Sunday, 30 November 2014

Review: Phantom Wolf by Kia Carrington-Russell

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22404103-phantom-wolfGoodreads Synopsis:
Sia is a Phantom Wolf. Neither dead nor alive—and rotting from the inside—she is on the edge of her curse. Once a Phantom Wolf has been created, they hunt their blood pack and slaughter all their loved ones. Except for Sia, who woke years after her death to find herself rampaging through the land on a lonely path. She continues to run from the rival pack that hunts her because she is a Phantom Wolf. Attracted to a scent, Sia finds her old best friend, who is now a grown woman. Having once saved Keeley, Sia takes the role of protector yet again, despite Keeley’s involvement with the mysterious Alpha, Kiba, and his kin brother, Saith. An ambush separates the pack and the four of them blindly fight the new warriors that attack them: desperately needing to find out where the attacks are coming from, as Sia has vowed to protect Keeley. But at what cost? Now being chased, Sia finds herself conflicted by the mortal and spirit world while trying to protect her kin. Sia must confront her fears, as well as the human lover who killed her many years before. It is not only survival Sia contends with, but her own fa├žade that must be broken so that she may find peace within herself once more.


Review:
***I received the eBook free as a review copy from the author in exchange for an honest review***

This is a story about love and betrayal, redemption and what it means to sacrifice. I was drawn in by the action but captivated by the amount of emotion I felt from the story and its characters which quickly worked its way into my own heart. I always look for a story that makes me feel something, anything, good and bad; Phantom Wolf had it all.

Sia was such an amazing protagonist who didn’t swamp herself with self-pity no matter how awful her past as well as present circumstances were; and if that wasn’t enough to be admired about, her fierce devotion to her friends and loved ones was beautiful. I loved how they affected her changes, and it made the conclusion all the more emotional.

As I’ve already said this is a very emotional character-driven story so of course the side characters had to feel just as real. Before I move onto the love interest Kiba, I thought his brother Saith and Sia’s kin Seeley needed a brief mention. They felt just as important to Sia’s growth as well as the storyline; so I found myself I was rooting for them just as much.

The villain of the story was viciously wicked and though you don’t see much in present time, the memories were always haunted the background.

Now you might have noticed that I’ve been putting off talking about Kida… To be honest, all I can get out is that he was the perfect man/wolf/angel (in hypothetical terms only) for Sia *goes to cry in corner*.

I encourage all young adult readers to pick up Phantom Wolf, and while you’re at it Kia Carrington-Russel’s other series The Three Immortal Blades! My reviews can be found here: Possession of My Soul & Possession of My Heart. It’s obviously very different but just as enjoyable.
Favourite Quotes:
“For now, I must fight to live, no matter what kind of life that might be. I must always fight.”

“He let out a large exhale and I felt his weight quickly under me, lifting me. Before I count react, I was already standing, so I let myself fall dramatically back onto the bed.
“Are you kidding me?” Kida exhaled, frustrated.”

“You want to run. You want to fight. You say all these things about being a monster and yet…” He slowly found his way in front of me. “You want to be held. You want to be loved. Because deep down, no matter how dead you may say you are, you know it is the one thing you can’t stop doing.”

“In truth we do not know how long we may have on this plain. Perhaps we shouldn’t damn ourselves with reservation and instead truly accept what is most attractive to our hearts.”

Friday, 28 November 2014

Ebook Sale & Interview with Giveaway: Meritropolis by Joel Ohman

Today, I have a special post from the lovely publishers over at CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform through Novel Publicity about Meritropolis by Joel Ohman. I will also have a review coming soon so keep an eye out for that!

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23198675-meritropolis
Goodreads Synopsis:
The year is AE3, 3 years after the Event. Within the walls of Meritropolis, 50,000 inhabitants live in fear, ruled by the brutal System that assigns each citizen a merit score that dictates whether they live or die. Those with the highest scores thrive, while those with the lowest are subject to the most unforgiving punishment--to be thrust outside the city gates, thrown to the terrifying hybrid creatures that exist beyond.

But for one High Score, conforming to the System just isn't an option. Seventeen-year-old Charley has a brother to avenge. And nothing--not even a totalitarian military or dangerous science--is going to stop him.

Where humankind has pushed nature and morals to the extreme, Charley is amongst the chosen few tasked with exploring the boundaries, forcing him to look deep into his very being to discern right from wrong. But as he and his friends learn more about the frightening forces that threaten destruction both without and within the gates, Meritropolis reveals complexities they couldn't possibly have bargained for...

Sounds good, right? Well, this exciting YA Dystopia is on sale for just 99 cents Thursday, November 27 through Monday, December 1. You can pick up your copy on Amazon.
To celebrate, we are offering a giveaway for an autographed copy and a $100 Amazon gift card—hooray!
Check out this interview with Joel Ohman, the author of the book critics are calling, “The Hunger Games meets The Village with a young Jack Reacher as a protagonist”, then scroll to the end of this post to learn more about the giveaway. Happy reading, and good luck!


Interview:

Who or what was your inspiration to write about post-apocalyptic, dystopian sci-fi?
I've read a lot in this genre, so I would say it’s a mix of a lot of different things. I really just wanted to explore this question of, "What gives a person worth?" Is it their usefulness to society? Is it because someone loves them? Is it because of how they look? Is it because of their health or ability? As a Christian, I believe that all people have worth, because they are made in the image of God. I wanted to explore some different takes on this question. I think that the post-apocalyptic/dystopian/sci-fi genre was the best vehicle to tackle some of those deep philosophical questions in a fun and interesting way.

Why do you write? Is it for fun, or because you have something you need to say in your writing?
Some writers are loath to say their writing has a message, because maybe they think doing so diminishes their art (not true, in my opinion), but I think that everyone has a message in their writing, even if they aren't as consciously focused on it—and that's a good thing. My message is in my epigraph: "Because everyone matters - Psalm 139".

Why the title Meritropolis?
I wanted a short one word title that was a clever—or at least semi-clever—play on two different words. I like "Meritropolis" because it combines "Merit" and "Metropolis," two words that are great for describing a city where each resident's worth is measured by a score given to them.

In Meritropolis how were the animal combinations decided upon? For example, I know you chose to write about a bion (bull-lion), as well as many other freaks of nature. So what I want to know is how did you decided which animals to meld together and why.
I have a big list of animal combinations that I came up with before I began writing the book, and I tried to work in as many as I could. Sometimes the only criteria was that I liked the way the name sounded. Look for many more in the following books!

Can you tells us about your characters and who/what inspired them?
I am a big believer in John Truby’s approach to building a “character web”, because this deepens the relationships between characters and helps to make each of the characters more complex. Absent building a good character web, it can be all too easy to fall into the not-very-true-to-real-life good-person/bad-person false dichotomy where your protagonist devolves into this I-can-do-no-wrong character and your antagonist is just pure evil. I was very much aiming to show the imperfections and brokenness in each of the characters. My thinking as a Christian influences this to some degree, given that the Bible teaches that we are all essentially the same; we are all sinners—only God is perfect.

Do you have a favorite genre that you like to read?
I read pretty much everything! Fiction, non-fiction, you name it! I am of the opinion that, as an author, I can learn something from almost every kind of writing. Sometimes, it most definitely is a matter of learning what not to do—but, on the whole, I love to read a wide variety of writing styles, genres, etc.

Are there any books that have inspired your own writing?
I read A LOT so there are many different things that have shaped my writing over the years, but I wouldn't say there was any particular book, or books, that I was consciously looking to for inspiration while writing Meritropolis. Looking back though I can definitely see different threads of influence in almost everything I have read over the years that contribute toward making Meritropolis what it is: the strong protagonist of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series, the philosophical bent of C.S. Lewis’ fiction, the dystopian setting of Hugh Howey’s WOOL series, and many more.

Are there any authors that have emerged in the last three years that have caught your interest?
Hugh Howey is an author that I really like that has caught my attention lately. I would highly recommend his WOOL series!


DON'T FORGET!
Meritropolis is marked down from its regular price of $5.99, but only for a limited time. Feed your Kindle by picking up a discounted copy for just 99 cents, but make sure you do it before December 2!

NOW ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

New Banner & Button & 6 Months Blogging

6 months ago today I started my young adult book blog Enchanted by YA, and it’s still going strong since I’m still here! Today’s post won’t be one of those anniversary posts where you thank everyone and their mothers for their support (that’s coming in May when it’s been a full year ;) providing it continues that long…) but I did want to mention it because I am honestly surprised that I am just as excited about blogging than I was at the beginning and after so many stories about stress etc I can safely say that’s not the case for me *phew*.

I’ve already started to ramble but my point was, that when I noticed the 6 month milestone I also realised that I had never gotten around to making my own button/banner for the blog. I’m no ICT expert and it’s only recently when I got my Instagram account that I started editing photos so instead of asking someone else to do it for me I took it into my own hands and here are the results:

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Book Trailer Reveal: Into the Blind by Helen Rena

I'm very excited to share the book trailer for the amazing Helen Rena's new YA urban fantasy Into the Blind. I've already read and loved this book (you can see my review here) so I hope you also enjoy this trailer and it intrigues you to pick it up! First here's the synopsis:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21523811-into-the-blindSynopsis:
Fifteen-year-old Ever is blind. Only able to see what her boyfriend, Fox, looks at, which is most often herself. But sometimes it’s also the muscled men who kidnapped Ever and Fox, and sometimes it’s an unused mall in New York City where the two teens are locked up until they’ll come into the paranormal gifts for which they were stolen. Having spent years in this mall, Ever is ready to do anything to escape. Not so with Fox. Yes, he longs to escape too, but there’s one thing that he values above his freedom. It’s Ever’s love. Still, when the two get a chance to escape, they take it, only to discover that this chance is so dark and twisted that it just might destroy Ever’s love for Fox.

And here's the trailer...


Into the Blind is available on Amazon. And you can get in touch with the author on Facebook or Twitter or by dropping her a line through the contact page on her website.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Blog Tour: Becoming Beauty by Sarah Boucher






Becoming Beauty by Sarah Boucher
Publisher: Cedar Fort Publishing and Media

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21948060-becoming-beautyGoodreads Synopsis:
Claws. Long, filthy, and dangerously sharp. 

They’re the first thing Bella sees after what’s been the worst day of her life. If Bella were the quintessential Beauty—gorgeous, kindhearted, and self-sacrificing—she might have a chance at transforming this monster into a man, but she’s never been the toad-kissing kind. Obsessed with landing a wealthy nobleman and escaping her humdrum life, Bella will stop at nothing to achieve her goals. Which is precisely what landed her here, at the mercy of the Beast.

In this imaginative retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Bella's sense of entitlement strains both her family's finances and patience. As punishment for her selfishness, she's sent into the Beast's service where she must choose whether to follow the path she's always dreamed of—or risk it all for something even greater. 

Available on AmazonBarnes & Noble, and books & things.


Review:
***I received the eBook free as a review copy from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review***

It’s only recently that I found my love for retellings, and I’m extremely glad because it meant that from the second I read the synopsis I wanted to read this book, so I have to thank the people over at Cedar Fort Publishing for hosting the blog tour and of course the lovely Sarah Boucher.

Onto the book: the heroine Bella was as flawed as anyone else, and it made her so much more relatable as well as entertaining to read about. Her character development is incredibly extensive, but done beautifully so that she stays true to herself and doesn’t simply change overnight but learns from her past faults. At first I admired how determined she was to get what she wanted, but I grew to admire how she realised that dreams change yet she wouldn’t give up on hers.

The Beast was just as great a character, who undergoes a far more visible change (I loved the scene where Bella manipulated him into cutting his nails and hair; it was just hilarious and great comic relief). However he isn’t the only man in Bella’s life and it was brilliant watching the relationships play out, and not always in the way you expect…

It took me a while to get my head around the ending, because while I saw it coming I was in a way hoping it wouldn’t. Yet I realised writing this review that it fit perfectly with the characters (it was very much a character-orientated book) and I can’t see it ending any other way.

This isn’t just a book for people who love fairy-tale retellings, but for people who love a little mystery with their love stories and who can appreciate a great debut from an author who I can’t wait to read more from.
Favourite Quotes:
“All of us are somewhat beastly, you know,” he added.
“He just wears his beastliness where everyone can see it.” To my surprise, he chuckled, his eyes crinkling at the corners. “At least you know what you’re getting into, right?”

"I was no more interested in agriculture than I was in learning how to milk cats, but I persisted because I couldn’t resist bothering him while he was reading. “And what have you learned so far?” “That certain young women are relentless pests,” he responded blandly, his eyes still fixed on the book. “Ridiculous,” I chided. “That has nothing to do with agriculture.”

"My frankness seemed to reach him at last. The anger drained from his face, revealing the weakness he tried so hard to hide. We aren’t that different after all, I reflected. We’re both trying to hide who we are."

“The first time I realized I had something to lose was when I had already lost it. Before then, I prayed for freedom from my mundane life. Until I was cut free, I didn’t understand how wonderful that life was.”


Interview:

1) Hi Sarah, thanks so much for sparing some time for this interview, can you tell us a little about your book Becoming Beauty?
Bella isn't your average Beauty. Instead of the sweet, patient, self-sacrificing heroine you might expect in a Beauty and the Beast retelling, she's greedy, ambitious, and manipulative. So, when she's thrown into the Beast's household, she turns everything upside down and it's difficult to decide which of the two is more Beastly. However, this change in circumstances sends Bella on a journey of self-discovery that teaches her the true meaning of beauty.

2) What made you decide to write a retelling of such a well-known story?
Beauty and the Beast has always been my favorite fairytale, and not just because of the Disney movie. I've loved the fairytale since I was a little girl and remember vividly my mom's paperback Beauty and the Beast picture book. Those images and the magic and romance they expressed stayed with me until the idea of snarky Bella was born. She and her relationship with the Beast are the answer to all my questions about the original tale.

3) Can you talk us through how you’re feeling about the release of your first book?
I officially stopped sleeping weeks ago. And going to the gym. And eating healthy. The stresses of "How will my book launch go?" "Will people like my book?" "Will people hear about my book?" paralyzed me and had me reaching for the chocolate until my Book Launch. Then the fun, excitement, support from my loved ones, and kindness from strangers caught up with me. Since then it's been less worrying and a lot more fun. A whole lot more fun!

4) What’s the best/worst writing advice you’ve ever received?
The best: share your writing with others. 
The worst: share your writing with others.
I know it sounds the same, but it really can be the worst and best advice ever. In the beginning, I thought I should share my stories with friends and family, but the response was always, "That's nice." There's a point when "That's nice" is completely unhelpful. Instead I sought out those who would give me honest feedback and help me grow as a writer. I've never looked back.

5) What scenes were your favourite and least favourite to write?
I was aching to write Bella's big girl tizzy fit. Everything she feels, says, and does when she finally comes unglued is my absolute favorite. It was the first scene I had in my head when I started writing and everything leading up to it was more laborious because I was so anxious to tackle that scene.

6) What are some of your favourite movies, and what actors/actresses could you see playing the main characters from your book?
My favorite movie right now is Guardians of the Galaxy. Extremely dorky comicbook fun, I know. But I absolutely love it.
If I had my dream cast, this is who I'd choose:
Katherine Heigl as Bella
Jennifer Garner as Rose
Hugh Jackman as the Beast
Chris Pratt as Jack 
It's an eclectic cast, but it would certainly be interesting!

7) How and when did you first realise you loved writing and wanted to be an author? What was the first thing you ever wrote?
My mom saved a mystery about pants I wrote in second grade or thereabouts, but I always remember being excited about reading and writing. We were just that type of household. I read and wrote like crazy through high school and college but only made it public a few years ago. Joining a writing group at the insistence of my best friend pushed me to refine my skills and publicly admit that I'm a writer.

8) Do you have any more projects in the works or can you share some ideas for future ones?
My main project is a twist on The Twelve Dancing Princesses featuring a huge cast of crazy sisters, opinionated gardeners, and various noblemen. Breathing life into a dozen sisters, a household staff, and pompous and misguided noblemen has been a lot of fun. Whenever I have a spare braincell, that's where I employ it. The next project after Twelve will be an mash-up of Rumplstiltskin and the Shoemaker and the Elves.

Quick Questions
Fan fiction yay or nay? If you can write it well and not assault my eyes with grammatical errors and whatnot: Yay!
Ebook or paperback? I'm a traditionalist, so paperback. But ebooks are grabbing my attention more and more these days.
Tea or coffee? Hot chocolate! With all the gooey toppings, please! 
Zombies or vampires? Ooh! I'm a little sick of vampires, so zombies. I'm also partial to werewolves. The Beast is pretty werewolfy, would you say?

About the Author
Sarah E. Boucher spends her days instilling young children with the same love of literature she has known since childhood. After hours, she pens her own stories and nurses an unhealthy obsession for handbags, high heels, baking, and British television. Sarah is a graduate of Brigham Young University, who currently lives and teaches in Ogden, Utah. Becoming Beauty is her first novel.

Visit Sarah at blog/website (SarahEBoucher.com) 


Or connect with Sarah by clicking through to the following social media sites: Twitter * Facebook * Instagram * Pinterest * Goodreads


And don't forget to click below and enter the giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Blog Tour: The Broken Destiny (The Broken Trilogy #1) by Carlyle Labuschagne


The Broken Destiny (The Broken Trilogy #1) by Carlyle Labuschagne
Publisher: Fire Quill Publishing (SA) Hallowed Ink Press (USA)

Goodreads Synopsis:
"You cannot know what light is if you have not experienced darkness" 

Ava and her people have been exiled to the planet Poseidon for reasons she can't fathom. Upon meeting a boy from a different sector, her life turns into a beautiful chaos. She begins to feel things she isn't allowed to, thus motivating her to find out the truth about why her kind are so different, and why the Council are so interested in her. Once her mind is freed, with it comes a terrible power that could either save her kind, or destroy them all. But Ava is not the perfect heroine. She will become what she hates to save the ones she loves, and the cost of such a burden is deadly at best.

 Review:
***I received the eBook free as a review copy from the author in exchange for an honest review***

Crossing dystopia with sci-fi with fantasy with High School is an impressive feat to get right and it felt like Carlyle Labuschagne did so effortlessly.

I won’t go into detail on the background because honestly it could probably fill pages and I'll still be missing something vital; but I will say that the world was complex but easy to understand as you were gradually introduced to its history, and very quickly sucked into the mystery. There were twists and turns around every corner and I couldn’t catch my breath! There was always something happening, and when you finally thought you reached a lull… well think again…

Not only was it action-packed and a real page turner, but it was one hell of an emotional rollercoaster. Ava starts the story with the impression she could turn off her emotions and it had worked for a long time, until a certain someone turned up. Enoch was a real mystery; not only to Ava but the reader, so I can certainly see why her feelings went haywire when he was around. She definitely had to deal with a lot and all at once which was hard to read in a way but just as captivating. Her emotions were so raw and real, which is what kept me turning the pages.

There were a lot more significant characters to the story *cough*Troy*cough*, but just like with the plot I could ramble for pages and either spoil something or simply not do it justice or both!

Overall though Broken Destiny was a brilliant start to a captivating series that I can’t wait to continue.
Favourite Quotes:
“With him I couldn’t be anything but myself and that scared the crap out of me, because I had never existed like that before.” 

“Everyone tried so hard to be normal, to fit in and not to accept what they were, what we all were. We were anything but normal.”

“For a while, it felt like I was on top of the universe. I didn’t realize that I was about to fall.”

About the Author

Carlyle Labuschagne is a South African award winning author working her way into the hearts of international readers with her first two books in the Broken Trilogy. Her first YA Dystopian novel, 'The Broken Destiny' reached top 3 in its YA Debut Category. The Sequel 'Evanescent' won YATR literary award for best SCI-Fi Book of 2013 and was nominated for IRC best Indie Novel and Indie cover award 2014. 
"My goal as an author is to touch people's lives, and help others love their differences and one another.
She is not only an author, but works as a marketing manager by day. She holds a diploma in creative writing through the writing school at College SA.
Links: Goodreads * Amazon * Twitter * Blog * Carlyle's website * Fire Quill Publishing

Giveaway

Swag
1 signed copy of The Broken Destiny
1 custom made t-shirt
1 custom made Book mark
1 custom made book bag
5 Digital copies of The Broken Destiny

Tour Dates
Monday the 3rd of November - Review by Kimmy
http://opinionatedcupcakes.blogspot.co.uk
Wednesday the 5th November  - Review by Sana
http://letmebefictional.blogspot.com

Monday the 10th November - Spotlight by Trisha
http://happybookreviewer.blogspot.co.uk
Tuesday the 11th November - Review by Aisa
http://originiqueguanimity.blogspot.com
Thursday the 13th November - Spotlight by FQP
www.firequillpublishing.com
Tuesday the 18th November - Guestpost by Deborah
http://deborahjayauthor.com
Thursday the 20th November - Review by Anna
http://enchantedbyya.blogspot.co.uk
Thursday the 25th November - Guestpost by Erika
http://confessionsofafantasyfreak.blogspot.com
Thursday the 4th December - Interview by Adrienne
http://woodsadrienne.wordpress.com
Monday the 8th of December - Review by Teri
http://sportochicksmusings.blogspot.com
Wed the 12th of December - Spotlight by Sandra
http://www.novelreviewcafe.com
Sponsored by

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Review: The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #5) by Rick Riordan

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4502507-the-last-olympian?ac=1
Goodreads Synopsis:
All year the half-bloods have been preparing for battle against the Titans, knowing the odds are against them. Kronos is stronger than ever, and with every god and half-blood he recruits, his power only grows.            

In this momentous final book in the New York Times best-selling series, the prophecy surrounding Percy‘s sixteenth birthday unfolds. And as the battle for Western civilization rages on the streets of Manhattan, Percy faces a terrifying suspicion that he may be fighting against his own fate.


Review:
Rick Riordan is a genius.

This is how you finish a series, and after the disappointment of so many of other final installments to come back to a series that I love which has an ending I love just as much is a breath of fresh air.

Granted there were a few things I didn’t like so much and I wanted to get them out of the way first; and this largely included the completion of the prophecy. I still found myself surprised with how it played out but I think there wasn’t nearly enough emphasis on that final decision and also the way it kind of skipped the fact it was Percy’s birthday until after…

Putting this aside though, The Last Olympian was a heart pounding, action filled adventure with friendships as well as relationships that will twist your heart and give you all the feels! As a re-read I didn’t expect to find myself constantly on the edge of my seat or screaming at characters, but Riordan has an amazing ability to keep the story new no matter how many times you read it and this is something I know I’ll cherish along with the series when I come back again years later.

For now though, I can see more of the amazing characters in the Heroes of Olympus series and while I know it’s dangerous to go into a book with high expectations, I simply can’t help it! It will have Percabeth and if that doesn’t get my hopes up for a spin-off I don’t know what would.

I definitely recommend people stick with the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series to the very end because it was well worth it, and I can’t stress enough how you won’t regret picking the first book up in the first place (of course if you’re reading this book it’s likely you’ve already started for which I applaud you).
Favourite Quotes:
“With great power... comes great need to take a nap. Wake me up later.” 

“It's hard to enjoy practical jokes when your whole life feels like one.” 

“I don't recommend shadow travel if you're scared of:
a) The dark
b) Cold shivers up your spine
c) Strange noises
d) Going so fast you feel like your face is peeling off
In other words, I thought it was awesome.” 

“I'm afraid not." Hades sighed. "My son here convinced me that perhaps I should prioritize my list of enemies." He glared at me with distaste. "As much as I dislike certain upstart demigods, it would not do for Olympus to fall. I would miss bickering with my siblings. And if there is one thing we agree on - it is that you were a TERRIBLE father.”

“She looked at me, like she was drinking in the fact that I was still here. And I realized I was doing the same thing. The world was collapsing, and the only thing that really mattered to me was that she was alive.” 

Monday, 17 November 2014

Review: The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #4) by Rick Riordan

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2120932.The_Battle_of_the_LabyrinthGoodreads Synopsis:
Percy Jackson isn't expecting freshman orientation to be any fun. But when a mysterious mortal acquaintance appears on campus, followed by demon cheerleaders, things quickly move from bad to worse.
In this fourth installment of the blockbuster series, time is running out as war between the Olympians and the evil Titan lord Kronos draws near. Even the safe haven of Camp Half-Blood grows more vulnerable by the minute as Kronos's army prepares to invade its once impenetrable borders. To stop the invasion, Percy and his demigod friends must set out on a quest through the Labyrinth - a sprawling underground world with stunning surprises at every turn.

Review:
Original thought 4/8/12: I am yet to be disappointed in this series; in fact it just seems to be getting better and better!

Being the penultimate book in the Percy Jackson series I want to start by saying that I love how strong this series has been right from the start, because it has never failed to impress me.

This book in particular is one of my favourites because it has the perfect mix of constant action as well as family/friend relationships that simply brighten my day. Percabeth seems to be finally happening and if that isn’t enough reason for 5 stars… Annabeth seems to still be hung up on Luke though which has always been infuriating to me and Percy has good reason to get annoyed with it as well (even if he’s a boy about it and doesn’t get why he's even annoyed).

The gang is back together after they were apart for the majority of the previous book The Titan’s Curse, along with Rachel who is not the pain-in-the-ass character only there to form a love triangle that people expected her to be; and the importance she has in the story, and will come to have, is really interesting.

All the characters have visibly matured from the first book up to this point, but Percy in particular still has his signature snarky voice and I’m so glad that the grave circumstances never took that away.

The situation with the impending prophecy definitely adds a more serious tone to this book, like it did with the last and the mysterious labyrinth only added to this unease. I can’t wait to continue on to the last book which I seem to remember does not disappoint.
Favourite Quotes:
“Be careful of love. It'll twist your brain around and leave you thinking up is down and right is wrong.” 

“People are more difficult to work with than machines. And when you break a person, he can't be fixed.” 

“You deal with mythological stuff for a few years, you learn that paradises are usually places where you get killed.” 

“New lesson, class. Most monsters will vaporize when sliced with a celestial bronze sword. This change is perfectly normal, and will happen to you right now if you don't BACK OFF!"

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Review: The Titan's Curse (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #3) by Rick Riordan

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/561456.The_Titan_s_CurseGoodreads Synopsis:
IT'S NOT EVERYDAY YOU FIND YOURSELF IN COMBAT WITH A HALF-LION, HALF-HUMAN.

But when you're the son of a Greek god, it happens. And now my friend Annabeth is missing, a goddess is in chains and only five half-blood heroes can join the quest to defeat the doomsday monster.

Oh, and guess what? The Oracle has predicted that not all of us will survive...


Review:
I don’t remember this being one of my favourites when I first read it, and that largely came down to the fact that the main characters spent a lot of time (not always by choice) away from each other and so you lose the dynamic they have together which I simply love reading about. However as you can see from the 5 star rating, I still completely loved it!

What I thought before remains true this time around, but it was a lot easier to overlook. I also came to appreciate the way it made room for introductions to new characters that were great additions to the story; and not replacements for the ones I love which my 12 year old self thought. Nico was definitely my favourite among them because there’s so much to his character whereas Bianca seemed a little one-sided and I did not understand the decisions she made.

Thalia was definitely the most significant addition, being the daughter of Zeus and all, which is why I still found myself surprised by her role; it was like she came back from the “dead” and seeing that Luke wasn’t the hero she thought he was decided to “leave” again.

Percy remained true though and I simply love that (along with everything else) about him. Even thinking that he was no longer the child of the prophecy he steps up to be the hero on more than one occasion.

Plot wise, I think this is the book where it starts to get serious. The prophecy is always lurking in the background along with its threat of war so naturally the story takes a much darker turn. However I still found myself laughing out loud and enjoying myself as I sped through this brilliant action-packed novel. This series is a must-read.
Favourite Quotes:
“The most dangerous flaws are those which are good in moderation," she said. "Evil is easy to fight. Lack of wisdom… that is very hard indeed.” 

“Love conquers all," Aphrodite promised. "Look at Helen and Paris. Did they let anything come between them?"
"Didn't they start the Trojan War and get thousands of people killed?"
"Pfft. That's not the point. Follow your heart.” 

“In a way, it's nice to know that there are Greek gods out there, because you have somebody to blame when things go wrong. For instance, when you're walking away from a bus that's just been attacked by monster hags and blown up by lightning, and it's raining on top of everything else, most people might think that's just really bad luck; when you're a half-blood, you understand that some devine force is really trying to mess up your day.” 

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Movie Review: Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters


Summary:
In order to restore their dying safe haven, the son of Poseidon and his friends embark on a quest to the Sea of Monsters to find the mythical Golden Fleece while trying to stop an ancient evil from rising.


Review:
I remember hating The Lightning Thief movie as an adaptation, because it was so unfaithful to the book. To quote myself “I don’t honestly know how it got away with it because not only did they miss out loads but changed the remainder so that it barely resembled the book” and this meant that I reluctantly watched this movie anticipating them to slaughter it. However I was pleasantly surprised…

It was no award-winning movie and will never be one of my favourites, but anything could have been better than my poorer than dirt expectations. Following a little more faithfully to Rick Riordan’s book it was enjoyable, but I would say that if you detested the first with a passion keep away from the movie franchise. I don’t even know if they got enough profit to warrant its continuation. Nevertheless this movie was a way for the producers and directors to redeem themselves in the eyes of the book’s fans, which they did in a way.

It was still filled with cheesy one-liners and countless faults, including little things like Clarise and Percy not constantly at each other’s throats; as well as more significant things like Grover’s mission to find Pan and the scene at Siren Bay. This wasn’t just an important bonding moment for Annabeth and Percy but for the viewer, and also leads on to the questioning of our heroes’ fatal flaws.

Overall though it wasn’t a complete flop, so long as you don’t take it too seriously and go in with quite low expectations, but I will always love the books no matter what the movie producers come out with and I’m glad they can’t change that.
Favourite Quotes:
Annabeth: “You used to be one of us.”
Luke: “And then I woke up.”

Mr. D: [Mr. D poured some wine into a glass but it turned to water immediately - a punishment from Zeus] "You know, the Christians have a guy who can do this trick in reverse [looking up at sky, as if speaking to Zeus] "now that's a god."

Friday, 14 November 2014

Review: Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #2) by Rick Riordan

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28186.The_Sea_of_MonstersGoodreads Synopsis:
The heroic son of Poseidon makes an action-packed comeback in the second must-read installment of Rick Riordan's amazing young readers series. Starring Percy Jackson, a "half blood" whose mother is human and whose father is the God of the Sea, Riordan's series combines cliffhanger adventure and Greek mythology lessons that results in true page-turners that get better with each installment. In this episode, The Sea of Monsters, Percy sets out to retrieve the Golden Fleece before his summer camp is destroyed, surpassing the first book's drama and setting the stage for more thrills to come.


Review:
Sea of Monsters (just like the first book) is the combination of everything I look for in a young adult fantasy novel with action, adventure, mythology and even an impending romance that I can’t wait to see develop.

Riordan also introduces some morals into his writing that I hadn’t picked up on when I first read the series, and it definitely added to the plot since it didn’t take away from any of the adventure/action scenes. I have always loved the way he can write these dramatic scenes without being repetitive in the fighting techniques and a lot of up-and-coming authors, even published ones could take a leaf out of his book for sure.

The plot has definitely thickened too, and there was a much more mysterious tone to the writing because of everything going on and things left unsaid. However Percy remained his hilarious self which I loved seeing, especially when it rubbed Clarise, even Annabeth up the wrong way resulting in some great scenes. We also see the introduction of Tyson, who even though is a Cyclops has such a sweet and vulnerable nature that you can’t help but love him as time goes on.

The relationships they all have combined with the heroic adventure in this book results in a read that anyone and everyone will love. If you haven’t started this series yet… well you should!
Favourite Quotes:
“Families are messy. Immortal families are eternally messy. Sometimes the best we can do is to remind each other that we're related for better or for worse...and try to keep the maiming and killing to a minimum.” 

“But you, Percy - you are part god, part human. You live in both worlds. You can be harmed by both, and you can affect both. That's what makes heroes so special. You carry the hopes of humanity into the realm of the eternal.

“Powdered donuts," Tyson said earnestly. "I will look for powdered donuts in the wilderness." He headed outside and started calling, "Here, donuts!” 

“How could music cause so many lives to veer off course? I mean, sure, there were some Top Forty songs that made me want to take a fiery nosedive, but still . . .”

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Review: The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1) by Rick Riordan

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28187.The_Lightning_ThiefGoodreads  Synopsis:
Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school... again. And that's the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy's Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he's angered a few of them. Zeus' master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.

Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus' stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.


Review:
I feel as though I could read this book over and over and never get tired of it. My opinion hasn’t changed since I first read it when I was 12 years old because I love it just as much!

In fact I’m pretty sure I learnt more Greek Mythology from this book/series then I ever did in school, and that remains true to this day! I love how it was woven into the story and no matter how much you knew beforehand you could pick up on the details as you flew through. It was modernised in a great way with its own unique tales and twists.

Combined with lots of action and adventure, it always had the potential to be great but it wouldn’t have been the same without the amazing set of characters. Percy is one of my all-time favourites because he is the perfect mix of bravery and humour but also vulnerability. On the other hand I was never particularly fond of Annabeth, yet I found myself liking her a lot more as I re-read it. Then there’s Grover of course who is simply amazing; enough said. The relationships these characters have are so nice to read about and prove that it’s not only about romance in books; friendships are just as important and meaningful.

I remember being able to relate to this when I was younger, particularly Percy as a character and the same goes for today. I’ve heard 20 year olds, even 40 year olds loving these characters and the series in general which is an amazing thing. So if you haven’t already, pick up this series because similar to Harry Potter it is something you will love no matter your age, gender or demigod status.
Favourite Quotes:
“If my life is going to mean anything, I have to live it myself.”

“Deadlines just aren't real to me until I'm staring one in the face.” 

“What horrible things would you have to do in your life to get woven into Hades' underwear?” 

“The real world is where the monsters are.”

“I won't go looking for trouble. I usually don't have too.” 

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (16)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine, which spotlights the releases we’re eagerly awaiting.

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https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15724396-the-sword-of-summer?from_search=true
The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #1) by Rick Riordan
Release Date: October 6th 2015

Goodreads Synopsis:
Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother's mysterious death, he's lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers. One day, he's tracked down by an uncle he's never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. His uncle tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god. The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years. When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision. Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die . . . 

I finished the final book in Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series and since I didn’t get the closure I wanted needed, I will take anything even remotely related to the world he created. The connection with Magnus Chase looks to be really interesting and I’m hoping for some crossovers no matter how trivial because I haven’t said goodbye just yet. Before I read the series though I was already looking forward to more of Rick Riordan’s writing.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

DNF Review: Elixir by Ted Galdi

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21947952-elixir?from_search=trueGoodreads Synsopsis:
Meet 14-year-old Sean Malone. He has an IQ above 200, a full-ride scholarship to one of the country’s top universities, and more than one million dollars from his winning streak on Jeopardy. However, Sean wishes he could just be normal.

But his life is anything but normal. The US government manipulates him, using him as a codebreaker in pursuit of a drug lord and killing innocent people along the way. 

For reasons related to his personal security, Sean finds himself in Rome, building a new life under a new name, abandoning academics, and hiding his genius from everyone. When he’s 18 he falls in love. The thrills begin again when he learns that his girlfriend is critically ill and it’s up to him to use his intellect to find a cure, a battle pitting him against a multi-billion-dollar pharmaceutical company and the demons of his past. 

Elixir is a story about identity, secrets, and above all, love.


Review:
***I received the eBook free as a review copy from the author in exchange for an honest review***

For once I don’t really have much to say! To be honest I didn’t like this book, and it’s not so much because of the book itself (which sounds crazy I know) and I’m sure any other day I might have loved it; but stuck in a book slump, Elixir just didn’t hold my interest. The first 150 pages or so were exactly like the synopsis says, so in a way it felt repeated. Granted it was time to connect with characters, but then Sean leaves some of them behind at the beginning. Sean I also found, while undoubtedly clever wasn’t an extraordinary character because it was hard to relate and this had nothing to do with him being a boy. You see him grow up, but never really felt like you knew him.

I wanted to love this book, I really did, but I didn’t even have the effort to finish (put down at 75%). When reading turns into a chore you know you haven’t found the book for you. Personally this book wasn’t for me; but if you love the idea of a tragic romance, a boy hiding from his true personality and a government trying to use/remove him, it might be worth giving this book a shot.