ARC Review: Cold Burn of Magic

Cold Burn Magic

Review format: ARC on my Kindle

Expected publication: April 28th 2015 by K-Teen

Disclaimer: I received a free ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way affected my review.

From Goodreads

There Be Monsters Here. . .

It’s not as great as you’d think, living in a tourist town that’s known as “the most magical place in America.” Same boring high school, just twice as many monsters under the bridges and rival Families killing each other for power.

I try to keep out of it. I’ve got my mom’s bloodiron sword and my slightly illegal home in the basement of the municipal library. And a couple of Talents I try to keep quiet, including very light fingers and a way with a lock pick.

But then some nasty characters bring their Family feud into my friend’s pawn shop, and I have to make a call–get involved, or watch a cute guy die because I didn’t. I guess I made the wrong choice, because now I’m stuck putting everything on the line for Devon Sinclair. My mom was murdered because of the Families, and it looks like I’m going to end up just like her. .

My Review

Well, let me start by saying that I made the big mistake of starting this book at 9pm and promptly lost all respect for the following morning. When I finished it at three in the morning, I lay there for another hour saying to myself “Oh my goodness. OH MY GOODNESS!”. Why? Because this book is awesome, that’s why! Jennifer Estep has done it again, in so many ways!  Here is a list!

  1. The Main Character. Jennifer Estep always manages to create really kick ass, strong, independent female characters, one of the many reasons I love her. However, in Lila Merriweather, Jennifer has surpassed herself. I loved Lila so much, I made a list within this list with all the reasons.
    • She is bad-ass. Seriously, even when she isn’t brandishing her sword, she has this belt that hides three throwing stars which she uses like a pro. 
    • She lives in a library. Can I say jealous? All the books she has at her fingertips? Admittedly it is in the abandoned basement, but it is still in the library!
    • She has pretty much been taking care of herself since her mother died when Lila was thirteen. I call that independent and capable!
    • She gets hired as a bodyguard for a boy! Go Jennifer, switching stereotypes! 
    • She totally owns a sexist pig at one point during the book. I can’t reveal due to spoilers, but honestly, I loved her even more after that. We all need to stand up for our sisters more! 
  2. The love interest Devon. He is capable, strong and handsome but he doesn’t try to always protect Lila. he understands how awesome she is and was totally ok with asking her for help! Plus he is genuinely a nice guy! Finally, a YA love interest who doesn’t act like a total meanie for the first half of the book before being “magically transformed into a nice person” by the heroine. Also, there is no insta-love here! Jennifer makes these characters work for their feelings, which I love because when they finally start to fall for each other I get all the butterflies.
  3. The plot. I already told you I stayed up to read this book, and the plot was a huge part of this. I have to admit that I knew pretty early on that I didn’t like one particular person that turned out to be bad, but I had no idea I was meant to not like him! It was pretty subtle- I thought it was just me being difficult! The plot was exciting and fast-paced but it still showed you the normal bits of the world Lila lives in (which is totally not normal!).
  4. The monsters. I love how the monsters in this are actually scary and bad.
  5. The other characters. I already absolutely love Felix, I want him as my friend! And Jennifer Estep hasn’t held back with her baddies either. The evil people are really evil!  Yay! I mean, you still get that they are human and everything, but the things they do are really bad. Mean people are Mean! 
  6. The town. I am going to admit, when I first started the book, I wasn’t really sure abut the whole tourist and magic town thing, but as the book went on and I understood the world more, I really liked this aspect.
  7. The way Lila admits when she is wrong. There is no forced arguing or tension here because one character is just being annoyingly obstinate. You know the way I mean, when you are sitting there screaming, “Just explain you stupid girl!”. Well, Lila is like you or me, she actually talks to people! Refreshing!
  8. Oscar the pixie. Is it weird that Oscar kinda reminded my of Vic from the Mythos Academy series? I don’t know why!  Oscar was really good to have around to provide a respite from all the sword slashing and family drama. Also he made Lila’s bed for her, which I could totally get used to!
  9. Lila’s obsession with bacon. And food in general. Although this did make me want to cook bacon at 1am. But I love how Jennifer actually makes her characters do things we all have to do, like eat, shower and exercise. I always wonder if you can’t see this happening how on earth characters survive when a book follows them through non-stop action for a week. Plus I guess I just like to see the normal side of characters, especially when they live in fantastical worlds.
  10. The fact that this is a series. Which means that there will be a second book. Which I KNOW will definitely find a place on my eclectic bookshelf!

So in conclusion? I am going to give this book

fourstars

FOUR STARS- really liked it, this is definitely going to find a place on my eclectic shelves, go and buy this book!

I would recommend this book to fans of Young Adult who like strong lead females and lots of action.

Add this book to your TBR on Goodreads.

Find this book on Amazon (UK) or Amazon.com (US) to preorder.

If you liked this review, want to read this book or just generally want to gush about how much you love Jennifer Estep’s books, leave a comment below!

Much Booky Love
E. St. C.
xxx

Retro Review: Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

since you've been gon

Format: Paperback
Published May 6th 2014 by Simon & Schuster
Originally Read: 26th November

From Goodreads
The Pre-Sloane Emily didn’t go to parties, she barely talked to guys, she didn’t do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend—the one who yanks you out of your shell.

But right before what should have been an epic summer, Sloane just… disappears. No note. No calls. No texts. No Sloane. There’s just a random to-do list. On it, thirteen Sloane-selected-definitely-bizarre-tasks that Emily would never try… unless they could lead back to her best friend.

Apple Picking at Night? Okay, easy enough.

Dance until Dawn? Sure. Why not?

Kiss a Stranger? Wait… what?

Getting through Sloane’s list would mean a lot of firsts. But Emily has this whole unexpected summer ahead of her, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected) to check things off. Who knows what she’ll find?

Go Skinny Dipping? Um…

My review
Morgan Matson is a seriously underrated author! I absolutely loved her other books, Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour and Second Chance Summer. I pounced on this book as soon as it arrived on my eclectic bookshelf and read it in one night. When I finished it in the early hours of the morning, it actually inspired me to write a to-do list for my sister and her husband..at 4am! Needless to say, the day after totally didn’t happen, but I really enjoyed the book! I would love it if one of my friends left me a list like Sloane did for Emily(hint hint friends). And it is really realistic too, they were all things that Emily actually had to make an effort to do, and the list definitely caused her to have adventures! Ugh!…if only I lived in this book world!

First, this was the song that was going through my head, as I originally read this book just after watching Pitch Perfect (amazing film!) and when I picked it up to review today, I started singing this song in the style of Rebel Wilson, much to my poor dog, Ollie’s, horror! (Thank you Kelly Clarkson!)

2015-01-24 22.21.05
Ollie (my dog):”Please stop singing Eleanor!”

Next, the main character, Emily. As MC’s go, she is not one I would normally connect to, as she is quite shy and not very confident, and I am not really shy and probably need to have my confidence hit down a little! However, Morgan really makes her relatable, I could completely see why she was so happy to live in Sloane’s shadow. And her development throughout the book is very realistic, especially her views of Sloane. It sort of reminded me of that change kids go through when they become adults and they realise their parents aren’t perfect, apart from she did it with her friend whom she had idolised. And then she continued to love Sloane anyway. 🙂

The only thing that slightly disappointed me is the ending of the book, I felt not much had changed…I mean Emily had totally changed but..well, I fear I cannot say more for fear of SPOILERS but I think that in this book, the journey is definitely better than the destination!

Finally, I thought I would write a list for you, avid reader, to complete! Comment below if you manage to do all (or some) of the things in the list below!

1) Read Since You’ve Been Gone

2) Take part in a blog meme. (A great list of weekly memes can be found here). If you don’t have a blog, take part on Twitter or Facebook. If you regularly take part in memes, try a new one.

3) Read a book you found through a blog.

4) Write a review for a book.

5) Complete one random act of kindness today!

Also, if you have ever completed any of the things on Emily’s List in the book, let me know in the comments! Personally, the items I have completed are 1) “Kiss a stranger”(at a sixth form party), 2) “Go skinny dipping”(erm, long story?), 6) “Ride a dern horse, ya cowpoke”(I am very lucky in that I own my own horse), 9) “Dance until dawn” (Summer Ball at University- I danced until 7am!) and 13) “Sleep under the stars” (I made myself a hammock in the garden- turns out Wales is freezing at night even in the summer!)

Overall, this was a very enjoyable read and therefore,
I am going to give this book
fourstars
FOUR STARS
I really enjoyed it, go buy it, read it, love it!

Add to your TBR on Goodreads

Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

 

Cinder

Format: Paperback
Published January 3rd 2012 by Feiwel & Friends

From Goodreads
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

My review
Honestly, I was reaching the end of my love for Dystopian novels. It was beginning to feel like everyone was jumping on the bandwagon to try and get a bestseller, whether they had a good story to tell or not! Then I read this book! Cinder is a retelling of Cinderella (I know, I know, also overdone!) with a dystopian twist, and to my greatest surprise, it was…good? Yeh, I was pretty shocked! I read it one evening when I was skiing out in Switzerland. I had hurt my knee off piste, my friends were all at a club having a great time and I was on my own killing time in the chalet, feeling pretty sorry for myself (even though I probably had absolutely no right to be!). I picked Cinder out of a huge bag of books I had taken that had been sitting on my TBR pile and fell into another world!

First, the main character. Finally, a properly three dimension MC! Cinder is a cyborg in a society where cyborgs are looked down on. But don’t worry, she is totally amazing, not at all your typical downcast mc with a bad past, she doesn’t spend all that much time feeling sorry for herself, really loves her little step sister who falls ill with the plague and is an amazing mechanic. She has a plan for her future and can really look out for herself. She is definitely not perfect, and I really fell in love with her.

Her evil stepmother is really horrible, but…I can sort of understand her. She is trying so hard to fit society’s norms, and absolutely loves her daughters. Even though she does something mean to Cinder which I cannot say due to spoilers, I cannot 100% say that I do not know people who would do as she does.

Unlike Queen Levana! Wow, there is somebody it takes no effort to hate! She is manipulative, pretty (with her glamour on) and plain evil. And yet, I think there may be more to her…As I think we will see in Fairest!

The plot is great, never a dull moment, it really flows. I love that Marissa keeps in a variation of the glass slipper being left on the stair.

Keeping the best bit for last…Prince Kai! Sigh! He is being added to my list of favourite book boyfriends! He is out of his depth, but is trying to be strong and is definitely trying to do his best for his people, even if it is a slightly misguided attempt. I really got their romance, I totally believed in it.

So all in all, great book! I ordered Scarlet and Cress immediately, so I think this is definitely going to find a place on my eclectic bookshelf!

I am going to give this book
fourstars
FOUR STARS
I really enjoyed it, go buy it, read it, love it!

 

Review: V is for Virgin

The best thing about Christmas, other than seeing my lovely family, is all that extra reading time.
I am travelling from Wales to my boyfriends house in Suffolk today, which is an incredibly long journey so I packed as many books as I could fit in my already stuffed suitcase! This means lots more Boxing Day reviews! (Thank goodness for personal wifi hotspots!)

So, V is for Virgin…

IMG_0456

From Goodreads
When Val Jensen gets dumped for her decision to stay a virgin until marriage, the nasty breakup goes viral on YouTube, making her the latest internet sensation.

After days of ridicule from her peers, Val starts a school-wide campaign to rally support for her cause. She meant to make a statement, but she never dreamed the entire nation would get caught up in the controversy.

As if becoming nationally recognised as “Virgin Val” isn’t enough, Val’s already hectic life starts to spin wildly out of control when bad boy Kyle Hamilton, lead singer for the hit rock band Tralse, decides to take her abstinence as a personal challenge.

How can a girl stay true to herself when this year’s Sexiest Man Alive is doing everything in his power to win her over?

My review
Ok, when I read this description, I honestly thought it was going to be a preachy book about staying a virgin until marriage and how if you don’t you are doomed. However, having read other books by Kelly Oram that I really enjoyed, I thought I should give this book a go. I was so wrong about everything!

This book is ah-mazing. Val has a very personal reason for wanting to stay a virgin and she doesn’t preach that we shouldn’t all be having pre-marital sex at all. It is more about pro-choice and not being forced into something we don’t feel ready for. So for starters, this book was already doing better than I hoped for!

Val is a brilliant main character, she is really strong, knows what she wants but isn’t prone to the occasional melt down! I laughed out loud so many times when reading this book, which, as you can imagine, is not making me very popular on the national express…

Her best friend acted in a very believable way and Kyle is brilliant. He is not too perfect and it took me a little while to warm to him, which I loved, as whilst I am a fan of insta-love, it seems to be a theme in every book at the moment! Not from Kelly Oram! She makes her characters earn each other’s love and respect, which I think is brilliant.

The cute scenes in this book between Kyle and Val made me squirm with happiness, the best feeling ever!

I can’t wait to read the next book, A is for Abstinence!

I am going to give is book
fourstars
FOUR STARS
I really enjoyed it, go buy it, read it, love it!

 

Review: Spice God by C.L. Stone

Spice God Cover

Publisher: Arcato Publishing; 2 edition (23 July 2013)
Format: Kindle

I bought this book on my Kindle from Amazon.co.uk

Summary

From Amazon:

Newly divorced, Melody ran away from a drugged out ex-husband and a controlling mother with little more than the clothes on her back. She needed a new home and a new job, not to mention a new life. Juniper Island, a thriving and posh hideaway known for its bustling summer tourism, held a promise to be exactly the change she needed. Without a second thought, Melody buys a one-way bus ticket.

Directed to the North Shore by the bus driver, she meets Tonac, the unusual chef and owner of Mayana, a restaurant tailored to serve the hard-working island locals. He gives his delicious meals away for free, but that’s not the strangest part; he doesn’t serve people what they want, only what they need.

When Melody tastes the food for the first time, she finds out why the customers keep coming back, and it’s not just to eat for free or to be served by a rude waiter with no people skills. The food influences people in unique ways: sometimes it gives them visions, sometimes bravery, and in others it casts a new light into the darkest and faintest of memories — whether they wanted to remember or not.

Knowing she can do better as a server than the crabby waiter, Melody applies for a job at this strange restaurant. Tonac takes her on, but under his care, she comes face-to-face with the secrets of what he really is and who (and what) else inhabits the island.

But not all of the residents of Juniper Island are happy with Tonac and his special meals. And when Melody gets caught up in the middle, it’ll take more than a few spiced apple tarts or a bowl of pumpkin soup to uncover the deep and dark secrets that some inhabitants of Juniper Island want to keep buried.

My Review

Ok, I have to be honest, this book has been sitting on my TBR pile for about a month now. I really love The Academy series by C.L. Stone and did not want to move on. However, I am now really glad I did.

I loved this book! I thought Melody was a really interesting, deep character and the descriptions of Tonac and Dion were just, well, *swoon*. I have to admit, I had no idea the twist involving the guys was coming, it completely fooled me, and made this book go on my list of “unable to put down”.
I really enjoyed the descriptions in this book, I could picture the Mayana and Juniper Island in my mind perfectly.

I am most definitely on Team Dion, even though he was a bit of an ass in the beginning, he seemed to have a lot of charm and tried to help Melody understand more about the powers he had, which was more than Tonac did. He was also funny, and I am a sucker for a boy that can make me laugh!

The only downsides to this book was that outside of the three main characters I did not feel that I really knew any of the other characters very well. For example, Gretta ends up becoming Melody’s best friend and in the end she sacrifices a lot because she loves everyone on the island, so I just wish we could have got to know them all a bit better.

I felt that the book ended a bit abruptly and would have like to see a bit more explanation!

If you enjoyed The Ghost Bird series by C.L. Stone and you like stories about Gods and Goddesses then read this book!

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and would thoroughly recommend it. For that reason I am going to give it…..

Four out of five stars

fourstars