Sunday 30 December 2012

Book Promo - A Shade of Vampire
On the evening of Sofia Claremont's seventeenth birthday, she is sucked into a nightmare from which she cannot wake.
A quiet evening walk along a beach brings her face to face with a dangerous pale creature that craves much more than her blood.
She is kidnapped to an island where the sun is eternally forbidden to shine. An island uncharted by any map and ruled by the most powerful vampire coven on the planet. She wakes here as a slave, a captive in chains.
Sofia's life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn when she is the one selected out of hundreds of girls to join the harem of Derek Novak, the dark royal Prince.
Despite his addiction to power and obsessive thirst for her blood, Sofia soon realizes that the safest place on the island is within his quarters, and she must do all within her power to win him over if she is to survive even one more night.
Will she succeed? ...or is she destined to the same fate that all other girls have met at the hands of the Novaks?

Author Bio
I’ve been telling stories ever since I could walk. Instead of having my parents read me bed-time stories, I would prefer to share with them my own made up tales.
As I grew older, I developed a passion for the fantasy genre, and more specifically vampires. I wrote my first novel when I was sixteen, and haven’t really stopped since.
I now work from home as a full-time author.
- Bella Forrest

Amazon link:

Saturday 29 December 2012

Book Review - Hidden

Title: Hidden
Author: P.C & Kristin Cast
Series: House of Night (book 10)
Publisher: Atom
Release Date: 16 Oct 2012
ISBN-13: 978-1905654888

At last, Zoey has what she wanted: the truth is out. Neferet's evil has been exposed, and the High Council is no longer on her side - but she's far from done wreaking havoc in the vampyre world.

With the seeds of distrust sown and Darkness breeding chaos at the House of Night, everyone must band together - but that's proving to be more difficult than ever before. The twins are barely speaking and the House of Night's former enemy, Kalona, has now become their warrior, pushing their trust to the limits. To top it all off, Zoey is pretty darn sure she might be losing her mind - she saw something when she looked at Neferet's minion, Aurox, through the Seer Stone that she can hardly explain to herself, let alone her friends. Zoey knows that following her instincts might be just what they need to defeat evil... but if she's wrong, it could cause the destruction of those closest to her.

With the tension at a breaking point and friendships on the line, can the nerd herd come together to stop the spread of Darkness before it's too late?

My Review
I really got into this series but waiting between release dates takes so long that by the time the newest one comes out I've forgotten most of what has happened. Luckily my friend also reads this series so when this book came into the library for me we had a chat about what had come before. I sort of had a vague idea where things stood so I decided to make a start with this.
Book 10 in the series this is really only for those who have read the rest of the series as there is a heck of a lot of back story come before. Other readers would be lost, but that works in a way as the story gets straight to the point and doesn't fill up pages trying to get you up to speed. And I did find that the story came back to me and I was once again immersed into the world and it almost felt like coming back to meet old friends. I am so invested with this series now that I feel like I know the characters. 
This book is relatively short at just 309 pages and I read this in about three hours. 
Things are getting worse for the fledglings at the House of Night, Neferet may have been revealed as evil but now she is open to do what she wants and she is not going to stop until she has control. 
Zoey and her group must come together and try to stop the Darkness from taking over but as friendships fail and new hurdles try to stop them along the way.
I still like Zoey as a character but she is not my favourite, Stevie-Rae has much more sass and attitude and Aphrodite may be a b with an itch but at least she says what she is thinking - you know where you stand with her. Shaunee is beginning to come into her own and is vastly becoming one of the front runners and I really like her, she is not full of fight and flare but she has a good inner courage and I can tell in the future she will be a great character. 
Neferet is a deliciously creepy enemy and makes your blood run cold, her black magic is seriously freaky.
 The plot is quite fast paced and carries you through the story, it's a whirlwind of battles, trouble and emotional upheaval. I really enjoyed it and was surprised by how much I got into it again. Sometimes long series can turn a bit sour but I was pleasantly surprised with this one.
Warning for younger readers there are swear words in it and some scenes containing sexual references. 

My Rating

2013 Challenges

So you may know that every year I sign up to various challenges, so far this year I have found 3 to join, but more will come later I'm sure.

First up is Annette's 'Books Read In A Day' challenge

I did this challenge this year too. and surpassed all the levels, I actually did 94 books for it. I found having the challenge would make me sit that little bit longer to finsih a book instead of putting it down for the night, so that was awesome. I am quite a fast reader anyway.

So just to be clear, here are the rules etc:

Taken from Annette's Blog:

What counts?
Audio (if you can listen in a day) and ebooks are OK.
Books must be adult, YA, or middle school books. No children's or picture books allowed.
No re-reads, however you can count books read for this challenge towards other challenges in which you are participating
Copy the button, create a sign up post and post the link below.
Not required, but very helpful if you would follow my blog. That way, when I do update posts, you will be aware so you can link to them.
Please post at least a few books that you intend to read for this challenge (that my help others add to their lists), but feel free to update your list as the year goes on.
Challenge goes from January 1, 2013 - December 31, 2013
Level 1 - Read 15 books
Level 2 - Read 25 books
Level 3 - Read 35 books
Level 4 - Read 50+ books
I am of course signing up for Level 4. Should be easily doable.
I'm not sure what I shall read yet. I can read an average YA book in a day usually (approx 350 pages max) so I'll see what I pick up. 
So head over to Annette's Book Spot to sign up. 
Secondly I am joining
'Finish the Series' challenge by 'Reading with ABC'
I have so many book series that I have started but not made time to go back to and read the newest installment. So this will be a great challenge for me. Might inspire me to finally get on with some of those books. 

Head over to her site to sign up too. :D

The third challenge I'm joining is:

'150 + Challenge' hosted by 'My Overstuffed Bookshelf'

Once again I  will be taking part in this challenge.
Here are the rules:

1. The goal is to read 150 or more books. Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate. Posting on GoodReads or wherever you post your reviews is good enough.
2. Allowed are: Audio, Re-reads, eBooks, YA, Manga, Graphic Novels, Library books, Novellas, Young Reader, Nonfiction – as long as the book has an ISBN or equivalent or can be purchased as such, the book counts.
What doesn't count: Individual short stories or individual books in the Bible and comic books.
3. No need to list your books in advance. You may select books as you go. Even if you list them now, you can change the list if needed.
4. Crossovers from other reading challenges count.
5. Challenge begins January 1st, 2013 thru December 31, 2013. Books started before the 1st do not count. You can join at anytime.
So far this year I have done 164 books so this should be achievable. I hope to get even more. :D
If you think you can do this, head over and sign up.

Friday 28 December 2012

FF (102)

Follow Friday is an opportunity to discover and follow other book related blogs! Want to join? Check it out at Parajunkee.

This week's question feature is
Meg  @ The Book Asylum

Q: What book do you think everyone should read? If you could gift the entire population with one book?

My Answer: As Parajunkee said on her blog, I think I should say 'The Bible' (which I am actually reading a bit everyday) but I'm not. My answer, now this is a tough question, there are so many amazing books, Harry Potter comes to mind, The Hunger Games of course, all of these have a very good messages in them. It's so hard to choose just one. 

I think I would say 'The Chronicles of Narnia', I know this is cheating a bit as it's a series but there you go. Such magical, moral and exciting books. Just incredible. A definite must read for all.


Happy Hopping & Blogging. :D

Book Review - Mist

Title: Mist
Author: Kathryn James
Series: Mist (book 1)
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Release Date: 1 Sep 2011
ISBN-13: 978-1444903065

There's something in the mist - as beautiful as starlight, as fierce as wolves, as heartless as ice.
Midnight, in the woods. Nell searches for her sister, who has disappeared into the mist. She's always thought the stories were old wives tales.
Have you heard of the lost girls? The go into the woods and never come back...
Nell knows she is way out of her depth, but she can't help being drawn to the mist ans to the mysterious Evan with his pale skin and charcoal eyes. Does he hold the key to saving her sister?

 My Review
This is another book I have had out of the library for ages, i almost gave it back a number of times but something kept me holding onto it, I just couldn't give it up. And I'm so glad I didn't because I really enjoyed it. 
I wasn't entirely sure what to expect with this book, one website classed it as a 'thriller' which put me off a bit but it's not scary at all, just exciting. 
Nell is our protagonist, a bit of an outcast, not into hair or make up - the opposite of her super popular sister Gwen. When she meets a new boy at school, Evan, she thinks she may have found a friend but he's even more unusual than her, and things start to get odd. Everyone knows they shouldn't go near the Mist in the woods, especially after dark. Gwen decides to have a birthday party in the woods after dark but when she suddenly disappears it's up to Nell to get her back.
Nell comes across as slightly wimpy and a bit out of it at the start of the book and I wasn't sure if I would like her, but something drew me to her and she does have hidden depths. When it really counts she steps up and actually takes a stand. 
Gwen is the typical stuck up, selfish sister who doesn't consider the consequences of her actions, but their sisterly relationship was real and through that you really hope Nell manages to get her back. 
Evan is a sort of typical YA boy, mysterious, cute, annoying, good, bad, conflicted, hero, everything all in one. You can't help but like him and then want to slap him. I like the building tension between him and Nell, it's great to have a YA that doesn't go through the whole 'insta-love' scenario, they start as friends and act like friends and you can feel the growing tension between them. I hope they meet again in book 2. I've already requested it and can't wait to read it.
This is a book filled with magic, mystery, adventure, and whole other worlds. It really captured my imagination and I love it. I read it in a couple of hours, I just didn't want to put it down. A must read. :D

My Rating

Book Promo - The Whispers of the Sprite

When Ania moves from London to Swansea city in Wales she is hoping that her life will get a bit more exciting, after all she is running away from her controlling mother to taste more freedom and feel more independent. Everything seems to be going the way she wanted until she almost dies while taking a quiet walk around the beach in the late evening.

When she opens her eyes, nothing seems the same...

She starts seeing people that no one else is able to notice. An enchanting looking man keeps following her and Ania’s life seems to getting more exciting than she ever wished for.

After the attack something changes inside her, she has been blessed with the new frightening gift of seeing and hearing sprites all around her... the magical creatures that only existed in folklore, myths and legends of Britain.

Gabriel is attractive and handsome but no ... he is not a vampire. He keeps coming back and Ania feels an instant connection between them but this might get her into more trouble. Supernatural romance is not on her mind right now.

Because he is forbidden to even touch her ... the line between the death and love has never been so thin and the sprites won’t stop whispering until ... she will choose to love or abandon Gabriel.
Author's bio
Joanna Mazurkiewicz was born in Poland. She moved to United Kingdom when she was only nineteen and just finished high school. She had aspired to be a writer upon completion of the Harry Potter series but also enjoyed reading books like ‘Gone with the Wind’, ’Animal Farm’ and ‘The doll’. She graduated from Swansea University with a bachelor degree in American Studies. While studying in the UK she made a decision to start writing fiction in English.
The “Whispers of the Sprite” is her first debut novel and she is currently working on the second book in the series. Joanna lives in Cowbridge, a small town in South Wales near Cardiff with her boyfriend Bruce. She enjoys cycling around Welsh countryside some of which has become the settings in her first series.  
I also attach the excerpt, cover and my pic

The tearing pain in my stomach wakes me up late in the night. The clock on the wall is showing a few minutes past 2 am.  The lower part of my body feels as though someone is tearing apart every inch of my skin, the excruciating sharp pulsing pain is penetrating my stomach. It's unbearable and I need to call for a nurse. I try to move a little but I am only making it worse. The hospital is encircled by solitude, my room is separate and I am alone. In the darkness, I try to find the switch to call for help but I am not sure where or which button to press. I look around the room, and I gasp in fear because I realise that I am not alone.
There is someone by the window once again, and my heart starts to accelerate. My subconscious is telling me to scream, the shock mutes my words. The pain is getting worse and I am in agony but my eyes are looking at the tall figure in the corner. I tell myself that he is only in my imagination and in few seconds, the room will be empty. I turn my head to the right and I open my eyes, he is standing right beside me. I am trying to concentrate on his face but I am on the edge of passing out. The doctor wasn't right about strong medication. In the darkness, the odd man looks real and if I had all my strength, I could reach out my hand and touch him. He places his palm on my forehead; his touch is warm and hypnotising. The pain slowly drifts out of my body and after a few seconds, I am dreaming about his thrilling azure eyes. 

Thursday 27 December 2012

Book Review - Seraphina

Title: Seraphina
Author: Rachel Hartman
Series: Seraphina (book 1)
Publisher: Doubleday Childrens
Release Date: 19 July 2012
ISBN-13: 978-0857531568

Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

My Review
I have seen a lot of hype for this book online and I absolutely LOVE Dragons so I decided to get a copy to try. It took a long time to come in and then I have a massive pile of books to read so it's taken me a while to get to. I've been having a catch up this Christmas and been storming through books, I decided to start reading this one and looked forward to another enjoyable book that I can lose myself in for a couple of hours. sadly it just didn't happen for me.
Seraphina is a young girl living in a community where Dragons take on Human form and live side by side with the humans, but each side still distrusts each other and war seems imminent. Seraphine has a dangerous secret that she has to hide from everyone around her, but as things get complicated around her she gets thrown into the heart of the fray.
The world is beautifully written and has so many layers and characters that it really does seem like a whole other place, but for me the storyline just seemed really slow. 
There were moments throughout that I got interested and things picked up but getting to those points was a struggle. The book started off quite slow but as it was introducing us to the world I was prepared to move through it, but for me it didn't ever really get quicker. I managed a mere 100 pages yesterday and struggled through the rest today. I just couldn't make myself pick it up, in the end I have to admit that I started to skim read. 
I thought the book and plot line itself was really cool, I loved how it was all set up and Seraphina herself was quite sassy and I liked her. I even liked the young Princess and the Prince (Kiggs). I could picture it and as I say - there were moments when I would get into it. But for me this just didn't capture my attention enough. 
I really wanted to love this but I couldn't find myself getting into it. I did read through to the end but didn't really care what was happening. I was also a little confused with you as human, dragon, half breed, royalty, imaginary, family. Everything just got turned around in my head.
Fans of fantasy and dragons will probably enjoy this and if you are prepared for a quite slow storyline and don't mind a lot of description then you will most likely love it. It just wasn't for me.

 My Rating

Wednesday 26 December 2012

Book Review - Cloaked

Title: Cloaked
Author: Alex Flinn 
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: 5 Mar 2012
ISBN-13: 978-0060874247

I’m not your average hero. I actually wasn’t your average anything. Just a poor guy working an after-school job at a South Beach shoe repair shop to help his mom make ends meet. But a little magic changed it all.
It all started with the curse. And the frognapping. And one hot-looking princess, who asked me to lead a rescue mission.
There wasn’t a fairy godmother or any of that. And even though I fell in love along the way, what happened to me is unlike any fairy tale I’ve ever heard. Before I knew it, I was spying with a flock of enchanted swans, talking (yes, talking!) to a fox named Todd, and nearly trampled by giants in the Everglades.
Don’t believe me? I didn’t believe it either. But you’ll see. Because I knew it all was true, the second I got CLOAKED.

My Review
When Beastly got made into a film last year I read the book and really enjoyed it (much better as a book anyway) and I really liked Flinn's writing style. I intended to read all her other books but just never got round to it, then I heard this one was coming out and i requested it at the library. It took absolutely ages to come in.
My friend and I tried to guess which fairytale this would be based on and of course we both guessed Little Red Riding Hood. We were both wrong, this is actually inspired by quite a lot of fairy-tales, but mainly The Frog Prince. Though a very different version.
Johnny works in his family's shoe repair shop on the Beach front, with every spare minute he has. It's just him and his mum now and bills are piling up, he knows he is likely to spend his entire life stuck there. That is until super beautiful,famous, Princess Victoriana comes to stay at the hotel and asks him for help on a quest. He needs to find her brother the Prince who has unfortunately been turned into a frog. 
He must embark on a dangerous quest, there is much at stake and a whole new world of magic opening up to him. 
I really liked Johnny as a character, he has moments suited to a typical teenage boy, but he is also sweet, thoughtful and hardworking. He is very endearing and you can't help but want him to do well.
In fact all the characters were very well written and very realistic. I felt like I knew them all. I think my favourite character was Meg, Johnny's life long best friend, sassy and refuses to be the weak girl, she wants to fight for herself.
I read this in less than 24 hours and I struggled to put it down. I am definitely going to find Alex Flinn's other books.
I love fairytale retellings and she does it wonderfully, opening up a whole new world full of endless possibilities.      

 My Rating

Guest Post - M L Sawyer

Good Morning Everyone!  (well, at least it’s morning for me as I write this in my home which is in a little town called Darley, not too far from Melbourne, Australia). 

Firstly, a little bit about myself.  I’m an author writing under M L Sawyer.  I also work full time as a real estate agent and I’m about to be a first time mum.  My current releases are young adult fantasy novels that are part of a series- Quest of the Demon, Tallen and Elflings (which just came out this December).  Instead of bombarding you about my books (which can be found through Amazon, Smashwords and through some book stores in Australia), I’ve decided to write about doing what you think you can, as opposed to giving up when others tell you that you can’t.

For me, Quest of the Demon was originally finished in 2001 where I promptly sent it out to publishers.  Epic fail.  I heard back from only one publisher after months and months with a polite no thanks.  The rest ignored me.  People told me to get published, it would be like winning tats lotto, so why bother?

Me, I’ve never been one to listen too hard to those who say you can’t, shouldn’t, won’t be able to… so I kept on writing.  At least the stories would eventually be finished and I’d know that I did what I’d set out to do.

So I kept writing, polishing my craft, working on my stories.  Every few years I’d do another draft of Quest of the Demon before sending it off to a publisher, just to test the waters… 14 years after I first began writing it, and one finally said yes!  It was a small publisher, but I didn’t care.  I love writing and I don’t do it for the money, I do it because I can.  The chance to see my work in print was so exciting!

So in March 2011, Quest of the Demon was released!   
Followed by Tallen in Dec 2011 and now Elflings just released in Dec 2012.

Even after Quest of the Demon came out, some people were supportive while others… let’s just say they hold their own opinions.  They hadn’t heard of my publisher before so they were of the opinion of ‘well, anyone can do that’.  I’m not a negative person, but sometimes you just want to say… well, I won’t say it here, but you can imagine...

My publishing journey didn’t stop there.  Of course, being a small publisher, my book didn’t instantly arrive in book stores Australia wide.  I had to get out there, so I researched marketing.  Everyone needs their own website – this is a given, but who has the spare money to pay for one to be set up for you?  So here begin the hard yards, I can write – but writing html?  What on earth is that? 

Information for whatever you want to do is out there, you just have to teach yourself.  In this instance google was my friend.  You can find almost anything on google.  So many late nights and a fair bit of trial and error and finally, I got my website up and running – I’m pretty proud of doing this all by myself considering I’m not all that tech savvy.  Even so, having a website doesn’t mean people automatically flock to it and instantly know about your work.

I also found out this newish medium called book teasers; like a short movie teaser for your book.  ‘What fun’ I thought.  I have never made a movie in my life let alone an animated one.  Again, much trial and error later, I finally have a you tube channel.  Now this is taken for granted by YA’s today, but when I was at school, Hotmail had just come out, not everyone had the internet and you tube, facebook, twitter – none of this existed!

So, for the book teasers, I’ll let you be the judge – again, there’s negative people out there but who cares, I had fun making them, whether they attract people to my work or not, if you’ve watched the video, you know about it. – Tallen (yes, that’s me narrating)

Not the most high budget of productions, but again, I had fun and they’re out there.  Moving forward, I’m now working on Silence Rising so it’s ready for release next year.  From there, 3 more books.  Subversion, Deceiver and… well, the final book which I haven’t named yet.  Who knows, maybe when the time comes I’ll have enough fans to run a book naming contest!

Anyway, to conclude my guest post, writing may not be your thing, but whatever it is you enjoy doing, do it.  Who cares what other people think or what your chances are.  J K Rowling was writing Harry Potter whilst unemployed – she was told she wouldn’t make it and some publishers turned down her books (how much are they kicking themselves now!)  Same thing happened with George Lucas, his script was turned down multiple times (writer of Star Wars)… how much is Star Wars worth now?

Life is full of setbacks and naysayers, but as long as you’re enjoying yourself, who’s to tell you that you can’t do something?  You’ll never know unless you try and even if it doesn’t turn out like you thought it would, you have the satisfaction of knowing you did that, it was you!  I find there’s no greater feeling.  

To help brighten up your holiday season, Quest of the Demon is free this month on Smashwords - - Happy reading!