Thursday, 18 December 2014

Review of the Messenger

The Messenger 
(Mortal Beloved)

By Pamela DuMond


Do you remember the first time you fell in love? 

Read The Messenger (Mortal Beloved, Book One) and feel that beautiful—again. 

Sixteen-year-old Madeline’s meant to fall in love with Samuel in every lifetime. But she meets him for the first time when she accidentally time travels into the past—hundreds years before she’s even born! 

Their relationship is forbidden—Samuel’s half Native, Madeline’s white. Every rendezvous they share must be secret. Each moment they spend together tempts the odds that they’ll be discovered and brutally punished. But their love is fated—they musk risk all. 

Danger intensifies when Madeline learns she’s in the past not only to fall in love, but also to claim her birth right as a Messenger—a soul who can slip through time’s fabric at will. 

Deadly Hunters, dark-souled time travelers, crave Madeline’s powers and seek to seduce or kill her. Can Madeline find her way back to the future in time to save herself and Samuel?

Source: Goodreads

My rating: 3.5/5

My Thoughts:

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

If you've read the Outlander books by Diana Gabaldon or watched the show then you'll find that there are a fair few similarities between that and 'The Messenger.' The main things were that both female protagonists accidentally travelled back in time, found themselves in the middle of a war and because of their oddities were suspected of being witches, which at the time was a death sentence. Both ladies also fell in love, the deep-shit-soul-consuming-forever-and-ever-after kind. Until they're forced to part of course because, as is the case in most love series, the happily ever after doesn't last for very long.

The similarities should have bugged me but they didn't because they were outweighed by a lot of differences. Yes, time travel and forbidden love was crucial to the story, but in this book Madeline finds out she is a Messenger and that she plays an important part in the lives of others. She learns about birth and rebirth, and how souls travel many lives. She might not be any good at the messenger business, but it was interesting to see her learning, and trying to use yoga to focus! Whilst in the past she comes across souls from her future, both good and bad. Most importantly (spoiler alert) she finds out the truth about why her mother left her as a baby just after a car crash.

Unfortunately, the story was predictable at times, and often the dialogue was stilted. But at other times I found myself lost in Samuel and Madeline's adventures and eager to find out what happens next, which made the book a success in my eyes.

I loved Angeni's character, the blind, yet gifted, healer. She brought the element of magic and mystery into the book, and helped teach Madeline (Abigail at the time) to face her fears. 

Madeline / Abigail was funny and lightened the story up. At 16, her reaction to this 'ancient' and backwards way of living made the time travel believable. Her 'eternal love' was a leeetle intense considering she barely knew the guy, but I'm a cynic so what do I know?!

In conclusion,this is a series I would like to continue reading. I'm particularly intrigued given the twisted ending.

Zed (:

Favourite Quotes:

Nah, this wasn't another dream. Just a continuation of my previous nightmare.

"Oh." It seemed being labeled different wasn't trouble-free in any year. People would make your life a living hell in the year I came from. But in the year 1675, they would torture and kill you.

I was in my pilgrim underwear. These were definitely not Victoria's Secrets-more like Victoria's Rejects. They were hideous, fluffy pajamas with a big girdle around the middle. The girdle, called a corset, was most likely damaging my organs, and I was done with it. 

"Sa means forever. Infinity. Some souls meet. They fall into hate, or crash into love and chase after each other, through different bodies and lifetimes. They are meant to be together, but they must first learn lessons in order to figure out how to do that," Angeni said.

"If I fall, I'd die," I said. "If I live, I'm in heaven."

Just get on with it, I thought. Tell me the next thing I have to practice, or say, or do, or attempt to become a Messenger. Don't flirt. Please don't mess with my heart.

I felt like I was falling. But for once, falling was a good thing.

"Why did you take the dark medicine?"
"What's the dark medicine?" I rubbed my head. "Is this what a hangover feels like?"
"No. It is what nearly dying from poison feels like," Angeni said.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Review of Token

The Token: A Breed Apart
By Natasha Rogue


Callie Michaels isn’t pretty or popular, but her singing more than makes up for all she lacks. And as long as she focuses on what’s really important, she can survive high school. But how can she focus with all the drama? Between her best friend’s odd issues and a daily dose of weirdness from the social elite, she’s starting to wonder if she’s the only normal one around.

He pulled the front door open. “That’s how it’s done.”

I rolled my eyes and made my way through the crowd that had spilled into the hall, muttering. “That’s how it’s done. Yeah? Where? In the jungle?”

“Yeah.” James’ breath on my nape sent a chill down my spine. “Something like that.”

Just as her life begins spiraling out of control, the answer comes to her in a dream. In exchange for a token of blood, a demon will give her everything she desires. She says “yes.” From that point on, she finds herself changing, becoming something far from normal. Something dangerous.

No one is what they seem—least of all her. While the supernatural creatures around her struggle to maintain their humanity, Callie slowly loses hers. She doesn’t even know what’s important anymore. Friendship, the future, love? And is there anyone who can make her care?

Source: Goodreads

My rating: 3/5

My Thoughts:

**I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.**
Demons, magi and shape-shifting giant cats is most certainly a unique combination! I enjoyed the first half of this book more than the latter, because it was rather confusing because all the supernatural aspects were bombarded in one go. Callie might be able to accept it with few questions, I on the other hand, found it harder to digest!

Another thing that semi-annoyed me was that the bad guys changed like the weather, one minute it was Nick, then Tammy, Callie’s mother and even James’ ‘pack’ weren’t the friendliest bunch. Come to think of it, wasn’t part of the demon inside Callie at one point too? So many villains, so much strange drama...

Callie’s trust in Tammy, considering everything that happened, was highly unrealistic. The girl was supposed to be her best friend and had been using Callie for god knows how many months, keeping life-threatening secrets and making deals with demons; it doesn’t exactly scream ‘trustworthy’ to me.

On the plus side, Callie and James’ chemistry was sort of cute, a little too soppy towards the end but that was to be expected. They had a jokey relationship and I did question how quickly everything returned to normal after years of not speaking to each other, but maybe these things aren’t as foreign as I thought.

The Token had an interesting concept, and although it was unrealistic many a  time, it wasn’t difficult to finish reading.
Zed (:

Favourite Quotes:

Into the basement. Down steps. Grab hammer. Drink a little more. Get nails. Convince self that plank is sturdy. Another drink.
Nail door shut.
Hope I die quickly.

James held me away from him and took my chin in a firm grip. “You listen to me. The thing that tore my throat out was not you. It is the thing we are going to find and kill, so that we can get your life back. I am not giving up on you, so don’t you dare, because if you do, you’re giving up on us both.”

Will went very still. “Or what?”
“Oh god, not again.” I moved to step between them and then just threw up my hands and turned away. “I don’t know where I signed up for a lifetime supply of testosterone, but I’d like to take myself off the list.”

Ethan made a sound of disgust and muttered under his breath. “Not sure if you two are brave, or brain-dead.”

Saturday, 13 December 2014

The Orphan of Torundi review

The Orphan of Torundi

By J.L. McCreedy


To find the truth, she must first uncover the lie ….

Orphaned as an infant, Sam is raised by a pharmaceutical research mission in the rain forests of Torundi. She wields a mean machete, makes soap from candlenuts and is a fairly astute amateur entomologist. You know, the normal stuff. But a month before her seventeenth birthday, she is exiled to an American boarding school in Malaysia.

Armed with little more than her unusual upbringing and church-lady clothes, Sam must contend with her new existence as the world's most socially unprepared high school senior. Well that’s just fine. Because she is determined to solve the mystery behind her banishment and return home tout de suite.

But when she discovers the unthinkable – that her banishment is tied to an enigmatic corporation with illicit designs on Torundi – she realizes the real mystery she must uncover is ... why? Soon, Sam is caught in a whirlwind of intrigue, danger and greed. As she chases this thread of truth to its end, she unravels a plot that threatens her beloved Torundi, her trust in the boy she has grown to love and her own existence.

Blending espionage elements akin to The Bourne Identity with those high-school-awkward-moments (hey, it could happen), THE ORPHAN OF TORUNDI is a quirky, cross-cultural tale of adventure, suspense and romance. 

Source: Goodreads

My rating: 4/5

My Thoughts:

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

Half the time I request books from netgalley, I forget the synopsis and why I found it so interesting to begin with. The other half I get rejected so it doesn't matter anyway! When I was approved the orphan of torundi I couldn't remember what the book was about and I didn't want to read the synopsis to spoil it either. 

Surprisingly witty with an interesting storyline, this author is one to watch out for. Sam is a funny character, she's so out of her element when she's forced to move to a new place; living all your life in a town in the wilderness probably does that to people. What I found surprising was how much she missed her home, Torundi. She's not used to the hustle and bustle of an urban town/city and despite her poorer lifestyle, she misses the simplicity and the peace of her home, and plans to find a way back. Her down to earth and often crazed philosophy was refreshing to read. She's definitely not like other female protagonists! 

Although the chemistry between Sam and Gabe felt real, I couldn't help but think that Sam fell for him way too quickly and deeply. It's like what Gajendra says to her; she feels too much. At the same time it makes sense, in this foreign place Gabe is the only connection she has to home and the only one that appears to understand her. I felt pretty bad for her new friends though, because Sam ignores them for most of the story. They make a constant effort to involve her and she always finds a way to disappear, which was funny too. 

The twists at the ending shocked me but I won't reveal any spoilers here, although I did think that There were too many surprises to keep up with. One aspect I didn't enjoy was when Gabe explain his backstory, I don't know why but all the names and the people were very confusing. I understand why Sam panicked and felt like she was being bombarded with life altering information. 

Overall, i enjoyed this read. It had a good mix of humour, twists and interesting characters to make me continue to turn the pages.

Zed (:

Favourite Quotes:

It seems impossible to be transplanted so efficiently from one's idyllic island to this place. There should be a law against it, or at least guidelines. Even goldfish get acclimated first. 

"Are you really a Samuel?" she whispers.
"Oh, good grief, EJ, I'm NOT a boy!"
"Agreed!" says Mr Krikorian, but he looks confused.

"This is going to be epic!" Caleb says.
I try my best to match his enthusiasm as we push the behemoth into the warm, lapping tide. But I wonder if he realizes that in actual epics...people tend to die. 

There is something about the dark that changes how you consider things. It heightens your perceptions, certainly, but it's more than that, too. There is something about the dark that makes you face all those things inside that you don't want to face, makes you realize those things are real - maybe more real than everything else - and that they're not going away.

I cross my legs in front of me and try to ignore the pain in my joints. Everything aches. I am hungry. I am tired. I am really, really grumpy. And for reasons that make perfect sense to me at the moment, all of this is his fault.

"I'm swimming in that dark, deep ocean, and there's a light, a glow so beautiful it can't seem real, but I'm swimming toward it anyway."

I am alone. Most people get some kind of choice, don't they? Most people can choose one thing or another; like conformity or individuality, safety or adventure, love or money, career or family. Isn't that how it works? Mine was all or nothing, and I didn't even get to choose. 

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Review of The Iron Queen

The Iron Queen
(The Iron Fey #3)
By Julie Kagawa
My name is Meghan Chase.

I thought it was over. That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who's sworn to stand by my side. Drag me into the core of conflict so powerful, I'm not sure anyone can survive it.

This time, there will be no turning back.
Source: Goodreads
Rating: 4.8/5
My Thoughts:
Can you believe that the third story in The Iron Fey series is more affecting than the others? I was almost drawn to tears at the end! The Nevernever is dying at an alarming rate, whilst the iron realm prospers. Meghan might have killed Machina but the false Iron King has proclaimed war on both Summer and Winter courts. However, he needs the powers that passed to Meghan in order to be completely successful.

Forced by the dire circumstances, King Oberon and Queen Mab have agreed to lift Meghan, Ash and Puck's exiles from the Nevernever if Meghan destroys the false king. Although Meghan thought she was finally going back to her normal life (albeit with a faerie boyfriend) she's dragged back into the magical world of fey for another dangerous adventure.

We see Meghan trying and failing to wield her Summer and Iron glamours (powers) and her constant worries over the land of the fey, because as the Nevernever dies, so do the faeries within it. She might consider herself to be a human and wish for things to return to normal, but the fact remains that she belongs to this new world and her heart is set on some of the beings in it.

Grim is back with a vengeance! Yay! And there are crazier characters to accompany him, like Razor the eccentric gremlin. The gremlins remind me of the houselves from HP, slaves of the iron master. Ironhorse died in the last book, but I was glad to see his 'spirit' again, which was sweet but a leeetle creepy.

Puck is around as always, as is Ash, but the character that showed the most change and strength was of course Meghan. In Iron Queen she realises that she can only expect the boys to protect her for so long. In the end she needs to learn how to fight, and I enjoyed seeing how she takes charge of her situation and makes her own decisions despite being the half breed in a strange land. Ash’s belief in her is inspiring, and if I was unsure about being Team Ash before, there is no doubt now!

Now for the heartbreak... We all knew it was a love that wasn't meant to be, but having it confirmed is far worse. I won't spoil it too much but I hope Ash keeps his promise!
Zed (: 
Favourite Quotes:
Summer and Winter were supposed to be enemies. We were not supposed to cooperate, we were not supposed to go on quests together and, most important, we were not supposed to fall in love.
"I'm just giving you a friendly warning, I thought, hey, she's killed the Iron bastards before. She might want to do it again."   [weird one-eyed dude]
"I don't see how you mortals do it, these feelings you must endure. They will ruin you, in the end..."   [Puck]
"You are beautiful, you know that, right?" he murmured, all seriousness, one hand gently framing my cheek. "I know I don't say...things like often as I should. I wanted to let you know."   [Ash *sigh*]

"Come on, Meghan. A little faith, please?" He crossed his arms and gave me an annoyed look. "You're writing us off before we even get started. Me and ice-boy both. I've been around a long time, I intend to be around awhile longer."   [Puck]

I couldn't let him go. Gods forgive me if I was being selfish, but I wanted nothing more than to stay with him forever.   [Meghan]

Oh, of course, I thought, as my gut twisted and sank down to my toes. This impossible situation also comes with a time limit. No pressure.

"Isn't it traditional to celebrate after you win?"
"And what if there is no tomorrow?"
Great, now the cat was made at me. Knowing Grimalkin, I'd have to beg and plead for him to tell us what he knew, or offer up my firstborn son or something.
"Rats? Giant iron rats? Oh, thank goodness, that's so much better than spiders."   [Puck]
"For the record," Grimalkin stated as we ventured, single file, into the black, "I do not think this is a good idea/ But, as no one listens to the cat anymore, I will have to wait until we are completely lost to say 'I told you so.'"
Puck winced. "Ouch. Well, you know what they say-you always hurt the one you love. Or is that the one you hate? I can never remember."
"Why do you think I brought you that creature, human? To keep up my stalking skills? I assure you, they are quite adequate already. Please attempt to use the brain I know is hidden somewhere in that head..."   [Grim]
"Do try to stay out of trouble, human. I will be terribly annoyed if you manage to get yourself killed."   [Grim]
"I love you, Meghan Chase," he murmured against my skin. "For the rest of my life, however long we have left. I'll consider it an honor to die beside you."   [Ash]

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Review of Iron Daughter

The Iron Daughter
(The Iron Fey #2)

By Julie Kagawa


Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron fey—ironbound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her.

Worse, Meghan's own fey powers have been cut off. She's stuck in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can't help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart.

Source: Goodreads

My rating: 4.8

My Thoughts:

The second book of the Iron Fey series revolves around the impending war between the summer and winter courts. As a result of Meghan’s contract, now that Ash has helped her retrieve her brother Ethan, she now has to stay at the Winter court to keep her end of the bargain. The day of the exchange of the scepter, the scepter is stolen from the Winter court and Queen Mab automatically assumes that Oberon and the summer court are behind this. No one believes Meghan when she explains that it was the Iron Fey because even after extensive searching, the iron fey have not been spotted by anyone other than Meghan, Ash and Puck. It’s her word against their instincts and unfortunately, a half-breed’s word does not amount to much.

After reading this book, the Iron Fey series has now become one of my 2014 favourites! Absolutely adore the characters, especially Ironhorse; he’s funnier than Grimalkin. I have a theory why Meghan can use glamour and I think it’s because she destroyed / killed the last iron king so perhaps the power has transferred to her? Maybe that was why the goblins (or was it gremlins?) listened to her when she told them to scatter because they were creeping her out. It just makes sense…plus Ironhorse calls her queen at one point, which adds to this theory.

The ending was AMAZING! I don’t want to spoil it but I can’t wait to read book 3. Although Meghan and Ash both took an oath at the end, I doubt they’ll be able to abide by it. There’s no way…

Poor Puck, just when he’s about to get the girl it all goes haywire for him. I was surprised at the turn in his and Meghan’s relationship and kind of annoyed at her for leading him on. She can’t have both guys, make up your mind already! I noticed that although Ash is meant to be in amazing fighter, he seems to get more injured than everyone else put together! Yet, he still ends up being okay in the end (not that I’m complaining, of course).

Grim wasn’t as vocal in this book, but Ironhorse made up for it…I wonder who will provide entertainment in the next book….

Zed (: 

Favourite Quotes:

"This isn't a game, Meghan. The shit is about to hit the fan, and you're right in the middle of it without knowing enough to duck!"

"I couldn't do it alone. I should have listened to you back in Tir Na Nog."
"Yes, you should have," I whispered. "Remember that, so that next time you can just agree with whatever I say and we'll be fine."

I sat up and wiped my eyes, cursing the damned faeries and their eternal war. It seemed there was never enough time. Time to dance, or talk, or laugh, or even mourn the passing of a friend. 

Friday, 5 December 2014

Review of the Iron King

The Iron King
(The Iron Fey #1)
By Julie Kagawa

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined.

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth - that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil, no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

Source: Goodreads
My rating: 4.7/5
My Thoughts:
I was in a reading slump when a friend recommended the Iron Fey series (thank you!). Upon seeing the cover I was a leeetle bit worried because it's advertised as 'the new twilight' and although I was sucked into the hype at the time, personally I felt the twilight series was addictive but poorly written. After reading the Iron King I don't understand why they compared it to Twilight since the two series are completely different!

The Iron King was an excellent read with lots of twists to keep it interesting. Grimalkin, the cat, was hilarious, a cross between the Cheshire Cat from Alice in wonderland and grumpy cat. Grim is clearly untrustworthy but there were times when he(or she, I'm not actually sure...) softened up to help Meghan and I know Grim will be an important part of the rest of the series.

The fact that the story uses characters from A Midsummer Night's Dream, was intriguing because although I read it at Secondary school, I can barely remember what happened. This might have been a good thing because if I knew what happened in that story, there could have been a potential spoiler alert.

What can I say about Megan, Ash and Puck; the unfortunate love triangle? I want to comment on the ending but it would ruin the entire story for you. Puck reminds me of Simon from The Mortal Instruments, the goofy bestfriend who loves but will never get the girl, or so I assume. In this story, let's just say that promises and debts are taken very seriously in the Nevernever (faery-land) and there's no way to unmake an oath regardless of how much you regret it later...

Zed (:
Favourite Quotes:
Puck stepped forward. "Ladies and felines," he stated grandly, grasping the doorknob, "welcome to Tir Na Nog. Land of endless winter and shitloads of snow."
"So what?" I challenged, pulling the quilt tighter around myself. "All you're telling me is I won't betray my friends or family. If that's a weakness, it's one I want."
"What if I can't?" I whispered. "What if the Iron King truly is invincible?"
"Then we will all die," said the Elder Dryad, and faded back into her oak. The other dryads left, leaving me alone with a cat, a prince, and a stick. I sighed and looked down at the wood in my hands.
"No pressure or anything," I muttered.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014 update

Apologies for being MIA but I have been so busy participating in NaNoWriMo and guess what, it's all done! I wrote 50,567 words in 29 days and although my story was rather rubbish; accomplishing my goal of writing a 50k novel in November feels great. 

NaNoWriMo is short for 'National November Writing Month'. It's been my second year taking part and I love it. Thousands of people all over the world participate and I love the atmosphere and craziness that comes along with it. Writing 50,000 words in 30 days is a challenge. We all have work, studies or family commitments but the biggest challenge is having a story in mind. The point is to write your 50k in November, spill the story and not to edit until after you've completed the 50,000 words. After November, you can go back to edit and revise it but during the month you lock your inner editor and throw away the key.

Whilst I was writing this time round I realised that I have so many bad writing habits! My main weakness is lack of research and character sketches. I ended up mixing personality traits of one character in another, and it all got rather muddled up. I won't be revisiting this story to clean it up because there were way too many holes, but at least now I know that going forwards I must have a proper plan. 

I love writing but there's always a fear of putting words to paper because what if my stories are garbage? NaNoWriMo has taught me to be less afraid and just give it a try. If you mess up and write a crappy story, oh well, write another one and keep writing until one day you write one that's worth reading. 

Zed (: