: Spirits, Stilettos and a Silver Bustier (Pyper Rayne) by Deanna Chase

Spirits, Stilettos and a Silver Bustier by Deanna Chase



Blurb:
From New York Times bestselling author Deanna Chase, the first book in the Pyper Rayne series (a spin-off of the Jade Calhoun Series).

All Pyper Rayne—medium and coffee shop owner—wanted was the perfect vintage dress. What she got was a dead shop owner and a sexy ghost who’s suddenly everywhere—at her shop, in her car, and even lounging in her bedroom. But he’s not just any ghost. He’s a witch and able to appear in solid form…sometimes. If only he'd stop disappearing on her.

And Pyper needs his help. When she becomes target numero uno and the prime suspect in the shop owner’s death, it appears her ghost holds the key to solving the murder. In between stolen kisses, Pyper will need to get to the bottom of all of his secrets if she wants to stay alive and out of jail…and maybe finally get that date he keeps promising her.


Review:

I have read Deanna Chase before and really enjoyed her Jade Calhoun series which started off with the first book Haunting on Bourbon Street. New Orleans is the setting for these series, and is a great place to combine the contemporary and the arcane history of the place in all its forms, both of which, of course, New Orleans is renowned for. 

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This series is a spin-off from the Jade Calhoun books, and retains a good balance of the mystique paranormal world of witches, voodoo and magic, with the modern day retail world of a pastry shop, next door to a night club.


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The focus is set on Pyper, who has the unfortunate gift of liaising with ghosts, surrounded by her closest friends Jade a witch, and Kane a sensitive and astute hipster and savvy businessman. Objectify these images with strong personalities and crazy events, and the reader is left focused on a good mystery murder as the book morphs into a fine esoteric novel.

Pyper buys a ‘new’ dress for her art opening event, and the scene is set for a novel that quickly reaches plenty of action shooting out from multiple directions. Nothing is simple, too many doorways open and close in on Pyper leaving her in terror and fear for her friends, her favourite ghost whom she's scandalously in love with, and we won't even mention that the police department hates her.


Whoever said life was a walk in the park? Gardens are scary too.
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On Goodreads


Bookathonic Review: Chase the Dark (Steel & Stone 1) by Annette Marie

Chase the Dark by Annette Marie

Blurb:

Piper Griffiths wants one thing in life: To become a Consul, a keeper of the peace between humans and daemons. There are precisely three obstacles in her way.

The first is Lyre. Incubus. Hotter than hell and with a wicked streak to match. His greatest mission in life is to get Piper into bed and otherwise annoy the crap out of her. The second is Ash. Draconian. Powerful. Dangerous. He knows too much and reveals nothing. Also, disturbingly attractive — and scary. Did she mention scary?

The third is the Sahar Stone. Top secret magical weapon of mass destruction. Previously hidden in her Consulate until thieves broke in, went on a murder spree, and disappeared with the weapon.

And they left Piper to take the fall for their crimes.

Now she’s on the run, her dreams of becoming a Consul shattered and every daemon in the city gunning to kill her. She’s dead on her own, but there’s no one she can trust — no one except two entirely untrustworthy daemons... See problems one and two.

Review:

I saw this one had mixed reviews and this is why I persevered when I normally might have thrown this one to the wayside. The story started out truly wishy washy, and it wasn’t until just about half way through that it ramped up into some good story telling that gave the book some meat. It’s for this duality which leaves the book as a whole somewhat lacking, that I’ll stick with a score of 3.5/5 for this one.


The characters include a gormless chick, a smoldering daemon tall, dark and handsome, the cutie incubus who is really a great guy, and the truly nasty demonic incubus who is a true dickwad. So of course there’s a romantic angle here, let’s hope it doesn’t turn into a tiresome love triangle in future books.

The book is based around Piper (or Piperel to her father) who is the head honcho’s daughter, and overlooked because of her inability to chuck spells around the room. Ahh, the ‘not good enough’ child syndrome runs rampant here.  This girl can be really annoying: she asks stupid questions and jumps to premature stupid conclusions. Her saving grace is her devotion to her close family, and through adversity, her new friends. In the book, this is all that saves her from being too stupid to live.

I will read on to the next book, which curiously, I am looking forward to.


Goodreads 




Sunday, 29 March 2015

Bookathonic: Hidden Huntress (The Malediction Trilogy 2) by Danielle L Jensen

Hidden Huntress (The Malediction Trilogy 2) by Danielle L Jensen

Release date: 2 June 2015

5 Star Review


Blurb:
Beneath the mountain, the king’s reign of tyranny is absolute; the one troll with the capacity to challenge him is imprisoned for treason. Cécile has escaped the darkness of Trollus, but she learns all too quickly that she is not beyond the reach of the king’s power. Or his manipulation.

Recovered from her injuries, she now lives with her mother in Trianon and graces the opera stage every night. But by day she searches for the witch who has eluded the trolls for five hundred years. Whether she succeeds or fails, the costs to those she cares about will be high.

To find Anushka, she must delve into magic that is both dark and deadly. But the witch is a clever creature. And Cécile might not just be the hunter. She might also be the hunted…

Review:

This is a wonderfully written story, and as the second novel in this series, it perhaps even supersedes the first as it morphs in to entirely new directions.

The story takes off with a bit of a leap from the prior novel, and immediately sets a stage that sustains Cécile’s character through the bulk of the story. The main characters driving this series are Cécile and Tristan, and they continue to develop and strengthen as the novel pans out. Cécile is particularly notable as she matures into a more sophisticated woman and strikes out very much with her own identity as an adult.

Just when the reader feels that they have a grasp on where the novel is going and how the story is progressing, the tale twists leaving you unsure whether or not that is the where and why of it. Cécile’s family and her closest circle of peers continue to provide support even when all faith seems to have drained away. And let’s not forget Cécile’s mother – it’s sometimes amazing to grasp how many people have issues in this direction – and Cécile is no exception.
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I did inhale a wisp of hints from segments, but the entirety was certainly not visible and took a long time in coming to tie up loose ends. Of course, there are always more ends that I’m sure will spring up when we least expect them. This novel delivers a whole new angle on tangle theory!

The main thing that I have walked away with from this novel, is a stark admiration on how the story continues to keep fresh by introducing a metamorphosis of some description in each story. Having said that, I’m completely up in the air to exactly what direction book three will take, so I’ll have to hold out for the next set of discoveries. I already can’t wait for the next book…
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Book Courtesy of NetGALLEY

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Saturday, 28 March 2015

Movie: The Tomb with Sofya Skya, Wes Bentley & Kaitlin Doubleday based on the Edgar Alan Poe tale Ligeia



My absolutely favourite paranormal movie and song.  This is based on the short story by Edgar Alan Poe with this movie being released in 2009.  Sofya Skya is a native of Russia and ballerina.


The Third Throne: Angel of Darkness (Book 1) by Tabitha Barret.

 Tabitha Barret - The Third Throne: Angel of Darkness

Blurb:

The Angel of Darkness, Lucifer, is dangerously close to losing his soul to the evil surrounding him in Hell. Plotting to destroy the world, he makes one last attempt to save humanity. He must find her, the one who has been promised to him. She alone can cure him of his dark thoughts and remind him why he volunteered to rule the black abyss, but is it too late? Time is against him and even her love might not be enough to save him.

Michelle Black is a young woman desperate to escape her unusual life. She forever feels disconnected from the world because she can see the sins of men and knows their darkest secrets. She is haunted by visions of Hell, and tormented by an unknown voice in her head. Now the voice taunts her, threatens her, and begs her to join him, but she denies him, afraid that she is truly insane. One fatal decision changes her world forever.

Michelle awakens to find that she is now the servant to the devil. Lucifer whispers to her of love, but can she trust the king of lies? She cares for him, but what does the devil know about love? She is stalked by Hades, Lucifer’s second-in-command, as he tries to befriend her so that he may help end her suffering and ease her into a peaceful death. Is he trying to help free her from Lucifer’s madness or does he have his own selfish reasons for wanting her gone?

Review:


I'd make this novel a 3.5. This novel has great creativity and world building, and this new author certainly holds some good landmarks for increasing finesse in future works. This book includes sex, so would really be for a NA to mature audience.

The work is contemporary, and for the younger characters I would have liked the use of dialogue contractions, whereas with the traditional characters you expect a level of formality.

The main character, Michelle, is mostly likable. She has some annoying moments, but considering her levels of confusion and the quantity of misinformation constantly surrounding her, the reader can understand where her attitude stems from. The novel commences in a high school setting and progresses with increasing amounts of curiosity to where this book is taking us.
From high school, the world spins into an increasing spiral of mystery and it isn’t until over halfway that some of the answers are provided. Michelle finds magical powers within her, and the answers stem from the world building, but also involve the history of that world, including the history of the characters. The answers and the world building are a creative and an innovative take on otherwise traditional subject matter. I’m trying not to give anything away here, so all these comments may seem very esoteric, but when you read the novel you can tell why.  photo Ligeia tower lightening_zpsgqsjmt8j.gif.
The only mention on the negative side of things, is that the details become too extensive and start taking the spotlight away from the grist of the story.

The editing gets messier the further into the book. It starts off well, but loses ground by about a third of the way in. Unfortunately, this would seem to be a common enough problem for independent authors, and unfortunately, a spell check can only take you so far. So yes everyone, I would like to go through them all myself and track corrections! Ah but for an eye to detail.

It will be interesting to see where the next novel takes us, so here’s to waiting!
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Creativity 4
Writing 3
Innovation 4
Editing 2.5

Monday, 23 March 2015

Bookathonic: Stolen Songbird (1. The Malediction Trilogy) by Danielle L Jensen

Author: Danielle L Jensen

Blurb:

For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the ruins of Forsaken Mountain. Time enough for their dark and nefarious magic to fade from human memory and into myth. But a prophesy has been spoken of a union with the power to set the trolls free, and when Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she learns there is far more to the myth of the trolls than she could have imagined.

Cécile has only one thing on her mind after she is brought to Trollus: escape. Only the trolls are clever, fast, and inhumanly strong. She will have to bide her time, wait for the perfect opportunity.

But something unexpected happens while she’s waiting – she begins to fall for the enigmatic troll prince to whom she has been bonded and married. She begins to make friends. And she begins to see that she may be the only hope for the half-bloods – part troll, part human creatures who are slaves to the full-blooded trolls. There is a rebellion brewing. And her prince, Tristan, the future king, is its secret leader.

As Cécile becomes involved in the intricate political games of Trollus, she becomes more than a farmer’s daughter. She becomes a princess, the hope of a people, and a witch with magic powerful enough to change Trollus forever.

Review:


This ended up being a great tale. Initially, just before about a third of the way in it started to sag, then after that third and it really got going and from there maintained a pretty good pace keeping my attention fully engaged.

Through circumstances beyond her control, Cécile ends up in an atmosphere and a society that is way out of her comfort zone.
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In a society that is completely alien to her, she is subjected to new people that are defined by elitism and power. The lowest caste throws everything she has ever contemplated or believed, into a confusing realm of chaos.

Of course there is a significant love interest whom is far away from the type of character she would have chosen, even in her wildest dreams. This is an absolute challenge for her.
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As fate would have it, she is thrust into a situation that leaves her contemplating just where she should be going and where she is, in fact, going.

This novel creates a great alternative to the world as we know it, and has us questioning what is really out there, and do we know it? This tale is not too far of a step away from those who love authors such as C S Lewis (Narnia), Mervyn Peake (Gormenghast) and Lewis Carroll (so where did Alice go?) and George MacDonald (The Princess and the Goblin). I loosely use these comparisons, because, really, there is never going to be anything that comes close to the standards that have been set for readers who embrace alternative realms!
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Sunday, 22 March 2015

Weirdest things that happen to you..

Here's my weirdest thing:


A bloke in only his underwear once climbed from the balcony into my bedroom in inner Sydney when I was asleep on my own (at least he had a good body and was we were both in early 20's). So as not to make him panic and smother me with my own pillow, I said 'can I help you?'... After sitting on my bed, he had a little chat, then climbed back out. Turns out he lived next door and never looked me in the eye again. I understand he was tripping...  True story.


Weirdest thing to happen to a friend.


He was standing waiting for a train on an outdoor platform. It was a hot day so he decided to have a drink from a tap.  Turns out that there was a sizable huntsman spider in there.  It ran into his mouth and attached itself utilizing those little hairy barby things on its legs’ onto the inside of his cheek. The train comes along, people blatantly staring,  whilst he’s jumping around with his hand in his mouth trying to extract the beast. He did get it out, although the train had gone, and it didn’t even bite him…!
Here's an example of a huntsman spider, although it's not the actual perpetrator.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Bookathonic: Sunbolt by Intisar Khanani

Sunbolt Book One of the Sunbolt Chronicles by Intisar Khanani


Blurb:
The winding streets and narrow alleys of Karolene hide many secrets, and Hitomi is one of them. Orphaned at a young age, Hitomi has learned to hide her magical aptitude and who her parents really were. Most of all, she must conceal her role in the Shadow League, an underground movement working to undermine the powerful and corrupt Arch Mage Wilhelm Blackflame.

When the League gets word that Blackflame intends to detain—and execute—a leading political family, Hitomi volunteers to help the family escape. But there are more secrets at play than Hitomi’s, and much worse fates than execution. When Hitomi finds herself captured along with her charges, it will take everything she can summon to escape with her life.

Review: 

This is a well written and erudite YA novel set against a backdrop of mages, predators, and political wrangling.  The world is nicely rounded out and isn’t limited to one fixed culture and position, but rather branches out throughout the novel continuing to broaden its style and introduce fresh and diverse characters.


The principal character written, is a young girl of 15 years who has been subjected to many changes spanning out through both her education and experiences.  Hitomi, is left alone struggling to survive in a time of harsh changes amongst those driven toward ultimate power and position.  Hitomi, due to her wild ways, becomes an even greater victim than just her homeless position suggests.  Cloaked in secrecy she is bound by her own stringent code of honour to help those in jeopardy, thus putting herself in constant danger.


Hitomi is continually forced into battle having to rely entirely on her own resources as she attempts to extract herself from the clutches of the opposition.  As her situation spirals out of control, circumstance leaves Hitomi colluding with a natural enemy, ultimately leading her to discover new things about herself as she embarks upon a journey that takes her far away from anything she has ever known.


This tale ends beautifully as we await the sequel to Sunbolt, clinging to the knowledge that Hitomi will reveal things that will make her more the sum of her parts. I’m definitely holding out for the next novel which comes out this year.
Goodreads
 

Bookathonic: The Painted Maidens Trilogy by Terra Harmony


The Painted Maidens by Terra Harmony

Blurb:
A Complete set of The Rising, The Betrayed, and The Taking, plus bonus short story 'How I Met Your Mother'.

Seventeen-year-old Serena is the youngest member of a dying race. The increasing acidity of the ocean is destroying her home, slowly eating away at the once thriving underwater landscape. But since the night of Serena’s birth, it is an outside force that most threatens their dwindling population. Werewolves, who once served as protectors for mermaids in the Kingdom of the Undine, now seek to eliminate all who dwell in the ocean—and Serena is about to find herself right in the middle of the deadly conflict.

Given the title of Werewolf Liaison, Serena is determined to make things right for her people. When she ventures to The Dry, she meets Liam, the werewolf with hazel eyes, and her whole world gets turned upside down. As Serena discovers the real history between werewolves and mermaids, she is left wondering who her true enemies are. 

Review:

 

3.5/5 stars

I had very mixed feelings regarding this novel. The manner in which it is written is unusual; the sentences are very formal with few contractions, leaning towards a third person narrative.

This story is set in a wonderful underwater world of a dying paradise. The stilted formal society of mermaids and mermen is slowing losing it’s population through adversity, tragedy and prejudice. Our main character, Serena, is an intelligent mermaid full of a need to learn and a dangerous sense of curiosity which constantly leads her through a maze of peril and treachery.  Through no choosing of her own, Serena becomes a liaison to their natural earth enemy, the werewolves.


This tale leads us through convoluted path of discovery and betrayal in a never ending history of war and politics.


The novel is a slow read, spun into an intricate web of ever widening concentric circles, and is definitely focused very much towards a ‘tweens market


If you are a young teenage reader, love mermaids and their underwater world that leads you through times of fun and more times of trouble, then this read is certainly for you.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Bookathonic: City of Fae by Pippa Da Costa

Pippa Da Costa - City of Fae  

Expected Publication 7 May 2015

Blurb:

From the moment Alina touches London's hottest fae superstar, breaking one of the laws founded to protect all of her kind, her fate – and the fae – close in.

Below ground, the fae High Queen plots to claim the city as her own and places her pawns, ready for the battle to come. A battle she cannot lose, but for one small problem – Alina. There are four ancient keepers powerful enough to keep the queen in her prison. Three are dead. One remains … And to fight back, Alina risks sacrificing everything she has come to love.

This New Adult urban fantasy is packed with action and suspense and will have you yearning for more forbidden fae romance.

Review:

Pippa Da Costa has certainly lived up to our expectations with this new novel - let’s hope it morphs into a great new ongoing series.

Our world now includes a fae population which creates a whole new level to social and political agendas. The two principal characters have strong, well defined personalities which make for good dialogue and a potentially volatile romance.  Melding the two together in an ambivalent relationship gives the story an impression of emerging tiers. Warring personalities combined with warring agendas. The novel provides a fairly small group of supporting characters, put together as a whole, this gives the book the creation of a strong micro-niche of a fae and human London.

The plot brings in to play conflicts that surround their lives, both as individuals but also pressures that include their personal and workplace agendas. These include a reporter, a detective, a queen and a rock god.
To give the novel and incredibly good oomph is the sensational couple of twists that jump out a greet you.  Boo!  Sounds good? What more could we possibly want from an engrossing book?

Just for fun:


I have to say the spider factor is great. Just to put a smile on your face I'll mention a friend of mine was drinking from a tap, a huntsman actually crawled into his mouth and he had to get his hand in there to scoop it out. He had some fun with that - you know spiders have those little additional spurs/hairs on their legs for gripping? Yeh, it hung on to his cheek. He said he got some right funny looks from jumping around with his fist in his mouth. Irony - it was at a railway station... True story


Twitter: @PippaDaCosta