Sunday 31 January 2016

TBR Orphans - End of the Month Update 1

January was a great reading month, but apart from one book, all of my reads weren't orphaned yet.

The one Orphan I read was Poison Sleep.
It was on my shelves for about six months, because it's book two in a series and I didn't have book one until recently.

How did your challenges go?

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Friday 29 January 2016

Surrender to the Chase - Book Review by Voodoo Bride

Surrender to the Chase (Under Realm Assassins #2)
by Amanda J. Greene

What is it about:
A year after the tragic death of his close friend and fellow assassin, Ethan Halstead is ready to take up his sniper rifle once more. But his first assignment is nothing he ever expected. Ethan must hunt and retrieve a beautiful, spirited, alluring werewolf.

Knowing no other way to escape an arranged marriage, Fraya flees from her pack. As she contemplates slipping across the border and heading to South America, she is captured by a dangerously seductive vampire who plans on escorting her back to her family. Even as Fraya vows to make Ethan’s mission as difficult as possible, she can’t resist the riotous desire he sparks within her.

But Ethan isn’t the only predator that peruses Fraya. A powerful rival pack’s alpha wants to make her his mate. Will Ethan be able to keep Fraya safe and return her to her pack? Or will he surrender to temptation and claim Fraya as his own?

~ Novella ~

What did Voodoo Bride think of it:
I really liked the first book in this series, so jumped at the chance to read and review the second book as well.

And this book is even better than the first, in my opinion.

The tension between Fraya and Ethan was well written and had me longing for the moment they'd give in to temptation. The building attraction and the resulting hot scenes were a delight to read.

The romance is the focus of the story of course, and I never worried about the outcome, but the story around the romance was really good as well. I could really understand why Fraya ran away, and why she resists her attraction to Ethan.

All in all this is a more than enjoyable Paranormal Romance, and I'll keep an eye out for more.

Why should you read it:
It's a hot PNR novella

Buy from Amazon

Thursday 28 January 2016

On McPig's Wishlist - King's Property

This sounds like it could be so cool!

King's Property (Queen of the Orcs #1)
by Morgan Howell

Born into hardship, Dar learns to rely on herself alone. When her family betrays her, Dar is conscripted into King Kregant’s army and its brutal campaign to conquer a neighboring country. Now she is bound as a slave to a dreaded regiment of orcs, creatures legendary for their savagery and battle prowess.
Rather than cower, Dar rises to the challenge. She learns the unique culture and language of the orcs, survives treachery from both allies and enemies, and struggles to understand a mystical gift that brings her dark, prophetic visions. As the war escalates–amid nightmarish combat and shattering loss–Dar must seize a single chance at freedom.

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Wednesday 27 January 2016

Memory Zero - Book Review

Memory Zero (Spook Squad #1)
by Keri Arthur

What is it about:
For Sam Ryan, life began at age fourteen. She has no memory of her parents or her childhood. In a decade of service with the State Police, Sam has exhausted the resources of the force searching for clues to her identity. But all mention of her family seems to have been deliberately wiped off the record. Everything changes the night Sam’s missing partner resurfaces as a vampire... and forces her to kill him in self-defense. Now Sam is charged with murder. Suspended from the force, and with no one left to trust, Sam accepts some unexpected help from Gabriel Stern, a shapeshifter who conceals startling secrets.

While investigating the circumstances surrounding her partner’s strange behavior, Sam discovers that Garbriel’s been involved with a dangerous organization that’s planning a war on the human race. More immediate, someone is guarding the truth about Sam’s past—someone who’d rather see her dead than risk her knowing too much. To stay alive, Sam must unravel the threads of her past—and find out not only who she is but what she is.

What did I think of it:
This is a very entertaining read.

The world building and the characters were intriguing, and I liked Sam from the start. It's clear she's SPECIAL, with skills and hidden powers that keep growing, but I decided to take her 'specialness' for granted and enjoy the ride.

There was one thing about Sam that I thought everyone was completely dense about. At one point a piece of information about Sam becomes available that made me question Sam's past in a big way, but neither Sam or any of the other characters seemed to pick up on what this piece of information might mean. I must say I'm curious if this will be explained in later books, or if I'm seeing more in this than Arthur meant.

Anyway: the story is cool and full of action and intrigue. Because Sam is full of hidden powers and specialness, I never worried about the outcome, but even so I really enjoyed the story.

The ending ties up the main story line, but leaves a lot of question about Sam and her past. I most probably will pick up the next book somewhere in the future.

Why should you read it:
It's a fun and action-packed Urban Fantasy read.

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Tuesday 26 January 2016

Teaser Tuesdays - Poison Sleep

Marla sighed. "Good point. At least if you find yourself in a place that smells like oranges, you'll know what's going on. Just hunker down and wait it out. I didn't stay in the dream world for long."

(page 76, Poison Sleep by T.A. Pratt)

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: - Grab your current read - Open to a random page - Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) - Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday 25 January 2016

Allies of the Night - Book Review

Allies of the Night (Cirque du Freak #8)
by Darren Shan

What is it about:
Darren Shan, Vampire Prince and "vampaneze" killer, faces his worst nightmare yet--school. But homework is the least of Darren's problems. Bodies are piling up. Time is running out. And the past is catching up with the hunters fast.

What did I think of it:
This series continues to entertain.

Darren is forced to go back to school. He has to be careful to not give his secrets away. I've often grumbled about the many books where for some stupid reason vampires who are ages old, voluntarily go back to school, so I really liked how this book takes the trope of a vampire going to school and makes it ridiculous.

Old friends and old enemies turn up and make Darren's life even more difficult. Someone is trying to set Darren up, but is it who you think?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and raced through it. There's a bit of a cliffhanger at the end of the book,so I will probably pick up the next book soon.

Why should you read it:
It's a fun vampire read.

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Friday 22 January 2016

Trolls in the Hamptons - Book Review

Trolls in the Hamptons (Willow Tate #1)
by Celia Jerome

What is it about:
Willow Tate is a graphic novelist who earns enough money at her craft to keep her rent-controlled Manhattan apartment and still put food in the fridge. But when she decides to write about a ten-foot-tall troll who's a superhero, one suddenly appears, causing mayhem in Manhattan.

When no one else can see the stony red giant, Willy thinks she's gone crazy, until she meets Agent Grant from the Department of Unexplained Events. According to him, Willy has managed to break ages-old cosmic laws that could destroy the Earth as we know it. Now she has to help him save the world, rescue a little boy, and stop a murdering kidnapper who wants to use the power of a little village in the Hamptons to become master of the universe...

What did I think of it:
I've been curious about this book for a long time, so I was very happy when I got it as a birthday present from Melliane.

And this is a fun and enjoyable read.

I will confess I had expected more action. Instead there's a lot of talking and small events. This could be because this is the first book in the series and the premise needs to be set up and explained to the reader. And granted: it's a very original premise, so it can't be explained just by saying 'it's magic'.

Apart from the lack of action I was very entertained by this story. At times I thought Willy is a bit dense for someone who makes her money by making up whole new worlds and stories, but overall I liked her. Of her two admirers (of course there should be a possibility for a love triangle) I thought she was falling for the wrong one, but nothing new there.

Overall this is a nice read, and if I come across the next book in this series I will certainly pick it up.

Why should you read it:
It's a fun Urban Fantasy read.

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Thursday 21 January 2016

On McPig's Wishlist - The Cage

This sounds like a cool YA read, but the hardback is too pricey for me, so I'm waiting for the paperback.

The Cage (The Cage #1)
by Megan Shepherd

When Cora Mason wakes in a desert, she doesn't know where she is or who put her there. As she explores, she finds an impossible mix of environments—tundra next to desert, farm next to jungle, and a strangely empty town cobbled together from different cultures—all watched over by eerie black windows. And she isn't alone.

Four other teenagers have also been taken: a beautiful model, a tattooed smuggler, a secretive genius, and an army brat who seems to know too much about Cora's past. None of them have a clue as to what happened, and all of them have secrets. As the unlikely group struggles for leadership, they slowly start to trust each other. But when their mysterious jailer—a handsome young guard called Cassian—appears, they realize that their captivity is more terrifying than they could ever imagine: Their captors aren't from Earth. And they have taken the five teenagers for an otherworldly zoo—where the exhibits are humans.

As a forbidden attraction develops between Cora and Cassian, she realizes that her best chance of escape might be in the arms of her own jailer—though that would mean leaving the others behind. Can Cora manage to save herself and her companions? And if so . . . what world lies beyond the walls of their cage?

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Wednesday 20 January 2016

Bone Shop - Book Review

Bone Shop (Marla Mason .1)
by T.A. Pratt

What is it about:
A prequel novel about sorcerer Marla Mason, heroine of a series of novels by T.A. Pratt published by Bantam Spectra from 2007-2009, including Blood Engines, Poison Sleep, Dead Reign, and Spell Games. Bone Shop explores Marla's early days in the city of Felport and her rise to power.

What did I think of it:
I loved Blood Engines, the first book in the Marla Mason series, and I have the next two books in my TBR pile. But when I received this prequel novel I had to read it first, if only so I could stare lovingly at the gorgeous cover from time to time.

And this is a great read.

Some of the things that happened in Bone Shop I knew about, because Marla mentioned them in Blood Engines. Other things were new to me, and gave me a better inside in the woman Marla is.

I loved seeing Marla grow into power. She has a difficult past, but she's resourceful and stubborn. I also liked reading how she and Rondeau met and how they came to work together. If I didn't already love Marla, I would have fallen in love with her in this book.

All in all this is a really cool prequel which could be read on its own, but as it's an 'origins' story it isn't one fluid story, but tends to hop and skip time wise.

I will most certainly pick up book two in the Marla Mason series soon.

Why should you read it:
It's a cool UF read.

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Tuesday 19 January 2016

Teaser Tuesdays - Allies of the Night

"What do you want, Mr Blaws?" I asked.
"I'm a school inspector," he replied. "I've come to find out why you aren't in school."

(page 23, Allies of the Night by Darren Shan)

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: - Grab your current read - Open to a random page - Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) - Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday 18 January 2016

Gone - Book Review

Gone (Gone #1)
by Michael Grant

What is it about:
In the blink of an eye, everyone disappears. Gone. Except for the young.

There are teens, but not one single adult. Just as suddenly, there are no phones, no internet, no television. No way to get help. And no way to figure out what's happened.

Hunger threatens. Bullies rule. A sinister creature lurks. Animals are mutating. And the teens themselves are changing, developing new talents—unimaginable, dangerous, deadly powers—that grow stronger by the day. It's a terrifying new world. Sides are being chosen, a fight is shaping up. Townies against rich kids. Bullies against the weak. Powerful against powerless. And time is running out: On your birthday, you disappear just like everyone else...

What did I think of it:
People have been telling me that if I loved the The Enemy series by Higson, I would also love the Gone series by Grant. So I picked up the first book.


If I had read this book before reading the The Enemy series I would most probably have liked it better. Now I couldn't help comparing and I found Gone lacking.

And before everyone says it's because there are no zombies and everyone knows I'm a zombie fanatic: that might have been part of it, but it's not the only thing.

There's a clear difference in storytelling. Higson's characters are more real in my opinion. They're a glorious shade of grey. You can loathe a character one moment, but understand and sympathize with him/her the next. Grant's characters are more black and white. There are a few minor characters who are in the grey zone, but the major characters fall clearly either in the white or the black zone. Because of this I couldn't relate to any of them.

Apart from that the premise made it difficult to believe in what was happening as well. Adults disappearing: check! I can live with that. Bring on the mayhem! But when the kids go exploring and discover more about the disappearances, it got a bit iffy for me. Maybe there will be a perfect explanation in later books, but for now it didn't work for me.

All in all this was entertaining, but it didn't make me want to grab for the next book to find out more. I don't think I'll continue with this series.

Why should you read it:
It's entertaining YA speculative fiction.

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Friday 15 January 2016

Servants of the Storm - Book Review (repost)

Servants of the Storm
by Delilah S. Dawson

What is it about:
A year ago Hurricane Josephine swept through Savannah, Georgia, leaving behind nothing but death and destruction — and taking the life of Dovey's best friend, Carly. Since that night, Dovey has been in a medicated haze, numb to everything around her.

But recently she's started to believe she's seeing things that can't be real ... including Carly at their favorite cafe. Determined to learn the truth, Dovey stops taking her pills. And the world that opens up to her is unlike anything she could have imagined.

As Dovey slips deeper into the shadowy corners of Savannah — where the dark and horrifying secrets lurk — she learns that the storm that destroyed her city and stole her friend was much more than a force of nature. And now the sinister beings truly responsible are out to finish what they started.

Dovey's running out of time and torn between two paths. Will she trust her childhood friend Baker, who can't see the threatening darkness but promises to never give up on Dovey and Carly? Or will she plot with the sexy stranger, Isaac, who offers all the answers — for a price? Soon Dovey realizes that the danger closing in has little to do with Carly ... and everything to do with Dovey herself.

What did I think of it:
I'm always on the look out for creepy reads, so when I heard about Servants of the Storm I pre-ordered it as soon as I could. Having read Dawson's Wicked As They Come, I thought I knew what to expect, and I was sure it would be good.

I was wrong...

It was more than good: It was amazing!

This book grabbed me by the throat and dragged me in. I was totally engrossed and couldn't stop reading until I finished it.

It's creepy, disturbing, and so freaking awesome!

Dawson creates a world that is filled with danger, hiding in the shadows, waiting to strike when you are least ready for it. Her imagery is vivid and sinister, with small details that at times really squicked me out.

I really liked Dovey and her friend Baker. Isaac was intriguing, but totally untrustworthy in my opinion. I kept expecting the worst kind of betrayal from him.

All in all I fell in love with this book. It's a perfectly creepy and awesome read. I hope Dawson will write many more books, and I will most certainly get my trotters on them if she does.

Why should you read it:
It's a really cool and creepy Paranormal YA read.

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Thursday 14 January 2016

On McPig's Wishlist - My Lady Mage

Goodreads recommended this to me because I love Jeffe Kennedy's The Twelve Kingdoms series. I must say I'm curious if it is just as awesome. I might have to get my trotters on this book one day.

My Lady Mage (Warriors of the Mist #1)
by Alexis Morgan

A cursed destiny. A band of warriors. And one troubled kingdom.

It is whispered in Agathia that the legendary warriors of the mist—cursed by the gods—can be summoned only when a champion is needed and the cause is just. Gideon, their captain, knows this to be the one path that will lead his men to redemption—lest they face an eternity of damnation.

Years have passed since anyone has journeyed to the river's edge, but times are desperate. Oppressed by a cruel guardian whose dark magic threatens to destroy her people, the beautiful and courageous Merewen calls upon the bespelled warriors. In Gideon she finds more than a champion, and in his arms, more than protection. However, their enemies are fighting with a power darker than anything than they imagined, and should Gideon fail, she will lose everything she holds dear—including her heart.

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Wednesday 13 January 2016

The End - Book Review

The End (The Enemy #7)
by Charlie Higson

What is it about:
Shadowman, realizing that Saint George's army is headed toward the center of London, has raced ahead to warn the kids of the impending disaster. He knows that he has to make them understand--somehow--that they are going to have to work together. This means that Nicola and her kids at the Houses of Parliament, David and his kids at Buckingham Palace, Matt at St. Paul's, General Jordan Hordern and his troops at the Tower of London, the squatters in St. James Park, and all the kids at the Natural History Museum must unite. But will they do it in time? The book culminates in a massive pitched battle in Hyde Park. How will it play out? Who will be the winners and who the losers? One thing is certain: this series will not go out with a whimper!

What did I think of it:
This is a great ending to a very cool series.

It's time for the kids to decide if they can put aside their differences and work together to defeat the sickos and their disease. There's lots of action, squabbling, and sneakiness. I feared for the lives of some of my favorite characters once again.

Slowly, but surely, this book builds up to a big finale. After the finale there's not much of an aftermath, and that's the only thing I was a bit disappointed about. I had wanted to read a bit more about what happened to those who were left standing.

But overall this is a really great book, and series. I will most definitely reread this series in the future, and can recommend it to everyone who loves a good Post Apocalyptic tale about children and younger teens trying to survive against seemingly impossible odds.

Why should you read it:
It's a really cool, action-packed Post Apocalyptic read.

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Tuesday 12 January 2016

Teaser Tuesdays - Gone

It couldn't last. Everyone was just killing time. But if all they did was kill time, time would end up killing them.

(page 197, Gone by Michael Grant)

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: - Grab your current read - Open to a random page - Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) - Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday 11 January 2016

Zom-B Gladiator - Book Review

Zom-B Gladiator (Zom-B #6)
by Darren Shan

What is it about:
Beyond a shadow of a doubt, B Smith has decided to live-- and to fight for good as long as possible. However, London is overridden with brain-eating undead and swarming with human mercenaries whose sense of right and wrong dissolved when society did. When they lay a trap, B is captured. And it'll take dozens of battles--and the fight of a lifetime-- to escape.

What did I think of it:
This was an entertaining addition to this series.

The religious blah was almost gone and there was some cool action. Story wise this book seems to be filler material before we move forward on the actual story. There's no progress on outstanding issues, just lots of new action that felt like a sidestep, but maybe I'm wrong.

Not that I minded. As I said: the events in this book are very entertaining and cool. I breezed through it in no time.

On to the next book soon, which is in my TBR pile already.

Why should you read it:
It's a cool zombie read.

Zom-B Gladiator:

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Zom-B Chronicles III (contains Zom-B Baby and Zom-B Gladiator):

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Friday 8 January 2016

The Terrans - Book Review

The Terrans (First Salik War #1)
by Jean Johnson

What is it about:
Born into a political family and gifted with psychic abilities, Jacaranda MacKenzie has served as a border-watcher and even spent time as a representative on the United Planets Council. Now she just wants to spend her days in peace and quiet as a translator—but the universe has other plans...

Humans have long known that they would encounter more alien species, and while those with precognitive abilities agree a terrible war is coming, they do not agree on who will save humanity—a psychic soldier or a politician.

But Jackie is both.

After she is pressured into rejoining the Space Force to forestall the impending calamity, Jackie makes an unsettling discovery. Their new enemy, the Salik, seem to be rather familiar with fighting Humans—as if their war against humanity had already begun...

What did I think of it:
I read the first book in Johnson's Theirs Not to Reason Why series, and although I liked the world building and writing, I didn't connect with the lead character. So I decided to try this series. It's set in the same universe, but with a different lead.

And this book starts out really nice. I liked Jackie, I liked most of her crew, and I liked the world building. There was a bit of stretched out blah at the start of the book, but the premise had to be set.

Then they meet the evil Salik!

Those turned out to be froglike aliens with tentacle arms who like to eat their enemies while they're still alive. I was really getting into the story by this point, only to discover that the Salik were just a short interlude before this story turned into 'earth-humans meet related space-humans and they try to learn from each other'.

Still, the writing and story were still pleasant enough to continue, even though this turned out to be a much different story than I expected.

Then they reach Earth and the blah started up again!

I will confess I started skimming. Page after page there was political blah that dragged on and on! I was starting to hope the Salik would find Earth and start eating everyone just to put an end to all the unnecessary talking.

All in all I think I will have to admit that Johnson's books are not for me. I most probably will not pick up other books in this series, especially since I saw a review of book 2 that said it didn't have as much action as this one...

I will confess I am a bit curious if some things I predict will happen in book 2, will actually happen, so if I ever do see book 2 on sale I might cave.

Why should you read it:
It's a nice SF story about first contact between two groups of humans.

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