Posted in Book Reviews

Firebolt (The Dragonian #1) by Adrienne Woods

I really enjoyed Firebolt and am looking forward to the next in series. What an interesting blend of medieval fantasy tempered with some urban fantasy.  I had such fun reading this book.

fireboltSo, the story…Elena is constantly on the move with her father seemingly running away from something.  On one particular night, they are attacked by dragons!  In the next minute Elena finds herself in another world without her father, who has been killed.  Apparently Elena is special and there are great expectations for her potential so she is enrolled into the School of Dragonia.  Here, she learns of magic, dragons and Dragonians amongst other things.

Now, bear in mind that Elena is just your seemingly normal run-of-the-mill average teenager, who is clumsy and only excels at one thing (which she doesn’t like), which is riddles.  She is the opposite of what you’d expect from a heroine.

Surprisingly, her new world is very similar to our world in that it has cars, museums, shopping malls, modern technology, etc., but on an advanced level.  But half of her new classmates are dragons in human form and…they have dragons in this world.  Her school reminds me a bit of Hogwarts with a mixture of regular and magical subjects.

The characters are interesting and I enjoyed their interaction, i.e. Sweet Sammy, Prince Lucian, Flirty Brian, Brave Becky and, of course, the mysterious Blake.

I read this book quickly as I thoroughly enjoyed it.  It was very entertaining and well balanced.

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Adrienne Woods created a whole new world for us to explore with an interesting back story to boot.

If you enjoy fantasy books with dragons, friendship and some romance, then you will enjoy this book.

This book deserves

Posted in Book Reviews

Detention Land by Susan Orion

“Detention Land” by Susan Orion can only be described as an unusual read.

detention landThe story had potential but it lacked appeal for me, sorry to say.  You may enjoy it as I think that we all like different stories for different reasons.

Roger is a 15 year old boy, who appears to be constantly in trouble, which causes him to be placed in endless detentions, where he is in dialogue with an anonymous person via an intercom system.

The story alternates between when he is in detention and him writing in his journal. The impression I received form this story was that Roger was a very troubled youth, both emotionally and psychologically.  I think that it showed that he used his imagination to cope with the reality of his troubled life.

It sounded like his parents were possibly neglectful and abusive but this was seemingly downplayed by the anonymous speaker so I was left wondering about this.  Was Roger being bullied?

I’m hoping that some of the confusion I felt in reading this book will be clarified in the next book in this series.

 

I received a copy of this book from the publishers via Netgalley for free in exchange for an honest review.

Book warrants

Posted in Book Reviews

Did You See Melody? by Sophie Hannah

I would like to thank Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for an advance copy of Did You See Melody, a stand-alone novel set in a luxury resort in Arizona.

did you see melody

Cara Burrows takes  a solo holiday without telling her family to mull over some problems. Tired and miserable, she discovers her room is already occupied by a man and a teenager. The next day, after overhearing another conversation, she realises the teenager might have been Melody Chapa whose parents are in jail for her murder.

After an initial slow start to the story, it really picked up.  I found it compulsive reading until the end, with a couple of really good twists.

Cara arrived in America never having heard of Melody Chappa so when her interest is aroused, she searches the Internet.  She comes across the show Justice with Bonnie, where ex prosecutor Bonnie Juno almost singlehandedly got Melody’s parents convicted. Much of this is reprinted verbatim in the novel. As I said it is fascinating how Bonnie twists the facts to suit her agenda and bullies her interviewees into agreeing with her. It is a recognisable technique taken to extremes and is incredibly well done.

I liked the characterisation as well. Cara is authentically written.  Her problems might be a bit first world but are real to her and something most of us can identify with. Tarin and Zellie Fry, the American mother and daughter she meets are a hoot. Tarin is an overconfident florist from Kansas with an opinion on everything, often what most of us would like to say but don’t;  whereas  Zellie is her sarcastic apologist. They steal the show, although Cara has her moments.  I didn’t expect the novel to be funny but it is and it’s done naturally and well.

 

I thoroughly enjoyed Did You See Melody and have no hesitation in recommending it as an excellent read.

This book warrants

Posted in Book Reviews

The Silence Between Breaths by Cathy Staincliffe

Book Reviews by DACA LRC Staff Book Club

The Silence Between Breaths Book Review 1

Omg! I don’t know where to start!

This book was brilliant! I read the 1st page when I got the book and couldn’t wait to start it when I got home from work on Monday tea time & had finished it by Tuesday afternoon – I just couldn’t put it down!

I got so into the characters that I was thinking about them all day and wondering how they were doing! It was like a film was being played out in my head the whole time I was reading it. I could feel the pressure in my chest leading up to the bomb going off & I was willing them to get off the train or move away from Saheel. I wept for the characters that died and the ones that didn’t. I had a heavy heart after reading the book and I don’t think it was because of the recent atrocities in Manchester & London. I suspect that it was because the author had created normal, ordinary people that had become ‘real’.  Absolutely fantastic – will be looking to read more of Cath Staincliffe’s books.

Denise

The Silence Between Breaths Book Review 2

This is a well thought out plot with twists and turns throughout.  Staincliffe writes from each passengers’ perspective, which leaves the reader full of suspense and gripped.  A brilliant read and would definitely recommend.

Joanne

More reviews to follow soon…

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Besieged (The Iron Druid Chronicles 0.3, 4.7, 8.6) by Kevin Hearne

Thank you to Netgalley, Kevin Hearne and Random House Publishing for allowing me to read Besieged in exchange for an honest review.

besiegedI am a huge fan of the Iron Druid series.

It has a satisfying blend of adventure, quirky characters, humour, mythology, wit and drama.

For those of you who haven’t read this series, the Iron Druid Chronicles is a hilarious, action-packed urban fantasy set in a modern world in which all the gods of every pantheon are alive and well. The central character to this series is a 2,000-year-old Irishman/Druid, Atticus O’Sullivan.

Besieged is a collection of short stories involving the main characters of the aforementioned series. Atticus gets the most coverage but Granuaile, Owen, Perun (God of Thunder) and others also get a chance to play a central role in their own stories. The stories cover around 1,300 years of history and provide more in-depth background information about the main characters. As you progress through the stories, they become more current and set the stage for the upcoming conclusion of the series, Scourged.

Here’s a brief summary of the stories:

The Eye of Horus – Atticus is visited by the Morrigan and sent on a mission to the Library of Alexandria, where he experiences a life altering event.

Goddess at the Crossroads – Atticus describes how he met a drunken Shakespeare and saved his life, thereby altering Western literature due to events experienced on that night.

The Demon Barker of Wheat Street – Atticus and Granuaile visit her old home town and run into a host of demons, parading as carnival people, luring in unsuspecting humans to feed off.

Gold Dust Druid – Gold rush era San Francisco suffers biblical consequences. Summoning demons rarely goes to plan.

The Bogeyman of Boora Bog – Druids don’t always make good neighbours. Owen meets a young Atticus in olden day Ireland.

Cuddle Dungeon – Warning – adult content. Gods get up to mischief. (That’s all I’m saying).

Blood Pudding – It’s Granuaile’s time to shine in this story. Vampires can’t be trusted and it’s up to her and some thick-necked mercenaries to teach some Polish vampires a lesson that they won’t soon forget.

Hunted to Devils – Owen’s new apprentices team up with Owen and Atticus to try and prevent the extinction of Tasmanian devils. Mayhem follows.

The End of Idylls – The Morrigan visits Atticus to let him know that the end is approaching. Loki is making his move and Lucifer’s his new best friend. Fun time is over and he has “The Talk” with Oberon.

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Conclusion

The stories are imaginatively written and vary in location and time periods, featuring a variety of supernatural beings.  Examples of these are werewolves and other shape changers, vampires, ghouls, demons, witches, gods and more with lots of magic, adventure, danger, and mayhem (blood and guts, etc.).

I’m sad that the Iron Druid Chronicles will be coming to an end soon. I’ve gotten quite attached to some of the characters. Do yourself a favour and read the series first, then the short stories in Besieged will make more sense. I have thoroughly enjoyed this series and I hope that you will too.

This book earns an outrageously witty

Posted in Book Reviews

Salt Creek by Lucy Treloar

Thank you to Lucy Treloar and Emma Draude of ED PR for my copy of Salt Creek in exchange for an honest review.

salt creek

In 1855, Stanton Finch decides to leave his failed businesses behind in Adelaide and relocates his family to an isolated farm in Coorong to start over.  Stanton is sure that cattle farming is all he needs to get his finances back on track.

His family, having been used to a genteel way of life, are appalled when they arrive at the ramshackle property, built using washed up timber.  Despite this setback, they endeavour to try and get on with building a new life here.

Unfortunately, Stanton is an inexperienced, inept farmer and an even worse business man. He soon borrows beyond his means and has no idea about managing the land, which soon becomes run down. The local Aboriginals, the Ngarrindjeri, complain to him about the damage the cattle are doing to the land and particularly to the soaks they need for fresh water. Initially to help, Stanton fences off soaks for the Aboriginals use.  Then drought strikes causing him to remove the fences and he tells them to relocate elsewhere as there isn’t enough water for everyone. It is interesting to note that Stanton, a god fearing man, believes that the Aboriginals can be ‘civilised’.  He takes on the project of educating and training a young half-caste Aboriginal boy called Tully, who quickly integrates into the family and serves as an interpreter for his own people.  (You will definitely want to find out what intrigue this creates!)

Hester (Life in Salt Creek)

Salt Creek follows the family through a downward spiral in their fortunes as their existence becomes more and more difficult. Hester, the oldest daughter is the narrator, recounting the events of those years from her current home. She is lumbered with handling most of the chores and cooking as her mother battles to cope with her new life.  Hester also takes on teaching Tully and the younger children.   Despite the hardships, this family do experience some happy times as the family makes its own fun.  Hester comes to appreciate the beauty of Coorong especially after she meets Charles, a young surveyor travelling through the area with his father.  (Could there be a romance brewing?)

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Conclusion

The author doesn’t hold back and gives an authentic narration of what life was like for both the settlers and the local people.  Salt Creek is a gripping tale and you will find yourself fully immersed in the background of this story as if you were living it yourself.  You will feel a range of emotions from one extreme to the other as you read further into this book.

I really loved this book. As well as telling Hester’s journey, it documents the difficulties naive Europeans experienced with farming in Australia and their complete disregard of the knowledge of the local Aboriginals, who could have taught them much about agriculture and land conservation/preservation.

Lucy Treloar has done an excellent job of described the traditions of the Ngarrindjeri and in describing their fate as a result of the incursion of uninvited Europeans into their lands.  She has really captured the essence of historical life in the Coorong.

This is beautifully written historical fiction and I would highly recommend Salt Creek to all who enjoy this genre, especially if you have an interest in early Australian history.

This beautifully written book deserves

Posted in Book Reviews

Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller

Thank you to Linsey Miller, Sourcebooks, and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this free copy in exchange for an unbiased review.

mask of shadowsThis is an original and intriguing story about Sal, a street fighter and highway thief, who auditions for a place on the Queen’s Left Hand, her trusted band of assassins.

She/He is given a mask with the number Twenty-three as identification for the audition.  Sal has to learn to become a killer/assassin, but unexpectedly also falls in love. It’s a battle to the death as there are very few rules.  Unless stated otherwise, you may attempt to kill your rivals outside of the challenges.

The androgynous concept in this book is interesting and will appeal to YA readers.  Although the plot was violent, it was full of clever intrigue. I really enjoyed reading this gripping story line.

I’m looking forward to the sequel!

This book deserves

 

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Being a Witch, and Other Things I Didn’t Ask for by Sara Pascoe

Thank you to Netgalley, Sara Pascoe and the Independent Book Publishers Association for allowing me to read and review this book about a teen witch.  I enjoyed following Raya’s journey of self-discovery.

being a witchThis is a wonderful story about a young girl, who has had a difficult life and is struggling to come to terms with her past.  Raya finds it difficult to let anyone get close to her and vice-versa.  She is in foster care but wants to run away and be free to make her own choices.  In her quest to find herself and establish her independence, Raya quickly discovers that she is an integrator (witch).  This turns out to be a huge relief to her as it explains some of the weird things happening to her.

She is quickly immersed in a new world of adventures, which relies on her mastering her new skills to save herself and her companions.

Characters

Oscar, her talking cat companion, is a fun yet wise character.  Who wouldn’t want a talking cat?

Raya is a troubled teen, who is initially irresponsible and selfish, but later realises the value of her friends and lets them into her life.

Bryony is her tutor and attempts to help Raya practise her new time travel skills.  She even tries to save her when things go awry.

I liked most of the secondary characters as well.

Conclusion

I enjoyed the contemporary setting of the story as well as the historical period featured during the time travel.

I thought that the time travel, which wholly depended on Raya’s wishing to be elsewhere, was believable and added significantly to the storyline.

Raya’s past and her perceptions of her life were explained in an authentic and easy to understand way.  I think that it helps the reader understand her character better and allows them to relate more easily to her.

There was a well thought out moral underpinning the story.

I think that teens aged 13–15 would especially enjoy this story.

All in all, it was an enjoyable read giving a troubled teen a voice and letting her find and embrace acceptance and love.

This book deserves

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Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira

bookishly ever afterThank you to Netgalley, Isabel Bandeira and Spencer Hill Press for allowing me to read and review this book.  This is my honest and unbiased opinion.  I really enjoyed reading Bookishly Ever After as it reminded me a bit of my own childhood teen angst.

Phoebe is the epitome of a devoted bookworm.  She make notes of dialogue and quotes from her books to use in real life as she is very shy and not good at communicating, especially with boys.

Her book obsession and constant book referencing is just so relatable but she takes it to another level when she actually dresses up to go to author events. It made me sad, though, that she felt the need to go to her books for answers to real life problems and relationships.

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Her hobbies include band practice, archery and knitting.  Phoebe spends a lot of her time (when she’s not reading) knitting herself costumes related to her favourite character in her books.

Without going into detail, there is a boy interest or two.  Phoebe is trying to decide which one she likes more.  Her best friend intervenes and tries to push her towards one in particular.  Just it happens like in real life if you had friends like these!

Phoebe is a very likeable character and I think that she is easy to relate to.

Bookishly Ever After is an easy and enjoyable read for teens/YA but I bet that there are adults out there that will enjoy it too.  I was entertained and really liked the story.

This book deserves

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Dating the Undead by Juliet Lyons

Thank you to Netgalley, Juliet Lyons and Sourcebooks Casablanca for allowing me to read and review Dating the Undead.  I loved it!  It was a sassy and funny read with a dollop of intrigue and adventure.

dating the undeadSilver Harris is kicked out of a New Year’s Eve party for throwing her drink over a woman she catches kissing her date and a well-placed kick directed at her date’s unmentionables.  While out on the street, she meets a gorgeous man, who walks her home.  They get along really well and end up sharing a sizzling midnight kiss to celebrate the New Year.

Silver soon realises that her sexy Irish man is a vampire but she doesn’t mind, even after he bit her, as it was the best kiss of her life.

She tells her step-sister, Jess, the next day about her exciting night.  Unfortunately, Silver had no way of contacting her vampire (she didn’t get his name) and had given him a false address when he had walked her home.  Jess mentioned that there was a vampire dating website called V-Date so Silver decides to join in the hopes that he is on the site.  Silver goes on a few dates with vampires from V-Date but she doesn’t connect with any of them and finds herself incredibly bored.

Meanwhile, the vampire that Silver is besotted with, Logan, has been tasked by his head vampire (boss) to track down human women dating on V-Date.  It is imperative that Logan glamour these women to forget about vampires so that they can keep their secrets.  Ironically, the first woman Logan is instructed to glamour is Silver but he can’t bring himself to do it as he doesn’t want her to lose interest in him.  This could get him in serious trouble with his boss but he thinks Silver is worth it.

At the same time, Silver is contacted by the police as they want her to go undercover on V-Date to obtain information about the vampires that she meets.  She decides to do it once they agree to re-investigate her mother’s death which happened when Silver was just 9 years old.  The police set up a fake account for Silver and she starts meeting up with vampires in the hopes of extracting their secrets.

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Things get a bit tense with Logan ignoring his “boss’s” directive and Silver informing on the vampires to the police.  Despite this, they can’t help falling in love.  Where will this lead?

To complicate things further, Logan’s original sire appears on the scene.  She wants to punish him for not being the murderer that she wanted him to turn into.  How will this affect Silver and Logan’s romance?

After reading the blurb for this book, I knew it was going to be an enjoyable, fun read.  I like Silver’s feistiness and sense of humour.  I appreciated how Logan managed to maintain his humanity after all those years.  The author did a great job of writing their romance and developing their characters.

This books deserves a fabulous