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April 2016 new releases – hot picks!

3 Apr

So, March was the month where we all took it in turns to be ill in our little family so I didn’t get as much reading or blogging done as I’d hoped. But with a sunny new month comes a fresh start and I’m very excited about the April new releases. Here are the ten books I’m hoping to read this month.

head over heelsHead Over Heels (Geek Girl Book 5) by Holly Smale (HarperCollins Children’s Books) April 7th

I’m such a big fan of Holly Smale’s Geek Girl Series I’m currently halfway through this book and think it’s the best yet!

“My name is Harriet Manners, and I will always be a geek.”

The fifth book in the bestselling, award-winning GEEK GIRL series.

Harriet Manners knows almost every fact there is.

She knows duck-billed platypuses don’t have stomachs.
She knows that fourteen squirrels were once detained as spies.
She knows that both chess and snakes and ladders were invented in the same country.

And for once, Harriet knows exactly how her life should go. She’s got it ALL planned out. So her friends seem less than happy, Harriet is determined to Make Things Happen!
If only everyone else would stick to the script…

But is following the rules going to break hearts for GEEK GIRL?

Who’s That Girl by Mhairi McFarlane (HarperCollins) 7th Aprilwho's that girl

Another fab read from the author of the bestselling You Had Me At Hello. The hardback has a beautiful pearly cover and this is a story that will make you giggle!

When Edie is caught in a compromising position at her colleagues’ wedding, all the blame falls on her – turns out that personal popularity in the office is not that different from your schooldays. Shamed online and ostracised by everyone she knows, Edie’s forced to take an extended sabbatical – ghostwriting an autobiography for hot new acting talent, Elliot Owen. Easy, right?

Wrong. Banished back to her home town of Nottingham, Edie is not only dealing with a man who probably hasn’t heard the word ‘no’ in a decade, but also suffering an excruciating regression to her teenage years as she moves back in with her widowed father and judgy, layabout sister.

When the world is asking who you are, it’s hard not to question yourself. Who’s that girl? Edie is ready to find out.

passengerPassenger by Alexandra Bracken (Quercus Children’s Books) 7th April. 

I’m so excited about getting my hands on this book having seen the great reviews from the US release. I love books with a travel theme and this one has the added bonus of another favourite theme of mine – time travel!

New York City, present day

In one night, Etta Spencer is wrenched from everything she knows and loves. Thrown into an unfamiliar world, she can be certain of only one thing: she has travelled not just miles, but years from home.

The Atlantic, 1776

Captain Nicholas Carter is tasked with delivering Etta to the dangerous Ironwood family. They are searching for something – a stolen object they believe only she can reclaim. But Nicholas is drawn to his mysterious passenger, and the closer he gets to her, the further he is from freedom.

The Edges of the World

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey
across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by a desperate thief. But as Etta plays deeper into the Ironwoods’ game, treacherous forces threaten to separate her not only from Nicholas, but from her path home – for ever.

The Map of Bones (Fire Sermon Book 2) by Francesca Haig (Harper Voyager) April 7thmap of bones

Having loved The Fire Sermon, I’ve been eagerly anticipating book two in the series! Do check out the blog tour and look out for my stop on 9th April!

The second book in Francesca Haig’s critically acclaimed debut fantasy series.

The ashes of the past cannot hide the truth forever.

The Omega resistance has been brutally attacked, its members dead or in hiding.

The Alpha Council’s plan for permanently containing the Omegas has begun.

But all is not entirely lost: the Council’s seer, The Confessor, is dead, killed by her twin’s sacrifice.

Cass is left haunted by visions of the past, while her brother Zach’s cruelty and obsession pushes her to the edge, and threatens to destroy everything she hopes for.

As the country moves closer to all-out civil war, Cass will learn that to change the future she will need to uncover the past. But nothing can prepare her for what she discovers: a deeply buried secret that raises the stakes higher than ever before.

these days of oursThese Days of Ours by Juliet Ashton (Simon and Schuster) April 7th

I heard Juliet read from this novel at the recent Simon and Schuster Spring Blogger event and I can’t wait to hear more!

A novel about love. Raw important love. Small, beautiful love. And what happens when the person you love cannot be yours… Perfect for fans of Rowan Coleman, Jane Green and David Nicholls.
 
Kate and Becca are cousins and best friends. They have grown up together and shared all the most important milestones in their lives: childhood birthday parties, eighteenth birthdays, and now a wedding day as they each marry their childhood sweethearts, Charlie and Julian.
 
Kate has always loved Charlie – they were meant to be. Then she discovers that life never turns out quite how you expect it to. And love doesn’t always follow the journey it should.
 
But best friends are forever, and true love will find a way, won’t it…?

The Keepers: Ethan by Rae Rivers (HarperImpulse) April 7thEthan Cover

Rae was one of the very first authors I read from HarperImpulse and I’ve been hooked on her Keepers Series ever since. It’s finally Ethan’s turn in the spotlight and it’s a sizzling read!

“Going to Ameera to find Hazel. Stealing the spell … You think you can pull it off?” he asked.
She nodded, not trusting herself to speak.
Just as she thought he’d kiss her, he reached for her jacket and said, “Then let’s go.”

A portal to another world has opened, unleashing dangerous creatures on earth. A dark witch is out for revenge. The stakes are high, a war inevitable.

One person can stop the madness. Jenna. She’s a Keeper to a powerful hybrid witch but she harbours a secret and if Jenna steps through the portal – seduced by the whispers of her hidden past – she may never return.

Fortunately, she has company… infamous Bennett brother and fiercely protective Keeper, Ethan. Their whip-cracking banter makes them perfect sparring partners in training, but how will they manage when their lives and everything they were born to defend are on the line?

When the battle lines are drawn, will Jenna and Ethan stand side by side – as friends, protectors, lovers … or as traitors?

the obsessionThe Obsession by Nora Roberts (Piatkus) April 14th

I do love Nora Roberts! I actually squealed when the proof of this book was delivered!

Naomi Carson is a survivor. As a child, her family was torn apart by a shocking crime. It could have destroyed her, but Naomi has grown up strong, with a passion for photography that has taken her all around the world.

Now, at last, she has decided to put down roots. The beautiful old house on Point Bluff needs work, but Naomi has new friends in town who are willing to help, including Xander Keaton – gorgeous, infuriating and determined to win her heart.

But as Naomi plans for the future, her past is catching up with her. Someone in town knows her terrifying secret – and won’t let her forget it. As her new home is rocked by violence, Naomi must discover her persecutor’s identity, before it’s too late.

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld (Borough Press) April 21st eligible

A favourite author taking on one of my favourite books – I can’t wait to see how the two come together!

From the bestselling author of Prep, American Wife and Sisterland comes this brilliant retelling of Austen’s classic set in modern day Cincinnati.

The Bennet sisters have been summoned from New York City.

Liz and Jane are good daughters. They’ve come home to suburban Cincinnati to get their mother to stop feeding their father steak as he recovers from heart surgery, to tidy up the crumbling Tudor-style family home, and to wrench their three sisters from their various states of arrested development.

Once they are under the same roof, old patterns return fast. Soon enough they are being berated for their single status, their only respite the early morning runs they escape on together. For two successful women in their late thirties, it really is too much to bear. That is, until the Lucas family’s BBQ throws them in the way of some eligible single men . . .

Chip Bingley is not only a charming doctor, he’s a reality TV star too. But Chip’s friend, haughty neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy, can barely stomach Cincinnati or its inhabitants. Jane is entranced by Chip; Liz, sceptical of Darcy. As Liz is consumed by her father’s mounting medical bills, her wayward sisters and Cousin Willie trying to stick his tongue down her throat, it isn’t only the local chilli that will leave a bad aftertaste.

But where there are hearts that beat and mothers that push, the mysterious course of love will resolve itself in the most entertaining and unlikely of ways. And from the hand of Curtis Sittenfeld, Pride & Prejudice is catapulted into our modern world singing out with hilarity and truth.

steeple streetThe Nurses of Steeple Street by Donna Douglas (Arrow) April 21st

I’ve read and thoroughly enjoyed all of Donna’s previous Nightingales nursing series so I’m really looking forward to this book which starts a completely new series. And it’s set in Yorkshire – yay!

Welcome to the district nurses’ home on Steeple Street, where everyone has a secret…

Ambitious young nurse Agnes Sheridan had a promising future ahead of her until a tragic mistake brought all her dreams crashing down and cost her the love and respect of everyone around her. Now she has come to Leeds for a fresh start as a trainee district nurse. But Agnes finds herself facing unexpected challenges as she is assigned to Quarry Hill, one of the city’s most notorious slums. Before she can redeem herself in the eyes of her family, she must first win the trust and respect of her patients and fellow nurses.

Does Agnes have what it takes to stay the distance? Or will the tragedy of her past catch up with her?

The Assistants by Camille Perri (Corgi) April 21stthe assistants

I’m looking forward to discovering a new author with this debut. There’s a fab quote from  Paige Toon on the front cover –  an excellent endorsement!

Behind every successful man is a busy assistant and Tina’s boss is very successful.

But Tina is tired of being overworked and underpaid.
She’s bored of her damp flat and her mounting debts.
Then a blip in the expenses system sends Tina a cheque.
She’s a good person.
But she’s desperate.
This isn’t stealing.
It’s an administrative error.
Right?

What would you do if you thought you’d get away with it?

 


What are you looking forward to reading this month?

Book news: The Keepers – Ethan by Rae Rivers

16 Feb

Rae River’s paranormal romance Keepers stories have been favourites of mine for a long time and I’m so excited to share the news that Ethan’s story will be with us soon! The Keepers: Ethan will be released on 24th March and I can’t wait to read it!

Ethan Cover

“Going to Ameera to find Hazel.  Stealing the spell … You think you can pull it off?” he asked.

She nodded, not trusting herself to speak.

Just as she thought he’d kiss her, he reached for her jacket and said, “Then let’s go.”

A portal to another world has opened, unleashing dangerous creatures on earth.  A dark witch is out for revenge.  The stakes are high, a war inevitable. 

One person can stop the madness.  Jenna.  She’s a Keeper to a powerful hybrid witch but she harbours a secret and if Jenna steps through the portal – seduced by the whispers of her hidden past – she may never return.

Fortunately, she has company … infamous Bennett brother and fiercely protective Keeper, Ethan. Their whip-cracking banter makes them perfect sparring partners in training, but how will they manage when their lives and everything they were born to defend are on the line?

When the battle lines are drawn, will Jenna and Ethan stand side by side – as friends, protectors, lovers … or as traitors?

Author PhotRae’s an avid reader and writer with a passion for writing spicy romance novels. She lives in Cape Town, South Africa, with her gorgeous children and husband and a zoo of house pets. Besides writing, she loves family time, the outdoors, travelling, watching TV series, reading and chocolate. For more information about her books, please visit www.raerivers.com

She loves to hear from her readers and can be found here:

Wattpad    Facebook    Goodreads    Pinterest    Twitter: @raerivers1

 If you haven’t read the other books in the series there’s still plenty of time!

Amazon
Kobo
Barnes & Noble

the keepers

 

Book news: Bay of Sighs by Nora Roberts

12 Feb

I absolutely loved Nora Roberts latest paranormal/fantasy novel, Stars of Fortune when it came out at the end of last year. The next installment isn’t out until June but I’ve just spotted that the ebook cover and synopsis have been released so I couldn’t resist sharing!

Book two in the Guardians Trilogy will be called Bay of Sighs and will be released on 16th June!

bay of sighs

A dark and powerful goddess hunts for three jewels: fallen stars that will give her endless power. To save the world, six friends have joined forces to stop her. Now, on the beautiful island of Capri, their battle continues…

Mermaid Annika is proud to have been chosen for such an important quest. But now that her identity has been revealed, her time is running out. She knows that soon she must return to her people. But she also knows that she is in love with Sawyer King – the brave and loyal adventurer with secrets of his own.

As Annika, Sawyer and their four friends hunt for the mysterious ‘star of water’, the goddess Nerezza sends a terrifying foe to destroy them. It seems there is no place for love and desire at such a dark time. And so Sawyer tries to protect Annika by pushing her away.

But true love cannot be denied. And in a battle between the dark and the light – it might be the only thing that can save them from a terrible fate.

Book review: Halfway Dead by Terry Maggert

26 Jan

11194843_10153039642218369_2107229321_oCarlie McEwan loves many things. She loves being a witch. She loves her town of Halfway, NY—a tourist destination nestled on the shores of an Adirondack lake. Carlie loves her enormous familiar, Gus, who is twenty-five pounds of judgmental Maine Coon cat, and she positively worships her Grandmother, a witch of incredible power and wisdom. Carlie spends her days cooking at the finest—and only—real diner in town, and her life is a balance between magic and the mundane, just as she likes it. When a blonde stranger sits at the diner counter and calls her by name, that balance is gone. Major Pickford asks Carlie to lead him into the deepest shadows of the forest to find a mythical circle of chestnut trees, thought lost to forever to mankind. There are ghosts in the forest, and one of them cries out to Carlie across the years. Come find me. Danger, like the shadowed pools of the forest, can run deep. The danger is real, but Carlie’s magic is born of a pure spirit. With the help of Gus, and Gran, and a rugged cop who really does want to save the world, she’ll fight to bring a ghost home, and deliver justice to a murderer who hides in the cool, mysterious green of a forest gone mad with magic.

One of the best things about blogging is discovering so many books that you probably wouldn’t have found just browsing a book store. I love opening my inbox to see what newsletters and emails I’ve received to tempt me! I recently received an email from author Terry Maggert telling me about his new book, Halfway Bitten which is out on the 9th February. I read the blurb and thought the books sounded fun – I love books with witches in them but it was when I clicked through and saw Terry’s fab covers that I knew these were books I should read. Cover appeal is very hard to explain but something about this one called to me and I’m so glad they did#!

Halfway Dead is the first book in the Halfway Witchy series. So what has me so hooked? Firstly, I loved leading lady Carlie McEwan and her home town of Halfway. The cosy setting is fab and I loved the community feel to the story with Carlie’s neighbors pitching in and looking out for each other. In contrast, the action scenes where Carlie kicks some serious paranormal entities into touch had me on the edge of my seat. If you think of this story as Buffy meets Charmed meets The Gilmore Girls  you’ll get the idea!

Carlie’s connection with her Grandmother is just lovely. Carlie’s gran is a very powerful witch and together the two make a formidable team. My favourite parts of the book were the ones that explored Carlie’s magic in more depth and I loved the back story that Terry created and the legends and philosophies behind the magic that Carlie and her gran use.

As a mystery hidden in the local forest comes to the fore, Carlie is drawn into an ancient secret and as she heads to confront the dark force hidden there the story really picks up pace and Terry throws in a nice array of surprises along the way. With all manner of paranormal beasts and beings appearing, there’s huge potential for the story to carry on and I’m already looking forward to reading Halfway Bitten. Since reading Halfway Dead I messaged Terry to tell him how much I enjoyed the book and he tells me there are several more books planned in the series and a spin-off for a key character too!

With action, romance and humour, the Halfway Witchy series is one to watch!

4/5

Halfway Dead is out now in ebook and paperback formats.

Halfway Bitten will be released on 9th February.

To find out more about Terry Maggert and his writing visit: http://www.terrymaggert.com/

I’d like to thank Terry for sending me a review copy of this book.

 

Guest post: Kit Blackhart’s New Year Resolutions by Liz de Jager

14 Jan

 

banishedvowed9781447247708

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today is publication day for the eagerly awaited final book in the Blackhart Legacy by Liz de Jager and in celebration I’ve managed to raid Kit’s inbox to find out what her New Year resolutions are!

————————————————————————————————-

 To: Aiden Garrett Pain In My Ass

From: Kit Blackhart Sunshine And Light And Queen Of All She Surveys

Date: 31st December

Subject Line:  Kit’s NY Resolutions

 

Fine, Aide, here are my resolutions for the new year, for what they’re worth.

 

  • Punch less people. Unless they deserve it.
  • Exercise – more cardio is important.
  • Help Kyle by doing more research on own cases, but also others’ jobs. Must become more proactive and not just be the bully with the sword. <- Marc’s exact words to me. I think studying in Exeter is giving him airs and graces.
  • Visit New York and help Megan and Uncle Andrew work with the US branch of the Spook Squad. Maybe take Dante with. Get an invite to meet the Fae in the US.  
  • Start teaching Dante more about the Otherwhere and the politics so his head doesn’t get separated from his body sooner than he’d like. Not sure he would survive without lessons.  The guy is cute and clueless but at least he learns fast.
  • Catch up on things in the Otherwhere.  Do more training with Crow and ask him to help me with my magic. I’m not feeling balanced.
  • Actually have down-time. Go dancing again. At the new incarnation of Milton’s maybe.  Or one of Leo’s dad’s clubs.  That would be fun.  Try acting and being normal for a bit.
  • Stop pining after a certain faerie prince.  Pnining is never a good look on anyone, especially not a Blackhart.
  • Actually try and sleep for longer than 3 hours a night. Stop dreaming completely.
  • I can’t think of any other resolutions. Why am I even doing this? Aiden, I am going to kill you. I’ve wasted over an hour doing this.

 

To: Kit Blackhart Sunshine And Light And Queen Of All She Surveys

From: Aiden Garrett Pain In My Ass

Date: 31st December

Subject Line: Re:  Kit’s NY Resolutions

 

Shut up Blackhart, this is a good list. It gives you something to focus on.

 

I’ve added a few for you to consider.

 

  • Kiss more boys when you go dancing.  Or girls.  
  • Take more selfies.
  • Hang out more.
  • Learn to actually cook food so you can feed yourself and your cousin.
  • Talk to me. I’m one of the good guys.  Then if not me, talk to Dante. We miss you, sparky.

 

9781447247708Judged, the final book in the Blackhart Trilogy is out today in paperback and ebook formats!

Find out more about Liz and her writing at: http://www.lizdejager.co.uk/

A Blackhart’s Duty:
Never give up and never look back

There’s never a dull day on Kit’s watch, as her job involves solving crimes – the supernatural kind. She’s up against it as Glow, a Fae-created drug, goes viral. Kit, Aiden and Dante must somehow shut down the suppliers before people get badly hurt.

In the Otherwhere, Fae prince Thorn stumbles across a deadly secret. The Veil separating our human world from the Fae realms is weakening. If it fails, madness and chaos will devastate both lands – so Thorn turns to Kit for help.

Torn between the Glow case and her feelings for Thorn, Kit faces terrible choices. She and Thorn must use their powers to avert disaster, whatever the cost: for failure will shatter two worlds.

Book review: Don’t Be Afraid by Daniela Sacerdoti

12 Jan

dont be afraidWhen you’ve forgotten how to live, help can arrive in mysterious ways…

Successful artist Isabel Ramsay has never come to terms with the tragic death of her mother. Haunted by what happened, Isabel finds her own life spiralling out of control until, one winter s day, she gives up, unable to bear the pain of living any longer. Yet somehow she wakes up, remembering a vision of a mysterious woman who has saved her. But alone in a locked house, surely that’s impossible?

With her family and friends worried out of their minds, her husband Angus finds a companion to watch over Isabel while he’s away from home. Warm, wise Clara can connect with Isabel in a way no one else can, helping her face up to her painful past, rediscover her passion for art and become brave enough to live her life again. But there s a mystery surrounding Clara: who is she, and why does Isabel feel she’s known her all her life?

Don’t Be Afraid is Daniela Sacerdoti’s latest novel set in the beautiful Scottish highland village of Glen Avich. It’s a standalone novel but for those of you who have read Daniela’s previous books you will see some familiar characters pop up. I discovered Glen Avich when I read Daniela’s last book, Set Me Free last year and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ve also read a couple of Daniela’s young adult novels so I knew I was dealing with an author whose books I always enjoy but I have to say that Don’t Be Afraid is my favourite of all of Dani’s books so far. It’s such a heartfelt story and written with compassion and absolute sensitivity to those suffering from mental illness.

Yet despite focussing on lead character Bell’s struggle with severe anxiety and depression, I found Don’t Be Afraid to be one of the most positive and uplifting books that I’ve read. As with all of Daniela’s books, there is an element of the paranormal to the story. I felt that this element added the extra magic to the story and took it to another level. I’m a huge fan of books that feature magical realism and I thought the blue butterflies brought a wonderful hint of this to Don’t Be Afraid.

Bell is a complex character and Daniela really did craft her well. I felt like I was inside her head for much of the story and her thoughts and actions felt completely believable to me. Bell is crippled by her illness; unable to leave the house, use the telephone or bear people to visit her. My heart went out to her as she told of her self-imposed prison and as I learned more of her story, I has so much sympathy for her plight.

Daniela also shows the other sides to Belle’s story by narrating parts of the book from the perspectives of other characters who know and love Bell. Angus, Bell’s husband is a key part of the book and faces a difficult choice between being there for the woman he loves and pursuing his career in music which often forces him to be away from home. There’s an interesting triangle between Bell, Angus and Angus’s brother Torcuil who used to be engaged to Bell and clearly still has very strong feelings for her. Torcuil’s role in the story was my favourite as he finds meets Clara and knows that she will be just the person that Bell needs to help her. Clara is a new character in Glen Avich, recently arrived from Canada and there’s more than a little mystery to her. I thought she was a wonderful character and I loved the role she played.

Don’t Be Afraid shows Daniela’s talents as a gifted storyteller beautifully. With short chapters from the perspectives of key different characters, the story has great pace and I read it in a day because I just couldn’t put it down. I can’t wait to visit Glen Avich again with Dani and I hope she will set many more stories there.

5/5

Don’t Be Afraid is out now in paperback and ebook formats.

Find out more about Daniela and her writing at: http://danielasacerdoti.com/

I’d like to thank Janne from Black and White publishing for providing a review copy of this book.

Please do check out the other stops on Daniela’s Don’t Be Afraid blog tour.

Book review: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

8 Jan

9781234567890In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands.

Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home.

Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she’s a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden – lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult’s true powers are hidden even from herself.

In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls’ heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

There’s so much to say about this book that I’m not sure where to begin! So I think I’ll start with just … wow! I haven’t been this caught up in a fantasy novel for a long time and I loved the action, adventure and becoming immersed in the rich world of the Witchlands. I’ve been trying to pin down what made such an impact on me about Truthwitch and I think it’s the fact that there is so much shown and revealed to the reader through the course of the story rather than ‘told’ to us. Many fantasy novels come with a lot of descriptive lore and legend and whilst this book has it in buckets it didn’t feel scripted or put in to explain the background for something, it was skilfully woven into the story ready for the reader (and sometimes even the characters) to discover.

Some of my favourite parts of the book were where entities legends or mythical creatures that key characters dismissed, appeared or were proven to be true. This gave such a feeling of discovery and immediacy to the story that I couldn’t help being swept along and wondering what on earth would happen next! Truthwitch is a full throttle, high octane adventure story and Safi and Iseult are right at the centre giving as good (or better in many cases) as they get. In Safi and Iseult, Susan Dennard has created two strong women to admire and love. These girls will shock you with their audacity, surprise you with their plans and wow you with their skills – gender equality rules in Truthwitch as does the strong bond of friendship.

Safi and Iseult are threadsisters and have an unbreakable bond, but they aren’t the only ones and I also loved the ‘threadbrother’ relationship between Merik and Kullen.  Each character has a specific witchery that plays alongside their own personal characteristics. Merik is a Windwitch, Iseult a Threadwitch (she can see the threads that bind people but also show their feelings) and Safi is a Truthwitch – she has the ability to tell when people are being true or deceptive. I loved discovering the different witcheries and they just kept coming with bloodwitches, firewitches, earthwitches, poisonwitches and glamourwitches and I’m sure many more still to be discovered in future books. The idea of the witcheries really caught my imagination and gives so much potential to the story as characters with different strengths pit themselves against each other.

But it is Safi’s Truthwitchery that drives the plot as many would pay handsomely for the use of her skills and in a world where a fragile truce exists, many parties are seeking the upper hand. As the mystery and intrigue and politics of the story deepened and enemies become allies and vice versa, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to see what would happen next. But despite all the action and trickery, there are also plenty of poignant moments in the book too and even a hint of romance (oh that Ball scene!!).

Truthwitch really did have everything that I was looking for in a fantasy novel and has got my reading new year off to a fantastic start. I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book in the series!

Truthwitch is published by TOR and is out now in hardback and ebook fromats in the US. It will be released in the UK in Hardback and ebook formats on 14th January.

Find out more about Susan Dennard and her writing at: http://susandennard.com/

With thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this book.

Book review: Stars of Fortune by Nora Roberts

13 Dec

stars of fortuneSasha Riggs is a reclusive artist, haunted by vivid dreams and nightmares that she turns into extraordinary paintings. Desperate to understand her visions, she finds herself drawn to the Greek island of Corfu.

She has only just arrived when she encounters Bran Killian, an Irish magician with a warm charisma and secrets dancing in his eyes. Sasha has never met Bran before, but she knows him only too well – because this is the man from her dreams. The man she has painted over and over again. The man she seems fated to be with…if she can find the courage to accept who she really is.

Sasha soon discovers that four other strangers have been lured to the island. Like Bran, they are all desperately searching for a mysterious jewel known as the fire star – before it falls into the wrong hands. Together, they might just succeed. But first they must learn to trust one another, and reveal their deepest secrets.

On the sun-drenched island of Corfu, love and magic are sparked into life. And for Sasha, nothing will ever be the same again.

I’ve read a couple of Nora Roberts’ contemporary romances and loved them but I hadn’t realised what a fabulous paranormal writer she is too. I loved this book from start to finish; from the wonderfully diverse group of characters to the beautiful location and gripping storyline, Stars of Fortune is the full package and my only frustration with it is that I have to wait months for book two in The Guardians Trilogy.

As the book opens we meet artist, Sasha. She’s a fairly shy and reclusive character but strong too – a strength that is only hinted at in the beginning of the story but which comes out beautifully as the book progresses. Sasha has been having vivid dreams of a group of people involved in some sort of battle on a Greek Island. As these characters haunt her dreams she begins to paint them in real life and one day as she paints she knows where she has to go. Sasha is fairly set in her ways so it’s completely out of character for her to book a flight and jet off to a small Greek Island!

Once Sasha arrives in Corfu the story gathers pace quickly as she encounters the other people from her dreams. I loved reading as Sasha encountered the different members of the group. Nora is a skilled creator of character and this book is populated with people who are at once familiar and yet remain mysterious. All of them have a hidden skill or ability too and given the nature of the story it will come as no surprise to learn that there’s a strong paranormal element in each – even if the group don’t know it immediately. I had great fun trying to guess what would be revealed about each person and it was great that despite my guesses Nora managed to surprise me a number of times!

The mythology that the story is based on is believable and fun. Following on from the dramatic prologue which tells of another world and time populated by gods and godesses, Riley Gwin, the book’s very own Tomb Raider is a no nonsense archaeologist and soon fills in the gaps that the group has about the mythology of the three stars. The search for the stars unites the group but the question is can they and will they work together to find the treasure?

Roberts’ use of location is excellent and I loved being transported from cold, wet, wintry England to sunny corfu. Nora manages to squeeze in references to Star Wars, Buffy and other fantasy and sci-fi and I found myself smiling as I read. This is accessible fantasy, peppered with references to popular culture which makes is understandable and fun as well as very entertaining. The romance element is skillfully woven in and I liked the tension between Sasha and Bran – the sparks literally do fly for them!

If you’re a fan of Nora Roberts, this is a book you won’t want to miss and if, like me, you’re quite new to her writing but love paranormal roamnce then I highly recommend adding Stars of Fortune to your reading list.

5/5

Stars of Fortune is out now in hardback and ebook formats.

Find out more about Nora and her writing at: http://www.noraroberts.com/

I’d like to thank the publisher for providing a review copy of this book.

Book news: The Masked City by Genevieve Cogman

2 Nov

I loved Genevieve Cogman’s debut, The Invisible Library and have been eagerly awaiting news of the second book in the series so imagine my excitement when I saw that the cover had been released! The red and silver is just so striking – I can’t wait to see it in the flesh. The Masked City is released on December 3rd by Pan Macmillan and is right at the top of my Christmas wish list (hint hint, husband!)]

maksed city

 

Librarian-spy Irene is working undercover in an alternative London when her assistant Kai goes missing. She discovers he’s been kidnapped by the fae faction and the repercussions could be fatal. Not just for Kai, but for whole worlds.

Kai’s dragon heritage means he has powerful allies, but also powerful enemies in the form of the fae. With this act of aggression, the fae are determined to trigger a war between their people – and the forces of order and chaos themselves.

Irene’s mission to save Kai and avert Armageddon will take her to a dark, alternate Venice where it’s always Carnival. Here Irene will be forced to blackmail, fast talk, and fight. Or face death.

Find out more about Genevieve Cogman and her writing at: http://www.grcogman.com/

 

Book review: Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

2 Jun

magoniaAza Ray Boyle is drowning in thin air. Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live. So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn’t think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.

Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who’s always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found, by another. Magonia.

Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—but as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war between Magonia and Earth is coming. In Aza’s hands lies fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?

Magical and unsettling with links into folklore and fairytale, Magonia is a gripping fantasy novel and an impressive young adult debut for Maria Dahvana Headley. This novel felt very different to anything I’ve read before and I was easily swept up in the beautiful imagary that Maria brings to the story.

This is a novel that has two distinct parts; the opening third where Aza Ray is living on Earth and edging towards her sixteenth birthday and the second part of the story where Aza becomes part of Magonia – a strange and fearfully beautiful world of ships and birds in the skies above us. This is a story packed with powerful imagery and the contrasts between Aza’s earthly life and her Magonian life are stark. Aza is literally drowning on Earth, the victim of a unique and complex set of genetic mutations and a crippling lung condition.

The early part of the book where Aza describes her life to date as a series of hospital stays, operations and near brushes with death is very moving and her spirit and character wonderfully defined and defiant. Aza’s bonds with her best friend Jason and her family (parents and sister Eli) are very well written and tread just the right line between emotion and humour. I thought all of the characters in this novel were very well written and I enjoyed the way that their efforts to support Aza and even find a cure for her were woven into the story.

The narrative is told from both Aza’s and Jason’s point of view and Jason’s parts of the story were my favourites throughout the book. Jason is fiercly intelligent and I loved his knowledge of history and lore. Both he and Aza are great readers and it was brilliant to see a male character in such an intelligent supporting role.

As with all good fantasy stories, there is a dark side to this novel. Some of the bird scenes make for uncomfortable reading – I’ll admit to already being a little nervous of our feathered friends and they certainly took on a whole new dimension in this book. As Aza discovers who she really is, I thought the beautiful images of ships in the skies and the connection between the skies and earth was beutifully explained and there were plenty of surprises as Aza finds herself at the centre of a war.

With a surprising and endearing romance element to the plot, this is a novel that will appeal to a wide range of readers both young adult and adult – fans of Neil Gaiman should certainly check it out. Whilst this book reads as a standalone, there is plenty of scope for further stories set in this world and I very much hope that Maria chooses to visit Aza and her family again in future.

4/5

Magonia is released in paperback and ebook formats on 4th June.

I’d like to thank Harper360 for providing me with a review copy of this book.