Sunday, 26 May 2013

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

I received a free copy of this book from the publishers with the agreement that I would give an honest review.

This is a book that took some getting into, it took me three goes before I got really engrossed.  It starts out quite slowly and then builds to quite an explosive ending.

Life for Cassie changes not when the mother-ship appears and not when her mother dies.  It changes the day her little brother is put on a yellow school bus by the soldiers and her father is murdered by the same soldiers.  When the camp they have been living in with other survivors of the first four waves is wiped out by one bomb.  Sure she's felt all the changes before that, when the power went out, when people died and when the scourge wiped out billions of people but she hasn't changed until then.  Or so she keeps telling herself.  She also thinks she's the only one who it's happening to, that's the thing with teens.  It's all about her.  When she gets shot on her way to get Sammy back she thinks she's going to die and that's when she has a re-think.  

When she wakes up in a cabin, hooked up to an IV drip she has more questions than she knows what to do with and Evan, her rescuer is not the chatty type.  When she is finally health enough to go for Sammy, Evan goes with her.  And for me, this is where the book really gets going.

Rick Yancey has written a brilliant book with strong characters who are challenged and tested and show just how resilient people, kids especially, can be.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Spirit (Elemental) #3 by Brigid Kemmerer

I received a free e-copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This is the third in a great series, I've only read a short novella and this book and I can say it's not necessary to read the first two. It would probably make it easier to understand who is who but it isn't really necessary. I found it quite easy to follow the story.

Poor Hunter, he's lost his dad and uncle, his mother is swamped with grief and his grandparents don't seem to like him. He's gone out of his way to help, doing chores without being asked and making sure he cleans up after himself. But it makes no difference.

It doesn't help that in the previous book he was taken in for questioning about some fires and then released. Something he had nothing to do with, he was just helping to rescue some kids.

Now he's had to put up with being hit by his grandfather and then thrown out of the house. He's been warned at school to stay away from Calla, the girl responsible for all the trouble, and even though he does as he's told, she doesn't make it easy. Turning up and causing trouble, ending with him being warned by the principle that he's going to get suspended.

When he finds himself having to avoid more people than Calla, he doesn't know what to do. He has had run-ins with Gabriel Merrick despite helping him to rescue the kids from the fires. Now there's a new girl in school named Kate and he's not sure of her agenda either.

Finding himself sleeping in his truck, he's feeling lost and alone. Michael Merrick, Gabriel's older brother, comes to his rescue. He gets him to help with his job and then takes him home with him. When he finds out what's happened to Hunter he tells him he can stay.

Overhearing a conversation that he thinks is about himself, he makes a mistake and trusts the wrong person. When it turns out Kate is working with the wrong person, he is unsure about what to do. When he discovers that she was sent to town with Silver to take out the Merrick's and the other Elementals that are causing trouble, he knows he needs to stop Silver.

With the death of Calla at the hands of Silver, he waits to see if the others that were helping her will stop what they were doing. Realising that nothings changed, he decides to stop them himself. With Kate's help he tries to work out what's going on.

When he works out what he's going to do, it's non-stop action until almost the end. I'm being a little wary here as I don't want to give anything away but I'm looking forward to the next book and I'm going to get the first two books as well.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

The Collector by Victoria Scott

I received a free e-copy of this book from the publishers with the intent to write and honest review.

Dante Walker is the Schizz... He's good-looking, has money, does whatever he feels like doing whenever he wants, the only down side is,, he's a Collector. He works for the Devil, A.K.A. The Boss Man. He's a Soul Collector. And he's got a new mission. He's been hand-picked by The Boss Man to get the soul of one Charlie Cooper. If he does, he gets the big promotion. No more going to hell to deliver souls, he carries on training new collectors but gets to stay on Earth permanently. Sounds like a doddle.

What he didn't expect was to find himself starting to fall for Charlie. When he starts to notice some of the people who he's already tagged a seal onto start to acquire Pink seals, he thinks it's Charlie. He thinks that somehow she is tagging people and she doesn't know she's doing it. Because the thing about Charlie is that she does everything she can to help others. She set up a volunteer program and the people who get help don't pay a thing, they just volunteer to do something for somebody else.

When Dante works out that he's being followed by another collector, he starts to wonder if the Boss Man is keeping tabs on him. He thinks that it's his best friend Max, who is also a collector, following him. But when he finds Max laid out in the stairs after being hit over the head with a fire extinguisher he realises it's someone else. There is another collector out there and they are after him and Charlie.

The Big Guy A.K.A God also has people who work for him, they are called Liberators and do the same job as Dante but the souls they collect go to Heaven. When Dante realises there's a Liberator looking out for Charlie, he realises that he needs to work fast. After lying to Charlie about who he works for, he gets her to sign a Soul Contract and talks her into changing how she looks. When he first met her, he thought she was ugly but as he gets to know her, he changes his mind but it's already too late as she's signed the contract. With each wish that Charlie makes, a little piece of her soul is tagged and the more that she changes, the more he wishes she hadn't signed. He even starts to care for Charlie's Grandma and friends. She has two friends who would do anything for her. And a Grandma who is ill.

When he finds out who the collector is who is trying to jeopardize his mission, he realises he needs help to protect Charlie and gets the Liberator to help him. What he doesn't know is that the Liberator used to be his friend Max's fiancée. So there is a great scene when they finally meet and realise who they are to each other. On top of Elizabeth Taylor no less. :-)

At the start of this book, Dante is very selfish and vain. After meeting Charlie and gradually falling in love with her and deciding he would rather die than let The Boss Man have her soul, he goes through a radical change, he's still vain, why wouldn't he be with his good looks but he's learnt to care for others, not just Charlie. At the end of the book he is a completely different person.

I'm fairly certain we will be hearing more about Dante and Charlie in the future and I look forward to it.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Breathless (Elemental series) #2.5 by Brigid Kemmerer

I received a free e-copy of this book from the publishers with the intent to give an honest review.

Although this is only a short story, it really draws you in very quickly and makes you want finish it in one sitting, which is exactly what I did.

Nick appears to be a normal guy, he's got his problems at home as every teenager does, he's got a girlfriend and he helps his eldest brother with the family business. He's also unsure about going to college. He's received a letter but hasn't got round to opening it yet.

When his girlfriend, Quinn, asks if he can pick her up from the studio, he goes and whilst there he meets her friend Adam. What he doesn't expect is to feel like his world has been tipped upside down. He's never really felt comfortable with girls and he can't be sure if he's gay, that is until he meets Adam. He's still not sure and he can't tell his brothers either. He doesn't think they will understand.

After he's dropped Quinn off at home and had after a fight with her, she's stormed into her house and got into an argument with her mum, who then throws her out. She ends up getting on the back of a motorbike and going to the beach with a couple of guys and getting drunk. Luckily one of the guys calls Adam and asks if he can come get her as she has passed out. Adam calls Nick and together they go to pick her up, after a quick discussion and a fight with one of the bikers they take her back to Adam's.

At this point I'm not saying anything more apart from this is a must read in this very interesting series. If you like your romance with a dash of paranormal then this is a series for you.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Jack Templar, Monster Hunter by Jeff Gunhus

I received a free copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Jack Smith thinks he's like any other thirteen year old boy, it's the day before his fourteenth birthday and he's noticed some changes. He's stronger than he was the day before, he's faster too. He has fast reflexes too.

When he stops the school bully from picking on his friend, he gets called into the principles office. Thinking he's going to get told off, he gets a shock when she turns into something else. He gets sent home and on the way there he meets someone who tells him that he is really Jack Templar, the last of an old family of monster hunters and that at dusk on his fourteenth birthday he will become fair game to all the monsters that live in his town.

From there it's a non-stop ride as Jack and Eva, a monster hunter who has come to town to help him train, must get home safe and survive the night.

This is a good, quick read that is a great start to a new series. If the next book is as funny and witty and action-packed as this I shall definitely be reading it.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Influential Magic by Deanna Chase

** spoiler alert ** I received a copy of this book free from the publishers with the intent to give an honest review.

This is a great start to a new series, fairies, vampires and witches, oh my.

Willow is a fairy who can make plants grow and enhances all the goodies that she bakes for her store. She's also an agent for the Void, a group that monitor and control the supernatural's in New Orleans. Besides being a fairy and being able to make goodies with a little bit extra in them, she can also sense vampires when they are around and has used this ability to help other agents stay safe.

She has just got back from looking after her mother when she is called into the head office, there she is given a new partner and sent on a mission to find out what is going on with the local vampires. Apparently there is an order out for her to be kidnapped. Finding out that her new partner is her old boyfriend, who broke up with her by text is bad enough news but finding out that he has been turned into a vampire is even worse. The fact that it was his choice doesn't make it any better for her.

Working with Davidson is hard and painful too if he touches her. For some reason, when a vampire touches her it causes great pain. Probably because she draws her power from life and vampires are dead. As she tries to find out who is trying to kidnap her, she must also wade through a ton of lies and misdirection. When she finds out that her best-friend Phoebe has already been working with Davidson she feels like she's being kept in the dark and starts to get angry, after all, it's her life on the line.

Dealing with a Master Vampire who doesn't quite tell the truth and a Director of the Void, who is trying to keep her locked up and experimented on, she is kept on the go and constantly looking over her shoulder. To make it worse, the Director is her aunt.

As if all that wasn't bad enough, she then gets told the real reason why her twin brother Beau was murdered four years ago.

With the help of her friend Phoebe and her pet dog who can turn into a wolf, she will find out more about herself and her family than she ever thought possible.

I'm really looking forward to the next in this series, it's well-written with great characters and storyline. It's a slightly different take on fairies and vampires and witches too.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

The S-Word by Chelsea Pitcher

I received a free copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

I really did want to like this book but found myself putting it down and wandering away. The topic is a delicate one, bullying, sexual confusion and suicide but it's handled in a very odd way.

Lizzie killed herself because everyone turned on her but no-body knew the full story, well one person did but that's getting ahead of myself. Angie is her best-friend and when she returns to the room they've rented for prom and finds Lizzie in a compromising situation with her boyfriend Drake, she is devastated. "How could Lizzie do that to her?".

When they return to school on the following Monday and someone has written slut on Lizzie's locker, that seems to be the beginning of a campaign against her, her car is vandalised, her dress for the school production is destroyed and people keep knocking into her accidentally on purpose. When her father finds out that she is supposed to be in a production of A Midsummers Night Dream, he forbids her from appearing in it. Thinking that the whole world is against her, she takes her own life.

But after it has happened the vandalism continues but with a slight change, suicide slut is now being written everywhere. Then there's the issue of pages of her diary being left in certain peoples lockers. Angie goes on a campaign to find out who is doing this, along the way she gets her eyes opened to what is really going on at the school.

She finds out about the other kids that are being bullied and also finds herself drawn to Jesse, a Mexican boy who everyone thinks is gay because he wears girls clothing on occasion. She learns about Lizzies' father, a vicar, who abused another friend when she was little. She finds out who drew a picture of Lizzie naked and e-mailed it to everyone, she finds out who Lizzie really loved and finally she finds out exactly what happened at prom.

Everyone wants to know if it's a ghost that is writing on lockers and leaving diary pages but it's not.

Without giving away the ending, Angie knows more than anyone else and sets about getting revenge on everyone who she thinks slighted Lizzie.

Although it is a difficult subject, the writing style is quite disjointed and rambling. But it does get the point across very well.

I look forward to reading more by Chelsea Pitcher.