22 August 2016

REVIEW: Demon Hunters

DEMON HUNTERS: TRINITY
by Olivia Chase


Pages: 240, paperback
Publisher: Hachette/Little, Brown Books
Publication Date: 8th of September
ISBN: 9780349002279
Received From:  Hachette


Summary 


For fans of Cassandra Clare, this kick-ass new series will keep you on the edge of your seat . . .With an occult detective for a dad, Diana's normal life has never been too normal. Uprooted by investigations, she finds herself on a long train journey to Edinburgh, sitting next to a boy who makes her heart melt. Or something melt. Anyway, she's melting. Maybe a new life in Scotland won't be so bad, after all?But when Di's recurring nightmares start to come true, her destiny changes for ever. After her dad goes missing, she becomes part of a Trinity of Demon Hunters. Along with her two new friends, she needs to face down death, rescue her dad and save their city. Because that's what Demon Hunters do, right?There's only one question left to answer: how do you kill a dead man?

Review

Where to start with this one? So this one isn't out for a couple more weeks but get it on your TBR lists now!!! I don't think I've read a book in a day in years but I just couldn't put this one down!! I needed to know what was going to happen and not even sleep was getting in the way of that! Chase's writing style flows effortlessly which made reading Demon Hunters: Trinity all the more enjoyable and the way she describes Edinburgh? Well lets just say I've already asked my parents if we can move there! 


Demon Hunters: Trinity is about a 16 year old girl moving to Scotland. Diana is originally a California girl but due to her Dad's ghost hunting career she moves more often than she would like. At the beginning of the book Di and her Dad move to Edinburgh on the hunt for more exciting supernatural occurrences but what they find is nothing like they imagine. I'm not sure even Jake Helsing has the equipment to tackle these demons. Days after arriving in the city Di discovers she is part of an ancient line of Demon Hunters and with her new friends, twins Vesta and Minerva, she will have to defeat a 400 old demon... I know, just the normal teenage stuff right? 

I'm going to start with the part I wasn't so sure about because I really want to get on with how much I loved this book! If you get told you are from a long line of demon hunters, no matter how right it might feel, don't you think you might be a little shocked? Well as shocked as Di was she got over it pretty fast and within a few hours was training to defeat the big baddy which to me just felt a little forced. I think I just needed a couple of days for the information to sink in, have her go about her business and then the twins could start pestering her and eventually she agrees to help... might have made it a little more believable to me. But that is just my opinion and there was an urgency to the who kill the demon thing to. 

Even with all the demons and stuff reading this book I was mentally packing my bags to move to Edinburg. Something about the way Chase writes it made me jealous of anyone who gets to call it home and I was half out the door by the time I had finished the book. The characters are well written, our main character Di is a perfect heroine by YA standards. She is eager to get stuck in, help and do her duty but at the same time frightened of what that means and most importantly not above making mistakes. Every good YA protagonist makes mistakes along the way, it's what makes them relatable.

Vesta and Minerva are amazing characters to read, there dynamic is effortless and I have a bit of a soft spot for Minerva, although saying that my favourite part by far is the relationship between Vesta and Sebastian! I mean if there is a reason to need a second book it is simply to find out if Seb grows a pair and asks her out!! I'm routing for you Sebby Boy!


All in all I really enjoyed this book, the characters are fun and eccentric, the setting is magical and endearing and the story arch makes it almost impossible to put down. I'm not really sure what more a book can offer other than that, well other than a great supernatural background and a villain that will make your skin crawl long after you stop reading. Which this book most certainly has! 

I personally can't wait for the second book, as I want to know what our trinity get up to next! 


15 August 2016

REVIEW: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD
by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne


Pages: 352 Hardback
Publisher: Little Brown UK
Publication Date: 31st July 2016
ISBN: 0751565350



Summary 


It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places. 
Review

HARRY'S BACK!!!!

It is no secret that I love Harry Potter, the books, the movies and everything else that comes with it. I'm still waiting on my letter from Hogwards but it's only 12 years late and you know what Royal Mail is like so I'm still hopeful. There really isn't much Rowling can do wrong in my book so I'm going to try my hardest to keep this as unbiased as I can but I would be lying if I said that is going to be easy.

So lets look at the facts shall we? It has been 19 years since Harry Potter defeated Voldemort in the Battle of Hogwards. For those who so tragically lost their lives you are forever in our hearts! Harry and Ginny got hitched and had three little brats of their own - James, Albus and Lily. This story starts where the 7th book ends, with Harry sending Albus (Albus Severus Potter to be exact) to Hogwarts for his first year and it follows him threw to his 4th. Just like his dad Albus has an ability to attract danger and gets himself into one or two tricky predicaments that he and the rest of the cast have to get themselves out of. It is also a script if you didn't already know this! It goes along side the west end production of The Cursed Child.

Okay now onto the gushing! Hogwarts is back in our lives! It is as magical as ever and just as we remember. The wizarding world has been able to pick itself back up after the whole Voldemort 'situation' and our favourite characters are leading the lives we always hoped they would! This is basically for all those people who have struggled to let go. It is the kind of Harry Potter story we have come to know and love!



This is the part were I try to be neutral - I watched an interview where J.K. said it was the next generation of Harry Potter but I think that is a bit of a stretch. The story is interesting and keeps you turning the page but it is definitely for the Harry Potter fans that already exist. In fact I fear that people who decide they are going to start their journey into this magical world with this instillment may be very much disappointed. As I said the story IS good, Rowling knows how to tell a story but there are so many references to the past it feels like it has been written just to appease the fans - NOT THAT I'M COMPLAINING!!!

For all die hard HP fans you wont be able to put this book down and you'll read it time and time again just like all the other stories. The appearances of all our favourite characters that we thought were lost forever and reading about our three childhood heros will be enough to make use love this book. However, if you look at it honestly it does feel a little repetitive and the core of the story does make me wonder why it was written. Now this might simply by because it is a script and on stage where you have the actors bringing the characters to life this could be one of the best Harry Potter stories to date but on paper it does feel like Harry Potter 2.0.

Actually feels like a sin to say anything negative about Rowling!


Maybe I just had REALLY high expectations for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child but it did fall a little flat. I felt there were too many characters from the past being bought back and the core of the story could have been a little stronger. HOWEVER, this is just my opinion and even with the negatives I will be reading this again and again and it will go on pride of place on my bookshelf next to the rest of the Harry Potter books. I think the issue I have is I just wish it felt like a new story and not just a continuation of a story that - in my opinion - was ended so perfectly with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows.

All in all I still really liked it though and come on... it's Harry freaking Potter!!!!


13 August 2016

PRE-RELEASE BLITZ: The Flame Never Dies


I am super excited to be a part of this pre-release blitz to help spread the word that THE FLAME NEVER DIES, the second book in Rachel Vincent’s The Stars Never Rise series, is releasing on August 16th!

For those that are already caught up on this series, the wait is (almost) finally over! For those that haven’t yet met Nina Kane or discovered the dark and dangerous world she lives in, there’s still time to catch up - and a really sweet deal (details below) that will make you want to move this series to the top of your reading pile!

Scroll down to learn more about THE FLAME NEVER DIES and THE STARS NEVER RISE, the author, Rachel Vincent, and to enter the giveaway for a chance to win a signed hardback set of these two amazing books!

And for even more peeks at the fab content being shared throughout the blitz - shareable quotation graphics, excerpts and an interview - look for other blogger participants now through August 15th on social media #TheFlameNeverDies.

AND...


THE STARS NEVER RISE goes on sale!

In anticipation of the upcoming release of THE FLAME NEVER DIES, the publisher is dropping the price for the eBook version of the first book in the series - THE STARS NEVER RISE! So if you haven’t yet discovered this series, now is the perfect time!

Just head over to your favorite online e-tailer to look for THE STARS NEVER RISE with its newly lowered price or visit one of these online stores - AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | GOOGLE PLAY | KOBO.

Please note that at the time of this post some stores may not yet have updated their sites to the promotional pricing. If they haven’t, be sure to check back for this awesome not-to-be-missed deal!

THE FLAME NEVER DIES


Rachel Vincent




Release date: August 16, 2016
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 352
Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Description...

For fans of Cassandra Clare and Richelle Mead comes the unputdownable sequel to The Stars Never Rise, a book Rachel Caine, author of the bestselling Morganville Vampires series, called “haunting, unsettling, and eerily beautiful.”

ONE SPARK WILL RISE. Nina Kane was born to be an exorcist. And since uncovering the horrifying truth—that the war against demons is far from over—seventeen-year-old Nina and her pregnant younger sister, Mellie, have been on the run, incinerating the remains of the demon horde as they go.

In the badlands, Nina, Mellie, and Finn, the fugitive and rogue exorcist who saved her life, find allies in a group of freedom fighters. They also face a new threat: Pandemonia, a city full of demons. But this fresh new hell is the least of Nina’s worries. The well of souls ran dry more than a century ago, drained by the demons secretly living among humans, and without a donor soul, Mellie’s child will die within hours of its birth.
Nina isn’t about to let that happen . . . even if it means she has to make the ultimate sacrifice.


Quotes from THE STARS NEVER RISE

Check out just a few of the awesome quotes from THE STARS NEVER RISE! Feel free to grab and share them on your blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or other social media outlet using #TheFlameNeverDies!









THE STARS NEVER RISE

By Rachel Vincent


Release date: June 9, 2015
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 368
Formats: Hardcover, paperback, eBook***

***See above for details on the promotional pricing of the eBook

Description...

Sixteen-year-old Nina Kane should be worrying about her immortal soul, but she's too busy trying to actually survive. Her town's population has been decimated by soul-consuming demons, and souls are in short supply. Watching over her younger sister, Mellie, and scraping together food and money are all that matters. The two of them are a family. They gave up on their deadbeat mom a long time ago.

When Nina discovers that Mellie is keeping a secret that threatens their very existence, she'll do anything to protect her. Because in New Temperance, sins are prosecuted as crimes by the brutal Church and its army of black-robed exorcists. And Mellie's sin has put her in serious trouble.

To keep them both alive, Nina will need to trust Finn, a fugitive with deep green eyes who has already saved her life once and who might just be an exorcist. But what kind of exorcist wears a hoodie?

Wanted by the Church and hunted by dark forces, Nina knows she can't survive on her own. She needs Finn and his group of rogue friends just as much as they need her.


About Rachel Vincent


Rachel Vincent is a former English teacher and an eager champion of the Oxford comma. She shares her home in Oklahoma with two cats, two teenagers, and her husband, who’s been her # 1 fan from the start. Rachel is older than she looks and younger than she feels, and she remains convinced that writing about the things that scare her is the cheapest form of therapy—but social media is a close second.


11 August 2016

REVIEW: A Step Towards Falling

A STEP TOWARDS FALLING
by Cammie McGovern


Pages: 364 (paperback)
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
ISBN: 9781447280217
Received From: Macmillan Children's Books (My Kinda Book)


Summary 


Sometimes one mistake can change everything.

Emily doesn’t know why she froze. Or why Lucas did too. They could have helped Belinda, but they didn't.
Sometimes people can surprise you.
Emily thought she knew Lucas. And she thought she understood Belinda. But maybe she judged them both too quickly.
Sometimes good can come from bad.
Emily and Lucas’s punishment is community service with people with disabilities. People like Belinda. Soon they feel like maybe they're starting to make a difference. But can they do anything to help the one person they hurt the most?


Review

I honestly didn't know what to expect when this book came through the post. I have heard of Cammie McGovern's Amy & Matthew before but I have never read anything by her and I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed A Step Towards Falling.

The story is told through two point of views, the first is Emily and the majority of the book is from her perspective and the second is Belinda, who's story is just as paramount to the novel as Emily's. The book starts with an event, a football (american) game to be exact, where Belinda is attacked. Emily and a character called Luke both witness the attack but do nothing to stop it from happening which leads to Emily and Luke having to help out at a local centre for people with learning disabilities. Throughout the book you follow Emily, Luke and Belinda as they come to terms with that happened at the game and see how they learn to live with the consequences of that one night.

The thing I liked about this book the most was that Emily didn't spend the whole book asking why this was happening to her? Instead she is completely aware that she messed up and it is how she deals with the guilt in an environment that is completely alien to her. Having to 'volunteer' with disabled people when Belinda, the girl she let get attacked, also has learning difficulties proves harder than she thought to begin with.

When it comes to Belinda's sections I found it really interesting because McGovern used a style of writing that was almost childlike. The innocence of the character's personality was completely endearing and there were parts where she asked why she had been attacked? Why had it happened to her? She doesn't understand why and almost blames herself at one point and it kind of broke my heart a little.

Of course it isn't a YA novel without a little love story! Emily and Belinda both have a couple of love interests throughout the book, admittedly a little predictable at times as far as Emily's love life goes, but that doesn't take away from the story. Actually if anything it adds to it because the author gives the reader what they want.

Overall A Step Towards Falling is a novel with all the fundamental traits of a YA classic in the making.

  • Love story - check! 
  • Relatable characters - check! 
  • Diversity - check! 
  • And the most important part of a YA novel, a strong moral lesson at its centre - check!!!

This is a story about not judging a book by its cover and knowing that everyone makes mistakes, it is what you do after that makes or breaks a persons character. It's a heartbreaking and heartwarming story that I would whole heartedly recommend to anyone.



10 June 2016

REVIEW: DEMONS OF THE HELLMOUTH, A GUIDE FOR SLAYERS

DEMONS OF THE HELLMOUTH, A GUIDE FOR SLAYERS
by Nancy Holder


Pages: 160
Publisher: Titan Books
Publication Date: September 4th 2015
ISBN: 9781783293384
Received From:  Titan Books


Summary 

Demons of the Hellmouth is a fully licensed guide to the vampires and other demons that flocked to the Sunnydale Hellmouth in Joss Whedon’s cult TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This in-universe illustrated guide is written by Rupert Giles, and also contains handwritten notes from Buffy and Willow. This unique book promises a diabolical romp through the highlights of the beloved show. 

Review

**Apologies for the lateness of this review, I have had it sitting in my drafts for a while and due to university commitments never got around to posting it. So I am happy to FINALLY give my review of Demons of the Hellmouth, a Guild  for Slayers.** 


Okay so this is something rather special, especially for all you Buffy loves like me. So it has been a long time since we watched our kick ass slayer dust a vamp or thirty but all you die hard fans will have watched your Buffy box sets so many times you know all seven seasons word for word by now. Titan books has published a great little companion book that will make every Buffy fan smile, Demons of the Hellmouth is basically Giles on paper. 

Okay maybe not the best representation of the great man but I couldn't help myself

This guide for slayers goes through all the demons and most of the vampires that appeared in the series, giving you information about the monsters and how to kill them. Think Charmed book of shadows but for vampires. Although it is great reading up on the characters and reliving many a night watching the show it is the little notes in the margin that make the book for me. Scribbled all over the book are notes from our favourite characters such as Buffy, Willow and Xander. These notes were probably my favourite part of the book because as a fan I could imagine them saying the little annotations. 

This was my first thought when the book came through the post

For any Buffy fan this is a must have, its been over 10 years now since the teenage slayer left our screens and this little book of demons will bring it all flooding back. It's easy reading for the summer and it will put one big smile on any fans face. Not to mention you'll have everything you need to survive the Hellmouth!

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7 June 2016

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: James Nicol

The Apprentice Witch
by James Nicol



Publisher: Chicken House 
Publication Date: July 7th 2016


Summary
Arianwyn has fluffed her witch’s evaluation test.

Awarded the dull bronze disc and continuing as an apprentice – to the glee of her arch-rival, mean girl Gimma – she’s sent to protect the remote, dreary town of Lull. 

But her new life is far from boring. Turns out Gimma is the pompous mayor’s favourite niece – and worse, she opens a magical rift in the nearby Great Wood. As Arianwyn struggles with her spells, a mysterious darkness begins to haunt her – and it’s soon clear there’s much more than her pride at stake …


Q&A 
with James Nicol

1.     What was the inspiration behind The Apprentice Witch?

It was a combination of wanting to write a story that had magic at it’s heart but was also set in a world where the magic was real and everyday and not a secret.
The main character popped into my head one day she was casting a spell in a garden at night. I wrote it all down in a furious hurry and then took it from there!

2.     How did it feel to see The Apprentice Witch develop from your initial idea into a physical book?

SO amazing! But there were so many milestones between that initial idea and seeing the book whizzing around the printers warehouse that it’s all been pretty exciting one way or another. Seeing so many other people invested in something that I really just made up is a little bit weird in the most wonderfully bonkers way!

3.     Where did your love of writing come from?

From my love of stories and my love of reading. I think all writers are really just over excited readers who get a bit carried away. I’ve always had a vivid imagination and its very handy to have that when you are trying to write a book. Books have a great power to transport us, give us knowledge and to inspire us and I have always been fascinated by that.

4.     Who was your favourite and least favourite character to write and why?

Oh, I loved writing ALL the characters, each one for different reasons. They were all needed to create the story and all play their part. Some of the more minor characters  like Mr Thorn who drives the bus and Aunt Grace and Uncle Mat where trickier as they are not in the book as much as others so you don’t have so much chance to develop them on the page. Actually some of the more unpleasant characters were perhaps more fun to write than they should have been.

5.     What was your biggest challenge writing your first book?

Knowing what I was doing as I really didn’t know how to go about it! I wrote out of sequence, had about 36 different word documents on my laptop and wrote myself into several corners and out again (thankfully!)  Thankfully I was accepted to work with The Golden Egg Academy for Children’s Writers and they helped me a great deal from sorting out the structure of the book to helping to find my authors ‘voice’ I would not have gotten this far without them, and it certainly wouldn’t have been so much fun!

6.     Are you working on anything at the moment?

Yes! I’m pleased to say that Arianwyn and her chums will be off on another adventure next year sometime in book 2, so I’m writing that currently and thinking about a 3rd adventure for them for 2018!


7.     Lastly describe your book in five words… Go!

YIKES!!! Magic, friendship, courage, enchantment, adventure!





18 August 2015

REVIEW: HARRY POTTER: MAGICAL PLACES FROM THE FILM

HARRY POTTER: MAGICAL PLACES FROM THE FILM
by Jody Revenson

Pages: 208
Publisher: Titan Books
Publication Date: May 8th 2015
ISBN: 9781783296026
Received From:  Titan Books

Summary 

A comprehensive and delightful look at Hogwarts, Diagon Alley, The Burrow, Azkaban prison and all of the memorable places, both loved and feared, that brought the Harry Potter movies to life—a keepsake treasury bound in a debossed leatherette case and featuring a removable poster and interactive booklet.
Grand in its design and package, Harry Potter: Magical Places from the Films: Hogwarts, Diagon Alley, and Beyond offers an unprecedented look at the creative process that transformed the magical locations of the wizarding world from the page to the big screen. Inside, readers will discover the many challenges the studio faced to build the fantastical sites depicted in Rowling’s books, from Hogwarts castle and its many classrooms and dormitories, to Diagon Alley and the Ministry of Magic.
This stunning full-color compendium also includes two exclusive bonus inserts: a map of Diagon Alley folded in an envelope in the back of the book, and “The Paintings of Hogwarts” catalog inserted in the text.

Review

Something a little different this time around lovelies and I couldn't be more excited to share it with you. Titan Books sent me this beautiful copy of Harry Potter: Magical Places from the Films and it's absolutely breathtaking.

Harry Potter: Magical Places from the Films is a must have for any Harry Potter fan! Its a collection of photographs, sketches and original artwork depicting the different sets used for the beloved franchise. This stunning hardback goes into elaborate details showing how the films came together and it's an exciting addition to any Harry Potter fans bookshelf.

Flicking through this book I was taken back to my childhood, Harry Potter was the books my mum read to me and my brother on out holidays, bedtimes and whenever we could get her to. These where the movies I queued hours to see and still watch at every possible moment. This book has the perfect collection of photographs and details about the movie sets and it made me want to go to Hogwarts!

I'm still a little upset I didn't get my letter 11 years ago but I now have this beautifully illustrated book that makes it almost bearable that the series is over. Well worth the money and the perfect gift for any fan.

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9 August 2015

SBPT: The Book Bratz


This time around we've got the host's of the whole tour Amber and Jess from The Book Bratz. I did the tour last year when there were a lot less of us and got to know a bit about these girls, it was also around this time when I started reading Dangerous Girls. Jess and I has varying opinions on this title and I thought this would be a good time for you lovely lot to see what she thought of the book. Enjoy.


Dangerous Girls
Book Club Discussion
**SPOILERS**


What were your first thoughts after finishing Dangerous Girls?

Jess: I was really, really impressed and shocked and thrown for a loop and I immediately wanted to start telling people to add the book to their TBR.


Both of us read Dangerous Boys before this, do you think that affected the way you saw this book?

Jess: I actually read Dangerous Boys after Dangerous Girls, and I do think that reading this first affected my view of the second book. This book was so great and twisting and had a whole different feel than Dangerous Boys and I went into it expecting another dramatic beach murder and was let down by it.

How did you feel towards the two main characters, Anna and Elsie, at the beginning of the book?

Jess: Haas earns major brownie points for conjuring a character like Elsie up and giving her a relationship with Anna. She reminds me a lot of Alaska Young from Looking for Alaska, which is my absolute favorite book of all time, so right away I latched onto Elise's character and loved hearing about her from Anna's perspective.

How did you feel towards the two main characters, Anna and Elsie, at the end of the book?

Jess: I was shocked and felt horrible for not only Elsie, but Anna, too. Oh boy. :O


What was your least favorite part of the book?

Jess: Clara Rose. The most annoying and evil news anchor to ever "grace" the planet. What the heck was her problem?!? She spent countless episodes of her show bashing Anna and accusing her, but then she's all sugary and sweet in person, especially in the end. What's your problem, lady?


Abigail has a unique writing style and this book was no different. Would you have liked a second point of view?

Jess: Honestly, I wouldn't. I understood everything from Anna's point of view and not knowing everything while it was all happening was a thrill too, because you got to play detective because you were only inside one mind.

Do you think Anna’s character turned out the way she did through circumstance or nature?

Jess: Circumstance. Her life and her friends and her twisted morals just made her more and more the way she was.

What was your favourite moment from Dangerous Girls?

Jess: I don't have a specific moment, but a specific message that was my favorite. Anna was being relentlessly tormented by lawyers and inmates and the media--everyone assumed she was guilty without even giving her a chance. I don't know if it was intentional or not, but Haas tied an important theme into this story--the way that everyone in this world seems so quick to jump onto the bandwagon and not give it a second thought without knowing all of the facts.